The Influence of Spanish Renaissance Swordsmanship on Filipino Martial Arts

Discussion in 'General' started by jwinch2, Dec 15, 2009.

  1. jwinch2

    jwinch2 Member

    I'm not sure if this has been posted here before but found this to be an interesting article on the topic from a post over at FMAForums. Not surprisingly, there seems a good deal of controversy about this in the FMA world. Some FMA stylists readily acknowledge this relationship and influence and some others deny it completely. Personally, I don't care all that much but then again, I'm not Filipino. I can certainly see why it would be a touchy subject depending on the art one is studying or promoting and whether or not one felt if was a slight their national origin.

    Either way, it makes for interesting reading and for good thinking when trying to get your head around the origin of the Filipino arts.

  2. A great article in the main and I agree with the main points.


    From what I've read I don't agree with that bit. The Spanish did not have a large enough force to control the entire Philippines by military might on their own. They elicited a "Divide and conquer" strategy with religion and by employing natives to do their bidding.

    Sure, they had better technology and governance but they were outnumbered. If it was "to a lesser extent" culturally why are most Filipinos Catholic and not Animistic or Muslim today?
  3. jwinch2

    jwinch2 Member

    Interesting question. Perhaps because some things don't manifest themselves until several generations down the road? Things like religion are passed down the line rather than instantly converted in most cases.

    That is my guess at first glance...
  4. I see Catholicism here in the Philippines as an enduring legacy of the Spanish times. Religion is usually weakened by the passing of generations as opposed to strengthened - though I guess the social welfare of the people influences this too.

    The Spanish did go for "Instant Conversion". I'm too lazy to check my books but they made a gift of a Virgin Mary statue to a chieftan's wife,wrote many religious documents in "Bybayin" (ancient script of the Philippines) such as "Doctrina Christiana, en lengua espaƱola y tagala", built churches and encouraged mass etc, etc.

    I remember reading one rebellious quote from a Filipino that left a lasting impression on me. It went something along the lines of:

    "You want us to believe in God and talk about heaven which is like paradise. But whose to say it will be any different to Earth where you treat us like slaves?".

    On a related note there was also something about a "Warrior Priest" who had a style of Eskrima he was teaching to the natives too.

    It's an interesting subject and I'm sure more educated people than I can argue for either side.
  5. I found this good article regarding a famous uprising in Bohol:

    Gotta love those assassin-priests, eh?!

    This rebellion preceded the famous "Dagahoy" rebellion which lasted for 89 years and is the longest in Filipino history.


    "Dagahoy" translated means "Talisiman of the wind". It was also a nickname of GM "Tatang" Ilustrisimo around Tondo, Manila for his skills.
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2009
  6. gagimilo

    gagimilo Member

    well, if you also check on the colonial Spanish approach in other parts of the world, i.e. south America, you'll see that there were quite often rather pronounced differences in how the priesthood saw the role of the colonial authorities, as opposed to how it was seen from the standpoint of the civilian administration. In the shortest (and broadest) strokes, the priests were frequently ready to take the natives under protection, which included their languages and cultural heritage, with the exception of the religious beliefs, of course. Therefore, the population was often ready to do the one thing the priests asked in return...

    Now, when it comes to the extent of cultural influence, while I do agree somewhat with Simon, the fact is that the percentage of Filipinos nowadays who speak Spanish is negligible, even after more than 330 years of colonization, which btw did not end all that long ago. On the other side, take a look at how many of them speak English, and how long was the colonial rule of USA...I'd say that put the cultural influence in somewhat different perspective.
  7. An interesting point.


    Taken from:

    So I guess 2 - 3% could be called "Negligible" in the grand-scheme of things.


    So that's what 4 generations ago? Since then the world has changed and methods of communications have vastly evolved with technology. It's not just happening in the Philippines. All across Asia (and probably the world) English is becoming the dominant 2nd language. It is the international language of business so in many respects it is a neccessity (sp?!).

    Look at China - a country famed for it's culture. They have more English speakers than India. English is one of the hardest languages for Chinese people to learn too.

    I don't believe that the American colonization can be compared to the Spanish in terms of the language. There are many other factors at work.

  8. lhommedieu

    lhommedieu Senior Member

    There was a good conversation about this a while back on the public forum on the Sayoc Kali site. See if it's been archived. See also Cebuano Eskrima: Beyond the Myth, for an interesting discussion as well. Available at,


  9. An excellent book Steve. There's also a few copies available on ebay.

    One of the authors is a friend of mine.

    There are also countless similar topics on too.

    Anyway, there are some excerpts of the book online:

    And to back up the points made in the original post:

  10. Pinuti

    Pinuti New Member

    Realize that many natives did convert to Catholicism such as the one of the rajahs of the Visayans islands

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