Foundations of Inosanto blend and Lacoste Q.

Discussion in 'JKD-Kali' started by Buwaya, Feb 17, 2006.

  1. Buwaya

    Buwaya Senior Member

    I think I've heard in the past that there are five major influences on Inosanto blend and 24 lesser influences. Anybody know whats considered the five major influences?

    Second question, I'm curious if anyone is able to distinguish what aspects, applications, exercises and strategies are specificly from Jaunito Lacoste.

  2. Epa

    Epa Member

    I had not heard of five major influences on Guro Dan's system, but this might be because I'm a relatively new student of his (only been training with him since the 90s). Since I've been training with him, he's listed eight primary influences which are (in no particular order):

    1.) Regino Ilustrisimo

    2.) Juanito (John) Lacoste

    3.) Leo Giron (long range)

    4.) Leo Gaje

    5.) Pedro Apilado

    6.) Max Sarmiento (empty hands)

    7.) Jack Santos

    8.) Edgar Sulite

    These are taken from my notes at the 2004 instructor's conference, so this is a pretty recent list. I've copied down some of Guro Dan's other instructor lists and they all seem to be a little bit different regarding who is listed. I think part of this is that lists are written at different times and not updated. One list broke down most of his instructors into categories on how much they influenced his personal system.

    Those listed as major included the eight listed above as well as:
    1. Tedero Ramos
    2. John Evangelista
    3. Vincent Evangelista
    4. Pasquall Ovales (sp?)
    5. Lucky Lucaylucay
    6. Sam Tendencia
    7. Ising Attilo
    8. Cacoy Canete
    9. Gilbert Tenio
    10. Ben Largusa
    11. Telesporo Subingsubing
    12. Floro Villabrille

    Those listed as minor influences:
    1. Bo Sayoc and Family
    2. Rev. Evangelista Jr.
    3. Braulio Pedoy
    4. Emil Saturion

    Those listed as little to no influence:
    1. Mel Subitan (sp?)
    2. Greg Lontanyao (sp?)
    3. John Eliab
    4. Dentoy Revillar
    5. Angel Cabales
    6. Art Mirafloor
    7. Felisimo Maxcende (sp?)
    8. Kadid Brabante

    I believe this is a fairly up to date list because it has names like Rev. Evangelista and Ising Attilo on it and Guro Dan did not start training with these men until fairly recently. It is also entirely possible that there is more than one draft of this list floating around so if anyone has heard differently let me know.

    Hope this helps,

  3. JPR

    JPR New Member

    Pedro Apilado?

    I did a search for Pedro Apilado and have come up pretty blank. What more do you know about him and what Guro I. learned from him?


    PS. While it didn't answer my kali question, I did learn that the
    Apilado appears to be a dance, or a Tango dance position so it wasn't a total wash out.
  4. Epa

    Epa Member


    There aren't a lot of references to Pedro Apilado on the web. There is a passing reference in Guro Dan's FMA book, but that's pretty small. Guro Apilado (not sure what title is appropriate) trained with Santiago Toledo and his son and learned their family style. Guro Dan learned two versions of the Toledo style, one from Pedro Apilado and one from Pasqual Ovalles who was the grandson of Santiago Toledo (I believe his mother was one of Toledo's daughter). Both Ovalles and Apilado claimed to have the true Toledo style, though one called it Toledo style and one called it Toledo-Collada (sp?) style. Off the top of my head, I can't remember which was which.

    Santiago Toledo was a famous eskrimador who fought many challenge matches and was supposedly unbeaten for most of his life. The one recorded loss was when he was quite a bit older to Dalmancio Bergonia (sp?) who was a teacher of Leo Giron's or one of his teacher's teachers. I believe there is a reference to him and the match in the Secrets of Giron Arnis Escrima. Since Toledo fought with a Giron teacher, I'm guessing that he was from Luzon since that is where Grandmaster Giron's teachers were from, but that is just a guess on my part.

    I know nothing about what makes Apilado's style different from any of the others, as Guro Dan has never referred to a drill or techinque as specifically from him that I can remember. So I can't help you much on that and I don't know if he has any remaining students who teach just his style. The only other thing that I can remember about him is that he was a referee for many of the stickfighting matches in Hawaii when those were still regular.

    Hope this helps,
  5. ryangruhn

    ryangruhn New Member

    Here is the lineage:

  6. Datu Tim Hartman

    Datu Tim Hartman FMA Talk Founder Supporting Member

    Very Nice!
  7. Epa

    Epa Member


    Thanks for contributing. I like the graphic representation, it has some things I've never seen before. I just have a few of questions to make sure I'm reading the chart right:

    1. Does the arrow going from Ben Largusa to Angel Cabales mean that Ben trained Angel or is that meant to go to Guro Dan?

    2. Did Guro Dan receive training directly from his grandparents?

    3. Was Floro Villabrille trained by one of the elder four Ilustrisimo brothers? If so, which one?

    4. Do you know if Dizon and LaCoste trained together or were just friends?

    I'm also curious where you found the lineage. I know Guro Dan has several different ones in his notebooks. Is this one of them?

    Thanks again,
  8. ryangruhn

    ryangruhn New Member

    Both :) To my knowledge he traied with both Guro I. and Angel.

    As far as I know.

    Ya got me here. I believe he had trained with at least two of them but I would not be suprised if he worked with each on at some point.


    I forgot exactly who had made this image but it was looked at by my instructor and several others who are under Guro I. and were said to be accurate.

  9. Toasty

    Toasty New Member

    Hello Ryan,

    I was curious as to why Leo Giron is not on the lineage chart you posted.

    And regarding Ben Largusa - what do you mean by he trained "with" Guro Dan & Angel Cabales?
    I think I may be mis-reading your intent.
    In as much as guro Dan learned the Villabrille system from both Floro V. and Ben Largusa - but Ben did not train with or under Angel Cabales.
    Although, I believe Floro V. and Angel C. both trained with Felicimo Dizon (Floro as a contemporary of & Angel as a student of...)

    anyway, thanks for reading...
  10. ryangruhn

    ryangruhn New Member

    Hey Toasty,
    I have found a few in addition to Giron that are not on that chart. I guess the hard part is defining "trained under" if you know what I mean. You may be right in regards to your claims. I am simply passing on what I have been told from several sources. Anyone who knows for sure if a part of that chart can be altered, by all means speak up =)

  11. Buwaya

    Buwaya Senior Member

    The chart signifies only how the Ilustrisimo line of Eskrima relates to Inosanto blend. Its an old chart thats been floating around for a while.

    If it signified all of Guro Dan's influences you would see individuals like Manong Sam Tedencia, GT Gaje and others.
  12. Toasty

    Toasty New Member

    Gotcha! Thanks...
  13. jwinch2

    jwinch2 Member

    I'm going to try a little bit of thread necromancy here and see if anyone has a link to a chart with all of the influences identified. I found one in a web search a while back but now can't seem to find it again that I am looking for it (of course)...


  14. Just found this thread....

    The Villabrille family and the Ilustrisimo family are both from Bantayan Island, Cebu so it is likely that they cross-trained more than a teacher / student relationship.

    According to "Cebuana Eskrima: Beyond the myth" Floro's Grand-father, Vincent Villabrille, was a Master Fencer and "Ginunting" stylist so I think he provided the base for the Villabrille family.
  15. jwinch2

    jwinch2 Member

    I also wanted to follow up on the original poster's question about specific aspects of contributing arts. For example, can anyone fill in the gaps on which parts of which arts were blended together to form what we see today?
  16. Epa

    Epa Member

    Just to warn you, this is a long post.

    When I posted a response to OP's question, I avoided the question about identifying specifically what came from John Lacoste because it is a really hard question to answer. I still don't think I'm much closer to being able to break it down comprehensively, but I thought I'd give it a shot. If anyone has anything to add, I'd appreciate their insight.

    Before presenting my take, I think it's important to explain why it is a hard question to answer precisely. I think there are three main reasons: 1) overlap between FMA styles 2) Guro Dan's habit of mixing systems freely (and remixing over time) and 3) the depth of knowledge Lacoste had.

    First, examples of overlap are all over the Filipino Martial Arts. A lot of striking patterns are found across different systems, such as the X, upward X, abaniko combinations, and Sinawali combinations. Individual systems often have subtle differences, but nobody really owns the pattern. For that matter, many systems will often perform the same basic pattern different ways and any of these variations may overlap with another style. Striking patterns are just one example, but if you look at anything from techniques, drills, training methods you will see overlap between FMA systems just like you would for karate styles or anything else.

    Second, Guro Dan teaches a mixed system of Filipino Martial Arts so you typically do not get a good look at a single system that goes into the mix. He does not typically break down the differences between the component systems in detail, though he will talk about this if asked. He will sometimes make off hand comments like "Lacoste used this method, Tuhon Gaje uses this method," but that information is pretty much randomly distributed through his teaching and could not be considered a systematic discussion of the differences between styles.

    Furthermore, he does not often pull a drill or set of techniques he teaches from a single source system. So he may be using terminology from one group, in the shell of a drill from another, and finishing with a technique from the third with his own personal flourish on top of that. Again, he may explain where all of the pieces come from and he may not. This makes dissecting the component systems tricky and even though it is something I have tried to do by taking note of when he references different source systems I don’t think I have a comprehensive understanding of how he mixes them.

    Finally, from what I can tell based on Guro Dan’s stories, Lacoste had a lot to teach. Guro Dan learned a lot of it, though not everything (for example Lacoste never taught him his hilot system). Lacoste’s system incorporated many weapons, empty hands including striking and grappling, as well as some cultural aspects. Lacoste traveled across the Philippines and trained with many different groups and created his own personal mix of styles. My impression is that Guro Dan only teaches parts of the system so there is a lot of stuff Lacoste may have taught him that he has never covered in depth with his instructors. With all that being said, here's my understanding of what differentiates Lacoste's method from others.

    He freely blended Northern and Central Filipino systems (eskrima/arnis) with Southern systems (kuntao and silat). This gives the movement more of a silat feel than many FMA systems. I think the most notable part is the willingness to drop low to the ground and move from there, like in Harimau. Guro Dan always said Lacoste could move as well of his back as he could on his feet. So the low methods of FMA Guro Dan references are at least partially from Lacoste, I think they are seen other systems as well like Villabrille. The drills he described to train Lacoste’s footwork contain a lot of harimau postures and squatting postures, along with more typical upright footwork. However, I don’t think he teaches this material very often both because of his age and the fact that few people in his seminars and classes could train it to the point where it was functional.

    Lacoste was also a boxing trainer so I think he was one of the boxing influences on Guro Dan as well as people like Lucky Lucaylucay. The way Guro Dan mixes his kickboxing and silat is probably influenced by Lacoste who practiced and taught Guro Dan both types of fighting. The big technical difference between Guro Dan’s method is probably in the kicking since he says he likes Muay Thai kicking over the Filipino methods. So I am guessing Lacoste’s blend was more hand oriented with some low line kicking. With regard to mixing kickboxing and silat, I think Lacoste was an influence, but a lot of the structure of the current Majapahit system actually comes from Guro Dan, particularly the way he blends silat sweeping in with kickboxing entries.

    I think Guro Dan has modified a lot of the older drills and techniques taught by Lacoste and others because of the differences in training environments. Guro Dan has said that Lacoste generally taught in small groups and would try to get around and work with every student individually. Guro Dan teaches large classes and seminars where it is not feasible to get a lot of personal time with a student. This has probably led to modifying the teaching and training methods to make them more streamlined for a class. So longer sequences where an experienced player guides a less experienced player were displaced by more stream-lined drills. Also, a lot of the free flow training was probably dropped out because it is hard to teach a large group.

    As an example of how older drills were modified, you can look at the Lacoste’s system abecedario drill. The traditional abecedario contains a set counter to each of the basic twelve angles of attack (i.e., inside deflection against an angle1). Each angle has twelve counters making for a total of 144 techniques. Guro Dan has never taught this in seminars that I know of probably because it would overwhelm people even more than the stream lined version of counters he teaches. Now a lot of the 144 techniques are taught in seminars through other drills, such as entries to disarms or in the pieces of sumbrada sets, but they are not taught in the traditional progression.

    Along with drawing from the body of techniques and drills Lacoste taught, I think Guro Dan took ideas on how to organize systems and some of the FMA cultural history from Lacoste. This is mostly guesswork on my part, but the 12 areas in the system match up with a lot of the different skills he described Lacoste demonstrate, even down to the obscure areas like knife throwing. Furthermore, I think I have heard him reference Lacoste’s method when teaching in each area. He does not do this for all of the FMA system.

    With the cultural aspect, I think Lacoste definitely had an influence because he taught Guro Dan about the connections between traditional dancing and martial arts as well as skills like hilot. To see this folk dancing element, you can watch Lacoste do Carenza on the Dog Brothers video the Grandfather’s speak. His movement has a dancing quality to it that is different than most people I have seen shadow box with a stick. The traditional salute he teaches along with the oracion presented in his Filipino Martial Arts book come from Lacoste as well, though several of his teachers also discussed issues like oracion and anting anting from what I can tell.

    In looking at specific aspects of FMA training, I will just mention a few things that have stood out to me. Lacoste had a slightly different approach to single stick than some of his peers. According to Guro Dan, many of that older generation (i.e., Constabulary and World War 2 veterans) preferred to have a blade mindset for all of their single stick training. Many of them trained him never to grab the weapon and would not teach disarms like the snake. However, Lacoste separated his sword system and his stick system because he thought it was worthwhile to learn both because if you are fighting a stick you might want to grab it. Guro Dan has been teaching some of this stick trapping material alongside some of the Balintawak drills in recent seminars.

    With regard to knife, Lacoste taught double knives first to educate both the right and the left hand simultaneously and then moved on to single knife. Guro Dan said other teachers often went single to double. With regard to stick and dagger, several of the tie ups Guro Dan teaches come from Lacoste, though some also come from Villabrille and possibly Doce Pares. I suspect many of the counters to these tie ups also come from Lacoste. As you get into the nitty gritty of techniques it gets hard to separate cleanly as I have mentioned before.

    Lacoste also encouraged Guro Dan’s openness to different styles because he required Guro Dan to study with five other FMA teachers before they began training together. His method also encouraged some experimentation. For example, he said that to figure out techniques Guro Dan should just get his senior students and work through them slowly. Through this slow thoughtful drilling, they could develop their own solutions to problems that occur. Anyone who has trained with Guro Dan can see this emphasis on experimentation and creation in martial arts.

    The final thing I am aware of about Lacoste’s system is some of the conditioning he had people do. A lot of his low footwork served as conditioning training and anyone who has done harimau for an extended period of time can respect how hard it can be. One of Guro Dan’s students said that before Lacoste would teach you knife, he wanted you to be able to do punyo push ups and back bridges with the tips of the stick to make sure your wrists were strong enough. Finally, if you look at Guro Dan’s old FMA book the little bio on Lacoste mentions him talking about different exercises to the interviewer. So I think he may have had some unique ideas on conditioning.

    These observations on the Lacoste system are primarily from my notes and observations in training with Guro Dan and one of his students who also trained with Lacoste. Unfortunately, Lacoste did not train a lot of people and passed on instructorship to even fewer. I believe all of the people he formally acknowledged as instructors have passed away aside from Guro Dan as most of them were older than Guro Dan.

    Also, if someone can explain how to upload visio file, I could post a lineage I made similar to the one that was linked in this thread. It may not be identical, but I have checked it over with Guro Dan and he said it was pretty accurate.

  17. jwinch2

    jwinch2 Member

    Fantastic post. Thanks for that!
  18. jwinch2

    jwinch2 Member


    If you still have that file regarding Guro Dan's influences, I would love to see it. If you can't post it here you could e-mail it to me if you like and I will see about converting it to a forum friendly format.

    Thanks again for all of your help and your information in this thread. Really great stuff!

  19. Not sure I've heard of a direct 5. There might have been some hints in that book written about him. I might have some other resources too from some other JKD instructors. You can check out some of the interviews I've done with top JKD instructors at

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