GM: NAPOLEON FERNANDEZ
- Shad D. de Guzman
Good afternoon Sir, and happy first year anniversary on the new headquarters of Yaw-Yan Ar-Digma. May I ask what year have you established the art of Yaw-Yan?
Yaw-Yan was created during the early '60s but it was properly introduced during the '70s on the year 1972.
What basically inspired you Sir to strive and establish the art?
On the early days it was always Karate, and that I'm not really conformed to "Katas," because during those days it was all about "Katas." And that's one of the reasons I made Yaw-Yan that has practically no "Katas," but only direct sparring techniques that is very far different from Karate that only has four (4) kicks. Yaw-Yan used to have forty-five (45) kicks, but now I've decided to minimize it for the new Yaw-Yan Ar-Digma, because you really can't practice all types of Yaw-Yan kicks. It all comes down to choices of kicks, instead of limited techniques.
What can you say about Yaw-Yan being compared with Muay Thai?
You see the difference between the two (2) martial arts are the basics, although Muay Thai may really have a huge similarity with Yaw-Yan, but if you observe more closely you'll see that it's not. Yaw-Yan's push kick is not actually a push kick compared with Muay Thai that really looks smooth on the ring. Yaw-Yan's push kick is actually a devastating strike if you really have an eye for combat.
How did Yaw-Yan get established on other countries such as the United States?
Honestly, it wasn't me, but it's a good thing that we have practitioners that goes out of the country and establishes their own gyms. But the truth is, Yaw-Yan has not been officially established yet on other countries, and that's a fact.
Were they ever authorized to establish or affiliated to conduct Yaw-Yan outside their motherland?
No, but as you know for Yaw-Yan it's still an exposure for the art. But officially, they have no recognition or an affiliation from us. Even here there are many Yaw-Yan gyms coming out of nowhere, maybe it's because people know that I'm really not in it for the money. The reason these people are coming up with their own gyms with the name of Yaw-Yan without approval is because of personal financial interest, and that they don't want to contribute to us. Yaw-Yan is probably one of the poorest martial arts in the Philippines, because most of our practitioners are from not well-to-do families.
What can you say Sir about the new era of Yaw-Yan, such as the formation of "Hybrid" Yaw-Yan and Yaw-Yan "Evolution" to name a few?
To be honest with you, I really think they don't trust their own art. But as you can see, they are now going back to their roots and I'm seeing a lot of Yaw-Yan practitioners compared on the early years.
Yaw-Yan is known to be a full contact art; can you please tell us more about it?
In the early days, there were no tournaments at all; I started the art of Kickboxing at the San Sebastian College on the year '70s. People were laughing back then, because whenever they see Yaw-Yan fighters they keep saying, "Here are the Yaw-Yans, ready to play basketball," because Yaw-Yan fighters were always wearing short pants during those days. Others were wearing kimonos, and the others with shin guards and foot gloves. That's one of the reasons why we now have the "Ar-Digma Fight Gear."
What is the future goal of Yaw-Yan?
There has only been one (1) thing that I have been pursuing ever since, and that is to enlighten the Filipinos to patronize their own art, and not to be called "Malansang Isda" or "Stinky Fish." People nowadays will do anything just to patronize foreign arts rather than their own. Fancy styles from foreign arts rarely works on actual fights where anything goes really does happen.
When you say martial arts, it should stand as only one (1) style and not mixing anything on it like MMA, no offense to you Shad. (laughs) The goal of Yaw-Yan has always been to wake the Filipinos from reality, but sadly, even the art of Stick Fighting hasn't peaked its popularity on its own land, but rather on other countries instead.
What are your thoughts Sir on Chef Chris Romine's contributions to Yaw-Yan?
We are really grateful to him. And this also serves as a lesson to all Filipinos, that even foreigners love our own art, and that are more willing to give a hand to uplift and promote Yaw-Yan, compared to other Filipinos that are promoting other foreign arts. But if Yaw-Yan practitioners were ever from can afford families, I'm very sure that they would help out with all they can to promote Yaw-Yan, but I guess when poverty showered on the land, all the current Yaw-Yan practitioners were outside taking a bath. (laughs)
What can you say Sir about the arising popularity of new MMA promotions such as the URCC?
It's a great event because it has good intentions, but to my own opinion I really don't like MMA, because it's more about grappling, I would rather see more striking in the ring.
Any message Sir to all your students?
To all Yaw-Yan students, if you're really loyal to Yaw-Yan, please continue practicing the true art of Yaw-Yan, show to them that you're not a "Stinky Fish." Show them that you're really a Yaw-Yan fighter. Help each other, and don't just ride along. Help your brothers and sisters carry the burden towards that dream of enlightenment.