Monday, September 18, 2006


On Saturday September 16, 2006, Tipunan International held its annual Filipino martial arts seminar called Tipunan sa Los Angeles 2006 (Gathering at Los Angeles 2006) at the Airtel Plaza in the city of Van Nuys, in Los Angeles, California. It was promoted and hosted by Jay de Leon, founder of Tipunan International and Commissioner for the International Modern Arnis Federation of the Philippines (IMAFP).

In keeping with its tradition and its mission of promoting authentic Filipino martial arts and featuring world-class, dedicated instructors, the seminar had an impressive array of seasoned performers. The following is a complete list of instructors who performed at Tipunan sa Los Angeles 2006, as well as their styles :

Featured instructors:

Christopher and Bruce Ricketts – Kalis Ilustrisimo, Bakbakan
Roger Agbulos – Lameco Eskrima, Astig Eskrima
Ramon Rubia – San Miguel Eskrima, Doce Pares
Felix Valencia – Lameco Eskrima
Mike Rayes – Lucaylucay Eskrima
Victor Gendrano – Inosanto Kali
Willie Laureano – Inosanto Kali
Jay de Leon – Modern Arnis

Guest instructors:

Ron Balicki – Lameco, Inosanto Kali
Dan Anderson – Modern Arnis, Modern Arnis 80

In addition to being a featured instructor, Roger Agbulos also acted as Master of Ceremonies and with his ebullient personality, adroitly managed instructors, participants, the venue and time for an orderly but fun event.

As usual, martial arts and celebrity guests dropped by to say hello to old friends, watch some good Filipino martial arts being demonstrated or promote upcoming events and products. Two actually ended up giving demonstrations on the floor, including Modern Arnis Senior Master Dan Anderson of Washington, who was in town for several of his own seminars, and Ron Balicki, renown Lameco and Inosanto Kali instructor .

An interesting sidelight was the seminar turned into a joyous reunion of sorts for Edgar Sulite’s Lameco “backyard” group. This consisted of Roger Agbulos, Ron Balicki, Felix Valencia, Arnold Noche, Bud Balani and Dino Flores, now senior instructors of Lameco in their own rights and with their own following.

Participants treated themselves to quality Filipino martial arts products offered by vendors. Each instructor and participant also received an official t-shirt from this year’s recently concluded 3rd World Filipino Martial Arts Festival 2006 held in Manila, Philippines last July, which several of the featured and guest instructors had attended.

This seminar came on the heels of last year’s highly successful seminar Tipunan sa Disneyland held at the Hilton Hotel in front of Disneyland in Anaheim, California. Tipunan sa Disneyland decidedly had an international flavor with featured instructors from Europe as well as all over the United States including Edessa Ramos from Switzerland, Jerome Barber from New York, Abon Baet and Bram Frank from Florida and many others.

On the other hand, Tipunan sa Los Angeles 2006 had more of a West Coast constituency. All of the featured instructors were from the core group of Tipunan instructors based in southern California. This drew a tremendous amount of turn-out just from the area itself.

The featured instructors were in peak form, their presentations and demonstrations were awesome, the energy of the participants were high and the camaraderie and interaction among instructors, participants and guests were viral and intense.

True to form, while Tipunan sa Los Angeles 2006 might have been a local event, its Filipino martial arts was authentic and true to its Filipino roots, and its reach and influence seemingly far-reaching beyond its local venue.

When asked about plans for next year, host Jay de Leon of Tipunan International replied, “We do not have plans for a venue or a line-up yet, but it will definitely be bigger, more exciting and even more full of surprises than the previous ones.” That might have sounded like a stock answer about raising the bar, but, in Tipunan’s case, raising the bar seems to be another one of their traditions.


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