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Sports///Slinging

set Matt Reyes on to the path of slinging many years later. “Guelu is an incredible mentor to many in slinging and other matters of culture and he and the Rosario family are teaching slinging in Guam and Tinian,” Dela Cruz says. “As far as I know they are the largest slinging Chamorro family and have direct lineage from the great Chief Taga.” Although the slinging scene percolated somewhat underground for years, Dela Cruz credits the 2016 Festival of the Pacific Arts as being a turning point for the art, as Guam — the host for the event — was eager to showcase its culture to its Pacific brethren. “FestPac was a big game changer for sure,” he says. “We’d already been a few years into having active sling camps, but 2016 was a great opportunity to see how valuable it is culturally. Just seeing the impact from sharing this with people from other islands, it really touched a deeper side of the soul.” That experience motivated Dela Cruz and his slinging group to go deeper into their research and practice. They learned that slinging cultures span the globe and that it’s also an international sport, with a championship held annually in Mallorca, Spain that regularly draws representatives from about 20 countries. Dela Cruz and Guelo Rosario have both attended to compete. Although they didn’t place as high as they would have liked, they and a group of three other slingers — Tony San Agustin, Brandi Jae Aguon and Josiah Perez — returned this year determined to make the Mariana Islands’ presence known. Throughout three days of competition, the group from the Marianas had Perez winning the Kid’s International category, Aguon winning the Women’s International and Dela Cruz placing 3rd in the Men’s International and winning Most Bullseyes

on day three of the tournament. “Mallorcans are known as the slingers of the world, they have a very deep slinging history,” Dela Cruz says. “We want Guam to reclaim its identity as the slingers of the Pacific.” Dela Cruz says he and his cohorts are now in the process of creating a non-profit organization devoted to slinging, have launched a website, are offering a free slinging curriculum to all village mayors and have a plan to develop the art locally to the point that the Mariana Islands can hold an international slinging competition by 2021. Just as other cultures have retained their ancient martial arts as a means of developing character and retaining a connection to their history, Dela Cruz — himself a Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt under Enson Inoue’s Purebred Academy — says slinging is no different. “If you take a look at a samurai and his relationship with his sword, it’s beyond his weapon — it’s a symbol of life, a symbol of character, a symbol of refinement,” he says. “Slinging is absolutely our martial art, in the fullest sense of the word, where it’s more than just a skill for fighting but a way of developing proper living. It’s also a call out to our diaspora. Slinging a stone is something we use as self-identification, something we have a deep connection with. It’s our calling to breathe life back into this art. I think it’s something that can really serve our people well.” Sling Guam can be found Wednesday nights at the Chamorro Village night market from from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and on Instagram at @slinguamofficial. Dela Cruz can be contacted online at 13north144east.com and on Instagram at @13north144east. His website also features a blog and slinging tutorials. 5

Buenas - December 2018  

Art of the Slingstone: Ancient Chamorro art sees wide renaissance | There's no "I" in Team: Activities that will relieve stress and solidify...

Buenas - December 2018  

Art of the Slingstone: Ancient Chamorro art sees wide renaissance | There's no "I" in Team: Activities that will relieve stress and solidify...

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