Wednesday, August 23, 2006


Name of Style : Garciano Arnis
Also known as Kilat Arnis (Lightning)

Founder : Ronald Garciano

Dojo Location : YMCA Building
Tapuac District
Dagupan City, Pangasinan

Classes : Monday through Thursday
Includes kids’ classes, adult classes
Classes include arnis and hand-to-hand combat


Ronald Garciano learned the family art of “kilat” (meaning lightning) arnis from his grandfather growing up in the Camotes Islands in the Visayas. There Ronald Garciano started teaching arnis in his backyard and developing his own style.

In 1991, he moved to Dagupan City, Pangasinan and in 2005, he opened the current arnis school at the YMCA Building in Dagupan City.

In addition to the family art that he learned in the Camotes Islands, his style contains and combines elements of Kodokan judo, combat judo (jiu-jitsu), combat aikido and Japanese aikido. Ronald Garciano is also an aikido master with several aikido dojos in Pangasinan.

Description of Classes

On July 4, 2006, Tuesday afternoon, my son Mitch and I dropped by their YMCA dojo in Dagupan City for about an hour and half. We saw two classes, a children’s class for arnis, and an adult hand-to-hand class.

The children wore uniforms of black pants and white school T-shirts with a nice touch—colored sashes denoting their ranks. Their color rankings went from white (no sash), yellow, orange, green, blue, brown and black. The same color rankings were followed for adults but with colored T-shirts and belts denoting rank, instead of sashes. A full gi was optional during actual classes.

The arnis dojo in Dagupan is headed by guro Rohnee Tiong Gumpal, who is from Pangasinan. He teaches the classes on a regular basis, and yields the mat when Master Garciano shows up for classes and gets on the mat, assisting with the students.

Description and Analysis of Style

Master Garciano’s arnis curriculum includes the full array of impact, bladed and flexible weapons, as well as empty hands, which he calls “hand-to-hand combat.” The latter course includes empty hands self-defense including defenses against weapons such as stick and knife.

Master Garciano offered us a demonstration of some of their arnis techniques with guro Rohnee Tiong Gumpal as “uke” or demo partner. Their demo included attacks and counters using single sticks, double sticks, stick versus knife (live), and balisong (live) versus empty hands.

What distinguishes this style is the underlying element of “kilat” style that manifests itself most markedly in its empty hands system. It includes painful joint locks and neck cranks or breaks that are somewhat similar to pentjak silat moves. Master Ronald Garciano averred that this was characteristic of the Visayan styles of arnis in the region that he grew up.


All in all, this school appears to offer a complete and authentic arnis system, with good and accessible facilities in a good part of town, surrounded by several schools, and run by a duo of very capable and professional instructors.

This dojo is a relatively new dojo, and could use more students and probably more promotion and networking with other major arnis national organizations. Not surprisingly, Master Garciano revealed that his aikido schools are overflowing with students, but his arnis dojo needs his personal attention to boost membership.

We welcome this school into the brotherhood of the FMA community, and wish Master Garciano and guro Gumpal much success in their commercial endeavor, and their students much progress and enlightenment in their martial arts quest.

Author’s note: This article and a Photo Gallery related to this article may be found in my latest e-book, “Philippine Odyssey 2006” now available at the online store at .

Copyright, Jay de Leon 2006


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