Dedicated to the Filipino Martial Arts and the Culture of the Philippines
Vol 7 No 1
Publisher Grandmaster Christopher ‘Topher’ Ricketts 4
Steven K. Dowd Offensive Use for Defanging the Snake 21
5 Things to Consider Before Buying a Self Defense Knife 25
FMAdigest Representatives The Main Role of Senior Students 27
Marc Lawrence Reflection of December 11, 2009 29
Building Blocks of FMA 32
Columns Past FMA Events 34
Building Blocks of FMA MyFMA net 35
MyFMA.net FMA Future Events 36
FMA Pulse FMA Pulse 38
Weapons Review: The “Hataw Stick” 40
Contributors Book Review:
David Foggie Filipino Martial Arts: The Core Basics, Structure & Essentials 42
The FMAdigest is published quarterly. Each issue features practitioners
of martial arts and other internal arts of the Philippines. Other features include
historical, theoretical and technical articles; reflections, Filipino martial arts,
healing arts and other related subjects.
The ideas and opinions expressed in this digest are those of the authors
or instructors being interviewed and are not necessarily the views of the pub-
The articles are the prop- lisher or editor.
erty of the author’s that wrote them We solicit comments and/or suggestions. Articles are also welcome.
and cannot be used without the The authors and publisher of this online magazine are not responsible
permission of the author. for any injury, which may result from following the instructions contained in the
The FMAdigest is the magazine. Before embarking on any of the physical activates described in the
property of Steven K. Dowd and is magazine, the reader should consult his or her physician for advice regarding
for the promulgation and promo- their individual suitability for performing such activity.
tion of the Filipino martial arts and
the Philippines. The information in the FMAdigest is a compilation of many sources. If there
NO issue can be printed is any misinformation or information that is not given the proper credit, please
and Sold for Monies, without the contact us.
express permission of the Owner FMAdigest 1297 Eider Circle Fallon, NV 89406
and Publisher Steven K. Dowd. (775) 423-3253
Well better late than never. The FMAdigest almost closed down due to no material, however thanks to
following writers (David Foggie, James Hogue, Joel Huncar, Phillip Weathers, Frank Aycocho, Michael Butz,
and Barry McConnell) who responded immediately with some very interesting articles and to some others that
have contacted me saying that they will contribute articles. The FMAdigest can stay alive and continue in its
promotion and promulgation of the Filipino martial arts and the culture of the Philippines.
The first article is a very informative interview with Grandmaster Christopher Ricketts. Then Guru
James Hogue explains “Defanging the Snake” as a defensive counter against punches. Joel Huncar who has
had several articles about knives in the FMAdigest again gives some handy tips in purchasing a self-defense
knife. Learn the main role of a senior student of Amara Arkanis as explained by Phillip Weathers.
December 11, 2009, The Arnis Bill of Law, Republic Act No. 9850, an act declaring Arnis as the Na-
tional martial arts and sport of the Philippines was signed. Now let’s see how this will affect the art and the
practitioners of the Philippines.
What makes up the basics of Filipino martial arts known as Eskrima, Arnis or Kali? A new column by
Marc Lawrence called “Building Blocks of FMA” is making its debut and it is and through this column infor-
mation will be brought forth on the basics so non-practitioners and practitioners will understand what the Fili-
pino fighting arts are built upon which make the Filipino martial arts a dynamic and most interesting martial
The FMAdigest, FMA Pulse, and MyFMA.net are working together to educate and serve as a resource
for the current and new generations of Filipino martial arts enthusiasts. And in so doing the FMA Pulse and
MyFMA.net will have a column to tell you the reader what is going on at their websites so you can visit and
gain knowledge and continuously be informed of the most up to date information.
The FMAdigest Representative is a position that has been created to help bring you the reader more
information on the Filipino martial arts. Marc Lawrence is the first to attain the position, and it is hoped that
others will be added. What is an FMAdigest Representative; it is someone that represents the FMAdigest at
events, collecting articles etc… working with the FMAdigest. Some have said they represented the FMAdigest
for whatever reason and they did not. Now if they are listed they truly have the full backing of the FMAdigest
and are honest, reliable, have integrity, and are professionals.
Maraming Salamat Po
Grandmaster Christopher ‘Topher’ Ricketts
The Best of the Best
By David Foggie
Photos provided by David Foggie, except where indicated [**] which are Cour-
tesy of Grandmaster Christopher Ricketts
Grandmaster Christopher Through an introduction
N. Ricketts or ‘Master Topher from my teacher, Grandmaster Ro-
’now resides in the USA where he land Dantes in 1998, I have been
now teaches under the banner of fortunate to benefit from Master
‘Ilustrisimo USA’. Recognized as Topher’s extensive knowledge and
one of the founders and the Chief experience.
Instructor of Bakbakan Interna- Knowing the high regard in which
tional, whose motto is Matira my instructor and many other
Matibay (the best of the best), respected elders of FMA (Filipino
Grandmaster Ricketts’ credentials martial arts) hold Master Topher,
in the Filipino martial arts and it was an opportunity not to be
martial arts in general are second missed.
to none. When I first observed It was with the approval of my
A senior disciple of the re- Master Topher demonstrate Kali teacher, Grandmaster Roland
vered founder of Kali Ilustrisimo, Ilustrisimo in his home, I knew Dantes that I began studying Kali
Grandmaster Antonio ‘Tatang’ I was in the presence of a genu- Ilustrisimo under Master Topher,
Ilustrisimo, Master Topher was ine master of the art. During our and as such, I consider him also to
one of his closest and most senior training sessions, the true scope of be my teacher. More importantly,
students known as the ‘Five Pillars Master Topher’s knowledge be- he is a respected, loyal and values
of Kali Ilustrisimo’ and remains came apparent, as did his effective friend. It is my pleasure and honor
loyal to the memory and legacy of use of body mechanics. Master to present this interview.
his teacher. During these years, he Topher introduced me to the prin- This interview is the
was also a close friend and train- ciples and techniques that form the synthesis of an interview I put
ing partner of Punong Guro Edgar foundation and the core of Kali together with the much valued and
G. Sulite, who founded Lameco Ilustrisimo, and with a sharp eye appreciated assistance of Guro
Eskrima. At the time of the pass- for perfect form and understand- Dino Flores and part of Grandmas-
ing of Punong Guro Sulite, Master ing, he meticulously dissected and ter Ricketts interview which is to
Topher was the highest ranked corrected each technique until he be featured in a Filipino martial
black belt in Lameco Eskrima and was satisfied. arts book Grandmaster Dantes
designated successor. With such The time spent training un- and I were working on at the
well rounded skills in Filipino der master Topher as afforded me time of his passing last year. Rest
martial arts, Master Topher is rec- the opportunity to see the various assured the book will be printed
ognized as one of the world’s most aspects of this remarkable martial as Grandmaster Roland Dantes
respected masters. Additionally he artist. He is a fighter, a teacher and dreamed it would be. However,
is qualified to teach several other friend to his students. Martial arts we are submitting this interview
martial arts including Ngo Cho are meant to be about honor, re- to be featured in the FMAdigest,
Kuen (5 Ancestor Fist), Sagasa, as spect, integrity, loyalty and dedica- since Grandmaster Roland valued
well as being a professional box- tion. Master Topher embodies all and respected the work Punong
ing trainer. Master Topher’s skills these traits and as such it is easy to Guro Steven Dowd was doing in
and credentials are impeccable and see why Grandmaster Dantes and promoting the Filipino martial
second to none; he is one of the many other respected masters are arts. Also, myself and others feel
best of the best. his friends. Grandmaster Ricketts deserves the
exposure and recognition he truly while I trained with Jimmy Gales
deserves. in his arnis style which he called
Sphinx. He used the centro baston
(central grip) and susi (inverted
Question: Grandmaster Topher, grip) styles of wielding a stick. I
firstly you are based in San Diego, also trained with Doc Lengson in
USA and now teach under the the Arnis Federation of the Philip-
name Ilustrisimo USA? Why is pines style from 1973-1978.
Grandmaster Ricketts: Actually Question: Jimmy Gales, now there
I just teach under the name Ilus- is a name from the past. Anything
trisimo. USA is just where I hap- you would like to share about your
pen to be at this point in time. The training with him and the Sphinx
www.ilustrisimousa.com site is style?
just one of my information portals Grandmaster Ricketts: I was
available. I still have my Philippine never a student of his. I just used
base, as well as various representa- to visit their gym to see my friend
tives worldwide. All these things Lito Ong (AKA ‘Jules King’), an
that I have mentioned will be clari- The legendary and revered actor in the Philippines. Lito was
fied when we open up the official Grandmaster Antonio “Tatang” Ilustrisimo the one who became a student of
Ilustrisimo website in the near Founder of Kali Ilustrisimo [**] Gales.
future. Everything will be made Question: Having been exposed
clear, simple and centralized. Grandmaster Ricketts: When I first to other systems of arnis, why did
I am distinguishing myself saw him he did not strike me as you decide to follow Tatang? What
for various reasons, one of which is anything special, just an old man. attracted you and what made his
the sincere effort to preserve some However, when he started moving system so different?
of the original methods of tatang it was poetry in motion. To be di- Grandmaster Ricketts: Various
and separate it from some of the rect, if it wasn’t for Tatang I would strategies attracted me to Tatang’s
later variations. have little interest in the Philippine method. I found Tatang to be
warrior arts. direct, efficient, effective and to
Question: Grandmaster Ilustri-
simo is celebrated as one of the Question: During your first train- the point. It has minimal flowery
greatest Grandasters of the Filipi- ing session under Tatang what movements and there is a natural
no martial arts. How did you come material did he cover? flow with continuous movement,
to hear of Grandmaster Ilustrisimo Grandmaster Ricketts: There like a real fight.
and become accepted by him as a was no set method. You just had to Once you truly understand
student? attack him and see what happened. the fundamentals, you respond
Grandmaster Ricketts: I heard It was usually painful and it was instinctively without thought and
of Tatang and met him through in- up to you to absorb his flow. respond appropriately to a situ-
troduction by my good friend Alex Question: Prior to studying under ation. Tatang has proven this on
Co, an influential martial arts prac- Grandmaster Antonio Tatang’ Ilus- countless occasions just as it has
titioner, publisher and driving force trisimo did you have much expo- assisted me on occasion. It appears
in the Philippine martial arts world. sure to the Filipino martial arts? simple on the surface, yet in reality
It was the same time that I met Grandmaster Ricketts: Prior to there is a deeper true meaning.
Edgar Sulite, Yuli Romo and Tony Kali Ilustrisimo my training in- Question: You say there is a deep-
Diego. When we met for some cluded the Rapillon style of Mang er true meaning. Please elaborate.
reason the old man took a liking to Sciano Cleope in 1967. He was a Grandmaster Ricketts: This is
me and thus I was accepted as one well-known eskrimador from Que- one of those things that cannot
of his students. zon province of the Philippines be explained in words. It must be
Question: What do you remember and I was a training partner of experienced.
of your initial meeting? his son, Edgar Cleope. For a little Question: Were there many dif-
Great Grandmaster Antonio Ilustri- not explained. systemization, Ilustrisimo’s art
simo with his student Master Ricketts was still raw and pure. Almost
Question: How do you approach
and members of Bakbakan in Manila virgin like, as prior to our pursuit
[**] teaching and guiding the student
in developing the ability and skill it was only revealed in a real situ-
to apply this concept in combat? ation. It was free of showmanship,
Grandmaster Ricketts: I use direct and purely functional for
various levels of sparring and combat; however it was difficult
the realistic drills only after deep to learn and always painful, as you
understanding of the original core usually had to get hit for the tech-
techniques. nique to be revealed. Only those
with time, dedication and a high
Question: What about combate threshold for pain and tolerance
heneral and trankada heneral? were able to eventually understand
Grandmaster Ricketts: They Ilustrisimo’s methods
are part of the original core tech- The good points about
niques. systemization is that it is easier to
Question: How does the student teach and a lot less painful! Keep
develop the ability and skill to in mind though that systemization
apply these concepts against an by someone other than the founder
attacker? is their own interpretation. This
Grandmaster Ricketts: They can be seen in the different way
ferences in the way Grandmaster develop the ability once again, each of the five pillars of Ilustrisi-
Ilustrisimo moved and his fighting through various levels of sparring mo teaches the art. There are many
techniques compared to the other and the realistic drills only after similarities but there are also dif-
Filipino martial arts systems you deep understanding of the original ferences, reflecting the experience
had learnt? core techniques. of each individual. Tatang was one
Grandmaster Ricketts: There of a kind; that will likely never be
Question: Broken rhythm was
were a lot of differences. For one replicated.
used by Tatang skillfully. What can
thing when sparring Tatang you
you tell us about this and how can Question: A very valid point. Do
never saw the technique, you just
a person develop and refine this you feel the systemization of Kali
skill? Ilustrisimo has seen the system
Question: Totally instinctive reac- Grandmaster Ricketts: The lose anything? Are there any bad
tions to a threat and/or attack are broken rhythm is difficult to teach. points?
necessary. How did Grandmaster I first heard it from Punong Guro Grandmaster Ricketts: There is
Ilustrisimo approach developing Edgar Sulite. His father Helacrio always the influence of the sys-
this in his students and do you fol- Sulite trained with Melicio Ilustri- temizers interpretation. This is
low his approach? simo, the uncle of Tatang. why I am reorganizing the way I
Grandmaster Ricketts: Sparring teach and classify. Separate the
Question: Since Tatang was a
and painful feeding drill; AKA original and proven techniques
fighter and did not teach in the
praksyon. from the later variations. I am not
usual structured manner, what
Question: Praksyon (also spelt were the difficulties in learning saying one is better; I just want the
prakcion) is a corruption of the from him? root to be clear and always distin-
word fraction. What is your inter- Grandmaster Ricketts: He had guishable.
pretation of this principle? no set patterns, just instinctive Question: Could learning in an
Grandmaster Ricketts: It is reactions which were rarely the unstructured manner have been
something along the lines of same as the last reaction. a blessing since it made you ask
intercepting an intent (attack) in a more questions and your search
Question: Did this make learning
fraction of a second. for understanding forced you to
Again, this must be experienced Grandmaster Ricketts: Before look at his approach differently?
Grandmaster Ricketts: Because These will be reflected in the pure full contact martial arts sparring
it was not spoon fed to us, I was core of the system reorganization. and ring boxing assisted greatly in
forced to dissect and analyze the Question: During your time train- developing this aspect.
art in ways I had not had to do ing under Tatang, what was the Question: Do you think Tatang
before. emphasis during your training was trying to develop and instill
Question: Since Tatang taught in with him? specific qualities in yourself and
an unstructured fashion, what was Grandmaster Ricketts: The his other students?
the teaching progression? emphasis was on spontaneity and Grandmaster Ricketts: Tatang
Grandmaster Ricketts: A true pain. One of us would simulate an was a pure fighter. He had little
practitioner of Kali Ilustrisimo will attack, he would instinctively and interest in teaching. It was not until
have totally instinctive reaction painfully react, and then during he was in his 80s and retired that
with no set pattern. Tatang never our free time we would try and de- he started teaching in Luneta Park.
responded the same way to the cipher what we had seen. Because He only taught to get a little spend-
same angle of attack. He move- there was no curriculum, we had ing money for extracurricular fun
ments were so natural and a won- to learn techniques by experienc- As for developing and
der to behold. ing them. instilling specific qualities in his
Tatang did not teach you in Question: What do you feel you students, Tatang couldn’t care less.
the traditional sense. If you simu- picked up due to the amount of His main concern was it saved
lated an attack angle, he would in- sparring you did with Grandmas- his life on his many adventures
stinctively (and painfully) respond. ter Ilustrisimo? as merchant marine and guerrilla
It was up to you to understand Grandmaster Ricketts: As I have fighter in World War II.
and absorb the techniques used. said, I never saw the techniques, Question: What variations of
There was no progression, forms I only felt them. I only got to see weapons did Tatang teach?
or structure. The main structures and dissect what had occurred Grandmaster Ricketts: He taught
and progressions being taught to after I reviewed the video footage. single and double sword, espada y
the public these days are individual At the time I was the only martial daga (sword and dagger), dos ma-
interpretations of the original 5 artist I knew of in Manila that nos (double handed grip for a long
pillars of Kali Ilustrisimo. The 5 had a video camera. This is to my stick or sword), solo baston, knife
pillars of Ilustrisimo being Tony advantage. and empty hands.
Diego, Yuli Romo, Rey Galang,
Edgar Sulite and myself. Question: When the system was Question: From your view, what
After Tatang’s death, all being systematized and a progres- areas did he specialize in?
kinds of people came out of the sive syllabus being developed, who Grandmaster Ricketts: He spe-
woodwork making all manner of was involved? cialized in any bladed weapon.
claims on how the old man moved. Grandmaster Ricketts: The five Question: Did you learn his meth-
Fortunately I am in possession of pillars: Antonio “Tony” Diego, ods of learning the handkerchief,
hundreds of hours of video foot- Epifanio “Yuli” Romo, Edgar Su- rope and chain?
age taken of Tatang in action over lite, myself and Rey Galang. Grandmaster Ricketts: I focused
a period of 15 years. It can confirm Question: It is said you were in- mostly on blade.
and dispute many of the claims out strumental in introducing sparring Question: Like Tatang, I believe in
there based on this evidence. Any- into Kali Ilustrisimo and provided teaching a student double sword/
body who doubts this is welcome much advice from your experience baston before solo sword/baston. Is
to view the archives. Let your own to help develop your fellow stu- this how you were taught?
eyes be the judge. dents’ skills. Is that correct? Grandmaster Ricketts: No, we
Question: What material was Grandmaster Ricketts: Prior to sparred and did realistic drills were
originally taught? me joining the Ilustrisimo’s core he would actually strike me.
Grandmaster Ricketts: The core group, sparring was done only
occasionally. I insisted it be done Question: Did Grandmaster Ilus-
or pure techniques such as de cade- trisimo elaborate on why he com-
na, bagsak, etc were contained. regularly, which we usually did
at my house. My experiences in menced students learning double
swords/baston before the usual ing stick arts. What is your view? Kali Ilustrisimo, please explain its
approach of teaching single first? Grandmaster Ricketts: Kali Ilus- approach to disarming techniques?
Grandmaster Ricketts: I was trisimo is definitely a sword-based Grandmaster Ricketts: It is al-
taught the single sword first. art; even the stick is treated as a ways treated as a blade.
sword. Kali means sword in one of Question: This sees the system
the dialects of the Philippines, thus staying true to its origins and not
Kali Ilustrisimo means the sword changing into a stick oriented
of Ilustrisimo. The rattan stick is a system?
training device that represents the Grandmaster Ricketts: Correct.
Question: Tatang was very practi-
Question: What about the claim cal. What can you tell us about his
sticks can be replaced by swords approach to defending against a
and it is the same? knife attack unarmed?
Grandmaster Ricketts: There is Grandmaster Ricketts: His
no doubt that they are both deadly movements are always based on
weapons. However, there are the original pure core techniques.
differences. In non-bladed arts,
practitioners tend to grab to grab Question: What is your approach
the stick in a way that if it were a to defending against edged weapon
Question: Could you please share attacks? Can there be too many
with us the primary fighting strate- blade, they would surely be cut.
In non-bladed tournaments the drills taught?
gies of Kali Ilustrisimo? Grandmaster Ricketts: Drills
Grandmaster Ricketts: Some of participants hit each other just as
much as they get hit. There is no are always good to condition your
the primary fighting strategies of movements and mind. As long as
Kali Ilustrisimo include: de cade- respect for the weapon or defense.
In a bladed match, they would you’re honest with yourself and
na, sak sak, bagsak, and V-strike. realize that actual combat is a lot
These are mainly finishing moves, both be dead. Maybe it is good for
a sport, but not for the bladed arts, simpler, direct, and bloodier than
as in a real blade confrontation it drills.
is over quickly. as long as the distinction is made.
If you can run, do so. If
Question: The lutang (floating) Question: Did Grandmaster Ilus- not, find an equalizer.
footwork of Grandmaster Antonio trisimo ever discuss when and why
many of the styles changed to stick Question: Do some practitioners
Ilustrisimo is very unique. What become caught up in the fancy and
can you tell us about it? focused systems?
Grandmaster Ricketts: No. elaborate defenses and forget the
Grandmaster Ricketts: Lutang practicality which is necessary to
means to float and it is a unique Question: Since Kali Ilustrisimo survive?
footwork of Tatang’s. It involves was and remains a genuine sword Grandmaster Ricketts: Yes.
temporarily being on one foot system, how does it differ from
while the other leg “floats”. Al- stick systems? Question: Do you feel it is neces-
though it looks unusually elegant, Grandmaster Ricketts: There is sary to learn and become profi-
it can generate tremendous power very little room for error with a cient at disarming techniques?
and reach. It also allows you to blade. Grandmaster Ricketts: Yes.
move in and out and then back Question: As a true sword and Question: You adhere to a very
in from various ranges of combat bladed system, Kali Ilustrisimo’s practical approach in your train-
in an instant. It is classic Tatang. disarms always assume you are ing as well as your teaching. How
Simple yet sophisticated. Beautiful disarming an edged weapon. What do you view and approach teach-
but deadly. do you feel are the benefits of this? ing stick and knife disarms?
Question: The techniques of Kali Grandmaster Ricketts: You Grandmaster Ricketts: Simplic-
Ilustrisimo are noticeably sword never develop bad habits. ity. Never wrestle for a disarm and
based, whereas many styles are never look for a disarm. Only do
Question: From the viewpoint of it if an opportunity arises. Always
either stick based or evolved to be-
Grandmaster Ricketts: This term
was coined by one of the senior
students of Tatang.
Question: There have been discus-
sions about which is the correct
name of Tatang’s system: Kali
Ilustrisimo or Kalis Ilustrisimo.
Through the years I have heard
it referred to as Olistrisimo (an
acronym of the words olisi mean-
ing stick and the Ilustrisimo name).
[**] Would you like to comment on this?
Grandmaster Ricketts: During
treat the weapon as a blade. Question: What areas were
the whole time I was training, I
Question: It is better to possess an stressed when he taught knife?
never heard Tatang use any of
understanding of the general prin- Grandmaster Ricketts: Disruptive
these terms. The five pillars re-
ciples of disarming? interception and intent.
ferred it as Kali Ilustrisimo only so
Grandmaster Ricketts: Yes, Question: Were drills an aspect of we could have something to call it.
knowledge is power. Better to have his knife methodology? Tatang had no name for the art in
something, than nothing. Just be Grandmaster Ricketts: No drills, my observation. It was only after
realistic about what would actually just feeding and sparring. his death that all these other ver-
work. Question: Did he use and teach sions began to surface.
Question: From your experience, you both saber and ice pick grips Question: What can you tell us
what are the facts and myths of in using the knife? about Tatang? History, stories, etc?
edged weapons and defending Grandmaster Ricketts: Both. Grandmaster Ricketts: This could
against them? Question: Grandmaster Ilustri- be a rather lengthy answer worthy
Grandmaster Ricketts: If you simo was a firm believer and was of volumes. Perhaps I will write a
have the option to run, run. 99% of known for his spirituality. What second book on Kali Ilustrisimo to
the time you’ll get cut, especially can you share with us about this answer these questions.
with the style of blades today. If area? Did he ever discuss these Question: Tatang was taught by
you have no other option but to en- with you? his father, Isidro Ilustrisimo and
gage, be direct and finish quickly. Grandmaster Ricketts: Not too his uncle Melicio Ilustrisimo. What
Plus, always remember that even if much. He had anting anting and did he tell you of these Eskrima-
your opponent dead or dying, they practiced oracsion. dors and their teaching of him?
will still likely be thrusting and
Question: Was he knowledgeable Grandmaster Ricketts: Not much.
slashing their weapon.
in healing skills such as hilot? Question: What about Pedro Cor-
Question: Was knife to knife an Grandmaster Ricketts: I am not tez? Did he also receive instruction
area Tatang regularly taught? certain. from him and was he taught by
Grandmaster Ricketts: Tatang
Question: Tatang possessed the relatives of Tatang?
taught what Tatang felt like. I was
mindset of a true warrior. Is this Grandmaster Ricketts: He just
just happy to be there.
what has become known as, dakip told me he was one of his teachers
Question: Tatang’s knife tech- diwa? Did Tatang discuss this? in Mindanao.
niques were simple, direct and Grandmaster Ricketts: Never Question: Melicio and Regino
most important of all, effective. heard of it. Ilustrisimo were the uncles of
What was his approach?
Question: Reloj de areana (hour- Tatang. What do you know of their
Grandmaster Ricketts: The most
glass shape). How was this ex- styles and were they the same as
advanced technique you can have
plained by Tatang to you and how Tatang?
is the one you can feel before you
does it relate to combat? Grandmaster Ricketts: I did not
meet the uncles of Antonio Ilustri- which allowed him to be a stu- possible and practice intensely.
simo personally. However, dur- dent. Otherwise there is no way he Question: Did Grandmaster Ilus-
ing his research for his landmark would have received instruction trisimo ever open up and elaborate
book, ‘Masters of Arnis, Kali and during that period in time. on his challenges and/or real life
Eskrima’, Edgar Sulite met them Question: Tatang knew Felicisimo fights?
both on Bantayan Island. Accord- Dizon and his student, Grandmas- Grandmaster Ricketts: He told
ing to Edgar, their styles, although ter Angel Cabales who went on to me many stories, however my fo-
founded upon the same root sys- become the Founder of Serrada cus as I said was to absorb and ap-
tem, were now different. In other Escrima. Did he talk of them and ply his methods. I am a fighter not
words, Tatang’s style had evolved if so, what can you tell us? a historian. I wasn’t too interested
through a lifetime of actual com- Grandmaster Ricketts: Punong in the past, just the present.
bat experience throughout the Guro Edgar G. Sulite asked this
Philippines and the world. Question: Tatang was greatly
question of Tatang before he died. respected for his combat skills.
Question: I believe Grandmaster A student of ours, Steve Tarani, During your time with him, did you
Dan Inosanto met and received was present while I filmed the ever witness him being challenged
some training from Regino Ilus- interview. With respects to the de- or having to use his skills?
trisimo. Have you spoken with parted, I will leave it at that. They Grandmaster Ricketts: Tatang
Grandmaster Inosanto about this were friends. However from my was respected by all. I never wit-
as you know him and have con- observation of the style, there is no nessed anyone dare challenge him.
ducted seminars at his school? relationship at all. He was feared or respected by all
Grandmaster Ricketts: No I Question: Mark Wiley met and that knew him.
haven’t asked him. trained with the Kali Ilustrisimo Question: Having survived many
Question: It has been said Timo- group in the Philippines. Do you fights, what was Tatang’s primary
teo Maranga as a youth carried see any Kali Ilustrisimo influence strategy in dealing with multiple
Tatang’s weapon for him prior to in Serrada Escrima and if yes, in attackers?
challenges. What is known of their what areas? Grandmaster Ricketts: The origi-
relationship? Grandmaster Ricketts: I see no nal core techniques never change.
Grandmaster Ricketts: They relationship. Tatang’s high level allowed him to
were drinking buddies. Question: WWII saw Tatang handle one or more opponents in a
Question: The Ilustrisimo’s, defending his country against the collective manner.
Saavedras and Romos were the Japanese. Did he discuss his expe- Question: You are renowned for
three most prominent families riences from this period? placing emphasis on physical con-
involved in eskrima at one time in Grandmaster Ricketts: Yes. ditioning. What led you to this?
Cebu. Did he know them? Question: What do you know of Grandmaster Ricketts: My ex-
Grandmaster Ricketts: Siguro Tatang being a berdugo (execu- perience as a professional boxing
(probably). tioner) of the makapili (traitors) trainer when I had a stable of fight-
Question: Is it known if he knew towards the end of the war? ers and the intense workouts of
Islao Romo who it is said is re- Grandmaster Ricketts: He told Doc Lengson’s KAFEPHIL style
lated to his student, Yuli Romo? me the story. It was one of his were what led me to appreciate the
Grandmaster Ricketts: Siguro many jobs in his lifetime. importance of physical condition-
(probably). Question: Since he was a true ing.
Question: Having met Grand- warrior, how did you feel and what Question: Dr. Guillermo Lengson
master Floro Villabrille in Hawaii was it like training with a man in was a remarkable man. How did
decades ago, I am aware he was possession of a true combative you come to study under him?
related to Tatang. Was he taught mentality? Grandmaster Ricketts: During
by Tatang? Grandmaster Ricketts: It never the KAFEPHIL days, I was in-
Grandmaster Ricketts: He was crossed my mind at the time. All I troduced to Doc by an instructor
married to the cousin of Tatang wanted to do was absorb as much under him, Chito Santos. Doc took
Grandmaster Guillermo Lengson [**] his vast knowledge of sinawali as the judges cheating in their deci-
and double sticks with Professor sions during tournaments. Conse-
Remy Presas. Do you know if they quently, Doc Lengson had to come
exchanged knowledge? up with techniques that would
Grandmaster Ricketts: Doc make it clear that they were the un-
Lengson and Remy Presas met disputed winner of a competition.
before the formation of Modern These techniques were developed
Arnis. They were training partners. primarily through Master Johnny
Remy learned sinawali and Cingko Chiuten and his kung fu style, in
Teros from Doc Lengson, which which Doc Lengson developed
he put in Modern Arnis. Remy the training method for teaching.
also learned karate from Doc Initially these techniques had been
Lengson, as he was considered the secret, as Doc Lengson used it
best in the Philippines at that time. for his position in KAFEPHIL’s
In return, Remy taught him some election through sparring. In other
of his Balintawak techniques. It words, whoever won all the spar-
was also Doc Lengson who came ring matches among the candidates
up with the name Modern Arnis. became the head of KAFEPHIL.
Question: Sagasa is one of Dr Question: John Pintoy told me Dr
Lengson’s legacies. Could you Lengson was very knowledgeable
explain how he came to develop in the area of body mechanics and
Sagasa? emphasized the use of the hips. Did
a liking to me and adopted me in Grandmaster Ricketts: Doc he stress this in your training and
a way. I not only look to him as a Lengson developed Sagasa how important do you think it is
teacher, but also a father figure. through constant full-contact for the student to comprehend the
Question: Dr Lengson combined tournaments with other martial significance of body mechanics?
linear and circular movements. arts associations. At the time, he Grandmaster Ricketts: The em-
What can you tell us of his arnis was considered the best in karate phasis was always on the hips and
system? in the Philippines. Because of this, always exaggerated, so to the un-
Grandmaster Ricketts: Doc all the other organizations would trained eye it would look unusual.
Lengson started Arnis with si- gang up on his group and go as far All real power comes from the hips
nawali and Cinko Teros systems and not just for attacking, but also
as he is from Pangasinan prov- evading and defending.
ince in the Philippines. When Question: The intensive drills,
he first met Remy Presas, Remy which are called series, develop
was still Balintawak and Doc was and refine coordination, power and
impressed with the movements reflexes. Were these developed by
and added some concepts to his Dr Lengson?
system. Doc and Remy met before Grandmaster Ricketts: Doc
Modern Arnis. Most of the circular Lengson developed the Sagasa
motions, he learned from Johnny series in collaboration with Johnny
Chiuten who was a kung fu and Chiuten.
I used to watch Remy and Question: How did Dr Lengson
Doc train together in Doc’s dental influence the drills and curriculum
clinic in the University of the East of Bakbakan?
in Manila. I was 14 at the time. Grandmaster Ricketts: Sagasa
Kickboxing is one of the core
Question: It has been told in the L-R: unnamed person, Grandmaster systems of Bakbakan. Among other
Philippines Dr Lengson shared Lengson, Grandmaster Ricketts [**] things, it led Bakbakan to empha-
size practical and functional tech- and Eskrima was a landmark black belt in Lameco Eskrima. Are
niques with full contact sparring. book because it was the first time you presently teaching the system?
It also underlined the importance a researcher traveled throughout Grandmaster Ricketts: No. I will
of the hip and body placement in the entire Philippines to research leave the future to his son, Edgar
sparring. the art and publish it in a book. It Sulite Jr. He is my official appoint-
Question: Who are the surviving revealed many relatively unknown ed heir to the Lameco Eskrima In-
senior students of Grandmaster systems to the world and opened ternational system. Edgar Sulite Jr.
Lengson? many doors for future researchers trained under me for many years
Grandmaster Ricketts: Rey Dizer, and practitioners. I am happy to in the Philippines while his father
Johnny Pintoy (the brother of have been a participant in bringing was in the USA preparing for the
Grandmaster Roland Dantes) and these projects to light. eventual arrival of the family. I
Badong Alina are the surviving Question: What was it like train- trust Edgar Sulite Jr. to make many
senior students. ing with Punong Guro Sulite? Was wise decisions. He is like family to
Lameco Eskrima founded at the me.
Question: You were a close friend
of Punong Guor Edgar Sulite. time? Question: Has Edgar Jr. continued
How did you meet him and do Grandmaster Ricketts: Lameco his training and taken his rightful
you have any fond memories you Eskrima was already founded place in Lameco Eskrima?
would like to share? at the time. However it was still Grandmaster Ricketts: Yes.
Grandmaster Ricketts: Edgar evolving and Kali Ilustrisimo was Question: You were very close to
G. Sulite was one of my closest the finishing touch. Training with Tatang. What are some of your
friends. I met him through another Edgar was fun and enlightening fond memories of him and your
close friend of mine, Alex Co, a for the both of us and we became time together?
pioneer publisher in the Philip- training partners. There were lots Grandmaster Ricketts: There are
pines of martial arts books and of live and instinctive drills. Con- so many. Very few had the privi-
magazines. Alex asked me to stant research, experimentation lege to spar Tatang regularly as I
check whether Edgar was the real and sparring, sparring, sparring. did, but there is one occasion I will
McCoy because Edgar wanted to We had lots of painful bumps and not soon forget.
discuss the publication of a book. bruises because back then we had In general, Tatang was a
After meeting Edgar, I reported no safety gear. It was very educa- respectful gentleman. However,
that he was indeed the real thing tional for the both of us. on this particular day I kept telling
and the rest is history. Alex ended Punong Guro Edgar G. Su- Tatang that he was not able to hit
up publishing all three of Edgar’s lite was a true scholar, gentleman me. I was doing this in order to see
books: Secrets of Arnis, Advanced and warrior. how the old man would press his
Balisong and Masters of Arnis, Question: With the unfortunate attack and possibly reveal some
Kali and Eskrima. passing of Punong Guro Sulite, new strategies and techniques; a
The Masters of Anis, Kali you became the highest ranked sacrifice so to speak. Immediately
Tatang stood up and began striking
me in the head. He quickly feinted
left, and then suddenly struck me
in the right eye with an inside De
Cadena attack. Tatang struck me
so hard I actually believed he had
knocked my eye ball out and so I
dropped to the ground in search of
my eyeball! When I realized my
Great friends: Grandmaster Ricketts with the late
Founder of Lameco Eskrima, Grandmaster Edgar G.
eye was still intact, I stood up and making theories. However, this is majority of what is being pushed as
Tatang asked if I was okay. When not enough. You must also practice Kali Ilustrisimo was never done by
I said I was fine, without hesitation Tatang’s real techniques and be Tatang. Let your eyes be the judge.
he continued his barrage of at- able to apply them. Once again, it is personal interpre-
tacks upon me. Tatang was always Many people are good tations.
willing to fight to the end, even in at talking, but when it comes to Being one of the five pillars
training sessions. Now that he has sparring they either decline or of Kali Ilustrisimo and spending
gone, even the painful memories perform very badly. Unfortunately, countless hours with Tatang, I
have become fond memories. there are people exploiting the take great offense at the actions of
Question: Tell us what was legend- Ilustrisimo name but are actually pretenders. I have dedicated a good
ary and special about Grandmas- teaching their own personal vision. portion of my life to this art. It is
ter Ilustrisimo for newcomers that When teaching you must make the a part of me. Regardless of these
may not know? distinction between your version facts, I will always attempt to settle
Grandmaster Ricketts: During and the original. If people are not misunderstandings as a gentle-
the infamous organized crime wars honest and this keeps up, the art man, first and foremost. However,
of the 1950s, the crime lords of will continue to be watered down if this course of action fails, I will
the two rival factions sought the and may eventually be lost. not hesitate to settle it as an Eskri-
protection skills of Tatang. Some Also since the passing of mador. It is after all, the “Warrior
of the toughest Tondo mobsters in Tatang, there have been many Arts” and not the “Verbal Debat-
the Philippines history recognized people publicly proclaiming to be ing Arts”. I have full confidence in
and respected Tatang. “certified” by Tatang. There are all what Tatang has passed on to me;
manners of scenarios: some spent most do not.
Question: In your years of teach- a week, a month or just took a
ing, do you feel that students want Question: Master Topher, you are
photo with Tatang to become “cer- carrying on the legacy of your
the fast service approach, i.e., tified”. There are very few credible
quickly moving through the mate- teacher, Grandmaster Antonio
martial arts that will even consider ‘Tatang’ Ilustrisimo. How does that
rial? certifying anyone with even two
Grandmaster Ricketts: I have make you feel?
years of dedicated training, let Grandmaster Ricketts: When I
never experienced it personally. alone two weeks. There is even
Usually when students want to started training in Kali Ilustrisimo I
a story of people helping Tatang never expected that it would come
learn from me they know I mean with his medical bills in his twi-
business and they in turn must be to this point. I was drawn to this
light years and thus being awarded particular art because it was the
committed and dedicated. Oth- certification for their help.
erwise, I will just refer them to most practical and effective form
There will always be of Philippine martial arts that I
someone else. unscrupulous people that will say have encountered. I just wanted
Question: Are you concerned that anything to become “known” in to learn with no other motive. My
with the proliferation of unquali- the martial arts, even at the ex- beliefs in his skills were further
fied teachers attempting to cash in pense of the art. Because of these reinforced judging by the way all
on the popularity of the Filipino facts, my main focus is now is other masters we encountered to-
martial arts, the true intention of concentration on Tatang’s original gether treated him. He was simply
the art will be lost? core techniques, the roots of his the best of his generation and they
Grandmaster Ricketts: Naturally system which I always differenti- all treated him accordingly.
I am concerned with the preserva- ate from drills developed by the Now I am seeing all kinds
tion of all the arts in their purest five pillars. Who is to say what is of glory hungry individuals out
form. Personally, my main concern original and what is not? On top there trying to exploit Tatang’s
is with Kali Ilustrisimo. After the of the fact I was one of his most name for fame and money. A few
death of Tatang, many people sud- physically dedicated students, legitimate ones out there, but most
denly appeared claiming to repre- the hundreds of hours of Tatang’s are a joke. So now I must make an
sent Kali Ilustrisimo. These people film archives that I have of him in effort to preserve his teaching in
are mainly good at talking and action speak for themselves. The the purest way I can. Naturally I
will have drills and interpretations began. Unfortunately, there will oped has fine-tuned the manner
that are my own or that of the five always be people that exist who in which the art is taught to the
pillars. However I was trained in, will say or do anything to become students?
observed and archived the pure “famous”. Grandmaster Ricketts: My teach-
techniques. By pure, I mean the ing progressions teach a student to
Question: Looking back, did ei-
techniques that Tatang constantly instinctively react with the tech-
ther of you think his system would
repeated over the many years of niques of Ilustrisimo. However, it
be embraced by martial artists like
my training. These techniques are is not something you learn over-
it has been?
always direct and simple, devoid night.
Grandmaster Ricketts: We knew
of flowery movements. I have sep- it was a unique treasure among Question: How do you ensure the
arated these movements into their
Philippine martial arts. It was just students receive and grasp the es-
own category as to not confuse it
a matter of time before the world sence of the art?
with the interpretation of the five
would also start to realize it. Grandmaster Ricketts: Research,
Question: Without a doubt you are review, dissect, spar and dedicated
Question: What are your thoughts practice, practice, practice. My
largely to be applauded for this
on the legacy of Grandmaster emphasis is on constant repetition
and for carrying his legacy.
Ilustrisimo? of basic techniques and sparring.
Grandmaster Ricketts: The five
Grandmaster Ricketts: Let’s just
pillars have all done their part. Question: How long do you
put it this way. If it wasn’t for Ta-
With this said, I am disgusted with believe it takes for the average
tang I would not be practicing the
some of the followers under some person to develop adequate skills
Philippine warrior arts.
of the five pillars. They are con- to protect themselves and deal with
Question: What do you feel made stantly trying to divide us in order street attacks?
him so good? Was it his natural to gain favor. They also show no Grandmaster Ricketts: There is no
abilities, his fighting system and respect for the other seniors of scientific method of determining
training methods? Kali Ilustrisimo. To me this is a that factor.
Grandmaster Ricketts: A combi- sign of motives without honor and Question: From your experience,
nation of all of the above. disrespect to the system. can anyone learn Kali Ilustrisimo
Question: How proud do you think Question: In a nutshell, what are and master the principles and
Tatang would be, knowing his art the differences in how you learnt techniques or does it require/suit
has continued to be taught and is from Tatang and how you teach individuals with certain abilities or
respected worldwide? today? genetics?
Grandmaster Ricketts: I think he Grandmaster Ricketts: Through- Grandmaster Ricketts: If you
would find it amusing. He would out the years up until his death, I don’t have an open mind, then
be proud in some instances, but was constantly learning, dissect- forget about trying.
bewildered in some cases, on the ing, experimenting, analyzing and Question: Do you accept there are
verge of anger. Some of the stuff observing his movements. After students who will eventually tailor
out there claiming to be Ilustrisimo Tatang’s death, I continued to do and develop Kali Ilustrisimo to
just should not be associated with the same with what I had retained. their won requirements and genetic
Tatang’s name. Now I have come a full circle back makeup?
I think Tatang would be to his original techniques: mini- Grandmaster Ricketts: Yes.
saddened that politics has infected mal, uncomplicated, and effective.
our group. When it was still the When I went back and reviewed Question: A major misconception
core group, practice was fun for the hundreds of hours of film ar- with Kali/Eskrima/Arnis is it is
many years. None of us were do- chives on Tatang, it confirmed that only a weapons method of combat.
ing it for self-promotion or ego I am on the right path. And still in Why is it some people do not see
inflation. It was like a family. It wonder of my teacher’s abilities. the well rounded composition of it?
was not until people who were not Grandmaster Ricketts: Many
Question: Would you say the people are fascinated by weapons
in the original group made their
teaching progression you devel- and seem to not go beyond that.
way in. This is where the problems
gain from observing other systems.
Question: What is the difference
between Kali Ilustrisimo as you
teach it and Bakbakan Kali (Ilus-
Grandmaster Ricketts: The
difference is Kali Ilustrisimo is
Topher Ricketts and Bakbakan Kali
is Rey Galang’s.
Question: What if any advice
could you offer someone to look
for when seeking a genuine Kali
Grandmaster Ricketts: Stick to
the five pillars while you can.
Question: You are presently work-
Grandmaster Antonio Ilustrisimo and the Bakbakan group [**]
ing on an exciting DVD series.
In the process they are missing the Grandmaster Ricketts: Yes. I am Could you tell us about them?
core concepts. very proud and humbled at how Grandmaster Ricketts: You will
well we are received around the find a new perspective on this truly
Question: You were one of the unique art.
Founders of Bakbakan and its
Chief Instructor. What is the his- Question: When I was training Question: Additionally you are
tory and aim of Bakbakan? under you in the Philippines, you working on an extensive Kali Ilus-
Grandmaster Ricketts: Bakbakan stressed you only teach Kali Ilus- trisimo book. What will the book
means something along the lines trisimo. Does this still hold true? encompass?
of a free for all brawl. Bakbakan Grandmaster Ricketts: Yes. Grandmaster Ricketts: It will
was founded in 1967 by a group actually be a series of books. Some
Question: Why do you not teach
of instructors from various styles books will cover the original core
Lameco Eskrima or Bakbakan
of martial arts in the Philippines. techniques and some with methods
Prior to the organization becom- to develop these techniques.
Grandmaster Ricketts: It is what
ing a bastion of martial arts in the I have focused on. It is my core Question: During your decades
Philippines, the main objective style. This does not mean I do not of martial arts training, you have
of the original members was to
elevate their fighting skills through
constant full contact sparring.
Originally there were only
six of us: Ding Binay, Rolly Max-
imo, Christian Gloria, Eddie Ben
Alicante, Rey Vizer and myself.
We would meet at my house in San
Miguel Village in Makati, where
my bedroom was our original gym.
Question: Bakbakan is respected
worldwide for its integrity in the
promotion of the combative arts of
A Gathering of some of the Senior Members of Bakbakan International.
the Philippines. You should be very
proud since you yourself have set Dodong Sta. Iglesia, Ding Binay, Ronnie Ricketts, Rolly Maximo, Rey Galang,
the standard. Rey Dizer, Topher Ricketts, Edgar Aristorenas and Tony Diego [**]
L-R: Grandmaster Antonio ‘Tony’
Diego, Punong Guro Edgar G. Sulite,
Grandmaster Christopher Ricketts,
Grandmaster Rey Galang, Grandmaster
Alex Co [**]
studied and become proficient in Grandmaster Ricketts: Yes. Grandmaster Ricketts: I am now
several systems including boxing. Technology may change and more practical than realistic. When
Why? sometimes even fail, but the physi- I was young, I practiced controlled
Grandmaster Ricketts: I am a cal human body is the same. sparring and pulled my punches.
true lover of the warrior arts from Question: Though you yourself I used to think that was it until I
forms to practical applications. have competed in various forms found out the hard way in a street
I do it because I truly enjoy it. of competitions, do you believe fight.
Boxing has some of the best full Filipino martial arts competition Question: What changes did you
contact, conditioning and training can develop bad habits? make as a result of these street
methods that exist. Grandmaster Ricketts: Yes. Most fights?
Question: Did you encounter dif- tournaments forget about defense Grandmaster Ricketts: Constant
ficulty learning and then apply- and just press the attack. They get repetition of basics, regular full-
ing the different techniques and hit as many times as they hit with contact sparring and honesty with
concepts? little respect for the weapon. They yourself.
Grandmaster Ricketts: No not at rarely do the art justice. A tourna- Question: As someone respected
all. I enjoy every aspect of learn- ment with protective gear can be for their fighting ability, how do
ing. good as long as the rules, judges you prepare students to take their
Question: Would you agree the and participants respect the true skills from the class and apply
primary objective is to prepare the capabilities of a live weapon at all them effectively in the street?
student to be able to defend them- times. Another way to rectify this Grandmaster Ricketts: Constant
selves should the need arise? is to remove the helmet and other repetition of basics, regular full-
Grandmaster Ricketts: In the protective gear and use a full live contact sparring and honesty with
Philippines, it is always for self- stick. But how many people are yourself.
defense. willing to do that?
Question: I know and agree with
Question: You have trained elite Question: You are known and re- your emphasis concentrating on
military units in various countries. spected as someone who has used drilling the basics. What is the em-
Do you believe arnis serves as a his skills in dangerous street situ- phasis and aim of your teachings?
practical combat method in these ations. How did these experiences Grandmaster Ricketts: For a
modern times? alter your approach to martial student to be able to eventually
arts? naturally execute a technique cor-
rectly without thought. Become an Grandmaster Christopher Ricketts and his son, Guro Bruce Ricketts.
instinctive fighter. Follwing in the steps of his father.
Question: You recently relocated 1
to the USA. Are you presently
teaching and how has Kali Ilustri-
simo been received?
Grandmaster Ricketts: I am pres-
ently teaching and I have a loyal
core group focused on the integ-
rity of the art. I have conducted
seminars in Las Vegas, New Jersey,
Maryland, Los Angeles, San Di-
ego, Oakland, Seattle, and Virginia
Beach. I am assisted by my son,
Guro Bruce and Guro Dino Flores
of Lameco Eskrima SOG. Dino has
been training under me since 1997,
after the passing of his teacher and
my friend Edgar Sulite. Presently
I am offering small group and pri- 3 4
vate lessons, as well as seminars
Kali Ilustrisimo is being
very well received as most of the
participants have heard of it. Once
they experience it in person, it usu-
ally is an eye-opener for practitio-
ners of many styles. It is especially
an eye-opener for those who have
“supposedly” been learning Kali 5 6
Question: Your son Bruce has been
training since I can remember. Tell
us about his training in the Philip-
pines and now in the USA?
Grandmaster Ricketts: Bruce
began his formal training at 4 years
old. He was always surrounded by
the arts, as there was a gym at our
house in the Philippines. Although
he has trained in various arts, his
specialty is Kali Ilustrisimo, which
he learned under myself and Tony
Diego, Sagasa Kickboxing, Thai
Boxing, Western Boxing under
Dodong Sta. Iglesia and Ngo Cho
under Alex Co.
Question: What is the aim with
Grandmaster Ricketts: Again, it
9 10 11
is just plain Ilustrisimo with the will be addressed when we launch Philippine martial arts and Philip-
USA as one of the regions. I also the official website. We will be pine culture in general. He has
have people in the Philippines, doing everything right and by the not been given the credit he truly
Australia and around the world. book. My son Guro Bruce Ricketts deserves. Just the fact he made the
The details of this will be in the will be instrumental in this phase first Philippine martial arts movie
upcoming centralized website. as well as the system officers. of international proportions is a
Question: You will be visiting Aus- grand feat in itself that needs to
Question: Presently where do you be given its fair recognition and
have people representing you and tralia to conduct seminars. What
can attendees expect? honor. He is a true warrior, gentle-
could you please name them? man and most of all a friend.
Grandmaster Ricketts: At this Grandmaster Ricketts: I’ll be
point all representation is under re- there soon. Expect Kali Ilustrisimo Master Topher, thank you very
view. I am currently restructuring. in its most combative, practical much.
AI must get strict with who repre- and purest form. Grandmaster Ricketts: Walang
sents me if we are to keep Tatang’s Question: Could you please say a anuman. You are welcome and
pure methods alive. I am saddened few words to Grandmaster Ro- thank you for your support and
with the current development and land Dantes about the book he is interest in the warrior arts of the
the only thing to do is to ensure interviewing you and other Grand- Philippines.
I do it right once and for all. All masters for? Master Topher is now
representatives must be trained Grandmaster Ricketts: This book residing in the U.S.A. where he
and informed in these new policies is very long overdue. Grandmaster is teaching Kali Ilustrisimo in the
and methods. All of these matters Roland Dantes is an icon of the way that only he can. This of-
fers a remarkable opportunity for
those seeking the opportunity to
learn true Kali Ilustrisimo as it is
intended to be: effective, direct
and deadly. For further informa-
tion visit Grandmaster Christopher
Ricketts’ web site www.ilustrisi-
mousa.com which should be back
This interview is a com-
pilation of interviews researched
and conducted by Grandmaster
Roland Dantes and David Foggie.
An earlier interview which was
researched and questions compiled
by David Foggie, was conducted
L-R: Guro Dodong Sta. Iglesia, Grandmaster Pepito Robas, Grandmaster Yuli
Romo, Grandmaster Vic Sanchez, GrandmasterRey Galang, Grandmaster
by Dino Flores on 12th February
Christopher Ricketts, Grandmaster Roland Dantes, Grandmaster Rodel Da- 2006, Los Angeles.
gooc, Grandmaster Jerry dela Cruz
Residence of Grandmaster Ricketts in Manila, Philippines 2004
L-R Siting: Grandmaster Roland Dantes, Grandmaster Jerry dela Cruz, Grandmaster Vic Sanchez, Grandmaster Rodel
Dagooc, GM Pepido Robas, GM Yuli Romo
Standing: David Foggie, Grandmaster Ricketts, Grandmaster Rey Galang, Guro Dodong Sta. Iglesia
At the premiere of ‘Mano Mano 3 (starring Ronnie and Bruce Ricketts.
From the left: Grandmaster Roland Dantes, Grandmaster Ricketts, Grand-
master Rodel Dagooc, Guro Steve Drape, Janice Loke and Grandmaster Vic
Sanchez - 2004 Manila, Philippines.
Grandmaster Christopher Ricketts
About the author: Introduced to the
Filipino martial arts by Grandmaster
Roland Dantes was an awakening and
enlightening experience which reset the
course of David’s martial arts training.
As such, David made the transition
to the Filipino martial arts and was
fortunate to become a personal student
of his teacher.
Having trained in the Philip-
pines several times, David continued
his training and research with his prin-
cipal teacher Grandmaster Dantes and
met many masters of the art, as well
studying from and becoming a student
of Grandmaster Christopher “Topher”
Ricketts. Other Grandmasters who
were kind enough to spend some time L-R: Master Boy Garcia, Mrs Beth Ricketts. Grandmaster Topher,
training David include Grandmaster David Foggie, Janice Loke and Grandmaster Vic Sanchez
Johnny F. Chiuten, Grandmaster Vic
Sanchez and Master Nilo Limpin.
After years of dedicated private
study under Grandmaster Dantes, Da-
vid tested for and was promoted to the
rank of Lakan Lima (5th degree black
belt) and the title of Ikalawang Guro.
This is an immense honor as Grand-
master Dantes never before graded a
student to this rank. Valuing and re-
specting the promotion, David though
is insistent he is simply a student of the
Filipino martial arts and stresses it is a
lifelong pursuit. As such, he uses the
title (Taga Turu) as he truly believes
he is only a student of the art and an
assistant to his teachers.
With the passing of Grandmas-
ter Dantes, David as his most senior
student continues to teach Pinagsamang
Paraang Arnis. It is up to the himself
and a handful of students who trained L-R: Boy Garcia, Dodong Sta. Iglesia, Jim Papadopoulos,
under the auspices of Grandmaster Grandmaster Ricketts, David Foggie after training in Manila 2004
Dantes at his official school to ensure
their teacher’s system is in the hands
ters and these have been published seminars with Grandmaster Bobby Ta-
of those they trust as they are now the
in Australia’s premier martial arts boada Balintawak Eskrima Cuentada
guardians and custodians of his legacy.
magazine ‘Blitz’, as well as interna- System) and Guro Viko Perrine (Kali
Grandmaster Roland Dantes
tionally in the Philippines, USA and Ilustrisimo), it is hoped 2010 will see
strived to promote and unite those
the UK. Additionally a number of his Grandmaster Ricketts visit Australia
involved with the Filipino martial arts
interviews and photograph sequences to conduct seminars.
and with this in mind, David aims to
were featured in Master Reynaldo S. To Contact David Foggie:
continue the path set by his teacher.
Galang’s publications, “Warrior Arts Email: email@example.com
Through the years, David has writ-
of the Philippines” and “Masters of Cell phone: (6142) 104-5108
ten articles and interviewed some of
the Blade”. Having recently hosted
the Filipino martial arts leading Mas-
Offensive Use for Defanging the Snake
By Guru James Hogue
Through the years, I “Why try to hit his head when he Fig 2
have heard about “Defanging is giving you some great targets?”
the Snake” as a defensive coun- Then to illustrate that point, I take
ter against punches. However, I my knuckles and semi-lightly
haven’t seen many uses for “De- strike their arms, legs, chest, and
fanging the Snake” as an offensive back. I then ask the student if it
set of techniques. I don’t really would hurt if I was to do this hard-
know why the offensive use isn’t er. The answer is always yes. Then
so popular, or even taught. How- why aren’t they seeing my arms as
ever, in this article, we are going a target to defang the snake? Fig 3
to talk about the offensive use for As my teacher taught me, some-
destructions known as “Defang- times you have to hit anything
ing the Snake”. I hope this article until you get the target you want.
helps you, and adds some more This held true two decades ago,
tools to your martial arts toolbox. and still does today. Let’s look at
My one pet peeve is what the boxer and his guard in Fig. 2.
I call “The Unmovable Wall.” The Boxer is standing in
When someone puts up his guard Fig. 2 with his hands in front of
people try to hit around it. We, as his face as in Fig. 1. I then do a Fig 3 Up Close
Filipino martial arts practitioners, jab to his hand as shown in Fig. 3.
will strike the arms when they This drives his hand back into his
attack us, but not when they are in face, making the attacker strike
the guard position. Why? Take a himself with his own hand. I have
Fig 1 done this very technique many
times in my 20 plus years in secu-
rity, corrections, and law-enforce-
ment. This rattles your opponent,
and gives you an opening for your Fig 4
I strike to the meaty area
of his forearm as in Fig. 5. This
not only hurts, but also drives his
arm downward, creating an open-
look at Fig. 1, The Boxer. ing for Traps, and/or strikes to his
Notice the boxer has his head. Every time someone puts
hands right in front of his face their guard up, I see this as giving
to protect his head from getting me a target to hit. This technique
hit. Most people will try to strike worked well against an amateur
around his guard to strike him. I boxer I was trying to throw out of
call this “The Unmovable Wall”, a bar I was bouncing in.
not because his arms aren’t move- In that situation, I asked
able, but because they are. How- the boxer to leave, but he just
ever, martial artists won’t move turned around to walk away. I
them, and will see them as unmov- tap him on the shoulder, and he
able. turned with his hands up. I struck
As I tell my students, his hand with my jab and his other
arm with my cross. He yelled in
pain and dropped his guard. I then moved in with Offensive Gunting # 1:
a Dumog Lock and threw him out without a fight. Fig 1 Fig 2
Most people are not use to getting their arms hit,
and it will be a total shock to their system.
Now let talk about “Defanging the Snake” that we
know, Guntings. We have seen Guntings over and
over until we’re blue in the face. We know if the
guy strikes at us, we can destroy it with a knuckle
strike as in Fig. 5.
You may wonder, “What if he doesn’t throw
a strike at me. Can I still do the Gunting? Yes, Gunt- Fig 3 Fig 4
ings are just as good of an attack as a defense. Just
because he isn’t striking, doesn’t make those nerves
any less tender.
Let’s take Offense Gunting #1, where Guru
Baharu Wayne and I are facing off. This will give
you a better understanding of how we use the Of-
fensive Destructions to “Defang the Snake.”
Guru Baharu Wayne and I are facing off in Fig. 1.
My lead hand checks his lead hand (Fig. 2) as I do a Gunting Strike to his Bra- Fig 5
chial Nerve on the inside of his right bicep as in Figs. 3 and 4. My left hand (lead
hand) monitors, and checks Guru Baharu Wayne’s hand downward as I do a back
Defensive Gunting # 2: fist strike as in Fig. 5. This will take the fight to
your attacker, and “Defang the Snake” before it
can strike. The next Gunting is the known as the,
“Back-Fist Gunting” by some systems.
In the typical Back-Fist Gunting, the at-
tacker strikes at you as in Fig. 1. Inside parry the
attacking hand as your right hand does a safety check. You apply a left-hand
back-fist strike to their Brachial Nerve on the inside of his right bicep as in
Fig. 2. Then strike your opponent, and use the follow up techniques of your
Offensive Gunting # 2:
In the offensive version, you’re facing off
with your attacker as in Fig. 1. Angle off to your
left to create distance from their left hand. Your
right hand checks their right hand as you do a
back-fist to the inside of their bicep as in Figs. 2
and 3. Then follow up with the same counter as
Fig 3 the defensive version as in Fig. 4.
Fig 2 Fig 3 Fig 4
Defensive Gunting # 3:
As the attacker gives a right punch “do a safety check” with your left hand as you outside parry their
attack as in Fig. 1. Use your right hand to finger jab the attacker’s eyes, and then grab his bicep as in Fig. 2.
Deliver an elbow strike to their bicep as in Fig. 3. Finally, deliver a Vertical Elbow to their jaw as in Fig. 4.
Fig 1 Fig 2 Fig 3 Fig 4
Offensive Gunting # 3:
Fig 1 Fig 2 Fig 3 Fig 4
Fig 5 As you and the attacker face of your left checks their right hand to your right
as you parry to your left as in Fig. 2. Your right hand slides under your left arm
into a finger jab to their eyes as in Fig. 3. Then your right hand grabs their bicep
while delivering an elbow strike with a Vertical Elbow as a follow-up as in Figs.
4 and 5.
Offensive Destruction Combination # 1
Fig 1 Fig 2 Fig 3 I open my attack
with a strike to Guru Baharu
Wayne’s left hand, which hits
him in the face as in Fig. 1.
Then, my left hand checks
Guru Baharu Wayne’s right
hand as I deliver a Gunting
Strike to the inside of his
bicep as in Fig. 2. Finally, I follow up by trapping his hand downward as I do a back fist as in Fig. 3.
Fig 1 Fig 2
Offensive Destruction Combination # 2
In combination No. 2, Guru Baharu Wayne
could be facing off with me, or attempting to strike me
with his right hand. This doesn’t matter because at the
Malay Fighting Arts Academy we practice the defen-
sive techniques, the offensive techniques, and combin-
ing both for a well-rounded system. Let’s say Guru
Baharu Wayne did a right jab at me. I counter his strike with a Back-Fist Gunting as in Fig. 1. I then go right
Fig 3 into another Back-Fist Gunting to his other arm with a strike to his jaw as a follow
up as in Figs. 2 and 3.
With these basic techniques, and some practice I hope I have added to your
knowledge in “Defanging the Snake” for offensive use. The main purpose in write
the articles I write, and producing my DVDs is to share my knowledge of the arts
that I love with everyone that will listen. Thank you for taking the time to read my
article, and please feel free to e-mail me with any questions. I hope God watches
over you and your family.
Guru James Hogue: The author has been training in the Southeast
Asian Martial Arts for over 34 years, and has served in law-en-
forcement for over 21 years. He has dedicated this article to his new
Editor: Jennifer McDaniel
Phone: (913) 626-4372
Location: Gardner, Kansas
AMAC Shop Arsinal
Grandmaster Frank Aycocho with Filipino Traditional Weapons Kampilan and Kris swords home made
weapons. Weapons made of cold steel sharp and non-sharp weapons made of aluminum and iron wood black
and tiger kamagong. Kampilan, Kris, Sundang, Kerambit
(Ardabis) Dagger (Kutsilyo), Itak tagalog, Suborito, Bokken,
Tonfa batton, Kamagong stick, Knives , Butterfly swords,
Balisong, padded sticks, Safety Arnis gears are all available
made to order.
Contact: Frank Aycocho for Pricing:
(0919) 883-1120 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
5 Things to Consider Before Buying a Self Defense Knife
By Joel Huncar
Knives and knife fighting have not use your weapon where it is If you want you could
seen a huge upsweep in popular- not appropriate? Are you willing buy custom made knives from
ity these days. Something that to take someone’s life to protect a famous knife maker, but these
was once taught in small secretive your own? knives will perform just as well in
groups is now being taught at your If your answer is no to any a violent encounter and they won’t
local YMCA by karate, Jiu Jitsu of these questions, then please do break your bank. Custom made
and other “traditional” martial arts not make the knife a part of your are great if you can afford them,
instructors. Many people are car- defensive strategy. The sober truth but for me I simply do not have the
rying “defensive” knives for self about bladed weapons is that they money for a custom knife.
protection, from all sorts of social maim and kill. While many knife Cheap knock offs on the
backgrounds. The art of the blade teachers say that you can use a other hand should be avoided like
is not just in the hands of street knife to disable an attacker, this is the plague. They are usually poor
punks and paramilitary types any not really very realistic in the high quality and will break under any
more. Now it is not uncommon to speed adrenaline charged reality hard use. Remember you will use
meet homemakers, realtors, stock of violence. Overkill is instinctive your defensive knife as a tool first
brokers and bankers all carrying once adrenaline kicks in, so if you and for personal protection second
knives as part of their personal carry a blade you must be sure that and this should be your first con-
protection strategy. Many of these your life is in danger before you sideration when you pick it out.
people have excellent instruction pull it or you may find yourself Stay away from low quality stuff
and are ready for the world of spending a long time reflecting on that can be found at flea markets
martial blade carry but many have your actions behind bars. Knives and gas stations.
had very little training and are just can be great life saving tools but Also one thing I have found
ignorantly following the latest only for the most extreme circum- is that quite often knives that are
trend. For those who wish to make stances. marketed with gun manufacturer’s
an informed decision about buy- 2) Knife Quality: names are often of poor quality.
ing and carrying a knife for self The thing I recommend Let the gun makers make guns and
protection there are some things to my students is that when they leave the knives to the knife mak-
that you should consider. are picking out a knife they get ers. Quite often if you get a blade
one made by one of well known from one of the big knife manufac-
manufacturers. Cold Steel, SOG, turers you will have a companion
1) Are You Prepared? that with proper upkeep will serve
Spyderco, CRKT, Benchmade,
Do you have the mental, you all your days.
Timberline, Buck, and Camillus
physical and emotional training
are some of the top manufacturers 3) Model Name:
to be able to carry a blade for
of production knives. All of them Try to stay away from
self defence? Remember we are
make very good folding and fix knives with macho names or
talking about using a sharp instru-
blade knives that are reasonably named after famous “knife fight-
ment to cut up another human
priced and have great warranties. ers”. A lawyer will tear you apart
being here. This is a very ugly
Price range for these knives should in court if you used a knife called
and brutal way to fight. Are you
be from twenty five dollars on the the “marauder” to defend yourself.
ready to suffer the consequences
low end up to a couple of hundred You will look like a psycho to the
of doing potentially lethal damage
dollars on the high end. An aver- jury and court. Do not buy a knife
to another person? Are you trained
age decent quality folder should that will make you look bad in
well enough to keep your blade in
be around fifty to one hundred court. Look for something with a
your hands instead of your attack-
fifty dollars. CRKT make some harmless sounding name like the
ers? Do you have enough control
excellent low cost folders but for “voyager” or “cricket” or “civil-
of your temper to know you will
myself I prefer Cold Steel. ian” to just name a few. Any name
that makes your knife sound tacti- The type of blade you as well and save deadly weapons
cal, military or martial should be carry should suit both your life for situations where using deadly
avoided because if you every need style and self defence needs. You force is a reasonable option. By
to use your blade you will probably should pick a knife that suits your this I mean situations where your
have your actions judged in court. personal fighting style, the envi- life is in jeopardy, anything else is
4) Deployment: ronment in which you live and morally and legally wrong.
Your knife should be able your profession. A roughneck There is a lot to consider
to be brought into use quickly and in northern Alberta would need before one starts to carry a knife
efficiently. It should be there when a different knife then a personal for self defence. The more reflec-
you need it, not sitting in the bot- assistant working in a posh office tion and research you put into buy-
tom of a purse or a pocket. If it is a in downtown LA. Also I train in a ing the knife that is right for you
folding knife it is imperative it can slashing intensive system of arnis will not only keep you from wast-
be opened with one hand quickly. where as a person who trains in ing your money but could also save
If it is a fixed blade it should be a thrusting intensive system will you from making a choice that will
in a sheath that allows for a quick be suited to a different blade then change your life forever.
draw. me. Tailor your blade choice to
If you can’t access your your environment, training and life
knife swiftly it will be of little use style.
in an assault. The other side of this Another side to this is that
you will need to practice getting you should know the local laws
your knife out quick while under and bylaws concerning knifes.
pressure. You need to drill your You do not want to defend your-
draw. It is not enough to have a self with a weapon that is pro-
blade at your side but you must hibited in your area. This is very
be practiced at getting it out in an important. You want to look like
emergency situation. a reasonable person to the police
There is yet another impor- and court, not some outlaw who
tant factor to deployment, if it is packs dangerous weapons and
easy for you to draw your knife, it looks for trouble. When it comes
will be easy for an opponent to get to court image is very important,
to it if you are grappling or clinch- if you are packing a prohibited
ing. This means you need to train weapon you have taken the first
at protecting your knife while in step in destroying your own cred-
combat. Many self defence situ- ibility.
ations can happen so quick that When it comes to picking
you will be unable to access your out a defensive blade you should
knife. Or your knife may not be keep these things in mind. Pick a
appropriate to the situation, but knife that suits you, your training
once the fight is on your opponent style and your life style. Under-
may go for your knife and escalate stand what you are getting into
the situation. You need to know when it comes to using a knife for
how to keep your knife in your self defence. It is your responsi-
own hands and not your opponents. bility to make good choices when
Knife retention is often overlooked it comes to knives and weapons in
by many knife practitioners and general. Do not make knives your
Guro Joel Huncar
trainers but is very important to only choice of defensive training.
A knife is only a viable choice for Ravenwood Combat Arts
your survival when it comes to self
a severely limited amount of self The Guild of Combat Sciences
defence knife training.
defence scenarios. You should Cranbrook BC Canada
5) Blade Style and Length: depend on your empty hand skills email@example.com
The Main Role of Senior Students
Amara Arkanis - USA
By: Phillip Weathers
There are many roles filled by which authority is gained through
senior students in a martial arts freely given choice.
group of any kind. The newest An English word for the
senior students are in a position same process is “modeling.” The
juniors model their behavior after www.amara-arkanis.com
analogous to that of a college stu-
dent the day after graduation or a seniors (including the head teach-
non-commissioned military officer er). The seniors provide the model. extinguish poor behavior.
the day after his initial promotion. Providing the model is also called This brief discussion of
Both have achieved a big goal and “modeling” in a specialized use of modeling demonstrates that senior
moved to a different level but nei- the word by educators and behav- students do their most important
ther has really learned to do his job ioral scientists. work in the workout area in the
yet. Along with one kind of new Modeling is usually unin- presence of junior students. The
status comes a way of being at the tentional. Nobody has the energy senior students are judged in part
bottom of a new heap. to be a conscious role model all by the success of juniors in their
This article attempts to day every day. Self discipline school. A small school with only
track a developmental process for helps to control what we model a few long-term students is not
seniors by looking at the roles they to others. Senior students must likely to survive unless it can pres-
fill. It is intentionally short and have some level of discipline and ent a model to attract new students.
directed as much at new senior understanding to fill their roles. This means the long-term students
students as their teachers. No In this process of emula- demonstrate some martial virtues.
doubt there will be expansions on tion through choice, the practices Many “non-modeling” jobs
subjects glossed over here. and skills espoused by the school filled by senior students are none-
Senior students are never are passed on to new students. theless explicable in terms of help-
in charge of the overall teaching or This makes it possible for the ing the school attract new students
experience of a group. As a sub- school to survive and prosper. to the workout area, which is the
group within a school, they work In much the same way as armies center of modeling. Demonstra-
to support the goals of the school. cannot survive without a solid core tions, tournaments, video produc-
Although there are many ways to of non-commissioned officers, tion, web pages, finance, advertis-
do this, the essential thread uniting martial arts schools need a healthy, ing, and recruiting all have some
senior students across history and cooperating core of senior stu- function in keeping the school
differences in styles is the job of dents. going and growing. One could
modeling the style and its desired Modeling the practices argue with perfect justice that this
behaviors to more junior students. and behaviors espoused by the article assumes the primacy of the
If the seniors show through their school is the most important role workout floor as the center of any
conduct that the school embod- of any senior student. Please note martial arts group. This is the place
ies desirable skills and behavior, that it is at least possible for this where desirable physical skills and
junior students will be moved to process to occur with no giving of character attributes are learned.
emulate them. This is not a re- orders or overt exercise of author- Most other activities collapse in
sult of command authority, but of ity. While seniors may need to and the absence of regular workouts.
choice by the junior students. should exercise authority when Typically junior students
The Japanese might use required, their success is measured clean the school and tend to other
the word “giri” (admiration, love, in part by how little they need to physical concerns that have to be
responsibility) for this process by give orders or exercise authority to done ever and over. Seniors are
chosen in part for their ability to
model, and because they can be
trusted. Their first need is to learn
about passing on the values of the
school. Then they must do it. This
work can be augmented by simple
mechanical tasks that still require
trust like filing in the office or col-
Seniors may assist individ-
ual students and play an assistive
role to the teacher. More advanced
seniors may lead warm-ups or
even classes in the presence of the FMAdigest published in booklet form.
teacher. Seniors who have success- These special printings are approximately 5” X 7” in size - in Booklet
fully lead classes several times in form.
the absence of a teacher may have
FMAdigest Set: Volume 1 - 5 (1st Five Years Regular Issues)
the potential to represent the school
in public (demos, tournaments, United States and Canada - $ 65.00 USD, This includes Shipping.
sales, etc.). Some jobs involving Outside the United States and Canada - $70.00 USD, This includes
new technology have to be as- Shipping.
signed based simply on who can do Note: Orders outside the United States cannot be registered confirmed
them. Teachers need to be current delivery.
on the set of abilities collectively Insured mail is high priced, if you desire insured mailing add extra
possessed by their seniors. $20 USD. Due to some countries customs security mail is held up for
The further a senior’s job or extended time. This includes Canada.
role is from the workout floor, the
more it has to do with some as- Order - Click Here
pect of business management and
the less it has to do with martial
arts. Still such jobs are entirely
necessary. No job that supports the
school is completely divorced from
the martial arts.
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Reflection of December 11, 2009
By Grandmaster Frank Aycocho
December 11, 2009, The Arnis Bill of Law,
Republic Act No. 9850, an act declaring Arnis as the
National martial arts and sport of the Philippines, the
bill of law in honor of the Author, Senator Migz Zubiri
who was an Arnis practitioner of Filipino heritage,
champion in sports and in politics in the senatorial
candidate raise, was a great honor for us all Filipinos
Grandmasters of Arnis Filipino martial arts of each
I was so glad when I was officially called upon
for recognition and as one of the awardees at the, First
National Arnis Congress convention at the Rizal Tech-
nological University. I was even called to step up and
speak at the press conference.
My 42 years of martial arts passion has been
long years of struggle and survival struggle from the
most perfect cone mountain of the Philippines to the
different countries overseas fighting for my identity
be recognized by the authorities of the country where
I was born. In many countries where I had been for as
long as 14 years, while teaching Filipino martial arts,
some would even say, 3rd World Filipino martial arts
craft, it bothers me that I even felt - Challenge), The USEC has trav- years old and now, as a 40 years
like a tiny mice calling me a 3rd eled to 101 countries representing old senator, he just couldn’t stop in
World country guy. I felt so mad the high quality level of education his desire in helping in the devel-
when one huge weight lifter said I in the Philippines and has proven opment of Arnis sports.
am too small, he would break my excellent work and leadership for It’s quite ironic that Arnis,
bones if he hit me. I fought and the Filipino people. our traditional martial arts, is being
hit the sternum of the guy with The long wait is over for practiced more in other countries
a lunge punch and knocked him Arnis, the traditional Filipino mar- than inside ours. The special-
down. The man couldn’t believe tial arts, has become the national forces in the United States, Russia,
that a 5’6” Filipino martial arts sport. And it took a Senator and Israel and Germany used them and
Master could knock him down Arnis experts as well, to give the recognize them as Filipino martial
with one single punch. Later on he sport, around the world, the recog- arts.
signed up for training and became nitions it deserves. Senator Zubiri spoke in
one of my regular students. “We’ve done it. Now we front of the Arnis Grandmasters
With the assistance of have the law” said Senate Majority from different styles, clubs, and
Grandmasters and University Pro- Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri who, organizations from across the
fessors, I was able to register my along with Representative Henry country as they paid a courtesy call
Organization at the DTI and SEC., Teves and George Arnais, authored on Philippine Sports Commission
“The AMAC- Aycocho Martial the law making Arnis the country’s Chairman Harry Angpin.
Arts Center and the KKAASI- national martial arts and sport. Senator Zubiri and PSC
Kuntaw Kali Arnis Aycocho Republic Act 9850 was signed by Chairman Harry Angpin with
System Incorporated,” and also President Arroyo on December 11, Grandmasters
became affiliated with the PCK- 2009, a move that was welcomed It didn’t take long for the
EAM (Philippines Council of Kali by Senator Zubiri and the count- PSC chief to throw his full support
Eskrima Arnis Masters) Founded less Arnis practitioners throughout into Arnis through a 5 million pe-
by Grandmaster Roland Dantes, the country. sos pledge, and an office space for
At the PLM-ICPE-SAP Senator Zubiri, was the Arnis training at the PSC Building.
(Pamantasan Lungsod ng May- National Champion in his weight “ It’s about time for Arnis to get
nila - Integrated College of Physi- class in 1988. He’s been a prac- the recognition it truly deserves,
cal Education), School of Arnis titioner of Arnis since he was 16 and the PSC, being the lead gov-
Professionals, Director, Professor
Armando Soteco becomes the
Board of Directors of AMAC, on
his behalf, AMAC has became the
training ground of graduate P.E.
Teachers taking up Master de-
grees and high students as well in
MAPEH subject, it’s my pleasure
in my spare time to give tutorial
services to educate people about
Arnis sports and for self defense.
Arnis has been a selective sub-
ject in physical education in high
schools and in colleges but this
year 2009, the USEC. Of Depart-
ment of Education has committed
to Senator Migz Zubiri and to all
the Grandmasters at the Congress
Arnis Convention of promises in
C. C. C., (Commitment - Courage Senator Zubiri and PSC Chairman Harry Angpin with Grandmasters
ernment agency in sports, will always be here to help, “ Said Angpin, who presented Senator Zubiri with an RP
“In Thailand they have Muay Thai Boxing, in Korea they have Tae Kwon-Do and in Indonesia they
have Pencak Silat, now the Philippines has Arnis as our national sport and it’s here to stay.
Present at the press conference, PSC, were Grandmasters:
Grandmaster Rene Tongson, Professor Armando Soteco, Grandmaster Rey Dela Cruz, Grandmaster Frank
Aycocho, Grandmaster Vic Sanches, Grandmaster Bert Lamaniego, Grandmaster Jerson Tortal Jr. Grandmaster
Pepito Robas, Grandmaster Rodel Dagooc, Grandmaster Limuel Maning Bonsa, Lady Grandmaster (daughter
of the late Grandmaster Lema), Ms. Caballero, Grandmaster Samuel Dulay. Masters of Arnis from different
styles, Master Vher Tubera, Master Rey Dominguez, Master Jerry Evangelisan, Dayang Cecil Tubera, Profes-
sor Josie Bauzon, R. Delos Santos and many more whom I meet for the first time because I’ve spent a long
There has been a lot of Arnis Grandmasters outside the Philippines teaching overseas and are noted
to be some of the finest Filipino martial arts instructors , in fact Westerns and Europeans have become more
skillful in the art with the influence of different style such as WEKAFP, IMAFP, KKAASI, LESKAS, PCK-
EAM DAV, DTS, etc… to name a few.
The final issue is scheduled to come out February 2010.
For back issues of Rapid Journal visit:
( www.RapidJournal.com ) or ( www.berdugo.us )
are made from multiple systems,
others are as simple like Cinco
Terros as just with one weapon,
a single stick only with no train-
ing on the use of blade or empty
hands methods. Some families still
have fighting systems that have no
name but are still just as effective
as well known ones. Some martial
art academies offer stick fighting
By Marc Lawrence training to supplement their core
art like Karate, Kung Fu, or Tae-
kwondo. Each has its strengths and
What makes up the basics developed techniques to combat weaknesses. Some systems just
of Filipino martial arts known as foreign styles. Subsequently, more do drills, some spar with padded
Eskrima, Arnis or Kali? This is than 100 different Filipino martial sticks only, others spar with rattan
a complete fighting art with the arts styles developed, which can sticks and safety gear, others spar
primary focus being on the weap- be grouped into three complete with just a helmet and live stick,
ons and the defense against them. self-defense systems which utilize and some just use gloves.
The basics are made up of simple sticks, swords, and empty hands. The Filipino fighting arts
mechanical principles, good body It is the original mixed are just as good today as they were
mechanics and the economy of martial art that was based upon in the past. This is because the Fili-
motion. In order to be a good Fili- simple, non-flashy battle tested pino martial arts are built on bat-
pino martial arts fighter, a student methods of fighting. They were tling a variety of foreign invaders.
must have good basics. This is a designed to use natural efficient It works amazingly well against
fact as with a good foundation a motions and exploited the weak- any style of martial art today. The
house is strong so is a fighter with nesses of their opponent’s body. A United States Army included por-
a good foundation. complete Filipino martial arts sys- tions of the Filipino martial arts in
The fighting system was tem being taught to students con- its training manual for soldiers.
originally used to train fellow vil- tained certain basic things. First Today in the USA there are
lagers in a short period of time for you learn to use a rattan stick, it is local, regional, national and world
combat against other island villag- known as the poor man’s weapon tournaments with Filipino martial
es and foreign invaders. The typi- and punching bag. The real pur- arts competition. These tourna-
cal time available between rainy pose of the stick is used to teach ments are the way many clubs
time was just a matter months. your body how to move for attack- test their skills. In the greater Los
There was no time or reason to ing, defending, counter attacking, Angeles area there are roughly 25
teach flashy techniques or train grappling and throwing. The groups or clubs that teach the Fili-
only those with special abilities. next step is when you learn to use pino martial arts. There are Filipi-
The people had to become profi- and defend against blades, like a no, Filipino-Hawaiian, Fil-Am and
cient quickly or perish in battle. bolo or knife, and then last but not American teachers that share their
The traditional arts are least you learn to use your hands love for the Filipino martial arts. A
known as Kali, Eskrima or Arnis, and feet like the stick and the fair number of the American teach-
stick, knife and hand to hand knife. Within a complete system ers in the Filipino martial arts are
fighting which was developed you will find it has hand to hand, married to Filipinas and share the
over a period of many centuries hand and foot fighting as well as art and culture with their children
in the Philippines as her people wrestling methods. and students.
fought for their independence from Some styles are very This column does not take
foreign invaders. Each skirmish complex like Modern Arnis and the place of training with a Guro,
with a new culture added to the Doce Pares as they teach multiple Master, or a Grandmaster but is to
Filipino martial arts as the warriors weapons and methods as they hopefully supplement the training
as this fighting art is one that needs to be learned by hands-on practicing. In the old days, a Guro would spoon
feed you a little information at time, so that you could digest and remember it. Get with your teacher if you can,
practice with others if you do not have a regular teacher. Practice every day you can and play with everyone
you can and you will grow. Each body is different so just because you cannot do the technique just like another
guy’s does not make it wrong. Filipino martial arts, is about finding your own way! Put together your own tool
box of good techniques. Have anyone teaching you explain the concepts behind their method or combination.
Until next time,
Questions or Comments: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hand Crafted Rattan Sticks
In the early 90’s there were two truths in training A.R.N.I.S USA with Senior Master Sam Tendencia.
1. Everyday you did the Abecedario!
2. You were using rattan sticks doing it!
These two truths started with Supreme Master Sam Tendencia in 1927 when he first started his training with
the Late Great Ramondo Gallano.
We here at ARNIS Tendencia (TM) uphold both of these truths even to this day. Just as the Abecedario is the
foundation of our system, so is the sacred rattan stick.
For more info please contact Maestro Nap at; (850) 543-9517 or Email: email@example.com
FMA Past Events
2nd Pres David B. Tirol Cup
March 6, 2009
UB Bulletin Website
The University of Bohol, Criminology Department held the
2nd Pres. David B. Tirol Cup on Pit Fighting Competition last
March 6, 2009 at the UB gymnasium.
The UB Criminology Pit Fighting Society in association with
Bro. Jojo Carcallas and Grandmaster Nelson Vargas with the
support of the different martial arts clubs; Red Dragon Mixed
Martial Arts of Master Voltaire Gonzales; Aikido Ryu of Mas-
ter Rolando De La Serna; Lawin Karate Club of Grand Master
Winnie Ayag; and Bokaido of Master Dennis Dadap success-
fully displayed the skills and talents in the art of Kick Boxing
and Mix Martial Arts before the viewing public.
The major sponsors include; Pres. David B. Tirol, Brig. General Danny Lim, Sen. Antonio trillanes, and Sec.
Arthur Yap of agriculture,German SAKIBO Federartion. The minor sponsors Dodong Malamis, George Lim,
Mr. and Mrs. ruben Raneces, Camp de Fishing, milo, Coke, Allied Bank, Tire Queen, Mr. and Mrs. Bernie
Aboyabor, and Aproniana Gift Shop.
The tournament is design to show the dicipline, strategy, and greatness, of the different skills and abilities of
martial art students.
To read about other events that happened at the end of 2009.
Download the Mini Issue - 2009 Past Events Wrap-up (Click Here)
Remember if you have an event besides advertising it before hand, let others know what went on, what was
taught etc... Send write ups and pictures to: firstname.lastname@example.org
MyFMA.net - The best source of Filipino MyFMA.net is a social network created to help prop-
Martial Arts information on the internet fea- agate the Filipino martial arts, and encourage Filipino mar-
turing photos, videos, events, chat, blogs, and tial arts practitioners to share their passion with each other.
forums! Everyone is welcome regardless of their background or style.
This network environment allows the open exchanging of
MyFMA.net seeks to bring together Filipino ideas and the opportunity to establish social relationships
Martial Arts practitioners from around the Since its launch in April of 2009, MyFMA.net has
world in a thriving online community. steadily increased in size to include nearly 1,000 members.
This network of mutual respect and camara- This includes numerous recognized Grandmasters, Masters,
derie is open to everyone that wishes to share and Founders - as well as individuals new to the Filipino
their love and passion for the Filipino Martial martial arts.
Arts. Every member has a customizable profile page and
is able to post photos, videos, events, and blogs related to
the Filipino martial arts. They can add friends and comment
John R. Malmo
directly to each other’s walls. Members may also join in live
chat, video chat, discussions, and become members of groups that share backgrounds.
These groups represent separate styles or associations and allow students of the same Filipino martial
arts system to share ideas, videos, discussions, and schedule events in their own dedicated area. There are cur-
rently 80 groups on MyFMA.net representing dozens of styles. Each group has numerous discussions, blogs,
MyFMA.net currently has approximately 115 blogs, 75 discussion topics, and 115 events posted that are
public to everyone. Current topics include: the history of Filipino martial arts, the evolution of terminology,
training drills, and personal reasons for training in particular styles. Additionally, there are over 3,700 photos
and nearly 500 videos related to the Filipino martial arts. This is the largest collection of Filipino martial arts
videos outside of YouTube, and a number of these videos are exclusive to MyFMA.net.
Some of the other features include chat, video chat, and social network integration. Members may par-
ticipate in a live, real-time network-wide chat room as well as private chats with other members. They may also
utilize an elaborate video chat that integrates media sharing options. Additionally, MyFMA.net can be integrated
with social networks like Facebook and Twitter. It is also has an iPhone interface at: www.myfma.net/m
Like any network, MyFMA.net is only as strong as its members. Because of our members, we proudly
state that we are the best source of Filipino Martial Arts information on the internet. Since a number of our
members are recognized Grandmasters, if you have a question, you can turn directly to the source. You can
contact a member directly, utilize chat, post a discussion, or create a blog. Our current member base is extreme-
ly knowledgeable and happy to answer questions, provide insights, and help anyone interested in the Filipino
We hope everyone with a passion for the Filipino martial arts, and those just interested in learning more
about the Filipino martial arts will join us. Together we will promote Filipino martial arts while helping to edu-
cate and serve as a resource for the current and new generations of Filipino martial arts enthusiasts.
FMA Future Events
Martial Arts Winter Camp SEAMOK Level #1 Certification Course
February 5 - 6, 2010 March 20 - 21 2010
1569 Olivina Ave. Suite 105 Alliance Martial Arts Academy
Livermore, CA 702-B Mission Trace Dr.
Email Kingsland, Georgia
Mardis Gras Martial Arts Camp 2010 Flyer
February 12-17, 2010 Email
Fountainbleau State Park Website
67825 Highway 190 IKAEF Bali Camp
Mandeville, Louisiana March 22-28, 2009
Seminar - Tournament Bali
Email Nusa Dua, Indonesia
Legacy Tournament Website
February 20 - 21, 2010
The Hilton in Stockton
2323 Grand Canal Blvd
Stockton, CA. Open Grandmaster Cup Martial Arts Tournament
Flyer April 24-25, 2010
Website Davao City, Philippines
(082) 271-6148 or (0910) 378-5828
SEAMOK Tactical Solutions
Email / Email
Level 1 Certificate Course
February 20 - 21 2010
Excell Martial Arts May
722 W. 19th Street
Houston, Texas, 77008 Modern Arnis Seminar
Contact: SiSok Dan Barretto (832) 875-0706 Dr Remy P. Presas
Flyer May 15 - 16, 2010
Email 3 Adrianeiou St.
Metamorfosi, Athens, Greece
World Trade Center Mexico 5th Filipino Martial Arts Festival
Filipino Martial Arts Championship July 25 to 30, 2010
May 22, 2010 Puerto Princesa, Palawan Island, Philippines
Av. Filadelfia s/n Col. Napoles Flyer
C.P. Mexico D.E. Email
Flyer Website / Website
WMAA 10 year Anniversary Celebration & Training
Website / Website
June July 30th - August 1, 2010
Disneyland Martial Arts Festival WMAA Headquarters
June 19 - 20, 2010 (Horizon Martial Arts)
Anaheim Convention Center 280 Center Rd.
800 West Katella Ave. West Seneca [Buffalo], NY.
Anaheim, CA. (716) 771-1291
FMA Contact Information Website
Coordinator: Darren Tibon
Way of the Knife
July 8-12, 2010
281 Peterson Rd
Grandmaster Richard Bustillo Seminar
July 10 - 11, 2010
307 White Horse Pike
Absecon, New Jersey
11th World Eskrima Kali Arnis Championship
July 19 - 25, 2010
The Original Hi-Impact Sticks, Staffs and Training Knives
~ Since 1986 ~
Designed by a martial artist for martial artists
FMAPulse.com is an exciting new
website dedicated to the Filipino martial arts. A little more than a year ago Filipino martial arts
It is the mission of the FMA Pulse to help practitioners Michael Querubin and Romeo Maguigad tossed
promote, educate and serve as a resource around some ideas for an Filipino martial arts website. One
for the current and new generation of FMA idea was to create an on-line presence with a mission to help
enthusiasts. promote, educate, propagate and elevate the Filipino martial
The team at FMAPulse.com is pre- arts and culture. It saddens us that many Fil-Ams do not even
senting Filipino martial arts to the world via know that the Philippines has a martial art! Another was to
the internet using Web 2.0 technology. Us- provide interviews of Filipino martial arts teachers using
ers can interact with one another in a setting audio or video mediums so the Filipino martial arts commu-
much like Myspace or Facebook, only that we nity could see or hear these Filipino martial arts instructors
are focused primarily on the Filipino martial and get to know them on a more personal level. Hence, FMA
arts. This on-line community will give users Pulse was born.
around the world the ability to share, learn, FMA Pulse from its inception brought together vary-
teach and stay current with what’s going on in ing aspects of different Filipino martial arts websites and
the world of the Filipino martial arts. housed them under one roof. From the beginning we wanted
Not only will this online social net- to serve as a resource site to newcomers to Filipino martial
work cater to practicing Filipino martial arts arts. It was also essential to have a social networking com-
students and instructors, but also to anyone ponent, a forum to discuss the latest happenings, and an e-
interested in learning about the Filipino commerce store to provide high quality training equipment.
martial arts and culture. Aside from connect- It is our intention with these services to help build a vibrant
ing people together, FMAPulse.com will be online community centered on promoting and elevating Fili-
offering viewers their own personal blog, pino martial arts to a standard that has not been seen before!
articles, upcoming Filipino martial arts events As with any good website, we continually strive to
and monthly video or audio pod-casts of improve and expand our website to better serve the Filipino
different Filipino martial arts instructors and martial arts community. As of January 1st we are now of-
their respective styles. This will give viewers fering online streaming Filipino martial arts video lessons.
a chance to get to know these leading Filipino These lessons were designed for the person who is new to
martial arts instructors and their styles on a Filipino martial arts but is not geographically close to a cred-
more in-depth level. ible instructor. They also serve as an introduction to Filipino
We at FMAPulse.com invite you to martial arts for martial artists who come from different back-
participate, share your views and ideas so grounds.
we can all unite to help further promote the We invite you to come check out our featured instruc-
Filipino martial arts in a positive way across tor interviews and our soon to be released “FMA technique
the globe. of the week”. We are also offering free ground shipping on
product orders over $75.00 dollars in the U.S.
Sincerely, We would also like to send a special thanks to FMAdigest
The FMA Pulse Team for blazing the trail for newcomers like us and being our big-
gest supporter. Also thank you to all the Guros, Masters and
Grandmasters for your contributions to Filipino martial arts
and FMA Pulse. There is no better time than now for everyone to do their part to help elevate Filipino martial
Past Featured Practitioners that were Interviewed
May 2009: Gat Puno Abon Baet
Garimot Arnis System
We had the great pleasure to have attended Gat Puno Abon Baet’s Garimot Arnis and Harimaw Buno
seminar during his visit to Chicago. When first meeting Gat Puno Baet, there was an immediate feel-
ing of comfort being around him, like we’ve known each other for a long time.
Learn more and listen to his interview…
June 2009: Maha Guro Nate Defensor
Defensor Method FMA
Maha Guro Defensor has been teaching his Defensor Method in the Chicagoland area for almost 30
years and has trained and studied with notable Filipino martial arts figures such as Floro Villabrille,
Leo Gaje, Mike Inay, Angel Cabales, Raymund Tobosa, Dan Inosanto and Jimmy Tacosa to name a
Learn more and listen to his interview…
July 2009: Guro Fred Evrard
Guro Fred Evrard on his system, traditional Filipino Martial Art weapons, training with Punong Guro
Jeff Espinous of Kali Sikaran and Suro Mike Inay of Inayan Eskrima. Also hear Guro Evrard tell his
story on how he presented Kali Majapahit to the Fullcom Council of Martial Arts Masters of Baguio
and the National Council of Kali Eskrima Arnis Masters in Manila as well as training the Philippine
Special Forces and the Philippine National Police.
Learn more and listen to his interview…
August 2009: Punong Guro Myrlino Hufana
Hufana Traditional Arnis International and the WFMAA Expo & Laban Laro
Hufana Traditional Arnis International. Punong Guro Hufana is also the Founder and President of the
World Filipino Martial Arts Association which will be holding its 7th Expo and Laban Laro on Octo-
ber 23 - 25 in Las Vegas, Nevada. We encourage Filipino martial arts practitioners to attend this event
which will be featuring some of the best Filipino martial arts instructors in the world!
Learn more and listen to his interview…
September 2009: Dr. Remy Presas, Jr.
Dr. Presas, with the help of his siblings, established MARPPIO (Modern Arnis Remy P. Presas Inter-
national Organization) to continue the legacy left by his father.
Learn more and listen to his interview… Click Here
Weapons Review: The “Hataw Stick” from Simon at www.eskrimakaliarnis.com
Reviewed by Michael Butz
One of my first concerns
was that the sticks, at slightly over
7 oz (200 g) each, are a little on
the light side. However, I have
been using Bahi sticks (also from
Simon) during practice and swing-
ing a steel bar for solo drills for the
On November 15, 2009, I hosted least some kind of choice; how- past couple of years so that may be
a gathering in Phoenix, AZ, known ever, the availability of different an affecting factor. What I found
as the “AZ FMA Friendship Gath- colors is not relevant to me, as I during training is that the weight is
ering”. There was supposed to be prefer the black color. actually ideal. New and younger
a sparring session at the end of the The sticks are 28” (71cm) practitioners can swing fully and
event but I cancelled it due to a in overall length and just over still keep good form while ad-
somewhat low number of interest- 1 ½” in diameter. The handle is vanced individuals are free to go
ed participants. Simon, the owner 5” long, just over 1” in diameter all out without too much fear of
and operator of www.eskrimaka- and is made of a hard rubber injury. We actually used no protec-
liarnis.com and eBay store “Sticks with small bumps and larger oval tive gear at all during our session
and Buddhas” had supplied some bumps to aid with grip (See 1a & and experienced no problems.
padded sticks, his “Hataw” line, 1b). Simon can make the sticks in Another concern I had dur-
for the sparring session. Since we ing training was the strength of the
did not spar during the Gathering, 1a. 5” Handle with small bumps and stitching and overall construction
a friend of mine and I spent three ovals for grip (See 2a-2c).
hours after the event testing out the 2a. Stitch line along stick length
performance and durability of the
sticks. Although I am not much of
a writer and I have never reviewed
any product before, I thought I
would give my opinion on Simon’s
From what I can tell, the
“Hataw” sticks are an improve-
ment over his original padded
2b. Close-up of stitch line in 2a
sticks. Both versions have a pad- 1b. Handle is just over 1” in diameter
ded tumalin rattan core covered
with a tough, canvas-like lining. different lengths for custom orders
I think the improvements are in so those who prefer something a
the stitching of the lining and little longer or shorter have that
the addition of a handle on the option. The handle is long enough 2c. Stitching at the tip
“Hataw” version. The original pad- to accommodate most hand sizes
ded sticks are available in red and but some practitioners may find it
blue. At the time of this writing, We were swinging the sticks hard,
to be too short, as it does not al-
the “Hataw” sticks are available in not just against each other but also
low for a punyo. I do not think the
black only but I believe Simon is against plain rattan and an oak
handle material is soft enough for
currently working with suppliers training sword. One spot that I was
allow for safe punyo hits without
to make them available in red and worried with the most was the area
additional protection. This is a mi-
blue as well. I am sure there are where the handle and the canvas
nor detail and not a “deal breaker”
those who would like to have at lining attach. I found myself stop-
for me at all.
ping frequently during training, almost every 10 minutes, to check for 3a. Purposefully bending
tears or broken stitches. To my surprise, I found nothing. In all honesty, the stick
we were not trying to find the breaking point for the sticks. We were us-
ing them as we would in regular training and the sticks held up well.
Before receiving these sticks, I had read about how they have the
tendency to bend before they will break and even watched a video that
tested them. I already know that flexible sticks tend to last longer than
those that are rigid. Still, I was skeptical about the design and wondered
how often I would have to stop practice and straighten the stick. Turns
out that this was not much of a problem at all, we ended up stopping and 3b. The stick after letting go in 3a
straightening only three times in the three hours we practiced. Straight-
ening them was easy to do by hand or over a knee or thigh. These sticks
can flex, a lot, but they are not “whippy” and do not stay completely
bent (See 3a & 3b). The “annoyance” level of having to straighten the
sticks was comparable to having to stop practice to wipe the sweat off
the hands, which I tend to do without much thought at all, so again, not a
In summary, although I had many doubts as to how well these “Hataw” sticks would perform I can hon-
estly say that I like them a lot. The quality of construction, durability and performance were above my original
expectations. Factor in that these sticks sell for only $33.98 a pair (plus shipping) and they are a tremendous
value as well. Simon also offers wholesale discounts for bulk and school orders for additional savings or extra
income for resellers. I say get a pair and try them yourself. The worst thing that can happen is that you get to
beat someone up without the negative effects!
Michael Butz is an Arizona-based instructor of the Fierce Tigers Martial Arts Association,
headquartered in Salinas CA. He is also the Arizona state representative of the Buffalo Black
Brotherhood, based in Stockton, CA. He has been training in the martial arts since 1980. He
holds instructor levels in Tang Soo Do, Eskrima and three forms of QiGong and has experi-
ence in Wado Ryu Karate, Olympic-style Tae Kwon Do, Shorinji Kempo, Muay Thai, Aikido
and Southern Shaolin Tiger/Crane Fist Kung Fu. He currently teaches Kada Anan Eskrima
out of his home in Phoenix, AZ and is the weapons curriculum/Eskrima instructor at the
Blended Arts Dojo in Surprise, AZ. For more information, go to www.ftma-az.com.
Filipino Martial Arts: The Core Basics, Structure & Essentials by Dan Anderson
Book Review By Barry McConnell
Thousands of books have been published on how to
punch, kick, block and throw your opponent. In 1981 the re-
lease of American Freestyle Karate: A Guide to Sparring broke
new ground. Here was a book about concepts and principles,
not just mechanics. Every serious martial artist I’ve ever met
has a worn, dog-eared copy of this book on his shelf. It was
the undisputed best book ever written on the subject of core
martial art concepts. Until now.
The newly released Filipino Martial Arts: The Core Ba-
sics, Structure & Essentials addresses the need for a book that
explains fundamental ideas in a way that both the beginning
student and the experienced teacher can use. Although writ-
ten for the Filipino martial arts (FMA), this book transcends
systems and styles and goes to the heart of what makes martial
arts work. A quick glance at some of the topics covered: Moni-
toring, Structure, Timing, Alignment, Movement, Leveraging,
Ambidexterity, and Spontaneity; tells you there’s something
different going on here. These are not the province of Filipino
martial arts alone, these are Universal concepts. These are
topics to be studied again and again, gleaning deeper insight every time you do. This book gives you a path to
This is a big book at 328 pages. It contains literally over 2,600 photos demonstrating in detail each
concept or idea Dan is trying to get across. If it stopped there, this would still be a tremendous tool. But Dan has
included two DVDs with 3 ½ hours of video footage to go along with the book. Every concept you see in the
still pictures you also see in live action video. This gives you the best of both worlds; a detailed photograph you
can use to compare your own posture to, and the action video to see how a sequence flows. Dan has raised the
bar on what to expect from a martial arts book in future.
If you’re looking for a book on Filipino martial arts techniques or a training curriculum this is not the book.
This book is for the Filipino martial arts practitioner who wants to understand the core principles behind the
techniques. For example, in talking about leveraging, Dan shows disarming techniques for each of the 12
standard angles of attack. The particular disarming techniques shown are there to illustrate ways of creating or
increasing leverage and act as a platform for understanding where leverage comes from and how to best use
it. Certainly, any Filipino martial arts practitioner will improve their disarming ability but this book will not
contain an encyclopedia of disarms. Just like an onion, this book opens the reader to layer upon layer of under-
standing as you explore the concepts and apply them to your own practice. That understanding is what makes
this book transcend just Filipino martial arts. The material on structure and alignment will make you a better
Karateka, Hapkidoin, Kenpoist or Kung Fu stylist every bit as well as making you a better Arnisador.
Professor Presas was well known for describing Modern Arnis as “The Art Within Your Art.” What Dan has
done is show you exactly what he meant. This book belongs in the critical essentials library of every martial art-
Filipino Martial Arts: The Core Basics, Structure & Essentials
(Book & DVD set) Price: $74.95 for the set
Information on International Ordering, Click Here
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The Filipino Martial Arts Digest besides providing information on Filipino martial
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also with Special Editions that are on particular systems or styles, and Special Issues on
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