Monday, August 30, 2010

GM Leovigildo “Beldong” A. Torres: Old Timer Arnisador from Brgy. Ma-ao by: James U. Sy Jr.

Grandmaster Leovigildo “Beldong” A. Torres of Ma-ao strikes a classic Arnis pose (James U. Sy Jr./CMAS Photo).

Negros is home to countless arnisadors, each one having their own colorful life and contribution to the development and evolution of the indigenous Filipino Martial Arts (FMA) of Arnis/Eskrima in the island. Many of them have passed on and their memories only live in the oral accounts that remain with us today. This article is a biographical piece on one of the few surviving old timers from an era when Arnis was “played” with no protective armor/gear.

was born to Jacinto Seredon Torres, a farmer, and Josefa Yulo Abuyen, a housewife, on July 26, 1926 in Bo. Ma-ao, Bago City, Negros Occidental as the seventh of ten siblings. His other siblings (in this order) werer MNariano, Rosario Torres-Ovario, Edmundo, Thelma Torres-Lo, Guillermo, Rebecca Torres-Alonsagay, Esther Torres-Cruz, Hernani, and Leda Sol.

“Beldong” started his studies of Arnis under Beging Barrera in 1939 when he was 13. His main purpose in studying was for personal protection. Barrera was teaching Arnis in Ma-ao so he stops by Torres’ place twice a week and teaches him too. Barrera taught Torres for free.

From Barrera, Torres learned Espada y Daga “Sword and Dagger,” which was composed of 12 strikes and 12 defenses. Torres also studied Filipino “Judo” or kinamot as a minor subject and supplement to his weapons repertoire. They used lanite sticks during training. His training lasted for a year.

Torres graduated from the Ma-ao Elementary school but was not able to go to high school because World War II erupted.

Just like other arnisadors, Torres went on to pit his skills with other eskrimadors, either in muestrations “demonstration exchanges” or hampang “plays,” to gain more experience. He had crossed sticks with the likes of Ader, Saber Grandmaster Maeng Alvarez, Junior Cañet, Guarra Style Modern Arnis Founder/Grandmaster Estanislao “Eslao” T. Guarra, Oido de Caburata Grandmaster Abraham T. Gubaton, Juan, Fencing Grandmaster Homero Sian, Lapu-Lapu Viñas Arnis Founder/Grandmaster Jose “Joe” Viñas, and other whom GM Torres could no longer remember.

The exchanges and plays between different arnisadors was an important ingredient in the development and evolution of the local Filipino Martial Arts (FMA) of Arnis/Eskrima as the effectivity of various methods are tested, new counters are developed, and cross pollination of techniques are imminent. Styles that were effective in one locality were constantly tested in other places that had their own prominent style(s).

Of the arnisadors he had crossed sticks with, GM Torres is most in awe with the speed and skill of GM Sian. According to him, GM Sian would gather different arnisadors from bago, Silay, and other places up north and spar with them.

GM Torres was employed as the in charge for the fire truck in the mercado since 1954 up to his retirement in 1985. It was in 1957 when he started teaching Arnis to a select few people, about 6 of them members of the fire team.

GM Torres married Quiteria Treoles Tuvilla (1936-1986) and had thirteen children with her, namely Angelita Torres-Gutierrez, Jocelyn Torres-Tindero, Guillermo, Nelsie Torres-Rodrigo, Leovigildo Jr., Rosemarie Torres-Lavarro, Armelito, Leo, Leonil, Jimmy, Lemuel, Leah Torres-Arsoa, and Leocildo.

Today at 84, GM Torres is battling cancer and is being cared for by his family.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Abelardo Jagocoy Sr.: An Arnis Old Timer by: James U. Sy Jr.

Grandmaster Abelardo Jagocoy Sr. (right) demonstrates his technique to his grandson, Grandmaster Felix A. Guinabo (James U. Sy Jr./CMAS photo).

The research by the Conceptual Martial Arts Society (CMAS), Inc. in the past few years showed that many old timer arnisadors of Negros Occidental had already passed away. Nevertheless, the CMAS Documentation Team had successfully recorded the lives of several of those who are still with us, with the hopes that the new generation will take an interest in our own indigenous Filipino Martial Art (FMA) of Arnis/Eskrima and maybe, maybe, learn it from the old men who had immersed themselves in the life long practice of this Filipino martial tradition.

One of these old timers is Abelardo Baga Jagocoy Sr. At age 79, he made his first public demonstration together with his grandson, Grandmaster Felix A. Guinabo, during the 1st GSMASDA-Arjuka-CMAS Arnis Expo last August 1, 2010 at Gaisano City Bacolod Supermall in Bacolod City at the invitation of the Conceptual Martial Arts Society (CMAS), Inc. of Founders/Masters James U. Sy Jr. and Narciso “Hansy” L. Alojado. The event attracted more than 60 arnisadors/eskrimadors from Bacolod City, Bago City, Iloilo City, Murcia, and Pennsylvania, USA representing not less than 19 systems of Western Visayan Arnis/Eskrima.

Abelardo Baga Jagocoy was born to Gervacio Claridad Jagocoy of Sum-ag and Herenia Baga of Bohol on March 31, 1931 in Cansilayan, Murcia. He was the youngest among six siblings which included (in this order) Jose, Perfecto, Marianing, Maming Jagocoy-Cadigal, Petra, and him.

Jagocoy had relatives who were arnisadors, among them Francisco Salanap and Buenaventura “Tora” Salanap. Jagocoy started his studies of Arnis in 1950 under Grandmaster Federico “Peding” Abendan, a student of Grandmaster Abraham T. Gubaton, who is in turn a student of the Founder of Oido de Caburata, the late Grandmaster Antonio “Toñing” Tolosa of Minoyan, and his student, Grandmaster Jose D. Aguilar.

According to Jagocoy, GM Abendan taught him the short stick and called his art Oido. GM Abendan founded the long stickfighting art of Backhand but only did so after studying Oido under GM Gubaton. GM Abendan did not charge Jagocoy for the lessons because they were neighbors and relatives.

The art taught to Jagocoy must have been an earlier version of Oido de Caburata since GM Tolosa was continuously evolving his system up to the 1960’s. Oido de Caburata was founded in 1936.

The next teacher of Jagocoy was Jose “Joe” Mamar, who taught him the two handed stick. According to Jagocoy, Mamar was a student of GM Aguilar. It is not clear whether the long stick art taught to him was Backhand or methodo but it could not have been Original Filipino Tapado since it was only founded by the late Grandmaster Romeo “Nono” C. Mamar in 1960.

Jagocoy later exchanged ideas with other eskrimadors to gain more experience. He never taught because his purpose in studying Arnis was only for self protection. After years of silence, he started teaching his grandson, Grandmaster Felix A. Guinabo, the Founder of Trese Grabes Piga-Piga System.

Jagocoy was among those recognized and honored as Grandmaster of Arnis by the Conceptual Martial Arts Society (CMAS), Inc. and Gaisano City Bacolod Supermall during the Arnis Expo since he holds the link to an earlier version of Oido which helps show how the art had developed through the years when viewed side by side with the Oido that is practiced today.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Arnis Expo @ Gaisano Showcased Different Systems/Styles Part II: The Legacy Continues by: James U. Sy Jr.

The father and son tandem of Jerry P. Divinagracia (right) and Jio C. Divinagracia represented the Bago City-based Oido de Caburata Arnis Group (ODCA) during the 1st GSMASDA-Arjuka-CMAS Arnis Expo last August 1, 2010 at Gaisano Bacolod Supermall, Bacolod City.

Arnis Philippines Bacolod/Negros Occidental Commissioner Danilo “Danny” L. Cardinal and Grandmaster Felix A. Guinabo (2nd and 3rd from left) giving out the awards during the closing ceremonies of the 1st GSMASDA-Arjuka-CMAS Arnis Expo last August 1, 2010 at Gaisano Bacolod Supermall, Bacolod City.

The exhibition of the Guinabo Arnis and Combat Sports (GACS) started with Grandmaster Abelardo Jagocoy Sr., 81, performing the Oido he learned from Grandmaster Federico “Peding” Abendan and Joe Mamar with his grandson Grandmaster Felix A. Guinabo giving the attacks. Then GM Guinabo and Senior Instructor Joselito Guzon showed different aspects of GM Guinabo’s Trese Grabes Piga-Piga System.

Grandmaster Sotero Tario of Bago City, 79, demonstrated his own style, Oido Fencing, with a solo free form. Oido Fencing derives its power strikes from Oido de Caburata and adds to its repertoire thrusting techniques from Negrensanon Saber/Foil

The Bacolod Negros Arnis Federation International, (BNAFI), Inc. of Grandmaster Hortencio “Horten” M. Navales was represented by his sons Masters Prince and Cane Navales. The duo demonstrated abecedario, Balintawak, Batangueña, sinawali, Espada y Daga, and empty hands vs weapons.

1st Generation Inheritor/Grandmaster Benefredo “Bebing” Mamar Lobrido, 60, President of the Bago City-based Original Filipino Tapado Long Stick Fighting Association, demonstrated the higher floating direct hitting techniques of his late uncle Grandmaster Romeo “Nono” C. Mamar’s Original Filipino Tapado with Master Joeffrey S. Deriada of the Conceptual Martial Arts Society (CMAS), Inc. feeding the attacks.

Pastor Romeo N. Gumban, 56, representing the Philippine Integrated Martial Arts Academy-Filipino Tang Soo Do Association (PIMAA-FTSDA), Inc. of Grandmaster Elmer V. Montoyo, demonstrated his combative system of Dumog with roots from Antique. Pastor Gumban, with the help of Founder/Masters James U. Sy Jr. of Conceptual Martial Arts Society (CMAS), Inc., showed defenses against grabs, locks, takedowns, punches, and kicks using leverage throws, body locks, and jointlocks.

The Bago City-based Oido de Caburata Arnis Group (ODCA) came in full force with Patriarch Grandmaster Abraham T. Gubaton, 82, Chief Instructor Grandmaster Sabas T. Gubaton, 72, Masters Jonathan Gubaton and Jose “Joe” Salanap, Mary Camille and Joshelle Gubaton, and father and son Jerry P. and Jio C. Divinagracia. The Divinagracias demonstrated the basics of Oido de Caburata Arnis.

Host Guarra Style Modern Arnis of P/Sgt. (Ret.) Grandmaster Estanislao “Eslao” T. Guarra and Arjuka-Malingin of Grandmaster Isaac “Saac T. Guarra started their exhibition with Real Dennis Guarra, 8 years old, and Richard Guarra, 10 years old, doing the Arjuka-style sinawali. Filton O. Bernadas, Nevelie Flores, John Rey C. Montes, and Ceasar Ian G. Poral demonstrated the 6 stages fundamental with empty hand disarming then proceeded to two-man interactive counter-for-counter form combining strikes, locks, and throws.

Founder/Master Roy R. Flores Sr. and Senior Instructor Jussel Torres of Tribu Hangaway Philippines (THP) performed their own version of the crisscross patterns of the doble baston as well as disarmings.

Host Conceptual Martial Arts Society (CMAS), Inc. of Founders/Masters James U. Sy Jr. and Narciso “Hansy” L. Alojado demonstrated the integrated fundamentals of the Conceptual Arnis System which is a fusion of several Negrosanon systems of Arnis/Eskrima. Master Sy and Manunuon Giovanni S. Mendoza of Pennsylvania showed defensive footwork with the hands tied/sticking, basic parries and defenses and counter strikes, and disarms. Dr. Master Raymund A. Maguad, PTRP, of Murcia and Montano Mondia performed the different ofensa, defense, pangagaw, lubad, and trangkada.

ARNIS PHILS. TOURNAMENT. The Tournament section of the 1st GSMASDA-Arjuka-CMAS Arnis Expo served as a practicum for official-trainees from Arjuka-Malingin and Guarra Style Modern Arnis, who participated in the Arnis Philippines Referee and Judges Officiating Echo Seminar last July 3-4, 2010 and the follow up review last July 18, 2010, both in Bago City, as well as a tune up for the upcoming 2nd UDTA Mayor Evelio “Bing” Leonardia Arnis Cup to be held by the Universal Defensive Tactics Academy (UDTA) of Founder/Chairman Abraham “Abe” Ganzon Jr. on October 2-3, 2010, also at Gaisano City Bacolod Supermall.

Four bouts were contested under the supervision of Arnis Philippines Bacolod/Negros Occidental Commissioner Grandmaster Danilo “Danny” l. Cardinal.

All competitors were from the KaliSilat Arnis Association (KAA) of GM Cardinal except for one. Referee/Judges from Arjuka-Malingin/GSMASDA were Jonar “Open” D. Guarra, Ceasar Ian G. Poral, Windy Lou G. Poral, and Louie A. Terante.

Kei A. Gracias over Kyrle Patrick Gile. Jason Jocson over King joseph Cabiles of Tribu Hangaway. Gorge Estoque over Darwin Dajao. Jefe Pasco over Eugene Pilar.

Arnis Expo @ Gaisano Showcased Different Systems/Styles Part I: Western Visayan Arnis at Its Best by: James U. Sy Jr.

Some of the masters who graced the 1st GSMASDA-Arjuka-CMAS Arnis Expo last August 1, 2010 at Gaisano Bacolod Supermall, Bacolod City (from left): Engr. Niel T. Javellana (Uno Blanco Eskrima, Iloilo City), GM Isaac T. Guarra (Arjuka), GM Benefredo "Bebing" M. Lobrdio (Original Filipino Tapado), GM Sotero Tario (Oido Fencing), Pastor Romeo N. Gumban (Dumog), GM Abraham T. Gubaton (Oido de Caburata), Master Jose "Joe" Salanap (Oido de Caburata), GM Sabas T. Gubaton (Oido de Caburata), and Master James U. Sy Jr. (Conceptual Arnis) (CMAS Photo).

Engr. Niel T. Javellana of Iloilo City (right) demonstrating the powerful strikes of the Uno Blanco System of Eskrima from Panay with the assistance of Master Joeffrey S. Deriada of the Conceptual Martial Arts Society (CMAS), Inc. (CMAS Photo).

Grandmaster Frank Abalajon, 72, demonstrating sinawali from his Abalajon Classical Arnis (CMAS Photo).

The 1st GSMASDA-Arjuka-CMAS Arnis Expo brought together 17 Filipino Martial Arts (FMA) organizations from Western Visayas and gave them a chance to exhibit their particular systems of Arnis last August 1, 2010, 3:00-5:30 PM, at the Atrium Area, Gaisano Bacolod Supermall, Araneta St., Bacolod City.

The event was hosted by Guarra Style Modern Arnis & Self Defense Association (GSMASDA) of P/Sgt. (Ret.) Founder/Grandmaster Estanislao “Eslao” T. Guarra, Arjuka-Malingin of Founder/Grandmaster Isaac “Saac T. Guarra, and Conceptual Martial Arts Society (CMAS), Inc. of Founders/Masters James U. Sy Jr. and Narciso “Hansy” L. Alojado in cooperation with the Negros Occidental Baston Federation (NOBF), Inc., and Arnis Philippines-Bacolod/Negros Occidental Chapter, and Gaisano City Bacolod Supermall represented by Advertising Officer Nomer Q. Lobaton.

More than 60 arnisadors/eskrimadors, aged 6 to 82 years old, from Bacolod City, Bago City, Iloilo City, Murcia, and Pennsylvania, USA gave demonstrations of not less than 19 systems of Western Visayan Arnis/Eskrima as well as compete in four Labanan bouts using Arnis Philippine (ArPi), Inc. rules. Arnisadors from Cebu, Silay, and Talisay Cities were also invited but did not make it to the exposition.

Master Sy, who wrote “100 FMA Systems Practiced in Negros” for Rapid Journal, together with his group mates at Conceptual Martial Arts Society (CMAS), Inc., has always worked hard to bring together martial artists from different disciplines in harmony and to grow together. The event best exemplified this higher philosophy in the martial arts.

Mayor Evelio “Bing” R. Leonardia was invited as the Guest of Honor but was not able to come because of a prior commitment. Grandmaster Col. Atty. Marcelo “Pope” C. Jalandoon, Ph.D., the Founder and retired President of the Negros Occidental Baston Federation (NOBF), Inc., gave the inspirational speech. Other grandmasters were also given the chance to speak.

Founder/Master James U. Sy Jr. was the Event Director and did the legwork and paperwork to help GM Eslao Guarra jumpstart the Negros Occidental Baston Federation (NOBF), Inc. under his administration as president. The Arnis Expo was the first major event held since the retirement of Founder/Grandmaster Col. Atty. Marcelo “Pope” C. Jalandoon, Ph.D., as President of the NOBF and during GM Guarra’s term.

DEMONSTRATIONS. The exposition started off with Golden Kamagong Arnis Kali Eskrima Association (GKAKEA), Inc. of P/CInsp. (Ret.) Grandmaster Ibarra E. Lopez, showcasing their Pekiti Tirsia style of anyo, abecedario, blocking, disarming, and sinawali. The demo team was composed of Grandmaster Alejandro “Alex” S. Doza, Rey T. Destriza, and August Zzar L. Lopez.

Engr. Niel Javellana traveled all the way from Iloilo City to represent the Karay-a Uno Blanco Eskrima System of Engr. Grandmaster Devaney “Van” T. Fuentes. He was assisted by Master Joeffrey S. Deriada of the Conceptual Martial Arts Society (CMAS), Inc. in demonstrating the unique defenses and attacks, disarming, jointlocks, and counters fused from three Panaynon systems of Arnis with roots from Antique.

The KaliSilat Arnis Association (KAA) exhibition started with Danny John “Jan-Jan” Cardinal performing a solo baston anyo. Grandmaster Danilo “Danny” L. Cardinal and Master Guilberto C. Dajao then went through tapi-tapi, depensa ofensiva, contra baston, and daga contra daga from GM Cardinal’s Cargada Pigar Arnis System.

The UNO-R Martial Arts Society of Master Ferdinand Emmanuel Y. Gayoles, which was founded in June 2010, was represented by University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos Criminology students Aber Yamar M. Azuelo, Gerald June Daclan, and Carlos Trunio II. The trio, which composes the Core Group, integrated the various footwork, defenses, strikes, and disarms from the Lapu-Lapu Viñas Arnis System into a series of forms and paired one-step demonstrations.

Herada Pigada, the Cadiznon system of Arnis that descended from Grandmaster Benito Agui, was represented by Master Maxwell “Max” J. Maun, the nephew of the Doromal brothers and one of the few remaining practitioners of the art, with Gelkoff Calmerin, RN, Co-Founder of the Riverside Do Club. The duo went through the applications of the defenses, strikes, locks, throws, and counters of the system.

The demonstration of the Universal Defensive Tactics Academy (UDTA) began with Alrehs Carrie “Uni” V. Ganzon, 6 years old, the youngest among the performers of the event, showing various empty hand strikes with his father Founder/Chairman Abraham “Abe” Ganzon Jr. holding the punch mitts for her. The little girl also showed a few self defense techniques from the UDTA System. Founder/Chairman Ganzon demonstrated the 8 striking method combination of Ragas and Oido from the Mancesa Style of Arnis with and Rey A. Cartella.

Grandmaster Frank Abalajon, 72, demonstrated a sinawali free form which combined the 24 methodos which he teaches in his Abalajon Classical Arnis. The various striking patterns GM Abalajon showed were an amalgation of the techniques he had learned from his seven Arnis professors.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

GM Abraham T. Gubaton: The Grand Patriarch of Oido de Caburata Arnis Group (ODCA) By: James U. Sy Jr.

One of the oldest active Arnis grandmasters in Negros Island had just turned 82 recently. The Core Group of Conceptual Martial Arts Society (CMAS), Inc., had started documenting the art and life of this man way back in 2005. With this write up, it is my hope to make the public aware that this man had kept alive a uniquely Negrosanon system of Arnis which was founded in 1936. He has a lineage that goes back to the Founder of Oido de Caburata.

Abraham Tacio Gubaton was born as the second child of Mateo Bubida Gubaton and Consolacion Tacio on July 6, 1928 in Ma-ao, Bago City. His other siblings (in descending order) are Esther, Napoleon, Nathan, Elojiah “Monina,” the twins Manuel and Emmanuel, Sabas, and George. The elder Gubaton studied Arnis under the professor of Bentong Fejedero. Nathan, Abraham, the twins, and Sabas would later study Arnsi themselves.

Abraham Gubaton started studying Arnis in 1946, when he was 18, under his brother-in-law, Gimeno Tiboso, who taught him the Espada y Daga method. At that time Gubaton was employed as an encargado “caretaker” of Woodrow Araneta in Hda. Marcaban in Bo. Ma-ao, Bago City. He studied under Tiboso for 2 years. Gubaton was obliged to study Arnis because the haciendas were a melting pot of people of different characters and temperament. Conflicts were quite common then and as caretaker he is expected to resolve any situation at hand.

Gubaton went on to study with some other arnisadors, mostly using Espada y Daga method. He also studied Saber Foil from Grandmaster Claro Alvarez, who was a relative to the Yasays and Suarezes, families who are proficient in that particular form of Arnis. He learned from Alvarez sometime in 1952, 1953, or 1954, paying P120.00/month for lessons.

One event that changed his perception of the methodo style of Arnis was when Gubaton had an exchange of blows with another bastonero who was using the Oido style. After the bout he sought out Jose D. Aguilar for instructions in Oido de Caburata Arnis. During their return bout, Gubaton defeated the Arnisador who previously beat him.

Grandmaster Jose D. Aguilar was himself a former Espada y Daga exponent. He had eight or nine professors before he met and exchanged blows with Grandmaster Antonio “Toñing” Tolosa of Minoyan, Murcia, the Founder of Oido de Caburata Arnis. GM Tolosa broke Aguilar’s hand with one strike. Aguilar went on to study under GM Tolosa.

Tolosa started his studies of Espada y Daga with his kumpare Ireneo Dulman of Murcia. After he completed the course, they closed the house and had a bout. They both had welts and bruises afterwards. This made Tolosa think deeply about the efficiency of what he has learned. Then one time, an unnamed friend of his got in a fight with an unruly group of men. His friend used a caburata to fight them off.

Tolosa was impressed by what he saw and borrowed the caburata the next day and practiced with it. When he perfected it, he translated the movements of the caburata into the stick in 1936, thereby giving birth to Oido de Caburata Arnis. Oido is a Spanish word which means “by the ear” and is used in colloquial language to mean “to play without notes“ as in the case of a piano or a guitar. In Arnis parlance, Oido denotes the absence of a numbered pattern which is common with most systems of Arnis/Eskrima now taught. Caburata, of course, refers to the flexible weapon which was once used by the now defunct Philippine Constabulary (PC).

Arnisadors who are not familiar with Oido de Caburata movements find it awkward and ineffective but it is this characteristic that makes it a powerful and formidable fighting system. A caburata, being flexible, can go around blocks and this characteristic has been integrated into the stick.

Aguilar was one of the first few who GM Tolosa taught, the others being Felmo and Welmo Conanan, Jose Dulman, Pakingking, and Salos. A later batch in 1953 included Ricardo Diaz, Abraham Gubaton, Sabas Gubaton, Bonifcaio Tolosa, and Comploso Tolosa

Master Gubaton studied under GM Aguilar for three years. He invited GM Aguilar to live with his family so he had access to uninterrupted instruction. The Gubatons had a small parcel of land and livestock. All Aguilar and Gubaton did all day was practice Arnis. Later, Master Gubaton continued his studies with his uncle, the Founder himself, Grandmaster Antonio “Toñing” Tolosa for seven more years.

Oido de Caburata although founded in 1936 was in constant development. GM Gubaton narrated that since GM Tolosa’s strikes were very powerful, he had to develop effective defenses against those strikes. These defenses were developed later in the evolution of Oido de Caburata and were taught to Grandmaster Abraham T. Gubaton.

GM Gubaton started teaching Oido de Caburata in 1975. In 1977, Federico “Peding” Abendan, an uncle and student of GM Gubaton, developed the long stick fighting style Backhand, which Fr. Jerson Balitor later baptized to Hagbas bugang. The Backhand was another step in the evolution of Oido de Caburata and later also laid the foundation for Original Filipino Tapado, founded by Grandmaster Romeo “Nono” C. Mamar of Brgy. Taloc, Bago City, another powerful long stickfighting art from Bago City.

Most of Oido practitioners can trace their line back to GM Gubaton. Different interpretations and offshoots of Oido de Caburata had surfaced. According to GM Gubaton, he had taught the bunal “strikes” to outsiders but not the defenses, which he maintains for his family. I am thankful for GM Gubaton for making me understand this point during my last visit. Without the explanation it is very hard, if not impossible, to understand what he meant. He cites his brother Grandmaster Sabas T. Gubaton, the Chief Instructor of the Oido de Caburata Arnis Group (ODCA), as an example; he explained the real essence of the art to him only when he was already 65.

GM Gubaton has seven children with his wife Exaltacion, namely Grace, Jonathan, Joseph, Janet, Julius, Ferdinand, and Job. Jonathan, Ferdinand, and Job had dedicated themselves to the study of their father’s art.

The Oido de Caburata Arnis Group (ODCA) was organized in 1985 but it was in 1995 when the group got the big boost it needed when Fr. Jerson Balitor joined. Fr. Balitor, then the Parish Priest in Brgy. Ma-ao, helped the Gubaton grandmasters organize themselves and document their and their art’s history. Fr. Balitor arranged for ODCA to be featured in the documentary The Stickfighters of Buenos Aires by W.G. Productions and Art Vision which was aired over at Negros Progress Channel 17. Fr. Balitor had also helped ODCA to organize its annual General assembly. Starting 2005, the Gubatons were also featured in the local newspapers and in 2009 in Rapid Journal by the Conceptual Martial Arts Society Documentation Team.

GM Abraham Gubaton had taught many Arnisadors in their locality. Even Americans traveled to Ma-ao, just to train with him and GM Sabas. The Americans, led by couple Guro Mike and May Williams of the Martial Arts Research Institute (Boston), train with the Gubaton brothers every other year. May Williams was a native of Ma-ao and is currently the only certified Instructor of Oido de Caburata in the US.

The Gubatons had also taught Arnis to brgy. tanods on April 17-May 8, 2005 for the Brgy. Don Jorge L. Araneta Barangay Public Safety Officers (BPSO) Self Defense Training.