On Saturday April 26th, Bamboo Spirit Martial Arts Centre, Ltd and Pugad Lawin Martial Arts hosted a successful joint seminar between Balintawak GM Bobby Taboada and Modern Arnis Master of Tapi Tapi Chuck Gauss. This seminar was months in the making and involved a fair bit of outreach.

Both GM Bobby and Master Chuck arrived in Toronto on Friday night. The next morning, we had a private breakfast where we introduced the two of them together. Over a delicious breakfast, we discussed the planning of the seminar and exchanged stories about the late Professor Remy A. Presas, with accompanying laughter.

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We then departed for the Harmony Martial Arts Center in Pickering, where the seminar took place from 1:30pm to 7:30pm. After an introduction of the two guests of honor (with a reminder that GM Bobby was most assuredly the best looking man in the room!), we got started, after the obligatory group photo.

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Master Chuck got things rolling with the introduction of his mainstay drill, the 2 versus 1 drill. This is a very versatile drill, teaching the usage of both the right and left hands and many skills inherent in the art of Modern Arnis. He covered thrusting, sweepstrokes, application of redonda, disarms, angling, body positioning, and much more. He then showed how this drill translates into single stick tapi tapi and added in switching hands, heavy checking and hitting. Master Chuck did a fantastic job of showcasing the explosiveness of Modern Arnis Tapi Tapi.

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Unfortunately, due to a family situation, Master Chuck had to leave the seminar early. Following a presentation ceremony to recognize those who have supported Filipino Martial Arts over the years, the seminar resumed with GM Bobby taking over the floor.

GM Bobby emphasized the basic footwork and striking patterns of his beloved Balintawak art. It was evident that his movements were quite efficient, compact and superb, reflecting his nearly 40 years of experience. He then segued into some of the basics of Balintawak ranging from striking to disarms. He also demonstrated his speed, power and accuracy with a demonstration on Master Roland Rivera, who traveled from North Carolina for the seminar. The last portion of his seminar dealt the empty hand component of Balintawak, with an emphasis on the checking hand, agility and footwork.

After the seminar, we had dinner at the Pho Saigon restaurant and regaling each other stories about our times in Modern Arnis and Balintawak.

The next morning, Terence and I drove GM Bobby to Guro Mantas Oliver Garduce’s place. A joint seminar was held with Guro Oliver teaching Kombatan with GM Bobby following with a Balintawak session. The highlight of the day was GM Bobby’s Balintawak demonstration with Terence as the demonstration partner. Terence did a fantastic job in assisting in GM Bobby’s demonstration. A video of the demonstration was uploaded to Facebook where it has gone viral (with 283 shares as of this post). There was a great turnout at this event as well.

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All in all, a great weekend!

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