Friday, September 12, 2008

De Campo Uno-Dos-Tres Orihinal (also referred to as De Campo 1-2-3) is a form of Filipino martial arts. The majority of its techniques are based on fighting with a single stick.

It was created by the late Jose Caballero.The name of the art was derived from his middle name "Diaz" and his surname "Caballero". He once proclaimed that when you lift heavy objects, it is assisted by the count of three; "Uno Dos y Tres!”. This is indicative of the simplicity in which techniques are taught and executed within the art. The Tagalog word "orihinal" is translated "original".

Many Filipino Martial Arts use the stick as a translation from a blade. However, this is not the case with De Campo 1-2-3. The style has been wholly adapted to be executed with a stick. The length of this stick generally varies from 28 to 30 inches.

In his early youth he used to go from barrio to barrio to watch Eskrima exhibitions during the fiesta celebrations. These demonstrations, mostly pre-arranged sparring called DeCadena, were more of a cultural presentation than a display of real fighting which he was doggedly searching for. From his observations of these Eskrima exhibitions, he modified moves with an emphasis on three striking levels: the eyes, lower arms (specifically elbows and hands), and knees. He was a fan of Western movies and often compared his style to the gunslinger "quick draw".

As is the case with many of the Filipino styles, newcomers start by training with slow drills. As they advance in skill and ability, likewise will the speed in which they practice. This gradual approach helps the students to learn the movements correctly while applying them with increasing speed over time.

De Campo uses linear assaults and thrusts at punching range instead of angular strikes common in most close-quarters systems.

Jose Caballero's more notable students were his protege Ireneo L. Olavides, Edgar Sulite and his brother Helacrio Sulite, Jr.

Lameco Eskrima is the system of Filipino martial arts founded by the late Edgar Sulite based on his training and experience with various Philippine Martial Arts masters, with heavy influence from Jose Caballero and Antonio Ilustrisimo.

The word Lameco is actually a combination of words which are the three basic ranges of combat involved in the study and practice of Lameco Eskrima - Largo, Medio and Corto (Long, Middle, close).

At a young age Edgar Sulite's father exposed him to the Filipino Martial Arts, himself being a boxer and Arnisador. Growing up in the Barrios of the Philippines, Edgar witnessed many skirmishes settled blade against blade.

Edgar trained with martial arts masters who included Leo Gaje of Pekiti-Tirsia, Jose Cabellero of De Campo Uno-Dos-Tres Orehenal, Jesus Abella of Modern Largos, Antonio Illustrisimo of Kali Illustrisimo and many others.

In 1981, he moved to Manilla to train under Grandmaster Antonio Ilustrisimo. After relocating to the United States on June 30, 1989, he became instructor to Dan Inosanto and Larry Hartsell.

He suffered from complications arising from a stroke and died on April 10, 1997.

Lameco Eskrima Training

One of the characteristics of Filipino martial arts is the use of weapons from the very beginning of training. The primary weapon is a rattan stick, also called a cane or baston. These sticks vary in length from about 26 inches to as much as 38 inches in length or more. The weapons can vary in weight and thickness depending on the preference of the practitioner.

Lameco uses Double and single Stick, Double and single Dagger, Stick and Dagger, Sword, Staff, Handkerchief, and Empty Hands. Lameco Eskrima is a synthesis of five major and six minor systems of Eskrima.

Lameco employs training drills called Laban Laro (Play Fighting). Laban Laro allows the escrimador to come as close to real combat as possible without injury. It is also designed to get an uncountable number of repetitions in a short period of time.

Through his constant efforts for developing new training innovations, Edgar devised unique armor for the hands and forearms that allowed practitioners to safely train more realistically.

Lightning Scientific Arnis
is a Filipino Martial art founded by Benjamin Luna Lema in 1937.

Benjamin Lema was born in Mambusao, Capiz on the island of Panay in the Philippines on March 19th, 1919. He learned his Arnis skills from his father as well as from other masters. He died on January 5th, 2003.

Lightning Scientific Arnis is a system that revolves around the concept of Tercia Serrada Cadenilla y Espada y Daga which is a method of intercepting and redirecting attacks and blind-siding the opponent by going to the off-side and blanketing him with a barrage of continuous strikes while the checking hand constantly pushes, presses and controls his opponent putting him in a constant state of imbalance. In advanced practice the empty had will be replace by a dagger to escalate the technology eventually as the practitioner progresses through the discipline.

The organization in Manila, Philippines is headed by Lema's daughter Patty L. Caballero.


Lightning Scientific Arnis has a wide repertoire of techniques ranging from Solo Baston, Doble Baston, Baston Daga, Espada Y Daga, up to unarmed combat. It covers a wide range of skills for all fighting distances. All-in-all, it is a complete fighting system.

Manner of Striking- A set of 13 strikes that teach the various targets and the corresponding appropriate attacks for each.

12 METHODS- 12 prescribed attack patterns that combine the 13 basic strikes taught in the "Manner of Striking."

Bigay-Tama- Semi-Free and Freestyle attack and defense patterns that combine the aspects of Defense and Counter-Attack through simulated combat that puts the practitioner through sets of randomized attacks that he will have to identify, defend against and counter at full impact and high speed.

Club Assault A set of 42 Defenses that include Stick versus Stick Disarming, Emtpy-hand disarming versus stick, locks, holds and reverses.

Serrada- A fighting concept of intercepting the opponents attack and redirecting it off of the centerline while moving to the back of the opponent by jamming the attack with one's own combination and blanketing the opponent with strikes.

Serrada may be done in various weapon combinations:
Baston Serrada - One Stick
Doble Baston Serrada - Two Sticks
Baston Daga Serrada - Stick and Knife
Espada Y Daga Serrada - Sword and Dagger
Empty-Hand Serrada - Unarmed

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Arnis: A Question of Origins

Rapid Journal Vol. 2, No. 4
4th Qtr 1997

Taichi Works Publications
458 Jaboneros St. Binondo, Manila 1006

by Bot Jocano

The term arnis evokes a number of reactions from people every time it is mentioned in a conversation. Some people start fanning their hands in the air, imitating the distinctive movements of the two-stick (doble baston) training method. This image of arnis is one of the most popular to the layman. A second reaction, and quite as common as the first, is the question: "Saan ba talaga galing ang arnis?" (Where did arnis really come from?) Alternatively, "Di ba, sa atin nanggaling ang arnis?î (Isn't it that arnis comes from us?) is a question also heard. This article is an attempt to critically examine the roots of one of the martial arts of the Philippines, arnis. It must be noted that in no way does this article claim to be the final say on the origins of arnis. It is actually a preliminary look, a start if you will, into re-examining carefully the origins of an art form.

Arnis, also known as kali, escrima, baston, etc. is a complete martial art system, encompassing weapons training and empty-hand self-defense. It includes training in single stick techniques (solo baston), double stick techniques (doble baston), stick and knife or dagger techniques (espada y daga) and knife techniques (daga). Some styles may include staff and spear (sibat) training in their curriculum. Others will include the practice of medium to long bladed weapons (bolo) in their repertoire. Many styles have some form of empty hand combat, encompassing striking, kicking, locking, throwing and even choking methods. These are usually taught when the practitioner has demonstrated a reasonable degree of proficiency with the weapons of his style of arnis. Different arnis styles, from different parts of the country, may emphasize different areas of the training methods noted above. The term arnis is believed to be a Tagalog corruption of the Spanish term arnes, or harness, a reference to the decorations worn by the early Filipinos. Kali is another term used to refer to the same kind of martial arts. Different provinces may have different names for arnis, such as baston and kaliradman (Ilonggo, Bisaya), pagkalikali (Ibanag) and kalirongan (Pangasinan). These are only a few examples of the terms already recorded in different sources.

With such a comprehensive system of martial arts being taught and promoted in different areas of the country, it is inevitable that people would ask, where did such a complete martial art system come from?

One suggestion is that it originally came from another martial art system, called tjakalele. This is actually the name of a branch of the Indonesian martial art system known as pentjak silat. Another suggestion is that it was brought here from the Southeast Asian mainland, particularly during the Madjapahit and Shri-Visayan empires. Yet another suggestion is that it was propagated by the so-called ten Bornean datus fleeing persecution from their homeland. We shall critically examine these assertions one at a time.

The idea that arnis evolved or was derived from another martial art system, namely tjakalele silat, is due to linguistics. The alternative name for arnis is kali. It is widely held that this is the older term for arnis, and that kali itself emphasizes bladed weaponry apart from practice with the stick. It is not surprising that a connection could be seen between the term kali and tjakalele. However, linguistic similarity alone is not enough ground to assert that kali was indeed derived from tjakalele. There has to be documented proof that one came from the other. What form should this proof take? Authenticated documents certainly are one of the best pieces of evidence - if such could be found, and proven to be genuine. A close and thorough comparison of both styles would help, but it must be remembered that they would have changed over time, reflecting the different changes that have happened in their cultures of origin. On the other hand, one of the local terms for a bladed weapon is kalis. It is also believed that kali is a derived term from kalis. This assertion will require study before it can be validated.

Another oft-quoted idea is that kali was brought here during the Shri-Vishayan (7th -14th centuries and Madjapahit (13th -16th centuries) empires. This reflects the notion that the Philippines then was somehow an integral part of both empires. It must be noted that the archaeological evidence for the role of the Philippines in both empires is very meager. About the best that could be said is that there was commercial contact, but whether such contact also included the spreading of martial arts is circumstantial at best.

A third idea regarding the spreading and propagation of kali in the Philippines is that ten Bornean datus (sometimes nine) fled here and settled in various parts of the Philippines. They brought with them their fighting systems and taught these along with other arts in the academies called the bothoan.

A key problem here is that much of what we know about the ten datus is derived from the Maragtas of Pedro Monteclaro, published in l1oilo in 1907. Doubt has been cast on its usefulness as a historical document, especially since it records folk or oral history. Scholars such as the late William Henry Scott and F. Landa Jocano, are clear on this point - the Maragtas is a document recording folk or oral history, and not an actual eyewitness account of the events stated therein. As such, its historical value diminishes rapidly with each retelling of the story .If the original story of the ten Bornean datus is folklore and not authentic history, what are we then to make of the story regarding the propagation of kali in the bothoan? Folkloric history is useful in enabling people to identify with the art of kali, but it should not be taken as actual history.

If after having critically questioned the sources of the origins of kali, or arnis as it is known today, and through these critical analyses, have come to the positions stated above, what can we then say about the origin of kali, or arnis? Regardless of the name of the art or its sources, the fact that the early Filipinos practiced some form of combat was not lost on the Spaniards who first arrived here. Pigafetta's description of the death of Magellan is graphic in its description of the weapons wielded by the natives. It is interesting to note that Magellan died as he was rushed by the defenders armed with spears and bladed weapons. In more recent times, Scott's book Barangay includes a chapter on ancient Bisayan weapons and warfare. This was derived from the accounts and dictionaries of the early Spanish friars, some of whom were witnesses to the use and practice of weapons and warfare methods at the time.

To state therefore, that its origins lie outside the Philippines is misleading, for it disregards the unrecorded but no less real experiences our forefathers went in simply trying their best to survive. These experiences are recorded in the techniques of their styles of arnis. It is also quite possible that there were blendings with different styles of combat, but if so, these are quite difficult to verify historically.

A key difficulty in researching the origins of arnis is that most sources tend to be oral history or folkloric in nature. They are not exactly historical documents in the sense of being eyewitness accounts. Hence, their authenticity in this sense is always suspect. On the other hand, as folklore, they serve as a window, if you will, into how people think. Folklore gives us an idea of how people actually understand their world and their place in it.

Martial arts, in whatever form, and in whatever place, are the unique product of the people who developed them, as members of their culture. A case in point is Japanese fencing, kendo in its modern format, kenjutsu as the traditional form. Japanese fencing is a product of the technology and the values and habits of the Japanese. Similarly, it should be remembered that kali or arnis as it is also called today, is very much a product of the Filipino cultural experience. The relative informality of most practice sessions, for instance, is a reflection on the importance we place in building harmonious relationships with others.

In conclusion, it is not easy to actually trace the origins of the art of kali or arnis. Perhaps we may never actually trace it to a single key event in the lives of our forefat1lers. On the other hand, it is equally important to remember that the art itself is a continuing evolving product, subject to change and refinement over the years. What is also important is that we remain open-minded, willing to improve our understanding of the origins of this martial art. Such open-mindedness is useful inasmuch as it provides us with further insights into our identity as Filipinos.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


copy from-decampo123

If there is any redeeming value to the death matches of early Eskrimadors, it is the fact that it produced one of the deadliest fighting methods of the planet. Centuries or intermittent skirmishes against Moro pirates and colonial rule brought forth a martial art that was developed to defeat superior weaponry and strategy. The techniques of the earliest forms of archaic Eskrima practiced by the Mactan Chieftain Lapu-lapu had only 5 striking angles and one thrust. This was then called Pang-olisi in Cebuano.
The Retirada, Lastico and Largo Mano techniques were developed for jungle skirmishes against an enemy armed with rifles and pistols. Names such as Leo Giron, Antonio Ilustrisimo and Major Timoteo Maranga were among intrepid eskrimadors who fought with bolos and sticks against the superior Japanese Imperial Army during World War II.

During the Commonwealth period (pre-World War II), relative peace prevailed in many parts of the archipelago. Except Mindanao. The Moro people who never paid tribute to the King Spain gave the American soldiers their worst nightmare and were probably the most ferocious fighters this great nation ever got embroiled with. The U.S. Marines earned the moniker Leathernecks for the leather straps they wore around their necks as protection from the deadly slashes of the Moros' Kris swords. The .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol was invented to give the soldiers a handgun with adequate power to stop the rampaging Moro juramentados.

Meanwhile, in the Visayan Islands particularly in the province of Cebu, the old warriors now enamored by Hollywood and Coca-Cola, had very little choice but to fight against each other in order to preserve the skills they have acquired from their ancestors. It was open season for anyone who proclaimed himself an expert in the art of Eskrima. The duel called Juego Todo or no-holds-barred, did not allow the combatants to wear any protective gear like masks and armor. Rival Eskrima clubs pitted their best fighters against each other. Death and permanent injury resulting from these duels were not uncommon. Those who went overseas mostly in Hawaii and California, continued to practice and teach the art of Eskrima and the challenges that came along with it was an accepted hazard of the trade.

The most prominent of these fighters were Floro Villabrille who comes from Bantayan Island, Telesforo Subing-Subing from Balamban, Cebu, Pedro Apilado from Pangasinan and Angel Cabales from barrio Igania, Sibalom,province of Antique. The latter finally settled down in Stockton, California to establish the Cabales Serrada Eskrima Club. An obscure eskrimador named Felix Goc-ong a contemporary and town mate of Telesforo Subing-subing worked as a contract worker. Felix Goc-ong once killed African American in a fair duel in the island of Hilo, Hawaii. The lineage of Felix Goc-ong's Eskrima, a style called Abanico de Vertical can be traced to the legendary horseback riding eskrimador named Amboy Kidlat(Lightning). The system was passed on to his son Julian who later became a decorated WW II veteran.

Amboy Kidlat lived in the rugged mountains and cliffs of Campo Siete near Toledo, Cebu. Since the place is very near where GM Jose Caballero grew up, we can only surmise that, he may have been influenced by Amboy Kidlat in his early youth. The place Campo Siete could have been one of his inspirations to name his method as de Campo Uno-Dos-Tres Orihinal. Although he has revealed to his son Mawe time and again how he derived the name of his method, the connection to the place Campo Siete presumably was not a coincidence. Furthermore, the early De Campo emphasized the seven striking angles.

One of the most feared eskrimadors in the pre-war period Cebu City was the late Grandmaster Venancio "Anciong" Bacon inventor of Balintawak Eskrima GM Vicente "Inting" Carin who fought in twenty death matches. He once killed three of seven attackers during a dance in Mabolo District of Cebu City. Mortally wounded from stab wounds, he was given up for dead and was brought to the morgue. By a stroke of fate, GM Eulogio Canete came over to check his pulse and found out that he was still breathing faintly, immediately applied first aid and brought him to the hospital and thereafter fully recovered from his fatal wounds.

Some of these Cebuano eskrimadors later migrated to Mindanao hoping to find peace and quiet and to retire once and for all from Juego Todo. Grandmasters Jose Caballero, Pablicito Cabahug and Jesus Abella later found out that their hiatus were short lived. It was widely believed that GM Cabahug killed more than a dozen Moro bandits during a fracas in Lanao province. Like a curse, a fisherman of Jimenez town named Protacio Mutas never passed on his eskrima skills to his eight sons for fear that they will go through the same bloody experience. Manong Protacio was believed to have possessed a powerful Orascion. He used to pacify blade for blade encounters by the use of his orascion. Many eskrimadors of the old days practice Orascion, a Christian incantation in Latin. Many believed that the power of Orascion gave them invincibility from any attacks whether its blade or bullets. During a town Bayle (ball), seven drunken bullies tried to stir trouble. The leader a certain Lolong Tagaad has always wanted to challenge Manong Protacio, but the latter a very peaceful man always found a way to avoid the bully- until this night. Realizing that Lolong will never stop provoking him, Manong Protacio went home to get his 30 inch pinuti (bolo) to face Lolong once and for all. The six other drunks fully aware of Manong Protacio's skills, chickened out and ran away. The mortal combat lasted only for a few seconds. Manong Protacio, a very clever eskrimador, slashed Lolong Tagaad's collar bone with a very powerful strike that penetrated his lungs. Lolong Tagaad died instantly. The relatives realized the futility of filing criminal charges because of witnesses testimonies that Manong Protacio fought in self-defense.

Many of the Juego Todo matches of the old days were undocumented and the witnesses accounts of these events were handed down by word of mouth. And since these stories were passed on to several generations, facts can be twisted and exaggerated to benefit the story teller. There were practically no police records to document that such matches actually took place. However, many of the eskrimadors still alive today like GM Inting Carin have the scars to show that they actually participated in Juego Todo duels.

The remaining living witness to GM Caballero's Juego Todo duels is Egmidio Tubal a retired PC soldier of Davao City.

These grandmasters of Eskrima fought with their blood and guts to perfect a warriors art - one of the legacies of many of our great ancestors like Lapu-lapu who fought to preserve our culture and our freedom.