Workshop teaches FCC community the Filipino martial art of fencing

Ana Torrea Image
Wednesday, April 10, 2024
Workshop teaches FCC community the Filipino martial art of fencing
On Tuesday, Fresno City College kicked off its Asian American Month Festivities.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- On Tuesday, Fresno City College kicked off its Asian American Month festivities.

The college is hosting panels and workshops to teach the community about Asian American cultures and journeys.

One of those events is a workshop that taught people about a unique style of Filipino martial art.

The style taught in Tuesday's workshop is called Kabaroan Eskrima, which is a form of Filipino stick fighting.

People in the class learned how this is not only a form of self-defense, but it's also an art. The goal of it is to humanize it, civilize the artist, and refine the techniques.

"It's harder to learn from a book," said Jamie Visitacion, and instructor with Estalilla Kabaroan Eskrima. "You don't see it, the movements."

In a packed Fresno City College classroom in Central Fresno, Visitacion taught students the art of Kabaroan Eskrima.

Many of the students coming from different backgrounds. Vistacion said this style was taught by Grandmaster Ramiro Estalilla.

Estalilla gave classes at both Fresno City College and Fresno State for several years.

"From there he kind of changed the arts itself, where he could make it shorter for the college purpose," said Visitacion.

Visitacion met Grandmaster Estalilla in 1998, and has been with him since.

Visitacion said his grandmaster is an ordained minister, and taught Eskrima as not just as a form of self-defense, but to also to humanize the art form and make connections.

"He used the art itself, Kabaroan Eskrima, as Christian ministry," said Visitacion. "To meet people. He introduced the art to them to impart the ministry."

For students, the class was an eye-opening experience. Junior Keophovangphet, a second year at FCC, is Laotian American and in the workshop, he saw many values that were similar to his culture.

"I think being an Asian American and learning different things from different cultures, it helps you understand different values and beliefs," said Keophovangphet. "'Cause i know in my culture it's similar."

Tuesday's workshop is just one of several Asian American Month workshops and forums happening at the college.

Gena Gong, an Asian American Studies Professor at FCC, organized many of the Asian American month events.

"The more education, the more people understand that we are here, we are Americans," said Gong.

"Some of us are fourth, fifth, sixth generation Americans."

Gong said it's important to teach future generations about the different kinds of Asian American history and cultures.

"Being able to just support other groups it feels phenomenal," said Keophovangphet.

This is the second time the Kabaroan Eskirma workshop was held.

Gong said she's hoping to bring back the workshop in the future.

Click here to see the list of other Asian American month events happening this month.

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