Balintawak Eskrima

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Balintawak Masters.gif
Original Balintawak club members from left to right: Atty. Jose Villasin, Johnny Chiuten, founder Venancio Bacon, and Teofelo Velez.
Also known as Balintawak Eskrima
Focus Stick fighting
Country of origin Philippines Philippines
Creator Venancio "Anciong" Bacon
Famous practitioners Teodoro Buot
Timoteo Maranga
Arnulfo Mongcal
Atty: Jose Villasin
Bobby Tabimina
Teofilo Velez
Bobby Taboada
Ben Marapao
John Russell
Rich Parsons
Balintawak Street in Colon Street, Cebu City, Philippines

Balintawak Eskrima or Balintawak Arnis is a Filipino Martial Art developed by Venancio Bacon in the 1950s to enhance and pre­serve the com­bat­ive nature of arnis which he felt was being watered down by other styles of Philippine martial arts. It is named after a small street in Cebu where it was founded.


In 1932, the Doce Pares Club Pares from the filipino word "pa - re" meaning "friend, buddy or pal" so in english translation "12 buddies club" was formed, headed by Lorenzo Saavedra. The club was composed of three Saavedra eskrimadors and nine from the Cañete family. Venancio Bacon was among the first members of the Doce Pares Club, and a few months later left the club due to skepticisms of the system's effectivity.

In 1952, along with Delfin Lopez, Timoteo Maranga, and a few others, Bacon established a new club, calling it the Balintawak Street Self-Defense Club. The newly formed club started training in the backyard of a watch shop owned by Eduardo Baculi, one of Bacon’s students, in a small side street in Colon St., called Balintawak Street, thus the name of the group.

During the 1950s and 1960s, eskrimadors from various camps, mainly Doce Pares and Balintawak, tested each other’s skills in all-out challenges. These resulted in injuries and sometimes deaths. Some were under honorable circumstances, while others treacherous. Vincente "Inting" Carin of Doce Pares found himself attacked by multiple assailants, incurring various injuries. While reciprocating lethal injuries on his attackers he was able to adapt the Balintawak style fighting to fend off his assailants. Delfin Lopez was knifed from behind, resulting in his death.[citation needed] Venancio Bacon was ambushed in the dark while walking to his home in Labangon. He killed his assailant.[1]

Before Bacon's incarceration ( see below ), Ted Buot would teach at the club / school on Balintawak Street. When Bacon would show up Buot would hand him the rattan cane he was using and Bacon would teach. When Bacon was done teaching he would leave and hand back the cane to Buot to continue to teach.

Bacon was incarcerated for killing an attacker, who was armed with a knife, in self-defense. The judge ruled that Bacon’s martial arts skills could be considered a lethal weapon[1] and should have been used with restraint. Bacon was paroled from prison in the mid-1970s. When he returned to Cebu, he continued to check on students, making sure the quality of Balintawak was still up to his standards since he left. Bacon regularly attended training sessions conducted by Jose Villasin and Teofilo Velez. A few years after, Bacon died.[1]


Bacon developed single stick techniques. With the help of Jose Villasin he developed and optimized his techniques based upon single stick work. Atty. Jose Villasin, under the tutelage of Bacon, developed the twelve basic strikes which are now used by most Balintawak practitioners. Balintawak uses twelve basic strikes because the human body is limited in movement. These twelve strikes form the basis from which a practitioner can develop basic, semi-advanced, and advanced movements.[2] All techniques must be demonstrated with power, control, and body mechanics.

In Bal­intawak, the stick is only used to enhance and train the indi­vid­ual for bare hands fight­ing, and to achieve per­fec­tion in the art of speed, tim­ing and reflexes nec­es­sary to acquire defen­sive pos­ture and flu­id­ity in move­ment. It aims to har­ness one’s nat­ural body move­ment and awaken one’s senses to move and react. It guar­an­tees its prac­ti­tioner will expe­ri­ence a rev­e­la­tion in the fun­da­men­tals of street fighting.[3]


Later, Bacon's successors soon began to systematize the Balintawak curriculum. One was Atty Jose Villasin, who was a self defense instructor for Criminology @ University of Visayas who set about to group the style into its various categories so that his students could master one set of related techniques "grouping method" and then move onto the next set of related techniques. At this point, several distinct schools of Balintawak emerged. Many of Bacon’s Balintawak students and some of his and the Saavedra's Doce Pares students continued to teach in the old method of random instruction, while Villasin taught in his "grouping" style.[4]

Today, there are a number of Balintawak groups teaching their versions of the system. Most instructors use the "grouping" method for teaching the techniques while others continue to teach single responses in the traditional way, as Bacon used to teach.


The principles and concepts of Balintawak Grouping method have, however, found their way into many different Filipino martial arts methods. Most notable is Modern Arnis, founded by Remy Presas who studied Balintawak under Arnulfo Mongcal.[5] Mongcal introduced Remy Presas to Maranga who in turn introduced Presas to Bacon. Note: Both Mongcal and Presas were left handed.


Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Eskrimadors - A Filipino Martial Arts Documentary". 
  2. ^ Thurston, B. (2007). Curriculum Guide for Balinatwak Arnis. Balintawak Arnis. pp. 3–7. 
  3. ^ ""Simhota Ko Dong" — Anciong Bacon". Retrieved 8 July 2013. 
  4. ^ Russell, John. "Balintawak Arnis/Escrima". Archived from the original on 14 September 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-23. 
  5. ^ "History of the Balintawak Style". Retrieved 2009-08-23. [dead link]

External links[edit]