Years ago, my teacher Grandmaster Jerson “Nene” Tortal, had finally had enough of one individual’s bad etiquette. He decided it would be proper and right, to challenge this person to a duel. After all, how better to settle all of these charges and counter-charges being thrown about. However, the challenged party felt the need to stipulate the rules to this duel, which to say the least, were way out of bounds in terms of fairness. Grandmaster Tortal with a great look of disappointment on his face said, “John, he stated that I can’t have any weapon at all - empty handed ONLY but he will be allowed to have a ginunting (scissor bladed sword) to start with.” Wow, I said, that is absolutely unfair and ridiculous."
I bring this story up not to refuel old feuds or stir up any animosity, but to highlight the unique understanding of what a duel means within Filipino culture. Just as a caveat, all of this information I am presenting is based upon my personal observations. This way of thinking, seems on the surface, to be a bit of what Anthropologists call “cultural drift.” It is influenced by the Western notion of defending one's reputation from insult (this is not found in other countries in Asia that had not been exposed to the Western notion of machismo). The other Western influence is the ideal of fairness - One wins or loses by skill alone, not by unfairly stacking the deck with a better weapon, or by other means; this aspect of FMA, at least to me, points to Western influences, and is one of its more unique aspects.
I have attached a copy of the rules for the "death match" between Ciriaco Canete and Crispulo Atillo. In this death match I'd like to report - Nobody died.
Check Out The Dueling Rules Here!!