On March 18th, Eskabo Daan was voted Best Martial Arts by San Francisco’s A-List. The award comes after hundreds of votes from Eskabo Daan students and supporters around the world. However, their accomplishment did not come easy. Master Joseph Bautista explains the struggles they faced before entering. “We are an unknown martial art entering a contest that’s been around for a consecutive number of years and the other arts are very well known. You have your karate, tae kwon do, jujitsu, kung fu, capoeira, boxing, and krav maga. So literally all the major art forms out there were in the contest.” Despite the arts being more recognized, Bautista insisted that Eskabo should enter the contest. “We had nothing to lose and our main drive is to push FMA in any form possible and we’ve been rather blessed in being able to do what we do so far. So in our minds it was ‘hey it’s just one more thing’ why not? As the contest progressed into it’s final days, Eskabo faced an adversary of a different form. “Towards the end I did see the winners from last year were starting to get a lot of votes so we were going head to head with them.”
When asked how it felt to be voted Best in the Bay, Bautista beamed “It feels awesome. To be able to say we are the only Filipino martial arts school practically in history to, from what we know, to win something of this scale. That’s testament to who we are and what we do.” However, Bautista insists that their victory is not one that is entirely Eskabo Daan, but is shared among Filipino Martial Arts community. “You know that whole saying by Neil Armstrong ‘One small step for man and one giant leap for mankind’? I feel at least we have made a small step for FMA but I think we’ve made a large step in the world of FMA because of the fact we were able to do it against all the major arts and the only representative in the Bay Area on this scale. For us to get that recognition and for the rest of the Bay Area to realize that is a huge step, at least in our minds.” Bautista also believes that this victory will also reach those outside the martial arts world. “It gives them one more thing to be proud of. Much like many Filipino-Americans didn’t know whom Manny Pacquaio was until he started to become popular, now they gave something to root for. We are a cultural center that promotes and preserves FMA in all forms. And they’ll be proud one more Filipino thing that happens to be in the Bay Area.”
Winning Best in the Bay is an accomplishment that Eskabo Daan is celebrating but Bautista says that it won’t stop there. Eskabo Daan hopes to continue promoting FMA through every avenue and show the world the beauty of the culture, one place at a time.