Eskrima under the Sun By Michael Davitt, Guild Historian
Tracy, California, USA
On June 1st, 2013, The Visayan Eskrima Guild offered its second Filipino martial arts seminar. The seminar was held at Williams Martial Arts Academy, formally hosted by Grandmaster Wade Williams and his son, Professor Keenan Williams. In attendance were three other Founding Plank Holders of the Guild – Visayan Style adepts Steve Magness, Chris Suboreau, and George Yore, as well as, Cody Andrade – recently certified by the Guild as a Guro. Grandmaster Williams’ wife Anna, made certain that all preparations were attended to with great care for the potluck meal that was to follow an enjoyable day of training in the blistering sun.
A hot day in the valley – this event, despite temperatures in the 90’s was well attended by enthusiastic participants set to work the curriculum of the day – the Visayan Style Corto Kadena & Larga Mano Eskrima system founded by Grandmaster Sonny Umpad harmoniously merged with Grandmaster Angel Cabales’ Serrada Escrima system in our Guild style blend – these two arts complement each other in a beautiful way.
Taking the reigns as lead instructor for the day was Maestro George Yore, the author of, Sonny Umpad’s Eskrima: The Life and Teachings of a Filipino Martial Arts Master. Berkeley: Blue Snake Books, 2012. His work is the most comprehensive book written about Grandmaster Umpad and his eskrima system. Visit www.bluesnakebooks.com to obtain your copy of this martial arts gem that has garnered 5 stars from customer reviews on Amazon.
The training began with Visayan Style “Moro-Moro” footwork and its applicable body mechanics. This method of footwork deployment was new for many in attendance; however, the flavor was there for those willing to do the homework. Single stick applications ruled the day during this FMA workshop – direct thrusts and efficient strikes, blocks and counters were given their due. In drilling, the instructors sought to reinforce proper footwork, flanking the opponent, and maintaining alert awareness of one’s surroundings, as essential keys to bear in mind during the execution of eskrima. The pinute short sword was deployed from time-to-time in order to reinforce the blade roots of our arts.
In accord with our previous seminar, the instructors of The Visayan Eskrima Guild saw to it that all participants had a grasp of FMA material that can be trained and incorporated into their own respective arts. The Guild may offer another seminar in 2013. Please refer to our Seminar Schedule and Current Events pages for more information about future events. As always, we warmly extend our thanks to our brothers of arnis, eskrima and kali for their support of The Visayan Eskrima Guild. We look forward to working together again in the future.