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'Hawakan Mo Nga Sa Tenga': Valuable Fighting Lessons From Pinoy Action Movies

How to protect yourself and that damsel in distress a la Fernando Poe Jr., Robin Padilla, and the immortal Mikey Arroyo
by Paolo S. Mariano | Mar 29, 2016
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First of all, does that line still work? Hawakan mo nga sa tenga? We assume teasing and coaxing people to fight is very different by now. Maybe along the lines of “Butasin mo nga ‘yung jogger pants!” or “Huwag mo nga reply-an ‘yung text!”

Anyway, everybody’s talking about Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Who doesn’t want to see two superheroes fight? People simply love action-packed films. But Hollywood blockbusters are garbage compared to Pinoy action movies. They are national treasures. What with memorable titles like Urbanito Dizon: The Most Notorious Gangster in Luzon, Hindi Ka Na Sisikatan ng Araw: Kapag Puno na ang Salop 3, and Apoy sa Dibdib ng Samar (“Saging lang ang may puso!”).

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But aside from the magnificent titles, super original storylines, and supremely brilliant dialogues, Pinoy action flicks teach us valuable lessons in life. Like how to fight for instance, and how to destroy fruit crates. The deeply realistic fight scenes inspire all of us to be like Fernando Poe Jr., Robin Padilla, and the immortal Mikey Arroyo.

The next time you get cajoled into a fight, just remember these 10 fighting tips we learned from Pinoy action movies. This, however, doesn’t include how to split a bullet into two with a sword. Only Lito Lapid can do that.

Batman and Superman ain’t got nothing on Julio Valiente 

Don’t wear a denim jacket

Cardinal rule no. 1 in fighting: Don’t wear a denim jacket. No, check that. Don’t wear a denim jacket ever! Really, why would you in a country as hot and humid as ours? That’s like committing suicide. It doesn’t matter if it’s an expensive one from Levi’s or an imported one from Saudi Arabia. Hell sounds like a more enticing place compared to the smoldering heat in Metro Manila. Denim jacket = instant lake in your armpits. 

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But yeah, sporting a denim jacket while exchanging punches doesn’t have any advantages. The fabric and the weight will just slow you down and reduce the power of your blows. Most of all, you’ll just look plain stupid. Why not take it off before engaging in a brawl? It’s not that difficult. Don’t take your opponent seriously if he’s wearing a denim jacket. Always bear in mind, only FPJ can pull off the denim jacket. Not Vin Diesel. Not the Marlboro Man. Not even Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears.

Cry me a river with your insane denim outfit

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Stay away from the drums

Home safety lessons in grade school have taught us to always check the locks before leaving the house. Pinoy action movies, meanwhile, have taught us to always check the drums before going into a fight. You know, those steel water containers and not those noisy circular contraptions Raimund Marasigan used to bang and bash masterfully with the Eraserheads.

Why check the drums? Because there will always, ALWAYS, be someone hiding inside with a plank of wood or walis or TV antennae or anything to hit you with. He/she will patiently wait inside the drum and strike at the most opportune time. Usually it’s when you’re too preoccupied with delivering punches or just too dimwitted to notice. Like a rattlesnake preying on a hapless mouse eating artisanal cheese. Don’t be too confident with your fisticuff skills. Always be wary and cautious. Yes, you might take care of your thuggish-looking opponent, but the harmless-looking drum might just take care of you. Drums, hindi lang pang-tubig, pang-tao rin!

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Some people just have too much time on their hands
Avoid warehouses
In connection with the previous tip, if you can, avoid fighting in a decrepit warehouse. You can fight elsewhere—in a playground, in school, in your favorite barbershop, inside the Manila Cathedral, or atop The Himalayas—but don’t in a warehouse. You can even channel your inner Denzel Washington and fight in your favorite hardware store like in The Equalizer.     

Warehouses are too dark, dusty, and huge. You and your rival will just end up playing hide and seek with all the nooks and crannies instead of actually settling things with your fists. Also, you’ll never know who else is lurking in the warehouse. Your foe might have a platoon of resbak ready (hiding in drums). Why go through all the trouble of finding an old empty warehouse when you can trade blows in broad daylight and end up in a viral video? A dim warehouse won’t give you the proper lighting for a nicely recorded video. Why not fight in the middle of EDSA?

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Being outnumbered is okay

They say there’s strength in numbers. Well, Pinoy action movies say: “Fuck that!” Another valuable lesson those cinematic masterpieces have taught us is to never back down, even up against an entire barangay or the entire Roman Army. Picking your battles is not an option. Just go out there with your fists clenched, jaw straight, and confidence at an irrational high. Five vs. one? Piece of cake. Twenty vs. one? Yawn! 34,648 vs. one? As easy as making a joke about Jinggoy Estrada.

Just take ‘em out one by one. Don’t worry about the fleet of goons. Because no matter how much they outnumber you, the others will just stand and wait for their turn to trade punches. That’s their brilliant strategy every single time. They’d rather attack one at a time instead of simply gang up on their target like logical people. There’s no kuyog mentality. In Pinoy action flicks, strength in numbers only applies to leading ladies—you can never have too many.

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Even the Spartans from 300 are no match for FPJ

Magpabugbog muna

Also in connection with the previous item, it’s advisable to do the paawa move first when in a scuffle, especially when you’re outnumbered. Absorb punches and kicks. Feel the pain. Don’t evade haymakers even if they’re super easy to dodge. It makes you more human, courageous, and heroic. It makes the narrative more compelling even if you’re exchanging blows just because both of you want to use controller no. 1 in PS4 (bakit laging mas kawawa ‘yung gumagamit ng controller no. 2?).

Then when your adversaries think you’re all bruised up already, you unleash your true strength and go Muhammad Ali on them. Like his infamous rope-a-dope, bitches! That’s what real heroes do, magpapatalo muna sa umpisa. Just ask Bong Revilla or Cesar Montano (idol!) or Joko Diaz. Or even Voltes 5 for that matter. Acting like you’re already defeated will make your opponent overconfident. That’s always a huge mistake, whether in a fracas or hoarding the shrimp tempura in a buffet (no leftovers, remember).

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Take it like a true man

One punch won’t cut it

Saitama from the anime One-Punch Man will never make it as a Pinoy action star. Because another thing we’ve learned from the surplus of glorious Pinoy action movies is that one punch ain’t enough. The enemy will still be on his feet, hardly groggy. Parang kinagat lang ng langgam. Realistically, a single solid hit to the jaw can make one lose consciousness. But in Pinoy action flicks, that’s impossible.    

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That’s why when in a tussle, make sure you unleash a flurry of punches. Don’t stop until your foe is flat on his back and unconsciously peeing his pants. Unload a series of combinations that would make Manny Pacquiao jealous. Here’s another tip: Go for the breadbasket. Apparently, as Pinoy action movies have shown us, it’s better to hit someone in the stomach than just pummel his face. You’ll need lots of stamina and endurance though. Maybe take a Zumba class first. It won’t hurt.

Alvin Patrimonio > Sylvester Stallone

Kick in the nuts = fool-proof

If your plethora of punches still doesn’t work and your adversary proves to be as tough as an overcooked steak, go for the most viable and most convenient option: A good ol’ kick in the nuts. There are no rules in street fights. It’s no-holds-barred, balls-to-the-wall, free-for-all punch-a-palooza. So any suntukan move is fair game, even as cheap as a groin kick.

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It works every time! No matter how huge and brawny your opponent is, he’ll surely turn into Hello Kitty when his precious jewels are hit. It’s the second most emasculating thing in the world, next to having any of the Kardashian sisters as your girlfriend (see: Odom, Lamar). So when your arms are tired from throwing punches, you’re out of breath, and you’re running out of time, focus on your enemy’s testicles and go Super Saiyan on it with your favorite foot. He’ll quickly fold like an ugly hand in poker. This is one instance when looking at another man’s package is acceptable.

It helps a lot too if your bring a chain in a brawl

Yay for bullets

When worse comes to worst and the fisticuffs eventually become a gun fight, make sure your gun has enough bullets. Duh! We shouldn’t be telling you this anymore but since people today have an attention span shorter than Mahal’s mini-skirt, we’ll remind you anyway. As Pinoy action films have shown us throughout the years, some guy, usually the antagonist, will run out of bullets at the most ill-fated time, usually when he’s already got the bida cornered. When he clicks the pistol—nada. No more bullets, mister. Surprise, surprise.

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So if ever you’re bringing a gun in a fight, make sure you have extra bullets ready. Hide it in your mouth, perhaps. Also, double check your gun if it’s not defective. You don’t want to be helpless when push comes to shove. Just to be clear, we’re not advocating gun violence here. Avoid it all costs. Only use it as a final resort of self-defense. Don’t bring hand grenades as well. Don’t be Brick Tamland.    

Leave the hand grenades to the military

Verbal assault is important

For some inexplicable reason, people in Pinoy action movies like to talk first before killing each other. Like a sadistic foreplay. A lovely chat always precedes the climactic gun fight or the final one-on-one bugbugan. But it’s not just any ordinary conversation. It’s filled with loquacious phrases and saccharine statements that would make William Shakespeare want to buy a denim jacket and become an action star.

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Talking trash is a wise move. A fight is just as mental as it is physical. Denigrating your enemy is a fantastic form of intimidation. Psyche him out and get into his head by spewing smack. Also, do your research so you can truly crush his soul. In classic FPJ staccato voice: “Your status on Facebook says you’re single. Well, you’ll never be able to change it to In a Relationship because I’ll kill you now!” Savage. “You followed Alice Dixson on Instagram but she didn’t follow you back so you deserve to die you pathetic moronic turd!” Savage.

We badly need some female sexiness in here
with all the testosterone floating around

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Kiss the girl

Winning a brawl deserves a reward. Of course, in every Pinoy action flick, a beautiful girl is somewhat involved. After the terrible exhaustion and physical strain you went through by fighting for her, it’s only appropriate that you get to kiss her. It’s the ultimate vindication of your masculinity and heroism, right? Instead of just being a true gentleman and bring her straight to the hospital to make sure she’s fine. That would be too illogical, right? In Pinoy action movies, making out is more of a priority than getting anti-tetanus shots.

There’s no better motivation than to have a gorgeous woman lock lips with you and be indebted to you for life. That’s for life, right? You rescued a damsel in distress from the clutches of evil with your bare hands! Speaking of which, who among today’s celebrities would make for a fine leading lady? Jessy Mendiola? Isabelle Daza? Andrea Torres? How about Pia Wurtzbach? Confidently beautiful with a heart—just like Jeric Raval. 

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No one can resist Jeric Raval!

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