It’s Time.

It’s Time.

I’ve been teaching Filipino martial arts full-time through Bayani Warrior ( for the last 2 years. In that time, I have worked my ass off to ensure that I can truly live a powerful life by teaching others the martial arts of my ancestors. There is nothing more fulfilling to me than teaching Filipino martial arts, and seeing people become transformed by it on every imaginable level.

However, it’s not an easy road. More often than not, it becomes difficult to find students who want true, organic, and functional Filipino martial arts training. Many people, even experienced martial artists, view the Filipino martial arts as an “add-on” system to what they are currently doing, or they would rather study Brazilian Jujitsu, Boxing, or Muay Thai. While these are not wrong things in and of themselves, the truth is that finding people who want what I have to offer are a loyal, dedicated, but small demographic.

In light of this, I’ve had others tell me, “(Guro) Mike, why don’t you just learn Tae Kwon Do, Brazilian Jujitsu, or MMA…and just teach Filipino Kali on the side?” Honestly, there are a lot of people who do this, and most of these individuals are incredibly successful, and I have the utmost admiration and respect for them. It is very, very rare to find someone who is making their primary living and pure teaching focus on the Filipino martial arts. So once again, people will wonder why I just don’t teach a more “popular” and commercially-savvy martial art to make big bucks and just teach Filipino Kali as a side-thing.

The truth is, I’ve thought about it…a lot. Like I said, this is not an easy road. I am at a point in my life in which I am able to pay my rent, pay my bills, eat everyday, and do some really cool things by just teaching Filipino martial arts. However, I would probably be making a TON more money teaching a more popular art and teaching Filipino Kali on the side. But, I chose not to go that route. 

The reason why I chose to pursue and teach Filipino Kali as my sole platform of teaching, fighting, and training is because I believe that everyone should learn it, or know about it…and it’s going to take the proper focus to get it out there. Ever since I was a kid, Kali always took a backseat to Jeet Kune Do, Brazilian Jujitsu, or other systems. Kali is always viewed as a backup or add-on art. Quite frankly, I think it’s time for Kali to get a shot at the big time, and to be shown for how truly wonderful and effective it is. 

Now, a lot of people may think, “Well that’s impossible. No one will ever want to do Filipino martial arts the same way they want to do Kickboxing, Jujitsu, Karate, or MMA.”

But, if you recall back to the mid-90’s, no one…and I mean NO ONE thought that the UFC (which was referred to as NHB or No-Holds-Barred) would ever be popular with mainstream society. But nowadays, it’s everywhere. Back in the 80’s, only the most dedicated martial artists knew about the Gracies or Machados, and back then, all the focus was on Karate and fighting on your feet. However, you’d be hard-pressed to NOT find a Brazilian Jujitsu practitioner nowadays. 

I personally feel that Brazilian Jujitsu was in the same place back in the 80’s and 90’s that Kali is at today. People look at Kali and think “Oh, that’s nice.” or “Hmmm…I wonder what that’s about.” But do not have the desire to dedicate the time and money to learn it, simply because it may not seem relevant to them. 

I have chosen to pursue teaching Filipino Kali full-time because I feel the intense desire to bring it to the masses, and I believe in what it has to offer. I no longer want to see it regarded as a backup art, or an add-on art. Kali is valuable in and of itself, and I think it’s time for the Kali/Arnis/Escrima community to rise up and bring it to the forefront. 

It’s time for us to break out of our garages and our small training groups. It’s time for us to stand up and show the world that Kali is and always will be among the top martial arts in the world, and that it is not an add-on art…but an art that requires just as much focus and dedication as any other fighting art out there. 

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