Growing up, the Filipino American community in Baltimore was extremely small. In a city that was predominantly Black and a county that was mostly White, the influences to my Asian American identity were almost exclusively limited to the personal family and friends I was exposed to. Sometimes I even learned about the Philippines, the Filipino culture and even my own family from those that I would least expect to. In high school I became great friends with another martial arts student, and while I studied Taekwon-Do while he trained in American Kenpo I distinctly remember the time he wanted to show me a hand drill that he had learned at Joe Palanzo’s school. As I threw a straight punch to his chest, he parried with his left hand, flowed into a “waiter’s hand” with his right and then slapped down with his left hand again in order to throw his own counter punch. The three count flow drill, unbeknownst to me was my first exposure to Filipino Kali.
Shortly after that, my own teacher Mr. Carlos Patalinghug, Jr. decided to show my brothers and I this drill: hubad. For whatever reason it was only my brothers and I at the school that evening so he knelt in front of us and had us start. We learned to “wedge”, then “transfer” and slap down to return our own open hand angle chop. He showed us two versions that night, but this is the first.
For all those learning now, this is my thank you to those that had shared with me then. This is my hope to continue the cycle.