Ah, close your eyes. Visualize a world where you are fully immersed in the culture of your chosen martial art.

Imagine you were born and raised in the motherland of your martial art and have had the opportunity to train with some of the most preeminent teachers in the system from an early age.

For many of us, this sounds like an idyllic dream. For martial artist Jemar Carcellar, this is more than a distant dream, this was his life growing up in Cebu City, Philippines, the birthplace of Balintawak.

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Dan Inosanto has been a martial arts icon for decades — witness his four Black Belt Hall of Fame inductions!

You may know of Dan Inosanto from his early days when he was one of the first kenpo black belts under Ed Parker, from the years he stood at Bruce Lee's side in the jeet kune do world, from the decades he spent researching the martial arts of Southeast Asia or from his ongoing study of Brazilian jiu-jitsu, in which he holds a third-degree black belt under the Machados.

Dan Inosanto truly has been there and done that — several times over. Yet even though he's in his 80s, he maintains a schedule chock-full of international seminars and private lessons, as well as the hours of weekly classes he teaches at his Marina del Rey, California-based academy.

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Around fifty people are reported injured, two critically, as a result of the annual Banni stick fighting festival in India. Despite official efforts to cancel the event due to Covid-19 pandemic concerns, numerous people poured into the city of Kurnool to join in the celebration/melee.

The festival regularly features thousands of people from surrounding villages bearing torches and wielding long staffs as they battle each other for possession of two ceremonial idols from a local temple believed to bring luck to whichever village possesses them.

In recent years, the popularity of kali/escrima/arnis has skyrocketed among law-enforcement officers, as well as the general public. Experts believe the reason is threefold: The traditional Philippine systems offer all the benefits of the other Asian martial arts, wielding weapons provides a fine aerobic workout and, taught right, they serve as a functional form of reality-based self-defense. For all the essential facts on the stick styles, we asked Black Belt Hall of Famer Julius Melegrito to weigh in. Here are his observations.
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