Following Grandmaster Rodel Dagooc

GM Rodel Dagooc, Cris Pasindo

A friend relates this story: A few years  ago, Grandmaster Rodel “Smoking Sticks” Dagooc had some visitors in his Luneta class and they were requesting him to do a demonstration. GM Rodel instead asked my Arnis Master Cris Pasindo to demonstrate and said, 

Watching him is just like watching me. Pangalawang xerox na, malinaw pa rin! (He’s already a second photocopy but still clear!)

Why second copy? Master Cris was a student of Grandmaster Mon Kiathson who was a student of GM Rodel.

When you think about it, he has a point. Aside from the facial features (many people mistake them to be father and son), their moves are almost the similar. Master Cris is getting there.

Watch Master Rodel do a demonstration  (His part starts at 1:20.  Before him is Senator Miguel Zubiri, a hybrid Ilustrisimo-Lameco stylist and also a student of the late Maestro Edgar Sulite.) 

If you have trouble viewing the video, click here

And this is a video I took of Master Cris doing a demo in one of his tournaments.

If you have trouble viewing the video, click here.

Some more videos to watch:

Master Rodel Dagooc

1.  Bay Area FMA /2002

2. Training/ 2011

3. FMA Picnic/ University of the Philippines /2006

Master Cris Pasindo

1. Blocks and disarms / Quezon City, Philippines /2009

2. Exhibition/ 2010

3. Solo demo / 2013. Please excuse the distracting music. Anyway, a friend who watched this video said that Master Cris is “scaringly fast”. I agree.


Thank you to Mr Mio Cusi for most of the information above. Mr Cusi is a former head of The Manila Times Research department. He also studied Arnis under Master Cris but he is now based in Vancouver, Canada.

How about you, who is the biggest influence in your style and technique?


Lessons from a movie: Ip Man 1


I know, I know. I’m so late watching this movie. When was this shown, 2008?

It doesn’t matter.

I just started in Arnis early this year and since then I’ve been discovering the wonderful, intriguing, unique world of martial arts, including its movies.

Hubby read the post I had several days ago about how I wanted to watch the best martial arts movies. He granted my wish. Great! Thank you! So this afternoon, I watched the first on the list: Ip Man.

Needless to say, I enjoyed it. And I gleaned a lot of insights from it. Really! It’s wonderful how we can learn from almost everything in this world.

Here then are the Ten Lessons I learned from the movie Ip Man 1.

1. Training in martial arts gives you self-confidence. Your posture, stance, and demeanor improve. Look at what happened to those factory workers after they had some lessons on martial arts. In the real world, that self confidence alone can be enough to ward off many potential attackers.

2. When faced by an angry man, do you best to de-escalate the situation. Maintain composure, tranquility, and speak in a gentle tone.

3. Humility makes you more respectable. You don’t have to flaunt and preen like a peacock. If you are really good, your skills will speak for you.

4. Learn how to use weapons. All other things equal, an armed fighter will be superior to the unarmed one. If on the other hand, you are the one unarmed, your training will enable you to block and disarm your attacker. Also, learn how to use everyday things as weapons (like Ip man who used his wife’s feather decor). This is one of the reasons why I looove Arnis.

5. Train to hit hard, really hard. If you hit your attacker but not enough to hurt him, it will only make him angrier and all those anger hormones will not be good for you.

6. Train to be fast. Did you see how Ip Man downed his attackers with his lighting-fast moves?

7. Train diligently, even when you’re alone. That scene where Ip Man quietly trained with his Wing Chun dummy is memorable.

8. Sweet potatoes are amazing. It was wartime. Food was scarce but the sweet potatoes they had for lunch gave Ip Man energy to fight and win. Foods with complex carbohydrates are good for everyone.

9. Help the weak. Use your martial arts skills for the good of others.

And finally, a lesson on relationships:

Ip Man wife

10. It’s futile to try to change your spouse. It will only frustrate both of you. To have a more pleasant life, accept your spouse’s interests and passion. Adapt to them. If you look really hard, you’ll find something you can appreciate and admire. So there… 🙂

Have you seen this movie? I’m going to watch Ip Man 2 tomorrow. Until then…



Related posts:

Filipino Martial Arts in the marines

Since about a month ago, Master Cris has been regularly incorporating knife fighting in my practice sessions. Usually we practice first with sticks then itak then knife then empty hands. I’m still slow and often forget the moves but I’m loving it.

I recently found a youtube video showing our own Philippine Marines being trained on this also. 

Their training is called Pekiti -Tirsia Kali (PTK), a Filipino Martial Art Close Quarter fighting system that focuses on edged weapons. They train with sticks, long blades, spears, knives, and empty hands.

If you have trouble viewing the video, click here.

Some tips from the video:

  • Hit the weapon and the body.
  • Move to the left or right fast. Get out of the way. Protect yourself.
  • A bolo can be effective against multiple rifles.
  • You can transfer your armed moves to unarmed. They are basically the same.
  • Learn the triangle footwork.
  • You have to understand strategy and attack.

When I look at PTK videos, I cannot really tell if it’s different from what I’m learning now (Modern Arnis). I’m also learning and using the same weapons. The moves are similar. 

I’m sure I’ll find differences but I’m satisfied now, just knowing that Filipino Martial Arts is practical, realistic, and effective.

My Filipino heart delights in this. 🙂



Pekiti-Tersia Kali Manila official website

For a list of  Pekiti Tirsia Kali schools and organizations around the world, click here.

Arnis is not fancy

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

I really enjoyed watching the fight scenes of the martial arts movies listed here. It’s my first real exposure to this genre because before, I avoided watching movies I knew would have prolonged fight scenes.

Well, people change. Now, I find the spinning kicks to the head, flying somersaults, and lengthy strike exchanges totally entertaining.

Very nice!

I imagined myself doing the moves but… alas! that will never happen. I don’t think I can ever learn all those complicated choreography.

Aside from that, I’m studying Arnis and those moves are not part of our system.

Ours is a martial art devised by warriors who had actually engaged in real life-and-death conflicts. They did not aim to simply land a hit, score a point, or pin the enemy to the ground. Their object was to seriously hurt the enemy and do it as quickly as possible.

Fancy styles were simply out of place.

Let’s take for example Body Shifting and Footwork. Here’s what we are taught:

“An Arnis player must not raise or lower his hips more than necessary; he should move them more or less in a straight line. He must not raise his feet high off the ground. He must not drag them ether. In both cases, he will lose both speed and balance.” — Grandmaster Remy Amador Presas, Modern Arnis, 1974, p.28.

Yes, that’s us.

Straight to the point. Pure. Effective.

Do you agree?


14 Best martial arts movies every guy (and gal) should see

Oh my! I “wasted” a lot of time watching videos again! 😀

It’s the fault of this wonderful web article I found: The 14 Best Martial Arts Movies Every Guy Should See / Cool Material.   It showed a fight trailer for each one!

  • Ip Man
  • Hero
  • Enter the Dragon
  • Ong Bak
  • Brotherhood of the Wolf
  • 13 Assasins
  • The Man from Nowhere
  • Kung Fu Hustle
  • Once Upon a Time in China
  • Kill Bill Vol. 1
  • Iron Monkey
  • Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
  • The Legend of Drunken Master
  • Seven Samurai

Before I got interested in Arnis, I never liked action movies, much less martial arts ones. But times have changed.

I watched every single trailer in the list and they’re great! Maybe a generous someone will gift me with copies of the full movies…..Ahemmm….hubby 🙂

Want to check out the videos? Click here.

How about you? What movies are on your list?

James Bond’s girl is a stickfighter…and a swordfighter…and a …

With Pierce Brosnan in Die Another Day
Rachel Grant with Pierce Brosnan in Die Another Day
Rachel with Guro Victor Gendrano Jr.
Rachel with Guro Victor Gendrano Jr.

Photo credit:

Rachel was born in the Philippines to a Filipina mother and a British father.

Here’s an excerpt of an interview she had with Inside Kung-Fu Magazine. (To read the full interview, click here.)

IKF: What attracted you to Filipino martial arts (FMA)?

Rachel: I was attracted to the immediate use of weaponry and the techniques involved. Unlike other martial arts that start with empty hands and later add the use of weapons, FMA starts with weapons and later moves on to empty-hand techniques. I’ve always found that aspect of FMA training interesting and one that works well.

Another appeal is the diversity of weapons. FMA encompasses the use of an assortment of weaponry from bladed, impact and flexible weapons, including spears, swords, shields, whips, the sarong, ropes and the yoyo.

IKF: Who is your Guro and how often do you train?

Rachel: His name is Guro Victor Gendrano Jr. and he has been training in FMA over 30 years. Initially we worked together in guro Dan’s class at the Inosanto Academy in Los Angeles and now I take classes with him privately and at irregular intervals depending on my schedule. He is very talented with his style of teaching.

KF: How did you get cast in Die Another Day?

Rachel: I was cast from one audition for the Bond movie. For the audition, I brought along my nunchaku and asked if I could perform a martial arts nunchaku demo, which was somewhat in keeping with the character but not written in to the script. They let me and liked it! The demo really caught their attention—it was very much like a Bond Girl villainess so I got the role, I was told. It’s quite extraordinary how a couple of sticks and being a martial artist got me cast in my most notable character and changed everything. The knock-off effect of Bond has been remarkable.

Very nice, Rachel, very nice.



Related posts:

Is Stickfighting an art?

In what movies can we see FMA? For the answer, click here.

See FMA on Philippine TV here and here.

Photo credit: Rachel Grant’s official website

Personal videos I didn’t like at first…

My hubby seldom gets to see me practice. But one morning last month, as Master Cris and I were wrapping up our session, hubby arrived with a videocam! So we had this instant shoot.

I felt awkward and self conscious and hated it that my feet were glued to the ground. My arms and legs coordination was almost zero.

At first I posted these videos on youtube only thinking that nobody knows me there, unlike here where  I actually tell you about me.

Well, I’m changing my mind now because I know that in a few years, it will be good to review these and see how far I’ve gone. Right?

So here they are:

Sinawali Practice

Eskrima Practice

Finally, Look at how fast Master Cris’s moves are: