Balintawak Arnis is a Filipino fighting style developed by Anciong Bacon. Balintawak is named after a street in Cebu where the art was founded in the backyard of a watch store. The art is characterized by close range fighting using primarily a single rattan stick. The attributes of the stick in Balintawak can be translated to a variety of other short-range weapons such as knives and daggers, and also empty hand applications.
The World Original Teovels Balintawak Arnis Group (WOTBAG) is the main organization under the late Grand Master Teofilo Velez’s method of teaching headquartered in Cebu, Philippines. It is led by the Velez Brothers: Chito, Monie and Eddie. The WOTBAG St. Louis group is the largest pure WOTBAG group in the US and is headed by Master Ritche Gumahin whose lineage can be directly traced to the founder Anciong Bacon via Master Eugene Nepangue and the Velez Family, primarily Chief Masters Monie and Eddie Velez.
The WOTBAG St. Louis group takes a comprehensive approach to Balintawak and fighting in general. The practitioner does not begin training with a stick in his or her hand. The practitioner must “earn the stick”. Initially, the practitioner will develop footwork, body positioning and empty hand application with striking from the standing position. As the practitioner progresses, ground fighting is introduced to develop submissions, sensitivity and body control. By the time the practitioner has earned the stick, the practitioner is already skilled in striking and submissions and has developed knowledge of positioning and body control. Following GM Eddie’s suggestion, the student’s stick training will also include the use of double-sticks, stick and dagger, dagger in long, medium and close ranges to make the student more versatile.
The WOTBAG St. Louis group is innovative, and constantly seeking ways to improve its methods and evolve.