The first FMA school opened in the U.S.

Discussion in 'General' started by Rapier, Jan 4, 2008.

  1. Rapier

    Rapier RHC

    I have heard and read in many articles that the Serada Escrima was the first school to teach FMA in the U.S. technically that’s not correct. I believe that honor goes the Pedoy School of Derobio Escrima which opened its doors to non-Filipinos around 1960-61 and there is a House Resolution passed by the state of Hawaii attesting to this fact. Now I will say that the Serada System was the first to teach in the North America. But if I’m wrong I will admit to it as there is no maliciousness here.
  2. arnisador

    arnisador Active Member

    Does anyone know of an earlier one?
  3. Guro Marc

    Guro Marc New Member

    The First Escrima School in the US

    If that is correct then Pedoy school be honered at the Martial Art History Museum
  4. Buwaya

    Buwaya Senior Member

    GM Cabales's academy was opened in March of 67'.

    In Wiley's Filipino Martial Culture, Mang Ben (Lighting Scientific ) argues that he was the first to teach arnis in America, as he taught hand to hand combat to enlisted men in Gaum, a property of the US in 1947.

    I'm sure many more schools have similar claims. We'd have to line them up side by side to get the matter figured out.
  5. Guro Marc

    Guro Marc New Member

    The First Escrima School in the US

    If this is true and can be verfied the school is due an award. The Martial Arts History Museum has pioneer awards. I have been working with the President of the Museum to improve the FMA section. The history has not been told and the Manongs that opened the doors here in the US need to be recoginized.
  6. kabaroan

    kabaroan Kabaroan

    I mean no disrespect to Mang Ben or any of the Grandmasters and Greatgrandmasters but in the 20th Century, who can really be the "first" person to teach FMA in the US? Does it really matter in the great scheme of things?

    Grandmaster Ramiro Estalilla, Jr's father, Ramiro A. Estalilla, Sr., taught Kabaroan Eskrima in Minneapolis, MN in the 1920s while studying at the Minnesota College of Law in Minneapolis, and was a special student (1923) of Military Science and Tactics at Saint Thomas College in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

    In 1920, Estalilla's father came to the United States to study law at Saint Paul college in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He worked as the Minneapolis Athletic Club as a waiter and taught the art of kabaroan there from 1920 to 1929. (Wiley, Mark V. Filipino Martial Culture. Rutland, Vermont and Tokyo, Japan. Charles E. Tuttle Company, 1996)

    GM Ramiro relayed to me that when he was Seattle, Washington teaching a seminar, he had met an elder gentleman who was familiar with his style of eskrima and knew the Ilocano terminology for the strikes. It turned out that he was a student of his father (or that his father was a student of GM Estalilla's, I forget which).

    Still, the first commercial school is typically credited to Grandmaster Angel Cabales who first taught FMA (Serrada) to non Filipinos.

    Let us not forget that the "Manila Men" of the Louisiana bayou may have brought FMA to the US after jumping the ship of the Spanish galleons.

    Regardless, of who was first and who did what when, let us come together as a community and celebrate not the who but rather the what...that FMA has been shared openly and that the culture and history of the arts are preserved for future generations not only among the Pilipino peoples but many around the world. There is enough division within FMA lets come together and celebrate our respective arts.

    (Aside, not only should the Manongs be recongized, but the WW2 vets should also be given their due. Their plight brings a tear to my eye.)
    Last edited: May 22, 2008
  7. mabagani

    mabagani Pendato

    Note: If U.S. territories are included one would have to go back 1898 (Treaty of Paris), 1899 (Philippines declares war), 1901 (Philippine Constabulary / U.S. military...throughout this history one can read accounts and find photographs about Filipino soldiers and swords.
    Also into the pre-Commonwealth, pre-WW2 and into the war, Filipinos in the Phillipines and the U.S. were training in their martial arts. Philippine Constabulary, Philippine Army, Philippine Scouts, 1st and 2nd Filipino Infantry, etc.
    Besides eskrima/arnis in early 20th century there were also Filipino boxers...through the military and migration.
    Although unnamed, can't really deny many did their FMA earlier.
    Last edited: May 22, 2008
  8. pguinto

    pguinto New Member

    Using this same argument, you would surmise that whatever FMA schools/teachers were around in 1898 when the PI became property of the US. So i dont think you can use this as a qualifier.

    But to figure out the 1st actual school, you have to come up with standards/qualifiers.

    Personally i think the 1st truly FMA school in the US was:

    - one that taught FMA as its primary art and was open to all people of all races; not just filipinos. This means that you cannot include the schools that werent open to all races when it 1st opened.

    - one that was opened in an actual state, not a US territory. This means that even schools in Hawaii prior to 1959 cannot be included (as per above). Hawaii wasnt officially a US state until '59. This means u cannot include Guam either.

    Remember you guys are trying to figure out the 1st FMA school in the US. Not the 1st to teach Americans. One can argue that Americans (most likely military) were being taught as early as 1898 in the Philippines (again when the PI was property of the USA).
    Last edited: May 22, 2008
  9. Datu Tim Hartman

    Datu Tim Hartman FMA Talk Founder Supporting Member

    This is great intel! Thanks for sharing.
  10. mabagani

    mabagani Pendato

    Probably some "Indio" descendants from 16th century California or 17th century Luisiana in N. America or Mexico in S. America, but then again are you waiting for US statehood CA(1850), LA(1812)? and does open old school backyard training count? lolz
    again probably some unnamed FMA families...who also fought in early US wars
  11. Sheldon Bedell

    Sheldon Bedell New Member

    great information indeed

    All I can add is that Sikaran was being taught in Ca. inthe late 1950's. Not nearly as some of those others listed
  12. On a side note: Morro Bay, Ca
  13. pguinto

    pguinto New Member

    The statement is erroneous, californian land did not belong to the United States at the time.[/SIZE][SIZE=-1] In fact, everyone here knows the United States did not exist until 1776.[/SIZE][SIZE=-1] So one might be able to say "North American Continent", but not continental United States. However one could say that the filipinos resided on the land when the US annexed California in 1850. Same goes for Louisiana (Louisiana Purchase, 1803).

    Regardless, proof that filipinos were on the land, does not prove an official FMA school existed. The history lessons are nice, but we are no closer to solving who opened the 1st official FMA school in the United States.
    Last edited: May 22, 2008
  14. mabagani

    mabagani Pendato

    The answer won't be clear cut. The Civil Rights movement didn't begin until the mid 50' when was anything "open to all races"?
    Filipino boxers fought as equals pre-1920's in the US...they had to train somewhere with different races.
    One could point to an earlier time, as mentioned, to the "Manilamen" of Louisiana (blended into the communities of mixed races) who were recruited into the military during the War of 1812 and the Civil War.
  15. pguinto

    pguinto New Member

    Well, you wll be hard pressed to find written records, thats why i keep emphasizing the necessity of standards to what designates an official school. Imo, for it to be official, it should be recognized with some sort of written record, especially with a lack of an oral tradition. Otherwise anyone here can claim, their Tito or Lolo opened the first one. We have to separate fact from fiction. Since we were not there and there is no oral accounting, only written records are the solid proofs.
    Last edited: May 22, 2008
  16. mabagani

    mabagani Pendato

    Here is a likely documented 1st FMA candidate from the "continental North America." note: he was a soldier, skilled gunsmith and assigned to a presidio in charge of protecting missions and settlements

    (UCLA research)
    "Antonio Miranda Rodriguez, along with his daughter, were among those chosen to be the original settlers of the City of Los Angeles in 1781. He did start the expedition with the other pobladores, but his daughter got sick with small pox along the way, causing his delay in order to take care of her lingering illness.
    Upon arriving in Los Angeles, Miranda found that his allotment had already been assigned to another, but that the presidio in Santa Barbara wanted him.
    Miranda's highly valued skill as a gunsmith was desired for the Presidio of Santa Barbara. The Presidio in Santa Barbara was in charge of protecting the area missions and settlements, including San Gabriel and Los Angeles, as the closest other presidio was in San Diego. Miranda settled in Santa Barbara in 1783 and lived there until his death. Presidio life is an interesting study of the soldiers in these garrisons.
    According to the research of William Mason, former curator of the History Division of the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, Antonio Miranda Rodriguez was not just a settler but also a soldier, a soldado de cuera, and was literate (unusual for that time).
    He was the first Filipino Resident of Santa Barbara, perhaps the first permanent Filipino resident of California."
  17. pguinto

    pguinto New Member

    where does it say that this person practiced fma, opened a school and taught fma? all youve given is proof of a resident of filipino descent. US soldier of flip descent doesnt equal fma teacher. Sure, one can argue that this person was an fma player, but where does it state he opened an official school?
    Last edited: May 23, 2008
  18. mabagani

    mabagani Pendato

    i hear ya...lolz
    just put info out, guy had martial skills and was there helping protect settlements...not too far a suggestion that he taught the skills/passed them on, guess it'd depend on the criterion and definition of a "school".
    did the school have to be registered in city hall as a commercial business for profit? published in a university yearbook? or a local newspaper? is it excluding the poor or individuals who chose not to go the public route?
    may be mixing what was done now with what was done in the past, where anyone strong enough to fight was taught for the security of the community, real different pioneering stuff...

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