Showing posts with label Eskrima. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Eskrima. Show all posts

August 11, 2015

"Balintawak Eskrima" by Sam Buot Sr. - Book Review

Tambuli Media has once again facilitated getting one of the foremost authorities on FMA, Sam Buot Sr., to sit down and write a comprehensive text on Balintawak Eskrima.  Without a doubt Mark Wiley (founder of Tambuli Media) is the greatest gift to Filipino Martial Arts in the 20th century as he has managed to get masters to speak whom may of otherwise died without sharing this knowledge.  "Balintawak Eskrima" by Sam Buot Sr. is arguably one of the more important treatise Tambuli has published. 

Balintawak Eskrima has a reputation for being incredibly fast, overwhelming, and its practitioners are notorious for their disarming prowess.  Buot tries to cover the foundation of the art within 240 pages and I must say I think he does a commendable job.   After a brief history Buot dedicates 30 pages to the masters of Balintawak from Anciong Bacon, to Dr. Cres Go.  This is the heart of the book.  The loyalty and respect Buot displays in his detailed biopic of each teacher is inspiring.  To get a glimpse into the lives of any one of these teachers is a treat, but Buot really does an amazing job highlighting the masters of the art, many of whom none of us in the west would ever even know about otherwise. 

Buot insists the core of Balintawak is in the defense, which in his opinion is the most difficult to master and why he dedicated three chapters to the subject unto itself.  One of the trademarks of Balintawak is their fast response while blocking or covering.  The speed in which they grab the weapon and/or their opponents hand can never be properly conveyed in print media, but Buot does an excellent job especially transliterating the Buot Ball Concept. 

Throughout the book Buot uses different senior students under him showcasing the various generations of Balintawak who all bring something unique and different to the table.  I really like this small detail because it shows the heart and dedication of loyal students as well as an unspoken level of respect and admiration from the teacher to said students.  One of the only criticisms I have of the book is once again photography wise where we have two demonstrators wearing the same style and color of clothing and the photos are sometimes cropped too tightly.  When it comes to the flow of photographs and the comprehension of the student these minute details are extremely important in this reviewers opinion. 

Part 5 which includes chapters 12-14 focus on application and techniques of Balintawak illustrating their renowned disarming arsenal.  Buots decades of experience shine through in this section with little nuggets of info sprinkled in between the lines.  He speaks of feints, fakes, and what many would call "dirty" tactics but in reality... this is self defense!  As an attorney he also offers a short, but concise chapter dedicated solely to knife fighting.  It is one page long and worth the cost of the book itself.  I am not going to summarize the chapter here to encourage you to seek it out and read it yourself, but may I say in a world of machismo and bravado it is refreshing to hear a voice of reason and common sense in the FMA!  Kudos Mr. Buot. 

With each book Mark Wiley sends me to review I can see the hard work and effort he puts into each published text.  I feel like a broken record but "Balintawak Eskrima" by Sam Buot Sr. is Tambuli's best FMA book yet!  I cannot recommend this book highly enough to practitioners of FMA, historians, or just general martial artists looking for a solid read.  And for those practitioners of Balintawak I cannot believe you can look at this book as anything less than THE treatise on an amazing legacy that is still growing. 

To purchase "Balintawak Eskrima" click here

And for those folks in the Pac NW whom are interested in learning Balintawak, we are fortunate enough to have Prof Bobby Taboada coming to town in October 2015.  Check out Seattle Balintawak for more information. 

December 18, 2014

Book Review: "Eskrima Street Defense" by Bong Abenir

Scratching your head trying to figure out the perfect stocking stuffer for the one stick swinging, balisong flipping martial artist on your list?  Tambuli Media's most recent FMA title "Eskrima Street Defense" by Bong Abenir just might fit the bill.  An affordable addition to any collection, Abenir's first book offers a direct approach to dealing with weapons in real world situations.

One of the first things that sticks out is the no nonsense approach Bong takes to the applications, incorporating fast powerful strikes with fast takedowns all the while utilizing his environment.  All keys when speaking about true self defense.  Offering common situation such as knife attacks, choke attempts, multiple attackers, as well as strikes Bong Abenir does not waste time going into complicated locks and convoluted flows.  Rather he takes a very pragmatic approach offering fundamental, simple movements that can be applied with purses, scarves, umbrella's, etc.

The pictures are laid out well and for the most part are very clear as to what is going on, though I would have liked to have seen numbered progressions for ease of reading and following.  Overall the book is written well but seemed a bit rushed, and offered minimal explanation.  I can't help but feel Abenir has a LOT more to offer and would like to see the result of some serious time spent on laying out a comprehensive treatise.

At just over $21 "Eskrima Street Defense" is a perfect sized stocking stuffer for the stickhead in your life.  Though I feel Tambuli has stronger, more comprehensive titles on Filipino Martial Arts, they remain the leader in publishing and disseminating knowledge focused specifically on SE Asian arts.  The importance of exposing these arts and teachers to the world cannot be understated.  Prior to Mr. Wiley talking about Bong Abenir I had never even heard of him nor his system.  I cannot help but wonder how many more arts are out there that are dying every single year simply because those teachers/fighters have not had the outside exposure to document their art!  A huge thank you is due to Mark Wiley and Tambuli Media for helping keep these arts alive at the very least in print form.  For instance my old friend Dan Medina just released his text on Derobio Escrima, a rather closed off / reserved art up until now.  It is amazing that we finally have a publisher propagating these lost arts! 

Click here to order "Eskrima Street Defense"

The Principles of Abenir Kalis
  • Don’t waste moves; be flexible.
  • A parry which does not incorporate an attack is wasteful movement.
  • A defense is an attack, an attack is a defense.
  • Overwhelm your enemy with multiple attacks.
  • Striking directly at the enemy’s flesh is preferable to blocking the enemy’s weapon.
  • Your fighting position should be designed to make you a difficult target to hit.
  • Don’t be overconfident; be alert at all times.
  • Be fiercer in your attack than your enemy.
  • Be strong in your defense, and powerful in your offense.
  • Move with speed and precision using correct distance against the enemy.
  • The faster you hit the target, the better.
  • Hit the nearest targets and those open to you.
  • Attack when you see an opening.
  • Employ your defensive skills when needed.
  • Attack, attack, attack until the assailant ceases to be a threat to your safety.
  • Hand techniques should correspond with footwork.
  • Avoid wide movements in delivering your blows. Strike without telegraphing your attack.
  • Wrist locks and disarming techniques are only incidental. A strike could cause a disarm that only counts as one beat which is faster and more practical to use than complicated locks during a heated encounter, especially against multiple opponents.
  • Only engage in a fight if no other option of escape is possible.
  • Run if you must, fight if you must

May 21, 2014

Cebuano Eskrima - Beyond the Myth

The origins of Filipino Eskrima/Arnis/Kali are the stuff of legends.  A history rife with war and constant defense against foreign conquerors, the native peoples of course had their indigenous fighting arts but quickly found their Spanish enemies were quite well versed in bladed combat as well as possessing superior steel.

This is a well done video digest based upon the book "Cebuano Eskrima: Beyond the Myth" by Dr. Ned R.A. Nepangue and Celestino C. Macachor.  I have not read the book but this video has piqued my interest.  I do not have enough knowledge nor training to argue with any of the facts laid out in this digest but either way there is some great history of both the martial arts as well as the Filipino Bladed Combat Arts.

From the authors:
We would like to pay tribute to these CEBUANO ICONS OF ESKRIMA:

• Solferino "Kapitan Perong Pak-an" Borinaga
• Pantaleon "Leon Kilat" Villegas
• Laurente "Laguno" Sabanal
• Pablo "Amboy Kidlat" Sabanal
• Lorenzo Saavedra
• Teodoro "Doring" Saavedra
• Fr. Jose Ortega
• Floro Villabrille
• Felicisimo Dizon
• Artemio Paez
• Meliton Indangan
• Regino Ilustrisimo
• Antonio Ilustrisimo
• Jose D. Caballero
• Juanito Lacoste
• Venancio "Anciong" Bacon
• Julian Goc-ong
• Jack Santos
• Telesporo Subingsubing
• Lucky Lucaylucay
• Ted Lucaylucay
• Timoteo "Timor" Maranga
• Eulogio "Yoling" Canete
• Filemon "Momoy" Canete
• Ciriaco "Cacoy" Canete
• Dionisio Canete
• Vicente "Inting" Carin
• Atty. Jose Villasin
• Teofilo Velez
• Alberto Dacayana, Sr.
• Filemon Caburnay
• Johnny Chiuten
• Sonny Umpad
• Eduardo "Dadoy" Sombilon
• Jose "Joego" Milan
• Antonio "Tony" Diego
• Epifanio "Yuly" Romo
• Esing Atillo
• Uldarico "Poldeng" Llano
• Nonito "Dodong" Limchua
• Ondo Caburnay
• Jesus Abella
• Pablicito "Pabling" Cabahug

May 8, 2014

Orihinal Eskrima & Grappling

Thanks to DSTRYRsg for this awesome little clip.  These Ecuadorian cats train in both Cacoy Eskrima and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and seem to have an amazingly open attitude in their expression and exploration of combat.  Admittingly my Spanglish is piss poor so I am not sure what they are saying all the time but the technique and strategy speak for themselves. 

I certainly have questions and head scratching moments in this short clip, but more importantly I think they address a subject often completely ignored in FMA... realistic situations/scenarios where a foundation in grappling is key.  Is it ideal to fight on your butt or knees?  No.  But one never knows where/what position we may have to engage someone in, so it is paramount that we learn solid fundamentals both standing as well as on the ground.


It is a biased opinion, but a right one none the less... the overwhelming majority of "tuhons" and "masters" in the FMA world would benefit greatly from some private lessons in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu from a qualified instructor.  I have seen a lot of folks out there replicating (poorly) moves they saw on Youtube or the UFC within the context of FMA, and quite frankly it is pitiful and painful to witness.  So before you get too critical of these guys ask yourself what you are doing to push the limitation of your understanding and skills? 

December 1, 2012

Bladed Hand PNW Screening

What a great night of Filipino Martial Arts (FMA) here in Seattle!  Jay Ignacio (producer, director, editor), and co-producer Sonny Sisson brought his 90 minute documentary on the impact of FMA on the Filipino culture worldwide to a packed house at Kane Hall at the University of Washington last night.

Filmed over several years on three different continents, "The Bladed Hand" is the first, dare I say only, film to address the question; "What is the Filipino cultural gift to the world?"  Answer... their martial traditions!  Unique.  Beautiful.  Rich in tradition, the FMA represent the heart and soul of a people rich in culture that for the most part is unknown outside of the PI!  And the filmmakers noted..."FMA is more popular and understood outside of the Philippines then with the people whom it originated."

Jay Ignacio was meticulous in his research and editing ensuring inter family politics and bullshit were left out of the film (for those unaware jealousy and secrecy are the Achilles heal with the FMA), leaving only a pure transmission of the heart of FMA.  Do not be mistaken, this is NOT an instructional film!  Though teachers demonstrate their techniques and movements, the film focuses on the larger picture and does not focus on teaching any specific moves or techniques. Interviews with such luminaries as Danny Inosanto, Leo Gaje Jr., Ron Balicki, Jeff Imada, etc. make this documentary all the more authoritive in its scope.   

It was great to see such support from the local FMA community, which is not really surprising since we have such a strong contingent of FMA practitioners here in the PAC NW!  I finally got to meet Mr. Hufana, as well as catch up with a few old friends.  Wish I had more time to stick around and make some new ones, but all in due time. 

If you missed out on the screening here in Seattle you will have to be patient and wait until after the first of the year, as Jay promises a release early next year with a DVD packed with extras and additional interviews.  However you get ahold of it make sure you see this film, I cannot stress how important the work that Jay has done for the FMA community worldwide. 
Click here for more info and to be directed to The Bladed Hand FB page.


April 30, 2012

When In Doubt... Swing a Stick!

A couple of clips of Eric Knaus, one of the legendary Dog Brothers and pretty much the baddest man on the planet when it comes to stick and blade fighting.

Here is some Pekiti Tirsia Kali Solo Drilling:

Seminar Footage:

December 28, 2011

DVD Review - "Strategic Knife Defense w/ Leo T. Gaje Jr."

The Pekiti Tirsia Kali community at large has been patiently waiting for lineage holder Leo T. Gaje Jr. to produce a series of instructional DVDs to accompany his already crazy busy seminar teachings.  Well my steel wielding carvers your wait is up as Tim Waid in conjunction with his teacher Leo T. Gaje Jr. have released the first DVDs to be produced by the Pekiti Tirsia Kali Global Organization.  Volume one in the classic series is "Strategic Knife Defense: Defensive Tactics for Law Enforcement"

With the goal of presenting the authentic Pekiti Tirsia Kali system of combat blade fighting, this "classic" DVD is an absolute must have for anyone interested in not only blade fighting, but just the historical footage of Leo Gaje teaching back in 1987 is priceless!  I have heard there is tons of footage of Gaje teaching seminars, private lessons, etc. throughout the decades he has been teaching the world over.  Waid and Gaje have decided to release these teachings and footage for practitioners to see the authentic system of Kali as it was handed down to Gaje, whom in turn hands it down to his senior most students.

   As stated above this video footage was taken over 25 years ago where it seems this was to be the first in a series of instructionals geared towards the law enforcement community, so though the quality is not the HD crystal clear image we all have grown accustomed to, the producers and editors did an amazing job of restoring the footage and transferring it to DVD.

  Again basic editing was involved in this recording back in the day, but there are a few moments where camera angles change or they zoom in where needed.  Overall the quality of the instructional is not affected by any of the video technology.  Sound quality is excellent as well, as I never found myself straining to hear anything explained.

Beginning to end the disc runs an hour long and has an easy to navigate menu where the DVD is broken into six basic categories:

  • Intro / Knife Attacks
  • Counter Knife Attacks
  • Knife Jabbing Attacks
  • Knife Tapping
  • Baton Tactics
  • Empty Hand Tactics
  Aimed as a basic introduction to the knife and bladed combatives for law enforcement personnel, "Strategic Knife Defense" is a great starting block for anyone new to bladed weapon arts, or situations where one may encounter a bladed aggressor (security / LEO / military / bouncers etc.).  To quote Gaje:

  "The purpose of this video is to get the officer acquainted with edged weapons, and to understand principle movements and strategy of knife fighting."

Drawn from the fundamental principles of PTK, Gaje takes viewers through the common attacks someone wielding a knife would use, as well as the fundamental counter movements to these most common slashes and thrusts.  These angles of attack are common movements we use in everyday life, yet when we look at them in a martial context we see the reason why our predecessors created the art the way they did.  

By no means is this a collection of techniques thrown into an hour long video, actually quite the contrary.  Gaje takes the time to explain exactly why someone will attack in this manner, and why you respond the way you do.  Throughout the video he shows a number of various counter strikes, joint locks (some seem a bit flashy as I doubt they would be very high percentage on a fully resisting opponent), and a couple of take downs.  Overall the message is clear... a large repertoire of techniques is useless without the fundamental building blocks to execute said techniques.  

The "Knife Tapping" chapter, though only a few minutes long, offers some very interesting insight into Leo Gaje's teaching methodology.  In this chapter he emphasizes acceptance of the blade being the primary focus of knife tapping drills.  Though just touched upon it is interesting to note the wisdom in the young Gaje's experience where he was talking about combat psychology and blade psychology way before it was a cool subject on internet chat rooms.  

If the purpose of this DVD was to inform LEO about the dangers and benefits of edged weapon defense, and lay down the foundation for future training volumes then Gaje succeeded in his endeavor.  I am not sure if this series will continue on with his teachings of strategic knife defense, but in the baton chapter Gaje mentions future volumes.  

Historians, teachers, or practitioners of Pekiti Tirsia Kali will not want to miss this volume simply to see there grand teacher moving and training 25 years ago.  A classic by all means and at $40 it is a hell of a steal!  

Train Hard.  Train Smart.
Tim Waid (L) alongside his teacher Leo Gaje. 

July 21, 2010

"Eskrimadors" - DVD Review

Some of my first memories of martial arts were training Modern Arnis every chance I got under Prof. Remy Presas (1936-2001). This was my first foray into a truly Filipino Cultural martial art, and it fascinated me to no end. My interest has led me to find an excellent teacher that I mesh with and I am excited to be training in Kali. So when "Eskrimadors" (Pointsource Films) came across my desk I was excited to see this groundbreaking documentary.

Kerwin Go has made a truly legit documentary on the fighting arts of Cebu Island, Philippines, and the masters who have propagated the arts of Eskrima / Arnis / Kali (all are very similar and a diatribe on their differences is not needed here). Focused solely on the teachers of Cebu island such as Cacoy Canete, Dionisio Canete, Undo Caburnay, Nick Elizar, Rodrigo Maranga, Uwit Jecong, Koloy Uy etc. For Filipino Martial Arts (FMA) geeks like me this is awesome, but trust me when I say you can sit down with your loved one who has little interest in men beating each other with sticks, and she will dig this film because it lays down the fabric in which the story of the Filipino people is woven into. The martial arts of any nation, or people, or tribe, or ethnicity are invaluable as they hold so much history and cultural aspects that it is essential that each generation passes down their knowledge to the next.

"Eskrimadors" is a nicely produced hour long documentary interlaced with training footage of the various masters demonstrating their unique approaches to the art of Eskrima. Re-enactments are played out with stories of the founding teachers who fought death matches (Juego Todo) long before video and Youtube! A great soundtrack coupled with photo's from the early 1900's, lay the groundwork for fun demonstrations as the story of Doce Pares Eskrima is told. Doce Pares is one of the main groups on Cebu, and the film is focused on the teachers and students of Doce Pares.

However, in 1952 Anciong Bacon split from Doce Pares and formed his own school focusing on single stick techniques later named Balintawak Eskrima. A good chunk of time is spent on this brewing rivalry fueled (as far as I can deduce anyways) purely on bullshit machismo. Fights, death matches, and bickering between Balintawak and Doce Pares students was given way too much time.

The late 70's brought about the formation of tournaments and seminars where the various instructors would share their arts. This is where the FMA really started to take off when they spread to North America and Europe. Interviews and highlight action shots from various competitions where stick fighting and form work are judged side by side and attended by people the world over. The camaraderie and sharing is evident in the smiles shared by both those who compete, those who learn, as well as those who teach.

More and more well done martial art documentaries are being produced and "Eskrimadors" sits up there with any and all of them. It is family friendly so pop some popcorn and sit down to view it with your kids and family and learn about some of the rich martial traditions the Filipino people have.

July 19, 2010

Pekiti Tirsia Kali Seminar - Aug. 28-29, 2010

For those interested in the Filipino Martial Arts, or simply for anyone that would like to improve their stick and knife skills, I proudly present (for what I believe is the first time in Seattle) a seminar on Pekiti Tirsia Kali as taught by Guro Meynard Ancheta. Meynard is a friend of mine and long time fellow student under Tim Cartmell so I am very happy to host him in Seattle for a great weekend of training. Hope you can join us!
Train Hard. Train Smart.
Jake B.

Three Harmonies Martial Arts Presents

A Weekend Workshop:

Pekiti Tirsia Kali

Traditional Filipino Martial Arts

W/ Meynard Ancheta

August 28 & 29th 2010

Sat. 1-5pm

Sun. 11am – 3pm

Seattle, WA.

(Location provided with registration)

1 day - $55

Weekend - $75

*Please bring your own sticks and a training knife. ABSOLUTELY NO LIVE BLADES! *

To register contact Jake Burroughs:

206-941-3232 / [email protected]

Your are invited to join us for a weekend of training in the beautifully effective art of Pekiti Tirsia Kali, one of the native weapon and empty hand arts of the Philippines. This is Guro Ancheta’s first visit to Seattle, WA. and he will guide students through the “Doce Methodos” or Twelve Methods. These are the foundational

methods and techniques for every aspect of Pekiti Tirsia Kali (empty hand / single weapon / double weapons). All levels of experience are welcome, all we ask is you leave your ego at the door!

Students can expect to learn:

· Single and double stick methods

· Effective & Realistic knife fighting skills

· Brutal techniques meant for real combat, not sport

· Improve your timing, footwork, and understanding of range & distance

· Have fun learning a cultural treasure of the Philippines

“I want to share the traditional family system of Pekiti Tirsia Kali (PTK), and demystify some of the false idea’s about this effective martial art.” – Guro Ancheta

The Instructor:

Meynard Ancheta began his martial journey with Don Angier in Aiki Ryu Jujitsu & Kenjutsu. Shortly thereafter Meynard met Tim Cartmell and has been training with him in the arts of Bagua, Xing Yi, and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for the past 10 years earning a brown belt in the art of BJJ. In 2004 he then began his foray into the art of Pekiti Tirsia Kali training privately under Grand Tuhon Leo Gaje. Furthering his training in the traditional family system of PTK under Mataas na Guro Tim Waid, Meynard continues to visit the Philippines and train. Meynard is a Dog Brother (c-Strawdog), and was recently promoted to Guro (instructor) by Grand Tuhon Leo Gaje. For more information on PTK visit

For more information or questions please contact Jake Burroughs at: 206-941-3232 or [email protected]