Ignorance, Stereotypes, and Misconceptions
That pretty much sums up most people’s knowledge of the martial arts. I just had an exchange with a martial artist (here), who was looking for a Filipino uniform. He has to take into account what people view as a “real” martial artist.
I’m reminded of an experiment in which one of the world’s top violinists was persuaded to play at a subway station “undercover,”using one of the world’s most valuable violins. It was an experiment to see if people could recognize genius in a man without a tuxedo, not in a concert hall, and without any fanfare. The result?
He bombed. The same guy who is paid $1,000 a minute, made $32 in 45 minutes. Without the tux, without the concert hall and orchestra, in street clothes in a subway, he was just another talentless schmuck in the public’s eyes.
How can you be accepted as a martial artist and an authority when people have no idea what the FMA are? Without the gi, the barefeet, and the black belt, will you be just as invisible as the violinist in the subway?
Here is the problem. You’re a Filipino martial artist. The questions start, and it’s like an avalanche of ignorant misconceptions raging from the mouths of people who couldn’t find the Philippines on a globe.
Is that like karate (pronounced kuh-rotty)?
Where’s your uniform?
What belt are you?
What? You’re teaching kung-fu and you’re not a black belt?
Oh, weapons. Like the numchucks?
So you train barefooted, right?
Eskrimuh. Yeah, I can do that. Hee-yah! ha ha ha
The ignorance runs so deep, how to even begin to explain what you’re doing, especially when people are drawn to the vaguely familiar arts with belts, bare feet, yelling, nunchaku and swords, etc.?
Look at this video, with the guy smoking a cigarette while practicing eskrima! This is the real deal eskrima, in jeans, t-shirts, and tsinelas, with cigarettes and a couple of bottles of San Miguel or Red Horse thrown in for good measure.