Doce Pares (12 Pairs)

“Doce Pares” is an Eskrima/Arnis Martial Arts Club that was founded in Cebu City in January 12, 1932. Originally it was a breakaway group of students and instructors from the ‘Labangon Fencing Club’ of the 1920’s which was influenced heavily by the Saavedra and Cañete families.

The original instructors of the Doce Pares taught their own particular family, island or region styles of Eskrima.

Lorenzo Saavedra, who was recognized as the foremost eskrimador in Cebu City founded Doce Pares along with his nephews Teodoro and Federico Saavedra,  and Eulogio and Filemon Cañete.

Eulogio Cañete, Filemon’s older brother, was elected first president of Doce Pares and remained in that position until his death in 1988. A younger Cañete brother, Ciriaco “Cacoy” Cañete, concentrated on boxing but later became an eskrimador while also training in Judo and other arts which he incorporated into his system, one component of which is called “Eskrido”.

Teodoro ‘Doring’ Saavedra rose to prominence as the best fighter in the Doce Pares society. Saavedra, an active guerrilla fighter, was captured and killed by the occupying Japanese forces in World War II.

Venancio Bacon was also among the first members in the club, but after a short time he left due to disagreements over the effectiveness of the Doce Pares system and founded Balintawak Eskrima.

Doce Pares is a form of Arnis, Kali and Eskrima, or a Filipino martial art that focuses primarily on stick fighting, knife fighting and hand-to-hand combat but also covers grappling and other weapons as well.

In reality, the stick is merely considered an extension of the hand, and is meant to represent almost any weapon, from sticks to swords to knives to anything else you can place in your hand and use as a weapon in the modern context.

Doce Pares was brought to prominence in the international scene during the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s by the Cañete family, especially Ciriaco ‘Cacoy’ Cañete.

Following the death of Ciriaco Canete in February 2016 there are only two surviving Doce Pares Supreme Grandmasters, Dionisio Canete and Danny Guba.

Doce Pares means “twelve pairs” in Spanish, the name was meant to honor the twelve people who originally planned to form the organization.

There are seven (7) main components of the Doce Pares multi-style system:
Single Stick Eskrima (Solo Olisi)
Double Stick Eskrima (Doble Olisi)
Long Stick Fighting (Bangkaw)
Long and Short Weapon Fighting (Espada y Daga)
Knife Fighting (Baraw)
Long Blade / Sword Fighting (Estokada / Sundang)
Empty Hand (Mano-Mano)

The three (3) ranges of Mano-Mano are:
Corto – Close Range
Media Largo – Medium Range
Larga Mano – Long Range

Also within the Mano-Mano section is:
Sumbag-Patid – Punching and Kicking
Lubag-Torsi – Locks and Immobilizing
Layog-Dumog – Takedowns and Grappling

Specialized Subjects:
Sinawali – to Weave
Tapi-Tapi – Alive Hand (a method of moving and flowing)
Sayaw/Karanza – Kata or Forms

All the above subjects are incorporated under the comprehensive 5-year training curriculum of the Doce Pares “Multi-Style” system.


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What is Kali-Escrima?

The Filipino Martial Arts (FMA) are commonly referred to as Kali, Arnis and Escrima or Eskrima. Obviously this can be confusing to a lot of people. The truth is that they are basically different words for the same art.

The Philippines are made up of over 7,000 islands and divided into 3 regions, the North, Central and Southern regions.

Arnis, is a Spanish term derived from ‘ Arnes de mano’ which translated to ‘armor of the hands’ referring to the warrior’s ability to protect themselves with their weapon. It typically shortened to Arnis. The term Arnis is used in the northern parts of the Philippines.

Escrima/ Eskrima, is from a Spanish term which means ‘fencing’. The term Escrima/Eskrima is typically used in the central or Visayan region of the Philippines.

The word Kali has multiple theories as to it’s origin:
Some say that it comes from the word Tjakalele which is a style of stick fencing from Indonesia.
Others claim that the name was coined by Dan Inosanto in the 1970’s
Most likely it comes from the Filipino term for blade which is Calis.

Regardless of the true origin the easy way to remember the three terms is Arnis in the north, Escrima in the central region and Kali in the south.

Kali is the term most commonly used for Filipino Martial Arts especially in the USA.

When many people think of FMA they envision ‘That Stick Fighting’ art, but the Filipino arts are much, much more and are world renowned for their ‘blade culture’. Even though most styles use sticks for safety reasons, the techniques are actually based on the sword.

FMA also includes punching, kicking, joint locks, grappling and weapon disarming techniques. The techniques are the same whether it is empty hand, stick or knife. They are considered ‘extensions’ of the hands which is why weapons are taught from the very beginning.

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