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Service members learn ancient discipline

Date Posted: 2004-06-17

CAMP HANSEN, OKINAWA, Japan The sound of cracking sticks filled the room as opponents sparred to enhance their fighting ability through the art of Filipino stick fighting at The House of Pain gym here June 2.

More than 2,000 years old, the martial art originated in the Philippines and is still a thriving form of tactical fighting that teaches students how to end a fight quickly, explained Filipino stick fighting instructor Romy S. Ansotigue.

The weapons used in Filipino stick fighting are rattan sticks, which are 25 inches long and made of hardwood. They are fairly lightweight and give martial artists the ability to attack their offender with speed.

Using rattan sticks is not the only method to defeat an opponent; we also do a lot of grappling, said Ansotigue, whos studied several other martial arts and includes Judo, Jujitsu, Aikido and Muay-Tai in his lessons.

With more than 28 years of experience, Ansotigue teaches his students how to execute the moves precisely.

In dangerous situations where you have little time to react, these techniques will teach service members how to react quickly without hesitation, Ansotigue said. I also incorporate some of the skills Marines learn in the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program.

To help service members hone their MCMAP skills, Ansotigue teaches his students to implicate practical applications of stick fighting into their warrior training.

I want to teach the Marines to handle themselves not only in an alley way somewhere, but also teach them how to remain calm when in a stressful combat situation, Ansotigue said.

Students with minimal or no previous martial arts training often come to the class and notice results within a few months, Ansotigue explained.

Im not saying I can catch bullets with my teeth, but I have definitely become more focused, said Lance Cpl. Ted L. LaBrake, ammunition technician, Headquarters and

Service Battalion, Marine Corps Base Camp Butler, who has been training with Ansotigue for more than seven months. With the help of great instructing, this has been an excellent learning experience.

The class is held every Monday and Wednesday and costs $38 a month, but the first lesson is always free.

I want the Marines in my class to gain a sense of understanding and comfort in this form of fighting, Ansotigue said. I hope my students have a new insight on self preservation in order to have a good fighting chance in the real world.

For more information about Filipino stick fighting please contact The House of Pain gym at 623-4831.

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