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RP martial art 'arnis' gains foothold in Russia

Arnis (eskrima), the indigenous Filipino martial art, has gained a foothold in Russia, as many enthusiasts attended a recent public demonstration there. Russians were impressed with the flowing demonstration of thrusts, slashes, kicks, leg and arm sweeps performed by PTK-RF Vice President Ruslan Mashinistov and Grigoriy Shein. “It’s exciting that Philippine martial arts is being promoted in Russia," Larisa Boldyreva, head of the GlavUpDK Cultural Center Protocol Department, according to an article on the Department of Foreign Affairs website. Philippine Ambassador to Russia Victor Garcia III reported to the DFA the Filipino martial art is popularly known there as "Kali." He said the public demonstration involved leading members of the Pikiti-Tirsia Kali Russian Federation (PTK-RF), and was part of a cultural program organized by the Asia-Pacific Women’s Group at the Asia-Pacific Charity Bazaar. The bazaar was held at the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Main Administration for the Diplomatic Corps (GlavUpDK) Cultural Center last September 26. Recently, Leopoldo Gaje Jr., Grand Tuhon (master) of the Pikiti-Tirsia Kali, went to Moscow to oversee the training of both Russian Special Forces officers (Spetsnaz) and civilians. Gaje is the sole heir and guardian of the PTK system, which is more combat-oriented rather than sport-focused. Last September 4, Gaje and Baguio-born Kali Guro (Sensei) and PTK-RF Director Daniel Mumbakki Foronda II, who conducted seminars in March and May this year with Rommel Tortal, Jasper De Ocampo and Robert Baranda, attended the opening of the second PTK Filipino Martial Arts Center at the renowned Russian dojo Sambo-70 in the southwest part of Moscow. Two days later, civilian kalistas learned about counter-attacks using rattan sticks in a seven-hour seminar on Advanced Contradas at the Domodedovskaya School. “The seminar was very useful especially for understanding the methodology of formulating counter-attack. (Gaje) has enlightened us with new techniques and broadened the application of Pekiti-Tirsa basics," said PTK-RF President Sergey Sovolev. Last September 20, Guro Samantha Foronda-Pinder led six Russian women in a six-hour seminar on Badyak, an indigenous form of self-defense for women which evolved from a simple but effective counter-attacking technique traditionally employing a spear tip to a plexiglass cutter, durable and invisible to X-rays. "Filipino martial arts have gained widespread popularity in recent years, being employed by Hollywood celebrities in popular U.S. movie franchises like Matt Damon as Jason Bourne, Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible, Christian Bale as Batman, Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft and Ukrainian-born model Milla Jovovich in the Resident Evil series," the DFA said. The DFA noted arnis is taught in the Philippine military and police as it is considered "so deceptively simple, effective and easy to learn with sufficient practice." It added the US military teaches it to some varying degree in all of its branches, including the Navy SEALs, Army Special Forces, and Delta Force. At its peak, more than 200 styles of Filipino martial arts are supposed to have existed prior to the arrival of Spaniards in the Philippines. Records suggest that the warriors of Mactan led by Lapu-Lapu used a form of Eskrima, with bows and arrows, spears and swords (kali) to defeat Ferdinand Magellan’s more heavily armed and armored retaliatory force of Spanish conquistadors in April 1521. But Spanish colonial era prohibitions on the teaching of weapons fighting led to the art’s decline. It enjoyed a revival in the 1960s and 1970s, following efforts of brothers Ernesto and Remy Presas, who opened training centers in the US West Coast. There, Dan Inosanto practiced Arnis with Bruce Lee, who used some of the principles to found his own style, Jeet Kune Do, in 1967. Jeet Kune Do uses the same weapons as Arnis. In Russia, the earliest attempts to practice Arnis trace back to 1998. Pikiti-Tirsia Kali was first introduced in Russia in 2005, with the establishment of the Russia chapter of the school and publicity in the TV channel Boets. It is also practiced in Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Spain, France, England, Netherlands, USA, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, India, Taiwan, Thailand, Argentina and Canada. - GMANews.TV

Tags: arnis, russia