Lameco Eskrima Practitioners Honor Punong Guro Edgar Sulite on his 20th Death Anniversary with training sessions and gatherings around the globe.

Lameco Eskrima Practitioners Honor Punong Guro Edgar Sulite  on his 20th Death Anniversary with training sessions and gatherings around the globe. 2017.




Punong Guro Edgar Sulite

September 25, 1957 – April 10, 1997







Madrid, Spain Group headed by Guro Tim Fredianelli:

Honoring the memory of Punong Guro Edgar Sulite by training in Lameco Arnis in Madrid Spain. Our mode to all Lameco practitioners everywhere! Punong Guro Sulites 20th death anniversary. In Honor of Punong Guro Edgar Sulite we made a special training today. Our respects to our brothers from Lameco everywhere.



















Alfonso Lopez

Pinto Spain Group headed by Alfonso Lopez:

On April 2 we did a training, in memory, and tribute to Punong Guro Edgar Sulite, in which we read the biography of Punong Guro, and performed a training with a great feeling, of course we had a memory of our brother recently deceased Alex Garduño, Our respects to all Lameco practitioners everywhere, Punong Guro Edgar Sulite 20th Death anniversary, and a special thanks to our Guros to keep alive the memory of Punong Guro.



dna 3







South Jersey Group headed by Jamie Morris

Rest In Peace Guro Alejandro Garduno Hernandez of Lameco Eskrima Mexico/Combat Academy. 1970 to 2017.



An announcement from Guro Dave Gould:

I wanted to announce to everyone on the Group some sad news; One of my most trusted and loyal Lameco Eskrima students from Mexico has just passed. Most of you know him and have befriended him on Face Book, Alejandro “Alex” Garduno from Morelos.

On September 12, 2016 after test results came back, Alex was diagnosed with a blood disease called: “Hemoconcentration” which is associated with a life time of untreated High Blood Pressure, which resulted in an enlarged heart, the same thing that happened to PG Sulite which lead to his suffering a stroke 20 years ago from two day ago. Alex died from the stroke that he was felled by.

Alex first began training with me back in 2000 when I was flown into teach a Lameco Eskrima seminar in Mexico City. He went on to become my student and trained with me as he would bring me to Mexico for Seminars over the years. He ranked under me as an Apprentice Instructor in the Lameco Eskrima system. He also later brought in brother Roger Agbulos and Dino Flores to do Seminars there in Mexico, as well he hosted the Sulite Orehenal Group in Mexico City in 2014 where Bong Hebia, Bud Balani Jr., Dino Flores, and I conducted a Lameco Eskrima Camp there for three days. He will be missed…

Rest in peace brother  :(


From Guro Dino Flores:

Rest well Alex…

Rest In Peace my good friend. One of the kindest gentlemen I have ever met. Not only was Alex one of the primary heads of Lameco Eskrima in Mexico, he was also our representative for Kali Ilustrisimo in Mexico. Love and prayers to Leti and all the immediate and huge extended family. You will be dearly missed.



The Year of Remembrance, Legacy and Honor, regarding the milestone Anniversaries of the following: Punong Guro Edgar G. Sulite whose 20th Anniversary of Death will be on April 10, 2017. GM Jose D. Caballero whose 30th Anniversary of Death will be on August 24, 2017. GM Antonio “Tatang” Ilustrisimo whose 20th Anniversary of Death will be on August 30, 2017.




Guro Dave Gould made this poster to declare 2017: The Year of Remembrance, Legacy and Honor, regarding the milestone Anniversaries of the following:

Punong Guro Edgar G. Sulite whose 20th Anniversary of Death will be on April 10, 2017.

GM Jose D. Caballero whose 30th Anniversary of Death will be on August 24, 2017.

GM Antonio “Tatang” Ilustrisimo whose 20th Anniversary of Death will be on August 30, 2017.

For all Lameco Eskrima practitioners the lives and contributions of all three of these men should be celebrated as they were all so responsible for the Lameco Eskrima system as we know and practice it today.

We know that there will be events planned to pay respect for PG Sulite on his upcoming 20th Anniversary of death and throughout the year and I really hope that we will all do the same in honor of both GM Jose D. Caballero and GM Antonio “Tatang” Ilustrisimo in like manner, as the knowledge of both run deep in the Lameco Eskrima system in making it as effective as it is.

Naturally we will always honor the memory of Master “Topher” Ricketts for his influence on the Lameco Eskrima system as well as all of our fraternal Lameco Eskrima family who have passed both some time ago and recently.

Lets make this a memorable year for all of these great men and remind people who we are and from whence we come.

Punong Guro Edgar Sulites Influences in creating Lameco Eskrima. Courtesy of Guro Dave Gould.

Punong Guro Edgar Sulites Influences in creating Lameco Eskrima.
Courtesy of Guro Dave Gould.
Below is a poster which I placed together showing the Major and Minor Influences which Punong Guro Edgar G. Sulite credited for his knowledge and for the creation of the Lameco Eskrima System. In essence these Grandmasters, their systems and knowledge were responsible for the Lameco Eskrima System that we know and train today. In addition to the numerous actual experiences which PG Sulite drew from and the thousands of hours of sparring and fighting with his two primary sparring partners, Master Christopher N. Ricketts and Master Jun Pueblos.

The Major Influences were from Masters and Systems which PG Edgar G. Sulite thoroughly trained under for years and was certified to teach their respective styles. The Minor Systems were from Masters with whom PG Edgar G. Sulite trained to some degree and with whom he collaborated but never received ranking in their respective Systems.

5 Major Influences on the Lameco Eskrima System:

* De Campo Uno-Dos-Tres Orihinal (GM Jose D. Caballero)
* Kali Illustrisimo (GM Antonio “Tatang” Illustrisimo)
* Kali Pekiti-Tirsia (Tuhon Leo Tortal Gaje Jr.)
* Modernos Largos (GM Jesus Abella & GM Pablicito “Pabling” Cabahug)
* Sulite Rapelon (GM Helacrio Sulite Sr.)

6 Minor Influences on the Lameco Eskrima System:

* Doce Pares (GM Diony Canete)
* Balintawak (GM Johnny Chiuten)
* Lapunti Arnis De Abanico (GM Felimon E. Caburnay)
* Siete Teros Serado – Serado no Puwede Entra (GM Marcelino Ancheta Sr.)
* Abanico De Sungkiti (GM Billy Baaclo)
* Tres Personas Eskrima De Combate (GM Maj. Timoteo E. Maranga)


Rest In Peace Master Alexander Lim Co – April 12th, 2016

Rest In Peace Master Alexander Lim Co – April 12th, 2016

Alex Co - Author Pic - 200 b

Alexander Lim Co was a living treasure in the arts of Chinese kung-fu. In fact, no name is more synonymous with Kung-Fu in the Philippines than Alexander Co. He spearheaded the Chin Wu Club in Manila, wrote the first kung-fu book ever published in the Philippines, and published the country’s first martial arts magazine, simply titled “Martial Arts Magazine.” Co has studied a dozen different kung-fu styles, was an “in-door” disciple of Ngo Cho Kun’s late grandmaster Tan Ka Hong, and has studied Seven Star Praying Mantis and Hung-gar under Grandmaster Shakespeare Chan, Wu style Tai Chi Chuan under the late Master John Hu Chuan Hai, and Hsin-I Liu Ha Pa Fa under Master David Chan.

Alexander Co was the Advising Grandmaster of The International Beng Hong Athletic Association. He has served as Chairman of the Philippine-Chinese Beng Kiam Athletic Association and the Tsing Hua Ngo Cho Kung-fu Center and as Vice-chairman of the Hsin-I Society of Internal Arts. In addition to dozens of articles featured in such magazines as Martial Arts Magazine, Rapid Journal, Inside Kung-Fu, Martial Arts Illustrated, and Martial Arts Legends. Grandmaster Co has written three books: Secrets of Seven Star Praying Mantis, The Way of Ngo Cho Kun and Five Ancestor Fist Kung-Fu, and is translator of The Bible of Ngo Cho Kun. He also filmed a series of instructional videos “The Essence of Ngo Cho Kun” and “The Essence of Seven Star Praying Mantis” for Unique Publications Video.



Ronnie Ricketts

I was saddened to hear of the passing of a good friend and a great master, Alex Co . He was an amazing influence in the lives of our Bakbakan brothers. Our sincerest condolences to the family and may you rest in peace, Master Alex!


‎Lance Velez‎

The loss of Master Alex is a loss to the world of martial arts. He knew so much and shared his knowledge with those who showed Interest, with no reservation , he was a true master of his art and I am sad that I wasn’t able to spend more time with him… It hurts that I no longer have his counsel and insight when I have questions the thought that we will no longer have our conversations is heartbreaking. I will do my best to maintain and master what you taught me so in my own small way I can preserve the art of Ngo Cho … Rest in peace Master Alex … I will miss you …


Mark Wiley‎ 

It is with a heavy heart that I mourn the passing of one of my best friends, big brother and kung-fu master, Sifu Alex Co. He passed at 10:34 PM Manila time, April 12, 2016. His kind and loving heart and openness in sharing his passion for all martial arts with all people was unmatched. He is one of the legends of the Philippine martial arts masters, who brought all together from every discipline.

He suffered much these past years with heart troubles, kidney failure, diabetes, digital amputation… But his drive to keep documenting and spreading the arts he loved was unstoppable.

My son, Alex, is named in his honor and forever I will treasure his memory in my heart.

 It is with a heavy heart that I mourn your passing, Sifu Alex, you are one of my best friends, big brother, father and kung-fu master. Our long relationship is deeply embedded in my heart and I am struggling with not being able to call you and talk or come for a visit. You are among the most important people in my life and I can’t imagine my future without you here.

Rest in peace.






Doran Sordo

Master Alex Co was an exceptional human being. He was one of the best friends of my master, Christopher Ricketts. He was very strict when he would be teaching us. Always keen on the details. It was because of Master Topher that I met, got to know, and learned extensively from Master Alex. He was so selfless in his teaching. Breaking from the norm, because of his friendship and trust for Master Topher and the students he would bring by. He was such a kind man. Soft spoken and yet, powerful. I will miss him greatly. He was a cornerstone to our Bakbakan Brotherhood. On one of the last conversations I had with Master Topher, he told me to never stop learning. He mentioned only two people. Master Alex was one of them. Rest in peace, Master. Thank you so much for teaching me. I will never forget it, or you. Paalam Po.


Jun Nunez

This picture was taken by Grandmaster Topher Rickets of Bakbakan. With me is Grandmaster Edgar Sulite of Lameco Escrima, Master HuTuan Hai of Wu Tai Chi Chuan, and Master Alex Co of Ngo Cho Kun. It’s sad to know that I am the only one left with the passing of my friend Alex. Goodbye my friend


Felipe P. Jocano Jr.

With deep sorrow, I mourn the passing of my kung-fu teacher and friend, Sifu Alexander He was one of the kindest, most generous and caring men I have had the privilege of meeting and learning from. He not only taught martial arts, he was also an example of the true martial arts master, capable of wielding tremendous power, and at the same time, remaining kind, gentle and humble. Such was his character that he was friends with and was highly respected by, everyone within the Philippine martial arts community.

I miss you po, sir. You were always kind, generous and constantly encouraging to me, the least of your students. You showed me that true kung-fu was not only physical ability but also the development of character. I will always treasure everything you taught me.

I have previously posted this picture below. This is of me and Mark Wiley with Sifu Alex at Sifu’s house in Mandaluyong. Taken last year.









More on Master Alexander Lim Co:

Guro Gary Quan (06/14/1962 – 09/16/2015) – Rest In Peace – Lameco SOG / Kapisanang Mandirigma Member


Guro Gary Quan (06/14/1962 – 09/16/2015)

by Guro Arnold Noche

Like myself, Gary grew up knowing a little of a lot of things. And unlike myself, Gary perfected everything he did and he did so with passion.

I met Gary during the late 80′s / early 90′s at the Jun Fan Martial Arts Club in Monterey Park. Gary and Tsuyoshi Abe were teaching the class and even though I was not officially enrolled at CSULA, they still accepted me as a student. It was there where they refined my kicking and punching techniques. It was there that they also rekindled my passion for sticks and knives… something that I have had a love-hate relationship with since I was 12.

Gary was just 4 years older than me but was already well-versed in many subjects… from Martial Arts to Music, being a college graduate, being a working professional, and being able to enjoy everything else in between while searching for new things to try.

We later found out that we had many things in common. We collected the same comic books. We idolized the same guitar players. We loved to play street hockey. And we even competed for the same girl once. But Gary was a deep person and always in the know. Like any Engineer (he had a degree in Electrical Engineering) he took things apart, put it all back together again and completely owned it in the end.

Throughout the years, some of his friends became my friends and some of my friends became his. I was there when he started to take an interest in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ). I was there when he started to take an interest in Swing Dancing. I stayed away from both, joking with Gary that I would rather focus on Filipino Martial Arts (FMA) and just stick to spinning the vinyl records that people danced to.

He completely understood as he continued to drag me into other things like the Women’s Self Defense Classes that we consistently taught free of charge for many years from 1990 to 2009 all over LA in both public and private places, to running the Martial Arts Arena at the Cherry Blossom Festival from 2002 to 2010 trying to keep the stage free of egos and a safe place for democracy, to attending countless Guitar Clinics, Expos, Festivals and Workshops to continue sharing a common bond that we had outside of the Martial Arts, and a few other activities throughout Los Angeles, San Diego, Las Vegas and Tijuana that I, happily, can neither confirm nor deny at this time.

One of my fondest memories of Gary came during a time around 2008 when I finally obtained all of the guitars I ever wanted to own for my personal collection. So Gary said, “Now that you have all that, what’s next?”

“I don’t know…” I replied, “maybe learn to play them as good as you?”

So he invited me to his house where he broke everything down for me… what and who to listen to, what books to read, what DVDs to buy, what fundamentals to practice and what to watch on YouTube. I even bought a ukulele in 2011 and got dragged into a few local bars to watch some of his other friends play. So will I ever be as good as him? Probably not, and then I would joke about how he can play them while I collect them.

I am still numb over all of this. Gary’s passing at 53 last week reminded me of my father’s passing at 55. But I am now blessed to have them both looking over me on a spiritual level as I continue throughout my journey.

Gary traveled in many circles and being a hard guy not to like, he touched many lives and because of this, I am a better person.

He will be sorely missed and lived a life worth remembering.

Paalam. (Farewell)


Guro Gary Quan Lameco Eskrima SOG 1



Guro Gary Quan Lameco Eskrima SOG 2

Gary Quan with fellow Lameco SOG. Dog Brothers Gathering September 19, 1998. Hermosa Beach, California

Guro Gary Quan Lameco Eskrima SOG 3

Gary Quan with fellow Lameco SOG and Guro Brandon Ricketts of Kali Ilustrisimo and Bakbakan. Lameco Reunion Seminar. 2014. Los Angeles, California

Guro Gary Quan Lameco Eskrima SOG 4

Gary Quan with Guro Johnathan Balani. Photo shoot for Lameco Legacy book. 2014. Los Angeles, California.

Guro Gary Quan Lameco Eskrima SOG 5

Gary Quan with Guro Johnathan Balani. Photo shoot for Lameco Legacy book. 2014. Los Angeles, California.

Guro Gary Quan Lameco Eskrima SOG 6

Gary Quan with Guro Johnathan Balani. Photo shoot for Lameco Legacy book. 2014. Los Angeles, California.

Guro Gary Quan Lameco Eskrima SOG 7

Gary Quan with Guro Johnathan Balani. Photo shoot for Lameco Legacy book. 2014. Los Angeles, California.

Guro Gary Quan Lameco SOG 10 

Gary Quan with fellow Lameco SOG and Guro Brandon Ricketts of Kali Ilustrisimo and Bakbakan. Lameco Reunion Seminar. 2014. Los Angeles, California.



Guro Gary Quan Lameco SOG 11 

Gary Quan with fellow Lameco SOG members Guro Ariel Flores Mosses and Guro Dino Flores. Lohan School, Las Vegas, Nevada. 2014.


Guro Gary Quan Lameco SOG 12 

Gary Quan with fellow Lameco SOG . Alhambra, California. 2013.



Guro Gary Quan Lameco SOG 13 

Gary Quan with fellow Lameco SOG and Guro Brandon Ricketts of Kali Ilustrisimo and Bakbakan. Lameco Reunion Seminar. 2014. Los Angeles, California.



Guro Gary Quan Lameco SOG 14 

Gary Quan with fellow Lameco SOG Guro Steve Grody. Book delivery for contributors. 2014. Little Tokyo, Los Angeles, California.



Guro Gary Quan Lameco SOG 15 

Gary Quan with fellow Lameco SOG and Guro Brandon Ricketts of Kali Ilustrisimo and Bakbakan. Lameco Reunion Seminar. 2014. Glendale FMA, California. Guro Bill Aranda’s school.


Guro Gary Quan Lameco SOG 16


Gary Quan with fellow Lameco SOG Guro Steve Grody. Book delivery for contributors. 2014. Little Tokyo, Los Angeles, California.




Phil Rapagna’s school in Altadena, California. January, 22, 1998.


Random Memories of the above photo with Guro Gary Quan by Guro Dino Flores

Taken around the time Gary Quan joined the Lameco Backyard Group. Rest In Peace my Brother. You were always authentic, sincere, kind and positive. Beyond sad to lose you. You will always be missed.

I just now remembered that Punong Guro made us full on fight first..and then it was only afterwards that we formally met each other. I think I was your welcoming committee and first fight in the group. Just before the fight Punong Guro tells me “be careful, because this guy is good…he’s an instructor”! In my mind I am thinking sarcastically “great….lucky me”. So I go full blast agressive to protect myself against “the instructor”. Naturally he had to respond appropriately. Great fight. We remained friends ever since.

In the photo are some of Lameco SOG and guests with Punong Guro Sulite. At Phil Rapagna’s school in Altadena, California. Behind the Pet store way up on Lake Blvd. Arnold just reminded me that “El Nino” was causing all kinds of rain at the time, so we had to take a break from the “backyard” and find a roof to train under.

Seated L to R: Hans Tan, Arnold Noche, Eric Koh, Roger Agbulos, Gary Quan (RIP), Howard Chen.

Standing L to R: Me, Marc’s student, Marc Denny, Felix, Punong Guro Edgar Sulite (RIP), Bud Balani, Dave Gould, Guy from Ohio, Pantaleon “Mang Leo” Revilles (RIP)

Photo taken on January 22nd, 1995.


Guro Gary Quan Remembers Punong Guro Edgar Sulite – Excerpted from the book, Lameco Eskrima: The Legacy of Edgar Sulite.

I first learned about LAMECO Eskrima and Punong Guro Edgar Sulite through
my good friend and training partner Phil Rapagna. Phil was training
privately with Punong Guro and he would often rave to me about his Punong
Guro’s skills and training methods. At that time I was training FMA under
Guro Dan Inosanto and it was at the Inosanto Academy where I got to first
experience a few classes with Punong Guro. I really enjoyed those classes
and hoped to train with him again.

A few months later, Phil called me and told me that Punong Guro is going to
be holding classes in Altadena and asked if I was interested in training
with him. I told him for sure I was interested. And through Phil I was
accepted as a LAMECO student.

At my first LAMECO class, I remember being warmly greeted by Punong Guro.
From then on I was in Kali/Eskrima heaven. Even though I had previous
training in FMA, I felt like I was a beginner again. I even had to relearn
how to do my angle 1 and 2 strikes. Footwork was heavily emphasized in
class. We always started classes with footwork drills and I remember
huffing and puffing after we were done. Also, the LAMECO stick progressions
and drills were so well thought out.

One of the most important martial art lessons I learned from Punong Gruo
was that whenever we train that we must alway strike with “INTENTION”. I
can still hear his voice in my head – “Gary, you must strike with
INTENTION!”. Even now I continue to apply that lesson to whatever martial
art I am training in.

Classes eventually resumed back at Punong Guro’s home in Glendale and I was
very honored to be invited to train with the “backyard” group.
Unfortunately, I did not get to train with him at his Palmdale home. The
last time I spoke with Punong Guro was when he called me to invite me to
train with him in Palmdale. I told him I would train with him after he
returns from the Philippines. Unfortunately, with great sadness, I would
never get to train with Punong Guro again.

I am very thankful that I had the opportunity to train with Punong Guro
Edgar. His teachings will always have a special place in my heart.

From:  Lameco Eskrima: The Legacy of Edgar Sulite

Family and Students Remember Master Christopher Ricketts on his 2015 Death Anniversary

Master Ricketts

Students Remember Master Christopher Ricketts on his 2015 Death Anniversary.

From Doran Sordo:

Reflecting on all the time spent with Master Topher, its hard to believe there will be no more, and now I’m just left with memories. Great memories. I fail when trying to find words to describe how grateful I am for all the lessons, the advice, the laughter, the camaraderie and brotherhood. Teacher, Big Brother, Friend, and Father Figure. He has been all these and more to me. Thank you, so much, Master Tophs. Gone too soon and sorely missed, you are always in my thoughts and prayers. Pugay Po.

Doran Sordo


From: Viko Aquino Perrine

We miss you Master Toops.
A superb warrior with innovative insights.
A mentor, friend, a member of the family.
A never ceasing smile.
Our Master.

Viko Aquino Perrine's photo.
From: Beth Mercado Ricketts

My dear families and friends , may I request you to please join us in prayers today in memory of our dearest TOPHER’S 5th year death anniversary Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon him we miss you and love you much for always  10/05/2015

Beth Mercado Ricketts's photo.

From: Ronnie Ricketts

You are always in our thoughts as we remember how you celebrated life to the fullest. We miss you Brother Master Topher…

Ronnie Ricketts's photo.
Ronnie Ricketts's photo.
From: Lester Salvado
Me looking goofy, with Mang Topher Ricketts, Mang Alexander, Sifu Bonifacio Lim, Mang Reynaldo Galang, John G. Jacobo, and Rob Jacobolooking *Awesome*. Good Times.
Lester Salvador's photo.
From: Toby Ramos Reyes

Didn’t realize it’s been 5 years already. RIP Master Topher Ricketts. Thanks for everything! Never thought last time I would see you was in San Diego almost a decade ago.

Toby Ramos Reyes's photo.
From: David E. Gould

I just wanted to post this here to remember and pay my respects to Master “Topher” Ricketts who was taken from us 5 years ago today, on October 5, 2010.

Master Topher also has his fingerprint on the development and evolution of the Lameco Eskrima system as Punong Guro Edgar G. Sulites primary sparring partner back in the Philippines during the infancy of the Lameco Eskrima System and its vital early years.

With out the hundreds of hours of sparring between Punong Guro Edgar G. Sulite and Master “Topher” Ricketts, Lameco Eskrima would have a very much different appearance and effect than that which we know it as today.

So on this day we honor you Master Topher, and forever we will keep you in our hearts and memories.

David E. Gould's photo.
Beth Mercado Ricketts's photo.

Guro Doran Sordo pays tribute to his long time teacher Grandmaster Tony Diego.

Guro Doran Sordo


I met Mang Tony Diego Kalis Ilustrisimo around 1986. He was introduced to me by my master, GM Topher Ricketts when we would accompany him to practice at the Luneta park on Sundays or the gym in Binondo. As the years passed, Master Topher would always ask Master Tony to teach me some techniques and polish details in my form whether it be stance, swing, footwork, etc. Master Tony was always so generous in his teaching and would share so much. I know him to be a quiet, humble man who would always tell me not to call him “Master”. Whenever he saw me, he would always fondly greet me by exclaiming “Sord!” and he always had a smile on his face whenever i came to Luneta. We would sit sometimes between practice and just chat. He would tell me about the good old days with Master Topher, showing me techniques while we were chatting. How he remembers us when we were still young and would joke that we were thinner then. He was a learned man, who would often ask me how my spiritual practice was coming along.

I remember one of the last conversations I had with Master Topher before he passed away. He told me “Never forget your Ilustrisimo. See Master Tony as often as you can and learn as much as you can. You practice what you learn until you are old.” I remember now the last conversation i had with Master Tony at his home in Tondo. He said to always be mindful of the details. I remember the last time I saw him. It was a day before he passed away. We said a prayer together and I went downstairs so he could rest.

I am honoured to be his student and proud to continue his legacy however way I can. I feel privileged to have been able to spend some time with him and learn from this great teacher. I can almost hear swords clashing as he is reunited once again with Grand Master Tatang Ilustrisimo, GM Topher Ricketts and PG Edgar Sulite. We miss you Master Tony.

Paalam Po, GM Tony Diego.



Master Diego 1

Rest In Peace Master Tony Diego, Head of Kalis Ilustrisimo. August 25th 2014.

Master Diego 1


Rest In Peace Master Tony Diego, Head of Kalis Ilustrisimo.

Rest In Peace Master Tony Diego. Thank you for the friendship, knowledge and wisdom you shared. I hope you are now happily practicing again with your dear teacher – Grandmaster Antonio Ilustrisimo. Along with your old training buddies Master Christopher Ricketts and Punong Guro Edgar Sulite who also departed way too soon.

Love & Respect,
Dino Flores


Master Diego 2

Guro Dave Gould of Lameco Eskrima pays tribute to Grandmaster Tony Diego of Kalis Ilustrismo.

Master Tony Diego Ilustrisimo

Guro Dave Gould of Lameco Eskrima pays tribute to Grandmaster Tony Diego of Kalis Ilustrismo.

I just wanted to pass on some sad news, that being the passing of Grand Master Tony Diego of Kalis Ilustrisimo fame. He passed due to a long illness yesterday on August 25, 2014 (Philippine Time).

GM Tony Diego and Master Yuli Romo were the first students of GM Antonio “Tatang” Ilustrisimo who formally began their training with the old battle tested Grand Master in 1977. years later along came PG Edgar G. Sulite, Master Christopher N. Ricketts and Master Rey Galang who were recognized as the 5 Pillars of Kalis Ilustrisimo and were credited with spending the most time training directly under the astute tutelage of GM Antonio “Tatang” Ilustrisimo as well as them being credited with better organizing the Kalis Ilustrisimo system and creating its curriculum based on the movements and reactions of their teacher, “Tatang” Ilustrisimo regarding that discipline.

For us in the Lameco Eskrima System Master Tony Diego was a great influence and he was the one who really brought PG Edgar G. Sulite to Kalis Ilustrisimo and to GM Antonio “Tatang” Ilustrisimo, basically resulting from a sparring match between PG Edgar G. Sulite and Master Tony Diego, this was a defining moment in the evolution of the Lameco Eskrima System as we know it today, simply because up until this sparring session Lameco Eskrima was comprised of only 4 major influences, those being; De Campo 1-2-3 Orehenal, Kali Pekiti-Tirsia, Modernos Largos and the Sulite Rapelon Style along with the 6 minor influences of the system. Kalis Ilustrisimo would prove to be the missing piece of the system and this was discovered during that very crucial sparring session between PG Edgar G.Sulite and Master Tony Diego so many years ago.

The result of that sparring match saw PG Edgar G. Sulite becoming a student of Kalis Ilustrisimo under GM Antonio “Tatang” Ilustrisimo and over the years adding countless techniques, concepts and principles from Kalis Ilustrisimo to the Lameco Eskrima curriculum to strike a fine balance to the system, especially regarding the blade and dagger portion of the curriculum.

Master Tony Diego became fast friends with PG Edgar G. Sulite and remained a very close friend for the rest of Edgar`s life and was partially responsible for the International Recognition of Kalis Ilustrisimo, Bakbakan International and Lameco Eskrima International along with Master Yuli Romo, Master Christopher Ricketts, PG Edgar G. Sulite and Master Rey Galang.

After GM Antonio “Tatang” Ilustrisimo Passed away in 1997 Master Tony Diego being the heir apparent of the system was elected by the other senior members of kalis Ilustrisimo to take control of the system. It is a shame that he has been taken from us but he was taken contributing much back to the Filipino Warrior Arts Community from which much was given him over his life time.

Rest in Peace Master Tony Diego and long live your legacy!

Guro Bill Aranda – A True Warrior’s Path – January 22, 1947 – April 12, 2013

guro bill arranda, kali arnis eskrima, inosanto, lameco, ilustrisimo guro bill arranda, kali arnis eskrima, inosanto, lameco, ilustrisimo

Guro Bill Aranda – A True Warrior’s Path

Guro Billʼs involvement in the Filipino Martial Art (FMA) has spanned a period of over 6
decades.  He has been studing and researcing this complete, ethnically Filipino, fighting
art with masters and guros of Kali, Escrima, & Arnis from both the Philippines & the
USA since the summer of 1962.  His years of training has familiarized him in the use of
single & double, equal & unequal length, rigid & flexible, bladed & impact weapons, and
in the Filipino empty hand art of bunoan (grappling), suntukan (boxing), & sipaan
(kicking).  Today he continues to actively promote the art through individual & group
classes and public seminars & demonstrations.  His years of practice has led him to see
this simple, direct, & intuitive art not just as the fighting art that it is, but also as a path
for personal growth (physical, mental, emotional, & spiritual) that can be taught &
practiced by all people regardless of sex, age, nationality, and martial arts background.
It is his hope that through the FMA, people will develop an appreciation for All Things
Filipino (ATF) – especially its culture and history.


Guro Bill has trained with many different teachers specializing not only in the
FMA, but also in other weapon and empty hand based martial arts through
training seminars & classes given on an individual & group basis, in a formal &
informal environment, using structured & unstructured teaching methodology.
Through the years his training progressed through different phases.  From the
early 60s thru the 80s, the conscious effort was on learning the lessons taught by
his instructors (the how & when phase).  On the 90s, learning continued with an
emphasis on understanding the lessons (the what & why phase).  From the
beginning of the millennium to the present, the learning & understanding was
augmented with extracting the essence of the lessons using the Lee methodology.

The many instructors who have served as a guide and influence in Guro Billʼs
personal growth as a martial artist and to whom he will be forever grateful,
include the following:


• Guro Mike Barairo, Private Individual Training
Makati, Philippines
Eskrima, Arnis, Judo, & Boxing

• Guro Dan Inosanto, Formal Group Classes
Kali Academy of America, Torrance, CA
Leo Giron System (Arnis), & Angel Cabales System (Eskrima), Villabrille/Largusa
System (Kali), John La Coste System (Kali), Pekiti Tirsia (Eskrima)
Inosanto Academy, Culver City, CA

Leo Giron System (Arnis), & Angel Cabales System (Eskrima), Villabrille/Largusa
System (Kali), John La Coste System (Kali), Sikaran, Western Boxing, Wing
Chun, Jun Fan Gung Fu, Tai Chi
Kali-Eskrima-Silat/JunFan Martial Arts Academy, Marina Del Rey, CA

Leo Giron System (Weapon All Ranges), Angel Cabales System (Weapon Corto
Range), Villabrille/Largusa System (Weapon & Empty Hands Training Methods &
all Ranges), John La Coste System (Weapon, Empty Hand, & Kicking Ranges),
Western Boxing (Empty Hands w/o Reference Points), JunFan Gung Fu (Energy
Drills, Chinese Boxing, Trapping, & Attacking Concepts), Silat (Leveraging
Concepts), Doce Pares System (Uneven Length Weapon), Siniwali (Equal
Length Weapon), Capoera (Brazilian Kick Boxing), Savate (French Kick Boxing),
Muay Thai (Thai Kick Boxing), Cinco Teros System (Long Range),
Suntukan/Sikaran (Filipino Kick Boxing), Carenza, Numerado, & Sumbrada
(Filipino Training Methods), with special emphasis on proper body mechanics,
fighting ranges, rhythm, & timing

• Guro Pete BatungBakal, Private Individual Training
Makati, Philippines

• Arnis, Tabak Toyok, Japanese Sai & Staff; through this teacher Guro Bill met GM
Porfiro Lanada of the Lanada System

• Guro Chris Kent, Formal Group Classes
Kali-Eskrima-Silat/JunFan Martial Arts Academy, Marina Del Rey, CA
Inosanto Blended System using impact & bladed weapons, empty hands, and kick boxing

• Guro Ted LucayLucay, Formal Group Classes
Kali-Eskrima-Silat/JunFan Martial Arts Academy, Marina Del Rey, CA
Inosanto Blended System plus the LucayLucay Kali/JKD System of
Panantukan/Sikaran, Knife Fighting, tabak maliit

• GM Topher Ricketts, Private Individual/Group Training
Glendale FMA Academy, Glendale, CA
Ilustrisimo (Eskrima, Kali), Sagasa (Filipino Karate), Ngo Cho Kun (Beng Kiam
Kung Fu), Boxing, Hand Sparring

• Guro Richard Bustillo, Inosanto Blended System
• Guro Jeff Imada, Inosanto Blended System
• Master Fernando Bernardo, Scientific Lightning Arnis
• Guro Louis Campos, Pentjak Silat Serak & Bukti Negara
• GM Bobby Taboada, Balintawak Arnis Cuentada
• Punong Guro Edgar Sulite, LAMECO Eskrima
• Pendekar Guru Besar Herman Suwanda, Pencak Silat Mande Muda
• GM Leo Giron/Master Tony Somera, Bahala Na Arnis/ Eskrima
• GM Dionisio Canete, Doce Pares Eskrima
• Guro Hans Tan, Kalis Ilustrisimo
• GM Ising Atillo, Atillo Balintawak Eskrima
• GM Irineo Olavides, Caballero JDC-IO
• Master Rey Galang, Bakbakan Kali, Tulisan Knife Fighting System
• Guro Dino Flores, Ilustrisimo (Kali, Eskrima) and LAMECO Eskrima

• Guro Victor Gendrano, Private Individual/Group Training
All over Los Angeles County, CA
Inosanto Blended System, H2O FMA System impact & bladed weapons, empty
hands, & kicking techniques; drills; & controlled sparring
• Master Instructor Tony Morel, Formal Group Classes
Yama-Kan Kajukenbo Self Defense School, Austin, TX
• Master Joe Tan, Private Individual Training
Glendale FMA Academy, Glendale, CA
Tapado Arnis long range fighting, striking concept
• Guro Bud Balani, Private Individual/Group Training
Gendale FMA Academy, Glendale, CA
Kali, Silat
• Master Ramon Rubia, Private Individual Training
Buena Park, CA
San Miguel Eskrima

From his long time FMA instructor and mentor Guro Dan Inosanto, Guro Bill also
learned the following valuable lessons in learning & teaching:

• to teach is to learn twice
• one ought to teach what one has learned not what one was taught
• the teacher is the pointer to the truth and not the giver of the truth
• all learning is ultimately self learning

Guro Bill believes that we are all seekers in this earthly journey of ours called life, that
there is a spiritual component to this life, and that ultimately we all seek the same
transcendental things.  He summarizes this belief in the following message to all his

To all seekers of “The Way, The Truth, & The Light”
Knowledge comes from The Master
Guidance comes from your instructors
Strength & Wisdom come from “within”

And it is in the spirit of these lessons and values that Guro Bill gained the courage to
share his art and hone his skill through teaching.  Guro Billʼs initial teaching experiences
were of the private, one on one type because they were easier to conduct.  Today he
continues to take private students because he enjoys the closer teacher/student
interaction.  His private, individual teaching experiences are listed below.

• 1981 an American co worker & black belt instructor in American Kenpo Karate at
the Northrop facility in Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia
• 1982 a Filipino CISI manager w/o prior martial arts training at the Meralco gym in
Pasig, Philippines
• 1985 an American co worker & senior instructor in Southern Praying Mantis Kung
Fu at the Northrop facility in Hawthorne, CA
• 1986 my American manager w/o prior martial arts training at the Litton facility in
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
• 1992 a Filipino co worker & black belt student in Hawaiian Kenpo Karate at the
GTE facility in Thousand Oaks, CA
• 1995 a Vietnamese co worker w/o prior martial arts training at the SCE facility in
San Dimas, CA
• 1996 an American co worker w/o prior martial arts training at the Kaiser
Permanente facility in Pasadena, CA
• 2004 to present a Filipino friend w/o prior training, motivated by his brother who
passed away to study the art at the Glendale FMA Academy in Glendale, CA
• 2006 an American friend & black belt student in Tae Kwon Do at Club Cascadas
de Baja in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
• 2007 my favorite Brazilian instructor in Kajukenbo from Ausin, TX at Club
Cascadas de Baja in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
• 2007 a Filipina acquaintance with no martial arts background, married to an FMA
student of GM Topher Ricketts, at their residence in Beverly Hills, CA
• 2011 an American acquaintance & black belt student in Kajukenbo at the
Glendale FMA Academy in Glendale, CA

Guro Billʼs group teaching past & present teaching experience in a classroom
environment and training seminar format are listed below.

• 1993 to the present at the Glendale FMA Academy in Glendale, CA
• 1995 to 1996 at GM Bill Ryusakiʼs Hawaiian Kenpo Ryu Dojo in Chatsworth, CA
• 1997 at the Inosanto (Westchester) Academy in Los Angeles, CA as guest
instructor of Guro Victor Gendrano
• 2003 to the present at Master Tony Morelʼs Yama-Kan Kajukenbo Self Defense
School whenever he comes to visit his daughter, granddaughters, & hermano in
the art in Austin, TX
• 2004 at Professor Moses Williamsʼ Fire Dragon Martial Arts Institute in Austin, TX
• 2008 at Master Eddie Urbistondoʼs Panther Martial Arts Center in Camarillo, CA

Guro Bill also got the opportunity to hone his FMA Estillo Entablado (Stage Style) skills
while performing as part of a demo team at the following events:

• 1985 Marina Yacht Club Dinner, Marina Del Rey, CA
• 1986 China Town New Year Celebration, Los Angeles, CA
• 1996 Ryu Dojo Beach Training Weekend, Ventura, CA
• 2005 Annual South American Hispanic Festival, Los Angeles, CA
• 2006 Annual Festival of Filipino Art & Culture, San Pedro, CA
• 2007 Historic Filipino Town Festival, Los Angeles, CA
• 2008 West Coast FMA Congregation, Duarte, CA

Personal Life
Guro Bill was born in the city Manila, the former capital of the Philippines, in the island
of Luzon in January, 1947.  He migrated to the US in July, 1967.  The same year he got
married to his wife, Tina Palanca Aranda. Together they have 2 daughters and 5
grandkids – Kristen & Kate from Claudine & Kevin Thorne of Austin, TX and Madison,
Nick, & Kit from Catherine & Scott Braybrooke of Hermosa Beach, CA.

Guro Bill received his Certificate of Citizenship in February, 1979 documenting his US
citizenship from birth by virtue of being the son of a US National, Filipino father (Antonio
Katigbak Aranda) and a US citizen, Filipina mother (Teresita Abad Santos Peralta), both
residents of the Philippines, a US territory, 1 year prior to giving birth to him.

Guro Bill currently resides in Glendale, CA in the apartment building he bought in 1986
with his 2 brothers and the present location of the Glendale FMA Academy, he
established in January 1993.  He is by profession an independent Information
Technology (IT) consultant and by avocation, a perpetual martial art teacher/student.

Formal Education

Ateneo University, Loyola Heights, Philippines
Major Economics, Minor Accounting, 1st  – 3rd Year

Loyola University of Los Angeles, Westchester, CA
BS Economics, 4th Year

ITT Computer Learning Center, Los Angeles, CA
Certificate in Computer Systems & Programming


Article copied from:

Written by Bill at the request of and

in Collaboration/Edited by around 11/2012. Third Revision.






Services for :

Guerillmo “Billy” Aranda
Guro Bill

Born – January 22, 1947
Died – April 12, 2013

Visitation will be on:

Wednesday April 17, 2013
@ 10-9pm

Thursday April 18, 2013
@ 10-4pm

Forest Lawn Memorial Park
1712 S. Glendale Blvd. Glendale, CA

Prayer service on:

Thursday April 18, 2013
@ 6:15 pm

Forestlawn Chapel
Forest Lawn Memorial Park
1712 S. Glendale Blvd. Glendale, CA

Funeral Mass

Saturday April 20, 2013
@ 10:00am

Incarnation Church
1001 N Brand blvd
Glendale, CA 91202

Please feel free to share this information with All his Martial Arts family
and friends



Article copied from:

Written at the request and in collaboration with around 11/2012.


Bill Tribute Guillermo “Bill” Peralta Aranda – A Video Tribute

When asked by his daughter, Cathy, if I could do a video presentation for her dad (my ninong or godfather as we say in Tagalog), I knew I had my work cut out for me. What typically takes me a couple of months to complete, I knew I had to complete in a couple of days. I would only have a few days to perform my usual gathering of files, reviewing of files, sorting of files before coming up with a cohesive and meaningful story based on those files. For my beloved Ninong Bill, I could not simply put something together without putting my best foot forward. I had to give my uncle a proper tribute – one that encompasses how amazing he was. In fact I had already thought about doing a documentary piece on my uncle. I wanted to interview him on film and really get to the heart of his core beliefs…how he thinks…how he feels. You see, my uncle was a very enlightened man and was very generous in sharing his knowledge to those who would listen. We (his tribe as he likes to call us) all likely associate a saying or words of wisdom with our beloved Uncle Bill…For me it was, “Know the difference between being childish and child-like…always remain child-like.” To this day, these words are at the very core of who I am…to see the world with such curiosity, innocence and wonder has always been something that I would attribute to my uncle.

Unfortunately, I never had the courage to ask my uncle for that interview. I didn’t want him to think that I was preempting the possibility of death, even though in my eyes we are all facing the possibility of death regardless of our health condition.

So the pressure was on to come up with a fitting tribute, and I could not help but pray to my recently deceased uncle for guidance. Uncle Bill, how would you like me to tell your story?

As it turns out, I would be using his words….his own handwritten words.

Shortly before his passing, my uncle began writing words of wisdom on scrap pieces of paper or post-it notes left on his computer. It was his daughter, Claudine, who found these handwritten notes and offered to share them with me…It was my sign. My Uncle Bill had left these notes for a reason, and it was my job to share them.

Aside from his words of wisdom, I incorporated his love for family, the filipino martial arts/kali, and the Beatles.

I love you, Ninong Bill. Thank you for continually teaching us, even after your death. Please continue to guide and watch over your tribe.

- Luigi Aranda

LAMECO: Legacy of Steel By Steve Tarani

LAMECO: Legacy of Steel By Steve Tarani


lameco eskrima arnis kali

dino flores eskrima

This article was reprinted with the author’s permission from the Souvenir Edition of Arnisador Magazine published by Goodwill Publications Limited. More information about the magazine can be obtained by calling Peter Morgan in London at +44 (0) 171-895 0800.

Saturday, June 1st, 1996
LAMECO: Legacy of Steel
By Steve Tarani

Swollen knuckles, bleeding forearms and battered shins – two warriors face off in a clearing. Sharp strikes of clashing rattan mix with the drawl of heavy breathing and shuffling feet. Intensely focused and alert, both combatants melt into the sweltering humidity. Glistening beads of sweat roll down to fingers wrought with open blisters. Ignoring the searing pain, each man continues fighting. Skillfully, cautiously – each life hinges upon immediate reaction to a deadly salvo of crushing blows.

Such is the way of life of an Arnisador – a path chosen by Punong Guro Edgar G. Sulite. Since and before the days of Magellan, the Filipino martial arts have proven themselves highly effective standing in defiance of determined warring tribes, rabid Conquistadors and greedy foreign hordes.

The LAMECO system, systematically structured and easily assimilatable according to modern training methods, is the stainless steel link in an unbroken chain of training succession.

Great-grandfather to grandfather to father to son, a continual succession of knowledge and commitment breathes life into the ancient art from those very early days of foreign aggression to the current days of domestic violence. The heritage of combat-ready warriors runs deeply through the bloodline of the Sulite family tree.

Born on September 25, 1957 in a rural province on the Visayan Island of Leyte, Tacloban City, Punong Guro Edgar G. Sulite was raised by a family of martial arts devotees in a rugged barrio neighborhood where deadly brawls and Bolo knife skirmishes were commonplace.

In other martial arts, the attainment of a certain level automatically designates the title Master or Grandmaster. In the Philippines, there are certain norms to be satisfied before one can be called and accepted as a Master or Grandmaster.

After expressing great interest in the Filipino fighting arts at a very early age, young Edgar was introduced to the rigorous training by his own father – Grandmaster Helacrio Sulite Sr.

Grandmaster Helacrio first studied with his father Grandmaster Timoteo Sulite in the 1930s. Grandmaster Helacrio went on to further enhance his skills under the tutelage of several other Arnis masters of varied styles (such as the late Grandmaster Melicio Ilustrisimo and Master Almario of Cebu among others.)

Grandmaster Timoteo Sulite’s instructors were active in the mid-19th century and their grandfathers recalled stories of their grandfathers which included the defeat of several infamous Spanish conquistadors using the very same styles of Arnis that have been meticulously passed down to Punong Guro Edgar G. Sulite who, in turn, continues the solemn tradition to this very day.

While simultaneously training under his father and coming to master the family system known as Sulite Rapelon, Punong Guro Edgar G. Sulite continually expanded his skills and combat technology by training intently with several other masters and Grandmasters all across the Philippine Islands.

Punong Guro devoted his entire life to the study of the ancient systems and masters who transformed him from young eager aspirant to the refined physical embodiment of technical perfection that he has become today.

Among the long list of such distinguished curators of the ancient ways is Grandmaster Antonio Ilustrisimo of Bag-on Bantayan – founder of Kali Ilustrisimo, Grandmaster Jose D. Caballero of Ozamis City, Western Mindanao – founder of De Campo 1-2-3 Orihenal and Grandmaster Leo T. Gaje Jr. of Negros Occidental – founder of Pekiti Tirsia (a close quarters combat system that specializes in knife and Espada y Daga.)

Punong Guro sheds further light on the methods of his masters in a series of educational books and video tapes available to the general public. Especially in his third book, MASTERS OF ARNIS, KALI & ESKRIMA, Punong Guro provides a rare glimpse into the arcane and mystical world of the traditional Filipino warrior class. Punong Guro is also the author of ADVANCED BALISONG: FILIPINO BUTTERFLY KNIFE and THE SECRETS OF ARNIS and has produced a total of ten instructional video tapes.

Punong Guro Sulite believes that the ancient tradition of keeping the sacred art only in the family is a double-edged sword. On the one hand the art is kept pure and in accordance with tradition. On the other hand, as modern times erode the interests of today’s youth, (who would much rather play video games rather than listen to grandpa tell old war stories,) the passing of the torch becomes more and more limited to only a select few. Unfortunately, when such masters pass away, so goes with them, forever, the art which they possess.

Thus, with the bold risk of changing the course of tradition, Punong Guro accepted the responsibility of both preserving the ancient teachings in the exact way in which he was taught, as well as disseminating this teaching in a modern platform of instruction.

In this modern age of automated organizational skills, combined with his uncanny ability to analyze with the precision of a high-tech computer, Punong Guro Sulite has heavily exposed the western world to the LAMECO system. Punong Guro currently has a number [of] schools in such varied corners of the globe as the Philippines, Germany, Australia and the United States. As a result of his unique modern approach and personal dedication through the LAMECO system, the proliferation and integrity of the ancient teachings is sustained.

What is the LAMECO system? LAMECO is a perfectly balanced synthesis of the many effective teachings and styles which Punong Guro has come to master in the span of his life.

There are some systems which specialize in long range fighting (known as “Largo Mano” or “Long Hand”) and others specializing in medium range fighting (known as “Medio”) and still others which specialize in close quarters combat (known as “Corto”). Thus, an acronym for the synthesis of the three ranges of combat LARGO, MEDIO and CORTO, the first two characters of each combat range LA, ME and CO were combined to form LAMECO.

In an interview, Punong Guro said, “I wanted to preserve the ancient teachings… but bleeding forearms and knots on the top of the head is not a good way… [there is no] safety. So a good compromise is safety equipment… [and] gradually, we can remove [the protective armour].”

When asked how he had planned to preserve the old teachings without dissipating the potency of the original art, and simultaneously combine the best of each system without offending each of his teachers, Punong Guro Sulite replied, “Grandmaster Ilustrisimo entrusted me with his [lifetime of knowledge] and wanted me to carry his name… the same with Grandmaster Gaje, Grandmaster Caballero, Grandmaster Abella, and all the others. So I have systematised and presented [the arts in a modern context easy to assimilate through a synthesis of multiply effective systems].” Thus the LAMECO system was born.

What further separates LAMECO from all other contemporary systems is its emphasis on the totality of the human being – mind, body and spirit – not only the physical elements. Attention, intention, visualization and complete focus are the integral components of the LAMECO training system. Drills and processes which develop the vital constituents were developed as the result of intense study and detailed analysis of countless ancient systems.

As modern day martial artists, we should consider ourselves most fortunate to have the opportunity to train under a renaissance thinker such as Punong Guro Edgar G. Sulite. He is one of the very few who has brought the ancient traditions out of the darkest jungles and into the light of modern day martial arts training, by sharing with the rest of the world – his legacy of steel.

Punong Guro is a Tagalog title which is comprised of two words. The first, Punong, literally translates to “trunk” or “base of”, for example, a tree. Combined with the second word, Guro, which translates as “one who leads another out of ignorance” (or “teacher” in Western terminology,) this title can be translated as “Primary master instructor” or more readily, “Grandmaster”.

Rest In Peace Grandmaster Christoper N. Ricketts (March 21, 1955 – October 5, 2010)

2010_master christopher ricketts

Rest In Peace Grandmaster Christoper N. Ricketts (March 21, 1955 – October 5, 2010)

It is with sadness and joy that we announce the passing and rebirth to eternal life of Grandmaster Christopher N. Ricketts on October 5, 2010 at 3:02AM. May his soul and the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace. Amen.

A loving husband, father, grandfather, son, brother and uncle, he is survived by his wife Beth Ricketts and sons Jason Ricketts, Bruce Ricketts, Brandon Ricketts and Christopher Ricketts, Jr.; daughter-in-law Jeanne, wife of Jason and grandkids Jacob, Jennell, Josh and Justin; parents Edith and Max Ricketts; younger brother and sister-in-law, Ronnie Ricketts and Mariz and nieces Marella and Marie; and youngest brother and sister-in-law, Alex Ricketts and Marybeth and nephews Jamie and James.
Master Topher, known world wide as a consumate martial artist of Filipino decent, was loved by many but more importantly, respected by all. He was one of the founders and the Chief Instructor of Bakbakan International, a fraternal brotherhood of martial artists established in the Philippines in 1968 whose motto is “Matira Matibay” (The Best of the Best). Concerned with training and passing on his knowledge to students rather than collecting accolades and titles, Master Topher’s skills and credentials are impeccable and second to none.
A senior disciple of the revered Grandmaster Antonio “Tatang” Ilustrisimo and one of the “Five Pillars of Kali Ilustrisimo”, he remained loyal to the memory and legacy of his teacher and was the highest ranked Ilustrisimo instructor in the United States. A close friend and training partner of the late Punong Guro Edgar G. Sulite who founded Lameco Eskrima, he was also the highest ranked Lameco instructor in the United States. With teaching credentials in several martial arts systems including Ngo Cho Kun (5 Ancestor Fist), Sagasa (Filipino Kickboxing System), as well as being a professional boxing trainer and fight choreographer, his was a life befitting a true warrior.

A public viewing, requiem mass and farewell offering (Halad) will be held on Thursday, October 14, 2010 from 4:00PM to 8:00PM at the California Cremation and Burial Chapel, 5880 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego, California 92115. In lieu of flowers, donation to your favorite charity in the name of Grandmaster Christopher N. Ricketts will be greatly appreciated.

All members of the warrior class are encouraged to come in uniform to pay their last respects to one of the best of the best.

Sumasaiyo at Maraming Salamat
(With Sincere Thanks),
The Ricketts Family


In Memory of Grandmaster Antonio “Tatang” Ilustrisimo (1904 – 1997)

Grandmaster Antonio “Tatang” Ilustrisimo (1904 – 1997)

Grandmaster Antonio Ilustrisimo, Courtesy of Bakbakan International  and  GM Tony Diego

Grandmaster Antonio Ilustrisimo (1902 – 1997) originally came from Santa Fe in Bantayan Island.   He came from a family that has a very long history of martials and mystical tradition.   His cousin, Floro Villabrialle, was the most famous Arnis master of Hawaii.  His youngest uncle, Regino Ellustrisimo, was an Arnis master in Stockton, USA.  Both men were mentioned in Dan Inosanto’s book on Filipino martial arts.  However, the most famous of his 4 direct paternal uncles, and the most powerful fighter of the 5 brothers (some say he has more than 7 uncles) was Melecio Ilustrisimo, one of the most famous Kali masters of the Philippines of the early 20th Century, being influential in northern Cebu – Bantayan and Bohol islands.  All his forbears were expert warriors and were known to posses strange mystical powers.

Grandmaster Ilustrisimo’s students, fondly call him “Tatang” which  means “grandfather”.  Tatang learnt Arnis under the tutelage of his father (Isidro Illustrisimo) and uncles (especially the famous Melecio Ilustrisimo) in the old way.  There were 3 famous Eskrima families in Cebu at that time:-  the Ilustrisimos,  the Saavedras,  and the Romos.

Footwork was one of the first things he had to master.  As a tiny boy, he was put on a small table and his teachers would use sticks to beat his legs.  He had to learn how to avoid the blows.  He was also put on 3 half coconut shells in a triangular pattern and given the same harsh treatment.  This footwork is known as Tatlong Bao in the Ilustrisimo family.

As a result he has mastered evasion and dodging at an early age.  This is a training that Melecio Ilustrisimo himself thoroughly mastered as he was said to have nailed one foot to the ground and challenge all and sundry to defeat him.  No one could,  and that footwork is called “Walong Apak” (Nail Footwork) in Kalis Ilustrisimo.  These skills of evasive footwork have all been mastered by Grandmaster Antonio Illustrisimo.

He learnt the solo and double baston, espada daga, daga, bolo (sword), dos manos (a long stick/sword – roughly equivalent to the Samurai’s sword) and various “weapons of convenience”.   In particular, as a speciality, Grandmaster Ilustrisimo is noted for is his expertise in bladed weapons – something which many modern Grandmasters of Arnis can not lay proper claim to since their real practical experience concentrated on the rattan sticks. (Claims by most systems that they can use swords are disputable and only partially true).  This expertise as a swordman is not merely from personal experience and practice, but is the legacy of his family art of Ilustrisimo Kali which is a bladed art that stretches so far back in the family line that nobody could remember when it started.

As a boy, the young Ilustrisimo had a very tough, stubborn, determined and indominatable spirit. When he heard of a far country called ‘America’, he decided to go there – at the age of 9 years old!   When his parents would not  listen to his panderings, he ‘took’ some family money and a machete, and again, ‘took’ a small rowing boat and paddled out to the sea to what he thought would be America, not realising how far America really is.  He fortunately chance across a ship.  The sailors aboard were  surprised to see a young boy rowing out in the sea.  Out of curiousity, perhaps concern as well, there approached him and asked him where he was going.  “I am going to America in this boat!” was the confident answer.  The sailors rocked in laughter.  They somehow persuaded him to come with them.   Of course, he did not get to America.  But he did sail to a few ports, still not quite realising that America is still very, very far away……….

At a port, he chance on a family friend who recognised him, but not wishing to betray the high ideals of this young boy, he took him to the south as that friend was a Muslim.  There the young boy grew up – strong, determined, proud and skillful in combat as ever.  He was adopted into a the royal court as an adopted son of the Sultan of Sulu.  (This was Hadji Butu who ascended to become HH Hadji Mohammad Jamalul Kiram II, the Sultan of Sulu)

While in the South, he was priviledged to train in the the best of teachers that the royal court could have.  He also trained with Pedro Cortes, another very famous master in the Mindanao region, who was used by the government to control the ‘Rebelious South’.   Pedro Cortes was a close friend a sparring partner of his father Isidro Ilustrisimo.

Then one day, he was drinking at a beer house, he got into dispute with another man.  The man drew his sword to kill Tatang, but the defty young boy beat him to the draw and, with one stroke of his own barong (Tatang’s favourite type of sword), he cut  off the enemy’s head.  The victim was left a headless man running wildly before collapsing.  Since this was in self defence, this would have normally been ‘okay’ under the rules of that Islamic society, but the matter was complicated by his being under the influence of the drink (much frown upon), and plus the fact that the victim was from another royal clan that was a rival to the Sultan’s clan.   To avoid inter clan warfare,  the Sultan was forced to ‘exiled’ the young offender.   The Sultan gave him a gift of money and sent under escort to a British ship to head home.   He was only 17 years old then.

He returned to his parent’s place.  They had not seen him since he left as a young boy (this indicates his spirit of determination and independence – and his courage to live away from home without his parent’s guidance) and thought he was dead.  They were over-joyed to receive a telegram saying he was returning.   But they couldn’t recognise him.  A proud young man in Muslim dress walked towards them from the ship and it was only when he greeted them that they realised it was him.

He soon left to become a sailor, but when he had the oppotunity, he would continue to train in the fighting tradition of his family line.

Tatang used to hang around “rough places”.  He is well known amongst the wharfies and bars.  That was where he fought many times and honed his fighting skills.  I have met many Arnis masters who are very good in what  they do, but some of them privately admitted to me that even they are extremely careful when going to such areas that Tatang frequents because fighting and killing in bar/street fights is very different, and much more dangerous, than fighting an Arnis dual.

His life as a sailor gave him the oppotunity to travel from place to place.  This provided oppotunities to contest fighters from other far-off regions – America, India,  Europe, Australia……………..  He fought on many occassions, and was never defeated.

For example, he responded to a grandmaster match in Singapore to compete against a great Indonesian Penchak Silat grandmaster.  The Indonesian climbed into the ring, warmed up, all ready to fight, but when he faced Tatang, he simply refused to fight and surrendered.   Grandmaster Ilustrisimo said that is the highest art – to defeat an opponent without fighting him.  Tatang was said to have used his ‘orascion’ or spiritual power to overcome the opponent.  Grandmaster Illustrisimo thus won the prize money of $5,000. (Note:- Indonesian masters are experts in the use of spiritual power to overpower their opponents, but in this instance, Tatang’s power must have overwhelmed his expert opponent).

Grandmaster Ilustrisimo used to participate in Arnis matches in the fiestas in the local barrios occasionally when not at sea.  However, due to his fondness for the blade, and his reputation as a fighter-killer, not many masters would dare to fight him.  He only knows how to fight naturally – without restrictions – something that is not very comfortable for other masters.  The only rule is the terms of defeat – when to stop the fight.  He laments that he had to accept fights during his travels to practise a little of his art.  eg.  He fought a master in Calcutta.  He also had some fights in the Middle East.

Grandmaster Ilustrisimo, however, had lots of practice during World War II where, as a guerilla, his boss often sent him on missions to kill both Japanese soldiers and local conspirators.  He is said to have killed groups of people at a time.  So reliable were his services that his code name in the guerilla movement was ‘The Executioner’.

In Manila, Grandmaster Ilustrisimo lived in Tondo, near the wharf area which was a very rough neighbourhood.  Intimidation, robberies, muggings, fights and killings were common.  Together with his friends (some of whom are well known to Western students of Arnis – Floro Villabraille, Jose Mena and Felicissimo Dizon), he fought these muggers, bullies and intimidators whenever they caused trouble.  This ‘Gang of Four’ joked that since they were cleaning the docks of these troublemakers for the Police, they are in fact the ‘De Facto Dock Police’.  (Note:- None of them, or their students, were actually employed as Police or security guards there, as some Westerners were lead to believe).

Grandmaster Ilustrisimo hung around his friends whenever he was not at sea.   Occassionally, he would spar with them.  Accounts independently related by various old sources who hung around them confirmed that Grandmaster Illustrisimo had sparred with Felicissimo Dizon quite a few times and was more than a match for him.  It is also said that mutual Arnis friends wanted to arrange a formal match (ie. prize fighting) between Grandmaster Ilustrisimo and Felicissimo Dizon.  Grandmaster Ilustrisimo, being a seasoned prize fighter, readily accepted.  But the great Dizon turned down the offer citing that Grandmaster Illustrisimo is a larger man, a taller man with a longer reach, and thus they are in different categories and should not be matched.  (Dizon was a formidable fighter with few defeats, most notably of which was from the great Illaus Romo.  Also, a scheduled match between Dizon, Delphin Lopez and Cacoy Canette did not eventuate also because Dizon failed to turn up – according to Cacoy Canette).

While sojorned in Manila in the late 1930s, a young lad around 15 or 16 years old called Angel Cabales, became a staunch student of Felicissimo Dizon.   A few years later, he left for USA (1939) and became internationally famous as the founder of Cabales Serada Eskrima which is very widespread in USA.  (Angel was said to have learnt from Tatang too, but both Tatang and his students told me he is not Tatang’s student.  He only learnt from Tatang because he knew how good Tatang was.  He was regarded as Dizon’s student – Tatang does not pinch the students of his friends.  In fact, Tatang only accepted students from the public in the mid 1970s when he was already in his mid seventies.  It is admitted that Tatang did show and teach his personal friends,  but they were never regarded as ‘students’.   They were his friends.   Such close friends included Felicissimo Dizon and the famous Floro Villabrialle,  who was his cousin.  I believe Timoteo Maranga was one such friend during the war time.  Besides that,  Tatang did not teach anybody who came to enquire)

Grandmaster Ilustrisimo used to frequent bars in the rough areas of Manila.  He often got into fights in such hotspots.  He had been arrested at least 17 times for killing, but he was always lucky to prove his innocence as self defence and was released every time.  The last time he killed was when he was over 90 years old.  He nearly went to jail for that.

Grandmaster Ilustrisimo retired from sea-faring in his advanced years, but not from active practice.  Even in his old age, he  received challenges from young fighters eager to build a name for themselves by unfairly bumping off an old man, but  he survived and gave them a hiding instead.

In his advanced years, Grandmaster Ilustrisimo was partially blind, but he can still spar with his students using real bolos (swords) and exert control not to harm them.  How does he “see” the student’s incoming bolos when he cannot properly see ordinary objects is still a mystery to most, but Dan Inosanto mentioned in his book that (Ilustrisimo’s cousin) Floro Villabrille’s favourite master was a blind princess.  (Some sources indicate that this ‘princess’ was actually not blind, but partially blind, just like Tatang.  And not a princess of Samar, nor Princess Josephina, but daughter of a chief.  She was known to possess some mystical powers.  Also, this story later as changed by later generations to ‘main’ or ‘best’ teacher -  instead of ‘favourite’ teacher – in the sentimental sense, not favourite as ‘best’ teacher).   Tatang insisted that while in Manila,  he actually tutored Floro Villabrialle, who, earlier, was a student of his uncle Melecio Ilustrisimo.  Tatang and was ‘unimpressed’  that the Americans were given the impression that Villabrialle’s main or best teacher was Princess Josephina.


Antonio “Tatang” Ilustrisimo (1904 – 1997) was the Grand Master of Kali Ilustrisimo, a Filipino martial art bearing his family name.

Early life
Born in Bagong, Bantayan, Cebu in 1904. As a boy he studied eskrima from his father. At the age of nine he decided to travel to the United States, and stowed away on a boat he thought was headed for America. In actuality, he arrived in Mindanao, in the southern Philippine islands.

The Martial Arts
Antonio Alulud Ilustrisimo was one of the most well respected eskrimadors of the Philippines; He is famed for winning countless duels and street encounters, as well as serving as a guerrilla against the invading Japanese forces during World War II. GM Ilustrisimo was never defeated in combat, and earnt great respect as a result of his brave exploits against the Japanese.

In 1976 Antonio ‘Tatang’ Ilustrisimo accepted his first students Antonio Diego and Epifanio ‘Yuli’ Romo. After Tatang’s passing in 1997, Tony Diego was elected head of Kali Ilustrisimo. Other notable students include – Rey Galang, Christopher Ricketts and Edgar Sulite.

Antonio Ilustrisimo has been featured in many periodicals and Martial Arts publications. His First apperance was in The book titled  Masters of Arnis, Kali, and Eskrima by Edgar Sulite. His life and art were also featured in the book titled Filipino Martial Culture by Mark Wiley. The art of Kalis Ilustrisimo had a section in the book Filipino Fighting Arts: Theory and Practice by Mark Wiley. The book titled The Secrets of Kalis Ilustrisimo was released in the United States. It was authored by two of his most prominent students, Antonio Diego and Christopher Ricketts.

In Memory of Punong Guro Edgar Sulite. September 25, 1957 to April 10, 1997.

Lameco Eskrima PG sulite

In Memory of Punong Guro Edgar Sulite

From Ron Balicki

The Loss of a Warrior

On April 10th 1997, the Filipino Martial Arts world suffered a major loss. Punong Guro (Head Instructor) Edgar G. Sulite passed away due to complications from a stroke that he had suffered two weeks prior to his death. Edgar Sulite was the founder of the Lameco system of Eskrima.

Edgar was born on September 25, 1957 in the Visayan islands. When Edgar was a boy his father a Filipino boxer and an Arnis expert introduced Edgar to the Filipino martial arts. Growing up in the Barrios of the Philippines, Edgar witnessed many skirmishes settled blade against blade. Completing college, Edgar earned his Bachelors in Arts and Majored in Economics. During his time in college, he sought out different Eskrima Masters to study under. In addition, Edgar was honored for his many achievements in the Filipino martial arts. He became a member of Bakbakan International (An Organization governing the legitimacy of the Filipino martial arts). He also became the representative for Leo Gaje’s national Arnis Association of the United States. Being a man of great vision, Edgar came to the United States in August of 1989. His plan was to bring his family over from the Philippines, own his own home, and spread Lameco throughout the world. He desired to live the American dream.

Upon his arrival in the U.S., Edgar would meet and befriend world renowned martial artist Dan Inosanto. Recognizing the talent and knowledge that Edgar possessed , Dan Inosanto would become a lifetime student and an advocate of the Lameco system. Edgar appointed Dan Inosanto as Vice President of Lameco International.

Edgar believed in his potential for personal achievement. If one walked into his house, they would see affirmations written out on paper in each of his rooms (including the bathroom). Being an avid reader of motivational guro Anthony Robbins, Edgar attacked all of his personal and professional goals tirelessly.

Determined to bring his wife and three children to America, Edgar Sulite started teaching his method of Lameco on the seminar circuit around the world. As he envisioned, he became one of the most sought after instructors. Edgar managed to bring his wife, Felisa Sulite from the Philippines in 1992. However, Edgar would still have to battle with the bureaucracies of immigration to bring his three children to America. His children would have to reside with relatives in the Philippines for several more years. During this painstaking time, Edgar and Felicia had two more children (Edgar Andrew, and Leslie) bringing the total of children to five. Soon after the birth of his youngest child, Leslie, he finally managed to bring his three eldest children from the Philippines. In addition, he bought a house in Palmdale, California, and had a full calendar of seminar engagements. He was living the American dream.

The Lameco System

In 1981Edgar created the Lameco System of Eskrima. The name Lameco is actually three words joined together.

La = Largo (long)

me = Medio (Middle)

co = Corto (close)

All the ranges you will fall into in combat. Lameco uses primarily Double and single Stick, Double and single Dagger, Stick and Dagger, Sword, Staff, Handkerchief, and Empty Hands. Lameco Eskrima is a synthesis of five major and 6 minor systems of Eskrima.

Edgar created training drills that he called Labon Laro (Play Fighting). Labon Laro would allow the practitioner to come as close to real combat as possible with out injury, it was also designed to make you get an uncountable number of repetitions in, in a short period of time. Following the theory “repetition is the key to success”. Edgar was always looking for unique training methods to improve Lameco. He devised training armor for the hand and forearms that let the practitioners train more realistically.

The Future of Lameco?

When asked to comment Guro Dan Inosanto spoke of Edgar’s wish to make Lameco grow and prosper in the U.S. and around the world. Inosanto also expressed his hope that The Surviving Lameco Instructors under Edgar would continue in the tradition Edgar established.

The students of Lameco can be thankful to Edgar for a well documented system of Eskrima. Edgar left us with three books that he had written: “The Secrets of Arnis”, “Advanced Balisong”, and “Grand Masters of the Philippines”. Also The foundation of the Lameco system on video: “Lameco Eskrima at the Vortex”, “Labon Laro”, and a series of instructional video tapes by Unique Publications. With all this material Lameco will live on forever.

Punong Guro Sulite will be missed by his wife Felisa, His five children, and the countless students around the world. To you Edgar we say, Maraming Salamat Po (Thank You) Punong Guro!

From Louis D. Lindo

My name is Louie D. Lindo, originally from the Philippines and Los Angeles and now residing in Vancouver, b.c. Canada. I am a student of the Filipino martial arts and have only attended 3 workshops by the late Punong Guro Edgar Sulite. Those 3 workshops I now hold dear to my heart. I have heard about Punong Edgar back in the mid 1980′s while he was still living in the Philippines but never had the chance to meet him. I knew old friends back in Manila who have trained with him and I too was looking forward to the day I would have the opportunity to meet him. After over 10 years I finally met him at a seminar in Oregon, Washington and finally here in Vancouver. The one concept or method of training which I hold valuable is training with intention as well as the Laban-Laro drills and drills using the hand guard. they are simple but very practical. I now operate 2 small clubs in Vancouver and Burnaby and every time we train I always dedicate the training sessions to the late Punong Guro. Me and my family will always treasure the few days the Sulite family spent at our humble home. The few Lameco eskrima drills that were shared, will be here in Vancouver for the years to come. At the very least, the Vancouver based eskrima enthusiasts had the opportunity of meeting him and got a taste of Lameco Eskrima.

Louie d. Lindo Eskrima-Silat Canada


From Phil Rapagna:

I first met Edgar Sulite at a workshop, at Dan Inosanto’s Marina Del Rey School in 1990. I was impressed with the material, but did not at that time seek to study with Edgar privately.

In early 1992, I was seeking something different from Kali. I had trained with Dan Inosanto for about 10 years and had also trained extensively with Steve Aron, Pete Jacobs, Daniel Lee, and Paul Vunak.

I asked Dan Inosanto what I should do, and he told me to seek out Edgar Sulite. At that time, I also ran into an old friend and kali brother, Marc “Crafty Dog” Denny. After I told him that I was seeking something different in Kali, he stressed to me that I needed to seek out Punong Guro Edgar.

I always respected Marc as being a very practical and realistic practitioner of the arts. I knew that if he said something was good, I could believe him. So when he insisted that Edgar was the teacher I needed, my mind was made up. (Marc had mentioned Edgar on earlier ocassions, but I was not in the market until now).

I started training, with Edgar, privately (on a weekly basis) in March 1992 (and ended up spending five solid years with him). Immediately, my eyes were opened. His program was the most organized I had ever encountered. Everything he did was combat oriented. I was a hard person to impress, as I had been in kali for fourteen years by this time. But Edgar impressed me far beyond anyone ever had before.

Edgar started by converting my knowledge of kali into a usable combative style. Everything he did could be used in sparring. There were no wasted movements. He coached me (yes he was an excellent coach, which is rare these days in martial arts) to be a better eskrimadore.

Edgar made me “focus” my strikes and movements. He would say, “Hit with intention, focus. Don’t just swing the stick.” Edgar believed in training as he had done in the Philipines. He would make me do one single movement for a whole hour. On many ocassions, I would be in so much pain, I thought my arm was going to fall off. After a while, though, I began to see myself change as an eskrimadore. My movements were no longer what they used to be.

Training with Punong Guro Edgar Sulite was the most important thing I ever did in my kali training. We delved into much more than just stick work.

Whenever someone thinks of Edgar, they think about the stick, and maybe the knife. Edgar was more than that. He just was not around long enough to show it all. He would have gotten around to it. Luckily, by training privately with him, I got a taste of many different things.

Edgar was a well rounded martial artist. Few people know that He was very well versed in Tai Chi Chuan. His understanding of energy flow was out of this world. Edgar had a whole system of locking and counter-locking, of unbalancing, and pressure point manipulation. He had the best and most practical “knife attack defense” techniques (I am always loathe to use the word “technique.” It is so limiting) that I have ever seen.

Edgar always made sure that he gave his teachers credit for any material he learned. he hated people who would not respect their teachers enough to credit them with what the taught. One time, after returning from a trip, Edgar was angered by someone he had met. He had liked what someone was doing and asked him where he had learned it. The person told him that he had never studied kali, but just learned everything by himself.

Edgar was disgusted that the guy did not respect his teachers enough to give them credit for teaching him anything. The guy obviously thought that Edgar would be impressed that he was cunning enough to learn Kali on his own. He did not realize that Edgar would have been more impressed by a beginner who had enough dignity to give credit to his teachers.

Besides being a great martial artist, Edgar was the warmest, most giving person I have ever known in the martial arts. He was a true giver. He would tell me, “Oh, so and so can’t afford it. Just let him come.”

Edgar would always have parties at his house, and he would invite even the newest member of the group.

I am just beginnig to feel the emptiness, with him being gone. I spent five years studying under him, and had expected to study for many years to come. Every so often, questions pop up in my mind, and I need to ask Edgar the answer. But since he is not here, I try to answer it myself. That’s the way he would want it anyway.

I can understand the emptiness felt by the Bruce Lee’s students after his death. There were so many unanswered questions. So many things you took for granted or did not bother to write down, because you could just ask next week. What the hell, he’ll be around.

Ironically, I was supposed to go to the Philipines, with Edgar, when he died. Things happenning at work would not allow me to go. Of course, I live with that now.

Steve Reid, an old Kali buddy of mine, once said, “one must leave the table while still a little hungry to appreciate it. One must not wait until he is too full.” Well I am still hungry, that is what makes me appreciate Edgar so much. I will always miss him.

Marc “Crafty Dog” Denny, thank you for turning me on to Edgar. I have never forgotten that.


Marc “Crafty Dog” Denny:

I first met PG Edgar in 1989 in Tennessee at a Pekiti Tirsia summer camp hosted by Grand Tuhon Leo Gaje. My teacher, Guro Dan Inosanto was there and spoke to me very highly of his interaction with PG Edgar and told me that he was going to train with him and suggested I do the same—which I of course did.

Training with PG was always a very focused matter. There was no fooling around. On the first day PG and I sparred hand shots. Even through his hand gear, his sharp, crisp shots left my hand swollen. He was totally non-telegraphic and effortlessly tore me up. Duly impressed, I was ready to listen.

We began with great emphasis on stroking drills and cleaning up my movement. With PG, footwork was combined with the stroking patterns from day one. Although I found this irritatingly frustrating at first (because I couldn’t believe how bad I was) this soon became one of my favorite parts of training. Many, many practitioners of FMA are lazy when it comes to this part of training, but if you want to be able to use your skills, this type of training really pays off. From there we went into the Laban Laro (playfight) drills.

Soon thereafter, a day of Dog Brother stickfighting approached and I showed PG a video of a fighter with whom I had always had trouble. In an instant, he had dialed in a simple practical solution and on fight day it worked very well. He had an outstanding analytical eye and his teaching with me adapted to my limitations and strengths as a fighter. Although I am a senior apprentice in Lameco, I must confess that there is a lot of the system that I do not know—our training together was focused on improving me as a stickfighter. Nevertheless, as Head Instructor of Dog Brothers Inc. Martial Arts I wish to proudly point out that Lameco is one of the three primary Filipino systems upon which we draw for our stickfighting.

PG was a very private person, and I find it hard to talk about his personal side. Sometimes he would speak about how much he missed his wife and children, and how happy he was when he arranged for her to come, and then for his children to come. He was a very good man, and a very good teacher to me and I miss him.

Grandmaster Jose Diaz Caballero, De Campo Uno-Dos-Tres Orihinal (1907-1987)

Grandmaster Jose Diaz Caballero,

De Campo Uno-Dos-Tres Orihinal (1907-1987)


Guro Dino Flores

Grandmaster Jose Diaz Caballero was born on August 7, 1907 in Barrio Ibo, Toledo City, Cebu Province in the Philippine archipelago. As a youth he would travel from barangay (neighborhood) to barangay in order to watch eskrima matches during fiesta celebrations. These demonstrations mostly pre-arranged sparring called De Cadena were more of a cultural presentation than a display of real fighting which he was doggedly searching for.

From his observations of these Eskrima exhibitions, he modified the moves with an emphasis on three striking levels: the eyes, lower arms (specifically elbows and hands), and knees. He was a fan of Western movies and often compared his style to the gunslinger “quick draw”. He later founded the devastating style known as De Campo Uno-Dos-Tres Orihinal.

In his prime, Jose Caballero was the Juego Todo champion. Juego Todo was all-out, no-holds-barred and did not allow the combatants to wear any protective gear like masks and armour. Death and permanent injury resulting from these duels was not uncommon.

He beat many highly skilled Eskrimadors such as: Simeon Saavedra of Talisay, Balbino Mancao, Vicente Labor, Juan Carolla of Ilocos, Alfredo Macalolan of Negros, Tanciong Lopez from Cebu City, Salomon Canonio, Heneroso Carbajosa, Horje Navajo, Pastor Hingoyon and many lesser known challengers.

One of his more notable fights took place in 1936 against an Eskrimador named Anoy, from the nearby town of Tangub. Jose Caballero utilized his system of 1-2-3 strikes in order to disarm and wound the stunned Anoy, who promptly surrendered. The combination of strikes was delivered so quickly, that the crowd had not fully understood what had just taken place. This resulted in the perception that the match was fixed, and they began shouting “TAYOPE!” (fixed).

Unlike many so-called death match “duelists” and “unbeaten champions” who can’t even recall the names of the opponents they conquered, the foregoing list of eskrimadors vanquished by GM Caballero is a testament of the authenticity of his title as the Juego Todo champion of his era. No less than GM Filemon “Momoy” Canete of San Miguel Eskrima a good friend of GM Caballero once vouched: “Dili ko makig duwa ana imong eskrima Joe, pangpatay man nag sawa.” (I won’t fool around with your eskrima Joe, it’s for killing pythons.)

Grandmaster Caballero served in the Philippine Constabulary and was once assigned to the hostile Moro country of Lanao province. After his retirement from the Constabulary, he continued to teach his brand of Eskrima, and at the same time, the challenges that were part and parcel of the art continued to hound him.

The remaining living witness to GM Caballero’s Juego Todo duels is Egmidio Tubal a retired PC soldier of Davao City.

The old warrior died on August 24 1987