Interview with San Miguel Eskrima Grandmaster Federico Mendoza Jnr. Cebu City, Philippines – Sunday 17th June 2007 Interview conducted by: Master Anton St’James Translation by: Mitzi Codilla NOTES: Grandmaster Mendoza was given the interview questions in advance and was asked to provide a written answer to each question. This transcript contains additional information not included in the video interview due to time constraints and download size restrictions. ASJ GM Mendoza could you tell us at what age you first started martial arts training? GM I started my martial arts training when I was still at an early age of 12 years old studying under Grandmaster ‘Momoy’ Canete. ASJ How old were you when you started Eskrima? GM I was 14 years old when I started training Eskrima under the guidance of ‘Momoy’ Canete. ASJ I understand that your Father was a keen martial artist, could you tell us a little about him and his martial arts? GM My father started training in martial arts under GM ‘Momoy’ Canete in the late 1950’s training in the disciplines of Combat Judo and Eskrima. My father was the one who introduced me to Eskrima and allowed me to train under GM ‘Momoy’ at an early age. My father still kept on practicing martial arts until the later years of his life. ASJ You trained under GM ‘Momoy’ Canete for many years, can you tell us what training was like back in the early days. GM Training in the early days when I started was quite different compared to now, because before we don’t have a gym yet where we can practice, we just make use of any open space that we can find that was large enough to practice on. Also, back in the early days we practice for long hours everyday, we often practice about 6 hours everyday starting in the afternoon about 1.00pm – 2.00pm and then training at night time as well. ASJ Did you ever compete? GM The first time I competed was in 1975 in the first NARAPHIL tournament and again in 1979. ASJ What was competition like back then? GM It was tough, the armour was very thin and not like it is today, the arm covers were only short and there were no gloves yet. ASJSo, many bruises then… GM Well, that would depend, if they defend themselves then yes there would be. ASJ You will have seen many changes and developments within the Doce Pares school over the years could you give us your view on this? GM Yes there have been many changes. When we started Grandmaster ‘Momoy’ had a rule “NO Alcohol” so we were not allowed to drink. Even up until today, many of the older players do not drink. ASJ Across the world there are many schools and organizations calling themselves Doce Pares, what do you think of this? GM That is ok, if they have trained in Doce Pares then they can open up their own school and teach. ASJ Before his death many foreign students traveled to the Philippines to train under GM ‘Momoy” Canete in the San Miguel Style, could you name some of those that you have helped train. GM Yes, these were the students of Grandmaster ‘Momoy’ There was; Tom Bisio, Mark Saltsman, John Wilson, Vince Black, Ron & Russ Harris, Tony Jones, Pip Padomant, Sylve Parent, Robin Gulf, Agapito Gonzales, Juliane Glase, Glen Dame, Mia Wolfe, Anthony Williams and Ralf Hamrick. These are who I remember. ASJ Across the globe there are a number of schools and organizations teaching San Miguel Eskrima do you think GM ‘Momoy’ would have approved of this? GM Yes I think GM ‘Momoy’ would have approved that San Miguel Eskrima is being taught across the world, because GM ‘Momoy’ always wanted to spread San Miguel Eskrima around the world. But GM ‘Momoy’ would only approve if the original San Miguel Eskrima that he had developed is the one being taught in these schools. ASJ Within the San Miguel and Espada y Daga systems there are a wide variety of training sets and different weapons used, could you tell us a little bit about these and which area is your favorite. GM Grandmaster ‘Momoy’ Canete only used the 32inch garotte (stick) and always encouraged his students to use the same. Then there is the daga, the stick and the daga are usually used together. These are the basic weapons of San Miguel and Spada y Daga system. Then there is the Ananangkil, a 47 inch rattan pole sometimes diamond shaped. This is held in both hands and is used for long range fighting. Then we have the Kadena (chain), about 5 feet long either single or dos armas (double). The Latigo (bullwhip), made of abacca fibers weaved together, this is for training accuracy. The Bangkaw, a 6 foot wooden pole with a pointed metal tip at one end is also for long range fighting, then the throwing knife also for training accuracy. I don't really have a favorite but I like the Spada y Daga (stick & dagger) and the Kadena, but I can use all the weapons. ASJ The San Miguel form is considered the center piece of the San Miguel Eskrima System, could you tell us how the form came about and some of the special features of the San Miguel Form. GM First of all the name San Miguel was derived from the Archangel Michael, because he was the favorite of GM ‘Momoy’ because he always carries a sword. GM ‘Momoy’ believed that Saint Michael is an eskrimador, so when GM 'Momoy’ began to develop his style he named it San Miguel Eskrima. The San Miguel form (style) is always executed with two people, one the attacker while the other will use San Miguel to defend and counter attack at the same time. If the San Miguel is executed by only one person, that is Sayaw (dance) and not the San Miguel Style. Everything that GM ‘Momoy’ created in Eskrima, from strikes, attacks, defence and footwork are all found in the San Miguel form. The San Miguel Form is considered to be GM ‘Momoy’s’ masterpiece. ASJ What are your hopes for the future of San Miguel Eskrima? GM I hope that the Original San Miguel will spread all around the world, there are only a few original students of Grandmaster ‘Momoy’ left, it is up to us to help spread San Miguel and to do justice to the style of Grandmaster ‘Momoy’ Canete. ASJ Grandmaster, I understand that you are having uniforms made for your organization, could you tell us about these please? GM Yes, at the moment I have uniforms being designed and made, they are based on the original uniform worn by Grandmaster ‘Momoy’ hopefully, and if you interview me again I will be wearing the new uniform. ASJ Grandmaster Mendoza, Thank you for taking the time to do this interview. GM Salamat, thank you. A video version of this interview is available on YouTube. Interview Part 1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0wqXgo6xaLU Interview Part 2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yOSxkk-ahHk Interview Part 3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gu2wiQ0XRzc A second interview with Grandmaster Mendoza covering additional aspects of his life & training under Grandmaster ‘Momoy’ Canete and events that took place over the years plus details of his new World Organization for San Miguel and Spada y Daga System will be published soon.