Filipinos had their own sort of boxing, a bare-handed martial art known as Suntukan. The combatants held their hands high and kept their distance, occasionally charging forward to throw chopping punches, most of which would be fouls not tolerated in American rings. There are many theories regarding the origins of Suntukan (also known as Panantukan), but it's generally believed to have evolved from Kali, a Filipino knife fighting technique. As the Philippines fell under Spanish rule, Filipino martial arts were driven underground. Knives and rattan sticks gave way to bare-handed arts. Some historians have romanticized Suntukan as being the real root of modern boxing, but that's an over-simplification. "The Filipinos must have embraced Western boxing and then applied their knowledge of the knife to create a similar, yet distinctive art," said martial arts teacher and historian Krishna Godhania. One difference between the Filipino martial art and modern boxing is that practitioners of Suntukan didn't stand and trade head shots. Instead, they circled constantly, looking for openings. After all, one wouldn't stand and trade if you were holding knives. In Filipino martial arts, the spirit of the knife was still implied. Another important distinction is that Filipino martial arts were not just sports; they were techniques for survival.
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Thanks again to Manny, foreign media organizations have been tracing the roots of boxing in the Philippines. There have been many articles such as this before but this one is more specific about the origin of the sport in our country. Write ups such as these dispel the unfounded notion that boxing is a recent development in the Philippines as some ignorant people claim. Nothing was heard from them anymore - thank goodness. Names such as Pancho Villa, Ceferino Garcia and Flash Elorde are being reintroduced to a new generation of boxing fans - Filipinos and non-Filipinos alike.
The article also shows that our ancestors have their own martial arts and quite familiar with boxing though in other form. Hurray to them!