Manila 1st Asian Martial Arts Games, held in Manila

by: Rosemarie Q. Cemanes

Delegates from twenty five (25) countries opened the Manila First Asian Martial Arts Games on November 30, 2007 to start the four-day Martial Arts game competition at the Rizal Memorial Football Oval, Pasay City.

The parade of colors showed the flags of the different countries who joined in the procession from the entrance of the football stadium to the center.  The countries who had their martial arts demonstration were Azerbaijan, Greenland, India, Nepal, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, and the Philippines. 

The event was organized by the Federation of Martial Arts Games Council of Asia and the Philippine Full Contact Self-Defense Federation, with the official partners International Martial Art Games Committee, Philippine Department of Tourism, and Philippine Tourism Authority.

More than thousand people witnessed the grand opening of the event done in the playground where demonstrations consisting of martial arts exhibition dance, cultural dances, and some sort of ritual dances of the Chinese culture. 

The occasion was highlighted by the lighting of the torch by “Mr. Public Service” Kuya Daniel Razon.  “Kuya [big brother] Daniel”, as people lovingly calls him, is the celebrity icon in this First Asian Martial Arts Games first edition this year.

      In the Olympics, the torch is a symbol of the harmony and goodwill which represent the ideals of the Olympic Games.  The flame represents the basic spiritual significance of the Olympic Movement, a symbol of peace among peoples of the world.  The torch is usually carried hand-to-hand by relays of runners from the original site of the Olympic Games at Olympia.  In this 1st Asian Martial Arts, the Filipinos must be proud a Fililipino, Kuya Daniel Razon, was chosen alone by the organizers to light the flame.

The lighting of the flame at the site of the games is an important part of the opening ceremonies.  Bringing the torch into the Games venue is both a culminating as well as a beginning event. At the end of the game the flame is extinguished but this signifies the beginning and preparations for the next. 

Historically, the most common use of the torches was to shed light in darkness, especially for travelers at night.  Instructively or educationally, the message for mankind was to teach people fairplay and instill a high regard to cooperation and togetherness.

Artistically, the torch enhanced the elegance of the ceremonies.  Finally, the religious essence derives from the first Olympic Games in 776 B.C. when young boys raced 200 yards to win the privilege of lighting the sacrificial altar fire honoring the Greek god Zeus.  Throughout the succeeding years, the torch ceremony has changed, but its symbolism has not.  The flame is borne throughout the world using many kinds of transportation until it reaches its destination.  

      The motto for this first year Asian Martial Arts Games is, “Save the Citizens from Drugs.  Adopt Sports through Martial Arts.”  The Games includes: Karate; Kickboxing; Taekwon-Do; Oriental; Kung Fu and Muay Thai.

The Icon Daniel Razon, mentioned that, there maybe no corruption in the government or even in private establishments if officials and employees have learned to play Martial Arts for it is teaching values through discipline.

The event is also sponsored by Philippine Sports Commission, the Manila Hotel, Relin detergent soap, KVI, BaoFuling skin magic cream, Jeepney shopping center, PCSO, PAGCOR, Department of Education, UNTV 37 “Kasangbahay Mo!”, Sports 37, Manila Bulletin, Smart communications, Gatorade, Ford Philippines, Yes! FM, Pixies, Philippine Convention and Visitors Corporation, LRTA, Citizens Crime Watch, Department of Health, Lungsod ng Maynila, Commission on Higher Education, and the Philippine National Assiciation of School Security Organizations.  #

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