Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Journey with Abenir Kalis

By Dean Franco

My Journey with Abenir Kalis started with watching videos of Master Bong Abenir on Face Book. I was first exposed to Master Bong videos through his old student Fabrizio . I was enamored by his feet, more specifically his footwork. I knew before checking his background that he had trained in Illustrisimo Kalis. This was apparent by seeing his fore mentioned footwork and later observation of his defensive movements. Being a Tatang fanatic I was even further curious to the system in which he created. Sure enough my hunch was correct; he had spent on 19 years with Master Tony Diego, Tatang’s heir.
                                I emailed him stating my admiration for his ability and skill and queried whether he had plans to ever come to the states. He answered not as of yet and this is the kicker, he responded humbly with “I am sure there are qualified instructors in the US.” Shortly thereafter I contacted his old student Fabrizio who informed me he was coming to the states. He offered me private training, I suggested going out to California to meet him.  He suggested in coming to me, well schedules didn’t work out but that set the path to Ka Marvin Mendoza.
                         I found about Ka Marvin Mendoza via Master Bong’s Abenir Kalis Blog site. I diligently tried to get contact information through searches. I then messaged Master Bong again who shared with me that Ka Marvin was on face book; to this day I can’t believe I didn’t check that first. Well I reached out to Ka Marvin Mendoza and shared my interest based on my observations of Master Bong and his system which at this point I had researched more. This is where the quote “the rest is history” is very applicable.
                          Spoke to Ka Marvin on the phone a few times and I could tell he was making sure I was a good fit lol. Something we joke about to this day. However it’s a testament to how serious he takes sharing this system and his respect and loyalty to Master Bong. He was finally convinced when I commented on the Master’s quick and economical feet. I then went to Chicago to train with him which was such a wonderful experience. My first trip I was exhausted and got to literally feel Ka Marvin’s number 4 strike which despite adjustments on my part he was still so efficient. First time ever I experienced extreme quickness in foot movement and striking delivery. His instruction was so organized and he gave plenty of time for practice. Ka Marvin even took the time to video our sessions for me to have for reference.  Ka Marvin and his family were so kind and hospitable. His wonderful wife on both visits went out her way to cook 3-4 course lunches just incredible!!!
                                 In conclusion I am so happy I was persistent in finding an Abenir Kalis rep. My patience paid off with Ka Marvin accepting me as a student and to this day I still so grateful.  He has been nothing but wonderful to me as well as the other instructors. I believe this is due to Master Bong’s humility and grace and that has been instilled in all of us. Lastly, I am so proud to be the first American promoted in this system. Thank you Ka Marvin, all the other instructors and most of all Master Bong in what you have created for all of us. Pugay!!!

Ka Dean Franco


By Richard Grimaldo

I often hear people discuss techniques and boast how many techniques they know and how deep it is with regards to the art. I openly hear what they have to say but rarely do I ever say anything against it even though I consider it secondary to actual combat skills. I believe that techniques emphasize the art in “Martial Art” and I consider this not only a necessity but our responsibility as a martial ‘artist’. The way I see it, techniques are nice but as I was told countless times by various teachers and various anecdotes it is the basics that wins the fights. And through sparring I find techniques secondary to three other aspect of combat that is often overlooked and understated. The way I see it combat revolves on several principles: Range, Timing, Mindset, and Techniques.

If an enemy cant reach you, you will not be defeated, if you cannot reach the enemy you will not win.
First and foremost is range. If one is to throw an effective punch, kick or any strike, the proper range has to be observed. You can throw all the punch, kick, elbow or what not and still miss the target completely. For example, an upper cut to the jaw cannot be executed from long range, a spinning back kick cant be effectively thrown at close quarters, a clinch and knee cant be executed if not within close quarters and a jammed punch will lose its power. If an enemy cant reach you, the enemy cant hit you, and if you cant hit or touch the enemy odds are you wont win either. It is in this aspect that foot work comes in to play. Foot work can increase your range for defense or execute long range techniques or decrease the range to go in to the full offensive. One can therefore say that techniques are dependent on which range they are to be executed from. And I am only talking about the offensive aspect of combat. Range plays an even bigger role in defense. This aspect of combat can be emphasized all the more with the use and application of weapons.
Various weapons have been developed to capitalize and give the fighter the advantage of range. Spears, halberds, and pikes have been developed and were a mainstay of many armies in countless wars. Bows, crossbows, rifles, and sniper rifles have been created in order to capitalize the range even more.
Needless to say, getting the range right determines half of your chances of hitting. Now moving on to the other half which is timing.

Even if you are physically and numerically faster, if my timing is right I’m still faster.
First half of determining whether you will land a hit or not is range and the other is timing. You can throw all the strikes you can and still miss the target completely if your timing is off. It is the aspect of combat where in based on the motion of the target you are to generate an assumption where the target will be at a given time in order for one to land a blow. Range together with timing is the quintessential aspect of combat. Timing is the speed equalizer between two combatants for it will enable a slower combatant to hit an otherwise faster enemy.
Needless to say Timing is dependent on range. Timing simply means shorter travel time will allow a strike to hit it’s target faster compared to a strike which is faster but will come from a much greater distance. It is with this regard that economy of movement is employed, quick tight movements, reduction of telegraphic movements and the reason why the centerline principle is developed.
To further expound on the concept of timing you can use the concept of beats. Every motion has a timing and can be assigned a beat. A jab or a fake can be counted as a half beat (or what we call fraccion in Abenir Kalis), a straight punch, a knife thrust or a bolo slash can be counted as one beat. Any technique or movement which exceeds 1 beat will have a great difficulty of succeeding as combat is ruled by multiple half or 1-beat movements and finding the gap in between the beats will enable one to land a blow or execute a technique.

Technique is a movement or series of movements developed to capitalize the weakness of an enemy or to compensate for the weakness of the executor. Its development and execution is the culmination of the combatant’s knowledge of range and timing. It is meant to maximize the effect of a strike for a weak strike delivered properly to a critical target will have a greater effect compared to a strong strike delivered to an unsuitable target. As good as it sounds, techniques alone however will not guarantee victory. In the heat of the battle, it is but the basics which will count and half or single beat strikes that will win fights. Techniques are therefore incidental, meaning its successful execution is greatly dependent on the situation.
But one can throw all the techniques one can and land a blow but without the proper mindset the effectiveness and strength of the strike/technique will be greatly affected by the intent of the strike or the mindset of the executor.

It’s no surprise when a well trained martial artist foils a robbery or beats up a group of thugs, in fact it is expected. However it too is common news to hear many well trained martial artists fall victim to these petty criminals. Why? These well trained martial artists with years of experience of hard sparring in the dojo with an arsenal of punches, kicks and various techniques are falling prey to petty criminals with little or no training whatsoever so what gives? What do these thugs have that a trained martial artist doesn’t? My guess is the mindset that makes the difference. While there are many other factors that may constitute to the defeat of a trained individual versus the common thug, the mindset or the intent of an individual will overall affect the outcome of any encounter.
An individual intent on hurting someone intent on protecting himself will almost always lose. Once the attacker fully commits to the goal, the attacker will stop at nothing, utilize every exploitable element possible like, terrain advantage, shadows, sand to throw at one’s eye, a broken shard of glass or anything that the attacker can get his hands on until the goal is achieved



By Marvin Mendoza

It was my first day training under the master of this new system I've been introduced to by a dear and trusted friend.

The dojo was small compared to the one im used to but their mats are worned out and rough evidence of countless of hours logged on to the perfection of technique.

Though it was my first day in their system I'm in no way a novice myself I have taught aikido and submission grappling for most of my adult life and was used to this sort of thing. But what they had to offer was different- The Blade- the master is a kind looking man but you can sense a power a skill behind the smile that im anxious to see...

We started out with usual routine warm ups followed by the basics then he showed how to hold a kali stick...the rough texture of the rattan dug deep in my palm but somehow felt at home with it. We started to learn the basics of the blade and the accuracy and fluidity of the master's skill is awe inspiring...

I tried my best to mimick what the master was doing but mostly I felt slow, a fish out of the water while the master flowed in and out of his attacking space swinging the stick like a natural extension of his limbs...His name is Bong Abenir and his system Abenir Kalis.

I have always trained empty hand so the weapon aspect felt different not awakward but it made you feel alive.

Time came for us to spar , my opponent is someone I didnt know but we were paired to do a knife fight armed with sturdy short sticks as stand ins...

My adrenaline raced as we threatened each other with our weapons he stepped in i drew a breath stepped offline and stabbed him point blank in the chest he reeled back and felt the tip of my weapon our skirmish drew on into the 2 min mark each getting stabbed or slashed we got into a clinch so i pushed him with my shoulder pinning him to the wall pulled my weapon arm out and stabbed him  once more ending the match. I was sweating and my arms felt like a ton..

Master Bong watched from the sideline...i was thinking to myself that wasnt so bad. Then master Bong asked me to step up and spar with him this time empty hands.

In the back of my head every reptilian brain cell is screaming at me "RUN FOOL!" But I was there and I had to do it. The timer started,  he threw a jab I parried and he closed in...all i saw was the ceilling and both my feet up in the air the only thing that saved me was a well practiced breakfall, gravity took hold and down i went...it was the fastest takedown or sweep I have ever experienced.

And all I can say about the experience was... "I was hooked on AK" and never looked back to my old systems since.


Tuesday, March 21, 2017


Study courses offered: Abenir Kalis

1.Labanang Tabak - Bolo/Machete
2.Labanang Kutsilyo - Knife Training
3.Tabak at Punyal - Sword and Dagger
4.Dos Manos - Long stick and sword
5. Silat, Dumog, Shemagh at Kerambit - Stand up to ground fighting and the use of shemagh and curved blade for fighting.
6. Labanang Olisi - Single stickfighting method
7. Doble Olisi - Double stickfighting method
8. Doble Kutsilyo - Double knives
9. Doble Espada - Double swords
10. Olisi at kutsuliyo - Stick and knife training

Certifications are awarded only after completion of each course.

Promotions for maestro (teacher) and antas (degrees) would be held annually here in the Philippines and would be conducted by the maestros within the brotherhood of AK Kalistas Ilustrados. Other opportunities for  promotions could be hosted by AK Eskrima schools abroad through special invitations to any members of AK Kalistas Ilustrados. We strictly ensure the standard methods of teachings, principles and philosophies  are well kept and taught within the AK Eskrima community.

We also offer separate private lessons in Ilustrisimo blade fighting system (no certifications are awarded in respect to the wishes of its current and only recognized heir of the system)  and Pencak Silat.

We also conduct street awareness seminar  for the youth and self defense for men and women.

Program for law enforcers and other special units  are conducted by PSI Deejay Domingo and Bong Abenir together with its team.

Pre-Order of Bong Abenir first ever DVD :
                     Coming Soon !


Seminar in Malaysia on April w/ Sensei Tony Yap

Seminar in USA on May at Camp Jansson

Seminar in Belgium (TBA)

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Saturday, March 18, 2017

AK Kalistas Ilustrados Brotherhood Blogsite