As I have a number of books on Filipino martial arts, I will embark on regular reviews of books dealing with various FMA topics. The first is “Warrior Arts of the Philippines” by Reynaldo Galang. One can find this book on the Bakbakan International website (www.bakbakan.com), which has a number of books on FMAs for sale.
This particular book has a great overview of the following six Filipino Martial Arts:
(1) Balintawak Escrima
(2) Kali Ilustrisimo
(3) Lameco Eskrima
(4) Lightning Scientific Arnis
(5) Modern Arnis
(6) San Miguel Eskrima
This book is packed with 1600 photos. Each chapter opens with a biography of the founder and prominent students of each of the above FMA followed by essays of prominent students. For example, the chapter on Modern Arnis opened with a biography of Professor Remy Presas, followed by biographies on Roland Dantes, Vicente Sanchez, Jeremias De La Cruz, Rodel Dagooc, and Pepito Robas. Following these bios, there are essays by Dan Anderson, Tim Hartman and Kelly Worden. This book is a great resource for those who want to find out more about the more prominent Filipino martial arts. For me personally, I was fascinated by the chapters on Balintawak as it was one of the major systems studied by Professor Presas before he founded Modern Arnis. In any case, reading the entire book carefully, one can find out how various FMAs teach their style and the concepts underlying those arts. In the process of reading and absorbing what this book has to offer, one can think about your Filipino martial art in different ways, whether it be from the perspective of being a student or a teacher.
Being a practitioner of Modern Arnis, I found the chapter on Modern Arnis to be well done, especially Kelly Worden’s excellent essay, which gave a great overview of the rich history of Modern Arnis from its earliest days up to Professor’s untimely death in August of 2001. His essay covers all the major players in the art of Modern Arnis, both those in the Philippines and in the US. It is a difficult task to be able to cover all them major players with respect in so few pages, but Kelly Worden manages to do so.
As an aside, I have met all three essayists (Dan Anderson, Tim Hartman and Kelly Worden). All are very good martial artists, particularly Kelly Worden. I met Dan Anderson at the 2004 ArnisFest, where he taught two excellent sessions on the dive throw and joint lock reversals. I last saw Tim Hartman several years ago but remember when he was promoted to Datu by Professor Presas at the 2000 Michigan camp after testing. Tim is an excellent player. Regarding Datu Kelly Worden, he is just a phenomenal martial artist and I have had the pleasure of meeting him three times as a result of teaching weekend camps at Dan McConnell’s school in Columbus. Kelly does an excellent job of connecting concepts from various martial arts to the art of Modern Arnis.
Anyway, getting back to the book, I highly recommend this book as it would be an excellent addition to one’s martial arts library, particularly if you practice some form of Filipino Martial Arts.