May 28, 2015

"The Secret Art of Derobio Escrima" - Book Review

One of the greatest things about being involved in the martial arts for 25+ years is that you get to see your friends and training partners grow in the art, excel in training, and with most, eventually they give back.  Professor Dan Medina of the rarely seen art Derobio Escrima is no exception as he has finally put out a treatise on his style and fighting method!

I met Dan in Albuquerque, NM. where we both had a short layover in life.  Demonstrating the art of Derobio at any opportunity he had, what struck me vividly about Dan was his unflinching willingness to share his art.  For a "secret" style his heart is too big to hold back, and perhaps to a fault the book "The Secret Art of Derobio Escrima" is no different.

One hundred and forty five pages is barely enough to scratch the surface of any system but Medina does a solid job of not getting too verbose and trying too hard to cover EVERY thing in a system... it's just not possible.  Instead Medina focuses on just a handful of techniques that represent the integral locking and counter locking movements Derobio is renown for.  Honestly a lot of the details are so minute that it would be damn near impossible to capture in a print format.  It seems Dan knew this and therefore did not try to over saturate the text but rather offer a taste of what the style is like.

The book opens with a wonderful chapter on the history of both Derobio and Dan Medina, both of which are fascinating histories.  Arguably the best chapter of the book, but I have been nostalgic for historical text lately so perhaps the opinion is a bit biased.



From there Dan dives right into the heart of the system and the fundamentals.  He includes a quick chapter on etiquette and how to properly hold your weapon etc.  A topic often overlooked but important in the context of martial arts, but more specifically weapon based arts.  The techniques shown are not what I would call super advanced though most folks do overestimate how difficult it is to properly execute a standing submission/lock, so lots of personal instruction and practice is surely needed.  I will offer this tip... pay attention closely to what Prof. Medina does with his free/checking hand in many of the photos.  The forearm check is surely not unique to Derobio but I will say that I have seen few execute it as smoothly and perfectly as Dan!

The sole criticism I harbor for "The Secret Art of Derobio Escrima" is that some of the pictures are unclear and a bit cramped.  Perhaps it is  my old eyes starting to fail me but I find it sometimes difficult to see what it is happening in the picture.  There are also a handful that are cropped too tightly and are cutting off parts of demonstrators.

Once again Tambuli Media brings you something different and fun.  If rare systems of Filipino martial arts interest you then make sure you add "The Secret Art of Derobio Escrima" to your shelf.  Click here to order today! 


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