Doce Pares

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Doce Pares
Focus Stick fighting
Knife fighting
Hand-to-Hand Combat
Country of origin Philippines Philippines
Creator Lorenzo Saavedra
Eulogio Cañete
Filemon Cañete
Famous practitioners Ciriaco "Cacoy" Cañete
Dionisio "Diony" Canete
Daniel "Danny" Guba
Percival "Val" Pableo
Parenthood Eskrima
Olympic sport No

Doce Pares (Spanish for twelve pairs), is a form of Arnis, Kali and Eskrima, or a Filipino martial art that focuses primarily on stick fighting, knife fighting and hand-to-hand combat but also covers wrestling and other weapons as well.[1] In reality, the stick is merely considered an extension of the hand, and is meant to represent almost any weapon, from sticks to swords to knives to anything else you can place in your hand and use as a weapon in the modern context. Doce Pares was founded in 1932.[2]


Most native Cebuanos know and refer to Eskrima as "Arnis". Eskrima, however, is the internationally recognized term for Arnis/Kali/Eskrima.

In the late 1920s, Eskrima attained a high level of popularity in Cebu City, the second largest city in the Philippines. In 1932, the most renowned eskrimadors, mainly from Cebu, founded Doce Pares as a society to promote the only original native martial art of the Philippines. The name Doce Pares is Spanish, taken from the Twelve Peers or Paladins of Emperor Charlemagne, whose legend the Spanish transmitted to the Philippines through popular literature and theater. To mirror the Twelve Peers, the Doce Pares school had twelve founding masters.

Lorenzo Saavedra, one of the original twelve masters, was recognized as the foremost eskrimador in Cebu City. He was ably supported by four other top-rated eskrimadors: Teodoro and Federico Saavedra, his nephews, and Lorenzo and Filemon Cañete.

Eulogio Cañete, Filemon's older brother, was elected first president of Doce Pares and remained in that position until his death in 1988. A younger Cañete brother, Ciriaco "Cacoy" Cañete, concentrated on boxing but later became an eskrimador.

Later, Teodoro Saavedra rose to prominence as the best fighter in the Doce Pares society. Saavedra, an active guerrilla fighter, was captured and killed by the occupying Japanese forces in World War II.

Venancio Bacon was among the first members in the club and a few months later left the club due to arguments that the Doce Pares system was not an effective escrima and founded Balintawak Eskrima.

In the early 1950s, Eskrima techniques and tactics were analyzed, devised, modified and systematized by Cacoy Cañete, based mostly on actual combat experience with other eskrimadors belonging to rival Eskrima schools. Among his many contributions to the development of this martial art is Eskrido, a combination of judo and Eskrima techniques, as well as the most modern forms of Eskrima-offense and Eskrima-defense.

Of the second generation of Doce Pares eskrimadors, only Cacoy Canete - now 94, and around 12 years old at the founding of Doce Pares in 1932 - and his right hand Fernando Candawan Sr. are still alive. However, several senior instructors, foremost Dionisio "Diony" Canete, nephew of Cacoy Canete, who belong to the third generation of eskrimadores are very much active, teaching their own interpretation or styles of Doce Pares Eskrima.

During the late 1970s and early 1980s, Dionisio Canete was commissioned by the Philippine government to create a curriculum incorporating all styles of arnis/eskrima from the various Philippine islands. The purpose was to engender and preserve the art of Arnis as a Philippine national treasure. The multi-style Doce Pares system is now the only officially government recognized Arnis curriculum, which has been taught in public schools since Arnis was made the official sport of the Philippines. Doce Pares Inc. (Dionisio, multi-style Doce Pares), is located at 30 Eagle Street, in Santo Nino Village, Banilad section of Cebu City, Philippines. Just tell the taxi or jeepney driver to drop you off at Santo Nino Village...

In 1994, Cacoy decided to split apart from the multi-style Doce Pares system and form Cacoy Doce Pares World Federation. Rather than incorporate the multiple styles of arnis originally found throughout the Philippines - the original styles that formed Doce Pares in 1932 - he eliminated most long and middle range styles (such as sword and long-bow), and focused on only close-range combat technique, known as Corta Corbada. This was largely a result of Cacoy Canete's vast experience with actual combat with not only competing Arnis systems, but also as a guerrilla fighter against the Japanese during WWII, comprising over 100 no-holds-barred contests wherein waivers were signed releasing both parties from any liability for injuries or death. Doce Pares has produced many champions in Eskrima competitions.

Nonetheless, the third generation of Arnis masters, who are mostly in their 60s and 70s - including his nephew Diony, Bonifacio "Loloy" Uy of BDU Arnis, etc - owe their training and teaching experience to Cacoy Canete, son of one of the original members of Doce Pares.

Cacoy Doce Pares Eskrima[edit]

Cacoy Doce Pares Eskrima is a form of Doce Pares which utilizes a 29-inch rattan stick. The close quarter style is known as "Corto Kurbada" and is characterized by the curving strikes which are employed within its sparring methodology. Cacoy Doce Pares is promoted by Ciriaco "Cacoy" Cañete. In 1951 Cañete incorporated concepts and techniques from aikido and judo which can be applied in sparring this is known as "Eskrido".[3] The system teaches double stick (penki-penki), stick & dagger (olisi y baraw) and empty handed applications (pangamot).

In 1981, Cañete travelled to the Kali Academy in Torrance, California to teach Cacoy Doce and Eskrido in the United States. The seminar was hosted by Dan Inosanto and Richard Bustillo, Bustillo went on to promote the art in the USA and abroad.[4]


The National Arnis Association of the Philippines conducted the First Open Arnis Tournament on March 24, 1979, in Cebu City and the First National Invitational Arnis Tournament on August 19, 1979, in Manila. In both tournaments, Doce Pares emerged as Champion when one stick technique was applied in the Masters Division and most of the other divisions.

During the Third National Arnis Tournament in Cebu City, March 16, 1985, the Doce Pares contestants made a clean sweep of all championship awards in all categories – Openweight, Heavyweight, Middleweight and Lightweight. Most runner-up honors also went to Doce Pares practitioners. Such was the reputation of invincibility of Doce Pares contestants that in the Fourth National Arnis Tournament, which took place in Bacolod City, on July 26, 1986, Doce Pares officers and members were invited only as observers and officials, not as contestants. Since its founding, Doce Pares has enjoyed a special reputation among Philippine martial arts organizations as the developer and innovator after adaptating newest styles and techniques.


  1. ^ "Doce ParesHistory". Retrieved 19 November 2012. 
  2. ^ "MULTI-STYLE SYSTEM". Retrieved 19 November 2012. 
  3. ^ Haines, Bruce A. (1995). Karate's History and Traditions. N Clarendon, VT: Tuttle Publishing. p. 75. ISBN 978-0-8048-1947-3. 
  4. ^ Lumsden, David; Kevin Lumsden (June 1, 2010). The Iron Dragon: Richard Bustillo. Los Angeles: Xlibris, Corp. pp. 216–217. ISBN 978-1-4535-1024-7. 

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