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Dedicated to the Filipino Martial Arts and the Culture of the Philippines

Vol 7 No 5
Publishers Desk
Publisher Grandmaster Gonzalez of Decuerdas Eskrima 2
Steven K. Dowd - Reflection of Grandmaster Gonzalez and DeCuerdas Eskrima
- Respect
FMAdigest Representatives An Interview with Adam James 9
Marc Lawrence Types of Arnis de Mano 15
In Search of Filipino Martial Arts 19
Farewell, Grandmaster Ben T. Largusa (1926 - 2010) 27
Remembered, Master Christopher Ricketts (1955 - 2010) 31
Great Grandmaster Ernesto Presas (1945 - 2010) 33
FMA Past Events 35
Voices of the Masters: Warrior Arts of the Philippines 40
Jeff Finder
Mike Cardenas
Ron Saturno
Emmanuel Querubin
Marc Lawrence
Zena Sultana Babao
M & M Productions

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 authors 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
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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
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and Sold for Monies, without the contact us.
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Publishers Desk

The FMAdigest thought to put this extra regular issue out for the end of the year clean up of last articles.
First is Grandmaster Art Gonzalez and the Decuerdas - Diestro Fighting System who is one of the most secre-
tive of the major Escrima lineages in Stockton, California and has laid low long enough and is ready to come
out and share his knowledge with practitioners.
Adam James the most senior student of Leo Fong discusses with the FMAdigest how it is to train with
Leo Fong and how the Filipino martial arts has been intertwined with Leo Fongs art of Wei Kuen Do.
Emmanuel Querubin discusses the types of Arnis de Mano, how this may bring about a strong basic
concept to the Filipino Martial Arts Education for all practitioners to benefit in teaching new, present, and up-
dating experienced students.
Marc Lawrence took a trip to Hawaii to search and meet Filipino martial artists, what he has put togeth-
er are practitioners that answered the call to present a little bit about their art.
The passing of Grandmaster Ben Largusa and Master Christopher Ricketts just days apart from each
other at the beginning of October is a great loss to the Filipino martial arts community. Zena Babao talks about
some of the past experiences of Grandmaster Ben Largusa and the FMAdigest has taken some of the experi-
ences of Master Christopher Ricketts as told to us. Also to mention it would be good to download Vol7 No1 and
read the interview that David Foggie contributed to the FMAdigest, it is very interesting.
Great Grandmaster Ernesto Presas passing away is another great name in the Filipino martial arts and
will be missed by many.
There were only a couple past events that were written up and passed along to the FMAdigest. However
there were quite a few events that went on in September and October, but no one contributed any information
on them.
As you will notice there are no columns in this issue, since it was decided to put this issue out in such
a short time. However visit the FMA Pulse ( and you will find the most up-to-date news
and ( to see what everyone is talking about.

Maraming Salamat Po
Grandmaster Art Gonzalez
and the Decuerdas - Diestro Fighting System
By Jeff Finder
Historic Photos Providerd By: James Muro

Some people have a commanding the most influential manongs to es-

presence. When they walk into a tablish and propagate the Filipino
room people notice them. Arthur martial arts here in America. Ca-
Gonzalez has that kind of effect, bales and Tenio had great respect
moving easily with deliberate for each other, and in fact Serrada
purpose. This is no coincidence, is one of the 18 arts studied by
for Arthur is the Grandmaster of Tenio in creating his Decuerdas
Decuerdas Escrima and the Decu- system.
erdas-Diestro Fighting System, While the two styles are
until recently the most secretive considered by some to be brother
of the major Escrima lineages in arts, sharing the same numbering
Stockton, California. system and emphasizing com-
Escrima is deeply embed- pactness and efficiency of move-
ded in the roots of the Stockton ment, Decuerdas is even more fang and disarm the opponent. Not
community. Art Gonzalez remi- direct than Serrada. This is an art incidentally, the tip of the defend-
nisces about the time as a teen- designed to kill quickly, whether ers stick might end up embedded
ager when he bought a martial art one-on-one or against multiple in the throat of the attacker off of
magazine, and to his amazement opponents, so situational aware- the same move.
realized that two of the Masters ness is important. This is why fast, One feature of Decuerdas
featured in it worked for his father, simple counters are emphasized is the way in which they break
who was a farm contractor. Those as one cannot waste time squar- down timing and rhythm into one,
two men were Angel Cabales ing off against one person in such two or three beat drills. A one-beat
of Serrada, and Gilbert Tenio of an encounter. The fastest disarm might be an intercepting punch,
Decuerdas, recognized as two of is a strike, allowing one to finish where the move is both offensive
or move on, and drills are and defensive at the same time.
devised to teach position- A two-beat could be a parry and
ing within the flow of punch combination, while a three-
multiple person attacks. beat will be the familiar Filipino
These are practiced under martial arts troika of parry/grab/
a variety of environmental strike. There is even a zero-beat
conditions to better pre- timing, which simply evades and
pare students for possible strike, completely bypassing the
real-world encounters. opponents attempted attack.
Movements are While outsiders think of
extremely simple yet dev- Filipino martial arts in terms of the
astatingly effective. For stick, Decuerdas is indeed a com-
example, an outside de- plete art. Besides the single stick,
fense with a stick against it has a strong emphasis on espada
a number one strike could y daga. Training also encompasses
be a simple shift offline, use of knife, sword, shield, spear
accompanied by a single and flexible weapons. Empty hand
powerful strike downward techniques are taught for the street,
Gilbert Tenio and Art Gonzalez
to immediately kill the
particularly against armed assault, ones boundaries. Clarity comes
when one may not have a weapon from understanding concepts
of ones own available. Watching and underlying principles, creat-
Grandmaster Gonzalez in motion ing infinite possibilities rather
reminds me strongly at times of top than a finite set of techniques.
Kenpo/Kajukenbo practitioners, Art Gonzalez trained
then a moment later has me think- under both Grandmaster Gilbert
ing of Silat. Tenio and his designated suc-
Though the art is designed cessor John Eliab for 22 years.
for deadly encounters, Grand- Arthur describes them as having
master Gonzalez emphasizes the very different temperaments.
philosophy that having the power Gilbert, he says, was very rough,
to kill allows one the capacity to be someone who delighted in dem-
compassionate as well. Since every onstrating the effective power
Grandmaster Tenio, Art Gonzalez,
hit targets either muscles, joints of his art. John Eliab, on the other
and John Eliab
or organs, it is just as important hand, was more refined and articu-
to know how to fix the effects of late, and was responsible for help- for which he alone is responsible.
strikes, locks, chokes and throws ing develop the style into a more His promotion was not
as how to apply them in the first systematized teaching methodol- without some controversy. Due to
place, and so Decuerdas is deeply ogy. Art was also exposed to many Decuerdas underground nature,
versed in the Filipino healing art of of the old Eskrimadors whose Art Gonzalez was not well known.
Hilot. Conversely, familiarity with names have been lost in the mists Besides Decuerdas, Stockton has
human anatomy through studying of time, who lived in the Stockton multiple schools of Bahalana and
healing techniques makes fighting area and were invited by Gilbert Serrada, as well as mixed systems
skills that much more dangerous. Tenio to visit his academy to share like Dentoy Revillars SLD (which
Beyond the physical as- their skills and experiences with stands for Serrada, Largo Mano
pects, Decuerdas also takes into his students. and Decuerdas) and Carlito Bon-
account the psychological effects After John Eliab died sud- jocs Mata Sa Bagyo. There are
of combat on both the practitioner denly in the early 1990s, Tenio probably more Escrimadors per
and opponent. The Grandmaster stepped up Arthurs training since capita in the region around Stock-
is strongly aware of the need for he was next in line in the system, ton than anywhere else outside of
mental toughness and clarity. He grooming him to take over instruc- the Philippines, and close attention
espouses always training under tion and to perpetuate this art. is paid by that Filipino martial arts
duress, meaning to learn to main- Now Gilbert Tenio did have a son, community to those who would
tain composure even while pushing Richard, to whom he left Decuer- stand out. It is still a place where
das as a family lineage. However, the only rank truly recognized is
for personal reasons Richard de- earned out on the floor or in the
ferred taking on this responsibility street, and Arthur has had his share
and so he retired, formally signing of both kinds of challenges. The
over the grandmastership to Arthur results, though, have only elevated
Gonzalez, who accepted with two his standing as one of the elite in
conditions of his own: First, that such a Darwinian environment.
the son can reclaim the position as There are a few, unfortu-
head of the system if he so wishes, nately, who have chosen to play
and the second is that Arthur could the game the modern way, anony-
add Diestro to the name of his mously challenging his rank from
school. In this way he still teaches behind their computer keyboard.
Tenios Decuerdas, while anything However, those who know his
he wishes to experiment or play history and have seen the signed
with falls under a separate heading documents attesting to his position
will agree that Arthur Gonzalez is offering is nothing less than a emotional content.
wins that battle too. One testament complete and comprehensive sys- Grandmaster Gonzalez has
to this acceptance has been his tem with a strong fighting lineage, taught military and law enforce-
participation in the three Grand- presented by a masterful teacher. ment through his L.E.M.A.C.
master Seminars offered in Stock- Having first seen him teach in program (Law Enforcement Mar-
ton in 2006, 07 and 08, where he public at Bruce Juchniks 2010 tial Arts Combatives), as well
taught alongside Serradas Vincent Gathering in Sacramento, then as courses for civilians such as
Cabales and Bahalanas Tony later at a private class near Lodi, Womens Elite Survival Tactics
Somera. Ive been impressed by his ability (W.E.S.T), Fast Assault Survival
Today the Grandmaster to convey underlying principles Tactics (F.A.S.T) and a tactical
feels the time is right to bring as well as in-depth details of edged weapon course.
his art into the public. What he techniques with both clarity and

concepts rather than systematic

techniques. Having briefly dabbled
in other arts during my youth, this
unorthodox teaching method or
style was not considered the norm
for me. Sometimes I wondered
if he wasnt simply honing his
skills on his students by using us
as guinea pigs and beating the hell
out of us in order to perfect move-
ments or test theories. Training
was much more difficult back in
the day and it wasnt unusual to
come home with bruises and welts
from hours of arduous training.
Mr. Gonzalez was also less ap-
proachable. It took nearly year
and half before he actually started
calling me by name. If he needed
L - R: Master Instructor Daniel Siazon, Grandmaster Art Gonzalez,
me for something he would simply
Guro Mike Cardenas, Master Instructor Jorge Magana.
say you come here, or the same
In back is student Travis Pond
phrase in Spanish. Due to the bru-
tality of our training we rarely
Reflection of Grandmaster Gonzalez and DeCuerdas Eskrima kept students long enough to
By Guro Mike Cardenas -
remember their names. I suspect
this is one reason we are a small
I have been a student of class out of the park and recreation
yet close knit group. Grandmaster
Grandmaster Gonzalez and a prac- building at Scribley Park in Stock-
Gonzalez claims he is a kinder
titioner of DeCuerdas for nearly ton.
instructor now and I would have to
14 years. I was first introduced When he started teach-
agree with him.
to Grandmaster Gonzalez by my ing out of the on an old Renbukai
It wasnt too long ago that
good friend Jorge Magana, who Karate Dojo in North Stockton I
I finally realized what my instruc-
recently and deservingly received finally became a student of his. I
tor was trying to accomplish and
the rank of Master Instructors. At can still remember coming home
instill in his students. He wanted
first I used to just visit and watch frustrated that our instructor would
to create thinkers, and not typical
as Grandmaster Gonzalez taught spend so much time teaching us
martial artist who rely on struc-
tured movements to respond to an instructor. I believe DeCuerdas in my mental development. I was
attack. can only truly be appreciated by, never one to take on challenges or
DeCuerdas is a reactive art, an individuals who have studied in take risks in life or strive to better
with devastating simplicity in mo- more traditional systems. myself. DeCuerdas gave me the
tion. Every DeCuerdas movement DeCuerdas also has a courage to return to college after
has a distinct purpose, to either im- way of drawing in instructors of dropping out and it increased my
mediately disable your attacker or other systems who realize that this self esteem. I am not sure how you
set him up for an additional barrage method of instruction is the holy- thank a man that has been this in-
of strikes. I can attest that due to grail they had been searching for. I fluential in my life. DeCuerdas will
our conceptual way of thinking we for one am truly grateful that I was always be a well-rounded art that
can easily blend into other systems introduced to Artudo and that can blend to any situation or adapt
and hold our own. Artudo, as I now I have been given a skill that not to any enemies fighting style. It
fondly refer to him, has opened my many people have. DeCuerdas has is an evolving art that can change
eyes to martial arts like no other truly changed my life and helped with the times or remain the same.

Respect possesses real genius. One need Gilberts system. Manong Gilbert
By Ron Saturno only spend a few minutes watch- made sure that his students were
My boss had a tail. Trailing ing him wield a knife expertly to capable of dissecting other systems
behind him was a large Hispanic figure this point out. He jinxes left in order to discover weaknesses.
male. He was thirtyish with in- with the hand really meaning to Manong Gilbert made his students
quisitive eyes and a large frame... go right. He comes forward really fully capable of being able to think
maybe a little overweight, but meaning to go back. He does ev- with a mathematical and vice-like
mostly he was new meat. Was he erything with frightening precision precision. The stick-men were how
the kind of guy who could pull his and lan, not just for a big man but Art began thinking out his teach-
weight on some hard jobs at the for any man. ing regimen. Thousands of little
plant or was he the kind of guy Over the past twenty-five men later I can honestly say that
who would leave you hanging on years or so of knowing Art there he really and truly has thought out
the back shifts by not showing up, are just too many stories to repeat his system. Although some of his
forcing you to do a twelve hour which many would find interest- system was given to him, he used
shift. These were the things I really ing. He can draw a mean stick- what was good for him and happily
cared about. man for one. On the back shifts cast off the rest.
He really did not talk to away from the prying eyes of Manong Gilbert Tenio
me for the first few days but he the bosses he would spend hours is probably the least known of
had an annoying habit of catching between his tasks drawing little the Stockton Trio, those being
me practicing with my balisong. stick-men doing things. These lit- Manong Cabales, Manong Giron
Was he the kind of guy who would tle men had volumes of notes writ- and Manong Tenio. But regardless
tell the boss? These were my first ten by them telling various arcane of this fact, he was truly one of the
few days of knowing Grandmaster tidbits about what they were doing most capable of the three. A top
Arthur Gonzales. We went on to and the whys. I soon figured out student of all three, Master Dentoy
work together for fifteen years at that they were evil little men doing Revillar, is said to have told a few
the plant. We had kids, divorces, evil things to other little stick-men, closest to him that he places Ser-
trials and tribulations over the from these little men came the rada Escrima of Manong Cabales
ensuing years. I eventually left the heart of his formulation of his ver- over Manong Girons system,
job behind but took our friendship sion of DeCuerdas Escrima. but puts DeCuerdas Escrima of
with us. Im not saying that his sys- Manong Tenio on top of the three.
Grandmaster Gonzales puts tem does not follow the teachings I dont repeat this to start any
on a good show of humility. He is of the late and great Great Grand- controversy, just to put into per-
a large man trying to convince you master Gilbert Tenio. More im- spective the high regard in which
that he is not a fox. He is sly and portantly, these little men mapped DeCuerdas Escrima is held. I am a
out the very heart of Manong Serrada man, and although I may
not fully agree, I will say that the
DeCuerdas Escrima as practiced
by Art is fully combat effective
and would be another art I would
have been happy to have learned.
Besides Serrada, it is one that
would be trusted by me to take
into battle.
In other words, Art does
DeCuerdas very well and would
be one of the very few men walk-
ing the streets of Stockton who
could break me into a sweat know-
ing he was coming to do me harm.
Art, I love you man, but I have
mojo for you! It is a SIG P220 in
.45 with 1100fps. Corbon bullets
which will do harm to any Escri-
mador... even you!
Now many might ask
what the hell is a respected Ser-
rada Master having to resort to a Gilbert Tenio, Wally Jay, Chow Hoon
gun to stop another Escrimador?
Well, this last bit of information is
probably the most important about
my friend. You cut him and you
are going to have to kill him. He
ranks as one of the few who is a GrandmasterTenio and John Eliab
real Escrimador here in Stockton.
Sometimes here in Stockton we
talk too much. Art is not one of
the talkers and I love him for it.
This is probably why we are still
friends. I know that if we were to
ever get physical neither one of us
would walk away that day.
If anyone wishes to learn
a combat art from a combative
man, this is one of the men to
learn from. I fully and comfortably
recommend Art for training and I
do not recommend lightly. Please
seek out my friend when you are
ready willing and able to really
become combat effective. This is
the mantra of Stockton, California
Escrimadors: Is he combat effec-
tive? Well... Arturo... in a word
YOU are.
James Muro and Art Gonzalez
Assisting Grandmaster Art Gonzalez in demonstrating techniques is Master Instructor Jorge Magana

Grandmaster Gonzalez can be contacted at:
(209) 263-5801

A date to circle on your calendar! A two-day DeCuerdas camp is planned for

April 2nd and 3rd, 2011, at a country retreat in northern California. Hosted by
Grandmaster Arthur Gonzalez and Professor James Muro, it is open to anyone,
beginners or experienced alike, who are interested in learning more about this
system of Eskrima. Look for updated informationat, or contact Grandmaster Gonzalez through the contact information above.
The Original Hi-Impact Sticks, Staffs and Training Knives
~ Since 1986 ~
Designed by a martial artist for martial artists

Rainbow Warrior Martial Arts was Founded in 1998 by ac-
tor, writer and martial arts expert Adam James, an instructor of
Wei Kuen Do, Escrima, Kempo, Karate, Kung Fu, Jujitsu, Mauy
Thai Kickboxing, Boxing, Wrestling, Kenjutsu and Kobudo
Adams mentor is Leo Fong, action film star, writer, direc-
tor, Black Belt Hall of Fame member, Bruce Lees friend and
training partner and author of numerous books including the
brand new book Beyond Kung Fu. Adam will be the succes-
sor for Grandmaster Leo Fong in the styles of Wei Kuen Do,
Modern Escrima, and Chi Fung and holds the highest black belt
possible in Hawaii Shin Kan Okinawan Kempo Karate under Professor Michael Dela Vega.
Adam is also the creator of the Martial Arts Conditioning Specialist Certification for the National Col-
lege of Exercise Professionals and is certified for the National Academy of Sports Medicine, USA Gymnastics
and Hawaii Special Olympics. He specializes in martial arts conditioning, power lifting, Olympic lifting, plyo-
metrics, speed and power training, gymnastics, sport specific training, running technique, flexibility training
(basic to advanced stretching) and mental fitness/sports psychology (meditation, positive affirmations, visualiza-
tion, psychoneuroimmunology and peak performance).
As an actor, Adam performed in the films Under Siege with Steven Seagal and Steal Big/Steal Little
with Andy Garcia, and has worked as a martial arts film consultant and fight choreographer.

An Interview with Adam James

Senior Student of Leo Fong of Wei Kuen Do

FMAdigest: Adam can you tell us FMAdigest: Can you give an

about when and how you met Leo overall view on Wei Kuen Do? The
Fong? principles of the art?
Adam James: I first met Leo at the Adam James: Leo created Wei
Warner Center Club in Woodland Kuen Do in the early 1970s and
Hills, California in 1993. I had wrote a book on it in 1976 called
moved to the mainland to open Wei Kuen Do: the Psycho-Dy-
schools for the Hawaii Shin Kan namic Art of Free Fighting. In the
Okinawan Kempo Karate Dojo and book, he describes the physical,
pursue my career goals as a writer mental and spiritual aspects of the
and actor. I was working at the style and shows how to integrate
Warner Center Club as a personal boxing punches, Korean style
trainer and teaching martial arts. kicking and grappling with an
When Leo and I met, we immedi- emphasis on mobile, free fighting.
ately hit it off and became friends It was one of the first books ever and develop your inner self. Then,
as well as business associates. written on an eclectic approach to over the last ten years Leo has
We started working on a televi- the martial arts - however, it is not developed an amazing set of com-
sion show concept and producing just a system based on combining binations and training drills after a
the show. Then over the years we different techniques but rather how spiritual experience that changed
started training together and Ive to blend them together into one the course of his life. During this
been very fortunate to assist him in complete approach. Wei Kuen Do time, he and I were training on an
the changes and developments hes means the Way of the Integrated almost daily basis and each time
made to his original style of Wei Fist and this is the key to style we would get together, he would
Kuen Do as well as the creation of to truly integrate the techniques have a new combination or subtle
his new style Chi Fung. adjustment to work on. Over these
years, the combination sets were fighting approach of boxing, by all of the movements are based
created and perfected. his friend Bruce Lee and the prin- on circular motion and this builds
FMAdigest: Leo Fong created the ciples of Jeet Kune Do and also by the energy and power of the tech-
five sets of combinations for Wei his experience in the Filipino mar- niques.
Kuen Do called - The Angles of tial arts. In particular, his friend - The Trapping Combinations:
Attack, The Circles of Destruction, Angel Cabales had a big influence These combinations are based on
The Trapping Combinations, The on the creation of the new Wei the opponents attempt to block
Quick Counters and The Faking Kuen Do combinations because the core attacks and then to use the
Combinations. Can you break- Leo was very impressed by the principles of Wing Chun and Jeet
down the theory behind each set of way that Angel had organized the Kune Do trapping. However, we
combinations and how each would combinations for his style of Ser- dont attempt to overly grab and
be a factor in its use as a fighting rada Escrima. Angel had all of his get caught up in trying to control
tool? techniques and combinations orga- the opponents arms and instead
Adam James: All of the sets nized in sets of twelve and Leo de- we trap with a boxing structure.
consist on 10 combinations that signed his in sets of ten. Also, the We use a touch and go approach
work cohesively with each other V-step that Angel taught Leo is the that leads us to the next strike - in
as well as the other sets. When basis for the footwork in all of the essence its trapping without trap-
Leo created the combinations, he new combinations as well as the ping because we dont grab the
had just retired from his career as quick, light free fighting footwork opponent.
a minister and during this time, he of boxing. In addition, the strikes
are based on the natural response - The Quick Counters: The Coun-
went through a spiritual experi- ters are combinations that we use
ence that gave him a new perspec- of fighters and the possible ways
that they will attempt to block and based off the opponents attack and
tive. He now had the free time lead to specific quick strikes. In es-
to sit and contemplate his lifes counter certain attacks.
sence, these are the basis for coun-
journey in the martial arts and the - The Angles of Attack: The An- ter fighting and they are extremely
techniques that were truly effec- gles of Attack are the foundation effective against an aggressive op-
tive. As I previously mentioned, he for Wei Kuen Do and all of the ponent. All of these combinations
had created the style of Wei Kuen basic strikes are contained within contain the V-step, quick footwork
Do back in the 1970s but now he these combinations. They are and Angles of Attack strikes.
had the opportunity to crystallize primarily the offensive techniques
his thoughts and perfect the tech- but they can be executed from a - The Faking Combinations: The
niques. He was inspired by the free variety of defensive deflections. Faking Combinations, as well as
the new sets of combinations called
- The Circles of Destruction: the Expressions, the Double Strikes
These combinations are the foun- and the Footwork Angles are all for
dation for the defensive fighting the fourth stage of development.
skills and contain the core of the We start with 1- Developing the
Angles of Attack strikes based Tools, then 2- Polishing the Tools,
off of specific deflections. In Wei next comes 3- Dissolving the Tools
Kuen Do, we dont believe in and finally we reach 4- Expressing
blocking hard but rather in using the Tools. All of the advanced com-
parries to deflect and diffuse the binations will come naturally and
opponents attack. Its like the spontaneously after the practitioner
saying to use four ounces of pres- has trained at the Angles of Attack,
sure to stop four thousand pounds Circles of Destruction, Traps, and
of force. In many ways, Wei Kuen Counters
Do is like Aikido with striking -
we strive to use the opponents FMAdigest: Can you give some
aggression against them. Also, insight on how it is to train with
the name contains circle because Leo Fong?
Adam James: Wei Kuen Do is a
process of personal development Freedom. The core skills of Wei cussed, Wei Kuen Do is deeply
and every person is different. Kuen Do are simple but take great influenced by the Filipino martial
When we train someone we devotion to go to a higher level of arts - from the V-step footwork,
work with them on an individual ability. They are the basic strikes to the emphasis on a flow of
basis - to see where they are at of boxing - the jab, hook, cross techniques as introduced to Leo
currently, what are their personal and upper cut as well as the light, by Remy Presas the Founder of
strengths and what is the area that quick and explosive footwork he Modern Arnis and also the organi-
they can improve upon the most. has gleamed from Boxing, Kung zation of the curriculum based on
Ultimately, we work on the inner Fu, JKD and the Filipino martial Angels Serrada Escrima. In addi-
self - to develop relaxed focus and arts. Also, there are kicks, joint tion, while the strikes are gleamed
the ability to remain calm, com- locks, chokes, etc but the most im- from boxing, Wei Kuen Do is not
posed and extremely effective. portant skill is relaxed focus - the a sport martial art and like the
As weve already dis- ability to move quickly and adjust Filipino martial arts, it is a combat
cussed, Wei Kuen Do is a free to the opponent. Wei Kuen Do art for street self-defense. The jab
fighting style that combines box- can also be defined as the Art of we execute has the same elusive,
ing punches, street fighting kicks, Detachment, which has physical, spontaneous, non telegraphic and
and grappling techniques with a mental and spiritual implications. explosiveness as the boxing jab,
foundation based on the energy of We believe in keeping but we can perform it as a finger
Kung Fu, the footwork of Escrima distance physically and moving jab to the eyes and like a knife
and the principles of Jeet Kune laterally to create angles and strik- it can be lethal. Therefore, our
Do. This unique system combines ing opportunities. We also believe approach is to maintain distance
the energetic training approach of in remaining mentally detached and use our skills to inflict serious
Kung Fu with the physical struc- from the feeling of anger and stay- damage rather than get caught up
ture and spontaneous explosiveness ing poised. And finally we believe in grabbing and getting entangled
of western boxing. in remaining spiritually detached with our opponent. It is also why
Also, Leo has taken the from the material world and keep- we have a strong ethical and moral
principles of his friend Bruce Lees ing ourselves focused on God and foundation for the art and we teach
Jeet Kune Do and given them new the higher calling. in side by side with the philosophy
life and energy. He has gone deeper FMAdigest: What is the connec- and principles of character devel-
into these principles and created tion between the Filipino martial opment.
specific combinations and tech- arts and Wei Kuen Do? What is In regards to Modern Es-
niques that allow the practitioner to Leo Fongs stick and knife fighting crima, Leo created his own per-
bring these skills to full develop- system Modern Escrima? sonal weapons style by blended the
ment. We work on the four stages Adam James: As weve dis- free fighting approach of Wei Kuen
of martial arts skill: Do to the stick and knife fighting
1: Developing the tools techniques he learned from Remy
(learning the techniques), Presass Modern Arnis and Angel
2: Polishing the tools (per- Cabaless Serrada Escrima. Leos
fecting the techniques), Modern Escrima has its own 12
3: Dissolving the tools Strikes and a system of Coun-
(eliminating rudimentary ters similar to those in Serrada
execution of the techniques), Escirma but its performed with
and finally a short strike delivery and with a
4: Expressing the tools free fighting approach - its very
(spontaneous and natural similar to boxing with sticks.
execution of the techniques). We dont emphasize a specific
To accomplish this, positioning of hands or feet, but
weve created the Five Fs instead we focus on quickness
for training - Form, Foot- and hitting the target. The end
work, Flow, Feeling and result is a weapons system that
perfectly complements the founda- a book. The main character of my
tion of Wei Kuen Do and the free story was a Vietnam Veteran and
fighting philosophy. martial arts expert and I wanted
FMAdigest: How did you get to get back into my training to do
started in martial arts? Who was research. I reconnected with my
your first teacher? friend Scott and he told me that I
Adam James: There are there had to come train with this amaz-
people that stand out in my mar- ing martial arts instructor he was
tial arts journey. First there is my met. The school is called Hawaii
father, David James and then my Shin Kan Okinawan Kempo
original sensei in Hawaii Michael Karate and the Founder is Sensei
Dela Vega, and now Leo Fong, my Michael Dela Vega. Sensei Mike
friend and mentor who has assisted is a descendent of Chojun Miyagi
me to reach even higher levels. and learned the Miyagi family sys-
I was born in the New York City tem of Okinawan Kempo growing
area and then moved to Hawaii up. He also trained in the original
when I was nine years old. My Kajukenbo School in the Palama
father had been an officer in the settlement under Joe Emperado,
Navy and he taught me the prin- the younger brother of Adriano
ciples of the US military. Then, Emperado, one of the five original perado would say - practice was
growing up in Hawaii, I trained founders of the Kajukenbo system. not over until there was blood on
in a variety of martial arts and I Now, the story behind Kajukenbo the floor. At the time, Mike was a
was fortunate to learn from many is very interesting - in many ways teenager and he went down to the
excellent martial artists. My close it is the first mixed martial arts but school with his close friend Ken-
friend Scott Morimoto was the it was designed as a style strictly neth Funakoshi, who was a relative
personal assistant to a man named for combat and street fighting situ- of Gichin Funakoshi, the founder
Mito Uehara, who had owned ations. There were five top martial of Shotokan Karate. Because of
Black Belt Magazine and OHara arts experts in Hawaii who were their family history, the boys were
Publications before retiring to all close friends but came from allowed to join the school and were
Hawaii. Mito had worked closely different styles. They decided to part of that first generation of stu-
with Bruce Lee on several books train together and combine their dents. Later, Sensei Mike decided
and he would give Scott copies of techniques. One was an expert in to enlist in the US Army and was
them. We studied the books and Karate, another in Judo/Jujitsu, accepted into the officers training
we were all deeply inspired and Emperado was the Kenpo master program. He then went to Vietnam
influenced by Bruce. I also learned of the group and there was also and became a long-range recog-
the principles of martial arts great- one from Kung Fu also known nizance officer. He spent his time
ness through other endeavors like as Chinese Boxing. They would there venturing into enemy territo-
playing team sports, Hawaiian cul- explore the different possibilities ry to gather information and call in
ture, military history and just being of how the different styles would air strikes. Sensei Mike would train
in the ocean and land of Hawaii. attack and defend each other and everyday and make his men train
I played multiple sports in high they looked for the best tech- with him before they would set out
school but I showed the most po- niques. on their missions. He was asked to
tential in football and was offered The final outcome was teach the Green Berets and other
a scholarship to Northwestern a hybrid system called Ka (for Special Forces units in martial arts
University in the Chicago area. Al- Karate) - Ju (for Judo/Jujitsu) - and at one point was asked to train
though many people told me that Ken (for Kenpo) - Bo (for Chinese an entire base of soldiers. Then,
I would go on to play in the NFL, Boxing). Anyway, Sensei Mike he returned to Hawaii and offi-
I didnt stay at Northwestern and joined the school during the early cially opened the Hawaii Shin Kan
left during my junior year to go days when no women or children Okinawan Kempo Karate Dojo but
back to Hawaii to focus on writing were allowed to train and Em- he often points out that the school
originally started in the jungles and ing through functional resistance 2 - To always maintain proper
battlefields of Vietnam. training. conduct, good manners, dignity,
Now, Ive been training I chose the name Rainbow humility and honestly towards oth-
with Leo Fong, who has become Warrior because of my roots in ers,
my close friend and mentor. Also Hawaii and in recognition of all of 3 - To seek self-awareness aim-
while growing up in Hawaii, I the great martial artists that came ing towards self-perfection of the
trained in a variety of martial arts from Hawaii. However, I also Mind, Body and Spirit,
including Karate, Judo, Sumo, chose it because of the legend of 4 - To always maintain strong
Aikido, Muay Thai, and various the Rainbow Warrior that exists in will-power, strength, courage and
styles of Kung Fu, as well as west- several numerous Native Ameri- self-confidence and
ern wrestling and western boxing. can cultures. 5 - To always have unwavering
Now that Im living in Los An- Its an amazing fact that faith in ourselves and God, our
geles, Ive had the honor to know this legend can be found indepen- Heavenly Father. Hes an amazing
personally and professionally many dently in several different tribes man and has had a huge impact on
of the greatest martial artists in and yet there are phenomenal my life.
the world such as Kam Yuen, Bill similarities. The legend is that Then, with Leo, hes also
Ryusaki, Sid Campbell, Tadashi there will come a time when the simply incredible and has become
Yamashita, Bob Wall, Gene LeBell earth will be sick and that the my friend and mentor. Leo infuses
and many others. animals will be dying. Then there Wei Kuen Do and everything he
FMAdigest: Now you have your will appear the Rainbow War- does with faith in God and Sports
own business and website Rainbow rior - that people of all colors and Psychology. In fact, Leo shared
Warrior Martial Arts (www.rain- faiths will unite and rise to meet with me an experience that he had Can the challenges with dignity, humil- with Bruce Lee that changed his
you describe what it is about and ity, honesty, caring, sharing, and life and then, this in turn has im-
what the program or programs respect. The first Greenpeace ship pacted me. Leo told me that when
consists of? was called the Rainbow Warrior he met Bruce, he was already
Adam James: Rainbow Warrior and it sailed to end whale hunting an accomplished boxer, having
Martial Arts is my own personal and nuclear testing. boxed in the Golden Gloves and
expression of martial arts wisdom FMAdigest: How have your AAU Championships, and was
and is a culmination and continu- teachers influenced you? still boxing with the Sacramento
ation of my martial arts journey. Adam James: Ive been very State Boxing team. He was also
Our mission statement is building blessed to be able to train with training in a variety of martial arts
bridges and aiming for excellence Sensei Mike Dela Vega back in styles - he had a black belt in Moo
in the martial arts and the world. Hawaii and now to be working Duk Kwan/Tang Soo Do, he was
We bring people together through with Leo - they are both very reli- training in Judo/Jujitsu, training in
private lessons, seminars, consulta- gious men and they are both great Choy Lay Fut Kung Fu with Low
tion, writing and film. Our motto is martial artists. With Sensei Mike, Bun, in Sil Lum (Shaolin) Kung
that no matter what your goal, style the entire basis for Hawaii Shin Fu with T.Y. Wong and also train-
or experience we can assist you to Kan is the Development of the ing with Bruce and Jimmy Lee
reach your full potential. We teach Mind, Body and Spirit Through in Wing Chun Kung Fu and the
the progressive training system of Positive Mental Attitude and Faith beginnings of Jeet Kune Do. Then
Wei Kuen Do that I helped create in God. He created five Dojo Kuns one evening, Leo and Bruce were
and perfect with Leo Fong as well that are very unique and special. hanging out together and Bruce
as the martial arts styles of Kempo, Actually, he always says that he asked Leo, Why are you run-
Karate, Jujitsu, Kung Fu, Muay didnt create them but rather that ning all over town training in all
Thai Kickboxing, boxing, wres- they are from the Bible. of these styles? Leo replied, Im
tling, Escrima, Kobudo, Chi Fung They are: looking for the ultimate. And
and JKD principles. I also include 1 - To always have a Positive Bruce said, The Ultimate is inside
mental fitness training/sports psy- Mental Attitude in everything that of you. Immediately, Leo felt a
chology and martial arts condition- we say and do, moment of inspiration because it
reminded him of the verse in the how to know your own truth. now the trapping from Wing Chun
Bible that The Kingdom of God Bruce also went on to explain the that was all a man needs. These
is within you. The philosophical physical aspects of his view and words influenced Leos life journey
implications were grand because that Leo had the ultimate already. as a man, a minister and obviously
it suggested that the knowledge Bruce said that with the boxing as a martial artist and then in turn
of martial arts are inherently and skills Leo already possessed and this has been a lantern to my path.
intuitively inside you and that the kicks of the Korean style, the
another person cannot teach you grappling from Judo/Jujitsu and
Photos of Adam James Provided by Jose Fraguas of Masters Magazine

Currently, Adam is available providing private lessons for clients at their home or business.
(818) 269-4548
Makers of premium handcrafted wooden martial arts weapons for practice, collection and display.
To the martial artist who doesnt compromise between beauty, functionality, near perfect balance and overall
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Our weapons are made from premium exotic hardwoods such as Philippine Macassar Ebony (Diospyros Philip-
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All weapons and martial arts equipment are proudly HANDMADE here in the Philippines.
Types of Arnis de Mano
By Emmanuel Querubin

Presently, there are typically two garnering as many trophies and trying to knock the @#$%&* of
classifications of Arnis de Mano. medals as they can. These are the other guy.
The contemporary, and the classi- normally commercial schools. The least talked about type
cal. The contemporary may be Sports Arnis is an at- of Arnis de Mano, is the Esoteric
sub-classified as Combat Arnis tempt to keep alive the live type. This type is also governed by
and Sport Arnis. On the other blade encounters of yesteryears. the three aspects of art, science and
hand, the classical may be sub- But because these confrontations sport, but with the added aspect of
divided into Traditional and the are against the law and against spiritualism.
Esoteric. survival instincts, padded sticks In the olden days, this type
Whatever the classification and protective gear have taken the of Arnis was probably the only
is, they are all bound together by place of live blades in an all-out type that was commonly practiced
three common aspects: part art, survival of the fittest contests. with all the combative aspects.
part science, and part sports. With Although the techniques Before the coming of the Span-
the advent of the Mataw-Guro and strategies may be the same as iards, the country, that is now the
Association, hopefully it will now contemporary Arnis, the ideals of Philippines, was a nature-worship-
also be bound as Filipino Martial classical Arnis de Mano are ping pagan country. Every family
Arts Education. However, each entirely different. has its own talisman or charm,
type can still be differentiated by The traditional Arnis de which avert evil and bring good
the priority, and purpose of train- Mano is part art, part science, and fortune, magical and miraculous
ing. part sports. As an art, Arnis de powers. The anting-anting or
There are schools of Arnis Mano is a dance form that is agimat came in different forms,
de Mano that concentrate in teach- uniquely Filipino. Watching a shapes and size. The oracion
ing the art mainly as a means of skilled Arnisador perform the (incantations) also came in differ-
defense and as a combative art, techniques of abecedario and other ent languages or sounds. With the
such as in police agencies and the strategies accompanied by music Christianization of the Philippines,
military. The emphasis of their is like watching birds in formation the culture, beliefs and the agimat
training is in the combat aspects of while in flight. The graceful took on a different character. The
Arnis. These schools do not engage transition from one motion to most common agimat or anting-
much in scoring points and another is both natural and ener- anting came in the form of the
winning trophies or medals. To getic. Style and form in traditional crucifix, the rosary or the scapular.
them, Arnis de Mano is 100% Arnis de Mano, is just as impor- Spanish and Latin became the
strategy of neutralizing the oppo- tant as speed and power, perhaps most common incantation or
nent in an exponential rate to even more. To achieve style and oracion. Arnisadors do not go to a
counteract and eliminate the threat. form every movement must be possible confrontation without
And then, there are schools governed, by the laws of physics their agimat and their oracion. In
the priority of which is to broaden and motion. During Arnis gather- fact, they do not step out of their
their base of following and income ings and events, practitioner of homes without uttering some
by winning trophies and medals in traditional Arnis will demonstrate magical words or rubbing their
competitions. They may be classi- their art, rather than compete in agimat. As the Filipinos were
fied, as the Sports Arnis Schools. tournaments. To them displaying converted to Christianity, they
To these schools, the gauge of the grace and beauty of Arnis is slowly transitioned their pagan
whether the school is good or not, like displaying the beauty of a practices and started basing it more
is by the number of tournaments painting or architecture. To them on their newfound religion. The
they win. To them, Arnis de Mano beauty in the execution of a prayers in Latin or Spanish of Our
is 100% scoring points and strategy, is more of a sports than Father, Hail Mary and Glory

be, became the most common behind a tree, and watch Lolo Jimmy Galez, for the first time. His
oracion. The crucifix or the scapu- Andres performed some ceremoni- demeanor and mannerisms sug-
lar of the Virgin Mary, hanging on als. All of a sudden Lolo Andres gested that he is a practitioner of
the neck, became the most com- started swinging his tungkli Esoteric Arnis. Having learned
mon anting-anting. against what may have been an
But there were still those opponent, but whom I cannot see.
who hanged on to the old tradition The fight against the spirit
and have not Christianized their warrior went on for minutes then
anting-anting and oracion. Most of hours. I strained to see if he really
these were the manggamot (heal- has an opponent, but in the dim
ers), arbularyo (herbalist) and the light of the moon all I can see was
hilot (bone-setter). And not sur- Lolo Andres. Finally, after several
prising, those who practice the hours, at the break of dawn, Lolo
healing arts, are also adept in the Andres started for home. As he
killing arts. Could have this been passed me half-crouched next to
a Chinese influence? In China, the tree half awake and half
before learning the killing arts, asleep, all he said was kaya pala
one must have trained in the (no wonder). When I got home,
healing arts. my aunts and uncles scolded me Jimmy Galez
In the 1950s, while vaca- and said what I did was very
my lesson with the incident with
tioning in my moms province of dangerous for me and for Lolo
Lolo Andres I was cautious with
Bauan, Batangas, I heard that it Andres. They said that Lolo
my dealings with Jimmy Galez.
was time for my Lolo Andres, the Andres had a very hard time
One time, I attended a
local manggamot to fight the because he was carrying me on
martial arts tournament in Baguio
spirit warriors, to restore the his shoulders. They also said that
City, where Jimmy Galez was also
vitality of his healing powers and the spirit warriors could have
a guest. Jimmy demonstrated his
his fighting skill. Lolo Andres did killed me or Lolo Andres. But I
brand of Arnis. With flowing long
this every Good Friday midnight, was not afraid. I had my own
hair, facial hair and an ornate
in a secret place hidden from anting-anting crucifix hanging on
gown-like cassock, his moves
view and away from prying eyes. my neck and I have recited my
reminded me of Lolo Andres when
It was claimed that he has done oracion. I was even boasting that
he was supposed to be fighting
this since he was a child when he my God was stronger and more
spirit Warriors. During the break,
was first initiated in the mysteries powerful, than all the spirit
Jimmy and I had a friendly conver-
of the esoteric. When his father warriors, which I cannot see.
sation. He confided that he is
passed away it was rumored that After that incident Lolo
indeed an initiated member of
his father passed on to him his Andres refused to teach me any-
Esoteric Arnis and in fact has
anting-anting. Following in the more except the first technique he
just came back from his mountain
footsteps of his late father, he taught me and since then he has
training to energize and revitalize
became the barrio manggamot not spoken to me until he passed
not only his skill but also his
(healer). Another trade he inherited away. Lolo Andres supposedly
agimat. When I told him that most
from his father was selling mos- passed his anting- anting to his
in the martial arts circle consider
quito nets and mats, where he son, but his son never became a
him too eccentric, and was not
learned and became an expert in successful healer because he
considered a serious martial artist,
the use of the tungkli or pingga, a indulged too much in alcohol and
he just smiled. When he asked me
4 to 6 foot flat pole made of bahi died at an early age, not amount-
what I think of him, I just smiled in
(iron wood). ing to anything like his late father.
return. Interestingly, those who did
On the night of the ritual, I To this day, I never understood
not consider Jimmy Galez a serious
sneaked out of the house to follow what the big deal was in what I
martial artist avoid crossing his
Lolo Andres, without telling did.
path. A serious martial artist or not,
anybody. From a distance I hid In the early 1960s, I met
Jimmy Galez is a well-trained and and rocks while dancing and when he won the regional tourna-
highly skilled confident but humble chanting their secret prayers. I ment and was selected to represent
individual. examined the feet and body of the region during the First Philip-
The height of the mistrust these devotees after the ritual but pines International Karate Champi-
in anting-anting and Esoteric none of them even showed traces onships. When he did not make it
Arnis, came in the mid 1960s, of being burned, injured or even to the national team which will
when the Lapiang Malaya, headed discomfort. Although there were represent the Philippines in the
by Valentin delos Santos, was marks of the stakes, there was no Third World Karate Champion-
massacred by the military and wound or blood. Then I remem- ships, Glaraga set aside his Karate
police who responded to suppress bered some devotees in the Philip- training and concentrated in Arnis
their uprising. Armed only with pines, who are crucified on de Mano, moving from one prov-
bolos and their anting-anting, the Good Friday, as a form of pen- ince to another, in search of more
Lapiang Malaya were no match ance. To this day I have kept an knowledge. He came under the
against M16s and 45 caliber open mind about things that I tutelage of several Arnis teachers.
bullets. After this incident, the cannot explain and it has helped He became initiated in the Eso-
belief in anting-anting and oracion, me, not only in the martial arts but teric art, and learned to distin-
although still practiced, became in life in general. guish the Esoteric masters from
less vocal. Practitioners of Eso- In the early 1970s, I met a the non-esoteric masters. As his
teric Arnis shied away for fear of promising young Karate practitio- involvement with the masters of
being ostracized. ner from Negros Oriental, named the Esoteric art went deeper and
In 1967-1968, I was com- Inocencio Glaraga. While giving a deeper, his conversion to eccen-
missioned to be the Head Foreign seminar, Glaraga tried to pick tricity also went deeper and
Instructor of the Karate Associa- Louelle Lledo and my brain. deeper. He started wearing cloth-
tion of Malaysia. During a Chinese Louelle and I called him eager ing that was out of the ordinary. He
Festival I watched a group doing beaver because he will not leave wore beads and necklaces, which
what they call Spirit Kung Fu, us alone. He tagged along wher- were blessed to insure his safety.
Bystanders who were supposed to ever we went, volunteering him- He uttered oraciones in language
be ignorant in Kung Fu all of a self as our guide in exchange for that only he can understand. Every
sudden will fall into a trance and lessons. His perseverance paid off so often he will go up in the
be transformed into Kung Fu mountains by himself, hike for
masters when Spirit Warriors miles and fast for days He claims
possess their body. They start this ritual energizes and invigo-
doing Kung Fu exercises and rates him. Without even food or
maneuvers for hours. Then as water, he tries to live off nature.
sudden as their transformation into He has not cut his hair for years.
Kung Fu masters, they will return He talked about books and writ-
to normal without any memory of ings that only the initiated can
their experience. While watching understand.
them I was reminded of Lolo In the 1980s, Ciok (as he
Andres and Jimmy Galez. I went became known), joined Louelle
back to our gym with doubts about Lledo who was teaching at the NBI
what I just witnessed. I wanted to Training Academy. They trained
dismiss it as a fake ritual, but that together and developed the Amara
same day I also watched fire-walk- rapillon and other Amara maneu-
ing while devotees carried about vers and techniques, which was
100 pounds of icons of their gods supposed to have come from the
supported by stakes that penetrate Book of Amara-tan, or the book
their bodies. It took these devotees of the root knowledge. The
more than 10 minutes to traverse swooshing of Cioks sticks earned
the over 20 feet long burning coal Inocencio Glaraga him the nickname Singing Sticks
of Ciok.Like Jimmy Galez, Ciok almost 30 years.
was not taken seriously in the Finally in 2010, the
martial arts circle. But nobody can Mataw-guro Association was
deny that Ciok is a walking ency- formed. Two organizational
clopedia of Arnis knowledge. meetings were held to solidify the
The 1980s marked the association, one was held in
proliferation of Arnis schools and Quezon City, Philippines and
systems and titles of all sort. another in New Jersey, USA. On
Louelle and Ciok toyed with the October 3, 2010, the charter was
idea of unification under one officially signed and submitted for
umbrella organization (like the registration, with the Securities
Philippine Karate Association) and and Exchange Commission and
standardization of techniques as the Intellectual Properties Office.
Filipino Martial Arts Education. With standardization and unifica-
They even coined the term Mataw- tion in their program, will the
Guro from mataas ang tanaw na Mataw-Guro Association herald
guro (teacher of high standard). the demise of Esoteric Arnis?
But it remained just an idea, for
The mission of the FMA Pulse to help promote, educate and serve as a resource for the current and
new generation of FMA enthusiasts.
The team at is presenting Filipino martial arts to the world via the internet using
Web 2.0 technology. Users can interact with one another in a setting much like Myspace or Facebook, only
that we are focused primarily on the Filipino martial arts. This on-line community will give users around
the world the ability to share, learn, teach and stay current with whats going on in the world of the Filipino
martial arts.
Not only will this online social network cater to practicing Filipino martial arts students and instruc-
tors, but also to anyone interested in learning about the Filipino martial arts and culture. Aside from con-
necting people together, will be offering viewers their own personal blog, articles, up-
coming Filipino martial arts events and monthly video or audio pod-casts of different Filipino martial arts
instructors and their respective styles. This will give viewers a chance to get to know these leading Filipino
martial arts instructors and their styles on a more in-depth level.
We at invite you to participate, share your views and ideas so we can all unite to
help further promote the Filipino martial arts in a positive way across the globe.
The FMA Pulse Team

In Search of Filipino Martial Arts
By Marc Lawrence

Over the years I have heard folks say this place or that has good Filipino martial arts. I have read many
posts about this place and that place having good Filipino martial arts that we call Arnis Eskrima or Kali, both
here in the US and abroad , but that leaves me wondering where someone can find good Filipino martial arts.
In my travels I found that where you have sizable Filipino population, there are Filipino martial arts. I
have found pockets in Florida, Hawaii, Nevada, Southern and Northern California. I have heard of pockets back
east and down in Texas and up in Washington. I know that there are places overseas like Mexico, Saudi Arabia,
one of my students found it in Indonesia, another one found it in Hong Kong.
If you start with the Philippines as the center, then we would be out on the edge or as you would call it
the Frontier. These teachers have to be bold to be out to the edges of the Frontier to go there. The fact being,
that there are other fighting arts that those Eskrimadors are running into and having to face. Welcome to a brave
new world. This article is about one of those places on the frontier that we call Hawaii.

Filipino martial arts in Hawaii 2010

Hawaii is almost legendary
in its history of Filipino martial arts
here in the USA. Back in the days
of Hawaii being a territory, there
were No-gear Eskrima matches
that were finally banned due to
the brutality of the fights. There
were actual deaths that occurred
from some of these fights. Most
people dont know this but Filipi-
nos have lived in Hawaii for over
100 years. The Filipinos of Hawaii land and built the church which
strength against the Sugar Com-
came to work in the early 1900s in still hosts a Eskrima group today,
pany bosses who would try a play
the plantations of sugar, then cof- Below this church, is a garden
the different immigrant groups
fee and latter pineapple. With the area with a statue honoring Master
against each other. Each plantation
Manongs came the Arts we call Mancado and his work. Below the
had only one meeting hall which
Eskrima, Arnis or Kali. These were church in bottom of the valley are
meant everyone went to birthdays,
brave men that came as pioneers in two houses side by side. These
wedding, dances and other so-
to a new territory of the US. They houses are connected to make a
cial events together. That forged
came as 1 year contract workers- courtyard inside. This court yard in
the spirit of working and getting
Sacadas as they were called and quite famous locally, as it was the
together and getting along with
then some stayed to raise fami- local Eskrimadors meeting and
everyone. This led to organization
lies. These brave men and women practicing place in the Kalihi Val-
of labor unions. According to local
came from the islands of Luzon ley. Many well know Eskrimadors
oral history every Filipino Camp
and Cebu. There were Ilocano, went there and played to keep their
had a council of Eskrimadors.
Cebuano and Tagalog all throw skills sharp and share their knowl-
One of the well know
together in the Filipino Camps by edge.
groups was the Mancado Council
the Sugar companies. The Sugar Most people I met called
that formed around Master Manca-
Company bosses thought that all their art either Eskrima or Kali as
do, who supported who supported
Filipinos were the same. Many of part of their name. Every school
the early days of the organized
the old Eskrimadors organized I heard about and visited trains in
labor movement, and who bought
in camps and formed councils for
a park or on rainy days go inside Downtown Branch of the Pedoy School of Escrima
a church meeting hall or commu-
nity center or someones garage. in the Kalihi Valley
I found that both Chinese and
Filipino schools have operated
this way since their beginning in
Hawaii. Because I was there to
visit my family on the island, I
did not get time to meet with all
of the groups there but I did meet
with a number of them. One of the
things that I was most impressed
with was the number teachers
and students that had been train-
ing in Eskrima for years. I met
Eskrima practitioners who have
been training for 20, 30, 40, and
50 or more years. All of them are
still training every day! One group House in Kalihi valley were all the old Eskrimadors used to meet and play
I talked with joked with me about
how their youngest instructor was The Pedoy School of Es- for 10 years with Bakitan Eduardo
only practicing 20 years. One of crima teaches the Derobio style in Pedoy and finally 10 years with
the unusual things about Eskrima the Kalihi Valley and is one of the Grandmaster Tyrone Takahashi.
in Hawaii is the terminology, I am oldest Escrima Schools on Oahu. Not many Masters have been with
used to using Visayan terms or The downtown branch of the Pe- one family style for 40 years.
English terms as that was the way doy School of Escrima began and Under Great Grandmaster
I was taught, but there terminology still trains at the Master Moncado Braulio Pedoy, the training was
for Filipino martial arts is a mixed Church grounds in the garden so intense only adult males were
Ilocano, Tagalog, Cebuano and area. When it rains the group goes able to handle the training meth-
English. Considering the history of inside the church meeting hall. ods. Then when his son took over,
the camps it was not surprising. The Pedoy School was founded by Bakitan Eduardo Pedoys vision
There are quite a number Braulio Tomada Pedoy in 1963. was to not only to teach men to
of Eskrima groups around island Over 2,000 students have passed fight, but to start teaching children
of Oahu, but due to my schedule through the main and downtown at age 6 and his vision was to train
I was only able to meet up with branches of the schools. The women to be instructors. Great
four Eskrima groups and these downtown branch is run by First Grandmaster Braulio use to say,
were: Pedoys Derobio Eskrima of Instructor Leslie Largo and Mas- That the girls were as good as
the Kalihi Valley, OLAA-NALO ter Carlton Kramer. Leslie intro- the boys in Escrima in the Philip-
Eskrima, Mamilias Eskrima and duced Escrima to Master Carlton pines. Fathers taught their daugh-
Del Mar Eskrima. back in 1971. Leslie and Carlton ters in case their village was raided
worked together and it was Leslie by another village or Island. In the
who said for him to come and try old days men from a village would
it. Carlton was told on his first get killed and the women and
class by Batikan Eddie Pedoy that children were placed in slavery.
there are no observers and he So it was important that the girls
was handed a stick to start train- knew how to fight for themselves,
ing. That was 40 years ago! He their families and for their village.
started training with Great Grand- Great Grandmaster Braulio said to
master Braulio and stay with him Carlton that the weapon was the
for 20 years, and then he trained equalizer and that the Escrimadoras
School of Escrima has instructors ranza/Sayaw or forms are done by
that have been teaching for 40-50 all students with one and two bolos
years! Also Chief Instructor Peter or machetes.
Small and Chief Instructor Knut I asked Master Carlton how
Peacock have been with them for many counters did they have and
38 years. he replied 1728, 12 times 12 times
Great Grandmaster Pedoy 12 counters that Great Grand-
said to Carlton that Derobio is over master Braulio had taught him.
2,000 years old and means to flow The basic system is a 12 counter
with the force and to always move system to represent the 12 apostles
in on the opponent. Great Grand- of Christ according to Master
master Braulio Pedoy was a spiri- Carlton. One change from training
tual man and he shared this with that Master Carlton shared with me
his students. Prayer and salutations was the 6 and 7 thrust to eyes were
are given at the beginning and dropped to throat and chest for
ending of each class. In the class safety reason because of too many
the students have principles shared eye injuries in the early 1970s.
with them. Pedoys principles were The Kalihi Valley branch
Harmony, Humanity, Humbleness, is done as non-profit club and all
Master Carlton Kramer and Wisdom. money from donations is given to
The basics of Derobio the church that hosts the classes.
in the Philippines were absolutely Escrima lessons includes one stick, The club works hard to give op-
fantastic and could hold their own two sticks, staffs, knives, one bolo portunities to students in lower
against any male! and two bolos. Sinawali with of- income areas that otherwise would
Great Grandmaster Braulio fense and defense is also taught. not have the opportunity to train in
Pedoy was the first Escrima Master Derobios defense always forms a the art.
in Hawaii to teach non-Filipinos cross, Great Grandmaster Braulio Visitors are always wel-
Escrima. Carlton told me that other said that the sign of the cross will comed, but you will be asked to
Masters criticized Braulio for open- protect you, place your founda- grab a stick and line up.
ing up the art to other races, but tion on Derobio but also learn the Classes are held on Tuesday and
his only response is that All men inside styles, because to be good, Thursday at 6-8pm at the Master
are equal under God. Today the you need to know the outside and Moncado Church.
downtown branch of the Pedoy inside methods of fighting. Cal-

For more information about classes contact Master Carlton Kramer at:

Olaa-Nalo Jungle Style Eskrima of Hawaii
this level of training. Heavy spar- when sparring in timed matches.
ring and/or tournament fighting is The marks or cuts are counted up;
optional but encouraged. Rough if you receive too many points you
terrain jungle combat is practiced. are disqualified. It is better to give
The Eskrimador must learn how than receive.
to use the jungle terrain to his or Master Ron shared with
her fighting advantage. Weapons me his thoughts on spirituality and
utilized in this open training are healing. As a traditional Filipino
various length daggers and ma- martial arts instructor he believes
chetes. Firearms familiarization the martial and healing arts are
is encouraged. Rons shared his parallel pathways; they follow
martial philosophy with me, which the same path and you must study
Olaa-Nalo Eskrima is a is: Survival is always my first both. In addition to instructor cer-
weapons based martial art that concern. He said his purpose in tificates in Eskrima, Ron also holds
draws influences from the various teaching the Filipino martial arts a 2nd degree in Reiki (traditional
martial arts of the Pacific Basin. A is to pass on the teachings that he Usui method) and has trained in
new student must first become pro- learned from his master and share the healing disciplines of Hilot and
ficient in the basic movements of his own martial techniques and life Magnetic Therapies. He said that
Derobio Escrima before advancing experiences that he has acquired in many of his instructors and stu-
to the terrain blade fighting move- 30 years of training in the Filipino dents also practice the healing arts
ments of Jungle Style. martial arts and 60+ years of liv- and he has a strong opinion that as
Master Ron explained ing in the Pacific basin and around in Yin and Yang, positive and nega-
to me that in Jungle Style they the planet. tive, balance is essential for har-
utilize the Cinco Teros, 5 strikes. Over the past 30 years mony. He feels it is essential that a
Focus is on direct movements, many people have come through person should master not only the
direct counters, and direct dis- his classes and he has therefore martial arts but the healing arts as
arms, believing if it take more than cross-trained in several styles of well.
3 moves it is too many. Bladed Filipino martial arts as well as
techniques are learned. Light to several other martial arts.
medium sparring is required in His primary focus in martial
training has always been:
will the movement work in
actual combat. These many
years of training have led
to the development of the
(SPKF) Sure Point Knife
Fighting System. The SPKF
tournament scoring method is
based upon the number of ink
marks or cuts one receives

The Olaa-Nalo Eskrima Honolulu branch trains at the Old Stadium

Park, which is located at the corner of S. King and Isenberg streets.
Classes are held on Tuesday and Thursdays 6:30-8:30pm and most
Saturdays 2-4pm. Olaa-Nalo Eskrima also has branch schools in Maui,
New York, Washington D.C. and Iowa. Their web address is www.olaa-
Senior Master Ron England and they can also be found on Face Book.

Mamalias Kali of Oahu
This article is based upon my interview members of Mamalias Kali, Richard Bulacan, Grandmaster and other
historical data bases.

The beginning of Mamalias

Kali begins with Francisco Frank
Padilla Mamalias, who was born
on the island of Kauai and raised
there. His father Pedro was one of
the original 15 Sakadas or Fili-
pino contract labors who came to
Hawaii at the beginning of the
last century. Pedro came from the
Visayan Island of Cebu to islands
of Hawaii. Frank Mamalias was
raised in the Plantation lifestyle.
Plantation life was hard,
harder than most people imagined
and has been described as being and the Mamalias style of Kali motion which can be refined once
cast to the edge of the earth. This patterned off of the Doce Pares the basic motion is learned. The
was the frontier out on the islands! system. In his passing in May of movements are done first with
The workers were paid 10 cents an 2006 he was listed as Grand Mas- the stick, then empty hands, then
hour and Frank watched for years ter Martial Artist. stick and empty hands, then blade
as his father worked hard in the But his style did end and blade with empty hands, then
fields. Frank helped his family by there He passed his art on to empty hands verses weapons. The
working part time in the fields as someone that he treated like a son. Mamalias style also has a very
child while going to school. Frank met a young man named spiritual/mystic side as well. There
Frank learned as a young Richard Bula Cordeino Bulacan is healing-Hilot training as well as
man to operate heavy equipment, whom he took under his wing and the spiritual training as part of the
which paid better, and by doing taught him his art. Bula inherited style.
that it later allowed him to have the art upon the passing of Frank Bula a retired fireman,
shot at becoming a manager on Mamalias. This art is known as shared with me that he had many
a plantation. According to local Kaliradman which according to times is his life his protection kept
history Francisco Frank Padilla local history is the original Doce him safe in dangerous situations
Mamalias also was a well known Pares. The basic style that was in his work. Bula said that his Kali
Eskrimador as was his father. shared with me was a two-weapon training helps create a mindset to
Franks mother, Gertrude was a system, like short sword and learn other things in life, as the art
Hilot or a healer in the camp. Frank dagger in length, using figure-8 teaches you to break things down
Mamalias trained with his father motions, circular motions, linear to its smallest unit to learn them.
as well as other masters. He had motions with beat and quarter This group accepts mem-
14 masters that he trained with, the beat strikes. They use a 1 block for bers by invitation and recommen-
most probably being with Grand- 1 strike with two counter strikes. dation only. The group votes on
master Floro Villabrille. Frank had Bula said that he was taught that if membership and you must be at
a simple motto that he lived by they strike at you that you should least 20 years old to join. This they
which was Never give up hope. be able to hit them 9 times. feel has to do with maturity of a
Frank was also known as This style has many lay- person. This group wishes to keep
a traditional musician who played ers, 12 from each angle. This style the old ways alive for the next
ukulele and the mandolin. He used uses dance or Sayaw as part of generation.
his life experiences to mold him- its training to teach at each level.
self and founded what is referred They use the Sayaw to teach the
Del Mar School of Martial Arts of Hawaii
The Del Mar School of war, he was made to care for the
Martial Arts was founded as a sick. This allowed him access to
school by Grandmaster Mike quinine to help fight his malaria
Del Mar in Hawaii. The Del Mar and access to people outside the
Eskrima is based upon the Del Mar camp as he was assigned with oth-
family style and on Grandmaster ers to get supplies for the Imperial
Mike Del Mars life experiences. Japanese guards. It was there at
The Del Mar family has quite a the venders that he met his future
history with both the Philippines wife. With her and others help he
and Hawaii. Mike Del Mar is sec- was able escape the Prison Camp.
ond oldest of a family of eight. He Susing Del Mar joined the guerilla
shared this story with me. resistance and used his skill and
It started back with his fa- leadership as an Eskrimador to
ther, Jesus Susing Del Mar who fight the Imperial Japanese. Mike
part of the Original Doce Pares in Del Mar told me that his father
1939. Susing Del Mar was also had a price on his head, being a
military man serving in the Phil- leader of a resistance group dur-
ippine Scouts. He fought against ing the war. He said that he and
The Del Mar family im-
the Imperial Army of Japan with his brother were born in a bamboo
migrated to the Hawaiian island
his fellow soldiers in December hut. Mike was born in 1945 in the
of Oahu in 1949. From there they
1941. They held out at Corregidor back country of Bohol. He said
went to Onomea Camp on the Hilo
until the spring of 1942. He and that his mother had no mid-wife
side of the Big Island (Hawaii).
the others were forced to surrender to help with the birth and that she
This was a Sugar Plantation with
to Imperial Japanese Army. They had to use a strip of green Bamboo
all kinds of different peoples. Mike
were marched in the infamous to cut his umbilical cord.
said at first his father had a hard
Battan Death March where he was Mike said his brother had
time living around the Japanese be-
prisoner of war in Camp O Don- memories of hiding in caves from
cause of the war. Mike said as kid
nell. Japanese. His brother used to talk
growing up in the Camp he got into
While he was prisoner of about them when they were grow-
fights with other kids. Mike said
ing up. Mike said that his mother
that living the camps taught him
carried machine gun on her while
how to get along with everybody
he was in a basket on her back.
as the camp only had one commu-
He said that his father instructed
nity meeting hall that everybody
his mother to keep three bullets
had to share.
for themselves in case they were
Mike said that his father
captured so as to keep her and
Susing loved the chicken fights and
the children from being tortured
boxing. Mike said his father taught
to death to get information about
him empty hands versus knife
Susings whereabouts. Susings
first. He said that he was helping
wife was afraid of snakes and
his father with the chickens and
there were many snakes in those
was using a knife, when his father
caves. To this day Mike said his
said try and cut him with the knife.
mother still hates snakes. The
Mike said that he said no and his
family against terrible odds sur-
dad said if he did not he would get
vived the war and Susing Del Mar
a beating, so Mike tried to cut his
served as one of General Douglas
dad as instructed. Mike said next
MacArthurs body guards upon his
thing he knew the knife was fly-
return with the allied forces.
ing one way and he disarmed and
knocked down. That was his first
introduction to the Filipino mar-
tial arts. Mike said that his father
would tie each of the boys hands
together and have them try and
cut each other with the knives for
Mike told me that he
trained with his dad until high
school and at the end of high
school he joined the service as a
Marine. He said he did two tours in
Vietnam in 1965 and 1966. He said
that he came back to the islands
and then went to college. He said
that he went back into the USMC;
after that enlistment he got out and
joined the Hawaiian Air National
Guard. He stayed in the Air Force Grandmaster Mike Del Mar and Master Lawrence
until he retired. Now Mike Del Mike Del Mars travels in Hawaii, Because of all of these life
Mars training did not stop as he he came across an old Eskrimador experiences Mike Del Mar orga-
went off to fight in the war. He whom he was introduced to as nized Del Mar Eskrima-Kali. It
continued his training in the Fili- Manoy Godoy. Manoy Godoys uses long 36-40 inch stick, medi-
pino martial arts after meeting with style was called Toledo Style and um length 29-30 inch sticks, 18-20
a well known Eskrimador. It was was a long range style. Manoy inch short Serrada length sticks us-
set up through Josephine Joey in Godoy taught Mike his methods of ing single stick double stick, blade
1974. He was introduced to Ray- long range fighting. and empty hands. Because Grand-
mond Tobosa and was accepted as Because of Mike Del master Mike Del Mars father was
student. Mike said that he trained Mars involvement with many a boxer in the Philippines and in
with Master Tabosa until he passed Filipino martial arts groups he Hawaii in early days in Camps,
away. Mike also trained with helped start a number of Organi- the empty hand fighting is quite
Maestra Josephine Joey Mica, zations. He started the Filipino good. I can personally vouch for
who later became his wife. Grand- Martial Arts Society of Hawaii Grandmaster Mike Del Mars stick
master Mike Del Mar and Maestra and help host the first Solo Baston and blade work as well as I had
Joey Del Mar are a teaching couple tournament in 1997. He helped the pleasure of working out for an
who have continuously taught their found HOPE- Hawaiian Organiza- afternoon with him in Waipahu.
style for many years. tion of Pilipino Eskrima. He and One more thing that I
It was Master Tabosa who his wifes school were one of four found out in my visit with Grand-
encouraged Mike to go the main- founding schools. master Mike Del Mar is that he
land and train in Eskrima in Stock- Grandmaster Mike Del is quite talented craftsmen with
ton. Mike trained with Masters Mars instructors started the Sa- wood. As woodworker myself,
Dentoy Revillar, Ramiro Estrelia, manahan tournament in 2008 and I know a good finish carpenter
Gilbert Tenio, and Professor John it was held on Oahu. It is the only and craftsman when I see one. He
Eliab Sr. Mike spoke highly of Pro- one, that uses an electronic scor- showed me some of his work and
fessor Eliab and told about being ing system which is shown in real it was some of the finest I have
at the seminar when the Professor time. It is Grandmaster Mike Del seen. He told me that he enjoyed
had his heart attack and died. Mike Mars hope that one day this type making weapons and training with
said that he did CPR on his friend of tournament will be used widely them like I do.
and teacher at that seminar. In and become part of the Olympics.
For more information and to train with him at his school:
Del Mar School Filipino Martial Arts Kali-Escrima
528 Ihe St., Honolulu, HI. 96817
(808) 723-2792

Maestra Joey Del Mar School Eskrima Academy of Hawaii

Not many women are Mas- career with martial arts enthusi-
ters in a Filipino martial arts style. asts at the Waialua Gym on Oahu.
Maestra Joey Del Mar has been Maestra Joey Del Mar did not
there and done it. While I was in limit herself but continued training
Hawaii I heard stories about her with other Eskrima Masters.
skill and tenacity as a fighter from Maestra Joey Del Mar was
men that she fought as well as instrumental in spear-heading and
other who were witness to some instructing Eskrima as a subject
intense matches. Here is some class for adults and children in
background about her. community and school programs
Maestra Joey Del Mar was throughout Oahu in Campbell
born in Honolulu, Hawaii. She High School, Kaiulani Elemen-
was raised in Waiahole Valley, in tary and Intermediate Schools
Kaneohe, Hawaii. This place was Law Enforcement Program,
known as the resting place of the Kalihi Community Service Center,
Alii or Royalty of the Hawaiian Windward Oahu Community Key
Monarchy. Her grandmother and Project Program in Kahaluu and
great grandmother were Eskrima- the Leeward Community College.
doras also. Her training started in Maestra del Mars enthusiasm for I can toward the continuity of its
High School from her aunt who Eskrima extended to California philosophies and mastery.
was student of Professor Chow. in Alameda. She helped establish Maestra del Mar and her
Maestra Joey Del Mar trained branches of the Tobosa School of students have performed demon-
in the self defense techniques of Kali thus introducing this art to strations for community festivals,
Kajukenbo Karate in Hawaii and other martial arts enthusiasts. martial arts conventions, beauty
California. She was introduced Maestra del Mar firmly pageants, and martial arts pro-
to Eskrima when introduced to states I have always been an grams, throughout the State of
Master Raymond Tobosa. In 1974, advocate of Filipino cultural per- Hawaii, California, Idaho, and
three years after attaining her petuity and when I learned of my Nevada.
esteemed title of Maestra or In- heritage in the Filipino martial art
structress, she began her teaching of Eskrima/Kali, I vowed to do all

Maestra Joey Del Mars classes are held in Aiea, Hawaii.

Contact Information:
(808) 381-5539
Grandmaster Ben Largusa
(1926 - 2010)
Farewell, Ben T. Largusa
FMA Legend and Kali Grandmaster
By Zena Sultana Babao
To live in the hearts we leave behind is not to die.- Thomas Campbell
Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, Love leaves a memory no one can steal. - Author Unknown

Grandmaster Largusa is from the Army in 1951, he re-

widely regarded as the final word turned to Kauai, and with the
on this devastating and deadly blessings of his instructor Master
method of combat. Kali is a Agustin, he was accepted as a
system so unique that it is said to student of Grandmaster Villabrille.
be the source of all Eskrima styles. At the age of 25, Largusa
It could also be the only martial trained one-on-one for seven
arts system in the Philippines and consecutive years with Villabrille,
the United States where there is who was still in his prime then at
one Grandmaster and one Master 39 years old. At the onset of his
at any given time. In other systems training, Grandmaster Villabrille
it is a common practice that there had him promise to never teach
are several Masters, Grandmasters anyone else the art of Kali. At the
and even Great Grandmasters at time, few people had ever heard of
Kali Grandmaster Ben T. the same time. this deadly art because it was a
Largusa - a Filipino martial arts The very first Grandmaster closely-guarded secret that was
legend and one of the greatest in Kali was no other than Grand- passed only from teacher to stu-
martial artists in the world has master Floro Villabrille, the dent and from father to son.
left the narrow bonds of earth to Philippines most revered fighter As his years of training
touch the face of God! and champion of numerous stick- with Villabrille progressed, Lar-
Grandmaster Largusa fighting death matches. It is from gusa realized that what he was
passed away at age 84 early Sun- the Patriarch of Kali himself that learning was primarily comprised
day morning, October 3, 2010, in Grandmaster Largusa learned a of fighting techniques and theory,
his home in Kauai, Hawaii. A unique blend of deadly and devas- and that he could not teach the
high-ranking yet truly humble tating methods, strategies and system the way it was taught to
martial artist, a husband, father and techniques in martial arts. him. So he broke down step-by-
grandfather, he was preceded in Grandmaster Largusa was step and move-by-move Grand-
death by his sons Lance and Layne, born in Kauai in 1926 where his master Villabrilles complete
and is survived by his wife Philom- parents immigrated to from Car- system.
ena, daughter Lois, and sons Jerry car, Cebu, Philippines. Although In recognition, the Kali
and Lindsey. he started his Filipino martial arts Patriarch gave Ben T. Largusa a
His passing is a great loss training from his father, his first signed legal document designating
to the Filipino martial arts world! Eskrima instructor was a Master him the sole heir to the Villabrille
Grandmaster Largusa was the head Agustin. His training with Agustin method and the title of Tuhan
of Kali - an ancient but existing ended when he joined the U.S. (Master). Largusa was also autho-
martial arts system. It is so effec- Army in 1945 during World War rized to add his name to Vil-
tive in combat that during Spains II. labrilles system of martial arts,
conquest of the Philippines some While in the Army, Lar- hence it is widely known today as:
Southern Philippine tribes had gusa trained in several fighting Villabrille-Largusa Kali System.
successfully resisted the armored systems that also included Judo When Grandmaster Vil-
might of the Spaniards for nearly and boxing. Upon his discharge labrille passed away in March 8,
four centuries.
1992, Tuhan Largusa automati- Also in attendance were numerous or cell phones yet. His plea fell on
cally became the second grand- martial artists from around the deaf ears because he noticed the
master of the Villabrille-Largusa world, including the legendary flashing lights of several cameras,
Kali System. Upon assuming the Bruce Lee, Dan Inosanto and so he had to cut short his presenta-
mantle of leadership, Grandmaster Jhoon Rhee. tion.
Largusa was duty-bound to also On the eve of this event, The great Ed Parker was a
select who among the officially Parker gathered the top instructors martial artist with an open mind.
designated Kali guros (instructors) of the various martial arts inside a Even way before the 1964 Karate
will be the next in line. hotel ballroom. Every instructor Championships, Parker wanted to
Guro/Professor Mel Lopez was given a chance to present the know more about the art of Kali.
of San Francisco was Grandmaster principles and theories of their Largusa explained to him that Kali
Lagusas choice! With Largusas particular system. Ben Largusa is not just about stick-fighting, and
demise, Grandmaster Mel Lopez is was among those presenters. he proceeded to show Parker
the third grandmaster of the Vil- Parker decided that Bruce empty-hand movements and
labrille-Largusa Kali System. Lee would be the last to present. techniques. Parker was very im-
Largusa moved to San While giving the values of his pressed and decided that he and
Francisco from Kauai when he Gung-fu system, Bruce Lee felt he Largusa get together more often.
was around 32 or 35 because was talking above the heads of the Parker loved the Kali movements
Grandmaster Villabrille told him to people present. Most of the other and footwork. They had another
train and spar with opponents of martial arts instructors were even friend, a Choy Li Fut practitioner,
different styles. Once in the Bay baffled of what Lee was talking on these get-togethers. When
Area, he met people from different about. Parker decided to put on his fa-
Karate and Kung-Fu styles. He When Lee saw what was mous Karate Internationals, he
was invited to spar with practitio- happening, he made eye contact asked Largusa to demonstrate.
ners of Choy Li Fut, Wing Chun, with most of the instructors pres- A few weeks after the
and Praying Mantis. Because he ent and pointedly commented, It Karate Internationals, Parker
could easily handle the fighters, seems that most of you have no received a phone call from William
everyone thought that he trained in idea of what Im talking about. It Dozier, the producer of the Bat-
kung-fu, although he didnt. looks like Ben Largusa is the only man TV series. Ed Parker had a
Villabrilles system gave him the one who understands. lot of friends in Hollywood and
facility to effectively deal with On the day of the Interna- was teaching martial arts to some
other martial arts styles. tionals, both Bruce Lee and Ben of the top people in the industry.
I have heard that one of Largusa were introduced to the Dozier was then planning to
Largusas constant sparring part- American public for the very first produce a new action TV series
ners was a Kung Fu Sifu who time! called The Green Hornet. He
claimed to be a practitioner of the On stage, Bruce Lee asked Parkers assistance to help
Hundred Elephant style. Said demonstrated his modified form of him search for a real martial artist
Sifu tried numerous times to Wing Chun Gung Fu, the precur- to play the role of Kato, the Green
penetrate Largusas defenses but sor to Jeet Kune Do, as well as Hornets sidekick.
failed. Like a master chess player, Lees very well publicized, power- Parker called up Largusa
Largusa was always many moves ful two-inch punch. Largusa, on and told him that Hollywood
ahead of the sifus planned attacks. the other hand, demonstrated needed a person for that role, and
Grandmaster Ben Largusa sparring using Eskrima sticks with he thought of two people - Ben
was the first man to bring and his brother, Dominador Largusa, Largusa and Bruce Lee. But he
introduce Kali into the United as his partner. decided to offer the part to Largusa
States public arena. He gave Prior to their performance, first and Bruce second. Largusa
America its first demonstration of Largusa asked the audience to told him that he truly appreciated
Kali in 1964 at the Ed Parker refrain from taking any still photos the offer but that he couldnt
International Karate Champion- or home-movie pictures. At that answer right then; he needed time
ships in Long Beach, California. time there were no video cameras to think. A few days later, he called
Parker back and declined the offer. Conveyance of Life Interest, San Diego Taliba (News) which I
Parker was disappointed that he which gave Largusa the exclusive edited.
didnt accept, but he understood. right, license and authority to use The last time we saw
So Parker said, Ill have to call the name of Floro Villabrille Grandmaster Largusa was in Los
Bruce Lee. And the rest is history. School of Kali in perpetuating and Angeles in June 18, 1993 at the
Everyone who knew promoting the Kali system. Al- very memorable event called The
Grandmaster Ben Largusa knows though there were others who City of Los Angeles Honors the
that he is a very humble man. He trained under Villabrille, it was Living Treasures of the Filipino
never dreamed of using his martial Largusa who was chosen by Martial Arts. I remember that
arts knowledge as a way to gain Villabrille to be his successor. It among the Filipino martial arts
fame, fortune and glory. was such an honor and a privilege legends present, aside from Grand-
I and my husband first met for me to meet Grandmaster master Largusa, were the late
this great yet humble man, who Villabrille in person! I wrote about Grandmaster Leo Giron, the late
describes himself as just a man of him, and other Filipino martial Grandmaster Sam Tendencia, the
Kali back in 1976 in one of the artists, in some newspapers and late Senior Guro Lucky Lucaylu-
Filipino martial arts events in Los magazines I write for through the cay, Grandmaster Richard Bustillo,
Angeles. We were introduced to years. One of these papers was the Guro Dan Inosanto, and Professor
him by our very good friend and
kumpadre Dan Inosanto, another
martial arts legend, who is the
godfather of our youngest son,
And then in 1978, Largusa
made my husband a Kali Guro
when his U.S. navy ship made a
port visit to San Francisco. Before
we changed our martial arts school
to Babao Arnis we called it Kali
Academy of San Diego. At the Living Treasures of the Filipino Martial Arts grand event in Los Angeles,
In 1981, at a very special California in 1993 attended by Filipino martial artists from all over the United
ceremony in Kauai which we States.
attended, Grandmaster Villabrille
presented then Tuhan Largusa the

Grandmaster Largusa holding the San Diego Taliba Grandmaster Largusa with the Award of
(News) which Zena edited at that time Recognition as an FMA Living Treasure

Kali heirarchy, seated L to R: Grandmaster Floro
Villabrille, Kali Patriarch; Grandmaster Ben Largusa,
Villabrilles successor; and Grandmaster Mel Lopez,
Largusas successor.

Greg Lontayao. drums, the gong and the kulintang up to the audiences depth of
When not practicing martial (Philippine musical instruments) knowledge of Philippine martial
arts, Grandmaster Ben Largusas can only be appreciated by a arts or Philippine history to actu-
main hobby was playing his guitar. knowledgeable Kali practitioner ally perceive these moves.
He was always on the look-out for who could use these musical beat Grandmaster Ben T. Largusa -
a good guitar player or instructor and tempo as tools in sophisticated you are gone but not forgotten. You
from whom he could learn more. fighting moves. have left a lasting legacy to us all
His refined ear for music was Until now there are folk in the Martial Arts world! You will
probably inspired by Grandmaster dances in the Southern part of the forever be loved and revered! Rest
Villabrille who taught him the Philippines where the dancers in peace with the Lord!!
musical rhythm of Kali. The fluid movements are actually
various beats and tempo of the camouflaged fighting moves. Its

Visit the official website of the Villabrille-Largusa Kali System and the Kali Association of America

Buy Direct from the Philippines and save money!

We are committed to bringing you the best FMA Equipment at the best possible prices. If theres any-
thing at all you would like but dont see when visiting the website please contact us! We are always improving
our stock range and listening to our customers.
If you have any questions at all about our products or anything related just drop me a line at: info@ and I will do my best to answer them.
All the best with your training,
Simon McMahon.

Master Christopher Ricketts
(1955 - 2010)
A Pioneer in Full-Contact Fighting in the Philippines
A pioneer in full-contact still in Manila. Christopher Rick-
fighting in the Philippines, Master etts was 13 years old at the time
Christopher Ricketts is known for and witnessed Dr. Lengson teach-
his high emphasis on intensive ba- ing Remy Presas, while also train-
sic training and regular full-contact ing at the school. Also Christopher
sparring. Training with Topher, as Ricketts trained under Jimmy
he is better known, is a demanding Galis, who was instructing a style
and challenging process. Seeming- called Spinx (Spanish/English)
ly tireless, given a chance, he will in name, but was a Filipino martial
teach and train for hours on end, art.
leaving his students exhausted, Creation of Bakbakan
but definitely fulfilled and raring
It was when Master Rey Galang and Master Christopher Ricketts
to fight. One of the original five
returned from Australia, in a dis- as the Chief Instructor, Bakbakan
pillars of Kali Ilustrisimo, Master
cussion with Christopher Ricketts, International was formed.
Ricketts has produced numerous
that a name was needed for their Master Christopher Rick-
champions in the Filipino fighting
brotherhood for he wished to go etts has been in San Diego Califor-
arts, full-contact karate, and kick-
international in promoting the nia relocating from the Philippines.
Filipino martial arts. So it was a His main goal was to share and
In 1963 Ricketts started
friend of Christophers who sug- spread the art of Ilustrisimo Kali.
his training in the martial arts with
gested since they liked sparring In the Philippines Master Rick-
karate, when he met Dr. Guel-
so much that they should call the etts made a living in teaching, but
lermo Lengson, then the Presi-
Organization Bakbakan. At the found that here in America that it
dent of the Karate Federation of
same time Master Rey Galang also was a different situation and until
the Philippines, who was also an
had also been thinking of the name he could form a base of students
Arnis practitioner and was the one
Bakbakan Group. And so with in San Diego he had to take on a
that actually taught Remy Presas
Master Rey Galang as the Director regular job to make ends meet.
Sinawali, when Remy Presas was

Last Masters group picture with Edgar Sulite taken March 15, 1997
Topher Ricketts training with Tony Diego, Edgar Sulite, Topher Ricketts, Rey Galang and Alex Co
Grandmaster Ilustrisimo Photo by Steve Tarani
Master Ricketts was an excel- ous champions in the
lent teacher, in that he broke the Filipino fighting arts,
movements down with explana- full-contact karate,
tion, giving insight to each theory and kickboxing.
of movement. A pioneer in full- Master Rick-
contact fighting in the Philippines, etts also offered
Master Christopher Ricketts was training in boxing,
known for his high emphasis on experienced while in
intensive basic training and regular the Philippines. He
full-contact sparring. Training with trained Peter Sescon a
Christopher, was a demanding and flyweight and number
challenging process. Seemingly one contender in the
tireless, given a chance, he would Philippines, and Junior Bantam-
teach and train for hours on end, weight, Dodong Santa Iglesia and
leaving his students exhausted, Salbador Darlo.
but definitely fulfilled and raring Master Ricketts will be
to fight. One of the original five missed greatly; a true professional
pillars of Kali Ilustrisimo, Master practitioner of the Filipino martial
Ricketts has produced numer- arts.

Learn more about Bakbakan in a past Special Edition

Click Here

Read an excellent interview with Master Ricketts by David Foggie in FMAdigest Vol7 No1
Click Here

The following people are recognized by the Ricketts Family and are among the guardians of Master To-
phers legacy. They fully support Master Tophers sons who are his rightful heirs in preserving and propa-
gating the late Masters interpretation of Kali Ilustrisimo.
Mauro Marchiori (USA)
John Jacobo (USA)
Dino Flores (USA)
Rick Alexander (USA)
David Foggie (Australia)
Viko Perrine (Australia)
In time an updated list will be featured on

Great Grandmaster Ernesto Presas
[1945 - 2010]

Ernesto Amador Presas, Sr. it either. Because his knowledge

was born in May of 1945 in the was not limited only to combat
coastal fishing village of Hinigaran with weapons, Presas also bested
in Negros Occidental. His father karate practitioners while fighting
Jos Bonco Presas, a renowned barehanded, including one oppo-
Arnis fighter in the area, began nent who fell into the river the two
teaching Ernesto the fundamen- were struggling near after Presas
tals of Arnis at the age of eight. A pounded him with hard punches
capable learner, he mastered his and kicks. These battles, he would
lessons well and soon expanded his later divulge, formed an important
martial arts education to include facet in the development of his
the study of Judo, Jujitsu, Karate, comprehensive fighting system.
and eventually Kendo. In 1972, Presas secured
In the time-tested custom teaching positions as a physical foam sticks later developed in the
of Arnis practitioners of that era, education instructor at the Univer- U.S. for training and tournaments
Presas trained intensely and fought sity of Santo Tomas, the Univer- would never gain popularity in the
many challenge matches against sity of the Philippines, Far Eastern Philippines). Instruction on anyo
other practitioners. One memorable University, the Lyceum of the (forms) and practice with bladed
encounter in 1970 saw him facing Philippines, and Central Colleges weapons were largely conducted
an Arnis fighter from the Manila of the Philippines. He also began on a one-on-one basis because of
suburb of Paranaque, who wanted teaching Arnis at military and law spaces limitations and for safety
to test the skills of the upstart who enforcement institutions includ- reasons.
had just moved to the city from ing the Philippine National Police In addition to the Arnis
a rural area. The two fought in Academy, the Far Eastern Military classes, students could learn;
the middle of a rice paddy, where Academy, the General Headquar- JKA-line Shotokan Karate, Ju-
lateral movement was severely ters Military Police Academy, jitsu throwing and locking skills,
limited, and falling into thigh-deep and the Officers Schools for the Okinawan weaponry (tonfa, bo,
mud was a distinct possibility. Philippine Army and Air Force. nunchaku and sai), as well as
They began with a trial to see who During those formative Kendo. (There exists today, par-
could disarm the other of his stick. days, the Arjuken Karate Associa- ticularly in Australia and Canada,
Using his complete knowledge tion held classes from Monday a system known as Arjuken karate,
of levers and disarming methods, through Saturday and also held popularized by early Presas stu-
Presas successfully took the other special events and demonstrations dents). Presas was a firm advocate
fighters stick away in two suc- on Sundays. Arnis classes featured of cross-training, as he believed
cessive clashes. Not satisfied with basic training in groups, with stu- that this better prepared the student
this turn of events, the other fighter dents executing blocking, striking, to deal with the greatest variety of
insisted on an all-out skirmish. Pre- and disarming techniques with sin- possible attacks and weapons. Ex-
sas went on to disarm his foe once gle or double sticks. Sparring was ponents of other martial arts could
again and delivered a rain of blows practiced both with and without often be seen visiting, observ-
that knocked his opponent into the the use of protective equipment ing and practicing alongside the
mud. such as headgear, body armor and schools regular students.
Other fights would follow, gloves. Equipment allowed stu- Great Grandmaster Pre-
with the frequent condition that the dents to make hard contact, while sas will greatly missed by all and
other fighter was always the chal- sparring unprotected called for remembered for his contributions
lenger - Presas did not seek con- more controlled action as only rat- to the Filipino martial arts.
flict, but never backed down from tan sticks were available (the soft,
Learn More about Great Grandmaster Ernesto Presas and his art of Kombaton

Click Here

847 Hamilton Ave.

Waterbury, CT 06706
(203) 596-9073 - The best source of Filipino Martial Arts information on the internet featuring photos, videos,
events, chat, blogs, and forums! seeks to bring together Filipino Martial Arts practitioners from around the world in a thriving
online community.
This network of mutual respect and camaraderie is open to everyone that wishes to share their love and pas-
sion for the Filipino Martial Arts.
John R. Malmo

FMA Past Events

Philippine American Expo 2010

September 18 - 19, 2010
Los Angeles Convention Center, Los Angeles CA.

The event kicked off Saturday with the Filipino

Americans of greater Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Orange
and Riverside county. The event was a celebration of the
25th year of continuous success of hosting the expo which
helps the people to introduce new products, businesses and
the recognition of people who help the community in vari-
ous ways and to discover talented Filipino Americans.
The organizer was Ms. Awee Abayari of Tri Me-
dia Groups and Company that owns several businesses
throughout the United States. The Philippine martial arts
that is widely known as Arnis, Kali, Eskrima was the high-
light of the event which the groups of Filipino martial arts
practitioners participated and received recognitions.

People checking the Filipino martial arts products of

Roiles Gears Ltd the manufacture and supplier of the
Best Filipino products with it comes to martial arts.

Members of PAKAMUT /FMA group under Grandmaster Felix

Roiles received awards of recognitions in promoting the Filipino
martial arts during the event followed with a explosive demon-
stration of the different Filipino martial arts groups.
5th Annual MARPPIO
Michigan Modern Arnis Seminar
September 18 - 19, 2010
Guro Ben Harrison

This years Modern Arnis against stick.

seminar with Mataas na Guro Dr. Next was Palis -Palis, with
Remy P. Presas was held at the disarms and trapping with sticks,
Choi Kwang Do Academy in Shel- and Single Sinawali with tusok.
by Township, Michigan. A Special The day finished with Guro Ben
thanks to Jose Soriano Jr. Sensei of Harrison teaching variations on the
Michigan Aikido and Choi Kwang 5-6-7 knife drill. Good fundamen-
Do for allowing us the opportunity tals and introduction to the art of
to present the Filipino Martial Art Modern Arnis.
of Modern Arnis. Sunday was a faster paced angles of attacks with variations.
Many new students were day, beginning with Visidario Also, a demonstration of Choi
present this year and new Instruc- empty hand block, check and Kwang Do by Christina Boles and
tors were on hand to experience counter drill with trapping and Richard Boyles shared the Brain
the Filipino Martial Arts. Among locking and takedowns. Went into Gym concepts used for motivat-
those Instructors were Master stick disarms from strikes #1-#3, ing and helping ADD and ADHD
Thorton Kelly and Kum Cha Kelly stick versus stick and empty hand kids at his school.
of Tiger Chungs Tae Kwon Do of versus stick. Dr. Presas had the All in all, we had a great
Clinton Township, Jose Soriano Jr. students circle and each student, time and getting insight into the
Sensei, James Soriano, Mr. Rich- one by one, attacked the person in Filipino Martial Art of Modern
ard Boles and Christina Boles of the middle, who then applied the Arnis. We are already looking for-
Choi Kwang Do of Shelby Town- takedown that was just taught. ward to next years seminar with
ship. Michigan Modern Arnis In- Dr. Presas.
Michigan Modern Arnis In- structors were given time to share
structors were also represented by their expertise of Modern Arnis
Guro Kathleen Enal, Guro Allen with the students. Guro Kathleen
Henton, Guro Krista Harrison and Enal taught basic Sumbrada, stick
versus stick, knife versus
knife and empty hand versus
knife. Guro Krista Harrison
taught some variations of
disarms #1-#3. Finally, Guro
Ben Harrison taught basic
sword disarms from the #1
and #2 striking positions us-
ing two hands.
The Seminar
participants were
also treated to
Guro Ben Harrison. techniques of
Saturday started out with Filipino Aikido by
learning some basic strikes, stick Jose Soriano Jr. Sensei
to stick, blocking and striking 1-4. of Michigan Aikido.
We then moved into trapping and We were shown redi-
locking from the #1 and #2 strikes. rection techniques and
Then, we moved into empty hand takedowns from three
September 18, 2010

September 19, 2010

Michigan Modern Arnis Schools

Guro Ben Harrison
Michigan Modern Arnis, 11860 Wheaton Drive, Sterling Heights, MI 48313
(586) 739-0497 - Email: / Website:
Master Thorton Kelly
Tiger Chungs Tae Kwon Do, 36543 Gratiot, Clinton Township, MI 48035
(586) 778-1505 - Email: / Website:
Sensei Jose Soriano Jr.
Michigan Aikido, 51500 Schoenherr, Shelby Township, MI 48315
(248) 730-4566 - Email: / Website:

5th Arizona FMA Friendship Gathering
October 23 and 24, 2010
Margaret T. Hance Park, Phoenix, AZ.
By Michael Butz

Its been a week since the

surprise for me. The annual Fili-
5th Gathering and I find myself
pino martial arts gathering, was at-
sitting in front of the computer
tended by numerous people of dif-
staring at a blank page, unable
ferent schools, something of which
to pull out of my mind what I wish
I appreciated. We were graced by
to see on the screen. Normally, I
the presence of Master Sam Buot
just give a black and white outline
of Balintawak fame. He was dem-
of the gathering. I list the instruc-
onstrating the basic strikes, blocks
tors and their respective styles,
and counters of Balintawak, and
give Thank yous to any special
the Filipino martial arts I wanted to
guests that may have shown up
learn for some time now. Through
and then summarize what went on
patient trial and error I managed to
during the event.
learn some of Balintawaks basics
So Im surfing the net
Master Ron Saturno - Hilot
to take a break from my literary
ordeal and I find a post in one thats fine, but wouldnt it
of the online forums I happen to be nicer to be a surgeon?
frequent. Its written by Mr. James With diagrams and demon-
Laforteza, a resident of Phoenix, strations on a live person,
AZ. I have reprinted it here, with he showed that by attacking
his permission: certain healing points in
the body, one can knockout,
A wonderful thing
disarm, or render someone
Just wanted to share that I utterly defenseless. I was
recently attended two days worth just amazed on Master Sat-
of Filipino martial arts seminars urnos speed and accuracy.
and training that improved my Later on that seminar, he Master Sam Buot of Balintawak
skills a thousand fold. Truth-be- went through some basic Serrada
told, its one of the best weekends movements that are proven ef- and was very satisfied by it. After a
Ive ever had with the Filipino quick lunch, Master Ron Saturno
martial arts. again applied his Serrada knowl-
Last Saturday, I at- edge and expertise and demon-
tended a seminar being held strated a variety of blocks and
here in Arizona by Master attacks that [were] both simple,
Ron Saturno, of Serrada fame. yet highly effective. It was truly
His seminar was about Hilot a great day.
(acupressure and pressure I can honestly say that I
points) and the applications learned a lot about the Filipino
of it in the Filipino martial martial arts those past few days.
arts. He was explaining how Master Ron even said that I was
through learning even basic doing well and that I should keep
Master Ron Saturno - Serrada up my pursuit of learning Ser-
aspects of Hilot, one can be a
much better striker than someone fective in a situation where you rada (I dream of becoming a good
who does not know. He said and I needed to take someone out fast. Serrada student). I give thanks to
quote, You can be a butcher and Sunday was even more of a Mike Butz who helped set up these

wonderful events (thanks for tak- Thank you, Master Sam Buot and Master Ron Saturno for your
ing care of my elbow and the hit- time, your openness and your passion for teaching the Filipino martial
ting lessons), the Inayan students arts. Thank you to everyone who attended the Gathering. A special thank
that came all the way down from you to Master Gilbert Cordoncillo and Mr. Moses Quintero from Sali-
San Jose, thanks for playing with nas, CA. and Mr. Hai Phan and Ms. Leticia Trejo from San Jose, CA. for
me and most of all, everyone who going out of your respective ways to attend the event. Thank you, James,
participated in the gathering. We for your informative and inspirational post. To paraphrase what you said
may all be different, but we were at the end - We may practice different styles but we were all just Filipino
all united that day. Its a wonderful martial artists that day. This is exactly the spirit behind the Gathering.

Michael Butz
Kada Anan Eskrima/Arizona
Buffalo Black Brotherhood

Roiles Gears Ltd. A leading manufacturer, supplier

and wholesaler of the star quality Filipino Martial Art
equipments/products. Our goal is to give the best quality
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rattan and wooden products are carefully picked, treated
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customer. Our training daggers either aluminum or steel
are hand forged and made with the special specification.
And now offering Authentic Blades Handcrafted (carv-
ings, pearl enlays and vine wraps)
Voices of the Masters: Warrior Arts of the Philippines
Taking a comprehensive comic, a bestseller on
look at an entire martial art and the iTunes.
culture and tradition behind it is a Hufana has created
daunting task. Punong Guro the first of what will be-
Myrlino P. Hufana decided to take come a series of Filipino
on the challenge when one of his Martial Arts instructional
students, independent filmmaker applications that are now
Barclay Powers approached available at the iTunes App
Hufana in early 2010 about travel- Store entitled: Weapon
ing to the Philippines to meet with Arts 1: Filipino Combat
and film several highly respected Stick Fighting.
masters. By March 2010, Hufana Hufana has also
and a film crew had arrived in the been propagating the
Philippines, ready to document the Filipino martial arts through
rich history and the promising seminars around the United
future of the Filipino martial arts States for nearly 15 years,
with Voices of the Masters: War- as well as teaching Filipino
rior Arts of the Philippines. martial arts at his school,
The Voices of the Masters the Bellevue Martial Arts
project came together much faster Academy, located in Belle-
than most films, thanks to a sup- vue, Wash. Hufana is
portive community - the Hufana currently teaching more
Traditional Arnis (HTAI) family than 75 students in Wash- filming from morning until night
and a passionate film crew. ington State alone. most of the days we were there,
At the time, Hufana was Brett McGinnis of McGinnis said.
also working with Powers on Wenatchee, Wash.-based M & M Although the political
another film titled Killing the Productions flew to the Philippines environment in the Philippines has
Buddha: The Lost Secret of Im- to film Voices of the Masters. been somewhat shaky in the recent
mortality. Hufana is also featured What I liked about making Voices past, McGinnis said he felt safe
in the Killing the Buddha motion of the Masters was that this project and appreciated by the local people
was about preserving a culture and for the work the Voices of the
not simply selling a product, Masters crew was doing.
McGinnis said. I usually felt very wel-
The purpose of Voices of come. I believe the Filipino people
the Masters is to propagate, pro- really appreciated the work we
mote, and preserve the Filipino were doing to preserve their
martial arts. No films of this scale history. I met several government
or quality have been made before officials during my stay and never
and as many grandmasters age, the noticed any volatile environments
importance and urgency of record- at any time. When we were in
ing their unique styles became Mindanao we had a Strike Force
clear, Hufana said. Team escort us through the jungles
The trip to the Philippines and anytime we were out of safe
was over 6,500 miles, and the zones. Traveling with guys carry-
grueling schedule did not slow ing machine guns and rocket
down once the plane touched the launchers was definitely a little
ground. We were in the Philip- unnerving but they were a great
Punong Guro Myrlino P. Hufana pines filming for three long weeks, group, McGinnis said.

Grandmaster Jerry dela Cruz
Grandmaster Bob Pepino
teaching at the Arnis Village
Grandmaster Rodrigo Maranga Instructor of the Cebu SWAT
and son Rico

The honorable mission of them all and we are proud of them experience just by being a local.
the film helped the film crew feel all, he said. Your traveling experience is
safe and welcome in the Philip- Filipino martial arts enthu- greatly enhanced when you are
pines. Hufana, his family, and the siasts have previously been able to with someone that is from the area.
HTAI community are hoping that find content on their sport in He knew where and where not to
Voices of the Masters will help several books, short films, and go, McGinnis said.
increase awareness of the martial magazines. However, Voices of the Hufana agreed with
art and sport both in the Philip- Masters is the first feature-length McGinnis, saying everyone in-
pines and around the world. Arnis film to chronicle all of this, bring- volved in making and acting in
recently became the national sport ing together a wide variety of Voices of the Masters is passionate
and martial art of the Philippines, styles, practitioners, and philoso- about the propagation and preser-
so now is the perfect time for a phies. vation of FMA traditions and
film like Voices of the Masters, McGinnis, while not a techniques. As the Filipino martial
Hufana said. The film seeks to martial artist himself, said he arts gains popularity around the
promote the Filipino martial arts as gained an appreciation for the world, it is important to understand
a whole, and not one particular history and culture of the Filipino the traditions and cultures behind
person or organization. We want- martial arts. He said that traveling the combat art, Hufana said, and
ed to represent the whole Filipino all over the Philippine Islands with that is a main goal of the Voices of
martial arts and promote the entire Hufana gave him and the crew an the Masters project.
umbrella of the art. We respect insiders look into Filipino martial Also involved in Voices of
arts culture. the Masters are Hufanas two
Myrlino is a children and longtime students:
Filipino martial arts Michael Hufana, 22, and Lizelle
celebrity so we got Hufana, 21. Both Michael and
access to places and Lizelle are instructors at the Belle-
people a normal tourist vue Martial Arts Academy and are
would never see. He is a featured in Voices of the Masters.
humble guy and he Hufana and his children are
really poured his heart excited about the opportunity to
into this film project. I show their combat art to those with
respect the fact he cares an interest in martial arts, as well
so much about it. It was as expose the Filipino martial arts
Butterfly knife maker in the legendary town of easy for me to want to to people who may be unfamiliar
Balisong, Batangas do the same. I know with the sport. Michael wants
Myrlino enriched the Filipinos to see Voices of the
Masters: I think that Filipinos are of Michael Hufana, saying
obligated to know about our that while many short videos
national martial art; Japan has have been made showing
Karate, Korea has Taekwondo, Filipino martial arts tech-
Filipino martial arts is our sport niques and styles, most are
and our art, he said. Michael and made by amateur filmmakers
Lizelle both cited connecting with and lack the quality neces-
their Filipino culture as a major sary to bring the Filipino
part of their interest in pursuing martial arts to a large audi-
the Filipino martial arts (both are ence. Everyone involved in
first degree black belts in HTAI filming and producing Voices
Arnis and third degree black belts of the Masters believes they VOTM Film Crew
in Traditional Taekwondo). have created a film that pays Paul Quinn and Brett McGinnis
Lizelle feels that an often- respect to all aspects and styles of of promoting open communication,
overlooked group in the world of the Filipino martial arts and appreciation, and respect between
martial arts can benefit from honors the Grandmasters and leaders in order to develop a
seeing the movie and learning Masters. stronger Filipino martial arts
about the Filipino martial arts. I Something viewers from around the world. However,
think that women can really gain a the United States may notice while Hufana said a unified association
lot from seeing the movie and from watching Voices of the Masters is seems unlikely because of the
getting involved in the Filipino the attitudes of the masters. I was temperament, nature, pride, cul-
martial arts. Its great for building amazed at how humble the masters ture, and tradition of the Filipinos.
confidence and discipline, she were. Americans beat their chest Hufana remains positive about the
said. when they are good at something. future of the Filipino martial arts,
This is the first time the Filipinos sometimes are somewhat and his hope is reinforced by the
Filipino martial arts, has been in a reserved about their success and Voices of the Masters project. The
well-produced movie, Michael accomplishments, McGinnis goal of the movie and the WF-
said. I think Voices of the Masters commented. I never turned down MAA is to encourage a brother-
will really do a great job with a local beer with an FMA Mas- hood between leaders and practi-
letting people know that the ter. tioners of all styles of the Filipino
Philippines have a martial art, Hufana started the World martial arts, not to homogenize the
too. Filipino Martial Arts Association combat art or to say that one
McGinnis shares the views (WFMAA) in 2003 with the goal system is the best.

Voices of the Masters is the first

feature-length film that captures the magic
of the Filipino Martial Arts. The film will
be available for purchase as a download, on
DVD, and Pay-Per-View. Learn more about
the film and where to see it at:
FMAdigest Note:
Voices of the Masters (Warrior Arts of the Philippines) is the new
wave in learning about the Filipino martial arts. The FMAdigest has been
a source of the Filipino martial arts for the last 7 years in it promotion
and promulgation of the Filipino martial arts and the Philippine culture.
However in the publishing of Voices of the Masters the promotion
and promulgation of the Filipino martial arts and the Philippine culture
reaches beyond what anyone can read. To actually, being able to see and
hear what the Masters of the Filipino martial arts in their own cultural
setting are saying and feeling that they are right there in front of you is to
say the least inspiring, motivating, and brings reality to the forefront.
The DVD Voices of the Masters has been put together in a most
professional manner; not only bring forth information in general about
the Masters interviewed and their styles, but also there is a sense of a personal touch as if you are right there with them hearing from them
personally their thoughts and fully understanding the attitude for the love
of the Filipino martial arts that they have trained, taught and promoted
throughout their lives.
It is most highly recommended to obtain this DVD and experi-
ence this awe-inspiring reality that has brought the Masters of the Philip-
pines to you in a manner that one will not forget. There has not been any
documentary that can compare with Voices of the Masters DVD.
Punong Guro Myrlino P. Hufana along with his crew has done an
exceptional job in bring forth this most outstanding documentary and it is
hoped that he will bring forth more in the future.

15205 Crenshaw
Gardena, CA, 90249
(310) 961-1266
The South Bay Filipino Mar-
tial Arts Club is a Filipino-American
Barangay (Village). If you are Fili-
pino, Filipino-American, Filipino-Ha-
waiian, Mesteso/Mestesa, Filipino by
Marriage, or if you just love all things
Filipino you will find our village/club
quite welcoming.
Our purpose is to ensure that
the Filipino American Communities
of South Bay of Southern California
does not forget its heritage of the
traditional fighting arts know as Arnis,
Eskrima, Kali of the Philippines.
We teach Mens, Womens
and Childrens classes. We actively
support and participate in tourna-
ments. We teach from a street and
tournament perspective. We host
seminars and support community
events. There is a limited number of
childrens scholarship available upon


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