It’s been about 5years since the last entry of Onra was published; and it’s great to see a lot has happened since then.
Throughout the failing attempt the last few years of trying to get back to training Jiujitsu, picking up the local martial art of Stone Slinging has, in effect, led to a potentially bright adventure. I had a good conversation with sports editor Jojo Santo Tomas for a temporary return of this column to give some insight into Guam’s first participation in an international stone-slinging event.
Local history has shown us that stone slinging was highly prevalent among our people. Since the 17th century, Spanish missionaries have written about the highly skilled slingers of our ancestors.
Fast forward to today: though stone slinging has been mostly forgotten, the occasional artifacts found only underscore the feeling that slinging stones still has a place and future with and for our people.
In the last three years, I’ve been part of a healthy resurgence in this way of Chamorro life, proud of the identity that dominates our national flag.
Almost a year ago, I signed into an online slinging forum and the world’s largest international stone-slinging conversation at www.slinging.org. I was surprised to learn that that there was virtually no mention of Guam or our ancestry in slinging – despite the fact that Guam is the only place in the world featuring a slingstone on its flag.
I hadn’t received any replies on this forum to any of the topics that I chimed in on and actually thought that I’d have to settle with simply reading the many posts of interest on this invigorating topic.
Then, three months later I received a message on Facebook from Sam Christian Work. He introduced himself as an avid slinger from Austria.
Turns out he’d been deeply involved into slinging for more than a decade. He was an international slinging event champion, and was a respected scholar and perpetual student on the topic worldwide – yet he’d never heard of Guam. He wanted to know more.
He was in shock to see how immersed Guam history is in slinging and told us of an international competition in Spain that featured up to 18 different countries participating in this annual event. He was eager to share with his acquaintances the photos we shared with him….this is when we knew that it was important to get involved.
A lot of people from here might have different things to say about the issues we’ve faced from outer islanders and criminal conduct but something we need to learn to embrace is that we are Micronesian. This was an opportunity to serve that fact and the time was as ripe as ever.
We were headed to Spain! Biba Mes Chamoru! My good friend and slinging-mentor Guelu Rosario and another seasoned slinger and Master Navigator, Tony Piaulig of Satawal, had caught word and immediately volunteered to join in. Friends and family at Fokai, Ambros Guam and the Marianas Open wanted to help and the rest is the future.
Going to Spain wasn’t going to be easy. Since we were going to spend enough money and off to travel far with a Master Navigator and an experienced builder of our island’s world-famous Flying Proa—we decided to try and make the most of it.
We’ve just finished 10 days of Ireland, slinging stones, sharing culture, rocking, rolling, rooting, and rooting. And possibly for the first time in history, a Flying Proa has made its way to Ireland shores. It was epic, historical, monumental and … cosmic.
We are in Mallorca now, an island and people with 5000 years of stone-slinging history, for Guam’s first footsteps into international slinging sport. I will come back to you with a story – hopefully set in stone.
Thanks for dropping by.
2017 International Slinging Competition Spain. PHOTO GALLERY!
Slingers from Guam in Spain UPDATE!
The F Word:
Mallorceans are known throughout history for their armies of thousands of slingers. They were so proficient that they were highly sought after as soldiers for war.
Guam has the only national flag pf the world featuring a sling-stone.
Update w/ Roman DLC. Currently in Spain for the competition along side Guelo Rosario and Tony Piaulig
Just got here lsat night and trying to figure mobilizations. Were trying to catch a sling tour ament today but its far. Hoping to participate but if not, at least scope the scene. Level of slinging here is insane. We are not too far off i think from the folks we slung with at the small tournament. We go to sling actually with a few former champs and we actually got some great remarks from them. But we havent seen their best.
Got about 200 launches in yesterday! And met a dude who found an antigo slingstone in a cave shaped like ours. Very positive connection so far. I think they have a few thousand slingers today and some cool slings. Saw a sling 50 years old and still going! Natural organic fiber too. Generations of slinging families. One of the Paradise islands of Europe with folks that also dread Spanish colonization and gravitate towards their ancestral beliefs. Like Chamorros to America, the Clearly distinguish themselves as Mallorcean instead of Spanish.
Whole bunch of folks were really receptive to us as we had commonality with slinging, Ancestral slinging!
Im 2days were gathering with people from 16 other countries for a visit to the giant sling statue.
Guelu putting the final touches (at Fokai Ireland’s Grasshopper Lounge), on his model Proa hours before Fokai Amphibious Division, TASA, and The Guam Waterman Club’s ‘ presentation of The Flying Proa to Ireland Seafarers this evening at The Oar in Crosshaven Ireland
FOKAI PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT
Like many other clothing companies, we started out with just printing on wholesale blank items. Almost 20years later and now product starts from a roll of fabric, washed cut and shaped from in-house templates, printed, stitched, packaged, then sent to the shelves of our flagship stores.
Though this takes a lot more time and resource, your longtime support is more than worth the weight.
From POSTGUAM: Guamanians to compete in Spanish sling-stone competition
In March, a small three-man Guamanian contingent will be headed to Mallorca, Spain, to compete in an international sling-stone competition called the IV Encuentro Internacional Dia de les Illes Balears 2017. More than 20 nations from around the world will compete to see who has the most dead-on and distanced slingers. Guam’s slingers will consist of Roman Dela Cruz, Ben “Guelu” Rosario and Tony Piaulig.
While the original intention was to create a nationally recognized Guam team, Dela Cruz said, “A lack of time and busy schedules didn’t allow” it. While he admits there’s no way to know if they’re Guam’s best, they are, nonetheless, committed. “There’s no guarantee that we’re the best slingers on the island, but no doubt that we’re dedicated slingers and we’re putting in our practice time.”
Promoting culture through sport
Hoping to see a resurgence in Guamanians paying respect to the ancient Chamorros, Dela Cruz explained why he and the team decided to get involved in the Spanish sling-stone competition: “Our venture of jumping it into sport is actually a path to revive slinging among our people and to connect them not just with slinging, but primarily into the interest, preservation and rejuvenation of other traditional practices as well.”
Having received an invitation from two-time slinging champion Sam Christian Wirk of Austria, the trio will be representing more than just Guam. “The three of us … will be venturing to Spain to represent not just the Chamorro people, but also to represent Micronesia.”
Dela Cruz said he’s been slinging stones for nearly eight years, Rosario’s been at it for more than 20 years, and Piaulig has been slinging since he was a child on the island of Palowat. With over 60 years of slinging experience between them, and with a little luck, they will weave their way through the bracket and represent Guam with honor and respect.
Skill improves with perseverance
Dela Cruz, the team’s spokesman shared some of the competition’s rules: “The object for the competition we’re aiming for is, for the most part, based on accuracy from increasing distances as you advance through the brackets.” He shared that only locally gathered tournament stones must be used and slings must be made from organic material. “Only slings of natural fibers are allowed, and the stones will be natural river stones from the area of the competition.”
Dela Cruz, the least experienced of the group, never thought he would progress in the sport as far as he has. “I thought I would never get anywhere with it. For almost three years, I couldn’t get it straight; I was convinced it was beyond me.” He said that men like Pat Ayuyu and Rosario helped him improve tremendously. “I have a great respect for them and I am thankful for them every day for keeping me on this journey.“
He offered some advice in parting: “I would love to encourage everyone to try slinging. With the right mindset, it can be incredibly invigorating, even enchanting, like the sword to the samurai.”
Four men and three Guam Fire department personnel were recognized for their heroism during a ceremony at Adelup on Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017.
Four men and three Guam Fire department personnel were recognized for their heroism during a ceremony at Adelup on Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017.
Fokai Team Rider Ken Concepcion used what he learned from training with safety agencies in real life as he and others helped save paddlers whose outrigger canoe capsized on Jan. 17.
The governor’s office on Thursday gave Concepcion, Brandon Leon Guerrero, Vincent Flores and Kawika Naholoowa certificates of recognition as heroes of Guam.
Guahan Napu President Willie Byerly, second from left, is photographed with local bodyboarders, from left, Ken Concepcion, Vincent Flores and Brandon Leon Guerrero, as they display “Hero of Guahan” certificates they were presented during a ceremony at Adelup on Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017. The bodyboarders, and three Guam Fire Department personnel, were recognized for their actions in rescuing six paddlers whose outrigger canoe was overturned by rough seas near the entrance of the Hagåtña boat basin on Jan. 17. Also recognized but not present for the ceremony was civilian, Kawika Naholoowa. Guahan Napu is a local non-profit association of surfers and body-boarders.
- Rick Cruz/PDN
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Certified by the National Strength and Conditioning Association as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and as military fitness trainer, Stew has trained thousands of students for Navy SEAL, Special Forces, SWAT, FBI, ERT and many other law enforcement professions.
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Stew Smith has worked professionally in the military fitness arena for over 15 years focusing on a specialty of helping people become Navy SEALs or any other member of a unit that requires a physical fitness test (PFT). Of course many of Stew’s readers just want to lose weight and keep it off…Stew can do that too. He has trained athletes in College, Olympians, and Professional Sports (Hockey and Baseball.) Stew Smith is certified by the National Strength and Conditioning Association as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). He speaks nationally at fitness conferences that focus on the Tactical Athlete (military, special ops, SWAT, police, fire fighters).
The Most Anticipated UFC Matchups of 2017
Unlike boxing and other combat sports, mixed martial arts has a large built-in fan base that will regularly watch most of the big events. The combination of the dedicated fans and the intense training schedule for the fighters often leads to fights getting announced only a few months before they set to take place. There may not be a long list of events scheduled for 2017 at the moment, but there are already a few huge fights planned that every MMA fan must watch. These are the three most anticipated matchups in the first few months of 2017.
Valentina Shevchenko and Julianna Pena may not be known by casual MMA fans, but they are two of the most talented female fighters in the world. Shevchenko and Pena are currently ranked as the top two contenders for Amanda Nunes’ UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship. Julianna Pena has not lost a fight since February 2013, which has helped her shoot up the rankings. Valentina Shevchenko is coming off an impressive victory over Holly Holm in her last fight, and she is also one of the few women that was able to go the distance with Nunes. This should be an extremely exciting fight because both women will be hungry to prove they are one of the best in the world. The winner of the fight will also likely earn a title shot against Nunes very soon. Shevchenko and Pena will face off against each other during the UFC on FOX23 event on January 28th.
While neither Holly Holm or Germaine de Randamie are at the top of their game right now, their upcoming contest has to make the list for its historical significance to the UFC. The winner of their fight at the UFC 208 pay-per-view event on February 11th will be named the first ever UFC Women’s Featherweight Champion. The new weight class should help the careers of both Holm and de Randamie because they were forced to cut a lot of weight during training to fight as a bantamweight. While de Randamie has won three of her first four fights in the UFC, she has yet to beat a top contender. Holly Holm has lost her last two fights, but she has a much more impressive career than her opponent, as she pulled off one of the biggest upsets in UFC history when she defeated Ronda Rousey.
Tyron Woodley and Stephen Thompson had one of the best MMA fights of 2016 at UFC 205 in November. The top two welterweights fought to a majority draw, so they will get another chance to decide a winner when they headline the UFC 209 pay-per-view event on March 4th. This may be the most highly anticipated UFC fight of the year because Woodley and Thompson are two of the best pound-for-pound strikers in the world. They did not hold anything back a few months ago, so there is no reason to think they will do anything different in March. They have been overshadowed by bigger names in the past, but Tyron Woodley and Stephen Thompson are going to prove to MMA fans around the world why they should be among the top draws in the UFC right now.
Shaolin vs Terere – Polaris 4 – Free & Full Fight