Martial Arts Recollection By Mark Sangiao

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With the recent conclusion of the Team Lakay 13th Grappler’s Cup which was held last June 12, 2013, one of the most important day in Filipino history because we celebrated the Independence Day of our great country. We can say that it has been successful for the fact that different gyms, including those from as far as Cavite and La Union, participated in the said event. We also had the venue on a different atmosphere letting the participants have a different experience since we had it held at a roof top of one of the buildings in Pine Valley Plaza, La Trinidad, Benguet. Being different from our usual venues like school gymnasiums and beach resorts, we had it held at such venue to establish a high-altitude competition. However, it is one of the goals of Team Lakay to rotate the locations of its Grappler’s Cup competitions to let the participants experience different kinds of environment.

Having organized 13 Grappler’s Cups already, it has established Team Lakay as organizer of such events and it is our vision to continue promoting it for the development of the ground game of our fighters and members, as well as the other participants from different gyms all around Cordilleras and different parts of the Philippines, as it is getting bigger and bigger. It is also the goal of Team Lakay in organizing these kind of programs to put on a stage for them to expose themselves to more competitions before they get to compete in bigger and tougher events.

But what is grappling by the way? Grappling refers to techniques, movements, and counters applied to an opponent in order to gain a physical advantage, such as takedowns, proper positioning, mounting, submitting or locking, escaping, and controlling your opponent. However, grappling does not include striking.

Grappling is a technique which has been developed even in the earlier times of our history. I will not discuss here the history of Grappling or Jiu Jitsu and Wrestling, but to give you a brief background of how it went to where it is right now.

In our local region, when we were kids, we used to play what we call “Ginnabbo”, the local term for judo and wrestling. The Kankana-eys call it “Damá”, while the Ifugaos call it “Bultong”. This type of sport has already been here in our place even before we were born. It was a type of recreation for our forefathers. I even experienced it playing “Ginnabbo” on the wide, vacant grassland near our home. Like that of playing the kite and hide and seek, we played  “kinnudtar” or kicking each other, “innubba” or carrying another on one’s back as a team while kicking or striking other opponents.

Nowadays, I don’t think a lot of the children have experienced this; all they experience now is that if they want to play wresting, they have to go to the gym to practice this sport. For us it was not even a sport, it was a form of recreation.

But with the development of the sport in other countries especially in Japan, Brazil, UAE and in the United States of America, the techniques have become more formalized and improved. There are a lot of techniques that you have to master before getting into this kind of sport and eventually join in competitions.

Now, I would like also to dedicate this piece to our national hero , Dr. Jose Rizal, in memory of his birthday on the 19th of June. He was also a martial arts practitioner and being a martial artist himself, he had known how to properly use the disciplines he knew in proper and peaceful manner. This is one great character that I’ve liked about him, aside from being intelligent and talented; he had not made use of his knowledge of martial arts to form a revolution. Even having been knowledgeable in different disciplines such as judo, wrestling, arnis, fencing, shooting and others, he had not used this to gain independence from our invaders. He still managed to put into writing all his thoughts to gain independence in a peaceful manner. But if needed to apply what he knew, he will do it. That is martial arts; it is only applied when it is needed, like self-defense and during healthy competitions.

Martial Arts are not supposed to be used to start a physical encounter and street fights; or to show to anyone that he is strong and powerful; or to intimidate or bully others. Instead, we should use this art to settle disputes and misunderstandings in a peaceful way- like what it was used to be. It has been embraced by law enforcement officials worldwide and continues to be the foundation for many specialized system used by police especially in countries like Japan. This is the way of martial arts. But nowadays, aside from bringing peace it also is a form of entertainment, a way of disciplining one’s self, and a way of bringing honor and pride to one’s country by representing his or her country in international competitions. This is what we intend to achieve, to bring peace to our countrymen, by becoming ambassadors of peace, as well as to give honor and pride to our country and family. This is what we do, this is who we are.

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