Tamaraw Arnisadors: Training Ground for Grit and Discipline

Gio Carlo Castro
October 22, 2019 13:19

File photo from UAAP 81.

“Arnis is not the stick. Arnis is the technique,” Far Eastern University (FEU) head coach Joemicco Salomon remarked.

It was on the 81st season of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) when the Arnis Festival was inaugurated in the collegiate league as the newest addition to its demonstration sports which participated by FEU, Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU), University of the Philippines (UP) and University of Santo Tomas (UST).

The Morayta-based arnisadors placed as second runners-up and concluded the demo sports with a 13-5-11 gold-silver-bronze medal tally.

But like the other sporting event in UAAP, arnis, the Philippines’ national sport and martial art, has a story to tell about the breeding ground of every Tamaraw Arnisadors who have also poured their blood, sweat and tears through triumphs and defeats.

From Zero to Hero

Upon joining the tourney, Salomon revealed to FEU Advocate that their players were not recruited compare to how other sports usually get its athletes. He also said that his players did not have any background of playing arnis.

“Itong mga bata na ito, itong mga players natin, hindi sila recruit. When you say recuit, talagang galing from [sports] noong bata. (These kids, our players, they’re not recruited. When you say recruit, they really came from [playing arnis] since childhood),” Salomon shared.

He then stressed out that his players all started from zero, “Sila hindi [nanggaling sa arnis], hinubog ‘yan pagpasok nila dito sa FEU (They didn’t come from [playing] arnis, they were shaped [into playing arnis] when they entered here in FEU).”

To tighten the grip of the team for a positive outcome, Salomon’s approach of coaching helped the team to embrace difficulties upon facing the swirls and twirls of arnis.

“With this training that I have taught with them and inculcated with them, na-realize nila na kapag naghirap ka meron pa lang magandang bunga na makukuha ka from out of that hirap (With this training that I have taught and inculcated with them, they realized that when you struggle, you’ll get something good from that struggle),” he said.

File photo from UAAP 81.

Knowing that the team will banner the green-and-gold colors in UAAP, co-captain Charles Cherriguine admitted that they had a hard time preparing for the event.

“Sobrang hirap po kasi nung preparation na ginawa namin, talagang kada freetime namin pagkatapos ng klase, talagang dederecho kami dito [sa baba] para lang matuloy ‘yung practice (The preparation that we did was really difficult, during our free time after class, we would really go straight to our [training ground] just to continue the practice),” Cherriguine said.

Through countless coaching, Salomon’s student-athletes, who went from zero to hero in playing arnis, have learned the importance of continuous effort in achieving something despite of its challenges.

“‘Yung trainingfrom zero na kung saan hindi pinag-aaralan ng mga [bata], na-realize nila na pwede pala nila matutunan kung magpupursigi sila, kung pagtutuunan talaga nila ng pansin (The training [that started] from zero wherein the [student-athletes] aren’t studying, they realized that they can learn it if they will work hard for it, if they will allot their attention to it),” shared Salomon.

On Grit and Discipline

Like other forms of martial art, arnis also boosts the discipline of self-defense through different disarming techniques. But for Cherriguine, obeying the order of a tactician serves as the foundation of the team to maintain discipline.

“’Yung tinuturo para maging disiplinado ‘yung mga estudyante namin sa arnisis ‘yung pagsunod sa coach(What we teach our students in order to have discipline is to follow the coach.),” he said.

Cherriguine then supported his statement that if the arnisadors would disobey the rules of the coach, they will not accomplish their respective roles.

“Dahil kung hindi sila marunong sumunod sa coach, hindi na nila kayang gampanan ‘yung ibang role na ibibigay sa kanila, so dun nabi-build ‘yung discipline, mula sa maliit [hanggang] papalaki (Because if they don’t know how to obey the coach, they won’t be able to fulfill the role that will be given to them, so that’s where discipline builds up from smaller to bigger),” said Cherriguine.

In addition, coach Salomon highlighted that their team serves as training ground for grit. The team stays committed with arnis despite knowing that most of Filipinos want to focus on ball games.

“We’re focusing not just to propagatearnisbut also to insist that hindi lang sa ball games magaling ang mga Pilipino kundi sa sariling identity natin ng arnis (Filipinos not only excel on ball games, but also on our own identity that is arnis),” said Salomon.

File photo from UAAP 81.

Moreover, Salomon recalled that his team kicked off with only having five members, yet he continued to work hard after experiencing low number of interested students to engage with arnis.

From the small beginning dun kami nag-start (is where we started), from lower years, hanggang sa may makaengganyo na sumali (until someone gets fascinated to join). Duringfirst semester, nag-start kami ng (we started with) fiveandthen bago matapos ‘yung first semester naging 25 kami (we became 25 before first semester ended),” Salomon said.

With high hopes, Salomon pointed out that the important qualities of arnis like serving as a training ground for grit and discipline will benefit the student even outside the premises of the university.

“Once na ‘yung bata, ‘yung player ma-appreciate niya ‘yung essence, ‘yung reality beyond arnis, dadalin niya ‘yun hanggang lumabas siya (Once the player starts appreciating the essence of arnis, the reality beyond it, they will carry it even outside the university), said Salomon.

While Cherriguine looks forward to the growth of arnis whether in a collegiate league or international sporting event.

Sana mag-grow nang mag-grow ‘yung arnis dito sa school sa UAAP at syempre sa buong bansa natin (I hope that arnis will continue to grow here in school, in UAAP and of course throughout the nation),” he said.

As of press time, the Tamaraw Arnisadors will continue to pour their blood, sweat and tears not only through wins and losses, but also with the development of the Philippines’ national sport and martial art in UAAP.