Traditional Philippine martial arts come to Beijing

China Plus Published: 2017-11-11 21:54:25
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Tactical Combat Kali is a widely used combat skill originated from traditional Philippine martial arts.

As CRI's Guan Chao reports, a Filipino martial art coach has been teaching the skills to local people in Beijing, in an attempt to share the culture to China.

Tactical Combat Kali is widely used by the Filipino marine and police, as well as the navies of the US, India, and Russia.

Filipino martial art coach Rhio Zablan has been practicing it for 25 years.

Having moved to Beijing seven years ago, he's been teaching the technique to local students, who are interested in learning TCK as a sport or for self-defense purposes.

The term Kali means sword in Filipino.

Zablan says the power of TCK lies in the mind instead of the tools in one's hands.

"Anything that I can hold in my hand, I can use it that way. It's transferable. The skills are transferable to anything that I hold. So this is not a weapon. This is a tool. This is the weapon. That's the main difference between Eskrima and Kali with other martial arts."

Filipino martial art coach Rhio Zablan teaches his student in Beijing, on November 9, 2017. [Photo: China Plus]

Filipino martial art coach Rhio Zablan teaches his student in Beijing, on November 9, 2017. [Photo: China Plus]

TCK includes 12 basic strikes, a set of footwork, and five groups of moves.

As Zablan teaches, he instructs the student to stand her positions when handling attacks, which represents never falling back from anything in real life.

Like other martial arts, TCK requires skills in timing, speed, and accuracy. But the ultimate goal of the practice is not to compete but to strike harmony between the teacher and the student so that they won't hurt each other.

One of Zablan's senior students Jiang Yanzhu shares what she learnt from her teacher.

"We also learn how to treat people with respect and proper manners. The teachers see everyone of their students as family members and friends. This is a unique concept in Philippine martial arts."

"Well, I am responsible for her… for example, even in personal life, she tells me something… there's something wrong with this. I try to teach her the right way based on my experience, not only in family life, but basically every stratum of her life. If she has a problem with it, then I'm obliged to give her opinion so I can help her out."

Traditional Philippine martial arts come to Beijing

Now, running two gyms in Beijing, Zablan has already taught over 100 students in the city. 

"You have to understand your students because people are different from each other, like your needs are different from her needs. So I have to teach you in accordance with your needs. And I have to teach her in accordance with her needs, with her body structure. So it's not like you go to a class and everybody learn this, ABC. In Philippine martial arts, it's not. It's like life. Life is very different from each other."

With a history of 2,500 years, Philippine martial arts have been designated as a national sport and reflect every aspect of life in the country. 

For CRI, I'm Guan Chao.

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