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Martial Arts Broken

Martial Arts Broken

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Published by: andrew_jkd on Apr 17, 2009
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now internationally known system of training performers using the princi-ples of techniques of Asian martial and meditation arts as a foundation forthe psychophysiological process of the performer (see Zarrilli 1993, 1995).One example of the actual use of a martial art in contemporary the-ater performance is that of Yoshi and Company. In the 1970s Yoshi Oida,an internationally known actor with Peter Brook’s company in Paris, cre-ated a complete performance piece,
based on kendô. Yoshiused the rituals of combat and full contact exchanges as a theatrical vehi-cle for transmission of the symbolic meaning behind the Japanese originmyth that served as the text for the performance.Of the many examples from Asia per se, during the 1980s in India anumber of dancers, choreographers, and theater directors began to makeuse of martial arts in training their companies or for choreography. Amongsome of the most important have been theater directors Kavalam NarayanaPanikkar of Kerala, who used kalarippayattu in training his company,Sopanam, and Rattan Theyyam in Manipur, who made use of thang-ta.Among Indian choreographers, Chandralekha of Madras and Daksha Sethof Thiruvananthapuram have both drawn extensively on kalarippayattu intraining their companies and creating their contemporary choreographies.
Phillip Zarrilli
See also
Africa and African America; Capoeira; Form/Xing/Kata/PatternPractice; Japan; Kalarippayattu; Mongolia; Thang-Ta
Elias, Norbert. 1972. “The Genesis of Sport as a Sociological Problem.”In
Sport: Readings from a Sociological Perspective.
Edited by EricDunning. Toronto: University of Toronto.Ghosh, M. 1956.
Vol. 1. Calcutta: Manisha Granthalaya.Lawler, Lillian B. 1964.
The Dance in Ancient Greece.
Seattle: University of Washington Press.Schechner, Richard. 1983.
Performative Circumstances from Avante Gardeto Ramlila.
Calcutta: Seagull Books.Zarrilli, Phillip B., ed. 1995.
Acting (Re)Considered.
London: RoutledgePress.———. 1993.
Asian Martial Arts in Actor Training.
Madison, WI: Center forSouth Asia.
The title
Filipino martial arts
(FMA) refers to several styles, methods, andsystems of self-defense that include armed and unarmed combat. Mostly,FMA are just “Filipino fencing,” because they include personal armed com-bative techniques that emphasize weaponry skills over skills in emptyhands. Unarmed combat is practiced in FMA, but is traditionally studiedafter weaponry training. This training sequence sets FMA apart from othermartial arts, especially Asian, that initiate with empty hands.
Filipino armed combat is known variously as
(fencing;Spanish, escrima), and
derives from the Spanish word
meaning “armor.” Arnis, or “harness,” no doubt also refers to the battleharness worn by Filipino soldiers under Spanish command.
or “harness of hand,” denotes the deft hand movements made by Filipinogrooms working for Spanish officers. Lightning-quick hand movementswere alleged to be native martial arts techniques in disguise. Forbidden bythe Spanish to practice indigenous martial arts, defiant Filipinos purport-edly retained their fighting skills in secret by hiding them inside danceforms called
Santikan, Sayaw,
An alternative thesis pro-poses that FMA is classical fencing that evolved with incipient nationalism.Hence, FMA is the modern expression of fencing evolution.Other etymologies have been suggested for the names of the variousFilipino arts. The Spanish term
(skirmish) has entered the Pilipinolanguage. Kali, according to some accounts, might be named after theHindu goddess of destruction. Internationally recognized FMA master DanInosanto contends that Kali is the conjunction of the first syllables of twowords from the Philippine Visayan language—
meaning “hand,”and
meaning “motion.” Thus,
means “hand motion.” An ex-amination of the Pilipino language indicates otherwise. In the Hiligaynondialect of the Western Visayas, the term
means “to dig,” as with ashovel (
). A shovel is a spade and the word for sword is
Kaliprobably derives from the Visayan word
meaning “sword,” whichwas written in a shipboard chronicle of Magellan’s voyage in
.1534.Unarmed combat is
(Spanish; hand-to-hand), but is also
To describe the plethora of FMA styles, methods, and sys-tems is arduous; some—Doce Pares, Lacoste, Modern Arnis, and Pekiti Tir-sia—are publicized through seminars and are associated with particular in-structors such as Ciriaco C. Canete, Dan Inosanto, Remy A. Presas, andLeo T. Gaje Jr., who spread the FMA in Australia, Canada, Germany, GreatBritain, and the United States.Geographically situated at the crossroads of Southeast Asia, thePhilippines are located near the equator above Borneo and below Taiwan.With a population estimated at 60 million, the Philippines are larger in areathan Great Britain, but smaller than Japan. Those unfamiliar with the7,107 islands and three major regions of the Philippine Archipelago, Luzon(north), Visayas (central), and Mindanao (south), may be confused by theeighty-seven different dialects of Pilipino (Tagalong), the national language.English is the language of business and education, and Spanish is spoken toa lesser extent.Foreign languages are remnants of immigration to and colonization of the Philippine islands, which influenced native Filipino martial arts. It is of-
Philippines 423
ten said that Filipinos have Malay ancestry, Chinese culture, Spanish reli-gion, and American education. Mestizos are racially mixed Filipinos withChinese, Spanish, and American bloodlines. The varied cultural milieu fa-cilitated the blending of FMA. Filipino martial arts are a blend of at leastIndonesian, Malaysian, Chinese, Spanish, American, and Japanese origins.Filipino martial culture has both tradition and history. The tradition
Warrior tribesmenof the Philippineswith swords and woven shields, ca.1900. (HultonArchive)

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