THE Philippines is now reaping the rewards of its success in most martial arts sports, but world champion Daniel Bernas is hoping that more Filipinos will continue to take up our very own, arnis.
Bernas said he will continue to do his share to help promote arnis — the Filipinos’ traditional martial arts — all over the world.
“Masaya ako dahil mas madami na ngayon tayong mga kababayan ang talagang nagbibigay ng karangalan sa iba’t ibang martial arts gaya ng jiu-jitsu at sambo, pero sana patuloy pa din nating linangin ang arnis, na sariling atin,”said Bernas during the 47th “Sports on Air” program via Zoom.
Bernas, a former world arnis champion himself, said he hopes to see the day that more Filipinos, especially the youth, will take up the sport.
Arnis is really our national sport and martial art, but it is not as popular as other sports and even other martial arts. It’s not necesarily a bad thing but I feel we can do a lot more to have more people appreciate it,” claimed Bernas.
“Let’s admit it there’s a lot of people na hindi alam kung ano ang arnis at hindi alam na national sport natin ito. I really feel na madami talaga ang kailangang gawin para mapakilala ito sa mga kabataan, lalo na dito sa ating bansa.”
Now a well-known TikTok creator and influencer, Bernas is hoping to take advantage of several computer apps popular to young people to re-introduce arnis.
“Yung pag-gawa ko mga instructional video contents sa TikTok, YouTube and, Instagram is my way of reaching out to more people para malaman ng mga tao na meron tayong sport na ganito na masaya, na cool tignan or gawin,” claimed Bernas.
“People may not necessarily like it or enjoy it at first, but at least they will get to know arnis. From there, magtuloy-tuloy at magustuhan na din ng madami. I’m really trying hard to give the spotlight to our own sport and martial art,” stressed Bernas, a two-time WEKAP world champion in 2016 and 2018
He admitted reaching and inter-acting with a lot more young people since he started using TikTok.
“With TikTok, you have the younger generation there. Yung reach niya compared to Facebook and Instagram is very much different. Ang napapansin ko nga is mas madaming mga bata talaga ang nanonood ng mga videos ko at least for the most part. Nakikita ko rin sa mga comments na talagang madaming nag-try ng arnis after nila makita yun mga videos ko or nakapag P.E. class sila gamit yun mga videos. I think TikTok is really a great platform if you’re trying to reach out to the younger audience,” added Bernas, who was also recently honored as TikRok “Sports Creator of the Year” for his works on arnis.
Asked about the difference between arnis as a sport and arnis as a recreation or a form of exercie, Bernas had a ready answer.
“For me, depende kung anong klaseng arnis ang gusto mo, kung ano ang goals mo na gusto ma-achieve. I see sports as a very universal thing that we can all do kasi it”s relatively safer so you can enjoy yourself na kasama na ang exercises at ang mga attributed developments that can carry over to other things like self-defense and things like that. Ang focus ko talaga when it comes to arnis is the sports side, yun rules and competitions na may kasamang traditional styles or self-defense. I think we can reach a lot more people when it comes to self-defense. It requires a little bit more intensity. You can practice all of it or you can just focus on only one thing,” explained Bernas, who learned arnis during his PE classes in college when he was only 17 years old.
He said he is happy with the efforts of the Philippine Eskrima Kali Arnis Federation (PEKAF), headed by Senator Juan Miguel F. Zubiri, for keeping the fire alive as far as arnis promotiin is concerned. With reports from Gab Farreras