I find martial arts books interesting for a number of reasons. Some are interesting because they challenge our way of thinking and training. “Balisong” by Cacoy “Boy” Hernandez is certainly one of the latter. Here is the Hernandez’s introduction to the book:
Let me introduce myself and this book. Please don’t expect school book writing - I just write what I know.
A lot of fancy people say Balisong is a warrior’s art, OK, but there wasn’t no Samurai where Balisong was born. Sure we didn’t have no fancy stances, no special clothes. We just have Balisong and oursleves. We got not time to make up some ritual - just fight.
Let me tell you, a lot of fat cats talking now about Balisong only being good against Balisong, no good against leather jacket. In Phillipines, we no wear leather jacket - but if some smart boy do, we always got machete! If you lose weapon pick up another, do something, don’t be cry baby and give in easy -- That’s no man’s way -- No way!
People say we always fighting - sure - it’s our way. You city folks with big house, air conditioning and shiny car can pay for guys to protect you. “Insure your interests” I hear them say.
But in Phillipines, we don’t got that, that’s why I agree with Master Bimba - What a fighter. (Eed. Note: Bimaba was killed by a shotgun blast.) Just after the war, he back down to nobody, Never! - Anyway, he say if you got to fight - you got to win. Don’t never step back. You got to know the other guy’s mind or man, he’s just going to cream you - that’s why when I see these guys in white pyjamas saying they going to teach self-defence - I got to laugh!
The man wasn’t born to fight for real by rules - Not if he got any sense he don’t.
I see a guy square up, he drop into a horse stance and growl like some mad dog, I just kick him private and run fast. No more to it, if he get up and come after me, I figure he don’t just want my phone number, so like the man say, I use my deterrent, but that’s another story.
There’s a lot of guys, mostly in America, wants to make Balisong martial art and have all kinds of competition, have sticker on jacket, say “coach” or “instructor”. Just dreaming, like most Karate now!
Yeah, I thought that’d ruffle a few tail feathers. Like they say in the cock fight - Bit o’ salt, bit o’ blood make a champion. Think about it!
Well, OK! There’s only a few teachers teach old Karate Way, same way Escrima, Arnis and Kali. Why? Simple! Students don’t want go go away with broken mouth - not if he pay big bucks - no way Jose!
I guess I must be getting old or something, but it sure teach a real way.
Next Birthday I will be sixty one years old (Ed. note- This was written in ‘85.) In my life I have met and fight a load of guys who call themselves masters and wasn’t, and a few, a real small few who called themselves nothing but were real masters. “Tiger Eyes” I call them. Man, you see them, you know you get real fight.
That’s what I believe, let me tell you, if you want to know real technique, not just stupid tricks that don’t work when you outside of studio, you got to sweat a little, bleed a little too maybe!
So you see, this book is not just about Balisong, it’s deeper than that. I don’t like to say spiritual, because maybe you mix up what I say - Not like some hippy. No I mean how to train so you hard outside and hard inside, but still able to be soft when you want to be.
So no matter what comes, you can hold our head up hight and don’t step in the gutter for no man.
I think Balisong offers something to think about, even if I don’t agree with everything Hernandez has to say.
[This message has been edited by david (edited 03-02-99).]