My first Filipino Martial Arts system was Doce Pares Eskrima, or more specifically the Grandmaster Cacoy Canete System of Doce Pares Eskrima. I was a student of the Patalinghug family in Maryland, however when my wife and I decided to move cross country I had to find other instructors to learn from. My first mission was simply to visit and hopefully meet Guro Dan Inosanto, which I soon did. My second was to continue my training in Doce Pares, and within a few months I began training under Guro Ramon Rubia.
For those of you that do not know, Doce Pares was founded as an organization and was not in it’s inception a particular system or style. Each of the greatest Eskrima fighters and masters at the time (1932) sought to bring forth their own strengths and provide a comprehensive showcase that would demonstrate the best Cebu had to offer. While Guro Ramon and his wife Guro Eva Canete had been trained in the more modern “kurbada” style of today’s Doce Pares curriculum, Guro Ramon had maintained his studies directly under Grandmaster (GM) Momoy Canete and his original disciples in the Philippines. This was the “old style” of Doce Pares, largely blade influenced and incorporating wide yet very mobile footwork, throwing knives and a long and heavy whip made from Manila rope. GM Momoy became known for using a keep cross step motion that mirrored depictions of the Archangel St. Michael defeating the fallen angel Lucifer and so his particular expression of fighting came to be known as San Miguel Eskrima.
Footage of GM Momoy is quite rare, and instructors who have trained under him and his core students are few and far between. Guro Ramon continues his training and his one of the few individuals who have had this privilege, and can demonstrate the finer details of San Miguel Eskrima. Below is a clip of GM Momoy, demonstrating use of footwork, the flywheel and florete (floating sword) styles, whip, throwing knives and baston y daga (stick and dagger) lock up techniques.