CLEAN SLATE: Arnis to the world?

Come Saturday and Sunday, March 18 to 19, at the Emelio Ramos National High School,

seven-year-old boys and girls up to 18-year-old players are competing in the 86th edition of the Araw ng Dabaw Arnis Invitational.

Mario Palazuelo, a long-time sports leader in Davao City for the Philippine Eskrima Kali Arnis Federation, said they have continued organizing the arnis tournaments because in the first place, arnis is our national sport.

However, if you take a closer look at media coverage, it is basketball, boxing, volleyball or billiards that look like our national sport because every Filipino knows how to play it.

Republic Act 9850 made arnis our official national sport but unfortunately, this is overshadowed by the popularity of other sports disciplines.

I remember a story about how our good friend, Hyoung Joo Kim came to Davao in the 1970’s (or was it 80’s Johnny?) to promote South Korea’s national sport, taekwondo. After their training in South Korea, Mr. Kim and his other classmates were sent abroad to propagate their sport.

Basically, it was an “invasion”.

Now, take a look at taekwondo as a sport. It is played all over the world and because of its popularity, it is now part of the Olympics, starting in the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul.

Mario said they would like to see the day when arnis is played in the Asian Games and Summer Olympics.

From what I read, in some Hollywood action movies like Mission Impossible and Bourne, there are Filipino arnis masters who were hired as consultants to teach movie stars for specific fight scenes, specially in the use of sticks and knives.

The question is can we use the South Korean Formula for arnis?

Sure, we can but that needs the concerted effort of our national and local government leaders, big corporation owners and the educational system to make it work.

For example, if we make Filipino movies, we have to come up with a scene or several action scenes that promote arnis as a sport.

Who is the country’s most popular actor or actress? Let them promote arnis.

Make arnis a mandatory sport in the conduct of LGU Palaro through the National Physical Fitness and Sports Development Councils.

All public and private elementary, high school and college physical education classes must have arnis as part of the program.

We have 115 million Filipinos as of the 2022 Census.

Just imagine if for many years in the school system, they have mastered arnis as a sport, if it is even possible to be awarded licenses to teach, and should they go overseas for work, they can offer their services to some martial arts school or even open their own arnis school.

O di ba? Filipino national sport offered to the world!

What do you think, Mario? Will we still be alive to see that day?

Former senator Migz Zubiri, the 1989 Arnis World Championship winner, must have already thought of that, Mario noh?

If so, then we can probably see the day when arnis becomes part of the Asian and Summer Olympic Games.

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