Grouped or Ungrouped

Discussion in 'Balintawak' started by Epa, Oct 18, 2005.

  1. Epa

    Epa Member

    I'm new to Balintawak and I was curious about how different people train the art. I've heard that it is taught either in groupings (mainly students of Jose Villasin and Teofilo Velez) and in a more free flow random way (as Anciong Bacon taught the art).

    I was wondering are all the groupings the same or do different orgs/clubs use different groupings?

    For those of you who may have trained both ways:

    What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of training in the grouped method of Balintawak as opposed to the more random style of teaching?

    Do you think it really matters which way a person is trained or are the two methods interchangable?

  2. Rich Parsons

    Rich Parsons Member

    Hey Eric!

    I have not trained in the grouped method you mentioned. I have trained in the ungrouped method and I enjoy it and find it a way to not fall into patterns but to be able to react or lead the opponent.

    Now to confuse the issue even more, GM Moncal and maybe others have used the term Modified. My understanding via the Late GM Remy Presas and Manong Ted Buot is that the Modified contains techniques or drills that GM Anciong Bacon did not use or teach.

    As to Grouped, I can imagine that it gives people a good series of techniques to practice.

    Looking forward to hearing some feedback from the other groups.
  3. PeteNerd

    PeteNerd Member

    I have explored both methods of teaching and I think it's really a matter of preference, and i'll try to explain it as i understand and also interject a lot of my own opinions. I started trained mostly with Henry Jayme using the Velez grouped method of training but I also visited Bobby Tambina in Manila watched his classes twice and had one lesson with him. He teaches the ungrouped or original method.

    There may be some disagreement but ultimately I think they both achieve the same thing it's just through different routes. The grouped method came out of certain "flows" or series of attacks and counters popping up over and over in the training. Certain things work and others dont. So they invented the groups and made more of a syllabus for the training. There is some speculation this was also done to keep people at certain levels and get more cash out of them before they could proceed to the next level, but I find that idea rather cynical.

    The ungrouped is supposedly all at random, but if you train in both methods you can see that the movements are the same and it's really the same system. People that prefer the ungrouped claim that the grouped method leads to anticipation of movements and attacks and not "pure" reaction to the random stimulus. I can see why they would say that but i tend to disagree somewhat.

    If you train in either method at some point your reaction and application is going to become an instinct or reaction, some sort of zero mind response. Whether you are walked through scenarios that get increasingly faster or you are just exposed to random attacks repeatedly, you will eventually develop the reaction speed and responses.

    I think another issue is the actual instructor. Since the grouped method has more of a structured stimulus and levels and lessons, you don't have to be a master to teach someone. I think that helped with some of the larger groups. For example the senior students could instruct the beginners on some of the lower level lessons, because they had an outline. This left the more experienced instructors to teach the higher level students. If you do the ungrouped method you really need an excellent instructor because you only learn by what they show you. They make their own syllabus as it were and they have to make sure they cover all the bases in the course of your training.

    I also think it's easier to progress as a beginner by studying the grouped method. There is less of a learning curve to getting started.

    Honestly I think a combination of both is the ideal. Start with the grouped and then finish with the original when you really have some skill and familiarity with the system

  4. Rich Parsons

    Rich Parsons Member

    Did you mean Bobby Tabimina?

    If not could you give some back ground on the gentleman you listed?

    Thank you
  5. PeteNerd

    PeteNerd Member

    Yeah, sorry i spelled that wrong. I trained with Henry Jayme at Visayan Martial Arts for a full year while I was in Cebu, PI. I completed the basic and intermediate training in Balintawak and started with the advanced and instructor lessons with him. I also trained in Tat Kun Tou kung, Combat Judo and some knife fighting techniquies with Henry Jayme. Towards the end of my time there I visited Bobby Tabimina in Manila and attended two of his group classes and participated in one. I'm not sure what kind of background you want on these guys, a lot of it is available on the web

    Henry Jayme -
    Bobby Tabimina -

    If you have any other questions about my training or experience, please let me know.

  6. Rich Parsons

    Rich Parsons Member

    No Problem, just asking if there were more people I wanted to learn about :D.
  7. Epa

    Epa Member


    Thanks for the reply. There were a lot of good points. I was wondering how are the individual groupings structured. Do they go through a set number of moves to a finish where one person gets to win or are they sets that go back and forth for a set number of moves without a clear winning move? Also, how long are most of the groupings, a couple of moves or many moves and counter-moves?

    Thanks again,
  8. PeteNerd

    PeteNerd Member

    Okay, the first thing you have to understand is that the training is additive. First you learn the twelve basic strikes, then you learn the twelve basic defenses, then you learn the defenses and counters in order.
    After you are good with that your instructor will do the twelve strikes in random order and you will defend and counter. You just keep working out with them and it goes back and forth. You keep getting faster and faster. You just keep "playing" or sparring until the student either looses control or starts to get winded. At that point the instructor will stop it or disarm the student.
    After you are good at the random stuff then they start adding in the groups. The groups aren't that many movements, basically it's what to do in specific situations that tend to present themselves over and over again. It's really hard to describe the groups without showing them. When you are learning the groups it is just added to the twelve basic at random. You always keep building and practicing what you've done before. I would say most of the intermediate groups are not really long. Basically it shows you how to respond to attacks or situations outside of the twelve basic strikes. What if someone grabs my stick like this? What if they attack like this? What if they block and try to punch with the free hand? Stuff like that. Also in Balintawak there are no "winning moves." Everything has a counter and every counter has a counter. It's all back and forth. You only win if you're opponent is slower or they make a mistake. The groups really get you deeper into the counters, they walk you through things and show you the right ways to respond. It really trains you to make sure your reactions are they right ones.

    When you play or spar with the groups it's the same as before. You work out until you screw up or you get winded. You keep doing stuff at random. Once you know all the intermediate groups it's a lot of fun because there are so many different things your instructor can throw at you. It's amazing how it all just flows and you don't even have to think about it. It's really remarkable. Seeing people who are good at Balintawak spar with each other is really unbelievable.

  9. Rich Parsons

    Rich Parsons Member



    --- Griping the stick; Weight placement;
    --- 1 - 12 striking angles
    --- Abcedario - Blocks and counters to the strikes 1 - 12 always done in numberical order.
    --- Seguidas - the instructor will strike 1 - 12 at the student to get the move, the strikes are in a random fashion, although at first they almost always cause the student to step to help with body mechanics and distancing.

    The Above are the Fundamentals per Manong Ted Buot

    Below is how one continues to progress

    --- Corraidas - The mixing bowl where the instructor will teach a single aka a new technique to the student and then place the student into a position to use the new technique. The timing as well as the technique are worked at the same time.
    --- A concept taught in Corraidas is Lances or the baiting of the opponent
    --- Also how to shift your body and still get the proper body mechanics without executing a step as done in Seguidas.

    --- Cuentada - counting to some - as in guiding the opponent into a series of moves to execute the technique you want. Considered to be only accomplished by skilled practitioners, but depending upon the skill level difference, one can accomplish this against some and not others. The idea is to try to get it to as often as possible :)
  10. PeteNerd

    PeteNerd Member

    Question are Abcedario, Seguidas, Corraidas, Cuentada the terms your instructor uses? I never heard any of those terms before. I know what you are talking about but i never heard any of those terms in the Philippines.

  11. Rich Parsons

    Rich Parsons Member

    I train with Manong Ted Buot. These are the terms that were used with him per GM Anciong Bacon.

    Like I said here and elsewhere, it may not be the same as you have or heard, which does not invalidate the technique or teaching process, it is only different.
  12. PeteNerd

    PeteNerd Member

    I was just wondering. I've heard those terms, but only from people doing arnis or escrima in the states. Just wondering where it came from. Where is Ted Buot? I wouldn't mind meeting him to play just for the fun of it. It's sort of hard to train in the states, because I just practice forms.

  13. Rich Parsons

    Rich Parsons Member

    Manong Ted Buot is in Southfield Michigan. As to meeting him, he follows some of the old ways as in a proper introduction from someone who already knows, even if by phone.

    As to play, he teaches privates only, and that would be a discussion between you and him after an introduction and meeting.

    As to not used in the PI, Manong Ted trained in the PI, taught in the PI. He has been in the US since the early 70's, and has taught here using the same terms I have mentioned above.
  14. PeteNerd

    PeteNerd Member

    How can i get his number or an introduction?


  15. Cruentus

    Cruentus Tactician

    I would say let Rich or myself know when you can come to Michigan, and we could go from there.

    Personally, I am not comfortable giving anyone's number out or making an introduction without meeting that person first. But, I would be happy to introduce someone provided that I have gotten to meet them and all is well with that. It is just that Manong Ted is not a commercial instructor of which I could just make a referal; training with him is very traditional and very personal.

    Just to add something about Cuentada:

    A lot of words in Cebuano and other Filipino languages can have duel meanings, just like English or any language. For example, if someone said I was "cold," that could be refering to my personal demeaner, or my body temperature.

    Cuentada, borrowed from Spanish I believe, means counting. In Cebuano, though, it could also mean to make a prediction. So, you could ask someone counting something, "What is your cuentada?" and he could answer "24." Or, you could say, "What is your cuentada, are the Lions going to win the game?" Meaning, do you predict that the lions will win.

    Anciong considered Cuentada the pinacle of the art. Seeing this, many of the other masters used the word in the name of their art, but most of the other masters refered to it as "counting," in some round about way. Anciong did not mean counting, he meant prediction. In Anciong's Cuentada, he could say, "I'm going to hit you in the wrist," and you would play, and no matter what your defense, he would arrange the situation so that you got hit in the wrist.

    To achieve Anciong's Cuentada, you had to have absolute control and ability to counter anything that your opponent would do. This is why Cuentada, meaning prediction, is the pinacle of Anciong's Balintawak.

    Paul Janulis
  16. Datu Tim Hartman

    Datu Tim Hartman FMA Talk Founder Supporting Member

    You would have to be invited as a visitor first. I have brought people to meet Manong Ted, but have only sponsored two to become part of our family. As far as non-members playing with Manong Ted, to my knowledge it’s not done.

  17. Rich Parsons

    Rich Parsons Member

    As stated by others, we do not just give out anyone's phone number. Not proper etiquette. If you have references from other people who might know him, contact one of us off-line and we can see where it goes.

  18. G22

    G22 -== Banned ==- out someones number without their permission is rude.
  19. PeteNerd

    PeteNerd Member

    Just to be clear I didn't ask anyone for his number or an introduction, I asked HOW I could get his number or an introduction. There is a difference.

  20. Datu Tim Hartman

    Datu Tim Hartman FMA Talk Founder Supporting Member

    Yes there is.


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