‘UNITY THROUGH DIVERSITY’

By: John Carlo A. Villaruel July 15,2017 - 10:42 PM

Pekaf president Juan Miguel Zubiri speaks during the opening of the 1st Pekaf Invitational Tournament at the SM Seaside City Cebu.
CDN PHOTO/LITO TECSON

Pekaf wants standard rules and regulations for arnis in tournaments in the country

The Philippine Eskrima Kali Arnis Federation (Pekaf) aims to unite arnis groups in the country in the hopes of making arnis an Olympic sport someday.

In yesterday’s opening ceremonies of the 1st Pekaf invitational tournament held at the SM Seaside City Cebu Mountain Wing, Pekaf president and senator Juan Miguel Zubiri urged all arnis groups to be united, and he hopes that this tournament will pave the way for the goal to be achieved.

“It’s important to have this tournament because we believe in unity through diversity,” Zubiri said. “We promote all the styles. We don’t assimilate into one style.”

The Pekaf wants the creation of standard rules and regulations for the sport to be used in tournaments in the country. At the moment, the rules of groups such as Doce Pares, Balintawak and Lapunti are different.

“The nice thing here is that our rules in this competition are good for all the styles. Hopefully [we will be] united and will remain united in the near future because we plan to have arnis in the Sea Games, Asian games, and maybe after 10 to 15 years, in the Olympic Games,” Zubiri added.

The Pekaf invitational tournament – Visayas qualifier, which is supported by well-known arnis groups like Doce Pares, Lapunti and Balintawak, will just be one of the many qualifying events this year as they plan to host a Luzon and Mindanao qualifiers with the top performers in the three parts of the country competing in the national qualifiers.

The winners in the national qualifiers will then be given a chance to don the country’s tricolors and compete in national and international competitions, such as the Batang Pinoy, Palarong Pambansa, and the prestigious World Eskrima Kali Arnis Federation (Wekaf) world championships.

“If they don’t win in the qualifying events, we will be making a Team B and Team C. Everybody will be winners,” said Zubiri, who won a gold medal for the country in the 1989 Wekaf World Championships held at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium.

Supreme Grandmaster (SGM) and Atty. Dionisio Cañete expressed his gratitude to Senator Zubiri for giving his full support to the sport.

Currently, only the Philippines, Indonesia, and Singapore are the countries from Southeast Asia that are competing in the Wekaf World Championships.

“I told Senator Zubiri that next year’s tournament, we will have not less than 50-60 countries. As of now, Wekaf has 46 countries, but we only have three countries from Southeast Asia, because we don’t have money to go there to promote. We use our funds before but now with the government support, we look to get all the Asian countries and participate,” SGM Cañete said.

The two-day stick fighting, which will conclude at 7 p.m. tonight is participated by over 200 arnisadors from Abellana National School, Cebu City Central School, Momoy Cañete – San Miguel Eskrima, Cacoy Doce Pares, Exceed Eskrima, Gothong Arnis, and Cordero Martial Arts. Completing the teams are the Cobaco Martial Arts, Team MCEC, Team CMACI, Kauswagan Self Defense Brotherhood (KSDB) and the University of Southern Philippines Foundation.

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