Why train with Ramon? He has an unwavering loyalty to the people who trained him. He gives them credit when he shows us the systems he teaches. That's what we call the protocol. Like his main instructor, the legendary Grandmaster Urbano ‘Banoy’ Borja, Magtutudlo Ramon has the ability to describe in great detail, the systems he teaches, beyond a superficial level. He teaches the true combative aspects of the San Miguel System of Eskrima (SMSOE). He’s said for a number of years that the “truth is in the movement.” In my personal experience, the majority of instructors I have seen in person, through demonstrations or seminars, only “show” eskrima. This is a tragic fact that can be proven again with a few easy clicks on YouTube or other social media platforms. The leader will stand in front of the group and ‘go through the numbers’ and tell you to ‘follow,’ or copy them, which all will do. Very few of them actually apply what they can do with a stick with their empty hands.
Ramon has been accused of doing that ordinary “form stuff,” since he teaches San Miguel Eskrima. However, he teaches from the perspective of Nong Momoy’s Orihinal Disciples of Eskrima -- Depensa Seguidas Group (NMODE--DSG). He personally trained with the Grandmaster Momoy, and later learned from the disciples who fought and participated in challenge matches during the 1950’s Golden Era of eskrima in Cebu. Those aforementioned accusers only see what they want to see in that “form stuff.” In reality, we don’t even do a lot of forms. They’re pretty cool in the way that we learn specific attributes and awareness. But they simply take up too much space. For me, doing too many forms gets boring after a while. Upon closer inspection, there is an underlying connection within the form that Ramon conveys to us. We find a principle that is common throughout all of martial arts, the hayang kulob, or palm-up and palm-down principle.
Through his many travels, training, his interviewing and data collection, Ramon has developed ideas and theories about eskrima that are commonly overlooked, ignored or long forgotten. Instructor lineage, history, and where the styles originated from are just a small example of the kind of thing he’s into. He shares a deep understanding of the evolution of Doce Pares throughout the decades. He’s all about going to the root. To me, this is what makes him a historian, unlike many others who put up vintage Doce Pares Club photos on the internet, but can’t really name more than a few of the people being shown.
Mastering of eskrima drills, especially those that are meant to develop coordination, are often mistaken for fighting skill. However, Ramon uses a combination of drills that translate directly to empty hands, kicking and grappling/locks. He teaches us to learn about our body, to develop a self-awareness, and develop a sensitivity to others. Ramon teaches us to start thinking ahead, looking for options, and the importance of going beyond the drill, beyond the “numbers.” Ramon teaches us that the drill ‘owns’ that person until they make it their own.
Like his movement, he strives to maintain efficiency in the drilling, and do away with those useless drills that look or feel like filler and don’t really teach an applicable skill. I’m not kidding when I say that the drills we practice are so basic. From the ‘basic’ we find the ‘advanced,’ and from the ‘advanced’ we also come to the realization that it’s so ‘basic!’ It blows my mind every time we train and this is actualized when we cadena or chain the movements within these drills.
Training Notes Highlights:
De Campo 1-2-3 Orihinal
San Miguel System of Eskrima - Borja San Miguel
• The point of the dagger
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This is my blog, a collection of thoughts on my journey in eskrima.