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.

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