Stronger Than Steel
Training with live blades and safe trainers is for the fortunate and privileged.
My ancestors trained with rattan and wood because it was readily available and affordable. Most practitioners in the Philippines today learn the blade arts using a stick.
To train with the stick as if it were a blade is a necessity. There is no shame in it. It is how the training methods were developed from Colonial times. Today the methods are still imperfect, but they are the best we have considering the circumstances. The Filipino mind is adaptive and creative. We have always made the most with what we have, until we have better.
Today more of us have the privilage and means to use training blades. We can and should be doing that. It is the closest we can get to a live blade without risking serious injury or death. However, the stick is a fine tool for training. It is also a formidable impact weapon. Using it to learn blade is an excellent start. If you have the means to use a training blade do so, but don't look down on those who practice the art the way our forefathers did. Its done for many reasons.
It is our way of honoring their struggle to free themselves from oppression. Our swords were taken away to make us weak. Our language and faith replaced to control us. We were looked down upon as less than human.
But we found a way to become stronger than steel. We used what was natural and hidden in plain sight to train under their noses. When our weapons were taken away, the stick taught us the true nature of one mind any weapon.
We are stronger than steel.