Master Joseph Bautista and Carla Ayala of Eskabo Daan recently spent ten days at a Native American village in Alaska. The Native American village called Tanana welcomed Bautista and Ayala with open arms as they taught Filipino Martial Arts (FMA) to the youth. “Professor Michael Morell (Eskabo Instructor) was speaking to a friend who works for the University of Alaska and is in charge of getting grants to provide for programs to enrich the lives of the youth and Native Americans. Martial arts was brought up, and aspects of the spiritual world did as well; specifically, how beneficial it is to enrich people’s lives.” It was decided that Eskabo Daan should send instructors to the village to teach the youth spirituality via martial arts.
Bautista, who was coming back for the second time, stated his expectations coming on the trip “I wanted to see how well the kids respond to us coming back, very few have actually come back to them as mentors.” Ayala, who was going for their first time stated, “I didn’t have any expectations. I just thought I would go there and teach whatever they told me but it was fun. More fun than what I expected.” When asked to describe what their experience, Bautista stated, “It was a real eye opener because I never worked with kids from that background. In Native American villages, there is a prevalent number of abuse and suicides. It was cool to see the kids go from “stand-off-ish” to very open and loving, even playful. People who were beat or abused tend to have trust issues and to see that wall wore torn down and treat you like their older brother or sister that’s always been in their lives is a real eye opener. It makes us feel like what we do is beneficial, and martial arts are just a small part of it. “
When asked if they would go back to the village, both Bautista and Ayala agreed that they would without hesitation. When asked how long Eskabo is planning to keep on going back, they stated “For as long as we can do it. Currently, we are in the works of coming back for a fourth time. The overall goal is to bring some kids to the village so they can see life outside of the village.”
Aside from the techniques and tactics of the art, Eskabo Daan hopes to give the youth in Alaska much more. Through the martial arts, they aim to give the youth a better perception on life regardless of their circumstances, and a reason to hope.
By: AJ Ruiz of Eskabo Daan.