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“Reflecting on my Balintawak Eskrima Journey: Two Decades and Counting”

Today, I celebrate 23 fulfilling years of honing my skills in Balintawak Eskrima, an enriching journey that began under the meticulous guidance of the late Professor Presas. His nurturing hand prepared me for this transformative voyage long before I embarked on it, shaping my understanding of the original Tapi – Tapi from the mid-80s, known today as the footwork-less Seguidas of Balintawak.

It was under the Professor’s wing that I was introduced to the esteemed GM Ted Buot, a protege of Balintawak’s founder, Anciong Bacon, and a name synonymous with this martial art form. The Professor’s advice still echoes in my ears, nudging me to train with Manong Ted if I truly aspired to become an accomplished stick fighter.

The question that often arises is, why would the Professor steer me towards Balintawak Eskrima? The answer is simple. It was the final martial art form he mastered before sculpting his masterpiece, Modern Arnis. The profound influence of Balintawak Eskrima shaped him into the revered fighter we remember today. I consider myself privileged to have been part of the select few chosen by the Professor to undertake this enlightening journey.

It was not just about enriching my understanding of our system, but also about playing an instrumental role in research and development, helping the Professor recall his learnings from GM Bacon. This brings us to another question. Why this approach if Modern Arnis was a standalone art? The answer once again is simple. For most, Modern Arnis served as a supplementary or tertiary system. However, I was among the few who trained it as the standalone program it is. With my school and network growing, the Professor sought to offer advanced material for those immersed deeply in his system. And this material would be drawn from Balintawak Eskrima.

As I pause to express my gratitude, GM Remy, who set me on this path in the 80s, comes first to mind, followed by Manong Ted, who educated me in the traditional Filipino method as taught to GM Remy. Lastly, I want to thank GM Bobby Taboada for his mentorship and for helping me grasp the grouping methodology’s nuances within the Balintawak family tree.

Continuing my Balintawak training provides valuable insights into the making of the Professor as one of the world’s most respected Eskrimadors and uncovers the roots of some key concepts that led to the creation of Modern Arnis. The saying holds, “To foresee one’s future, you must understand the past.” My heartfelt thanks to everyone who has guided me on this path.

Datu Tim Hartman
World Modern Arnis Alliance

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