Lightning Scientific Arnis

Lightning Scientific Arnis is a Filipino Martial art founded by Benjamin Luna Lema in 1937.

GM Lema was born in Mambusao, Capiz on the island of Panay in the Philippines on March 19th, 1919. Starting at a very young age he learned his Arnis skills from his father as well as from other masters.

Lightning Scientific Arnis is a system that is derived from the classical styles of Tersia, Serrada, Cadenilla and Espada y Daga. GM Lema’s fighting method is one of intercepting and redirecting attacks. The LSA fighter will move to the side of his opponent and blanket him with a barrage of continuous strikes. The checking hand is constantly pushing, pressing and controlling his opponent which keeps him in a constant state of imbalance.

In advanced practice the empty had will be armed with a dagger.

Ideally, an altercation should end quickly with a quick burst of strikes, rather than getting into a long exchange of blows with your aggressor. Fitness and endurance play a significant role as Lightning training is geared towards crashing in and bludgeoning your adversary with a rapid burst of high magnitude strikes thereby denying them the ability to strike back.

Traditionally, Lightning Scientific Arnis does not have blocks. Offensive action is preferred with interception as the favored “defensive” tactic.

Click picture for Video:

GM Lema video

Three Facets of Serrada
Serrada is a fundamental concept in Lightning Scientific Arnis and governs virtually all applications of the movements of the system. When literally translated from Spanish, the word means “closed”.

Serrada has three major features:
Stance – The weapon is placed across the torso in a backhand chamber, thus closing the body. This allows you to execute a number of backhand strikes as well as charge certain attacks.

Position – You are re-positioning yourself so that your line of attack is not directly in your opponent’s line of fire. In order for your opponent to effectively fend you off, he must reorient himself and you are preventing this by constantly moving.

Action – By landing the first shot and dictating what your opponent’s structure is, you are effectively “closing” that avenue and essentially “blanketing” their motion. This is done through the use of chained strikes in conjunction with checking and cramming motions as appropriate. The opponent is not able to react or counter attack as you are commanding the timing and disrupting their balance.

The tactics you choose to apply when engaging an opponent are dependent upon both the attributes and skill sets of the fighter. Your attributes and skills determine which tactical concept of Serrada can be applied.

Lightning Scientific Arnis drills are aimed to develop all of these attributes, training is focused not only on the mechanics needed to generate power and speed, but also seeks to ingrain positional and range sensitivity.

GM Lema died on January 5th, 2003.

Click picture for Video:

Video of Lightning Scientific Instructors in the Philippines

Original Giron Escrima (Bahala Na Escrima)

Leovigildo Miguel Giron was born in the Province of Pangasinang, Philippines, on the island of Luzon, August 20, 1911. He began training in the Filipino martial art of his family when very young and continued until the age of 9 years.  He was then given permission by his father to train with Master Benito Junio who was known for his expertise in Estilo Larga Mano (long range)and Estilo De Fondo (anchore position)later he began training with Master Benito’s uncle who was known for his expertise in Estilo Macabebe (double stick).

At the age of 15 his family decided that Leo would be chosen to go the America to find success and to also provide a path for family members to follow. With only $3.75 on October 29, 1926 he set sail on the USS President Lincoln.

After paying for passage and food, by the time he got to America he had 25 cents left to his name. Leo was met in San Francisco by his cousin who took him to Stockton, California to start his new life. His life started in the fields harvesting celery for 35 cents an hour but because he was very young most felt he shouldn’t get a man’s wage and had to settle for .17 cents an hour. This was not what he expected life in America to be like, but he persevered.

As he migrated with the other farm workers he ended up in the prune orchards of Meridian, Ca. This is where he met his next instructor Master Flaviano Vergara in 1929. Master Flaviano Vergara was highly skilled in the Estilo Elastico. Master Flaviano Vergara emphasized the importance of having the knowledge a close quarter combat style,(Estilo Defondo) as well as the long range combative style, (Estilo Larga Mano).

During World War ll he was attached to the 2nd Filipino Infantry Regiment and would later be assigned to the famous 978th Signal Group and The Allied Intelligence Bureau. This was a select group of men that served as secret operatives for General Douglas Macarthur. Sergeant Giron lead a group of American and Philippine soldier’s through the most hazardous conditions of World War II deep in the jungles of the Philippines.

It was also during the war that he would meet his next instructor, Sergeant Beningo Ramos and train in  the combat styles of Larga mano, Miscla Contras, Tero Pisada, Tero Grave and Elastico styles

He opened his first school of Escrima in 1968 in Tracy, Ca. and years later in 1979 Leo restructured his Giron Arnis Escrima Club into an organized group with constitution and bylaws and now under a new logo as Bahala Na Martial Arts Association. Bahala na translates as “Come what may” or “Whatever will be, will be”.

Leo decided to go abroad with the Giron System and created “Giron Systems International”. This took him to Germany and Spain and the system blossomed into a global renowned Filipino Martial Art System.

The legendary Great Grandmaster, Leo Giron died on May 21st 2002 at the age 91.

GM Leo Giron

The Original Giron Escrima System uses a 36″ stick for long range sparring (most kali/escrima systems use 28″ sticks) and incorporates these 20 styles or methods of training.

1.  Defondo – in fighting with a solid foundation
2. Abinico – fanning style
3. Abierta – fighting from an open guard position
4. Estilo de Salon – fast, aggressive footwork
5. Sonkete – thrusting
6. Retirada – retreating
7. Elastico – stretching the body to go from long to close range
8. Fondo Fuerte – counter attacking
9. Contra Compas – broken rhythm
10. Redondo – circular striking
11. Combate Adentro – close range fighting
12. Tero Grave – killing strikes
13. Estilo Macabebe – double sticks
14. Tero Pisada – heavy strikes using both hands to hold the stick
15. Media Media – feinting and half-beat strikes
16. Cadena de Mano – empty hand blocking, punching and locking
17. Escapo – parrying and escaping
18. Bolante – vertical strikes, fighting in closed in areas (alleyways, hallways, etc…)
19. Miscla Contras – multiple attackers
20. Largo Mano – long range

Dekiti Tirsia Siradas

What is Dekiti Tirsia Siradas?

Escrima / Arnis / Kali are all words used to describe the native martial arts of the Philippines.

Dekiti Tirsia Siradas is an ancient, indigenous Filipino martial art from the island of Negros in the Visayan Region of the Philippines. Dekiti Tirsia Siradas Kali is a very aggressive system with an emphasis on impact and bladed weapons, as well as empty hand techniques and firearms usage and retention.  It has been proven effective many times in actual combat particularly during World War II.

At present it is used by many law enforcement and military agencies such as the NYPD, (JUSMAG) Joint United States Military Assistance Group of the U.S. Embassy in Manila and the Philippine Army Counter Intelligence.

GM Nene Tortal of Dekiti Tirsia Siradas
GM Nene Tortal

Grand Tuhon Nene Tortal

 Dekiti Tirsia Siradas is a family system of Kali developed in 1851 by the Tortal family in the Philippines. It was created from the combined knowledge of the Tortal brothers, Conrado, Balbino and Francisco. It was later passed to Grand Tuhon Jerson “Nene” Tortal, which is the son of Matahari Tuhon Balbino Tortal.   You will find many similarities between Dekiti Tirsia and Pekiti Tirsia since they both stem from the same source……the Tortal Family.

You may also find the art being called the Tortal Family System,  Dekiti Tirsia Siradas Arnis de Mano, and DTS Kali.  The system is currently being promoted and spread worldwide by GM Nene Tortal and his son GM Jerson Tortal jr.

The name of the system derives from three words in the Illongo dialect.

Dekiti or “Dekit” in the Tagalog language translates to mean in English to stick to or to be very close. This emphasizes that Dekiti Tirsia Siradas Kali is a close quarter fighting martial art.
Tirsia means quartering in fighting or close thirds. It can also mean to push into a three sided corner preventing escape.
Siradas means to stop your opponent from getting in or out, or preventing the opponent from penetrating your defense with an attack.

Unlike other martial arts, Filipino martial arts begin with weaponry. One starts training footwork and movement with a single weapon (the rattan stick) to develop coordination and balance as well as an improved sense of timing, rhythm and confidence. Other areas that are covered are bladed weapons, double weapons, long and short weapons and empty hand techniques called Dumog. The dumog techniques are similar to Chinese Wrestling and Japanese Judo/Jujitsu.

The student also learns how to react in all ranges of fighting with or without weapons in hand.  Dekiti Tirsia Siradas Kali will also improve one’s timing, coordination, and self-confidence.

GM Jerson Tortal jr.

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Rapido Realismo

Want an FMA style that is Fast and Street Effective?

Rapido Realismo Kali specializes in aggressive encounters where conventional self defense systems may not work.  Urban predators “hunt” in packs, and RRK practitioners are trained with this in mind.  You must dispose of the opponent in front of you as fast as you can using the deadliest techniques that expend the least amount of energy, because ten more of his friends are probably waiting in ambush.  If you are looking for fancy techniques, you may want to look elsewhere. You will not find them in Rapido Realismo Kali.

Punong Guro Henry Espera ( Grandmaster and Founder) of Rapido Realismo Kali International was born in Barcelona, Sorsogon, Philippines on the island of Luzon in 1953. He is the fourth of thirteen children.

When Grandmaster Henry Espera was young he trained in the arts of Kali Ilustrisimo, Moro Moro Orabes Heneral Eskrima and Automatic Arnis.

Integrating Kali empty hand movements, Boxing (Panantukan/Suntukan), Trapping (Tapik-Patibungan), Kicking (Sipaan), Grappling and Wrestling (Buno/Dumog) with his own style of tactical footwork, he developed Rapido Realismo Kali International. .

The art emphasizes the use of small moves made powerful by footwork, body position, and timing.

Click the picture to see GM Espera in action

Punong Guro Espera espouses the mantra that repetition in your training is key and that students should practice techniques hundreds or even thousands of time. “Muscle memory is crucial,” he says.

The Rapido Realismo Kali System is a highly effective close-quarters combat art that develops both the mind and the body. Aside from self defense techniques, the RRK practitioner is also taught to develop a combative mindset, which is to always expect that the assailant is armed, is willing to take your life and is not alone.

Rapido Realismo Kali training includes:

Empty hand arts of:

Panatukan/Santukan/Sabakan – dirty boxingSipaan/Sikaran – kicking artsBuno/Dumog – grappling, throws, takedowns, off-balancing

Edged and impact weapons:

Single stick, double stick, sword, sword & dagger, single and double daggerFlexible weapons – sash, handkerchief and whipImprovised weapons such as ballpoint pens and umbrellas.

Punong Guro Espera believes that students should show humility by being careful with your words and not say anything that would provoke others.

They should strive to be a good person. Having martial arts skills is dangerous if you don’t have character.

And finally to teach young people to love the country and its national sport of Arnis.  If you see an interested young person, teach him well.

Click the photo below for a short video clip of GM Henry Espera

GM Henry Espero

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Sayoc Kali: All Blade, All the Time

Sayoc Kali: All Blade, All the Time

Sayoc Kali is a relatively new art officially coming into existence in the early 1980’s.

The original Sayoc Family system was taught by Baltazar (Bo) Sayoc. He and many of the elders in the family referred to it as “Dugo ng Bansa” or “Blood of the Nation”. This implied that the arts of the Philippines belonged to all the people of the Philippines and was a legacy of those who had shed blood to preserve their culture. Later as they started teaching the public they simply referred to it as Arnis.

Bo’s eldest son Chris Sayoc began teaching the system as well as training in Pekiti Tirsia Kali, another blade oriented art.
During this time Chris started to formalize the style and set up a curriculum for the students to follow.

Included within the curriculum:
Edged weapons
Impact weapons
Scenario training
Non linear striking
Vital Templates
Transition Drills
Teaching methodologies
Projectile usage
Multiple man teamwork
Multiple blade usage
Firearms training (optional)

Sayoc Kali

Tuhon Chris Sayoc

Click photo to see Video

All Blade, All the Time

As time went on more and more focus was put on knife training. Tuhon Chris created a new and highly evolved knife system that would focus on mastering vital targets of the body, installing reflexes that are honed to perfection and that consider the tactical use of multiple edged weapons in high stress environments. Through the use of Transition Drills, Vital Template, Multi-Man drills, Training Modifiers and target-specific tapping against intelligent, skilled and resisting opponents.

Sayoc Kali stresses the need for two-man forms. It is only through physical contact that one can learn how the body will move and react. These are introduced almost immediately in one’s training.

Every category in the Sayoc system has two-man drills. Many of the drills and training methods of Sayoc Kali involve partner training.

Sayoc Kali has practitioners within its organization from systems such as Atienza Kali, Pekiti Tirsia Kali, Bahalana escrima, Inosanto/Lacosta kali, JKD, Ninjutsu, Boxing, and various grappling systems which help the Sayoc organization continue to grow and evolve.

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Lameco Escrima



Is there a FMA system that covers Long, Medium & Close range fighting?

Lameco Escrima

Lameco Escrima is the system of Filipino martial arts founded by Edgar Sulite (1957-1997) based on his training and experience with various Philippine Martial Arts masters, with heavy influence from Jose Caballero and Antonio Ilustrisimo.

The word Lameco is actually a combination of the words which make up the three basic ranges of combat – LArgo (Long  range), MEdio (Medium range) and COrto (Close range).

At a young age Edgar Sulite’s father exposed him to the Filipino Martial Arts, himself being a boxer and Escrimador.  Growing up in the barrios of Tacloban City, Philippines,  Edgar witnessed many skirmishes settled blade against blade.

Edgar trained with martial arts masters who included Leo Gaje of Pekiti-Tirsia, Jose Caballero of De Campo Uno-Dos-Tres Orehenal, Jesus Abella of Modern Largos, Antonio Ilustrisimo of Kali Illustrisimo and many others.

In 1981, he moved to Manilla to train under Grandmaster Antonio Ilustrisimo.

On June 30, 1989, he relocated to the United States and became the Escrima instructor of Dan Inosanto, Diana Lee Inosanto, Ron Balicki and Larry Hartsell. His plan was to bring his family over from the Philippines, own his own home, and spread Lameco throughout the world.

Recognizing the talent and knowledge that Edgar possessed, Dan Inosanto would become a lifetime student and an advocate of the Lameco system.

But before all of this could be realized, Edgar Sulite suffered a stroke and passed away on April 10, 1997.

Lameco Escrima Training

One of the characteristics of Filipino martial arts is the use of weapons from the very beginning of training. The primary weapon is a rattan stick, also called a cane or baston. These sticks vary in length from about 26 inches to as much as 38 inches in length or more. The weapons can vary in weight and thickness depending on the preference of the practitioner.

Lameco uses Double and Single Stick, Double and single Dagger, Stick and Dagger, Sword, Staff, Handkerchief, and Empty Hands.

Lameco Escrima is a synthesis of five major Escrima systems and six minor systems.

Major Systems

De Campo Uno-Dos-Tres Orihinal (GM Jose Caballero)
Kali Illustrisimo (GM Antonio Ilustrisimo)
Kali Pekiti-Tirsia (Tuhon Leo Tortal Gaje Jr.)
Modernos Largos (GM Jesus Abella & GM Pablicito “Pabling” Cabahug)
Sulite Rapelon (GM Helacrio Sulite Sr.)

Minor systems

Doce Pares (GM Diony Canete)
Balintawak (GM Johnny Chiuten)
Lapunti Arnis De Abanico (GM Felimon E. Caburnay)
Siete Teros Serado – Serado no Puede Entra (GM Marcilino Ancheta)
Abanico De Sungkiti (GM Billy Baaclo)
Tres Personas Eskrima De Combate (GM Maj. Timoteo E. Maranga)

Click the photo below for a short video clip of GM Edgar Sulite

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Filipino Kung fu?

Kuntaw, Ancient Filipino Martial Art

Kuntaw is said to be one of the oldest self-defense arts devised by Filipino Muslim royalty prior to the Spanish regime. Long before the coming of the Spaniards to the Philippines, systems of unarmed (Kuntawan) and armed (Kali/Escrima) fighting were being taught and developed.

Kuntaw is a Filipinized term for the Chinese and Indonesian martial arts of KunTao and is sometimes referred to as ‘Filipino Kung Fu’. The particular styles of Kuntaw practiced by Filipinos since the 14th century were considered a secret fighting art and have evolved into two distinct branches over the years.  The first is Kuntawan, which is the combination of hand and foot techniques and the other is Sikaran, which is mainly the use of kicking and foot techniques.

One of the foremost existing proponents of the Kuntaw system is Grand Master Carlito Lanada of the IKF Kuntaw Federation.

“The art originally consisted of only soft, open hand techniques with emphasis on holding and locking while striking with either hand or feet”, explained GM Lanada.  “After World War II, the Japanese, Okinawan, and Korean arts came to the Philippines. This gave me an opportunity to see different hard styles of martial arts. I studied them, borrowed what I needed, and synthesized them into my own techniques.”

“No one style contains all the answers or a magic formula which can transform a weakling into a human fighting machine. What I did was revise the old to satisfy the new. I was willing to try something different in my school for the sake of my students to help them grow to his or her fullest potential. I chose to expand and modernize the art and added hard techniques to the style. This made Kuntaw into a hard/soft style with avenues of response to any kind of attack.”

“In Kuntaw, the study of vital points of the human body and how to hit them is a special art in itself, which is called Kuntaw sapol, meaning hitting the vital points,” said Grand Master Lanada.  “These points are broken down into three categories: primary, secondary, and tertiary.  There are a hundred or more vital points in the human body, but many of these can only be reached by an acupuncturist’s needle. The points we emphasize are the easiest to get to and are where nerves, sensitive bones, breakable joints, and vital organs are located.”

“For centuries the deadly fighting art of Kuntaw was passed from father to son,” said Grand Master Lanada. “When my grandfather, Amang Huenyo, left the island of Mindano and settled on Luzon he brought with him his knowledge of the art of Kuntaw.  He taught my father who in turn taught me and as legal heir I continue to pass on the art of Kuntaw. The legacy of my ancestors will be kept alive through my students and family”.

Kuntaw Arnis Lima Lama has many different styles incorporated into it and along with empty hands it also uses the Stick and the Blade. Still, locks, takedowns and disarms continue to be a major part of this art used in self-defense and street applications.

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Cabales Serrada Escrima


Bigger isn’t always better: Serrada Escrima

Cabales Serrada Escrima

The system of Philippine martial arts known as Cabales Serrada Escrima was founded by Grandmaster Angel Cabales (1917-1991) and first taught publicly in the year 1966 in Stockton, California.

Originally GM Cabales’ system consisted mainly of Espada y Daga (Stick and Dagger) techniques, but after opening his school in Stockton, GM Cabales started adding Empty Hand, kicking and other Weapons.

In the beginning GM Cabales did not have a name for his close range system which was based on the DeCuerdas  style of escrima.  It is said that one night an old Filipino man stopped by to observe the class and mentioned that the techniques had many ‘serradas’ meaning that it had many ‘closing in’ movements.  Shortly after this event the system had a name.

Angel Cabales was born on the island of Panay in the Visayas (central) region of the Philippines.  He began his training as a disciple of Felicisimo Dizon who taught him the DeCuerdas style of escrima.

DeCuerdas is a close range system that is very difficult to find today.

After immigrating to the United States he introduced his unique brand of escrima, and being one of the first to commercially teach the Filipino arts he became known as the “Father of Escrima in America”.

The art uses the single stick, stick and dagger/sword and dagger, knife, and empty hands.  The curriculum of the system is well known for core training drills known as “Lock and Block” and “Flow Sparring.” 

Emphasis is placed on footwork, speed, reaction, correct angling, superior position, technique precision, and weapon accuracy.  Disarming maneuvers, skills in feinting known as “picking” and methods of countering the adversary’s skills known as “reversing” are essential components of the system.

One of the more unique aspects of the art is the use of a shorter than normal stick.  Although the art is known to wield sticks in the 18-24 inch range, 20 inches seems to be the standard among many practitioners.While this may seem too short to be effective to many of you, the speed, accuracy and power that can be generated with the shorter weapon is nothing short of amazing.

On its surface, this system of escrima seems to be very simple and direct.  When viewing an exponent perform the art, its signature movements are executed with swift and decisive grace.  However, this simplicity is exactly what is necessary to fully investigate the complex biomechanical movements and tactics of deception at the disposal of an escrimador.

Click the Images below to see a video demonstration.

Click for video
Click for video

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Pekiti Tirsia Kali

Pekiti Tirsia Kali

Pekiti Tirsia Kali


The Pekiti-Tirsia system of Kali originates from the province of Negros Occidental in the Philippines and was formulated by the Tortal family of Negros and Panay islands in the late 1800’s. The family patriarch, Conrado B. Tortal, passed this system and its attributes onto his only grandson, the sole heir and its present guardian, Grand Tuhon Leo Tortal Gaje, Jr.

Pekiti-Tirsia is a traditional family system of Filipino martial art that traces its existence back to a time and era when the carrying and use of the bladed weapon was common and required among most men. Oral history of the Tortal family testifies to four generations practicing the family system of Pekiti-Tirsia.

Norberto Tortal taught the system to his son Segundino Tortal.Segundino taught his five sons; Balbino, Tedoricio, Francisco, Quirino, and Conrado. Of the five brothers, Conrado was chosen as inheritor of the system with Balbino as one of his principal training partners.


Pekiti-Tirsia Kali is a close-quarters in-fighting combat system used against multiple opponents based on the use of the Blade. Pekiti-Tirsia is a system of strategies and tactics utilizing all close quarters weapons at all ranges. The essence of close quarters combat is manifested in the flow – the continual combative process of offense, counter offense and re-counter offense.

Footwork is extremely important in Pekiti Tirsia and is based on the principle of the Triangle. The triangle serves as the basis for footwork, striking, and the tactical principles of close quarter combatives.

A unique aspect of PTK that you don’t find in most systems is the use of the open hand. Pekiti Tirsia fighters don’t punch, but rather use the open palm for striking.  A lot of training is involved to condition the hands and to learn to put power into the strike.

It is also a very comprehensive system, for example, under the sixty-four (64) attacks system of Pekiti-Tirsia, seven (7) subsystems or methods and eight (8) combative drills are presented.

Each method addresses a specific strategy and then provides different tactics and techniques that simultaneously incorporate footwork, offensive and counter-offensive combative application and attribute development. Each of these components can be isolated and trained individually to perfect each particular movement and can be magnified through the analytical and study processes.

Within this structure each method complements and builds upon previous methods as instruction progresses.  As each method and technique is analyzed and explored in depth, new questions and answers are provided. Principles and systems already thought to be understood become clearer.  This enlightenment is accomplished by the thought provoking process of learning verses the rote memorization process of a particular style.

The advanced system of the Contradas is composed of the Contradas, Recontras, Recontradas, and other advanced combat methods. This is not a series of numerous multiple techniques, but it is a system of continually counters and recounters any angular attack from your opponent.

The philosophy of Pekiti-Tirsia Kali is:

We believe in life, not in death.

We believe in health, not in sickness.

We believe in success, not in failure.

Click on the picture below to see a short video clip of the art.

Grand Tuhon Leo Gaje

And one more video clip showing the Knife and Empty Hand

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HeyRosa DeCuerdas Escrima

Ever Hear of HeyRosa DeCuerdas Escrima?

Heyrosa De Cuerdas Eskrima

The Liborio G. Heyrosa De Cuerdas Eskrima system is an extremely unorthodox Filipino fighting system that utilizes stick, knife and hand-to-hand fighting methods coming out of Cebu.  It is characterized by its close-quarter combat techniques where students must be able to fight in tight spaces with little to no lighting, using multiple defensive/offensive combinations.

Previously an underground fighting system, this style of FMA has currently come to light in the past few years. This system was developed in the 1960’s by the late Liborio “Tiboring” Heyrosa, a student of Venacio “Anciong” Bacon and Nene “Ingko Nene” Rosales of the famed Balintawak system. The system is now kept alive by his son “Titing” Heyrosa and student Manuel “Owit” Jecong.

The emphasis is on direct and simple fighting techniques. They focus on the simple and less complicated maneuvers both in armed and unarmed offensives.

Techniques and usage of the knife are stressed and are more of a priority than trying to rely on disarms. Sticks and other weapons use close combat techniques regardless of the situation. Speed, timing, flexibility and accuracy  are the key elements in this traditional based combat system.

There are a few other systems that use the name De Cuerdas but the Liborio Heyrosa De Cuerdas is totally unrelated to any of these other De Cuerdas styles. There are many differences between Heyrosa De Cuerdas and  other De Cuerdas styles ranging from the striking patterns, techniques and teaching format.

The art was featured in two FMA documentaries: Eskrimadors and The Bladed Hand.

Click on the picture below to see a short video clip of the art.

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