Beyond the Movements

Beyond the Movements

By Master Carlton Kramer

The Essence of our schools starts with our founders and their traditions and vision for the future.

General Faustino Ablen

According to the GGM, General Ablen was considered “The Best Fighter on the Island of Leyte”. The General was the leader of over 15,000 freedom fighters and Master of Derobio. He fought for independence against Spanish for over 20 years and 6 years against the Americans in the Filipino American War. General Ablen was so respected by the Americans that the Generals told their superiors in Washington that the war would never end unless General Ablen was captured or killed. So the Americans sent a huge army to Leyte to put down the rebellion and General Ablen was finally captured.

General Ablen was immediately sent to prison but the Americans offered General Ablen amnesty and that his war crimes would be forgiven if he would knowledge the American rule of the Philippines and saluted the Filipino and American flag flying together, which he refused to do.

Being a national hero as the last of the Island Generals to fight for independence, some of the guards allowed him to escape one night. The American generals panicked and immediately placed a large reward on his capture and thus the General had to flee deep into the mountains above the town of Omoc, Leyte. Where a few years later, at the age of 6, the GGM meet him after running away from home, General Ablen word’s “The lord sent you to me to learn Derobio Escrima so I wouldn’t die with my knowledge”.

At the age of 17, GGM passed his two hour test in which he had to fight the General with bolos. After the test, General told GGM to go travel down south and learn the Muslim Escrima styles of inside fighting, then travel to the other islands and continue his training and after a few years go to America. GGM was so surprised that he was being told to go to the USA, so he asked the General,” I thought you hated America?” The General replied, “I fought any foreign country that was trying to govern the Philippines, The war is over, America is rich and you will do well there and someday you will be recognized for your talent in escrima. Then in 1927, the GGM came to Hawaii to work on the Big Island.

 

Great Grand Master Braulio Pedoy

The GGM was always concerned about the future of the Pedoy School of Escrima and he talked to the instructors in length about how he wanted the school to carry on when he was no longer with us. In the early 1970’s he gathered the instructors for a meeting and explained that if anything should happen to him, the school would become Eddie Pedoy to run. If something was to happen to Eddie, then he wanted his grandson, Tyronne Takahashi to take over. The school was then to always remain in the Takahashi family. Tyronne would then decide the most deserving son or daughter. (At the time Chief Keoni Takahashi had not been born).

In describing the GGM Braulio Pedoy, he was short, skinny but extremely strong. He lived for escrima, extremely humble, deeply religious and a devoted follower of Master Moncado. GGM was a healer and we personally saw him cure hundreds of people with infections, broken bones, pinched nerve, arthritis, and numerous other ailments. Most of his patients had gone to their doctors and came to him in their last resort to get healed. Word got out and there was always a stream of people visiting him at his home.

He personally cured me twice, first was a lump in my calf of my leg that was hard as a golf ball. Through his healing massage, he broke up the lump and that allowed me to walk normally again. The second time he was able to heal me was for my asthma. He heard me whizzing in class one night and asked me what the problem was. I told him that my entire life (27 years) I had asthma and that I was having an asthma attack during class and that every night I had to talk medication to sleep. He quietly explained to me that he could cure my asthma and that all it is, is a simply allergy. I found it hard to believe that he would know more than the asthma specialist my father was sending me to. Then he told me, “To get rid of my asthma, simplify follow the Moncado diet and stop eating red meat and drinking milk.” I told him, “I couldn’t do that because I love hamburgers”, which made him laugh, “Oh, hamburger is more important than breathing, do you think you can stop eating red meat and drinking milk for 30 days?” To my amazement, my asthma went away. But the big question I always asked myself was how did the GGM get all this knowledge in healing when he grew up in the jungle with no formal education, how could he be smarter than our modern doctors?

When Eddie asked his father to teach him, Tyronne, Gary & Leslie Largo and Jim Silva escrima, with the goal of opening an Escrima school, at first the GGM was reluctant.

But the deciding factor in the GGM mind was to open the school with the goal to educate the Filipino community and the other races in Hawaii that the Filipinos have their own martial art and that it should be realized as the same status as Karate and Judo is to the Japanese, Kung Fu and Tai Chi to the Chinese, Tae Kwon Do to the Koreans and boxing of the Americans. In opening his school, the GGM decided to be the first escrima school in Hawaii that took non Filipinos as students. Up to 1961, all the other escrima schools require their students to be Filipino to learn the art.

Think of the challenge GGM had in taking this 2,000 year old art of war and combat to a self defense in modern society?  Seven out of the 12 strikes are blows to the head, the original # 6 and # 7 strikes of Derobio was to the eyes, right through the Spanish helmet. To develop a self defense approach to Derobio, GM intertwined General Ablen movements with Master Moncado spiritual teaching. GGM told us almost every class, “I am not teaching you this martial art to become killers. Don’t disgrace our school, your family or yourself, if you down your opponent, walk away, don’t kill him.”

I trained under the GGM for 20 years and here is what we learned about this extraordinary man. GGM life was molded by two great men, General Ablen who he called Master and Master Moncado who he also called Master. At times in conversations, I would get confused on which Master he was talking about, but if it had to do with escrima, and then I knew he was discussing the General, if it had to do religion, and then it was Master Moncado. GGM would say “General Ablen was of Master of body movement and Master Moncado was Master of the spirit.”

 

Traditions the Pedoy School of Escrima

  • Be sure to start the class on time. GGM would always be staring at his watch before each class. He might start a minute early but never a minute late. He truly believed that General Ablen and the other Derobio Masters’ spirits came to class to guide the instructors and protect the students. He sincerely believed that if you start the class late, the Derobio Masters of the past would go away for that evening.
  • Start class with a prayer and end class with a prayer
  • In class when the instructor loses discipline is when someone will get hurt. It’s up to the instructors to ensure this does happen.
  • GGM would give us long speeches of the importance of everyone in class. What is the Grand Master without his Masters, what are the Masters without their Chief Instructors, what are the Chiefs without their Instructors, what are the Instructors without their Assistant Instructors; want are the blue shirts without their advance students and what are the black shirts without the beginning students? Then the GGM would go from the bottom up, what are the beginning students without the advance students and so on. Thus he would stress that everyone is important in the school and everyone has an important role to play.
  • GGM would scold you if he ever got mad, but the next day it was like nothing happen. Never hold a grudge against a fellow student or instructor.
  • GGM lectured us on the Brotherhood and Sisterhood of the Pedoy School of Escrima, respect each other, help each other, and treat each your fellow students and instructors as extended family.
  • Who is the loser? After every class the GMM would talk about which students didn’t come to class and he would end the sentence, “Well, I am not the loser.” The loser was of course the student that didn’t come to class. The students that came to class were the winners because they got all the GGM’s attention.
  • How did the GGM promoted?  The GGM would first gather everyone in class to circle around him. Then the student would go down on one knee in front of the GGM and then the GGM would bless him or her with the power pray out loud. And as your reward, when you made red shirt you would get the power pray as a promotion present.

 

GGM Vision for the Pedoy School of Escrima

  1. School is to be passed on to Eddie then Tyrone and the Takahashi family. Leadership is to remain in the blood, doesn’t matter if it was a boy or girl in the family, who ever is the most worthy.
  2. He wanted style named Derobio to be known throughout the world.
  3. He wanted the Filipinos to be proud of their cultural, history and of having their Martial art.
  4. GGM wanted the world to respect and acknowledge escrima as a complete martial art from the Philippines.

 

The Bakitan Eduardo Pedoy

I had the honor of reporting to The Bakitan for over 30 years. Like his father he was 100 % escrimador, he lived and breathed escrima. Like his father he was not concerned about making money on the art and he wanted to fulfill his father’s dream and visions for the school.

Like his the GGM he was a true follower of Master Moncado, because  Master Moncado had cured Eddie of his asthma when he was a young boy by slapping him on his back at the Moncado Church in Kahili.

The Bakitan use to express his concern about the style of Derobio remaining pure ten, twenty, thirty generations from now. He sort out Escrima Master from all over Hawaii, but he also gave credit of the movement to that Master. Both Eddie and his father felt to be good in escrima, you had to know the outside and inside styles.

Later in life, Eddie became a very humble man, his favor line was, “You can’t get respect, if you don’t give respect. “

The Bakitan was a great escrimador; there would be no Pedoy School of Escrima if it wasn’t for Eddie convincing his father to share his movements. Eddie didn’t want to be remembered just as the GGM’s son but to stand side by side with his father as one of the great Derobio Master. He developed his own big man style of Derobio, chose a different Derobio footwork for himself, and was like the Bruce Lee of Escrima. He loved to learn other styles from other Masters and then come to class and teach the new movements to the instructors.

The Bakitan loved to spar, in the 60’s and 70’s, sparring was done with your rattan stick, and you were expected to use control, no patting or protective gear was used. Like the GGM, no one could touch Eddie, he had such great control, he would hit you in the head and give you a lump, but not hard enough to knock you down. I can remember the first day Eddie, who was our Chief Instructor at the time, brought a patted stick to class, we were in such awe, we had so much fun with it, but we ended up hurting each other more than a regular stick because we forgot about control and would hit each other with all our might to knock out each other.

In opening the school with his father, The Bakitan developed the school patch

  • Colors of the patch are from the Philippine flag
  • The triangle was for the footwork. Offensive at the base, Defense at the tip
  • Escrima, means fencing in Spanish
  • Derobio, taking the blow from the outside, and always moving in on your opponent
  • Pedoy Style, because it is based on self defense and not for combat

 

The Batikan’s vision for the Pedoy School of Escrima was:

  1. He wanted to fulfill the GGM vision but he has wanted expand the base of students
  2. To expand the base of students, Eddie wanted to bring in the women and kids, and adjust the classes so they were not so intense.
  3. He felt it was time to teach kid classes,  from 6 years old and to make the classes fun.
  4. Time to make female instructors. He felt if we had female instructor then other girls would believe they can do it too. He also wanted all girl classes in which they would be run by the new female instructors he wanted to create.

The Bakitan will stand side by side with his father has one of two drive force to open the Pedoy School of Escrima and laid the foundation from centuries to come.  The Batikan was so proud of his father, Grandmaster Ty and Chief Keoni and like all of us, felt good about the future of the Derobio.

Today, the Pedoy School of Escrima and the General Ablen School of Escrima are about the Pedoys, the traditions and the vision they have left us, because this is the Essence of Derobio

Quick Contact

Oahu Branch
Moncado Church
1519 Kalaepaa Drive
Honolulu, 96817
Phone #: (808) 781-3302

Maui Branch
Phone #: (808) 276-7660