Set 16, 2002

Martial

I bought yet another pair of arnis sticks last Saturday. It's made of anahaw. Good thing I ventured to this fair of products from Bohol and Leyte.

I rummaged from the stock to get myself the heavier ones, those made of older wood. These are much heavier than the usual yantok of course. When I compared it at home with the kamagong pairs, I noticed the anahaw were even heavier. But then again, the kamagong were 'mura', that is, made of young wood.

Besides the aesthetic charms of the anahaw wood, a definite plus to practitioners is the shape of the pair. Unlike the rounded ends of the usual arnis stick, the pair had a more rectangular grip with edges rounded off. This provides a better simulation of sword and gulok handles.

I had a faint feeling I would find myself some sticks, knives, or larger blades at that fair. Maybe it was because of that play. A few hours before attending the fair, I watched the Rep's staging of "Much Ado About Nothing" at the Shaw Theater. I guess it was because of all those characters toting their sabers, making their "point" with it, and swearing by it. They did everything except actually fight with it. A disappointment, really. I just had a nice laugh instead. Well, that was what I came for in the first place.

Or so I thought.

I have been notified of the arnis tournament beforehand. The Hatawan 2002 will be held in the UP Gym this year during the anniversary of Martial Law, September 21. I haven't had practice for over a year now and I would probably hurt myself more than I would anyone else. I would also probably compete under a new weight class.

It's a shame really. The combatants usually come from schools but the upper weight classes are mostly attended by police and military practitioners. I've seen these monsters beat and wince. You know they can feel the pounding despite the padding. It's really a nice, comfortable event to get oneself a beating. Maybe that's what I'm looking for right now, an honest-to-goodness bashing.

The first time I heard of the tournament, I thought I really desired that state again, the calculated frenzy. It was an expression of the body, of a love-hate relationship with the world, of a commingling of the instinct to protect and the inclination to destroy. But I was caught in a dark web at that time. I didn't consider it a healthy reason to pursue training. Unbridled passion would get the better of me. I would give the discipline a bad name.

It's no good. I was in a state of black hate. I marvelled at how capable I am of very vicious thoughts. I both reviled and entertained these dark spirits. I tried to offer them good cheer, maybe so I can tame them into something more literary, something less potent. That is, in the short term.

But I failed miserably at every attempt. Neither mind nor body could exert any power. I grew so sick, migraine, fever, the works. I adopted an isolationist policy. And, to a certain extent, I continue to do so.

You'll find no warrior ethos here. New weapons are no better than old ones when the spirit is the same. One engages in acquisition to stave off some hunger. So that I did.

These blunt and bladed things will remain here, unmoved, gathering their layers of impotent, disfiguring dust. Even in my mind, they will gather no blood. Save mine.