Stockton, California has long been known for its’ long and rich history of Filipino Martial Arts, dating back to the 1920’s and 1930’s. Stockton had a large Filipino community back in those days, mostly migrant workers. Often at night, eskrimadors would train in secret. I remember reading somewhere that Professor Visitacion, otherwise known as Professor Vee, recalled nightly training sessions after working in the fields. As it turns out, Professor Vee lived in Stockton, California for 10 years before settling in New York City and becoming the founder of Vee Jiu Jitsu. The FMA scene in Stockton later greatly influenced Dan Inosanto and Richard Bustillo as they delved into Filipino Martial Arts. It is my understanding that much of the Inosanto-Lacoste blend is influenced by the Stockton FMA.
Among those who taught or came out of Stockton are Angel Cabales, Dentoy Revilar, Rene Latosa, Maximo Sarmiento, John Lacoste, Leo Giron and Mike Inay and many of their proteges. I am sure that there are several others that I left out. Nevertheless, the Stockton FMA scene has had a profound influence on the history of American martial arts, impacting martial arts masters from Dan Inosanto, to Professor Vee, to well known author Mark Wiley and many others.
I would love to get my hands on an article or book that explores the Stockton FMA scene in more detail.
That brings me to the topic of the FMA scene in Toronto. 9,500 Filipinos are immigrating to the Toronto area every year and Filipinos are now the 3rd largest visible minority in the greater Toronto area. This influx of Filipino immigrants has inevitably brought in practitioners/teachers of various FMA styles. To date, there are approximately 200,000 Filipinos in the Toronto area and there is no doubt that this number will grow.
I am aware of the following Filipino martial arts in the Greater Toronto Area:
(1) Modern Arnis
(3) Kali Illustrisimo
(4) FCS Kali
(5) Inosanto-Lacoste blend
(8) Yaw Yan
(9) Cinco Teros
(10) Kali De Leon
I’m sure that there are a couple that I forgot. In addition, there are probably some “underground” groups that prefer to train in private. The proliferation of the FMAs in the Toronto makes me wonder if this area is going to be the next Stockton. All signs point in this direction.