A Brief History of Balintawak to the uk




The following is a brief overview of the history of the Balintawak system of Arnis and its route to the United Kingdom. The system is always connected to Grandmaster Venancio Anciong Bacon seen traditionally as the founder.

The Balintawak system is a comparatively recently conceived Martial art, born as a product of upheavals within the Martial arts community of the Philippines and the loss of notable Masters after the second world war.

G. M. Venancio Anciong Bacon with others began training in Cebu in 1951, at premises on Balintawak Street; eventually the street name became synonymous with the style. Grandmaster Venancio Anciong Bacon had a small group of long-term students who brought to the group, their experiences of other styles of martial arts.

These students included Timoteo Maranga, Jose Villasin, Teofilo Velez, Arnulfo Mongcal and Johnny Chuiten. As a result though it is seen that Grandmaster Venancio Anciong Bacon was the leader, the other players researched and taught amongst themselves. Therefore the group became a proactive research organisation for Philippine Martial Arts. This period is widely known as the Arnis / Escrima Golden Age. 


Jose Villasin was the driving force behind the grouping method of instruction, being a lawyer enabled him to analyse G.M. Venancio Anciong Bacon movement and techniques and break them down into a more easily learnt system.

 Teofilo Velez was a student of Venancio Anciong Bacon and would have been taught in the original way, however Teofilo Velez did adopt the grouping method of instruction that Jose Villasin developed from the G.M. Venancio Anciong Bacon free flowing instruction. It was also said that this form of training involved being hit and pain made you remember and double your efforts to defend. 

Bobby Taboada was born in Cebu on 6th November 1948 and trained as a live in student with G.M. Teofilo Velez, he also trained under G.M. Jose Villasin and was checked and taught by G.M. Venancio Anciong Bacon. Balintawak Arnis arrived in the United Kingdom as a result of Alan Jones and Richard Cotterill training with Master Willie Lim in America. During this time Bobby Taboada a good friend of Master Lim was mentioned in relation to stick fighting. Through this connection  Bobby Taboada was invited to the United Kingdom and this was the beginning of  Balintawak here in the United Kingdom.

Alan Jones and Richard Cotterill with a small group, primarily Ian Hallam and Bill Murray organised a short seminar tour to introduced this dynamic art to the martial arts fraternity in the uk. Bobby Taboada  conducted further seminars the  group  in the following years.

Our training continued for the next ten years much of which powered by our own research and commitment to the art of balintawak.  despite the distance we had always wanted to experience training with  sir bob tabimina as had been recommended by bobby taboada in the early years.

sir Bob Tabimina was born 20 march 1950 in iligan city. His balintawak teachers were teofilo velez, jose villasin and timoteo maranga before training exclusively with anciong bacon the founder of the system.

sir bob asked to be tested by anciong and found it difficult to cope with the varied attacks produced by anciong. this despite being trained in the original and authentic system, anciong revealed that his system had evolved and this change was the cause of bobby having such difficulty defending anciong’s attacks.

after this initial period bob trained in the enhanced version of balintawak which anciong had developed during his time in prison. bob became one of the few people to become proficient in this enhanced version of anciong’s balintawak. 

jonny ripley one of our group made  a trip to florida where he was able to train with chad tabimina while visiting a friend.

thanks to johnny  and chad we were able to  arrange training with sir bob tabimina, and experience his unique insight into balintawak directly and through him see the true genius of anciong bacon.     

our training has evolved to a different level of  discovery and self mastery under the guidance of sir bob and continues to move forward. 



Gratefully received conversations with Bobby Taboada

Warrior Arts of the Philippines.             By Reynaldo S. Galang.

History of the Balintawak style.            www.necopa.de

Thanks to Guru Krishna Godhania for his help and insights.

we wish to express our thanks and continued support to sir bob tabimina

and all the family