The Birth of FMA: Samahan ng mga Mataw-Guro ng Arnis de Mano International (FMA: Association of Mataw-Guro – Arnis de Mano International)

By | 2018-05-02T23:34:54+00:00 September 21st, 2010|FMA Corner|

Issue Number: #

While the creation of Republic Act 9850 better known as the Arnis Law was a great triumph to proponents of the Filipino martial arts (FMA), tremendous amount of work is still needed to professionalize and standardize the teaching and propagation of arnis.

As dictated by law, arnis is now the Philippines’ national martial art and sport. But the big problem lies in the fact that there is a dearth of qualified instructors to teach the art in the Philippines and abroad.

Three Masters with a Vision

Timely with this quandary, three renowned arnis masters, Armando Soteco, Inocencio Glaraga and Louelle Lledo Jr. have banded together to establish FMA: Samahan ng mga Mataw-Guro ng Arnis de Mano International (FMA: Association of Mataw-Guro – Arnis de Mano International), a body whose foremost objective is the formation and development of an international association of “master teachers of FMA education, which shall form an integral part of the Philippine culture based on the principles and philosophies of arnis de mano.”

A Filipino Muslim term, the etymology of “mataw” is Maguindanaoan and translates to “knowledgeable.”

On the other hand, “guro” means “teacher” in Filipino, so taken together, “Mataw-Guro” means “knowledgeable teacher” or “master teacher.”

In Tagalog, “mataw” can be interpreted as “mataas ang tanaw,” which means “with high standards.”

Using this interpretation, the “Mataw-Guro” therefore, is a high level rank that is well above entry level for professional FMA teachers.

The three founders – Mataw Guro Soteco, Mataw-Guro Glaraga and Mataw-Guro Lledo, all esteemed arnis masters are highly qualified to spearhead a martial arts endeavor of this magnitude.

Mataw-Guro Soteco, besides being an arnis master and author of arnis books is among those who have taught arnis in Philippine schools for the longest time teaching in San Beda College from 1967 to 2002 and in Centro Escolar University from 1971 to 2001.

Mataw-Guro Soteco is currently active teaching arnis and other masteral subjects at the Integrated College of Physical Education and Sports and as director of the School of Arnis Professionals.

Mataw-Guro Glaraga is refuted as the most eccentric arnis master in the Philippines.

But despite his eccentricity, Mataw-Guro Glaraga boasts of solid academic credentials and is a walking encyclopedia of traditional arnis knowledge.

Much of the concept of the Mataw-Guro association was his idea.

Mataw-Guro Lledo is the venerable founder Amara Arkanis, which he described as a complete martial art.

Lledo is a real world fighting master that possesses actual military and law enforcement experience.

He has trained among top caliber masters and practitioners not only of FMA but of other martial arts as well.

A dynamic educator, it was through Lledo’s constant encouragement and generous support that have brought the Samahan ng mga Mataw-Guro ng Arnis de Mano International into fruition.

First Organizational Meeting

The first organizational meeting of FMA: Samahan ng mga Mataw-Guro ng Arnis de Mano International took place on July 31, 2010 at Inasal Restaurant, Quezon City Memorial Circle, Quezon City, Philippines.

In the absence of Mataw-Guro Lledo, which is based in New Jersey, USA, the meeting was presided by Mataw-Guro Soteco and Mataw-Guro Glaraga.

Among those present were various experts, scholars and advocates of the FMA like Dr. Alejandro Dagdag, Engineer Jose Dion Diaz, Atty. Salvador Dimaisip, Grandmaster Pepito Robas, Grandmaster Garitony Nicolas, Master Julio Penales, Master Felipe Penales, Prof. Leo Robert Viajar, Mr. Teodoro Bernardo, Mr. Romeo Reyes, Mr. Renato Tanglao Jr., Mr. Herbert Hernando, Mr. Nickie Esmero, Manila Police Sgt. Virgo Van Villareal and the writer.

The body first discussed the organization’s objectives and by-laws then proceeded with the appointment of officers.

A real Filipino maginoo or gentleman, Mataw-Guro Soteco initially declined the offer to be the association’s president stating that it was Mataw-Guro Llaraga who desrves the honor.

Mataw-Guro Soteco however was finally persuaded when Mataw-Giro Llaraga and the body insisted that it would be for the best interest of the organization if he took the helm of leadership because of his good experience and status in the FMA community.

Consecutively, it was also agreed that Mataw-Guro Glaraga will be the organization’s vice president for national affairs while Mataw-Guro Lledo will be vice president for international affairs.

Mataw-Guro Soteco also commended Mataw-Guro Lledo for insisting that all Mataw-Guro certification must come from the Philippines, the birthplace of arnis.

Mataw-Guro Soteco repeatedly stressed that the sole focus of FMA: Samahan ng mga Mataw-Guro ng Arnis de Mano International is education meaning the standardization of the teaching methods of arnis in the Philippines and abroad, “Standardization is one of the best ways to unite all arnisadors,” he stated.

While the government would definitely draft plans to standardize the arnis curriculum that would be taught to the different schools, Mataw-Guro Soteco is apprehensive that it is bound to fail unless arnis experts and not mere academician were commissioned to do the job.

Mataw-Guro Soteco, speaking from experience pointed out that the whole thing just boils down to specialization, “Let a lawyer handle lawsuits and the physician medical woes,” he said.

 (Originally published in FMA Digest)