YFPA celebrates Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage month! We were able to interview Bay Area martial artist and instructor, Joseph Bautista, Esakbo Daan. Joseph will lead a self defense online class, hosted by YFPA and FASTER May 26!
1. How did you get started? What is the inspiration behind Eskabo Daan?
My stepfather is the one who introduced me to Filipino martial arts. As I started my journey in martial arts and the age of four. I was constantly searching for an art that could feel this void that I could not explain. And I found that Filipino martial arts was that answer. I have trained a number of different arts but always felt that since there are much larger people out there and even tougher people there had to be a way to level the playing field. Since Filipino Martial Arts specializes in the use of weapons, I felt that this art is something that I can do for a lifetime. And even if I get to 80s and 90s years old and even injured that with the weapon, I will still always have a fighting chance. After all we can't rely on our youth and fitness for our entire lives.
Grandmaster Robert Castro is the creator and founder of Eskabo Daan. It is a mix of different martial art styles from the Philippines. And the idea is to keep with the tradition of evolution. In order to survive everyone must be able to adapt to modern times. And that's exactly what we do. That's what the Philippine martial arts has done for the last 2,000 years to survive. Evolve and adapt.
We opened in November 2009. After returning from a trip to the Philippines we were disheartened to find that even people in the Philippines were unaware of our own martial arts. To the point they were adamant Filipino Martial Arts doesn't exist. We saw martial arts schools for everything except for Filipino martial arts. We also know that many systems and Styles take from Filipino Martial Arts and don't give credit back to FMA. They simply rebrand and rename the moves and call it their own. We strive to preserve and promote Filipino Martial Arts culture, history and knowledge.
2. What makes Filipino martial arts different from other martial arts?
A lot of people don't even know about martial arts from the Philippines. And the ones that do think we only can fight with two sticks. That couldn't be further from the truth. We are weapons-based system while at the same time a complete system. We kick, punch, elbow, elbow, knee, wrestle, pinch, bite, eye gouge and do joint manipulation.
Not a lot of arts have that list. In Filipino martial arts we do that with and without a weapon. Law enforcement and military from around the world uses Filipino martial arts because of its versatility. So not only to be specialized in the use of weapons we specialize in versatility and adaptability.
Filipino martial arts is the only art that will start you off with weapons from day one. Our mentality is if someone's going to attack you, they may be bigger than you, stronger than you, you may be injured, you may be old or there may be multiple people.
So it only makes sense to try to level the playing field as quickly as possible.
3. Why do your students come to your class?
They come to learn to defend themselves, learn about their culture and to be around a group of people and has like a family atmosphere. It is therapeutic to go to work out in a fun safe environment where people feel comfortable.
4. Tell us about a student that changed over time or how they benefited from your classes or workshops.
We have had shy timid people on day one end up empowered and finding their voice. For both kids and adults that happens. Folks have come in with little to no self-esteem to end up with plenty of confidence.
We also have folks come in with no knowledge of their own history, culture and heritage. In time they learn a lot about their Filipino roots. I personally was never proud to identify as Filipino. With FMA I am super proud of my roots and I seek to give the same for those interested in learning more about their Filipino roots.
5. Can you explain why learning self-defense is so important?
Simply put your personal safety is your personal responsibility. Cops or loved ones can't always be able there to protect you. Bystanders for the most part are unwilling to step in and help should something happen to you.
It is like insurance. Better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.
Attacks can happen anywhere at anytime. It is up to you how equipped you are to handle the situation.
Get more information at Eskabo Daan.