Month: December 2017

Episode 19 – Filipino Martial Arts

Kali, Arnis, and Eskrima, or sometimes known as “Filipino Martial Arts (FMA),” has been practiced both in the Philippines and in the United States for generations. A mix of native Southeast Asian and domesticated European fighting styles, Filipino Martial Arts has been known to be one of the most efficient and powerful fighting systems in the world. Through FMA, one can defend oneself using swords, sticks, knives, or even bare hands very effectively. However, while many flock to the Philippines and local studios to learn and train in the warrior art, FMA and its techniques are relatively unknown to a majority of Filipinos. Unfortunately, orientalized martial arts like Karate and Tae Kwon Do remain more popular.

In this episode, we talk to Mike Makabenta from the Magda Institute. He gives us an overview of the warrior art, its origins in the Philippines, how it flowed to the United States, and how it became popularized (yet not branded) in Hollywood action films. He goes into the diversity in FMA, its many practitioners and fighting styles, how it got passed down from generation to generation, and the current state of the art in the U.S. in this digital age.

Come find out which one of us trains in FMA, who calls it Arnis and who calls it Eskrima, and who has broken boards in a dojo. (But please don’t mind the plethora of Karate Kid references!). Whether it’s the first time you’ve heard about Filipino Martial Arts or you’ve been practicing the warrior art for decades, this introduction to FMA will help jump start a conversation about an art we can truly call our own.

Listen through the embedded player below, download directly here, or subscribe to us on iTunes here!


Got an questions or opinion about Filipino Martial Arts?  Let us know! Email us at or leave a voice message on (805) 394-TFAL.

Episode 18.5 – Tuli or Supot?: Filipino American Circumcision

Some call it a rite of passage.  Some consider it a ritual obligation.  Some believe it’s a controversial matter, and some still consider it a health benefit.  In this mega cringeworthy episode, we’re talking about Tuli, or male circumcision.  The cultural practice of tuli is very common in the Philippines for boys around the ages of 10-13 and it’s a sign of Filipino masculinity. Here in the United States, we wonder if tuli is still something parents still consider this a rite of passage or if Filipino American parents consider this practice outdated and unnecessary.

Wince and squirm with the TFAL crew as we talk about this practice of tuli and share historical views on this topic.  Find out who among the TFAL group had to spend the summer after fourth grade in pain and wearing a skirt. Learn with us as we look back at some history on this practice.  And awkwardly laugh with us as we share our personal stories.

Whether it’s a “snip snip” from a hospital or rabbi or a “tuk-tok” from the village doctor, we are curious to hear about any interesting feedback or stories.  Aray!

Listen through the embedded player below, download directly here, or subscribe to us on iTunes here!

Got interesting story about circumcision?  Let us know! Email us at or leave a voice message on (805) 394-TFAL.

Bonus Episode – Live at the 2016 Justice for Filipino American Veterans March


As a follow-up to our last episode on Filipino WWII Veterans, we present to you a collage of sounds and interviews from last year’s Justice for Filipino Americans Veterans march in Hollywood, CA.  It features interviews with students, community organizers, and a veteran, as well as the many chants that have come to characterize this event over the years.  Special thanks to Stephanie Sajor and Eddy Gana of Kabataang maka-Bayan for letting us tag along (and participating in the previous episode), Aquilina Versoza of Pilipino Workers Center for letting us ride in the Jeepney, and of course all the people we interviewed as part of this episode.

Listen, subscribe to and rate us on iTunes, learn, and join the discussion in the comments!  And you can email us at or leave a voice message on (805) 394-TFAL.