Filipino martial arts (better known as kali/arnis/escrima) is a sophisiticated method of combat that has been proven and tested throughout years of inter-tribal struggle, hostile takeover, and strife. Its training encompasses all forms of weaponry (knives, swords, sticks, spears, etc.) and empty hand (punching, kicking, grappling) fighting methods.
Since the Philippines is made up of thousands of islands, each of them throughout history has forged their own specialized form of Filipino martial art. Some styles focus their training methods with a blade or sword emphasis. Others tend to focus on impact weapons such as the stick. Fighting ranges also tend to become very specialized.
Balintawak is one of these specialized systems of FMA.
This art focuses on impact weapons training and uses the single stick (rattan stick 28"-30") development. Through use of the single stick, the practitioner learns to understand various weapons, empty hands, and distancing. Balintawak stylists are known for their close quarter fighting methods, lightning speed, and pin-point accuracy.
The art of Balintawak began in Cebu, Philippines in the 1940's when Anciong Bacon formed his first training group. He learned this art from the infamous Saveedra brothers and was one of the original members of the famed Doce Pares club. Anciong was known for his great skill and fighting ability despite his small stature. Standing only 5'2" and weighing under 120 lbs., he had to create a system not based on raw strength and power. He was incarcerated for killing a man in self defense and continued to develop his art in prison and his untimely death in 1991.
Anciong Bacon's students, Jose Villasin and Teofilo Velez formally organized his system and opened the Balintawak International Self Defense Club to the public.
Velez Brothers (Chito, Eddie, Mony)
Chito, Eddie, and Mony Velez were all taught Balintawak primarily by their father Teofilo Velez and other senior instructors (Jose Villasin,Tinong Ybanez) under Anciong Bacon. Anciong Bacon refined their training during his later years.
Zac began his training of Balintawak Arnis in Cebu, Philippines in 1977 under the auspices of Teofilo Velez and his 3 sons. He attributes much of his skill to his brother-in-law, Chito Velez. His senior classmates included Bobby Taboada, Nene Gabucayan, and Nick Elizar. Zac continues to propagate the original art of Balintawak in the New York City area.
Students begin with the 12 basic angles of attack and defense.
This is the foundation for which all advanced training is to be based on. After the basic angles, he/she is introduced to basic grouping methods. These methods give the student an intro to possible attacks and openings. The 5 grouping methods introduce concepts of the live hand, thrusting, utilizing the butt of the stick, grabbing, etc.
One the student has achieved proficiency in these methods, the real training begins.
Random feeding or Palakaw is trained and continuously refined until "correct" responses are programmed into the practitioner.
Balintawak is based on the concepts of leverage, proper body mechanics, and defense.
It also places great importance on proper timing and whole body sensitivity.
NYC, NY: Guro Zac Taco
St. Louis, MO: Richie Gumahin
St. Louis, MO: Richie Gumahin