Where it started…
It was in 1950 during my vacation in Sabang Sibonga, Cebu , the birthplace of my father, that I met Maning Tenebro, who became my first instructor in Combat Judo and Arnis. He is a polite, calm, wholesome, and reserved person. He is one of the most respected men in the barrio of Sabang. His father is a faith healer. Maning himself offered to teach me and a nephew of my sister’s husband combat judo and Arnis in preparation for the Sabang barrio fiesta demonstration. At the time, I was still an elementary student, so I had enough time to practice with Master Maning, especially during vacation. As I became more interested, I wanted to improve my techniques. I wanted to practice every day, since I was schooling in Cebu City . We practiced every Saturday and Sunday. One time Maning told me that his instructor was Doring Saavedra. Nevertheless, at that time I was not interested to know who discovered the said art or the style or where it came from. I just hungered for techniques – just teach me how to fight, protect, or defend myself if my life is in danger.
After I graduated from Cebu Institute of Technology (CIT), I got a job as a security guard at CIT. That was when I met Fernando Candawan from Doce Pares. In a short time, he became my instructor in Combat Judo and Arnis. Master Candawan was also working in the Registrar’s office of CIT. We practiced at the CIT compound every night from 8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. Actually, Master Fernando “Nanding” Candawan, aside from Combat Judo and Arnis, is also a Judo (Japanese) player. He is a former boxer and a bodybuilder. After a few months working as a security guard, I was transferred to the Registrar’s office where Master Nanding Candawan also worked. A few months later, we organized a club with some enthusiasts in Combat Judo and Arnis. That was the formal birth of DUREX- Judo-Arnis-Karate Club in the headquarters inside CIT. In addition to Eskrima/Arnis (stick defense) and Combat Judo (knife defense), we also offered Korean Martial Arts Moo Duk Kwan (Tang Soo Do). In the same year, we affiliated the DUREX Judo-Arnis-Karate Club to the Doce Pares headquarters and our Tang Soo Do to the headquarters in Bacolod City under Grandmaster Casimiro “Chingi” Grandeza. We personally talked to Grandmaster Ciriaco “Cacoy” Cañete about our affiliation to Doce Pares Club, and I went to Bacolod City to meet with Grandmaster Grandeza to inform of our intention to affiliate to the Moo Duk Kwan (Tang Soo Do Assn.).
However, in early 1966, Master Nanding Candawan left Cebu to pursue a job in the Registrar’s office in the University of Mindanao . Nevertheless, I maintained our practice in CIT every Sunday morning. We had a strength of more than one hundred, all CIT students, and were able to expand our club to Lapu-Lapu City Cebu, Minglanilla Cebu, Butuan City Mindanao, Cagayan de Oro City, and Tagbilaran City Bohol.
Later I went to the club of Grandmaster Felimon “Momoy” Cañete, a walking distance, and to the Doce Pares headquarters with the house of Grandmaster Ciriaco “Cacoy” Cañete. Unknown to all then, I had private lessons with GM Momoy Cañete, especially in the Espada Y Daga and double Arnis amara. GM Momoy is a secretive man; I like that. Almost every Sunday afternoon I attended practice with his senior students, such as Ben Culanag, Ben Irog-irog, Peryong, and Banoy Borja. I really practiced with GM Momoy after all his students left the class. He refrained me from joining the advanced students. However, I always followed his advice and his instructions not to tell or give to anyone what I have learned from him. As I said earlier, he is a very secretive man. That is why even in DUREX Club, nobody knew that I was practicing with Grandmaster Momoy Cañete because I was afraid he might not give me or teach me his techniques anymore. Grandmaster Momoy has so many locks in Combat Judo and Espada Y Daga. He has a beautiful long-range style and Arnis Kata. Maybe no one knew that GM Momoy and my mother-in-law were very close friends, and that the former house of my mother-in-law was very close to the house of Momoy. GM Momoy was also a faith healer, so when my mother-in-law got sick, GM Momoy would use his Oracion to cure her. Once when I got a severe headache, GM Momoy applied his Oracion by holding the back of my head, and within 30 seconds the headache was gone. I was always curious about his ability to cure, and if it had anything to do with his expertise in Arnis or Espada Y Daga. I invited GM Momoy to dinner, and had the chance to talk to him about his extraordinary skill in curing by the use of Oracion, but was afraid to open my mouth. Before I went to Saudi Arabia , I met GM Eulogio “Yulling” Cañete. I cannot forget his advice to me: “Don’t forget the techniques that you learned from your instructor;” it is the same Doce Pares style. Later he told me to always search for techniques to improve my style and abilities.
I remember during the Doce Pares annual celebration, all clubs affiliated with Doce Pares would give a demonstration including the DUREX Club. But the most awaited performers were the Grandmasters. Every time they demonstrated, I always watched their movements, footwork, and the flow of their hands in applying techniques. However, I made my own research with my own techniques, and refined them, developing my speed and power, along with my knowledge in Korean Tang Soo Do punches, elbow strikes, kicking, stance, and stamina.
When I was in Saudi Arabia , I became a member of WTSDA (World Tang Soo Do Assn.), based in Philadelphia , by Grandmaster Jae Shin, and I received the Gold lifetime membership of said association. Later, I also became a member of the WOMA (World Organizer of Martial Arts, Saudi Arabia ) by Grandmaster Tianero.
I am indebted to all the Grandmasters and students throughout my martial arts career, especially to my personal instructor GM Fernando “Nanding” Candawan for his influence and role in my martial arts skills; to Grandmaster Felimon “Momoy” Cañete for his patience, wisdom, and trust in me not only as a martial artist, but also a protector of his secret techniques; to my first Korean martial arts instructor Manuel “Maning” Yu; to Grandmaster Casimiro “Chingi” Gradenza, President of the Philippine Moo Duk Kwan (Korean Tang Soo Do) of the Bacolod City; and to Maning “Undo” Tenebro.
August 1989 was an epic making year. Spearheaded by chief instructor Grandmaster Gerardo B. Alcuizar and a handful of energetic, sports-minded individuals and self-defense enthusiasts, he transformed a dream into reality by forming and founded the World Eskrido Federation (WEF) at King Khalid Air Base Sports Complex, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia . WEF concentrated on Arnis/ Kali/Garote (Stick Fighting), Combat Judo (Knife Defense) including Karate influence. Grandmaster Alcuizar devoted much of his time to the propagation and development of the art, taking a more direct and scientific approach
WEF was organized to help develop strict discipline in sportsmanship, promote sound mind and body, and improve skill and stamina. In addition, the training received allowed members to enhance the moral and social responsibility of the youth, thus minimizing and completely eliminating delinquency. The philosophy taught within the WEF curriculum involved the following:
1) Develop physical, mental, as well as social emotions of an individual. 2) Provide guidance to students in the training of self-defense, physical fitness, self-control, and mental discipline which contributes to nonviolence. 3) Develop students ability to gain the rare knowledge of knowing how to win without fighting, benefiting others as well as within. 4) Guide students by imparting in their minds what Eskrido could do as a part of physical education in the moral, physical, and spiritual development of an individual.
Within the aspects of learning any martial art, discipline training is a must. Thru this training, students gain a moral philosophy of obedience and a sense of duty and respect. The overall philosophy of the art is to help develop each student’s individual character, mental strength, and respect to others as well as the ability to do what is right, rather than what is easy or wrong. Not long after, many people from the different parts of Khamis Mushayt, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia started to join WEF. Each member was screened to be of good moral and social standing.
To date, the majority of the members are Filipino, along with other Nationalities. At present, WEF has several branches scattered in Assir Region, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , and in the Philippines Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao
In October of 2003, I came to join my wife as an immigrant here in the United States of America . At the same time I was also invited as a representative from Saudi Arabia and Philippines for a World Tang Soo Do tournament held in Philadelphia , PA , USA . Since being here in the states, I have conducted a 4-part seminar in Arnis, in cooperation with the Ferrer Academy of Martial Arts in Cypress , California .
He has used the term “ESKRIDO” as a combination for Eskrima, Arnis, and combat judo and registered the name of “WORLD ESKRIDO FEDERATION” in the Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
From the date that Master Larry came to the state to his last day, he have been training Ronald Manrique as the successor and with the full blessing of Master Larry and the Alcuizar Family to teach.
Grandmaster Gerardo B. Alcuizar, PhD M.A. (1934-2007)
Judan Kuro Obi-10th Dan Red Belt-Soke
Founder and President World Eskrido Federation and DUREX Philippines
Executive Examiner, Certified World Grandmaster