Tribute and tribulation by Romeo Macapagal for Manila Times. A Tribute to Grandmaster Tony Diego.

Tribute and tribulation by Romeo Macapagal for Manila Times. A Tribute to Grandmaster Tony Diego.   Original article at this link:     When a human being rises to the greatest heights of achievement possible in spite of in surmountable obstacles, this is greatness. When this level of accomplishment is matched with kindness and compassion, with surpassing generosity even at the sacrifice of personal material needs, this greatness is defined by spirituality and becomes the “Grandeur of the Human Spirit.” This was Antonio Ramoneda Diego. Father, husband, friend, student, mentor, benefactor. A measure of Tony’s humanity and greatness is the fact that he has raised a brood of eight children, two children-in-law, and two grandchildren, and yet none of these children are his and his wife’s biological issue. Yet, he has struggled, worked hard and honestly to raise them, still looking after them till the time of his death, being especially fond of the grandchildren. As a husband, Tony was especially devoted to his wife Gelynn and loved her so much he could not face life without her. When she was stricken with cancer, he too deteriorated in health and overtook her in death. Gelynn is now very frail and may follow Tony soon. It seems she too cannot live without Tony. When his house burned down, the proceeds of his retirement went up in smoke. It is a measure of his loving, caring character that his students gathered resources so that Tony could rebuild his house to provide a home for his family. And when his wife needed medical care, his students returned in full measure the loving attention and generous instruction he had given them. He was as attentive, caring and generous to his students as he was with his own children. Under Antonio “Tatang” Ilustrisimo, Tony was a diligent student, loyal and generous as much as his resources would allow. He modeled Tatang in practically every aspect of living and his goal was to become exactly like Tatang. When Tony became a master in his own right, he taught ceaselessly, sharing unstintingly of his knowledge. He studied and planned endlessly to be able to transmit his knowledge and skill to the increasing number of adherents to the Ilustrisimo system under him. Tony contributed very much to the popularity and fame of Filipino Martial Arts (FMA). He had given a foreign seminar only once, 30 years ago, and in spite of moving no further than the confines of Tondo district, the Luneta, and rarely beyond the City of Manila, he was able to contribute to the fame of the FMA, that icon of the Filipino, so that the FMA is the object of study of so many followers around the world. Tony was a good friend, warm, generous, loyal and sincere. He had a gift of natural leadership and charisma. While prone to fits of temper, this was mostly directed at those who would offend his friends. Tony’s material resources were never enough. Yet he maintained his dignity and honesty at his work as a stevedoring supervisor and later manager. Even when other FMA teachers were making a good living from student’s payments, Tony remained undemanding, accepting whatever amount was given him, never charging a fixed fee. When paid, he took care to share with those who helped him teach. Even when his house burned down, part of funds he received for reconstruction were shared as food for his neighboring fire victims. Tony’s undemanding and gentle approach made him victim by many unscrupulous students who exploited his knowledge and generous nature. He would be hurt by their actions but then forgave easily. The trials and tribulations of Tony’s life eventually wore him down, both physically and emotionally, but his spirit as a swordsman and teacher prevailed, always thinking of the future of his students in terms of their continuing learning. A man’s character is measured by the sincere regard given him by others. With Tony, it is the love, affection and gratitude given by students all over the world to provide for those he has left behind because they know he loved them so much. Tony is gone, and like all great men there is no replacing him. Once in several lifetimes, there are such men as him, but not very often. Faced with adversity, they triumph over obstacles to rise to the heights of greatness in their chosen field. Like the “Grand Old Man of the Sword,” Antonio “Tatang” Ilustrisimo, his master, teacher and model, Antonio “Tony” Diego has achieved greatness. Original article at this link: … [Read more...]

Guro Doran Sordo pays tribute to his long time teacher Grandmaster Tony Diego.

Guro Doran Sordo

  I met Mang Tony Diego Kalis Ilustrisimo around 1986. He was introduced to me by my master, GM Topher Ricketts when we would accompany him to practice at the Luneta park on Sundays or the gym in Binondo. As the years passed, Master Topher would always ask Master Tony to teach me some techniques and polish details in my form whether it be stance, swing, footwork, etc. Master Tony was always so generous in his teaching and would share so much. I know him to be a quiet, humble man who would always tell me not to call him "Master". Whenever he saw me, he would always fondly greet me by exclaiming "Sord!" and he always had a smile on his face whenever i came to Luneta. We would sit sometimes between practice and just chat. He would tell me about the good old days with Master Topher, showing me techniques while we were chatting. How he remembers us when we were still young and would joke that we were thinner then. He was a learned man, who would often ask me how my spiritual practice was coming along. I remember one of the last conversations I had with Master Topher before he passed away. He told me "Never forget your Ilustrisimo. See Master Tony as often as you can and learn as much as you can. You practice what you learn until you are old." I remember now the last conversation i had with Master Tony at his home in Tondo. He said to always be mindful of the details. I remember the last time I saw him. It was a day before he passed away. We said a prayer together and I went downstairs so he could rest. I am honoured to be his student and proud to continue his legacy however way I can. I feel privileged to have been able to spend some time with him and learn from this great teacher. I can almost hear swords clashing as he is reunited once again with Grand Master Tatang Ilustrisimo, GM Topher Ricketts and PG Edgar Sulite. We miss you Master Tony. Paalam Po, GM Tony Diego. Pugay   … [Read more...]

Rest In Peace Master Tony Diego, Head of Kalis Ilustrisimo. August 25, 2014

Master Diego 1

  Rest In Peace Master Tony Diego, Head of Kalis Ilustrisimo. Rest In Peace Master Tony Diego. Thank you for the friendship, knowledge and wisdom you shared. I hope you are now happily practicing again with your dear teacher - Grandmaster Antonio Ilustrisimo. Along with your old training buddies Master Christopher Ricketts and Punong Guro Edgar Sulite who also departed way too soon. Love & Respect,Dino Flores … [Read more...]

Guro Dave Gould of Lameco Eskrima pays tribute to Grandmaster Tony Diego of Kalis Ilustrismo.

Master Tony Diego Ilustrisimo

Guro Dave Gould of Lameco Eskrima pays tribute to Grandmaster Tony Diego of Kalis Ilustrismo. I just wanted to pass on some sad news, that being the passing of Grand Master Tony Diego of Kalis Ilustrisimo fame. He passed due to a long illness yesterday on August 25, 2014 (Philippine Time). GM Tony Diego and Master Yuli Romo were the first students of GM Antonio "Tatang" Ilustrisimo who formally began their training with the old battle tested Grand Master in 1977. years later along came PG Edgar G. Sulite, Master Christopher N. Ricketts and Master Rey Galang who were recognized as the 5 Pillars of Kalis Ilustrisimo and were credited with spending the most time training directly under the astute tutelage of GM Antonio "Tatang" Ilustrisimo as well as them being credited with better organizing the Kalis Ilustrisimo system and creating its curriculum based on the movements and reactions of their teacher, "Tatang" Ilustrisimo regarding that discipline. For us in the Lameco Eskrima System Master Tony Diego was a great influence and he was the one who really brought PG Edgar G. Sulite to Kalis Ilustrisimo and to GM Antonio "Tatang" Ilustrisimo, basically resulting from a sparring match between PG Edgar G. Sulite and Master Tony Diego, this was a defining moment in the evolution of the Lameco Eskrima System as we know it today, simply because up until this sparring session Lameco Eskrima was comprised of only 4 major influences, those being; De Campo 1-2-3 Orehenal, Kali Pekiti-Tirsia, Modernos Largos and the Sulite Rapelon Style along with the 6 minor influences of the system. Kalis Ilustrisimo would prove to be the missing piece of the system and this was discovered during that very crucial sparring session between PG Edgar G.Sulite and Master Tony Diego so many years ago. The result of that sparring match saw PG Edgar G. Sulite becoming a student of Kalis Ilustrisimo under GM Antonio "Tatang" Ilustrisimo and over the years adding countless techniques, concepts and principles from Kalis Ilustrisimo to the Lameco Eskrima curriculum to strike a fine balance to the system, especially regarding the blade and dagger portion of the curriculum. Master Tony Diego became fast friends with PG Edgar G. Sulite and remained a very close friend for the rest of Edgar`s life and was partially responsible for the International Recognition of Kalis Ilustrisimo, Bakbakan International and Lameco Eskrima International along with Master Yuli Romo, Master Christopher Ricketts, PG Edgar G. Sulite and Master Rey Galang. After GM Antonio "Tatang" Ilustrisimo Passed away in 1997 Master Tony Diego being the heir apparent of the system was elected by the other senior members of kalis Ilustrisimo to take control of the system. It is a shame that he has been taken from us but he was taken contributing much back to the Filipino Warrior Arts Community from which much was given him over his life time. Rest in Peace Master Tony Diego and long live your legacy! … [Read more...]

Respecting the Grand Masters of the Warrior Arts in the Philippines by Jay Ignacio

Respecting the Grand Masters of the Warrior Arts in the Philippines by Jay Ignacio   Those who have seen The Bladed Hand would have understood that a lot of the Grand Masters in the Philippines are not well-off. They live in very tough conditions, some are employed for a paltry sum, and there are others who have no source of income other than when they have students to teach.Please be understanding when you approach them and do not ask for discounted rates, or take advantage of them by giving them empty promises of compensation or trips abroad.FMA may give some folks abroad a decent income, or even "street cred", but here in the Philippines, these Masters do not own gyms or schools or training facilities. They teach in public parks, or give private lessons at the students' homes.Pay them on time whatever rate you agreed on per session, and have the decency to acknowledge them for what they taught you. Pay, or at the very least, offer to pay them for their cab, or bus, or jeepney ride to meet up with you. Feed them as well, especially if ask to meet at a cafe or restaurant.Be mindful of the fact that photo ops with the Masters sometimes have consequences not favorable to them. Note that when you bug them to give you a certificate (when they normally don't because they have no registered business for their FMA system) for just a few days or hours of training, you are taking something away from them. There's just too much of this going around. A lot of them complain, but there is no avenue for them to adress any of their concerns. Sometimes they give in because they have no choice. It's a matter of understanding, and of respecting their intellectual property, among other things. … [Read more...]

Lameco Eskrima S.O.G. in Mexico. October 3, 4, 5 – 2014.

Lameco Eskrima 2014

Lameco Eskrima S.O.G. in Mexico. October 3, 4, 5 - 2014.   … [Read more...]

Photo Archive: Lameco Practitioners & Friends at the Dog Brothers Gathering in 1997

lameco SOG at dog bros

Photo Archive: Lameco Practitioners & Friends at the Dog Brothers Gathering in 1997 Photo courtesy of Arnold Noche. This photo was taken in 1997.  It was at the Dog Brothers Gathering in Hermosa Beach, California. Arnold was in town from NYC. Some of the people in the photo: Arnold Noche, Dino Flores, Ron Balicki, Diana Inosanto, Sebastian, Al, Perla,  JP, Crafty Dog, Hans Tan, Nick Papadakis, Sung Han, Felix and Dogzilla.   … [Read more...]

FMA Informative – Issue 138 – featuring Fanged Blade with Guro Ariel Flores Mosses and Lance Parvin.

Ariel Mosses Lameco Ilustrisimo

  FMA Informative - Issue 138 - Fanged Blade What is the Fanged Blade Program? -Technique Examples --Fanged Blade --Manaois System --Lameco Footwork Within Filipino Martial Arts A Tactical Professionals’ View Fanged Blade in Action - A Students’ Perspective The Cultural Arts Training Foundation The FMA Informative in talking with Lance Parvin found out that the Fanged Blade was created by Ariel Mosses and Lance Parvin to address worst-case scenarios. The program incorporates several arts and systems, mainly comprised of Filipino martial arts including: Lameco S.O.G, Kali Ilustrisimo, and Manaois Eskrima, Ninoy Cinco Teros Arnis. Based on violent, destructive, and killing strikes, Filipino ground fighting (Buno), and “uninterrupted biting and eye gouging” (Kagatin at Mangamot ng Mata) techniques are emphasized. Fanged Blade comes under the main organization, “The Cultural Arts Training Foundation” which uses movement arts to empower those dealing with traumatic injury, PTSD, and bullying. The programs are developed by qualified professionals with dynamic backgrounds in movement including: kinesiology, gymnastics, martial arts, dance, and yoga. Lance Parvin, Founder and Executive Director, created the organization after his own traumatic injury from a near fatal car accident left him with spine damage. Visit and download a copy. Link - … [Read more...]

Ten Tigers Martial Arts Las Vegas presents Guro Dino Flores and Guro Ariel Flores Mosses Seminar in Ilustrisimo & Lameco Eskrima. Las Vegas, Nevada, Saturday, September 21st, 2014

Ariel Dino Lameco Ilustrisimo Arnis Kali Eskrima FMA

Ten Tigers Martial Arts Las Vegas presents Guro Dino Flores and Guro Ariel Flores Mosses Seminar in Ilustrisimo & Lameco Eskrima. Las Vegas, Nevada, Saturday, September 21st, 2014 … [Read more...]

Guro Dino from Kapisanang Mandirigma reflects on teaching Eskrima at the Non-Profit organizations in Historic Filipinotown, Los Angeles.

eskrima kali arnis fma 1

Guro Dino from Kapisanang Mandirigma reflects on teaching Eskrima at the Non-Profit organizations in Historic Filipinotown, Los Angeles. When our teacher Punong Guro Edgar Sulite passed away, the group wanted to honor his work but in the least commercial way possible. We weren't sure how we could do it...and looking back I am not sure why we wanted to do it that way. One day after one of our countless demos around the city, Aki from PWC approached me to do a history workshop at Glendale City College. Afterwards she asked if I would like to use the art to help at risk to kids to gangs violence and drug use. My first reaction was "are you sure?" I was thinking we are kind of a rough bunch and we are wielding sticks, knives and swords and were more like a gang ourselves. I didn't think it was exactly appropriate at the time. I was reminded that the Rampart district (where the movie "Training Day" was set) had the highest murder rate in the city at the time and was kind of rough itself with numerous hyper violent gangs such as MS13 and 18th St. claiming the area as their turf. Thus I half heartedly accepted. Anyway, to cut a long story short - our recruiter was right. We had a surprisingly high success rate with the youth. Just a few minor glitches like gunshot wounds, knife fights, comas and molotov cocktails on roofs...but thats another story.From what I can gather, most of the rougher kids changed their ways....after maybe a little backyard method persuasion techniques. Two things were very effective. 1.Military style drilling, rules and lots of push ups for the whole class if someone was out of line - Guro Bud was an expert at this method. 2. Lots and lots of sparring. Be it Eskrima, Grappling, Kickboxing etc. If they were very bad they would have to spar everyone in class ending with me. It was truly a transformative and effective method...but probably illegal in several Some parents told us their kids grades had gone up. Another parent told us that a school teacher said to her that her son was "The most moral student in the school" (since joining the program)...still makes me laugh. We had an amazing experience doing volunteer work with those great Non-Profit Community organization like SIPA, PWC and FilAm ARTS. The at risk youth positive diversion program from gangs and drugs we taught from 1997 to 2004 was a big learning experience for us all. I am proud that when government funding was low or disappeared, we didn't let it stop us. Instead myself, Guro Arnold A. Noche and Guro Bud Balani Jr. offered adult classes at the centers at an affordable rate and used the proceeds to assist in funding the youth programs. One of the adult students even got Asics to sponsor us for a semester and we got some cases of their wrestling shoes. It was a grand adventure that took us far and wide. What more could you ask for, help a few kids out, teach a few adults some culture and still train in the art you love. All that was missing was a small paycheck for the Eskrima It's funny to think that all those non-martial artist participants who went through the program where forced to learn our Eskrima lineage and history. They were exposed to Lameco and the teacher in our lineage such as GM Ilustrisimo and his 5 Pillars (GM Tony Diego, GM Yuli Romo, GM Rey Galang, GM Christopher Ricketts and PG Edgar Sulite), GM Caballero and various other arts over the years. Our first guest instructor at the program was none other than the legendary Grandmaster Doc Lengson - which was an incredible honor for me. Not only was GM Dr. Guillermo B. “Doc” Lengson one of Master Ricketts teachers. He was also the one who advised GM Presas to add "Modern" to Arnis. GM Lenson also advised PG Sulite to use the title" Punong Guro". Punong Guro was the first to use this term in the Martial Arts, all others since were somehow inspired by his usage. GM Lengson was the first to feature FMA on Philippine TV. One of the TV shows had a 14 year old Master Ricketts representing Sagasa Kickboxing fighting a seasoned professional boxer. With another legend GM Roland Dantes as a judge. Other guest instructors at our program included GM Taboada, GM Gaabucayan, GM Manaois, GM Olavides, Guro Ariel Mosses, Guro Hans Tan and half of Lameco SOG. What a journey. Maybe this is why the kids responded.     Some items of recognition for our volunteer work back in the days of seemingly limitless energy. … [Read more...]