Balintawak Seminar in PA

Discussion in 'Balintawak' started by PeteNerd, Feb 11, 2006.

  1. PeteNerd

    PeteNerd Member

    I just stumbled across this today... Balintawak Seminar in PA featuring Max Pallen and Esing Atillo. Should be interesting.

    Does anyone know who Max Pallen trained in Balintwak with?

  2. Datu Tim Hartman

    Datu Tim Hartman FMA Talk Founder Supporting Member

    He trained with and then was promoted to GM by Atillo along with Frank Ricardo. This was done when Atillo was trying to build a following in the states.
  3. PeteNerd

    PeteNerd Member

    Do you know what Atillo's Balintawak is like? I plan on going to the seminar to check it out, but any information ahead of time would be great.

  4. Datu Tim Hartman

    Datu Tim Hartman FMA Talk Founder Supporting Member


    I might not be the best person to ask due to my biased opinion of Balintawak. I understand about innovation and evolution in the martial arts but what I have seen taught by Pallen doesn’t make sense to me. And to be fair to Atillo, (having not seen him) I don’t know what modifications Pallen may have made on what Atillo taught him. My personal opinion is that it is important to see what everyone is doing and make your own opinions. Now, so you don’t think I am being a total prick on this one, I must remind everyone who is reading this that I am a student of Manong Ted Buot who is cited as being the best representation of the original art.

    Now for Atillo – I have personal problems with him: one is personal and the other is professional. My professional issue is that it seems to me that he is trying to rewrite history claiming that his Balintawak comes from the Saavedras. Now Anciong Bacon founded Balintawak Escrima in the early 50’s while the Saavedras were killed during World War II which would make it difficult for them to have created the system, especially since they were doing Doce Pares. Now it is true that Anciong did come from the Doce Pares family tree. But what he taught was different from the Doce Pares system. Atillo also makes claims of being the Supreme Grand Master of Balintawak and all others are inferior.

    On a personal level, he has thrown out some challenges toward Ted Buot through me which has pissed me off. I did explain to him that if he wanted a piece of Ted there was a long line of people that he would have to go through and it would start with me. When he responded asking me if I was challenging him, I responded no, but if you tried to hurt Ted I would put an abrupt stop to it. Manong Ted is part of my family, and if you threaten any of the members of my family, I take it as trying to screw with me personally.

    So the question is…do I think you should go? Yes, I think you should go, meet both of them, form your own opinions, and give us your review of the seminar. Like I said, I have an axe to grind and I wouldn’t want my personal experience to get in the way of you deciding to go or not. Like I said, you need to go and form your own opinion.
  5. bart

    bart New Member

    Max Pallen trained with Atillo starting in the late 70's/early 80's. The Atillo family produced a training video in the early 80's with both GM Ising and his father. Max Pallen is in that video and is a featured student. If you contact GM Atillo directly, I believe that you can still get the same video that I have: "The Secret and Deadly Style of Arnis" by the World Balintawak Society. Mark Mikita might be able to get it for you as he studies under GM Atillo as well.

    In my opinion, you should go. Regardless of his reputation with the other Balintawak people, his stuff is legit and he's a bonafide GM. I've trained with him in seminars and in private. I would not consider myself nor claim to be a Balintawak exponent, but I did benefit from his lessons. He has good stuff to offer.

    The style is simple and very direct. He'll most likely focus on training a sort of "four corners" type of drill which underlies the basics and fundamentals of his system. One thing is that he generally tends to work with everybody who attends the seminar. Atillo believes in training the people in a seminar individually. The end result is that while there is a lot of wait time just standing around, you will get to cross sticks with him and he will attempt to impart a lesson to you on a personal and individual level. That is special.

    I've also been to Pallen's seminars as well. I've sparred against his son Jordan. There is a lot of Singko Teros/Pallen's Method around between here in Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay Area. IMHO they're pretty good. But Balintawak is only one influence among many in Pallen's method. If he's teaching Atillo Balintawak by itself at this seminar, I feel that he'll be respectful of GM Atillo and only teach the Atillo Balintawak material unless requested specifically to teach his Singko Teros with the approval of GM Atillo.

    I think it would be worthwhile to go.
  6. bart

    bart New Member

    First of all, I want to acknowledge that we both agree that Peter should go. I also want to acknowledge that GM Atillo does speak his mind. But I want to make some points. When GM Bacon split from Doce Pares, it was not over a stylistic dispute, but over the effects of a political dispute, both in the club and in the governmental politics of Cebu City. It had little or nothing to do with techniques.

    Doce Pares was then and is now a group of related systems personal to the individual teachers. The Doce Pares Club was founded as a place where eskrimadors came together and taught what they individually did. The club had factions and still does. This is evident today in the many different types of Doce Pares that are out there: Multi-style, Cacoy, Guba, Vicar, and San Miguel to name a few. There are great similarities, but there are great differences. If GM Bacon had stayed in the club there might be a Bacon Doce Pares right now. The Saavedras were one group within the club.

    GM Bacon learned from the Saavedras among others including Inting Atillo who left Doce Pares with GM Bacon at the split. The club they formed was on Balintawak street, thus over the years, when styles became the thing, it became known as Balintawak. When they left it was not to start a style, but rather a different eskrima "place" to work out and be a member of.

    Regardless of whatever others may say, Inting Atillo learned from the Saavedras in the Doce Pares club right alongside Bacon. Inting taught his son Esing Atillo, who is the subject of such controversy. The link is there: the Saavedras to Inting Atillo to Esing Atillo.

    There are plenty of arguments against the claim GM Esing makes for Atillo Balintawak as the most supremely Balintawak style of Balintawak, but there is no question that the Atillos are Balintawak and that their Balintawak comes from the Saavedra lineage. I've heard this from respected teachers and also read archive articles from Cebuano newspapers that corroborate their first and secondhand knowledge.

    I understand what you're talking about with GM Buot. It's a natural response to want to jump in and protect the people you respect and care about. I'm not advocating letting it go, but I am questioning the usefulness in maintaining a personal grudge. A challenge match isn't one to the death. Both parties establish the rules so that it can be determined who wins without undue maiming or death. It's akin to a skin rumble for turf in 1950's America. A think to keep in mind is that GM Esing is he's old school. Teachers fought in their day. GM Esing fought against GM Cacoy. They still try to do it today. GM Cacoy almost fought GM Uy last year. Challenging is something that these old school guys do. For him to challenge GM Buot is normal in that culture. They are both claiming top spot. If you make the claim as the highest, then expect someone to want to fight you especially if they disagree with your claim. Whether someone's claim to the top is correct is irrelevant. Right or wrong, eskrima styles are always accepting applications for top dog. It's a hazard of the trade.
  7. Datu Tim Hartman

    Datu Tim Hartman FMA Talk Founder Supporting Member

    I'm about to catch a plane home, so I can't get into it at the moment. For the record, Manong Ted makes no claims and the challenge was about Atillo having a problem with someone else. As much as I respect the Filipino culture one must remember that we are in the US and one MUST RESPECT our culture! When in Rome do as the Romans.
  8. Rich Parsons

    Rich Parsons Member

    Bart I agree with the above that he should go if he can. Check it out, and maybe learn or see something new.

    As to being a bonafide GM, I do not think people were questioning his skills as a fighter in the day or today. Only how he presented it as an all or nothing issue. Mean if you were withhim you are all, and not with him you are nothing.

    Actually, this seems good to me. Balintawak was taught one on one, and my him working with everyone they can watch and learn, and then with their chance feel it from the instructor, to know how it should feel.
  9. Rich Parsons

    Rich Parsons Member

    While no one I know who has knowledge of the Doces Pares, disagrees with your comments, there are people out there who think it is all one style and that therefore, all should be traced back to the Saavedras, as teh same system.

    Keep sending the message Bart, it is the onyl way for people to learn.

    Thank you

    Bart, I have a question. I have no doubt that GM Bacon learned from everyone he trained with, yet the relationship I have heard about is that GM Bacon was the guy who always stuck people with his wooden training dagger. The rest of the club and those teaching took it away form him. He then started concentrating on single stick techniques.

    So, did Inting Atillo also train single stick as a training partner with Bacon? Or did he continue to train Stick and Dagger? Or both? Was he Bacon training partner from the beginning? As such he deserves the respect of that. Did he teach what became later known as Balintawak to Bacon?

    Personally from what I know, and have read on multiple sites (* take it for what it is worth *), the GM Bacon is innovator and worked on the techniques himself. Of course he would have to try them out, and why not with a friend. Yet, and the Balintawak street club of self defense, only GM Bacon taught. Atillo would show up, form what I heard, but not teach. So, this makes me wonder what actually Inting taught Esing? I think it should be good, as anyone who trained with those guys should be able to pick up good technique and make it useful.

    As to the Politics, that is the story I heard as well. Not to create a new system, just to separate himself from the Doces Pares, and teach what he wanted too. NOTE: Both Bacon and Buot did and could stop by any time to any Doces Pares or other school of those who trianed with Bacon, and be welcomed. Treated with respect of another Eskrimador.

    I agree with this statement. No one I know argues that lineage. The arguement comes in that it is 100% Balintawak, and that it is some how better then the Bacon lineage, and or Bacon stole it. When people who train, know there are training methods that might help, but it almost always comes down to the individual who practices the art.

    The presentation that somehow via this lineage that Balintawak made famouse by the Bacon Club is really a Saavedras art. Everyone I know agrees that Bacon learned from the Saavedras. He must have had training partners is obvious as well. Like I said earlier it is the marketing issue of one and only.

    As I said above, I grant the Lineage of Father to son and Father from Saavedra and the Doces Pares. Yet, as you stated the Doces Pares is a collection of arts or systems. Yet what was the influence of Bacon to Inting Atillo and in return what was the influence of Inting Atillo on Bacon? If Bacon was the originator and innovator and designer, then he would be the logical person to give credit too. Yet, as I said above Inting should be given credit to as a training partner if he was.

    I have no problems with a challenge match myself. I understand what the older generation did. If there was a problem, you could settle it, and be done with it. I am a proponent for this type of playing.

    Yet, I also respect that others may not wish to do so, as someone could bring charges or law suits against them if it does not go the way someone wanted.

    The question I have is? If a younger person such as myself for example (* Bart you know I am polite and am using myself as the example *) challenges a GM to an match for resolution. Would it be accepted? If accepted would age and size be an issue afterwards? Would I have to prove myself with this persons' top fighters first? Would I have to fight multiple in one day, to get the chance at the top guy? What has the top guy to gain by such a challenge match? If they loose, then it could be an issue of age or size (* Even though I believe size should not be an issue and age should go to the person who has trained longer and possible has more experience *) as I mentioned or if they win, then they beat a no body. It might have resolved the issue, but the press relations might be a nightmare for the marketing afterwards.

    Bart, I am not trying to nail your foot to the floor here. I am just tossing these back over the net to you, as you have been around for while and know people and the culture as well.

    Thank you in advance for the time and effort anyone puts into to responding.
  10. PeteNerd

    PeteNerd Member

    I know all about the politics and rhetoric and yada yada. Personally i'm not so much interested in that. I have trained enough, with good instructors, that I can see whether someone knows what they are doing or not. I'm trying to see the different instructors in the states and make my own opinions. I'm more interested in what Atillo Balintawak is like, has he stayed true to the system or modified greatly. As far as Max Pallen, i'm interested to see his style also. I just want to know if it's as strong a style as I am used to. I've heard Max Pallens style described to me, by escrimadors that I greatly respect, as "weak" and "rubbish." If anyone can give me some information about Atillo or Pallens style that would be greatly appreciated. Try not to be too biased. Regardless I will go to this seminar and i'll let everyone know what I thought of it.


    Peter Shrom
  11. PeteNerd

    PeteNerd Member

    Just so you know, public challenge matches are a thing of the past, especially in Cebu. About a year ago Cacoy Canete and someone else were talking about having a challenge and Mayor Osmena said that if either of them tried it, they would be arrested on the spot.

    This kind of tough guy BS usually only proves who is the bigger A-hole or who has the bigger ego.

  12. MacJ_007

    MacJ_007 Junior Member

    This is just my own perception. Why do we always credit Saavedra that he's the one who taught everything. Not to disrespect him, but he's the only one who merged all of the different styles existent within the Central Visayas region. Most people that joined the Labangon fencing club, had already their own style even before joining the said club. If the Balintawak method of teaching, was taught during the Saavedras, how come most eskrimadors back then does'nt know or teach in the same manner. No other style teaches the way Balintawak does. Discrediting tatay Anciong for being the founder of the art is plain disrespectful. Every Balintawak i've come to meet credits the founder and label him as "gifted". To be able to think those moves by himself, creating the agak, the effectiveness of the application of the art is just unbelievable. Sir Bobby Tabimina told me something on how he created the art, but I'd rather not say it. All he said is that tatay Anciong is "ngilngig kaayo nga pagkatawo" which translates to "very extraordinary person". To be able to defeat/neutralize people regardless weight, height or age and that his teachings were so simple, yet there is a deeper meaning behind it.
  13. lhommedieu

    lhommedieu Senior Member

    Family Resemblances

    It's interesting to note the strong similarities (under the differences) between Atillo's Cuentada drills (at least, the one that I've seen on the World Balintawak Arnis-Eskrima Association website, for example) and Momoy Canete's (who trained a lot with Bacon under the Saavedras, I have heard) Palusot drills. One obvious difference is Momoy's use of the daga to monitor and control the stick, plus the use of the thrusts, vs. the use of the alive hand to monitor and control the stick in the Balintawak drill (and do they punch, as well?) - but the underlying structure of the drills is fundamentally the same. And although one generally thinks of Momoy's espada y daga technique as occuring at a somewhat larga range with the stick or sword before closing with the daga, his palusot drills do occur at a closer range - albeit not as close as Balintawak's range.

    But noting these similarities raises a more general issue: Doce Pares Multi-Style, aspects of Momoy's San Miguel Eskrima (the Palusot and "Espada y Daga" drills, especially), Cacoy's corto-range sparring and "Eskrido", the different expressions of Balintawak, and, more recently, Remy Presas' interpretation of tapi-tapi - all can be said to have an interwoven complex of likenesses that link them together in a recognizable manner - and I guess the open question is whether this underlying structural similarity is due to the influence of the Saavedras?

    There's a wonderful book or article to be written about the Saavedras, although it's likely that the window through which to gather information about their influence on the development of eskrima in the 20th century is closing.


    Steve Lamade
  14. Rich Parsons

    Rich Parsons Member


    I have no doubt there are similarities. The only drill like series of techinques I learned in Balintawak is Abecedario. After that it is random working of the techniques you know. I know that other families of Balintawak have groups and sets, and I recognize them as Balintawak family. I just like to give credit to people like GM Villasin who was the first or one of the first to do group method.

    Hence why I think credit should be given to the Saavedras, yet credit should be given to those along the line for what they added in technique or teaching style.

    I think the Book idea would be good. Only I think it the boat has sailed. The two main Saavedras died in WWII, and the rest of the family was not into training. Or at least not publically. And most of those from that area are getting smaller, who had trained with the Saavedras. It is sad, to think that piece of history might have passed us by.
  15. arnisador

    arnisador Active Member

    I am studying Eskrido now, practice Modern Arnis, and have some familiarity with Balintawak. I see connections constantly! Eskrido techniques are similar in many ways to tapi-tapi techniques; the most obvious differences are that the tapi-tapi drills sometimes go longer befor reaching a resolution, and that the Eskrido techniques so often end with a takedown where the tapi-tapi is more likely to end with a standing lock. Of course, there is a Japanese influence in both Eskrido and Modern Arnis.

    Last night at the Eskrido class we were doing a simple technique for countering an opponent's attempt to use his live hand to block a punyo strike to the face (where the stick comes out in the sword-drawing style familiar from Modern Arnis' solo baston drill). The technique was almost the "fifth declaw" of Balintawak. In fact, I had trouble doing it the instructor's way because it was so similar! Many times we have done techniques in Eskrido that I think of as Balintawak techniques.

    As to the history, I am unable to say. But I do see the similarities.
  16. Datu Tim Hartman

    Datu Tim Hartman FMA Talk Founder Supporting Member


    Did you go to the seminar?
  17. PeteNerd

    PeteNerd Member

    Yes i did... I don't really have much to say about it though. Didn't really get a lot out of it. They didn't cover that much material. I was kind of disappointed. They had attendance certificates, but you had to buy them for $5, thought that was really weird.

  18. Datu Tim Hartman

    Datu Tim Hartman FMA Talk Founder Supporting Member

    That's Bull ****!!!!
  19. arnisador

    arnisador Active Member

    I've never heard that one before...weird!
  20. SAL

    SAL Junior Member

    Were there any other Balintawak players there besides yourself?


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