Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Bolo Training


Amarra training  is done by expressing the movement of  the sword  that is performed by a Kalista (swordsman) or Eskrimador. The defensive and offensive techniques comes into play as the blade goes around his/her person. The footwork and body mechanics works as one with the thrusting and cutting of the sword. It is almost similar to the way a music conductor would direct a musical performance who is responsible for setting up the tempo and entries of each musical instrument by the members of the orchestra. The difference is that Amarra is done without a partner. Yet the Kalista uses his/her mind to perform as if an opponent is right in front of him engaged in a fight. The brain may not know the difference between reality and imagination if the Kalista is fully engaged in the activity. It is similar to thinking and imagining strongly about eating a sour grape and as a result, your mouth and tongue begins to water and sour even without actually taking

Sometimes, instead of resembling it to the movement of  a music conductor it  may also be seen as a dance form. Which others call the "Dance of Death"

Bong Abenir
Abenir Kalis Philippines

Wednesday, July 13, 2016


The way you train is the way you will fight. I believe that a good FMA system covers the aspects of edged and impact weapons including a good stand up and a decent ground fighting skills. He or she knows the difference between a sword and a stick and to not confuse between the two. A kalista is equally adept in handling long, medium and short blades just as he or she handles different sticks including flexible and improvised weapons. A kalista also knows how to listen to what his or her guts (some call it sixth sense or esp)  feel thus avoiding any possible danger. He or she knows how to analyze and could quickly develop a plan or strategy when dealing on extreme life and death situations for the purpose of self preservation and for protecting others as well.

WITH REGARDS TO DE CAMPO (long range) AND DE SALON (short range)

While I do believe that long range is one of the most often and effectively used in duels whether for assault training or actual duel scenarios, I would not be foolish to disregard close range or labanang dikit altogether. That is why I often spar with minimal protection so as not to get careless. Or if ever I decide to put on more protective gears, my attitude towards weapons don't change. I respect its capability especially if it is a machete that would cut you up into pieces or get a thrust on the most fatal parts of your anatomy. If it is a kamagong or bahi stick then be prepared to crush every part of your bones, muscles and joints if you keep using your hand, legs, body to absorb and block it.  Try sparring without headgears and protective gears and see if you still use your arms and allow your head to be hit repeatedly. You'll be very surprised on how one solid strike could inflict real pain and disorient your senses if you get a shot right on the head.  We tried a few days ago sparring  without headgear and hand protectors using just rattan sticks (no head shots of course) and aluminum training knives and immediately saw how limbs easily would swell and fingers doubled its size from receiving a hit. Of course hematomas and black amd blue marks here and there. Now about in-fighting or close range. I still maintain that De Salon comes ( I still very much adhere to Tatang's point of view as related to me by Mang Tony that all these has its place and value when it comes to fighting) into play especially during surprise attacks or ambushes or if an assailant just starts crashing in willing to sacrifice a limb or two just to go for the kill. Its like watching a drug craze person rushing in relentlessly or a well determined assailant that would do anything to bring you six feet under. Will hand checks work? its actually difficult to tell how you or your opponent would react, deliver, counter and maneuver. It requires incidental circumstances. You don't go looking for it. Rather it just happens when an opportunity presents itself. And sometimes you might not notice it because it happens fast and not the way you would expect from a drill. But hand checks is not limited to tapping which is often the mistake many fail to realize. Hand checks also means trapping the hand either by holding or grabbing with the hand or by using the hand together with the body to fully apply the concept of leverage which is often recognized as grappling. It could either be a stand up grapple or may eventually end up on the ground. As much as most of us would not want to end up there on the ground, there are many variables in a fight that is uncontrollable such as fighting on a slippery or wet surface, fighting against someone who might be significantly bigger and heavier than you, fighting on a place with a lot of obstructions and many more scenarios. If you fail to train on how to survive in this area then you're not seriously training well. Any excuse against that is somewhat stupid. Now of course I don't advocate staying there for long especially against multiple assailants. Find a way to recover immediately and stand up. It only requires smart thinking. Nothing special.


I over heard someone say to a woman that this is a very foolish move to pull off in a street fight because it would only add up to the rage of someone under the receiving end of such attack and would eventually lead the attacker to kill you. So he recommends punching the face would seal the deal. And I took pitty on the woman who showed enthusiasm from the lesson she just got. Afterall she's just training at least once or twice a month. It's  sometimes a pain in the butt to hear people give such stupid advise. I was tempted to butt in but held my peace instead. I try not to meddle in someone's own kitchen. That is what I got from Oong Mayono.  I really don't know how they arrived into that conclusion. If the assailant wants to kill then he would kill. Punching hard, kicking hard, elbowing hard would not make him less angrier compared to gouging his eyes if the person really wanted to waste you in the first place. Now the mechanics of a proper eye gouge is to insert your finger inside the attackers eye balls with lesser effort as compared to hitting but with more devastating effect. If done with full force then it is one of the most effective means to really hurt an attacker and disorient him or may even end up worse . A far greater chance for someone who may be a regular person without much skills in martial arts to be able to run away from further engaging into deeper trouble. It's  a good offensive action provided that it is done with full intent (I'm not referring to just gently brushing with your fingers) to thwart off an attacker. I, including other competitors in combat sports have more than just on one occassion got accidentally poked with a stick or a glove with protruding leather on its edges and just thinly scratching my (their) eyes and immediately stopped in the middle of a fight due to that irritating sharp pain and uncomfortable tears clouding good vision. It's  almost like the way people jumping wild with pain or crouching in agony on the mats after receiving a kick on the balls. It's unpleasant, painful and drops all your guard down like a limped vegetable. I have experienced dropping off whatever I was doing whenever a small spec of foreign material enters my eyes after strong wind passed by carrying all sorts of dusts. It is probably a most common experience and anyone could attest to that. So how much more if someone violently and intentionally inserts his or her finger inside that eye socket and begins to dig or hooks it in as deep as possible? Well I bet no one would ever participate in such experiments. They would rather be punched hard in the face and even get knocked-out than to wake up without seeing anymore. I say this because I don't wish to discourage regular people using it as a form of self-defense especially when it is probably the only thing they could do if caught up in a very dangerous situation. But if one could train his or herself to add more into their arsenal of self-defense tools, the better!


There is no need to go Hollywood regarding this matter. Maybe you have seen me or others pose with a blade using reverse grip. Well it's good for pictorials only. How important is this issue? Well it depends on how you value your life. Never ever give up your blades advantage especially in a knife fight. Allowing him to use the full advantage of his blade by maintaining a regular grip while you on the other hand begins to reverse it is really asking for trouble. Knife fights as my mentor mang Inyong told me are dangerously fast and turns everything ugly. There is nothing glorious or fascinating about it. If you could stay away from it then by all means stay away, run away, call the cops, just get out!. Only a fool would go around looking for knife fights. There's nothing beautiful about the idea of killing with it either .  But if you really have to use it to defend yourself or someone then do it fast and get out quickly. But they say reverse holds is good for concealment. Maybe if your doing it sentry or silent attacks without facing your enemy (better leave these to the military). But against duels and against someone who knows how to fight with knives, he could easily see through your imagined concealment. Resting one's knife on the forearm may look professional and tough. But looking tough like this won't save you. When things start to get rough you are likely to get
cut first which might put you on a disadvantage. But don't totally neglect practising how to defend against it (pakal grip) because there are still many attacks from this grip position. It would be wise to know how to deal with it.


Tightly. Nothing more I wish to say.


Some hold the knife wherein the edge faces upward because they don't want their oppoment to parry it downward against the spine as they thrust. But this will just make it difficult to maneuver if one has to cut downwards because it limits mobility as opposed to having the edged pointed downwards. Holding the knife with edge face down allows more in terms of maneuverability whether cutting straight up, down, diagonal. side ways arcing with a flick of a wrist or hand.


Yes it's not the best advise but a student (working student) of mine actually saved his life after I taught a class which he was attending  and showed them how to use a pinch grip in case they have to.  He showed up in the faculty room one day very thankful while showing this ugly cut across his palm and related to me that two men went inside his taxi cab to rob him. After coming up short with just a small amount of money to give, the other assailant decided to thrust his knife directly at his sternum with full force. He reacted by grabbing the full length of the knife and the intensity by both men struggling to gain the upperhand resulted into breaking the blade (he was lucky that it turns out that the tool used was just an ordinary kitchen knife) It resulted to an immidiate scattering of the two assailants thus saving his life. Again I don't usually recommend it as a first priority in weapons disarming but I still continue to teach it because it might just come in useful in such dire situations.

All these are for true advocates of Filipino Martial Arts training. It's for those who wish to study it seriously not for the purpose of planning to hurt people. It is for matters of self-defense and life and deaths situtuations. Remember that it always comes with a heavy price. You might end up in jail using it. So be very careful and be responsible.  Spend time to train as much as you can and treat it just like any other insurance policy. It is not a 100% guarantee but it might just come in handy.

Train well and never leave any stones unturned. This is how we teach and this is how we train.

Eskrima Street Defense is now available in kindle. Order your copy at amazon.com

Bong Abenir
Abenir Kalis Philippines

#filipinomartialarts #kali #arnis

#eskrima #selfdefense #bladefighting

Sunday, June 26, 2016


Are Martial Arts which have its origins in the Philippines. The practitioners of these arts emphasize the use of blunt, projectile, hand to hand and bladed weapons. Projectile weapons may refer to spears, bow and arrow, blow guns and knives. Today some have already included the use of firearms which I see as a necessary addition to our skills in order to keep up with the modern times and adapt ourselves to address possible scenarios which involves these types of weapons.

Arnis de mano is the term commonly used to refer to the Filipino Martial Art. It is a corruption of the Spanish word “Arnes” that refers to the various means by which armor was strapped on. The term arnis as I've observed is more likely the preferred name in most Tagalog regions like here in Manila and laguna. Now I may be wrong so please don't quote me on this.

Escrima is also from the Spanish word “Esgrima” which means “Fencing”, it is a sword fighting art through which the older masters of the blade-based Filipino Martial Art prefer to call it. The word eskrima is often used among the Visayan regions like Cebu.

Kali is another term used to refer to the Filipino Martial Art which probably has its origins (according to some) to the term “Pagkali-kali” in describing the locked talon-jousts of eagles in mid-air. Others have given their explanations as to the origin of the term. A master who I inquired about it said that KALI for him means "Karunungang Lihim" wherein the first two letters (KA and LI) of the words were joined together referring to the art. He says that karunungang lihim which translated in english would mean secret knowledge. A term which borders around the area of mysticism for it was said that masters of this art are also known to be healers as well. Although this sounds silly to many modern day thinkers but some (especially  elders) believe that there were eskrimadors who were known to posses uncanny abilities through the use of their oracions and anting-anting. That is as far as I would go about this. Moving on,  this term however is not familiar to most of the Filipino Masters here in the Philippines. But is now gaining acceptance  as a legitimate name for FMA as well. The term Kali is more widely used in foreign countries especially in the US.

Kalis is a term which means sword in Tagalog.  “Kalis is also a term preferred  by the late Master Antonio Diego. He said that the term is more appropriate for Antonio Ilustrisimo’s art due to its blade based orientation. This is also the word I used for our system which of course I got  from mang Tony's influence. He reitirated this to me many times until I decided to use the word instead of the former name which was Abenir Kali. So from then on we were known as Abenir Kalis.

I would wish to post this info as well which was shared by my friend Karl Medina:
I come from Central Luzon in a province with predominantly Tagalog speakers. I would, on occasion hear older people say "kalisin mo na lang yan" which I hear them say when ordering someone to use a blade to whittle, carve, or trim any object that can be affected by a blade, be it wood, animal or human hair, or even fins and scales of fish. I am no language expert, but if I have to translate "kalisin" according to my elders' usage, i would say that it is a verb in the future tense which means to process an object using a blade. And by blade it could mean all sorts of blades, big and small; from the humble labaha (razor "la navaja" in Spanish) to the versatile gulok.

As a verb:
Future tense: Kalisin
Present tense: Kinakalis
Past tense: Kinalis
Root word: Kalis

As a noun:
Kalis: a blade.

I hope this helps.

Note: I don't find anything wrong with others using the word Kali. It was my act of obedience to my late teacher's request which prompted me to do so. He was very generous to allow me to go on my own path since he knew of my heavy influence in Silat which I naturally would express in many of my movements especially when it comes to shorter blades and empty hands. So this was my way of showing respect and deep gratitude towards him.

All these (Arnis, Eskrima, Escrima,  Kali, Kalis)  are now interchangeable terms which describe blade, stick and empty hand way of the Filipino Martial Art or FMA. Interchangeable, meaning (like in my case)  that I could use any of these to refer to my system. And  we could call or refer to ourselves or any Fma practioner as Arnisadors, Eskrimadors or Kalista.......No contradiction and nothing wrong with that. Whatever their emphasis is. Wether they're known more with the use of sticks while others are more into swords are in general under the same concept. Mainly,  that  the weapons are merely an extension of the arms. Now if others  still make a big issue out if it by constantly bashing others  just by minor things such as this then that's thier problem.

History of Arnis

Nobody really knows the true origin of Arnis (But we Filipinos know more about the legend of "Si malakas at si maganda, Ang alamat ng saging" and other similar stories! since there were no written treatises about the art before the twentieth century. And this is probably due to the fact that most of the written documents our ancestors had were burned by the Spaniards.   It was outlawed by their officials which led to underground practice of the art. Some of its masters and practitioners were reduced to doing roles as fight choreographers and actors on theatrical performances during Moro-Moro stage plays which depicts combat between Christians and non-Christians.  Although for sure we had a martial art which was being used by our ancestors in order to protect each other either from other tribes or warring clans and from foreign invaders. That is why we have the story between the fight from the army of Magellan and the legendary Lapu-Lapu and his warriors. Nobody knows exactly what kind of martial arts they were using or if they even had a name for it……but it’s quite clear that they knew how to fight well. As for the claim of others that Kali is the term used before Arnis and Escrima, it is still a matter of debate and thus needs further investigation.
By the way, our historians are still in debate about the authenticity surrounding the legend of this brave Datu known as  Lapu-Lapu. Including  the exact location wherein the battle between Magellan and his men really took place. Some research are still going on and we are still waiting for any conclusive evidence. Our newly elected President Rody Duterte has promised the Cebuanos that he vows to elevate Lapu-Lapu's status as one of our National hero. As of the moment the only clear and reliable documentation ever done pertaining this battle which happened in 1521 is through the writings of Antonio Pigafetta. Magellan's chronicler.

However there were references to the art by the likes of Jose Rizal when he studied Arnis as a young lad and even included it on his school curriculum when he built one during his exile in Dapitan. We also have other well known historical figures such as Juan and Antonio Luna and Marcelo H. del Pilar who were known to have studied and practiced the art. An epic called Florante at Laura by Balagtas also mentions the term Arnis as a form of martial art.

Today we have seen the Filipino Martial Art featured on both local and international films such as Kamagong, Mano-Mano, Bourne Sequels, Mission Impossible 3, and the Hunted. There are also a lot of instructional videos and numerous reading materials found in the internet and books written about it. It has now become one of the most in-demand and popular Martial Art in the United States and Europe. Thanks to the likes of Dan Inosanto, Antonio Diego, Mark Wiley, The Dog Brothers, Leo Gaje, Bobby Taboada, Edgar Sulite, Christopher Ricketts and others who had popularized the art by exposing it to the public thru seminars, instructional videos, magazines and books.

Although histories or rather stories by some of its masters and practitioners are often made up or not always trustworthy since most of their claims regarding the origin of their art are often shrouded in mysteries such as masters who dreamt of being taught by enchanted spirits, and others who traveled many treacherous mountains and learned their skills either through a beautiful blind princess or a hermit. Either these were just metaphors or actually believed to be true is up to us to interpret (I am dying to hear stories of those who learned Arnis from a very ugly princess without arms and legs or those who dreamt of learning from an enchanted frog…..iyan ang usapang lasing o mga kwentong barbero)

Thanks to authors like Mark Wiley who have made a thorough investigation of the history of the Filipino Martial Art that we have now a scholarly study of the subject. His book “Filipino Martial Culture” is a good reading material. We also have other good sources which come from Filipino authors like Rey Galang and Edgar Sulite.

Forms of Arnis, Escrima and Kali/s

Solo Baston or single stick is a form which an arnisador uses a stick measuring about twenty to thirty inches long, with a diameter of an inch. The free hand is used for parrying, striking and snatching the weapon from the enemy.

Doble Baston is using two sticks with equal length and is wielded with skill. Another term for the movements used for wielding two sticks is called sinawali. Movements requires hands that are well coordinated which if done properly is very beautiful to watch. It is also lethal in fight application.

Espada y Daga is elegant very elegant in form. It  uses a sword and a dagger to simultaneously cut, thrust, parry and spill off attacks and relies more on circular footworks, body defense positions and precision of its attack while holding these defensive postures.  It is said that it got some of  its influence from Spanish sword play using similar weapons.

Kutsilyo or Baraw is the form of using a knife in which the skills used by the Filipinos in wielding this weapon is highly regarded as very practical and functional. It also employs the handling of two knives.

Mano-Mano and Dumog is the empty hand form which employs the use of punches, elbows, knees, kicks and grappling skills (If you're picturing BJJ or Judo then its not like that. Actually it's more on eye gouge,  groin, arm and hair pull, biting even and whatever. It's just plainly used to survive streetfights)  Many do not know that this particular phase of Arnis, Escrima and Kali/s is included in the curriculum. Thinking that the art is purely weapons oriented, but the truth is that it is a complete fighting system where empty hand and weapons training are emphasized to become a well-rounded martial artist.

There are also fighting systems which is indigenous in the Philippines that  use also sticks or bladed weapons such as Sikaran, Yaw-Yan, Dumog and others but are more focused on empty hand combat. These arts like YawYan  is a perfect translation of arnis into empty hands. I know this because this was my very first formal martial art training  back in the late 80's. Formal meaning that I learned systematically inside a training facilty. Hand techniques were derived from stick fighting. But the kicks are equally beautiful and devastating.   (We also have what we call “Sayo na tsi” which is basically a running art wherein you give your slippers to your opponent and run!-“Sayo na Tsinelas Ko!” hahaha Duwag!) Kidding aside, FMA is indeed a pragmatic martial art system. It is A system which still find its way relevant on the streets as a means of self defense. Most importantly,  it is part of  our rich Filipino heritage, culture and tradition.

Bong Abenir
Abenir Kalis Filipino Blade Art

ESKRIMA STREET DEFENSE BY BONG ABENIR is available in kindle and book form at amazon.com.

photo 2016 Abenir Kalis Philippines

Tuesday, June 21, 2016


Abenir Kalis Philippines

The Filipino martial arts is deeply embedded in our culture. It is part of our rich tradition particularly the blade itself which had been a symbol of the warrior heritage of our ancestors who capitalized their skill and knowledge in order to serve and protect their family, tribe and motherland.

The brotherhood of Abenir Kalis continues to preserve this ancient fighting tradition and has maintained its training at its highest standard  together with the sound applications of its principles and concepts well intact and practiced within our system.

ᜃᜎᜒᜐ᜔ ᜀᜊᜒᜈᜒᜇ᜔

#filipinomartialarts #kali #arnis #eskrima

#selfdefense #bladefighting #martialarts


Film and Video Production by: Japs Jayme  and Mac Miranda
Music by: Jonsi (Around Us)

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Copyright Abenir Kalis Philippines 2016


KAPWA TAO ( Fellow man ): CORE VALUE OF A KALISTA ( Swordsman ) - Filipino Martial Arts is a fighting art that was handed to us by our great ancestors who developed their skills in the use of swords, knives, sticks, and various weapons for the purpose of defending others and for protecting ones self. The term "KAPWA TAO" in Filipino is the notion of a "Shared Self"  which is extending ones self to include others as well. This is the core of Filipino personhood. The learning of a fighting art always has to do with self protection that naturally includes others be it his or her own family, friends and their families and even strangers who are in need of it as well. This also means giving ones self in service to his/her Motherland.  The values underneath "KAPWA TAO" or shared self are the words "BAHALA NA" (determination), PAKIKIBAKA (resistance), and "LAKAS NG LOOB" (guts). It also extends to societal values such as "KARANGALAN" (dignity), "KATARUNGAN" (justice) and "KALAYAAN" (freedom)These values are inculcated in the minds, hearts and souls of every Eskrimador.  Therefore a true Kalista, Arnisador or Eskrimador is not just a fighter.  These values aside from the physical training should lead to the development of  a Kalista's totality as a "Mandirigma", "BAGANI" or a Noble warrior.

Bong Abenir
Abenir Kalis Filipino Blade Art

#martialarts #filipinomartialarts #kali

#arnis #eskrima #selfdefense

#bladefighting #filipinoculture

Source: KAPWA by Katrin De Guia

Photos by Japs Jayme
Copyright 2016 Abenir Kalis Philippines


Humility or humbleness is an important value in our Filipino culture. In the tradition of the Filipino martial arts we start this by addressing our teachers as guro or maestro with the use of po and opo whenever we engage them in any form of conversation whether receiving and acknowledging instructions during training or engaging in simple kwentuhan (stories). In terms of physical manifestation we go to a series of our formal Pugay which is a form of salutation expressed in movements. Our practice of showing humility also extends  even when engaged in heated arguments over certain things that may arise. It is normal to hear Filipinos arguing with elders yet still addressing them with po and opo. That's also the reason most of us never even dare to call our elders just by their names. We use terms like tatang, manong or use the prefix"ka" before the name to respectfully address them (ex. Ka-Berto, Ka-Willie etc) We always try our best to show our respect in this manner because it is part of our ancestral interpersonal value. It is a value applied not just in the warrior arts but all things and to everyone else as well. We were taught early on that every human being comes from a devine being and a reflection of the devine. Therefore  we treat our brothers and sisters, elders and the young with the same respect. This is part of recognizing our Kapwa (the self in the other). A value of shared self which is an act of respect through an act of humility.

Bong Abenir
Abenir Kalis Filipino Blade Fighting Art

Source: KAPWA by Katrin De Guia

#filipinomartialarts #kali #arnis #eskrima

#selfdefense #bladefighting

#filipinoculture #filipinotradition


Copyright photo 2016 Abenir Kalis Philippines

Thursday, May 12, 2016


Article written by Punong Guro Rommel Ramirez

Numeration is a way of doing techniques by the number and it’s a good way to teach student the basics. But for long time practitioner it is not relevant, as it will make them freeze in doing some drills. What I really observe is that in sparring you don’t have time to think what to do instead to hit or get hit. With my two remarkable teachers Maestro Bong Abenir of Abenir Kalis System and late GrandMaster Dr. Crescencio Go MD of the Original Balintawak give me a lesson about reaction.

With Maestro Bong he introduced me to the way of Espada y Daga with no certain pattern but only giving pressure of attack so I could defend myself in the most awkward way, this way I easily memorize techniques faster and efficient. Its either it was pain who makes me react to certain things or I achieved dakip diwa(a term to describe a simultaneous action reaction without conscious thought. As soon as an angle of attack is recognized, an automatic appropriate response just comes out natural more like an ESP). But I am for sure that when he introduces me to random techniques I acquired skills beyond my imagination.

The late GrandMaster Dr. Crescencio Go MD who is fond of reaction through the way of agak(a term of Original Balintawak of assisting student to achieve skills) believes that reaction is a way to achieve higher form of technique. He said through agak you could see people growing like a tree…the more you practice agak the more you grow your skills. The feeder gives the stimulus to the receiver and in return it gives back to the feeder certain knowledge achieve only through this way. He guides me through using my senses like the feeling of hands to predict the slight changes of angle and force of an attack. It’s not the sequence that he is teaching me but mostly it’s about the reaction of every move that the assailant make. His famous quote is always be ready, never to oppose the flow but be aware of any slight changes so you can properly answer his intent wither he is going for the kill or he is just merely testing the water.

Through my observation and recommendation from my teachers I realize that teaching student the way of reaction is far more efficient than doing the opposite. Though a lot of martial arts teacher would disagree with me for some reasons either they have to pay the bill by prolonging the training or simply ignorant of the fact that its not efficient. I highly recommend that we should teach student through reaction, let them feel and enjoy the technique and then you come back to basic when they need to. Let us ignore the time being the flaw of their techniques and spend more of the reactions that they needed and in time they will achieve their full potential. As Master Peachie Baron Saguin tell me, “it must be right reaction, moving without understanding is just motion.“ We don’t need to get stuck to basic numeration but we should put it up to a higher form of learning through constant stimulus of reaction and honing our basic with understanding.

Grand Master Tatang Ilustrisimo is fond of doing technique through reaction. Whenever the young Grand Master Tony Diego would ask for the technique from tatang, he wouldn’t do the same technique twice. That’s why they have hard time to catalog most of the technique.

sorry i cant site any reference to this trivia as i have data signal here onboard. if someone could atleast help me do so? for any comment and suggestion please comment below...

Monday, March 28, 2016


WHY GATHERINGS AMONG ESKRIMADORS IS IMPORTANT - This is the most beautiful physical expression of brotherhood and camaraderie among martial artists. It is always a pleasant atmosphere when everyone begins to share each others thoughts with an open mind and geniune interest in listening to what others have to say. As opposed to the aim of others who just go around trying to show off on who's better or who's more capable in terms of skills and knowledge over the other. It's true that there are always those who feel they have to. Well, either they're too insecure of themselves and their system or just naturally a certified asshole, so to speak (pardon my choice of word but I don't have much of a better adjective to describe such people for now because I am riding a jeepney on my way to work as of the moment.) Ok back to gatherings. There are many ways to conduct such events. It could be done through seminars, friendly tournaments or a simple get together over coffee , food and drinks. These are important in order to be able to build strong relations between fellow Eskrimadors , Arnisador or Kalistas whatever we choose to call it. This helps us to break the invisible barrier that devides practitioners coming from different styles, systems and masters. I understand that each of us takes an enormous amount of pride when it comes to these matters and rightly so because otherwise why should anyone spend time or even a life long study of their chosen style or system under certain masters or teachers if they don't believe in it and take pride in doing so. But leave that as it should be, placed into its proper perspective. Because that is based mostly on our own biased opinion and many others have their own as well. That is the reason why we don’t practice the same styles or systems. But those differences has to end there and should not be a cause of perpetual bashing of each other. Whatever problems could then be addressed and resolved by organising such gatherings or as I have said, talks over coffee. This is also a good way to gain mutual respect for each other and gainining insight on what they do. Now of course and sadly so, sometimes certain issues could not be resolved because certain people are either too stubborn or too arrogant or probably certain offenses committed against the other could not be easily remedied and does take time. But nevertheless this should not deter us from continuing such activities. I myself have been in constant connection with my fellow FMA friends. They are the ones who I could also ask help whenever there are activities that I would organize. And in turn I too give my support and attend such invitations to gatherings from them whenever I am available to do so. Of course we all have our busy schedules to deal with, but at least if you can't attend then you could always give them a wish of goodluck and success and maybe try to attend next time. This is better instead of secretly ill-wishing them or gossiping over them and trying to put them down. It's really ironic that many of us often would address each other as brothers and yet act as if we're cats and dogs constantly at odds with each other. Let's try to start working to help each other out instead. If not, then just keep whatever bad opinions you have of others to yourself or among yourselves within your cirlce and not go outside of that to infect others.

Bong Abenir 
Abenir Kalis Philippines

Monday, February 22, 2016


Practical way of Kalis, Seamanship and Life

         There are many ways of knots for practical use in the ship but you don’t need to memorize each of those unless you’re becoming a Bosun or a nautical teacher. When I was a little child my father Captain Perfecto Naungayan Ramirez used to teach me several knots such as clove hitch, timber hitch and granny hitch but when I came to ship it become apparent that this knots are durable and practical. You can do this knots while blinded on the night while instantly untie it within a second. How is that so related to kalis and life?
  Practicality is when and where you could use your techniques in almost in an instant without thinking too much what to use and when to use it. As Grandmaster Tatang Ilustrisimo, also a seaman, techniques and strikes should end only at the third strike. He probably formulate this when he observe that on most ship practicality is the key to do things. With clove hitch and durable rope it can withstand heavy object without slipping off. Its science at its best and no wonder why a lot of people want to study kalis because of these traits. One time when Maestro Abenir Kalis and I have some side tour on one of the most crowded place in manila where we visit a famous fma school where they hang a frame full of weapons and one instructors told us that each one of those they will teach us. As expected Maestro Bong pulled out some of his humorous antics and exclaimed to me he will do likewise but instead of weapon he will probably put some everyday things we see like fork, spoon, broken cd, umbrella, rope and a lot of it. But with his statement I realize that practicality is the key. You don’t need to frame your kalis into just standard weapon. Your technique and weapon should be practical too. Things should be never complicated nor restricted when it comes to your kalis or martial arts. Doing practice also should be practical as taking too much of a technique and time is a waste. Make it a habit to do things, which you could do in a real combat. It should be instantaneous and easy to pull out.
 As for life, less is sexy as they say. The more you make things complicated the more stress you will get. Nowadays we tend to be more complicated with all the gadgets and things that we don’t need while we neglect the most important things in our life…. that is our family and real friends who really matters. It’s always the question of wants and needs…do we really need it? I can buy calculator, tv, radio and recorder but nothing beats the android phone.

Here are examples of techniques that we should do in thousand times.
It’s called panipis wherein both defender and assailant attack at angle 1 but the defender slightly change his footwork so he can take advantage of the positioning and speed of his weapon. I can attest to its practicality as I’ve used it many times during sparring. Enjoy and always be practical and scientific.

Rommel Ramirez
Abenir Kalis System


From http://backyardeskrima.com
Grandmaster Antonio “Tatang” Ilustrisimo

Did you know the Great Grandmaster Antonio "Tatang" Ilustrisimo was a well known sailor of his time?

As a boy, the young Ilustrisimo had a very tough, stubborn, determined and indomitable spirit. When he heard of a far country called ‘America’, he decided to go there – at the age of 9 years old!   When his parents would not listen to his pandering, he ‘took’ some family money and a machete, and again, ‘took’ a small rowing boat and paddled out to the sea to what he thought would be America, not realizing how far America really is.  He fortunately chance across a ship.  The sailors aboard were surprised to see a young boy rowing out in the sea.  Out of curiosity, perhaps concern as well, there approached him and asked him where he was going.  “I am going to America in this boat!” was the confident answer.  The sailors rocked in laughter.  They somehow persuaded him to come with them.   Of course, he did not get to America.  But he did sail to a few ports, still not quite realising that America is still very, very far away……….

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