Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Giving the Right Credits by PG Edgar Sulite

This article was first published in VORTEX (Volume 4, Number 1) in 1995. A quarterly 
newsletter of Lameco Eskrima International, the publisher was the late Punong Guro 
Edgar G. Sulite who passed away on April 10, 1997. The editor was Arnold A. Noche.

In today’s society, martial arts practitioners are constantly bombarded by the 
knowledge and techniques of various martial arts arriving from all four corners of the 
world. These are the same exact techniques that were once forbidden to be taught outside 
the family circle by the very same people who created it and used it. Those people 
dedicated their lives in the laboratory of the battlefield just to experiment whether their 
techniques would work or not. Many lives had been wasted before the techniques were 
ever refined. The masters from the different martial arts devoted their time, energy and, 
above all, their life in the development of their fierce combat techniques. 
The Filipino martial arts (Eskrima, Kali, Arnis), Kung-Fu, Thai Boxing, Karate, 
Indonesian Silat, Jiu-Jitsu, Western Boxing, Tai-Chi, Judo, Savate and other martial arts 
are just a mere phone call away. In our generation today, we are extremely fortunate to 
have these different types of martial arts available within our grasp.

I remember Grandmaster Jose D. Caballero who was my teacher in the De Campo 
Uno-Dos-Tres Orihinal System. It took me more than one year to court him, bringing him 
food each day on every visit as a means of a gift, just for him to accept me as a student. It 
was primarily because I was an outsider, one who didn’t belong to their family, that I was 
not accepted right away. It was also because of my perseverance, that I never stopped 
coming to his house to ask him to teach me, that I was finally accepted to become one of 
his disciples.

Nowadays, you can study any and all kinds of martial arts as you wish, because 
they are available within your reach, for as long as you have the determination to learn. 
Due to the abundance of these martial arts that we study, we somehow consciously or 
subconsciously mix it together as one. This bring us now to the big problem that evolves 
due to the fact that some martial arts teachers, as well as some students, are not honest 
enough in giving the right credits to where they have gotten the knowledge from or where 
they have attained the techniques from.

One afternoon in Manila, Philippines, during our Sunday sessions with 
Grandmaster Antonio Ilustrisimo in Luneta Park, we noticed two bystanders carefully 
observing our training with extremely watchful eyes. I, being one of the spokesmen of the 
Kali Ilustrisimo System, approached the two men and asked them if they knew Eskrima, 
Kali or Arnis. I also asked them if they would show us some of their moves. The 
demonstration that they performed for us was quite impressive. Grandmaster Ilustrisimo, 
who does not impress easily at all especially if you are from another style of Kali, was 
astounded. After their demonstration we asked immediately who their teacher was. One 
of the young men replied that they did not have a teacher that they just went to the 
mountains and meditated to formulate the techniques, which they had just performed. We did not believe him nor them. Master Tony Diego said to me that it was such a pity to 
their teacher, whoever it was, that these two men would turn out to be so disrespectful. 
Less than a year later, during our meeting with the different grandmasters of Arnis 
Philippines, I met an old master that demonstrated the same techniques that I saw earlier 
from the two men. When I asked the master if he knew of the two, he replied that they 
were his students.

The truth will always come out. Giving the right credits to where we have learned 
the techniques from pays a lot of respect to the people who invented it and devoted their 
life in battle just to prove that it works. It is their pride that their names are being 
remembered and honored by us who are now practicing or who have practiced their once 
called forbidden art.

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