(Note: this article is posted with the permission from the Author, Mr. John Owen Ong, a martial artist , a family man and a businessman)
In the Filipino Martial Arts community, there is an ongoing discussion about the different styles, schools and the terminology used. Kali, escrima, arnis are at the forefront of the heated debate. I personally don't understand what all the fuss is about. They all swing a stick or two and most claim to be blade based. There are distinct differences in their techniques, but there are more similarities than there are differences. They are fighting over words, which to me is a waste of time. This is not unique to the FMA community.
My thoughts are my own and this is what I think. The martial arts can be likened to an Egyptian pyramid. To a beginner, there are a lot of choices. It is like the base of the pyramid that covers a lot of area. Then as one deepens his understanding and practice, he moves up the pyramid. He keeps moving up until he realizes that the top is a point. The differences have disappeared and everything is the same. No matter which point at the base you started from, you get to the same point at the top. Presuming of course, that you kept going until you got to the top. Some get stuck at the base, trying different sides and everything in between. Some climb a bit then go back down to try a different approach.
In a simplistic way, the martial arts teaches one to hurt and to avoid getting hurt. No matter which path you take, this is what is taught. Pick a style, stick with it and discover the wonderful things it has to offer. Try not to put down other styles as this only leads to conflict. It's not the style but the man using the style that matters. Try not to be a collector of techniques, but instead refine and master what techniques you already have. You'll find that even one technique can answer a lot attacks. The same technique, once mastered, can also present a lot of opportunities to exploit a weakness in a defense. I think it is better to be a master of a handful of techniques than have a thousand techniques and not be a master of any of them. Don't fight over names and words, just work your techniques. Names won't help you in a fight, but a good technique can save your hide. Find a good teacher and stick with him.
Enough of my rambling. Just had to get that off my chest.