Buot, Sam

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Sam Buot, Sr., was born in Cebu City on March 24, 1936, eldest son of Alfredo and Susana Buot.He grew up in the rough neighborhood of Katipunan Street in the Labangon District of Cebu City.He learned the rudiments of eskrima from Teddy Buot, who lived next door. Sam left home at the tender age of twelve to study at Silliman University in Dumaguete, Negros Oriental, from high school through law school. Eskrima was limited to the summer vacations. Except for some neighborhood boxing, with smelly gloves and old fashioned bare knuckle brawls, serious studies of the arts did not occur until after college. Aside from education, the university polished his dull edges with some culture. However, the enduring Darwinian dogma in Labangon of "survival of the fittest and elimination of the unfit", never totally left him. After college he found himself heir to his father's struggling real estate business. He built up his business to a phenomenal success. He developedsubdivisions, acquired real estate and had the most successful brokerage firm in Cebu City.
After college he resumed his eskrima studies, although business and his law practice competed for his time. At the advent of martial law in the Philippines in 1972, owning firearms was a capital offense, punishable by death. The only legitimate way to defend oneself was through martial arts. This intensified Sam's interest in the martial arts, most especially eskrima. Self-defense became an urgent matter. He was smitten by the sophistication, finesse and elegance of the art, especially since it was indigenous to the Philippines. In the age of colonial mentality, nothing home grown was deemed good, only foreign made goods and imported ideas were believed worthy. It dawned on Buot that the Philippines had something original and native, which was comparable and arguably even better than many concepts of self-defense. This time he could afford to hire the best instructors. He proceeded to hire all talents in eskrima and other martial arts. He worked out during and after office hours until near curfew hours at midnight and more intensively and extensively on weekends. This went on until Martial Law triggered his departure for the US. Eskrima obsessed him. It was a way to vent his frustration, rage and rebellion against the oppressive and dispiriting Martial Law regime of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos. This book is an expansion of his notes on eskrima started when the author, under the tutelage of Jose Villasin, tried to compile their exercises for the preservation of the art. The author had his own black and white dark room and took pictures with Villasin to capture the subtleties of the moves. It was an attempt to record and organize the voluminous material dished out every day in workouts. Immigration to the US aborted the effort but the idea never left the author. Serendipitously, with the collapse of the real estate industry in the late 1980's, the author found time to regroup, focus and intensify his efforts in finishing the book. Since financing the publication became a new impediment, the book publication fell again into dormancy. Other than this book, there are no credible efforts by original students of the masters in reducing the original Balintawak style of eskrima into writing. This work was originally copyrighted in 1991, and recent surfing of the Internet has shown that some portions of this book have been flagrantlyreproduced without the author's permission. Balintawak is now very much in the Internet. Thanks for the interest of many martial artists from various arts in Balintawak eskrima. Their work, effort and drive must be applauded. Remember, it is for Balintawak eskrima. In a larger picture, despite apparent club rivalries, all promoters of eskrima should be applauded. After all, it still is an infant in the martial arts world. Sam had some stint with kungfu under Johnny Chiuten, seventh degree blackbelt in the art, also a Balintawak eskrima student. Johnny was sometimes held with suspicion by the masters as a spy forkungfu. Johnny made no bones about his great admiration for the art, especially the Balintawakstyle, and considered himself a member of the Balintawak Club. Sam also worked out with his three sons in their karate and tae kwon do classes and later took very serious interest in jiu jitsu and shootfighting. All these were attempts to understand other fighting techniques and as a backdrop and study for counters to his main interest eskrima. Buot has adapted the more open, progressive and tolerant attitude towards other arts. While he is vigorous in the defense of the integrity of eskrima as a Philippine art. He does not however believe in rigid and narrow-minded inbreeding. Inbreeding is discouraged in the propagation of the species, thus the forbiddance of incest. It is discouraged at schools of higher learning. Otherwise, there is no infusion of new knowledge and ideas. It is seldom that the student can excel above and beyond his teacher if he is not innovative and original in his thoughts; unless he is willing to learn beyond what he has learned or even to question what he has learned. As much as unadulterated eskrima is much desired, it cannot be denied that a majority of our students have had their basic martial arts experience at and from other arts. Many of them are martial arts instructors and school owners. It is thus necessary to know the defenses against the strengths of these other arts and to take advantage, power and control over their  weaknesses. Sam believes that although eskrima does not have all the answers, it does provide a lot,if not most of the answers and defenses to these other arts. When Buot's students learn eskrima, he does encourage them to apply their own knowledge either in offense or defense to and against eskrima. He believes that for every counter, there is a corresponding counter. Only practice and mastery of your own art is the key to reflexive counters and confidence.Thanks to an indulgent and understanding wife, Menchie, who may have wondered about the time spent on this book, the free lessons given to pass on and preserve the art. The whole family may have wondered whether this has been childish pursuit and juvenile fun or whether this is true passion and devotion to an art. Like literature, painting, dance and music - - martial art is an art and a science of grace, precision, speed, strength and beauty. Although seemingly clad in violence, martial artists seldom resort to violence. They understand that violence could be deadly and fatal -- hardly a price to be paid for an affront, insult or provocation. Besides, the mere study and practice of it is a release of internal aggression and hostility. On the lighter side, many martial artists are henpecked and hectored husbands. They certainly cannot hit or use force and violence against a termagant and shrewish wife. Okay guys, spare me from your wrath. Eskrima like all martial arts is a great responsibility in the hands of the master. It is a deadly art whichshould never be taught to irresponsible, quick tempered  thugs and bullies, more especially the criminally minded. Eskrima should be used to defend the oppressed and not to oppress the weakand defenseless. It may be added that in these day of guns, it is never wise to swagger and abuseyour skills because guns are great equalizers. It does not take much size, strength or training to be at par with the best martial artist. It is best to be soft spoken, unpretentious and humble about your skills in martial arts. Also remember, it is an art - - although concomitantly a means of self-defense.In olden times, it was a means of survival. In some of our streets, it still is, if you get caught in certain places, situations and circumstances which require its use. After all, who was it who said, "There are no second places in street fights." Thus the advise, "Do not get into a fight but if you must, hit first and hit hard." Hopefully, you good people, will never be challenged to use your art during these more civilized times. Unfortunately, there are still uncivilized people who roam our streets that may summon its use. Sadly, those with the least knowledge are the most eager ones to try their skills. This is known as the "green belt or brown belt mentality" which I have addressed earlier. As a matter of fact, be careful in working out with people from other arts who come to test you. Beware of treachery. Our Grandmaster always warnedus against the ruthless and treacherous (matrero). Martial artists are by nature, probably more paranoid than most people, always defensive against attack and treachery. That is the nature of the art. In working out in your club, guard against hurting your partner. Workout to mutually learn. Again, the nature of the beast involves occasional accidents. Do not take things personally. In sparring with outsiders and strangers, be sure to define the nature of the workout. Be on the alert as the situation can quickly turn into heated full contact battles. Do notbe treacherous and correspondingly, do not be a victim of treachery.