Sunday, June 21, 2015



Tuesday, June 16, 2015


I have heard a lot of old-timers in Filipino Martial Art Circle says that learning how to use the stick will automatically give you the ability to translate its techniques into sword or whatever edged weapon you are using. Although there are similarities with the movements being used for each weapon but then again it also has its differences. And by knowing this simple fact would give you an understanding of up to what point a certain weapon is effective and where its limitations lie.

Knowing how to wield a stick does not mean that you know how to wield a bolo effectively. First of all a stick is a blunt weapon, and the way you generate force in order to use it effectively as a weapon is very much different from a sword which is designed to cut, thrust or hack that requires a different kind of timing and handling compared to the stick or any kind of blunt and edged weapon for that matter. No amount of stick fighting would prepare a student for sword work not unless he trains in the use of such weapons. So the assumption that learning how to use a stick could be easily translated into knife work or vise versa is not true (take note of the word "easily").

 Although one may argue that the angles of attack and defenses are the same with using the same principles with any other type of weapon may have some truth in it but the law of physics when it comes to the use of different kinds of weapons says it isn't. Try wielding a stick and a bolo or a jungle knife and you’ll know what I mean. We are actually basing everything according to its efficient use and the science behind every technique and skill needed to use these weapons properly and not just mere interpretation from weapon to weapon. Imagine a stick fighter who never had any experience using a bolo all his life suddenly finds himself forced into a sword fight against a swordsman and likewise if a swordsman is forced into a stick fight. This also holds true with the translation from blade to stick to knife and empty hands. One must practise to wield these weapons properly. Practise ones form then on a dynamic drill and finally thru a live test in order to achieve skill and true undersanding.

Friday, June 5, 2015


Although used primarily as a tool for farming is also employed as a weapon for fighting. It was made famous during the war when many Filipinos used this type of blade as a secondary or back up weapon just in case their guns run out of bullets. It is an extremely effective weapon for in fighting due to its short length and maneuverability when cutting and thrusting even in tight positions. The reason why we favor these types of blades over the long ones is due to its practical applications even into modern times. And also for the fact that it is easy to carry and conceal. Nowadays it is seldom that people fight with long swords, especially swords that requires using two hands to weild it. So the likelihood of facing someone or carrying a long or standard length sword is very slim. Thus we would like to train with weapons that are practically available to us such as short and long knives, machetes and bolos. The beauty of FMA is its adaptability in to modern times wherein the skills learned for swords is easily translated into shorter blades all the way to its empty hand form requiring only minor adjustments in order to be functional in any situation. For us in AK, our opinion is that Filipino martial arts is better preserved as a pure fighting art and not as a sport. When Sparring is employed then it should be a means to improve oneself in fighting ability and not for acquiring or winning medals or for just scoring points whatsoever. The building up of good character will show upon your honest assesment of your performance whether you were capable of defending yourself properly or you ended up dead hypothetically so to speak if it was a real fight. Whatever the outcome is, it should be honestly acknowledge as it is. The important thing is to always have these skills with us and use it only when justifiably needed.

Thursday, June 4, 2015


I got to train under GM Tony a few months after Tatang died. I was already around at the Luneta in late 1994 as a young lad informally training from tatang with the help and guidance of Master Pedro Reyes. Master Reyes took interest in me when he saw me at the park teaching a friend some knife techniques which I've learned from a man called Inyong. Then after his invitation to learn from him he eventually introduced me to the system of Tatang and got acquainted with the old man himself who at that time was already in his 90's. I wouldn't claim to have gained proficiency from Tatang for my training experience with him were very informal. I would go there mostly Saturday or sometimes Sundays before or right after my training in either Yaw Yan or Pencak Silat at Rizal Stadium. I would meet Master Pedro Reyes and also later accompanied then by my student and friend Jong Rivero in early 1995. Master Reyes was the one explaining things that Tatang would teach for the structure or method of the old man's teaching actually had no formal structure in a sense that there was no basic and advance. Everything was situational to Tatang. The very first technique I saw Tatang execute was estrella vertical followed up by series of repetition of strikes. Master Reyes was the one who brought me to GM Tony Diego in his gym at Binondo Manila and endorsed me to him to continue my training. I was accepted as a student and it was from GM Tony that I really began to learn and understand the system of Tatang. He would often tell me how fortunate he was to witness how the old man really moved back then when he began training with him during the 70's. Far different when the 80's came for he already had to adjust his style according to his more advanced age. He recalled how Tatang moved like a fighting Texas (fighting cock). So fast that almost everything seems like a blur. And I really believe that Mang Tony got his masters movements and uncanny ability to execute a counter even on the most difficult situation in laro-laro. He too without a doubt was a great master who represented the art as the rightful heir of Tatang's system. The first time I witnessed him move, I was in deep awe. He was after all Tatang's protege. I was granted certification to teach the Ilustrisimo system July 13, 2013 by GM Tony. Although I carry the name Abenir Kalis, it is quite evident that most of the bladework I teach is from Ilustrisimo. I haven't gone so public as to teach purely Ilustrisimo system but only to a select few who wants to learn it without other influence I got from other systems. I also was fortunate to have trained under two renowned masters of Silat Pendekar Mohamad Hadimulyo who taught me the aspect of Silat for self defense and for streetfighting and shared with me his knowledge in joint manipulation, sweeps, throws, takedowns, punches and kicks, ground fighting, kerambit, knife and so many things. He shared alot of his experiences when he first started to train as a young pesilat. He had a wealth of knowledge in the different arts of Silat in Indonesia. I usually went home with all sorts of aching joints and muscles which was almost everyday in the afternoons at his quarters where he took me as his private student during his stint as a coach to the Philippine team in Pencak Silat around 1996 all the way to August year 2000. I was already involved in the practice of Silat in 1994 and was trained by Ferdinand "Francis" Pisa in 1996 after my entry to the Philippine National Games. He was among the best fighters here in the country in full contact martial arts and a Natioanal player in Silat Olahraga back then when Pendekar Hadimulyo introduced me to his top student and undefeated 3 time world champion in Silat Master O'ong Maryono. He was a truly great master of his art. He is very strong, and has a powerful built with a great sense of timing. I sparred with him with everything I had and would always see the ceiling of the gym after a throw or a takedown or after the receiving end of his very powerful side kick. I ended up with more bruises and pain than I've ever had with other masters that I learned from. Yet as fierce as they are deep inside they are very kind and caring. They gave me the kind of training that I needed because they wanted me to represent them here in the Philippines. I got certification from them to teach in August 24 year 2000. It was a truly incredible experience that I have with all of them. Although Tatang, GM Tony, Pendekar Hadimulyo and Master O'ong had already passed away, they will always be regarded as great masters of the martial arts.