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Balintawak Arnis


Why Balintawak Arnis?

In Balintawak, the stick is only used to enhance and train the individual for bare hands fighting, and to achieve perfection in the art of speed, timing and reflexes necessary to acquire defensive posture and fluidity in movement. It aims to harness one’s natural body movement and awaken one’s senses to move and react. It guarantees its practitioner to experience a revelation in the fundamentals of street fighting.[3] Twelve basic strikes: Left temple, right temple, right floating ribs/kidney, left floating ribs/kidney, navel, genital area, left breast, left knee, right knee, right eye, left eye, crown of head.


In 1932, the Doce Pares Club was formed, composed of eskrimadors from the Saavedra and the Cañete family. This was headed by Lorenzo Saavedra. Venancio Bacon was among the first members of the Doce Pares Club and became one of its best fighters. According to an interview in Bladed Hand, a Filipino documentary about Filipino martial arts, Grandmaster Ciriaco "Cacoy" Cañete said that Bacon was among the best fighters in the Doce Pares Club, second only to "Doring" Saavedra.

Bacon eventually left the Doce Pares Club, citing skepticism of the system's combat effectiveness. Per information provided by T. Buot, the reason why V. Bacon did not rejoin the Doces Pares group as he felt that his alone vote would not have any weight against the Canete family. In the 1950s, together with Delfin López Timoteo Maranga and others, Bacon established a new club, calling it the Balintawak Street Self-Defense Club. The newly formed club started training in the backyard of a watch shop owned by Eduardo Baculi, one of Bacon’s students, in the titular street, a small side street in the Colon St. area.

During the 1950s and 1960s, eskrimadors from various camps, mainly Doce Pares and Balintawak, tested each other’s skills in all-out challenges, sometimes by arrangement and sometimes by ambush, often resulting in injuries and, more rarely, deaths. In one such ambush, Venancio Bacon was caught in the dark while walking to his home in Labangon, and killed his assailant by snapping his spine.[1] Bacon was tried and imprisoned, with the judge ruling that Bacon’s martial arts skills could be considered a lethal weapon[1] and should have been used with restraint. While in prison, he recruited further students, including Bob Silver Tabimina. Upon his release on parole in the mid-1970s, Bacon returned to Cebu and Balintawak. He did not resume leadership, but did regularly attended training sessions conducted by José Villasin and Teofilo Velez until his death a few years later. Per Buot, both Bacon and Buot were always welcome at many of the Doces Pares homes. 

Later, some of Bacon's successors soon began to systematize the Balintawak curriculum. One was José Villasin, a self-defense instructor at University of Visayas who grouped the techniques in various categories so his students could master one set of techniques and then move to the next set of related techniques. Jose Villasin also teach the "Traditional Balintawak System" the old method of Balintawak System to few of his chosen student. At this point, several distinct schools of Balintawak emerged teaching the "grouping method".

While those like Villasin taught using the "grouping method", some of Bacon’s students and his associates continued to teach in the (Traditional System) old method of random instruction.

Today, there are a number of Balintawak groups teaching different versions of the system. Most instructors use the "grouping" method for teaching the techniques while others continue to teach in the traditional way, as Bacon used to teach.