I first met Bruno Cancho back in 2008, while on my honeymoon to Barcelona. Previously I had asked one of my arnis/eskrima instructors Dan Lamac about anyone to see for some lessons in that part of Spain, and owing to Dan’s recommendation and contacts Bruno agreed to see me. He happened to be a great guy and an excellent proponent of medio-corto approach, due to his training in Koredas Obra Mano and Balintawak systems of FMA.
Far forward another decade, and Bruno has spent so much time in the Philippines in the meantime that one has to wonder now if that has not become his actual homeland. His extensive study of Visayan styles of arnis and eskrima turned him into a top notch instructor in his chosen field, i.e. medio and corto ranges of combat. It was, therefore, with great joy that I saw the publishing of his instructional DVD about his school, titled “Bisaya Eskrima, vol.1”.
According to Bruno himself, his system is comprised of 20% long range material (largo distance), so naturally he chose to focus the first video on closer range, as he refers to it corto serrada, utilizing single stick. Even more importantly, this material, to my knowledge, is the first commercially available instructional video on the not widely known school of Arnes Diablo which stresses empty-handed defense against knife attacks.
|...and his new work|
Regarding the stick, the material covers the basic angles of attack and corresponding blocks and counters, 5 ways of attacking/hitting (nothing to do with the JKD methodology of the same name) and accordingly the five types of counters. Everything is shown as solo and partner practice, plus the very important training method of palakaw.
When it comes to the knife material, shown are the 6 basic angles of attack and their defensive responses, with emphasis on disarming the opponent. Especially interesting is the drilling of follow-up actions after potentially failed primary responses, intertwined with retention options for the knife wielding person.
The quality of the instruction, however, is not the only valuable thing here. Namely, the video is beautifully edited to show the life in the Cebu region of the Philippines, and it gives the viewing experience a special flavor. To top it off, the author features two guest local masters, Rodrigo Maranga of Combate Eskrima Maranga and Danny Vedua of Askal Hybrid Arnis (both offshoots of Balintawak), who demonstrate certain aspects of their respective arts. Complementing these aspects is the fact that the entire footage is recorded outdoors – stick portion either in the parks and woods of the Philippines; knife segment in the back alleys of Cebu, thus giving it additional air of authenticity. NOTE: with the exception of guest instructors, who speak English in the video, the instruction is done in Spanish. Still it did not diminish the viewing and learning experience, because everything is done in such a clear and precise manner (I do not speak Spanish, but maybe my speaking French was of some help in understanding everything).
Going back to my comments of Bruno Cancho’s being a great guy and adopting the Philippines as his second home, the entire profits from the promotional sales of the digital videos were directed to the Doors of Hope organization that deals with prevention and stopping of the sexual abuse of children and women in the Philippines. As if the actual quality of the product were not enough to make you happy about purchasing it, he really did the extra step to make you feel even better about it. You can order the video and see the trailer here:
In conclusion, this is one of the best FMA instructional videos I have seen produced in the past few years, and I look forward to the second volume.