This Article was written by Dante Arcilla Jr, grandson of the late Doce Pares Grandmaster Ninong Arcilla.
Eskrima has been the most prominent of all indigenous martial arts. For hundreds of years, our forefathers have used it in carving out our history. In 1932, Doce Pares was founded with the Cañete brothers and came an age of renaissance for eskrima.
The youngest of the Canete brothers, Ciriaco “Cacoy” became easily their best fighter. Grandmaster Cacoy, however was not contented. Being an expert in Judo, Jujitsu and Aikido, he began incorporating the techniques of these various martial arts. Mixing and developing what we know now as Eskrido. Since the late 1950′s Grandmaster Cacoy has been breathing life into and nurturing the new martial art and surely now we see that it is alive!
The transition from eskrima – the art of utilizing the stick as a weapon, to eskrido-making the stick a part of your body and your body now becomes the whole weapon was painstaking but very rewarding – As Grandmaster Cacoy never lost a single challenge and have always managed to make each match easier for him.
Now, the art of Eskrido is so alive as attested by those who practice it. Eskrido is not merely studied, lectured or taught. It is lived. No one would ever assimilate the system of Eskrido without practicing it and applying it – living it. It is so alive that it shows every practitioner a new thing to learn everyday.
Even the great Grandmaster Cacoy attests that he is learning everyday. His continuous learning is manifested by his sparring demonstrations which show how much better he gets everyday. A clear illustration that the life of Eskrido flows in him that he gets to defy time. Age and physical limitations hardly apply when you are one with the living art.
As Grandmaster Cacoy gets better through the art, the art thus gets more powerful through him. His students can only strive to assimilate the life of Eskrido into their systems so it may live in all the practitioners and thus grow further.
We must take note and appreciate the hard work and dedication the pioneer of Eskrido has invested. We must take note of the daily rigorous and painful practice in the development and research of the system. As all practitioners could attest, the several injuries invested into it. This is one of the biggest reasons why Eskrido is so powerful.
As we all strive to learn the art of Eskrido, let us not forget that learning this art is not about watching the videos, memorizing techniques, reading books or teaching. It is about understanding what it is, giving what it requires and living its practices. But it cannot be achieved without Discipline, Dedication, Patience, Hard Work, Humility and Service.
We pay homage to Grand Master Cacoy for almost single-handedly carrying the life of this amazingly powerful and living martial art and crossing generations to us.
Posted on February 02, 2012 - 05:30 PM- Updated on February 29, 2012 - 10:12 AM