FMA Circle of Negros Island, Philippines FMA Circle of Negros Island, Philippines

Monday, October 31, 2005


Grandmaster Jerson "Nene" Tortal (seated) of dekiti tirsia sirradas with the visiting American instructors.

Mike and May Williams of the Martial Arts Research Institute Arts of Southeast Asia (from left) togetherw with Francis Stephen A. Diaz of the Conceptual Martial Arts Society.

Assistant Instructor Ruth Carr (kneeling) and Kevin Pence Sr. Sensei, founder of Pence Defense Kempo (PDK), in action.


With the current phenomenal development, growth and flourishing of the various martial arts in the province, all roads seem to be heading to the island formerly known as Buglas. Over the past few years, different masters and instructors had traveled to Bacolod and/or Negros to introduce and spread their respective arts in the region.

Among these men were Alvin Aguilar of Manila (DEFTAC/Gracie Jiu-jitsu), R. Jun Batobalani Shihan of Urdaneta City (6th dan Aikikai, Dangayan Singkaw-Aikido Shinzui Group), Ramon S. Franco Shihan of Tacloban City (6th dan Philippine Karatedo Federation), Fukakusa, Motohiro Shihan of Thailand (7th dan Aikikai, Aikido Association of Thailand), Director Orlando Garpa of Tigbauan (Philippine Pencak Silat Association), Master Lee of South Korea (7th dan Kukkiwon, World Taekwondo Mission Federation), Head Coach Yu Zhi Bo of Beijing, China (Wushu Federation of the Philippines), etc.

The current “Negros Martial Arts Renaissance Era” experienced by the martial arts community is like no other in decades past. Unlike years gone by, more and more arts are being introduced to the public and there is more open mindedness in the study of various arts.

The Renaissance Era also saw the research, revival, systematization, documentation, and popularization of the various indigenous Filipino martial arts including but not limited to the Guarra and Togle styles of modern arnis, Lapu-Lapu Viñas arnis, oido de caburata, original Filipino tapado, Vasquez modified tapado, Yasay sable, etc.

On the other side, many instructors and students of the Filipino martial arts travel to Negros to experience first hand the source of the region’s indigenous arts. Among those who visited in the last few years were Bud Balani of the USA (FMA), Cecile Ferrer of Manila (Kalimasada), Krishna Godhania of UK (warriors escrima), John Lopton of the USA (karate), etc.


The latest to visit Negros is the Massachusetts-based Martial Arts Research Institute (MARI, established 1989)/Arts of Southeast Asia (established 1996) group headed by Guro Michael and May Williams. The Williams couple organized the Fall 2005 Southeast Asia Training Trip, which run from October 7-24, 2005 and included Indonesia and the Philippines.

Guro Michael and May Williams are certified instructors in dekiti tirsia siradas under Grandmaster Jerson “Nene” Tortal of Talisay City and certified tui na and chi kung therapists under Master Tom Tam.

Guro Mike Williams is also a 5th degree black belt in Amok! Tribal Art of the Blade under Prof. Tom Sotis, 1st degree black belt in modern arnis under Master Alix Lavaud and Grandmaster Remegio A. Presas, and black belt in soo bahk do under Master Doris Beaven and Grandmaster Hwang Kee. Guro May V. Williams, originally of Ma-ao, Bago City, is the only certified oido de caburata instructor in the U.S.A. under Grandmaster Abraham T. Gubaton, also of Ma-ao, Bago City and has at least 5 years training in Wing Chun under her husband, Jim Roselando Sifu, and Henry Mui Sifu.

The others in the group were Kyushin ryu kenpo jujutsu founder and MARI/ASA Senior Instructor John Savage; MARI/ASA Senior Instructor Ronald Dewhurst; MARI Instructor Kevin Pence Sr. Sensei of Pence Self Defense, 4th degree kempo karate; ASA Assistant Instructors Ruth Carr and Karl Bramer; and Bailey Bramer.

The Southeast Asia Trip kicked off in Jakarta City, West Java, Indonesia where the American instructors stayed at Ikatan Pencak Silat Indonesia (IPSI) and trained under Guru Edward Lebe of Baringin Sakti (Harimau) Pencak Silat. The Williams couple is the East Coast representative of Baringin Sakti and the De Thouars Kuntao Silat of Bapak Willem De Thouars.

Next stop was in Talisay City where they trained in blade work and espada y daga under GM Tortal, president of the Philippine Arnis Kali Escrima Martial Arts Federation International and the World Dekiti Tirsia Siradas Federation. GM Tortal is also the Vice President-North Negros of the Negros Occidental Baston Federation (NOBF) under Grandmaster Atty. Col. Dr. Marcelo C. Jalandoon.

Then they proceeded to Ma-ao, Bago City to study under Grand Patriarch Abraham T. Gubaton and Chief Instructor Grandmaster Sabas T. Gubaton of the Oido de Caburata Arnis Group (ODCA). Assisting in the teaching were ODCA Assistant Chief Instructor Master Reynold Gubaton and Conceptual Martial Arts Society (CMAS)/Guarra Style Modern Arnis and Self Defense Association (GSMASDA) Instructor Francis Stephen A. Diaz of Silay City.

When interviewed, the American instructors expressed their delight to be here in Negros, “where you learn the real essence of the Filipino martial arts in relation to its historical, cultural, geographical, and political environment.” They all agree that the training they had was “a real eye opener and very enriching for the deeper understanding of warrior arts.”

The group’s last stop was Ifugao Mountain Province where they will be researching on the head hunting tribe of the area.


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