Teaching Skill And Tradition With Escrima

Melissa Moniz
Wednesday - July 15, 2009
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Maestro Rod Baranda (left) demonstrates proper defensive technique with maestro Romy Mauricio during a practice exercise at the Del Mar School of Filipino Martial Arts. Photo from Addison Caluya.

Del Mar School of Filipino Martial Arts combines several styles of the Filipino martial art escrima, a fighting form that combines the use of weapons such as sticks and knives with karate-like chops and thrusts.

Founded by local grand master Mike Del Mar, the school focuses on connecting the new generation of Filipinos to this traditional art form and as well as preserving it. Classes are held at Waikele Community Recreational Park from 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesdays, and a new class at August Ahrens Elementary School in Waipahu was recently added every Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon.

Del Mar School’s students will put their skills to the test as they compete in two upcoming Oahu tournaments. The first is the Solo Baston Tournament Aug. 9 at Halawa Gym. The second is the SAMAHAN Tournament, happening on Oct. 4 at Pearl City High School.

“The SAMAHAN tournament was created by three maestros (master instructors) from the Del Mar School of Filipino Martial Arts,” said Rod Baranda, a fellow maestro at the school. “The maestros serve as the tournament directors. The school’s students assist in different areas of the tournament such as judging, refereeing, admissions, as well as competing.

“Grandmaster Mike Del Mar was the first to bring an open Filipino Martial Art Tournament (FMA) called Solo Baston to Hawaii in the early ‘90s. It’s only fitting that his instructors be the first to introduce this evolutionary FMA tournament.”

The SAMAHAN tournament is also the first of its kind worldwide to utilize an electronic scoring system. As Baranda explains,“This means that points can be awarded to competitors in real time as opposed to the stop-call method used in previous tournaments. It requires a higher level of competition involving conditioning and technique.”

The tournament also will feature cultural performances,martial arts demonstrations and local vendors serving up lots of Filipino cuisine.

“Many competitors come from around the state as well as the Mainland,” added Baranda. “This is an open tournament, meaning anyone can enter as long as they follow the rules and regulations of the tournament. However, majority of the competitors are from an organized martial arts school.”

The winners receive the standard first-, second- and third-place awards for their corresponding division. The awards are plaques that depict the SAMAHAN tournaments symbol: the Philippine eagle, also known as king of birds because of its crown of feathers.

They are currently seeking sponsors for the SAMAHAN tournament. One-time donations also are welcomed. For more information, e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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