Arnis in the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games

Logo of the Southeast Asian Games Federation, the body that oversees the SEA Games. Photo credit.



The Southeast Asian (SEA) Games started in 1959 and since then is held every two years (every odd year).  It’s a multi-sport event and the Philippines first joined in 1977. Currently, eleven countries participate:

  1. Brunei
  2. Cambodia
  3. Indonesia
  4. Laos
  5. Malaysia
  6. Myanmar
  7. Philippines
  8. Singapore
  9. Thailand
  10. Timor-Leste
  11. Vietnam

The Philippines hosted the SEA Games in 1981, 1991 and 2005. In 2019, it will be our fourth time to host.

According to its policy, the host country has the discretion to add any sport (even those that are indigenous to it) provided that at least three countries will be competing in the event.

Photo credit

In 1991, Arnis was included as a Demonstration Sport (a sport played with the main goal of promoting it). It gave the Philippines 14 medals (10 golds, 3 silvers, 1 bronze). But a recent article, reports that it was 16 gold medals.— Note: I don’t know which is correct. I searched the internet for more information but I found none. We sorely lack documentation.

Photo credit

In 2005, Arnis was incorporated as an Official Sport and four countries competed: Philippines, Vietnam, Timor-Leste, and Cambodia. Six gold medals were at stake in Form Competition and Full Contact Sparring. The Philippines won 3 golds (plus 3 silvers) to tie with Vietnam.

2005 Gold Medalists :

  • Men’s Synchronized Anyo : Peter Kelvin Celis, Nathan Ben Dominguez, Glenn Llamador
  • Women’s Synchronized Anyo: Catherine Ballenas, Aireen Parong, Rochelle Quirol
  • Women’s Full Contact Sparring: Anna Joy Fernandez

It would be interesting to know where they are now.

After 2005, Arnis was never played in the SEA games again.

New Developments

Arnis will be played in the SEA Games 2019, if Senator Miguel Zubiri’s wish will come to pass.


Senator Zubiri giving a message at the First National Arnis Congress held on January 12, 2017, in Mandaluyong City, Philippines. Behind him, from left are Hon. William “Butch” Ramirez, Chairman of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC); Hon. Ramon Fernandez, Commissioner, PSC; Atty. Tonisito M.C. Umali, Asst Secretary, Department of Education. Photo by Paco delos Reyes

Senator Zubiri, the author and sponsor of Republic Act 9850, making Arnis the National Martial Art and Sport of the Philippines, said

“It will be a sin for us not to have Arnis in the 2019 SEA Games.”


I say that both excitedly and nervously.

It’s a golden opportunity for us to highlight Arnis. Of course, I wish for Filipino arnisadors to win the championship cleanly and clearly without controversies.

But as of now, with two years to go, I don’t know of any clear strategy yet. What rules are we using? Who will be our officials? Who are our national athletes? Are they being trained and exposed now? Are they supported? Many questions. Many things to iron out.

How devastating it would be if we get whipped by other more prepared countries. We’re the host and Arnis is our national martial art and sport! We have to win!

I’m scared for us…


This article is based on information I found online.

Thank you for taking the time to read the Deadly Dance blog. A greater thank you if you comment and add depth to this post.



Related Articles:

2019 SEA Games/Wikipedia

Zubiri wants Arnis in the 2019 SEA Games/Jean russel David/The Manila Times/January 14, 2017

Fast Facts: Philippines in the SEA Games/Jesson Ramil/Rappler/June 6, 2015

For the 2005 SEA Games complete medal tally, click here.





Getting to know some Filipino Martial Arts Maestros


From left: Grandmasters Martin Raganas, Jr., Pepito Robas, Punong Guro Boy Pajo, Grandmasters Henry Espera, Roberto Labaniego, Sensei Jimmy Ibrahim

Most of them are soft-spoken, unassuming, and even slightly shy. If you didn’t know any better, you wouldn’t realize that you’re in the company of men who have contributed so much to Filipino Martial Arts.

During tournaments,  I sometimes cringe when I see young athletes not paying attention when Maestros speak or do exhibitions. This has to change. We’ve got to learn about our own history.

Knowing and respecting the great men (and women) who were before us help us know ourselves better.

I myself don’t know all of them. So during the latest (14th) Arnis Pasindo tournament, in my amateur-interviewer kind of way and amidst my other duties, I got some basic first hand information.

While everyone else is watching the tournament, I get insiders’ information from GM Martin Raganas, Jr. (first generation Ilustrisimo student) and Coach Arnold Narzo, current Chief Instructor of Kalis Ilustrisimo Repeticion Orihinal (KIRO)
From left: Grandmasters Maximo Aldave, Lorenzo Magsico, Dr. Richard Gialogo, Grandmasters Jerry dela Cruz, Cris Pasindo, Henry Espera, Sensei Jimmy Ibrahim, Grandmaster Roger del Valle

Maestros Present (Names alphabetically arranged)

  1. Aldave, Maximo (Aikiyoi International Martial Arts)
  2. Buanjug, Eldie (Buanjug Eskrima / Lapunti Arnis de Abanico)
  3. Del Valle, Roger (Magkakaibang Arnis del Valle)*
  4. Dela Cruz, Jeremias “Jerry” (Arnis Cruzada)*
  5. Espera, Henry (Rapido Realismo Kali)*
  6. Ibrahim, Jimmy (Falcon Consolidated Martial Arts)*
  7. Labaniego, Roberto (Eskrima Labaniego)*
  8. Magsico, Lorenzo (Arnis Reform National)*
  9. Raganas, Martin Jr. (Punta Engano)*
  10. Robas, Pepito (Otsotiros Balintawak / Arnis Robas)*
  11. Valleno, Lemio “Romy” (Valleno Arnis Club /LSAI)*

*brief write up below

From left: Grandmasters Lemio “Romy” Valleno, Maximo Aldave, Roger del Valle, Jerry dela Cruz, Henry Espera

Roger del Valle

  • Born on August 8, 1952 in Labangon, Cebu
  • Trained under Crispulo Atillo (Atillo Balintawak) and Filemon “Momoy” Canete (Doce Pares/ San Miguel Eskrima).
  • Founded Magkakaibang Arnis Ka Roger based in Manila
From left: Grandmasters Jerry dela Cruz, Henry Espera; Sensei Jimmy Ibrahim

Jeremias “Jerry” Dela Cruz 

  • Born on April 21, 1947 in Sta. Rita, Pampanga
  • He initially trained in Karate (in Angeles, Pampanga) and in 1965 started training under Remy Presas (Modern Arnis).  He became head instructor and taught in many schools and even in the American Military Bases in Angeles.
  • In 1995, he founded Arnis Cruzada, based in Pasig City.

Henry Espera

  • Born on December 1, 1953 in Sorsogon, Bicol
  • Trained under Antonio Ilustrisimo (1980’s), Alejandro “Andy” Abrian of the Moromoro Orabis Arnis Heneral, and a certain Mang Juan.  GM Espera cannot remember Mang Juan’s surname but remembers that he headed Automatic Arnis based in Quiapo, Manila
  • Founded Rapido Realismo Kali (RRK), based in Manila

Jimmy Ibrahim

  • A Karate Sensei but very supportive of the Filipino Martial Arts
  • Born on November 5, 1953 in Cotabato City
  • Trained in Kuntao (with an “o” he emphasizes), Karate (under Dansalan Usman and then later, under Roberto Gonzales, the Karate King of the Philippine movies), and Silat under a certain Norodin
  • He is now with the Falcon Consolidated Martial Arts (Shotokan Karate)

Roberto Labaniego

  • Born on June 6, 1940 in Mambusao, Capiz
  • First trained by his grandfather on the use of  sibat (Filipino spear), then by his father on Largo Mano, Dumog, and some boxing. He later trained on Espada Y Daga under Benjamin Lema (Lightning Scientific Arnis)
  • For more information, click here.
From left: Grandmasters Pepito Robas, Crisanto Pasindo, Roberto Labaniego

Lorenzo Magsico

  • National Training Director and Founder
  • Arnis Reform National
From left: Grandmasters Martin Raganas, Jr., Pepito Robas, Eldie Buanjug

Martin Raganas, Jr.

  • Born on January 23, 1952 in Estaca, Minglanilla, Cebu
  • His first Arnis instructor was his father, Martin Raganas Sr., who was a member of Cebu’s Doce Pares. He also trained in Boxing, and in Karate where he became a blackbelt. In the mid 70’s, he met Antonio (Tatang) Ilustrisimo and from then on trained with him. His training-mates were Tony Diego, Yuli Romo, and Romy Macapagal. Sometimes the four of them would stay in Tatang’s house in Tondo, Manila. (Trivia: Tatang’s and Tony Diego’s houses were seperated only by a wall.)
  • Founded his own system, Punta Ingano, based in Manila.

Pepito Robas 

  • Born on May 31, 1952 in Hinigaran, Negros Occidental
  • Trained in Balintawak in the 60’s under Arnulfo Mongcal (a student of the Balintawak founder, Venancio Bacon). Then he also trained in Modern Arnis under Roberto Presas, a relative who lived near them in Hinigaran. Roberto is the younger brother of Remy and Ernesto Presas. Roberto then put up his own system, the Hinigaran Arnis de Mano, of which Robas became a head instructor.
  • Founded the Robas Balintawak System, based in Novaliches, Quezon City.
From left: Grandmasters Roberto Labaniego, Lemio “Romy” Valleno, Punong Guro Boy Pajo

Lemio “Romy” Valleno

  • Born on May 17, 1950 in Monreal Masbate
  • Trained in Lightning Scientific Arnis by the founder himself, Benjamin Lema. Later he also trained under Roberto Labaniego (also LSAI).
  • Founded the Valleno Arnis Club (LSAI), based in Makati City.
From left: Sensei Jimmy Ibrahim, Grandmaster Henry Espera, Dr. Richard Gialogo


These two maestros modestly didn’t want to be put in the same category as the above so I’m writing them as a valuable addendum here:

 Richardson Gialogo 

  • Born on January 17, 1974 in Manila
  • Trained in MoroMoro Orabes Heneral, Modern Arnis, Ilustrisimo, Doce Pares, and Pekiti Tirsia
  • Now the Director of the Loyola Schools Physical Education Program (Ateneo de Manila University) and a Senior Lecturer at the College of Human Kinetics (University of the Philippines, Diliman)
Grandmaster Martin Raganas, Jr., Coach Arnold Narzo

Arnold Narzo

  • Born on June 22, 1970 in Tondo, Manila
  • Trained under Antonio “Tatang”Ilustrisimo and then later with Antonio “Tony” Diego. There was a time when he trained simultaneously with both of them.
  • Now Chief Instructor of Kalis Ilustrisimo Repiticion Orihinal (KIRO), based in Manila

This is basic information. Soon, I hope to get more including how long they trained with each master, their philosophy, and some words of wisdom. What else can I ask them? Please give me suggestions.

Thank you for taking time to read The Deadly Dance.


Tournament Report: 14th Arnis Pasindo Invitational Tournament


Grandmaster Crisanto Pasindo (8th from left) with the Tournament Judges and Referees

Arnis Pasindo Invitational Tournament. 5 December 2015. Volleyball Court, Quezon Memorial Circle, Quezon City, Philippines.

“The expert at anything was once a beginner.” –Helen Hayes

Do you know how it is when the court is full of new athletes who are nervous, but enthusiastic and had little or no expectations on themselves? It’s like a breath of fresh air.

Well, that was the general atmosphere of the 14th Arnis Pasindo Tournament. We had 120 athletes and about a third were first-time competitors. You can actually feel the positive vibe. They were eager and not jaded at all.

Singing “Lupang Hinirang” during the Opening Ceremony

Of course, part of it was because more teams exhibited discipline and sportsmanship, and behaved the way Filipino Martial Artists should.

Over the last 13 tournaments, a number of individuals as well as whole teams, have been disallowed from participating again in any Arnis Pasindo Tournament because they disrupted the games and were disrespectful to officials and other athletes. “This is the only way we can usher in a new generation of Filipino Martial Artists — get rid of the bad and encourage the good,” Master Cris Pasindo said. “Even if that will mean only 50 players, then so be it.”  

Well, even when we had to change the date of this tournament from Sunday to Saturday which prevented many athletes and officials to join because they still had work or classes, we definitely had more than 50, and what a tournament we had!

Opening Ceremony

Master Cris welcomed and thanked everyone for participating. He said, “It’s great to be involved in a sport that also increases your appreciation of your own culture.”

And as he always does, he reminded everyone of the tournament’s objective: to bring Filipino Martial Arts tournaments to a higher level such that someday, it will be included in the Olympics. “We’re not even in the South East Asia  (SEA) Games,” he said. “I’m sad that even if Filipino Martial Arts is our national sport, it’s not one of the sports played in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines  (UAAP) nor the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). It’s tragic, but with our united efforts, we will surely make progress.”


Exhibitions by different Grandmasters are always done so that the younger athletes will know that Filipino Martial Arts is not just what we play in tournaments– it also has combat, self defense, and other aspects.

Grandmaster Jerry dela Cruz of Arnis Cruzada  doing a combat exhibition with his team. He was moving so fast that all our photos of him were blurred.
Grandmaster Henry Espera of Rapido Realismo Kali doing a double bolo exhibition
Coach Arnold Narzo and Coach TR Elicano after their rapid fire exhibition of Solo Baston, Dikitan, Punta y Daga, Empty Arms Disarming


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The Elite Team

A Sinawali and Basic Strikes exhibition was also done by the special needs students of Dynamic Thinkers Educational Center who call themselves, The Elite Team. Thanks to their patient coach, Dayang Helen Mae de Leon, the students did “a performance of their lives” and was given a big round of applause afterwards.

Tournament Proper

Anyo and Combat Demonstration Competitions


They’re getting better and better at showing real Filipino Martial Arts moves,” Grandmaster Jerry dela Cruz remarked as he watched the competitors. They better be, because, as usual, moves that were clearly from the other arts like Wushu, Karate, or even from band majorettes and bartenders were scored low.

Point System Sparring


The Arnis Pasindo tournament rules were used and that meant that the players were separated after a hit. There’s no continuous hitting so the fights are cleaner and safer and the scoring clearer.

The elimination rounds  of the Novice Category was a joy to watch. The way they flailed their arms, legs, and bodies were “fresh” moves as only beginners make.  “Whew! This is fierce. Avoiding getting hit is as important as hitting!” exclaimed one after his rounds. Oh yes, dear Novice, you are so right.

The cheering from their teammates was another level. “I don’t remember any of our tournaments having this much fun before,” said one official.

“Having many beginners is good,” Master Cris said. “Everybody starts as beginners and for all we know some of them will FMA Grandmasters in the future. They just need experience and exposure, and our tournaments will give them that.”

Time flew as we watched the rest of the sparring competitions. Athletes were sweaty in their armors with minds and bodies tense with anticipation and strategy. When they finally made their moves and padded sticks hit the armors and made those distinctive whacking sounds, the referees with their hand signals and instructions, and the judges’ red and blue flags going up and down, it was savagely beautiful to watch.


The fights continued into the night, with the last round ending at just before 8 PM.

Meticulously arranging the trophies and medals


Closing and Awarding Ceremony


2nd Runner Up: Fort Bonifacio Blazing Phoenix
First runner up: University of the Philippines Kamao / KAMAO
Overall Champion: Paclibar Bicol Kali

When all the medals and trophies have been awarded, Master Cris Pasindo declared the 14th Arnis Pasindo Tournament close.  He then invited everyone to next year’s tournaments. “Continue to train, become better and better, and let’s see each other again in April, August, and December 2016. Mabuhay!” 










Preparing for our 14th arnis tournament


FB announcement

Tomorrow’s the day of the Arnis Pasindo’s 14th tournament.

Oh wow, is it really the 14th now? I shake my head with amusement and disbelief because we’re a small group and except for Master Cris Pasindo who is a full time Arnis-Eskrima instructor, we are all amateurs with other day jobs.

Organizing a tournament is no easy task I tell you. You have to take care of a  million details. Over the years, we have learned a lot about how to do things.  It’s still difficult but compared to when we first started, it’s much better now.

Here are some behind the scenes stories.


Quezon Memorial Circle, Quezon City, Philippines

The Venue. Thankfully, we’re based in Quezon City and we have the Quezon Memorial Circle (a 22-hectare public park in the center of the city).

We wanted the basketball court because it’s bigger but we couldn’t afford it so we settled for the Volleyball Court and paid the reservation fee several months back.

Less than three weeks before the date we reserved, we were informed that the former mayor wanted to use all the courts on that day. Hmmp! Of course we didn’t want to move our date because all our invitations have been sent out.  Well… no choice. We realized that that’s the way things are. They needed the court so… we moved.

11/29/15. Master Cris (in brown) with some Arnis Pasindo members and friends on the last meeting and dry run for the 14th tournament.

The Officials. One of the difficulties we always have is estimating how many athletes will participate. That information will determine a lot of things, the most important of which is, how many referees and judges we would need.

In the  last tournament, there were more participants than we expected so the officials worked almost non-stop.  I think it was in the 6th tournament that we had more officials than athletes.

We always encourage people to register early, even giving them the incentive of a discount if they did. But only a few do so.

We usually hold our tournaments on Sundays but since we had to move to Saturday, we don’t know how many will be able to participate tomorrow. So, I think Master Cris made a lineup of twelve referees and judges (we’ll be having two courts).

The Finances: By far the biggest chunk of the expenses go to salaries. With all the hard work they do, you have to at least give the officials and staff fair wages.

Every tournament, we pay around 35 people (judges, referees, table committee members, scorers, timers, armorers) And that’s already lean. Our security marshals, housekeeping, medic, set up and clean up people, are all volunteers.

Aside from the salaries, you have to pay for the venue,  food and drinks for the officials and staff, padded sticks, medals, trophies, certificates, etc, etc.

So far, we have no financial support from any national sports group like Philippine Sports Commission or Arnis Philippines.  Maybe in the future this will change. I hope soon.

A few friends and some local government officials who understand our advocacy of advancing Filipino Martial Arts help us financially and they are very much appreciated.

But most of the expenses are shouldered by our group — small amounts put together and managed well accomplish a lot.

There are many more stories and one of these days, I’ll write about them. But for now, I have to go back to my own preparations for tomorrow. Just like the other Arnis Pasindo members, I will multitask.

  1. Member, Food Committee: Make sure that special guests (Grandmasters), officials, and staff are fed and hydrated.
  2. Member, Documentation Committee: Make a report of the whos and whats of the day.
  3. Medic.

Ok, bye for now.










The reason why they do it

Hubby recently joined a 50 km (31.25 mi) run and I went as support. Typhoon Hagupit was expected within the day but the organizer declared that it was a “rain or shine” event so a few minutes from their 4 o’clock gunstart on that chilly, windy morning, sixty-three determined ultramarathoners eagerly listened to instructions.


“This is a no-fuss run:  No freebies, no media, no gimmicks. Just plain running.” I watched with amusement when the participants cheered to that. “They must really just love running,” I smiled to myself, admiring their passion. And run they did and at the end, they celebrated well, in their own no-fuss kind of way.

Now that’s how I felt when I went to watch an Arnis tournament recently.

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The participants competed fiercely such that one lady who passed by asked how much the cash prize was. When I answered that there was none and that the athletes even paid to participate, she slowly nodded her head and said “Ibig sabihin, mahal lang talaga nila ang Arnis.” (“That means that they just really love Arnis.”)

I think she’s right. How else could you explain the effort that the athletes make just to compete? They train, pay to register, and on tournament day, wake up early, commute, lug their own food and drinks, stay until evening. After the winners get simple medals and trophies, everyone packs up for the tiring commute home. Prestige? Bragging rights? Maybe.  But why FMA when it’s so non-mainstream? There are hundreds of other sports to choose from.

I thought about this a lot and the answer I came up with sounds silly and corny but really, it’s love. L-O-V-E. The athletes do it because they love the sport. That’s what makes all the effort meaningful. Awww! 🙂


Tournament report: 10th Arnis Pasindo

Sometimes I shake my head and doubt that organizing a tournament is worth the effort because it’s crazy hard! But since Master Cris has the vision to bring Arnis in the Philippines to greater heights (like being included in the Asian games), his passion is rubbing off on all of us in his group.

On August 24, 2014, Sunday, at the Amphitheater of the Quezon Memorial Circle, Quezon City, Philipines, 142 athletes from fifteen teams competed in three events (Anyo, Combat Demonstration, and Full Contact Sparring). Supporters and also a lot of park-goers watched from morning to evening and that made us happy because that meant more people were exposed to Arnis.

Here are some photos so you can share in our joy 🙂


The tournament was scheduled to start at 8:30AM but as early as 7AM, eager athletes started to arrive.

The earliest team was ARKADO ANTIPOLO. Their Barangay supported them by lending them two vehicles to bring them to the tournament.


KAMAO members are from three popular private schools: Ateneo, Claret, and St. Paul’s. They’re the team which bagged the overall title in the first International Thang-ta Championship in Chongju, Korea in 2013. Read article here.

Students from Concepcion Integrated High School. Some of them also won medals but what struck me most about this group is their courtesy and gratefulness. They smiled, greeted people, and said “thank you” many times. Look at those pleasant faces 🙂

CIS maharlika arnis team

Arnis Pasindo Kids.  11-year old Mark, 4th from left, eventually won the full sparring category in his age group.P1060727A sentimental photo of our old reliable public address system. We hope to upgrade soon.P1060731

Only a few of the officials are veterans, many are beginners. That’s not a problem, according to Master Cris. “Beginners can be trained. What’s important is that they agree with our goal of having clean and clear tournaments.”

The table committee, headed by the very-pregnant but still agile Dayang Rowena Nacario.

Arnis table committee

The OPENING CEREMONY was short and simple: National anthem, opening prayer, message from master Cris, oaths of sportsmanship.


ANYO COMPETITION  I admit that in previous tournaments, there were moments when I got a bit sleepy during the Anyo competition. But not anymore. In this 10th tournament, each team was allowed only two competitors per event so of course, they sent their best. It was really educational to watch because non-FMA moves were not allowed (e.g. wushu jumps, taekwondo kicks, majorette throws, etc.). It was just Arnis. Pure and terrific.


COMBAT DEMONSTRATION. This was an event introduced in this 10th tournament. The goal was to show the real-life applicability of Arnis moves. Only KAMAO fielded competitors but their demonstrations were so impressive that I heard several other athletes say that they’ll train to compete next tournament. Good!



The FULL CONTACT SPARRING COMPETITION was as usual, the crowd favorite.



P1060854We had policemen from Pulis Arnis Akademya and future sailors from the Asian Institute of Maritime studies.

We also had Koreans and they played hard. In the end, though they did not get any medal, they said they were happy to have competed. Such a courteous group.   P1060874


One other benefit of tournaments is the opportunity to get together and talk.

From left: Master Cris Pasindo, GM Jerry dela Cruz, Master Richard Gialogo, Sr. Master Romeo Santos


From left, Master Richard Gialogo, GM Mario Taliedo, GM Samuel Bambit Dulay, Gm Jerry dela Cruz, GM Rodel Dagooc, GM Vic Sanchez


From left, Master Cris Pasindo. Master Ryan Gialogo, GM Jerry dela Cruz, Gm Vic Sanchez


The crowd stayed to watch the heart-stopping finales.


The games finally ended at 7 PM.


First, the grandmasters gave inspirational talks.


Then the announcement of individual winners and then finally, the overall winners:

THIRD PLACE: KAMAO. Coaches Ryan Gialogo and Aloy Diaz.

SECOND PLACE: Pulis Arnis Akademya (PARAK). Coach Ruel GatbontonP1060965

FIRST PLACE: Paclibar Bicol Kali. Coaches Raniel Lorenzo and Jonel dela Cruz

There, 10th tournament, done! It was a great day, playing a great game, and we all look forward to the next one.

Mabuhay ang Pilipinas! Mabuhay ang Arnis!

Thank you for taking time to read The Deadly Dance.


Report: 8th Arnis Pasindo Tournament (Philippines)

Arnis Pasindo tournament

Oh wow, have you seen the latest issue of FMA Informative? Not yet? Well, check it out my friends because it’s great— I have a photo there, haha.

Seriously, it’s about the tournament our club organized last December. Despite initial setbacks, the tournament turned out really well.

Here’s an excerpt:

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. – Theodore Roosevelt

That’s exactly what the organizers, officials, coaches, and athletes did during the 8th Arnis Pasindo Tournament in Quezon City, Philippines held in December 2013 despite disheartening setbacks (Typhoon Haiyan) and the alleged anomalies in the Philippine Sports Commission.

Master Cris said,

If we wait for things to be ideal before we move, then we may never have a tournament. So let’s just have faith and carry on.

When there’s a will, there’s a way. The tournament pushed through.

The numbers: 36 officials, 8 Grandmasters, 5 Combat Arnis demonstrations, 15 clubs, 135 athletes, 34 categories (8 for Anyo, 26 for Full Contact), 102 medals, 6 trophies.

Standing: Master Cris Pasindo
Seated from left: GM Vicente Sanchez (Kali Arnis International), Roberto Labaniego (Top Labaniego/LSAI), GM Rodel Dagooc (Dagooc Arnis System), GM Tony Vasquez (Dulac Martial Arts), GM Ricardo Saballe, Jr. (Baskapada), GM Mon Kiathson (Arnis Combat Kiathson System).
Not in photo: Grandmaster Frank Aycocho (Aycocho Martial Arts), Mataw Guro Virgo Villareal (Philippine College of Criminology)
Arnis Pasindo tournament
LSAI Bigay Tama (Double vs. Single Baston) Demonstration by Senior Master Romeo Santos and son Guro Ronnel Santos

The Anyo competitions, an audience favorite, came first. Although the younger ones were expectedly a bit awkward, the rhythmic gracefulness of Arnis still shone through.


The older athletes were more agile and dramatic in their execution. Attacks and counterattacks in dance form was a sight to behold and reminded everyone that Arnis is a very beautiful martial art.

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After lunch came the more intense Labanan (Full Contact Sparring Competitions). That’s when everybody really came alive. Spectators cheered, applauded, and shouted anxious encouragement.


The sound of padded sticks loudly whacking the body protectors, the referees’ precise hand signals, the Tagalog words they use like Handa, laban! (Ready, fight!), Hiwalay! (Separate!), Hinto! (Stop!), Hatol (Decision!), and the mesmerizing movements of the judges’ red and blue flags added to the intensity of the moment. Arnis is such a heart-pounding sport!



In the end, the 8th Arnis Pasindo Tournament gave everyone a great day playing a great sport by just doing what they could, with what they had, where they were. All is good, very good.

Overall Champion: Taguig City University

Congratulations to all. Mabuhay!

Watch out for the 9th Arnis Pasindo Tournament coming in March 2014.


  • This is an excerpt from FMA Informative Issue110.  To read the full report (tournament officials, participating clubs, winners, etc.) please click here. Thank you 🙂
  • The 7th Arnis Pasindo Tournament was FMA Informative Issue 87. Check it out here.

Samples of this blog’s posts that got included in the FMA Informative newspaper:


Photo Credits: Stix Arnis, Mr Joseph Nebrida, and Mr Jamin Lim