Sunday, September 03, 2006


The “abaniko de tres puntas estilo” is an arnis style founded by GrandMaster Mateo D. Estolloso from Antique, Panay Island in the Philippines. Literally meaning “the fan style of three points, it is a classical arnis style of “sangga-patama” or”block and hit” or “give and take” style at its best.

It is characterized by “abaniko” strikes, thrusts and “punyos,” (butts), martial arts stances similar to horse and cat stances, and graceful footwork and angling that covers both “largo, medio and corto” (long, medium and short) distances. As with most Filipino martial arts (FMA) systems, this deadly weapons-oriented system can be transformed into close-quarter empty hand techniques for combat.

The sole and current inheritor is GrandMaster Rene R. Tongson of Amadeo City, Cavite, Philippines, appointed by Grandmaster Estolloso himself. GM Tongson is also a Senior Master of the Remy Presas Modern Arnis system with the rank of Lakan Walo or Eighth Degree, the interim chairman of its council of masters, and the guiding spirit behind the recently concluded and successful 3rd World Filipino Martial Arts Festival held this July 2006 in the Philippines. He also holds high ranking dans in Japanese kendo and shotokan.

The bladed weapons of this system have a unique three finger grooves in the handle. Normally, if grooves are present in a bladed weapon, most have four finger grooves for the four fingers of the hand, except the thumb.

In the case of the “tres puntas” system, the forefinger is not used to grip the weapon, but rather is extended straight against the weapon during combat, to help guide the weapon especially during parries and redirects.

I have seen GM Tongson perform several demonstrations of this system, both solo and with partners, using single stick, daga, sword, and espada y daga. GM Tongson is probably one of the most technical yet graceful performers of arnis I have ever seen. He flows flawlessly from one stance and from one distance to another, changing direction and timing as he delivers unerring and deadly strikes, counters, parries and redirects at his opponent.

I highly recommend this style of arnis if you ever get a chance to learn this particular style from GrandMaster Rene R. Tongson or any of his designated instructors of “abaniko de tres puntas estilo” or “tres puntas” for short.

This article with several pictures is included in the e-book "Philippine Odyssey 2006" now available at the online store at .

Copyright, Jay de Leon 2006


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