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Sikaran is a distinct Filipino Martial Art that involves hand and foot fighting. As Sikaran is a general term for kicking which is also used as the name of the kicking aspects of other Filipino Martial arts, this article discusses the distinct art which is specifically practiced in the Rizal province that focuses almost exclusively in kicking.
Sikaran is a simple but intense martial art game that originated from the town of Baras in the province of Rizal. According to the forefathers of Baras, it had been practiced long before the Spaniards came to the Philippines in the 16th century.
It is noted that like most Filipino martial arts, Sikaran has no written history as most Filipinos from the lower classes during Spanish colonial times were barely literate (free public education was only introduced during the American era) and it was passed orally from generation to generation.
Like many Filipino martial arts styles, it has been endangered as it does not have as many practitioners as the more mainstream martial arts. Like Modern Arnis, in the mid-20th century, it had to adapt certain structural aspects of the more well known art of Karate like the belting system, choreographed forms or Katas and uniforms to make it more appealing other Filipinos and be more accepted internationally.
Sikaran has its own distinct kicking styles. The signature Biakid kick is executed by pivoting to the back in a complete turn, much like a spinning hook kick or a reverse round house in other martial arts styles and targets the side or back of the head while the practitioner is in mid to punching range.
The degree of effectiveness subscribes to two classifications: "panghilo" (paralyzing blow) and "pamatay" or lethal kick. Obviously the first aimed at less vital parts of the physique, while the target of the second includes the heart, neck, head, groin, and spine, all highly vulnerable parts.
Footage from the Last Man Standing UK TV series episode on Sikaran (YouTube link, uploaded by the Sikaran group featured) shows how the style practiced in the province is done differently from Tae Kwon Do and Karate. There have been questions on the art of Sikaran as being native to the Philippines or being borrowed from Karate and Tae Kwon Do, but as can be seen in the Last Man Standing footage, to the farmers watching the sport and cheering on the sidelines, it is simply an ordinary sight common to their particular village, much like Sabong (cockfighting) is in the rest of the Philippines.
It has been said that Tae Kwon Do "stole" the signature Biakid kick technique from Sikaran as a tournament technique after the Japanese and Koreans saw it used effectively by Sikaran players(Meliton Geronimo) during their debut in the inter-Asian Karate tournaments in the late-60's. This is supported by the fact that spinning heel or hook kicks were not used in competitions by Korean players prior to the 70's.
Sikaran utilizes only the feet as a rule for sport, and the hands are only used for blocking. The player uses his legs 90% of the time and his hands 10%, and only for blocking or parrying blows. Violation of this injunction, especially in tournaments, is ground for disqualification.
The entry of Sikaran in tournaments, particularly those of international caliber, presaged certain modifications, if innovations, of its original rules, like the setting of a time limit and widening of the fighting area into twice the size required of the original arena, and the wearing of armor for safety reasons as it is played full contact and bare-chested with no armor or groinguard in the original province. (Filipino martial artists from more modest means generally have no such access to these Western accessories)
- "History: 1946 to present". Sikaran Pilipinas.
- "Techniques of Sikaran". Sikaran Pilipinas.
- "Last Man Standing Season 2 episode 7 - Sikaran: Kick-fighting in the Philippines". BBC Television.
- "PDF of scans from old articles and albums from the Asian Karate Association of the 60's".
- "How to Perform a Spinning Hook Kick". WikiHow.
- Bob Duggan. "The Hook Kick". The Society of Hwarang.
- Sang H. Kim. "Analysis of Taekwondo's Spinning Kicks". TurtlePress.
- A Dying Art – Sikaran, Art of Philippines Foot Fighting, Emmanuel del Espiritu Santo Querubin - Black Belt Magazine, April 1966
- It All Began 800 Years Ago, Emmanuel del Espiritu Santo Querubin - Black Belt Magazine, June 1966