Thursday, April 27, 2017


Our first of its series.
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Tuesday, April 18, 2017



Training with a knife doesn't mean that me,  you or anyone else automatically  becomes a knife fighter. One should not confuse his or her own thoughts and beliefs about this.  Only a someone who has a good amount of actual experience could claim to be one. And truth is, those people who truly are, wouldn't even claim (or openly, that is)  to be one.  The reason we train though is for us to have at least an understanding of how to use it should we need to have a skill that might help us to survive against an attack from it. Therefore I believe that in order to get the most out of it then " training should be both seriously fun and seriously serious" if one should either choose any and lead it to extremes, then neither path would be of good value.

Bong Abenir
Abenir Kalis Filipino Blade Art
AK Kalistas Ilustrados

Training on knife wrk with the men and women of Sensei Tony Yap's Aikido class in Malaysia .

Monday, April 17, 2017



It is everyone's  right and moral duty  to learn how to defend themselves in order to know how to protect others as well. - bong abenir

Seminar hosted by Aikido Sensei Tony Yap
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Photos by Aziz Getufi

Saturday, April 15, 2017


By Michael Cruz

A colleague once approached me saying that he is interested to learn Kali as he learned that I am a practitioner. My mistake was I showed him my arms - there were fresh contusions that I received just the day before (it literally looks like that I have been hazed but it was the result of the weekly live stick sparring sessions in AK Mandaluyong and Pinaglabanan Abenir Eskrima) . His expression – initially of enthusiasm and interest turned to apprehension and possibly disgust. There was even a time that my manager told me that the our division head called our group head asking what happened to me as he had seen my swollen upper arms and forearms. Our group head had an idea of what I do during my “free time” so she told him that it is due to Arnis practice. During our AK demonstration at the SM Mall of Asia, Ka Richard Grimaldo and I fell on the mat and proceeded to some stick grappling. I received a knee in the left side of my face which was red after the demonstration. The next morning, I was standing in the office, when the same group head walked in looking straight and then gave me a second look. My manager also asked what happened so I told him that we had a demo yesterday. “Ibang klaseng demo yan. Demo pa lang yan (thats a different demo. Thats just for demo)" he said. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t openly show or brag about these”souvenirs.” In fact I do my best to hide them. However due to the humidity in the Philippines, it is not practical to always wear long sleeves or a coat (and definitely I can't report to the office wearing a balaclava after that knee to the face).

When I came to New Zealand, I had the privilege of practicing and having sparring sessions with AK New Zealand Guro - Ka Bradley Castle. After one of our sparring session, I took a bus in Botany. I tried hiding my arms in the bus as I’ve been getting a lot of stares from some of the passengers. When I reached Glen Ines, I decided to buy a bandage from a drug store to hide the marks.

I first heard about live stick sparring was when I initially joined an Arnis group in my hometown. I thought that it was foolish but I was also intrigued. Something in me wants to try the format someday but at the same time there is fear. I later learned that not all Arnis practitioners spar live stick. Or if they spar using live stick, they wear heavy pads and recklessly whip each other with no concern for defense and footwork. Well, they can be reckless all they want - thanks to those pads.  But if one tries to spar live stick without those pads, their movement would definitely change. They will be cautious. Defense and footwork would surely come into play. The first time I sparred live stick was during a session with Maestro Bong Abenir. It was a Friday night and I was the only student – which was the set up before. He handed me a live rattan stick and told me to spar. I even inquired if there were cases of broken bones after being hit. Possibly sensing my apprehension he replied smiling, "Wala pa naman (None so far)." Good enough! However, I find it unthinkable to hit someone-moreso my teacher with a live rattan stick. Unlike other FMA masters, Maestro Bong spars with his students. I was hesitant to proceed but I can't turn back now. "Kahiyaan na ito (it will be shameful)." I let lose of some (limp) strikes that failed to hit my intended target. Master Bong returns with a controlled but crisp hit on my right forearm. My senses awaken due to “the feel" is different from what I was accustomed to. Exercise continues, after 3 more hits I called for a time out. I found sparring with a weapon to be intriguing, exciting and most of all-realistic.

Is Filipino Martial Arts training painful? TRADITIONALLY-Yes, FMA training is painful. In fact there were innovations that aimed to address this issue as Filipinos are gearing towards foreign martial arts due to painful training. One of such innovation is Modern Arnis, the brainchild of Prof. Remy Presas. However, pain is a reality in any combat sport. I also have my fair share of injuries and hematoma in the other martial arts that I tried. There was a time when I was in highschool that I received a spinning back fist to the nose during sparring. When I got home, I immediately submerged my gi (uniform) in the washing machine to prevent it from being seen by my mother. However, my sisters noticed my nose and I came up with the excuse of epistaxis – a term I learned that week during Physical Education, Health and Music class. I even spar with fellow choir members who are practitioners of other arts prior Saturday choir practice. There was even a time that we were singing a hymn while all of us were nursing our sore arms, legs or chest. Not too long ago, we were young and admittedly foolish.
Don’t let sparring stop you from learning FMA. Sparring is part of training but it is not the entirety. You can tell your instructor if you are not up to it. FMA training is enjoyable. It builds coordination and is an effective self defense system. No one can force you to undergo live stick sparring or even sparring per se if you you don't want to. Your teacher can modify the material for you. In fact I have a friend in Karatedo class who never sparred in his life. He just loves doing forms, katas and taking the exams. Well, there are exams in Karatedo that require sparring and I never followed his progression after he earned his green belt. So I don't know if he eventually sparred (which I strongly doubt). As we are in an all-boys school, he’s got a lot of booes and teasing (including joking punches...he just punched back) intended to push him to spar. But he never relented or sparred in all four years that we trained. Or if you would like to spar but don’t want to go live stick, you can still use padded sticks and wear pads-nothing wrong with that.

Friday, April 14, 2017


Monday, April 10, 2017



It's not so much about the tool that you're using. But it's actually the heart and mindset  you put into what you're doing. - B.A.

Training with my good friend Steffen Billhardt at AK Bahay Ezkrima. A big guy with a humble attitude. Like him,  we had  a lot of foreign students who come and go here for training. . And like him  there were a few  exeptions  such as Sebastian Rauch, Bradley Castle, Nero Lynx Smith,Gilles Blessed, Javier Naranjo, Jorge Talaya who came all the way here to the Philippines  to really learn and understand our way. These are but few examples of people who were already accomplished martial artists in their own right even before they came here,  yet had the humbleness to set those aside for a while and began emptying their cup in order to recieve what little we can offer that may help them. For which they trained hard and fought even harder. They aren't  just the typical guys who merely asks for certificates after a few days or a month of training.  If ever they got one, it was given to them freely and wholeheartedly.  They understood the real value and the culture of what Filipino martial arts is. They came to understand the identity as to why we do this and that instead of merely conforming with what they want or what they insists upon or to have us copy what others are doing. They respected  and accepted the uniqueness of FMA as it is. These are the types of people worth teaching and keeping.

Bong Abenir
Abenir Kalis Filipino Blade Art


Maraming salamat po for mentioning me Maestro.

It's nice to see Steffen going at it. Indeed a nice and humble guy!

I really can recommend to everybody that is considering going to the Philippines for training to follow that dream. It is a very special experience to train in the home country of this beautiful art.

I had a great time in Manila for sure. 5 hours of training, every day is not easy especially when you keep in mind the climate...but it was so worth it.

With Master Bong I've found somebody who is truly interested in teaching me in order to help me progress....not just for the money, not just showing off and teaching random techniques but somebody who cares about his students, who takes his art very seriously and who obviously is pretty damn good in what he does.

The reason why I decided to go with AK is because it really focuses on the blade side of FMA and it is all about application. It's not a style that cares on how beautiful techniques might look in order to attract the masses but rather puts functionality first in order to make things work.

Mabuhay FMA

Saturday, April 8, 2017


By Marvin Mendoza

I am a proud Kalista and member of Abenir Kalis System founded by my master... Maestro Fernando "Bong" Abenir you can find his story in the essa entitled "MY JOURNEY THROUGH  SILAT AMD ILUSTRISIMO MASTERS"... The system itself is very well rounded and well structured and is well suited in modern times...Like a living thing this system evolves, expands and improves itself making it better prepared for anything...

It has it's roots in Kalis Ilustrisimo, which my master diligently studied for 19 years under the watchful eye of the late GM Tony Diego along  with guro Jong and guro Pedro Reyes back in 1994 till Tatang's twilight years in 1997.

and apart from Master Bong's extensive KI training for which he is also certified to teach under GM Diego. He also studied and taught extensively the indonesian martial art of Silat and Master Bong is also skilled in Muay Thai he trained with MAP, Judo brown belt under the legendary Judo Champion John Baylon and coached BJJ at Don Bosco school under the banner of Kamphui-Machado bjj with his students winning tournaments in the span of 10 years...his experiences in these systems and others. Which also included laban baston and dumog for which he honed for decades he combined to become Abenir Kalis. A martial art that evolves with you and for you...

As for my self my own personal journey wasn't easy either I had to undergo intensive training and tutelage first from PG Rommel Ramirez  then after a year or so I trained directly under Maestro Bong till getting my own instructor certificate under AK...

Although Ak will allow anyone the ability to defend themselves even after a few sessions. To be considered guro status one must train for years and endure a lot of testing. Myself and my batch mates had to pass a 10 round sparring match just to even pass the bolo section of the instructor certificate. Mastery over Ak demands dedication and years of toil. And the system is still evolving and modifying it's structure even as I write this a lot changes has taken place and all current instructors must under-go a new process of training and even re-certification to continue teaching the new process which includes:

Espada y daga
Dos Manos
Empty hands

and each of these also requires years of mastery before one can teach with authority.

The beauty of this system is that it is always ready to question itself, ready to improve and move with the times and demands of survival against violence but at the same time only the most dedicated select few ever makes it to the end.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Guro Bradley Castle and Guro Michael Cruz

Tuesday, April 4, 2017


Kutsilyo or knife training is the heart of our curriculum in our system. Although we have put up a lot of videos on bolo or machete type swords for quite some time already and have expounded most of our principles and philosophies using these weapons, the knife  which we seldom put up is still the very center of our training regimen along with our empty hand fighting.  It is for the simple reason of remaining relevant to our current times and getting practical for the streets. Training how to defend against these easy to conceal weapons including hand guns is for us the most important aspect of Filipino martial art training.

Training with me here is Japs Jayme who now resides at  Huntington Beach, California. He is among the certified instructors of Abenir Kalis in the US.



By Guro Bradley Castle
AK New Zealand

An excercise we done a few weeks ago, was "Chalk Sparring". Each person has a different colour and its no more than 3 inches long. It's done with the view of using a small blade, or more so going up against someone with a small small knife, box cutter, bottle head, shank. Also a way to get comfortable with the idea of having to be that close to someone with a weapon, when all else fails and there is no where to run. At the end of it we get to assess the damage. It is clear to say everyone got cut. When the chalk falls we have to do what we can to survive , thus the clinching to take control. I ended up with a huge cut/mark on my right thigh, which I only seen at the end. We done one minute rounds and kept changing partners. We also chalk up the sharkie knife trainers for sparring, to get visual feed back.

Monday, April 3, 2017


This DVD entitled "Labanang Tabak" meaning sword fighting, covers the basics of Abenir Kalis Filipino Blade Art System. The ten angles of attack and the method of practical defenses against each strikes is also well covered. Many of our fighting strategies, principles and philosophies are included as well in order for the viewers to understand what the system is all about. Clear methods of instructions is  presented in this instructional DVD.

AK family worlwide would like to give our gratitude and BIG  THANKS  to Andy Martin and Cranes Productions for their full support in making this first out of our series of instructional dvd projects. Thank you also to Pak Sam Halim for his genuine friendship and for  intoducing us to these wonderful people.

Special thanks to Japs Jayme and Mac Miranda for their expertise, time and  patience to us while shooting and directing each scene.

And thank you most especially to the Abenir Kalis Family here in the Philippines, Europe, Middle East and America.  Mabuhay!


Sunday, April 2, 2017


BY Javier Naranjo

My journey in Abenir Kalis started almost accidentally in January 2014 while living in Manila. I was looking for an instructor within Mandaluyong city, where I was based, purely to avoid Manila’s traffic as much as possible.
My first choice among what google threw at me was Bobby Tabimina whom I found out was teaching nearby; Balintawak is another style close to my heart and having practiced it in Cebu I was keen to continue learning while in Manila; however several tries to contact the gym where he was teaching lead to nothing. I decided to expand my search and came across Ka Richard Grimaldo’s contact details. It just happen we were almost neighbours and although I knew next to nothing about Abenir Kalis I decided to give it a try.
Ka Richard managed to impress me so much on the first class, both at a personal and technical level that I decided to schedule one to one daily trainings with him, Monday to Friday, 2 to 3 hours a day. Based on that first class impressions Abenir Kalis seemed unlike any FMA I had practiced till that date (due to my continues travels I’ve been lucky enough to be exposed to several styles and I have achieved instructor level not only in Filipino Martial Arts but in several other eastern and western fighting styles), from the footwork to the blade legacy AK it’s quite a unique and lethal blend of Kalis Ilustrisimo and several Silat styles.
Having studied with Richard for a while, he introduced me to GM Bong, and since then I’ve been lucky enough to count them among my dearest friends. My journey in Abenir Kalis is just starting but looking at the road ahead I can see it’s going to be a very interesting, challenging and rewarding journey.