TAGAAN Arnis – De Leon System

Arnis is a term that is used for this FMA stick fighting art in the island of Luzon in the Philippines, most commonly in the Tagalog speaking regions. Throughout the Philippines, this term is interchangeably used for Kali and Eskrima or Escrima. For Filipinos, they are basically the same, and most importantly, we all know origin of the art and the stick is historically a camouflage of the real weapon – a long bladed weapon either a single or a double-edged weapon. Again, the actual weapon used varies from region to region, from south to north. In Bataan (Central region of Luzon), “itak” or “gulok” is the usual weapon that people use when they engage in a duel or rumble-type of settling conflicts. There are so many historical accounts for Arnis and the Internet is flooded with information that accommodates all types of interests the readers or the researchers would like to know. GM Marc cautions though, that not all information available on-line represent the true meaning of this FMA arts.

What is “Tagaan” Arnis?

First, let us learn and know the meaning of “tagaan”. “Tagaan” is a Tagalog language, which means, in Tagalog language: “patayan sa pamamagitan ng itak o gulok”. If we are to translate this to English, this means, “duel of death by a bolo or sword”.

By its own meaning of “duel of death”, Tagaan Arnis’ underlying principle is, the system is not a training of stick fighting, but a training of an actual bolo fighting. The sticks that Tagaan Arnis use during training are only a representation of the real bolo. Why GM Marc picked the word “tagaan” and refers his style to this word? GM Marc recalled that his father Inkong Marcial, used to and very fond of using the words “itaga”, “tagain”, “pataga”, and “nagtagaan”. The root word of these words is “taga”, which means, “cut” in English. According to GM Marc, every time he trained with his father, Ingkong Marcial would say “itaga mo” or “pataga”, which specifies the manner of strike Ingkong Marcial would wanted GM Marc to do for the attack strike. But, there is one segment in GM Marc’s childhood life that becomes the very reason why he named his style as “tagaan”. The story is unfortunately cannot be posted on-line, but he openly retell the story to his students in person though.

What is the style “Tagaan” Arnis?

The style of Tagaan Arnis is based on the traditional techniques of

Tagaan Arnis is very easy to learn. This does not carry complicated and hard to memorize moves and disarming techniques. For GM Marc, learning self-defense must be grounded in a simple, effective, and easy to learn techniques.

Where is this style come from?

Tagaan Arnis is from the Payumo-De Leon ancestry of Bataan and Pampanga. The grandparents of GM Marc in the father side were katipuneros of Pampanga. The style is passed down to Ingkong Marcial, then to GM Marc. This fighting system do not have name during the first two generations. It is just a fighting/survival system, but remain intact to the selected members of the Payumo-De Leon clan.

Kuntaw has it’s own stick fighting system called “Kuntaw Lima-Lima” created by GGM Carlito Lanada; Sikaran (WSABP) clubs carry different arnis styles depending on the instructor’s training lineage. Despite GM Marc’s deep involvement with these systems, he opted to maintain his own arnis system – the system he inherited from his father.

When was “Tagaan” Arnis founded?

Despite the existence of the Payumo-De Leon arnis system for several generations already, it is only formally organized by GM Marc in Canada in 1998. It became the armed component of his teaching curriculum of Kuntaw, Sikaran, Kawala, and Buno martial arts.

Who is the founder of “Tagaan” Arnis?

The Great Master is GM Marcial Payumo De Leon, the father of GM Marc, and otherwise known as “Inkong Marcial”. GM Marc, as the direct descendant of GM Marcial De Leon formally organized and named the system, as “Tagaan Arnis”. He became the heir of the art in 1988 when Ingkong Marcial passed away.

Who are the practitioners of “Tagaan” Arnis?

Kuntaw Canada students are the primary practitioners of Tagaan Arnis. There are practitioners (other than his students) who come and go in GM Marc’s martial arts life whom he shared the Tagaan Arnis system. He seeks no recognition, but rather sharing his skills with them is enough for GM Marc.

Has this style already been exposed publicly?

Yes, Tagaan Arnis has been exposed publicly during the martial arts competitions the Tagaan-Kawala/Kuntaw Canada had participated. GM Marc personally showcased this style in many competitions and has consistently won top awards.

What future does “Tagaan” Arnis have in the international martial arts community?

Along with participating to international arnis/kali competitions, GM Marc has started to write a book on Tagaan Arnis, Kawala, and Buno so that he may have a “living” legacy of his arts to his children and Tagaan-Kawala-Kuntaw-Sikaran practitioners.

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