Written by : MEI-LIN LOZADA
The organizers of the very first Philippine Martial Arts Hall of Fame slated on April 21 to 22 at the Diamond Hotel in Roxas Boulevard, Manila, announced their solid advocacy of arnis, the Philippines’ national martial art and sport by the virtue of Republic Act 9850, also known as the Arnis Law.
The Philippine Martial Arts Hall of Fame aims to honor individuals and organizations who made significant contribution to the martial arts.
The awardees were nominated by their followers and were chosen based on their work ethics and dedication to the martial arts.
Arnis master Punong Lakan Garitony Nicolas, the Philippine Martial Arts Hall of Fame’s executive director said that 64 inductees from all over the world would be honored in this weekend’s event.
“The Hall of Fame is very important to martial artists. It has been long over due since so many great martial artists are not recognized.
Some of them even died unrecognized,” said Engineer Jose Dion Diaz of the Philippine Indigenous Games and Sports Savers Association Inc. and himself an inductee during the event’s press conference at the Aristocrat Restaurant in Roxas Boulevard, Manila.
“This is a way of promoting arnis and enticing martial artists abroad to come here in the Philippines and try the sport,” he added.
For his part, Prof. Armando Soteco, founder of the School of Arnis Professionals said, “The Philippine Sports Commission should put up a secretariat that would focus on the formation and organization of the four areas of arnis promotion namely arnis for physical education, arnis in relation to cultural aesthethics, arnis as a sport and arnis as a martial art.”
Soteco is among those who have taught arnis in Philippine schools for the longest time.
He was an arnis professor in San Beda College from 1967 to 2002 and in Centro Escolar University from 1971 to 2001.
Soteco serves as adviser to the Philippine Martial Arts Hall of Fame and himself the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award.
“We should train more teachers who will teach arnis in schools,” added Dr. Alejandro Dagdag, a board member of the Mataw-Guro Association and Soteco’s long-time colleague.
“The sport is already rising but the problem is in the drafting of the implementing rules and regulations,” added Nicolas.