A video clip from Fighting Sticks of Arnis featuring grandmaster Bobby Taboada. This is part of an interview filmed in the island of Negros where Bobby Taboada talks about his childhood on the streets of Cebu city and how he first got interested in the martial arts. Bobby was introduced to Boxing at a very early age but it was as a teenager that he started to practice Shotokan Karate. Our story begins when he started training in karate and then Arnis along with his close friend grandmaster Nick Elizar.
Fighting Sticks of Arnis…. In our journey we meet many grandmasters who are students of the founder of Modern Arnis, Professor Remy Presas. “I started in Modern Arnis” says grandmaster Rodel Dagooc. “Grandmaster Remy Presas was my godfather. Without him, Arnis would have become a dying art.” One style that Remy Presas mastered is Balintawak, a dynamic single stick style. At his Cebu Nickelsticks school, grandmaster ‘Nick’ Elizar explains: “The aim of Balintawak is to disarm your opponent. This means using counter to counter because we assume our opponent is smarter than us.” Elizar says “Striking is easy. We teach you to defend and react very fast.”
Weaponless or empty hands plays a much larger part in Filipino martial arts than many followers realize. Datu Tim Hartman is a practitioner of Kuntaw and takes us to a local Kuntaw school in Manila. Similar to Japanese Karate, “Kuntaw” says Tim “has really helped my Modern Arnis practice”. Master Ronnie Royce introduces us to Panantukan known as ‘Dirty Boxing’ and as the nickname suggests, there are no rules. Grandmaster Bram Frank studied many martial arts until he met his mentor, Professor Remy Presas and the Bolo or Filipino long knife became his life long love-affair. Throughout our journey from Manila to Cebu to Negros, these and other grandmasters introduce us to a wide range of systems from double stick to single stick, dagger and stick and empty hands or mano-mano.
Arnis, like all traditional martial arts requires hard work and sacrifice. Grandmaster Bobby Taboada talks about his early years of Arnis training: “I learned to accept the pain. That’s the reality of training in the Philippines… are you ready to accept the pain.” This is the Fighting Sticks of Arnis.