The Full Circle Connection Between Jujitsu and FMA
Filipino Martial Arts or “FMA” for short, are the cornerstone of weapons study in Full Circle Warrior Arts. My main study of FMA stems from the Serrada Eskrima style Founded by Grand Master Angel Cabales (October 4, 1917 – March 3, 1991). I studied under Master Khalid Khan who was master #13 directly under GM Cabales. I trained with him for 9 years before leaving Los Angeles to move to Phoenix, Arizona. In Phoenix I met Master Michael J. Butz whom I studied another 3 years with. Under Master Mike I was given further understating of my Serrada training as a bladed system, not solely stick. This opened new worlds of opportunity to unlock the potential of the art.
In a very “full circle” sense my study of FMA has led to greater understanding of my roots in the martial arts. You can trace my jujitsu lineage directly to Dr. Florendo “Vee” Visitacion , the founder of Vee-jitsu-ryu jujitsu system. Dr. Vee was grew up in the Philipinines and learned Arnis as a child. In his later years he would return to his cultural roots and pursue further study of FMA eventually founding Vee-Arnis-Jitsu. His earliest student was the legendary Dr. Moses Powell (June7, 1910 – January 4, 1999) who taught my first sensei Soke Chaka Zulu as well as Hanshi Anton Muhammad. The jujitsu that Dr. Vee taught was laced with his early martial art experiences. At first glance of “pure” FMA one might not see the connection. The further you delve into FMA theory the more you start to see the correlation.
Jujitsu and FMA both stem from the understanding of blade work. Jujitsu has never been simply a grappling method, although that aspect is wildly popular these days as it was in the 20th century in the form of its off-shoot, Judo. Rather it is designed as a last line of defense against an opponent armed swordsman. The traditional motions take blade awareness into account. However in the modern training this is still evident and found if one knows where to look. Modern FMA styles tend to be “stick” oriented, preferring the cylindrical theory of rattan over the original blade theory of old. As Master Mike always said, stick comes from blade, blade doesn’t come from stick. The blade is there waiting to be unlocked by the right instructor. Two disparate blade oriented cultures, in my experience, came to many of the same conclusions. The differences in methods tend to be cultural and practical (e.g. armor vs no armor, katana vs bolo). There is a gap there that is easily bridged should you have serious study of both methods.