Balintawak Eskrima: The Legacy of Masters and the Fusion of Traditional and Modern Training Methods
Balintawak Eskrima, a renowned martial art, has recently gained significant popularity. This art form traces its roots back to Grand Master Anciong Bacon, its founding figure. Over the years, Balintawak Eskrima has been meticulously preserved and disseminated by a lineage of skilled grandmasters. Notably, Grandmasters Bobby Taboada and Nick Elazar have played critical roles in this lineage, focusing primarily on the evolution and refinement of the art’s grouping systems.
Another prominent figure in this lineage is Grand Master Ted Buot, who was recognized as the designated successor of this revered martial arts system. Although he never assumed a formal leadership position, GM Ted Buot was vital in maintaining the legacy of Balintawak Eskrima. He dedicated his life to teaching the art, particularly focusing on the original, ungrouped system as established by GM Anciong Bacon. Under GM Buot’s guidance, the art’s authenticity and traditional integrity were preserved, staying true to Bacon’s original techniques.
To clarify, Balintawak Eskrima has two primary teaching methodologies: the original ungrouped system by Anciong Bacon and the grouping method popularized by Jose Villasin. Bacon’s ungrouped system, which emphasizes scenario-based training with a focus on precision, timing, and strategy, requires one-on-one instruction, limiting its widespread dissemination. On the other hand, Villasin’s grouping method, comprising five pre-arranged sets, is more conducive to teaching larger groups, emphasizing speed and explosiveness.
In my experience, both methods are invaluable. As a personal student of the late Grandmaster Ted Buot and a mentee of GM Bobby in the grouping methodology, I believe that a comprehensive understanding of Balintawak Eskrima requires training in both approaches. Each method offers unique insights and contributes to a fuller understanding of the art. My journey through both methodologies has profoundly impacted my perspective on martial arts, and I am grateful for the knowledge and experience shared by my mentors.
Datu Tim Hartman
World Modern Arnis Alliance