During my Martial Arts journey I was “awakened” in 1999 when I started training in the Filipino Martial Arts (FMA) under Guro Dan Inosanto. Up until I started training in FMA, when I would train in other Martial Arts I would first bow to the flags then to my instructor. FMA was the first one, in my experience, where we Honored God FIRST before acknowledging anything or anyone else. One of the meanings of the FMA bow of always growing Spiritually, mentally, and physically under Divine guidance embraced the journey in my Life Mission in the Christian Faith.
Originally, I was asked to write an article about my accolades during my 25 years of Martial Arts training. But after a recent mission trip to New York I realized that my students are my greatest accolade as a Martial Artist. My Guro–Guro Dan Inosanto told me, “the best way to learn is to teach”. And I have learned a lot from having the honor of teaching these young students at BKC. Watching them perform an FMA demonstration at an International Festival for the Maryknoll Sisters in Ossining, NY made me proud. The students gave demonstrations with the single stick, double stick, the sword, and assisted in the self defense application of using one’s training with the resources at hand; from a scarf, to a book, to an umbrella, we even demonstrated with a back scratcher, and to the empty hand. As their Guro, I noticed every detail. Yes, there were small mistakes, but they never stopped moving. And Life is like that; you make a mistake, you learn, and keep moving because God’s Word teaches us we are not promised tomorrow so let’s make the most of today or the moment. I was a proud teacher because my students, David, Daniel, and Marcella, were not there performing for themselves, but for the love of God, their Family, and their Filipino Culture. There was no trophy or medal to be handed out. It was about sharing not receiving. After their performance I was asked so many questions about our culture: “I didn’t know the Philippines had a Martial Arts?’, “I didn’t know FMA was hidden in many of the Filipino Folk dances?”, etc. It’s the stirring of these questions that gave us another wonderful opportunity to share the Beauty of our culture.
Not only did the FMA students perform, they had the opportunity to meet with many of the Sisters (Nuns) at Maryknoll, and more importantly, they had the opportunity to learn about the Maryknoll Missions throughout the world. They met these amazing Sisters who showed “their mission”, not just around the world, but in their everyday life; Honoring God through selfless giving. To me, that’s what it’s truly all about in my training of the Filipino Martial Arts. If you Honor God, you will obey what he commands; take care of our bodies so we can care for others, treat others as you want to be treated, honor thy mother and father, protect the weak, be humble, be quick to listen and slow to anger, etc. I can keep going on. All these Biblical lessons lead to selflessness or as Jesus has taught us, sacrificial love.
In order to give sacrificial love to our loved ones, we have to pray & train. I use the oxygen on a plane as an example. As we flew out of JFK airport, before Hurricane Sandy struck, the flight attendants instruct us in a case of emergency, to place our oxygen mask on first before putting it on our loved ones. In my opinion, Honoring God and Martial Arts are like the oxygen masks. The Bible teaches us to breathe in the Breath of Life and Martial Arts teaches us to breathe and train properly so we can protect our life and the life of others. We don’t pray and train for if an emergency happens, but for when an emergency happens; from a family emergency to an attack on the street. On the same note, if we humble ourselves and “…treat people the same way you want them to treat you,” (Matthew 7:12 NASB) how many conflicts can be avoided. The Bible teaches, “’God is opposed to the proud, gives grace to the humble.’ Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him , because He cares for you..” (1 Peter 5:5-7 NASB). Reading scripture like this in my daily prayer before my duties as a Papa, a Pediatric ICU RN, as a Guro, and as a Family man gives purpose to my Life Mission. In essence, the amount of time I can live without oxygen is longer than the amount time I can live without God.
“In all you do, Breathe and Believe”, ~Guro Ed Cadiz RN