Photos: 1st Filipino Regiment, U.S. Army, 1942-1946


  1st Filipino Regiment, U.S. Army, 1942-1946 Source: This photo was taken in the summer of 1943 from the annual yearbook of the U.S. Army's 1st Filipino Infantry Regiment. During this time period, the unit conducted rigorous infantry training in Central California at Camp Roberts and at the adjacent Hunter Liggett Military Reservation. This picture featured a platoon undergoing a "one on one" "Bolo" knife match while other platoon members in the background were on hold. As you can see, this was similar to a "pugil stick" competition which usually takes place in present day basic combat training (BCT). It just so happened that many of the inductees were farmhands in civilian life so they decided to bring their own personal field machetes. Later on, the 1st Regimental commander, Colonel Robert Offley authorized his men to add actual "Bolo" knives to their combat inventory. This weapon had many purposes for use in the jungle other than as a offensive and defensive weapon. For some reason, the regiment was given the title, the "Bolo Battalion." It was fortunate that most Filipino soldiers possessed other martial arts skills like "Eskrima and "Kali" (both stick fighting). Other "hand to hand" combatives like "Judo" were also taught to the troops. This made them much more deadly when they faced their fanatical enemy. Later in 1943, the 2nd Regiment's officers and senior Noncommissioned Officers (NCO's) were officially presented with "Bolo" knives at Camp Cooke by prominent Los Angeles businessmen. The "Sulung" Regiment then became the only U.S. Army unit to be officially awarded these weapons. Note: other platoons in the background awaited their turn for the appropriate match up. "LAGING UNA" - "ALWAYS FIRST" "SULUNG" - "FORWARD" "BAHALA NA!" - "COME WHAT MAY!" "IN HONOR OF OUR FATHERS!" "77TH ANNIVERSARY (1942-2018)” — at Camp Roberts/Hunter Liggett Military Reservation, CA.     … [Read more...]

Punong Guro Edgar Sulite interview by Guro Steve Tarani. February 1997.


Following is a very interesting Interview from 20 years ago of Punong Guro Edgar G. Sulite, conducted by our Lameco Eskrima "backyard" brother, Steve Tarani in February of 1997. This was probably the last interview that PG Sulite would give before he passed away soon after on April 10, 1997. This interview was published in Guro Dan Inosanto`s; Inosanto Academy of Martial Art`s (IAMA) "Free Voice" Magazine which was made available quarterly to those of us who trained at the Inosanto Academy. This Interview was in the Spring Issue of 1997 just after PG Sulite pased away. In the Interview PG Sulite speaks about his years of practicing the Chinese Internal Arts of Tai-Chi and Hsing-I, both of which he had trained for quite a while back in the Philippines while he was younger. There he would get up early every morning and train his Kali, Arnis and Eskrima for hours, which was always a very intensive hard energy driven labor. He would then follow that up and finish with a Tai-Chi or Hsing-I session and then meditate to balance the "warrior inside" as he would call it, that being his spiritual being which had to be in harmonious balance with his physical being to complete both opposing sides of "yin and yang" representing both hard and soft when combining Lameco Eskrima with Tai-Chi and Hsing-I. PG Sulite used to demonstrate to us often his push hands of Hsing-I. I remember him literally lifting our Lameco Eskrima "backyard" brother, Hans Anton Tan off of his feet and throwing him into the side of a wall to demonstrate the power of his Chi. He practiced a lot of this with our "backyard" brother Bong Hebia as well. PG Sulite would often tell us that we had to master both external and internal in order to have the best and most effective versions of our combative selves to come forward. In addition to training Tai-Chi and Hsing-I, PG also trained Ng Cho Kung Fu from his friend and publisher, Master Alexander L. Co in addition to that PG Sulite would further condition his palms, hands and forearms with a type of Iron Palm training. All of this in addition to his Indigenous Pilipino Warrior Arts of Kali, Arnis and Eskrima. Click on each of the two images below to read the full context of the interview below.       … [Read more...]

Guro Dan Inosanto interview about his Lameco Eskrima Instructor, PG Edgar G. Sulite. April 1997.


Guro Dan Inosanto interview about his Lameco Eskrima Instructor, PG Edgar G. Sulite. April 1997. Below is an interview circa April 1997 that Guro Dan Inosanto gave about his Lameco Eskrima Instructor, PG Edgar G. Sulite. Guro Dan Inosanto trained privately in Lameco Eskrima under PG Sulite from 1989 - 1997 for a total of 8 years and was very impressed with his combative prowess as well as his teaching ability. In that time Guro Dan Inosanto rose to the rank of Senior Instructor in the Lameco Eskrima system under PG Sulite and has been the Vice President (Vice Chairman) of the Lameco Eskrima International Association since about 1990 and still remains in that position today. The interview below was published in Guro Dan Inosanto`s; Inosanto Academy of Martial Art`s (IAMA) "Free Voice" Magazine which was made available quarterly to those of us who trained at the Inosanto Academy. This Interview was in the Spring Issue of 1997 just after PG Sulite passed away. … [Read more...]

Punong Guro Edgar G. Sulite asks the question – “Are you a dedicated student or are you a butterfly?”

Punong Guro Edgar G. Sulite asks the question – “Are you a dedicated student or are you a butterfly?”   Punong Guro Edgar G. Sulite solía hablar de la “mariposa”, aquella que flota de flor en flor, que toma un poco de néctar de aquí y de alla, no dedicándose a cualquier ubicación por un periodo de tiempo adecuado para llegar a ser plenamente alimentada y crecer fuerte. PG Sulite decía que esto es similar al comportamiento del estudiante que constantemente va de una fuente a otra (de Instructor a Instructor) recogiendo generalidades pero nunca dominando el fundamento básico, debido a su falta de compromiso e impaciencia para permanecer en un lugar el tiempo suficiente para desarrollarse combativamente. Un entrenamiento de esa naturaleza tendrá más debilidades que fortalezas, recordemos que en el entrenamiento no buscamos la mera acumulación de técnicas pues algunas partes parecerán tener lógica, otras más no sabremos donde ponerlas, lo que buscamos es el desarrollo de las habilidades combativas, aquellas que nos permitirán protegernos o proteger a nuestros seres queridos en caso de necesidad. Así pues, la pregunta que debemos hacernos es: ¿soy un estudiante dedicado o soy una mariposa? ****** Punong Guro Edgar G. Sulite used to talk about the ‘ butterfly “, Someone who floats from flower to flower, which takes a little bit of nectar from here and there, not dedicating themselves to any location for a period of time suitable for to become fully fuelled and grow strong. Punong Guro Sulite said that this is similar to the behaviour of the student who constantly goes from a source to another (from instructor to instructor) picking up generalizations, but never dominating the basic thrust, due to their lack of commitment and impatience to stay in one place long enough To develop combativamente. A training of this nature will have more weaknesses that strengths, let us remember that in the training we are not looking for the mere accumulation of techniques because some parts seem to have logic, other more we will not know where to put them, what we are looking for is the development of the skills combativas, those that Will allow us to protect us or protect our loved ones in time of need. So, the question that we must ask is: am I a dedicated  student or I am a butterfly? … [Read more...]

Sen. Miguel Zubiri, Author and Sponsor of the National Arnis Law (Rep. Act 9850) gave this message during the First National Arnis Congress held at the Red Cross Headquarters Multipurpose Hall, Mandaluyong City, Philippines, on January 12, 2017.

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Sen. Miguel Zubiri, Author and Sponsor of the National Arnis Law (Rep. Act 9850) gave this message during the First National Arnis Congress held at the Red Cross Headquarters Multipurpose Hall, Mandaluyong City, Philippines, on January 12, 2017.   By: Joy @ Sen. Miguel Zubiri, Author and Sponsor of the National Arnis Law (Rep. Act 9850) gave this message during the First National Arnis Congress held at the Red Cross Headquarters Multipurpose Hall, Mandaluyong City, Philippines, on January 12, 2017. He asked his staff to email this to me and I’m printing it as is. “My love affair with Arnis started many years ago, when I was a young teenager training in martial arts, fascinated by traditional Chinese and Japanese weaponry. As young boys, we all wanted to be just like Ezekiel Thompson of the movie, “Force Five” played by weapons expert Richard Norton for his expertise in different weapons systems. Inspired by these icons, I started training with these weapons systems under 9th Dan, Sensie Robert Campbell of the Uechi-Ryu Okinawan Karate while doing my open hands training and kick boxing skills with Master Topher Ricketts of Bakbakan and Sagasa Karate System. When Master Topher saw that I was interested in weapons, he asked me to try Arnis. My first reaction was “Why?”. All 16 year olds at that time wanted to be like Sho Kusugi from all the Ninja films. But then he told me to trust him about the effectiveness of the Filipino Martial Art. I guess at that time, hindi uso maging Arnisador as it wasn’t as famous as those weapons systems seen in the movies. Unlike today, where we see Tom Cruise or Matt Damon doing FMA on screen, to the delight of all FMA practitioners. So one afternoon, in 1986, Master Topher introduced me to a short and stocky man in his mid-twenties who had the biggest forearms I had ever seen. I clearly recall telling him that he had “Popeye arms”, which broke the ice and started a wonderful friendship between student and master. His name was Master Edgar Sulite. My first lesson from him was a realization of how deadly and effective our Arnis system was in the real world. He would ask me to throw sticks, and even tennis balls at him, while doing the sinawali and to my amazement; it was impossible for me to penetrate his defense. He would then show Knife fighting techniques and empty hand techniques including takedowns, which were truly effective for real life situations and not just for fancy movie props and entertainment. I was in love… in love with this martial art and there was no turning back. I discovered for myself that we had a hidden gem, a secret treasure. A martial art that was so unassuming yet so effective, so complex and yet so simple, so graceful and yet so deadly. But most of all, it was our very own Filipino Martial Art. From then on, I met and trained with other legends like Grand Master Antonio Illustrissimo and GM Tony Diego, under the watchful eye of my adopted father figure Master Rickettes. It was at this time that I saw how the art and sport grew. I had the opportunity to compete in several national competitions and the honor to represent the Philippins at the First World Arnis Tournament held at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium in 1989, under the invitation of the Cañete Family of Doce Pares and WEKAF. I will forever be greatful to them for allowing me to compete in their tournament. Unfortunately, as the sport grew, so did the intrigues. I have seen for myself how little by little, we have been tearing each other apart rather than staying united. On how groups were starting to feel unwelcome because of certain personalities. Or being deemed “disloyal” for joining certain activities not “sanctioned” by governing bodies. This should never be the case. I, myself was a victim as well, of this brand of destructive politics in sports. In 1991, I was not allowed to participate in the SEA Games Arnis competition even if I was the reigning National Champion because of the simple reason that I had joined tournaments sponsored by other organizations. Again, this should never happen. I believe that every one of you, your students and your followers, should have the support and encouragement from the government and our national organization to enhance your skills and strengthen your art and style. No jealousy, no discrimination; only support and guidance. Moving forward, through the efforts of Grand Master Roland Dantes and several Arnisador, I filed SB #3288 and in 2009, we finally passed it as RA 9850. Unfortunately, GM Roland was never able to see it made into law as he passed away before it was approved. Let us recognize his efforts. Let us give GM Roland Dantes a rousing round of applause for all his efforts to unify our Martial Art and Spots through legislation, and this is what we are recognizing today. Not just the efforts of GM Roland, but of all … [Read more...]

Media: El Guro Dino Flores impartirá seminario de Lameco Eskrima   El Guro Dino Flores impartirá seminario de Lameco Eskrima jul 31, 2015 - 3:04 am  Deportes Comentarios desactivados La Academia EFA que dirige el profesor Adán Castillejos se prepara para recibir una visita de lujo, pues el Guro Dino Flores estará impartiendo sus conocimientos en un seminario de Lameco Eskrima –Kali Ilusitrisimo-, el cual se desarrollará este próximo 14 y 15 de agosto. Lo anterior fue confirmado por el profesor Adán Castillejos Gallegos quién destacó que este seminario busca la preparación de sus alumnos, por lo que es de suma importancia continuar trabajando en las artes marciales. Indicó que el Guro Dino Flores nació en Hawai. Ha vivido en varios lugares, incluyendo Fiji, Papua Nueva Guinea, Australia, así como Manila y Laguna – Filipinas. Guro Dino se introdujo primero en el concepto de historia “Arnis” y Filipinas Guerrero por su padre el Dr. AS Flores a mediados de 1970. Esto se hizo a través de la tradición oral, Pilipino Komiks y difícil de encontrar publicaciones durante la Ley Marcial. Su primer contacto con el entrenamiento físico fue en la década de 1980 en la provincia de Laguna, Filipinas. Familiares mayores y vecinos de la familia tierras ancestrales de muchas generaciones, lo presentaron en las sesiones de traspatio a aplicaciones básicas de la calle y la estrategia de la hoja balisong durante las estancias en las Filipinas. Muchos de estos primeros instructores habían experimentado situaciones de hoja real con las cicatrices para probarlo. Las primeras lecciones fueron evitación, la conciencia ambiental y el comportamiento adecuado para evitar el conflicto. Dino entrenó durante varios años con el Gran Maestro Conrado A. Manaois en Ninoy Cinco Teros Arnis y Master Henry Bio en Sikaran Arnis en la década de 1980, junto con sus primos Ariel Flores Musgos y Choy Flores. A principios de 1990 fue aceptado como miembro inicial de Punong Guro Edgar Sulites ‘nueva formación Backyard Grupo AKA el Oriehenal Grupo Sulite. Durante el entrenamiento constante en el patio trasero que pasó de ser un boxeador agresivo a uno que ahora más tranquilo y preciso. Su estilo de lucha en los primeros días del Grupo de los Backyard le valió el apodo de “Aso’ng Gulo” de sus compañeros de los compañeros y era considerado combatiente patio trasero favorito Punong Guro Sulites ‘debido a la clara el uso del plan de estudios durante los combates. Además, tuvo la buena fortuna de experimentar el entrenamiento en Kali Ilustrísimo con Dodong Sta. Iglesia, Guro Arnold Narzo, Guro Peachie Baron, Maestro Rey Galang, Maestro Yuli Romo y Master de Tony Diego. También entrenó en Kali Ilustrísimo con uno de sus compañeros de entrenamiento y miembro Lameco Backyard Guro Hans Tan, que fue certificado para enseñar Kali Ilustrsimo con el Maestro, Tony Diego en 1999. Además Guro Dino entrenado en privado durante varios años en California y las Filipinas con el profesor Ireneo L. Olavides en Eskrima De Campo JDC-IO. Guro Dino también cita la importancia de sus compañeros de entrenamiento en Lameco SOG y Kapisanang Mandirigma en su crecimiento. Dino ha impartido numerosos seminarios y clases en los últimos años. Ha aparecido en la televisión, videos instructivos, Cine Independiente y programas de radio promoción de las artes. Ha contribuido al artículo de la revista para publicaciones como “Budo International”, “Maestros”, “Blitz” “FMA informativo” y “FMA Digest. Guro Dino es un miembro fundador de Kapisanang Mandirigma de: Organización de Investigación Mandirigma /, Kali Klub sa Filipinotown histórico de Los Ángeles y la Organización Backyard Eskrima ™. El Kali Klub es una colaboración voluntaria con varias agencias sin fines de lucro en Los Ángeles. El proyecto incluye la creación de un programa premiado desviar positivamente la juventud en riesgo de las drogas y las pandillas que usan los filipinos Guerrero Artes como una metáfora para la adaptación y el aprendizaje. Cientos de estudiantes experimentaron el programa a lo largo de diez años. Para algunos estudiantes de la educación salvó literalmente su vida en varias situaciones callejeras armadas. Algunos de los premios y reconocimientos de para el programa provienen de organizaciones como en Buscar para Involucrar Pilipino estadounidenses, la Asamblea Estatal de California y el Ayuntamiento de Los Ángeles. … [Read more...]

TV: Guro Ariel Flores Mosses of Mandirigma with Sensei Hamm of Ten Tigers on Las Vegas TV


Guro Ariel Flores Mosses of Mandirigma with Sensei Hamm of Ten Tigers on Las Vegas TV promoting Self-Defense Seminar including Filipino Martial Arts. A self-defense seminar for women is being offered this weekend for a donation to AFAN of $20. Read more:   … [Read more...]

Budo Magazine Publishes the final Interview of Grandmaster Tony Diego of Kalis Ilustrisimo. Interview by Tim Fredianell. September 2015.

GM Tony Diego

  Budo Magazine Publishes the final Interview of Grandmaster Tony Diego of Kalis Ilustrisimo. Interview by  Tim Fredianell.   Read interview in English here: Read interview in Spanish here:       … [Read more...]

Eskrima Documentary Series Teaser Trailer: Ang Dangal ng Lahi (Pride)

Eskrima Documentary

Eskrima Documentary Series - Teaser Trailer: Ang Dangal Ng Lahi (Pride) Ang Dangal ng Lahi (Pride) is a series of short documentaries about the Warrior Arts of the Philippines commonly known as Eskrima, Arnis and Kali. The focus will be arts and organizations of Bakbakan Philippines, Ilustrisimo and Lameco Eskrima. Director: Tim Fredianelli General Consultant: Dino Flores Distribution: Kapisanang Mandirigma Productions Release Date: 2015 For more information go to: © 2015 Kapisanang Mandirigma Productions, All Rights Reserved.   … [Read more...]

Magazine interview featuring Guro Dino Flores in July, 2013 issue of Cinturon Negro

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Magazine interview featuring Guro Dino Flores in July, 2013 issue of Cinturon Negro         … [Read more...]

The FMA Informative publishes Punong Guro Edgar G. Sulite and Master Christopher Ricketts Memorial Seminar Special Issue, March 2013

The FMA Informative publishes Punong Guro Edgar G. Sulite and Master Christopher Ricketts Memorial Seminar Special Issue, March 2013 kali arnis eskrima kalis

The FMA Informative publishes Punong Guro Edgar G. Sulite and Master Christopher Ricketts Memorial Seminar Special Issue, March 2013 The FMA Informative was very lucky to be able through the cooperation of Guro Dino Flores to be able to bring just a hint of the knowledge that was put forth and the skills that were demonstrated on March 16 and 17, 2013. At the Lameco S.O.G and Kali Ilustrisimo Memorial Seminar the instructors were the dedicated instructors of Punong Guro Edgar G. Sulite and Master Christopher Ricketts. They were: Guro Dino Flores, Guro Bud Balani, Guro David Gould, Guro Bong Hebia, Guro Ariel Flores Mosses, and the son of Master Christopher Ricketts Guro Brandon Ricketts. First you will read about the participant Dr. Bryan Stoops reflections on his experience in the 12 Week Backyard Lameco Eskrima course and the 2 day Lameco S.O.G and Ilustrisimo Eskrima Seminar. Then on another aspect Guro David Gould his thoughts on the 2nd Lameco Eskrima “SOG” Memorial Seminar held in Los Angeles, California. Visit and download a copy. Download a copy -   … [Read more...]

Tribute to Grandmaster Roland Dantes (1945 – 2009) by David Foggie for Blitz Australasian Martial Arts Magazine

Master Roland Dantes by David Foggie for Blitz Australia Magazine 2012 Master Roland Dantes by David Foggie for Blitz Australia Magazine 2012

Tribute to Grandmaster Roland Dantes by David Foggie for Blitz Australasian Martial Arts Magazine. David Foggie was a close friend and student of the Legendary Grandmaster Roland Dantes. Permission given to to reprint the Blitz Australasian Martial Arts Magazine given by David Foggie.       … [Read more...]

Interview: Guro Dino Flores by Christof Froehlich, March 2012

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Interview: Guro Dino Flores by Christof Froehlich, March 2012 Q: Guro Dino, please introduce yourself. Guro Dino: I am Guro Dino Flores and I am a member of the organization Kapisanang Mandirigma. I was a member of the late Punong Guro Edgar Sulite’s Backyard Group, also known as the Lameco SOG (Sulite Orehenal Group). I am also a practitioner of Ilustrisimo taught primarily by the late Master Christopher Ricketts. — Q: How did you first start in the Warrior Arts of the Philippines? Guro Dino: I was first introduced to the existence of the Philippine Warrior Art in 1975 by my father. As a child, my father would tell me stories about the battles against the Spanish and Americans during the struggle for Philippine independence. Some of the stories he told were of his grandfather, Segundo Morato Flores, who was a Katipunero in the Bicol Province during the Philippine Revolution. His grandfather would proudly celebrate Philippine independence day by putting on his Katipunero uniform. He would dress my father in a matching outfit and wooden sword. Then with great pride they would march to the town square and meet with other veterans. Other stories involved my paternal grandfather, as a decorated Captain in the USAFFE (United States Armed Forces in the Far East). He was also a guerilla fighter after the Americans surrendered with the fall of the Philippines to Japan. On my mothers side, my grandfather fought on the Island Fortress of Corrigador as a staff sergeant in the USAFFE where he was in charge of a unit of 50 caliber water cooled machine guns. He survived the infamous Bataan “Death March” and numerous solo recon missions. One day during story time, my father showed me the sword my paternal grandfather used in World War II. It was in a leather scabbard and had a water buffalo horn handle (Kalabaw). He held it proudly over his head pointing to the sky telling me these swords were used in “Filipino Arnis”! He did a few fighting stances, and that was how the seeds of the Philippine Warrior Arts were first planted in me. My first instruction was in the early 80′s as a young teen in my mother’s province of Laguna, Philippines. I had bought my first Balisong knife and would practice with it constantly. The town of Balisong where the knife was invented was less than 30 miles away in my maternal grandmothers province of Batangas. Laguna was known for practitioners of the balisong knife and there was an abundance of these knives available at the traditioal outdoor market (Palenke). One day, I way fooling around with the knife in front of my uncles who were having a “Tagay” or loosely translated, a serious drinking session. They yelled at me that the balisong wasn’t a toy and that relatives have been seriously injured in knife encounters. One of their friends showed me his scar from a knife fight. This began my “informal lessons” in the knife arts. One of the first lessons was to “never brandish that thing unless you plan to use it”. When I moved to Los Angeles in the late 80′s, my cousins, Ariel Flores Mosses and Choy Flores and I would train with each other. Our first “formal studies” in Eskrima were with Grandmaster Henry Bio in Sikaran Arnis and Grandmaster Conrad Manaois in his family system of Ninoy Cinco Teros. — Q: Can you tell us some things about your training with Punong Guro Edgar Sulite & Master Christopher Ricketts. Guro Dino: They were both in love with the Philippine Warrior Arts. Both were very attentive and respectful of the proper form and function of the fundamental and original movements taught to them. From my first day to my last day of training with them, we always began with the basic foundations. They were both at the conclusion that real fighting must be kept simple. One of the primary things Punong Guro focused on with the Backyard Group was sparring at various levels of intensity. Frequently with live stick with full punching, kicking, elbows, knees, takedowns and grappling permitted. Even though he acknowledged that the sword was the soul of the art, he found sword techniques did not always work with a stick in these conditions, especially with headgear. It was an amazing learning opportunity for me. Master Ricketts’ primary focus became the perfection and preservation of the original ways Grandmaster Ilustrisimo actually moved with his sword. He constantly sought to master these techniques even further, and this is what he wanted me to perfect. When I first met Master Ricketts in the Philippines, within minutes I was sparring some of his senior students. He was a big believer in the importance of physical conditioning and sparring. It was an honor and privilege to train with these Grandmasters and I miss my friends dearly. I miss being their student. I will always do my best to conduct myself in a way that they would make them proud and do my part to keep their legacy … [Read more...]

Grandmaster Christopher ’Topher’ Ricketts Interview by David Foggie and Dino Flores


Grandmaster Christopher ’Topher’ Ricketts Interview Research & questions by David Foggie Interviewed by Dino Flores. Answers by Master Ricketts given in Tagalog, Translation by Dino Flores.  Interview commenced 12 th February 2006 and conducted over a span of three months by Dino Flores in Los Angeles, California U.S.A. Grandmaster Christopher N. Ricketts or 'Master Topher 'is Chief Instructor of Bakbakan International whose motto is "Matira Matibay" (The Best of the Best). Concerned with training and passing on his knowledge to students rather than collecting accolades and titles, Master Topher's skills and credentials are impeccable and second to none; he is one of the best of the best. A senior disciple of the revered Grandmaster Antonio Ilustrisimo and one of the 5 Pillars of Kali Ilustrisimo, he is the highest ranking living instructor in Lameco Eskrima, having trained personally with Grandmaster Edgar Sulite. With teaching credentials in several martial arts systems including Ngo Cho Kuen (5 Ancestor Fist), Sagasa Filipino Kickboxing as well as being a professional boxing trainer, he has dedicated his life to the martial arts and other fighting systems. With his brother Ronnie Ricketts being a well known and respected action star in Philippine movies, Master Topher has provided his vast experience in the fighting arts to choreograph fight scenes. Through an introduction from my teacher Grandmaster Roland Dantes in 1998, I have been fortunate to benefit from Master Topher's extensive knowledge and experience. Knowing the high regard my instructor, Roland Dantes and many other respected elders of FMA hold Master Topher and having witnessed his immense skills, it was an opportunity not to be missed. When I first observed Master Topher demonstrate Kali Ilustrisimo at his home, I knew that I was in the presence of a genuine master of Kali Ilustrisimo. During our training sessions, the true scope of Master Topher's knowledge became apparent as did his effective use of body mechanics. Under Master Topher's instruction, I was introduced to the principles and techniques which form the foundation and in fact, the nucleus or core of Kali Ilustrisimo. With a sharp eye for perfect form and understanding, Master Topher meticulously dissected each technique and corrected even the minutest nuances until he was satisfied. My time spent training under Master Topher has afforded me the opportunity to see the various aspects of this remarkable martial artist. A remarkable man, he is a fighter, teacher and friend to his students. Martial arts are meant to be about honor, respect, integrity, loyalty and dedication. Master Topher embodies these traits and as such, it is easy to see why Grandmaster Roland Dantes and many other highly respected masters are his friends and respect him. It was with the approval of my teacher, Grandmaster Roland Dantes, I began studying Kali lIustrisimo under Master Topher and as such, I consider him also to be my teacher. More importantly, I consider him to be a respected, loyal and much valued friend. It is my pleasure and honor to present, Grandmaster Christopher 'Topher' Ricketts. (Q) Firstly what is the history and aim of Bakbakan? Bakbakan means something along the lines of a free for all brawl. Bakbakan was founded in 1967 by a group of instructors from various styles of martial arts in the Philippines. Prior to the organization becoming a bastion of martial arts in the Philippines, the main objective of the original members was to elevate their fighting skills through constant full contact sparring. Originally there were only six of us: Ding Binay, Rolly Maximo, Christian Gloria, Eddie Ben Alicante, Rey Vizer and myself. We would meet at my house in San Miguel Village in Makati, where my bedroom was our original gym. (Q) Prior to studying under Grandmaster Antonio Tatang' Ilustrisimo did you have much exposure to FMA? Prior to Kali Ilustrisimo my training included the Rapillon style of Mang Sciano Cleope in 1967. He was a well-known eskrimador from Quezon province of the Philippines and I was a training partner of his son, Edgar Cleope. For a little while I trained with Jimmy Gales in his arnis style which he called Sphinx. He used the centro baston (central grip) and susi (inverted grip) styles of wielding a stick. I also trained with Doc Lengson in the Arnis Federation of the Philippines style from 1973-1978. (Q) Grandmaster Ilustrsimo is celebrated as one of the greatest masters of FMA. How did you come to know of Tatang and how did you come to be accepted as his student? I was introduced to Tatang by my good friend Alex Co, a driving force in the Philippine martial arts world. It was the same time that I met Edgar Sulite, Yuli Romo and Tony Diego. When we met for some reason the old man took a liking to me and thus I was accepted as one of his students. (Q) You were exposed to and had seen other systems of arnis. Why did you decide … [Read more...]