ANCIONG BACON (1912 – 1981)
Venacio ”Anciong” Bacon is a legendary figure of Arnis/Eskrima
and one of the most influential masters in the history of Filipino Martial Arts.
Born in 1912 in Carcar – Cebu, he started his training in the 1920’s
in the Labangon Fencing Club, learning the Corto Linear style
from his only teacher – Lorenzo ”Ensong” Saavedra.
In 1933 the Doce Pares Club was established,
composed of three Saavedra eskrimadors and nine from the Canete family.
Another 12 were inducted soon after, making the membership
twenty-four, or Twelve Pairs.
Anciong Bacon was one of these first twenty-four.
During the japanese occupation in the World War II
many eskrimadors became guerilla fighters, putting their skills
in the service of their nation and some of them losing their lives.
In 1952, fed up with the personal bickering and internal politics
of the Doce Pares club, Anciong Bacon started his own club,
along with Vincente “Inting” Atillo, Delfin Lopez, Jesus Cui,“ Timor” Maranga,
Lorenzo Gonzales, Isidro Bardilas, Andres Olaibar, and a few others.
The newly formed club started training in the backyard of a watch shop
owned by one of Venancio Bacon’s students.
This shop was located in a small side street in Colon, called Balintawak
and slowly this became the name of the style.
Standing at 5 feet, 2 inches tall and weighting no more that 120 pounds,
Venancio Bacon was a very unassuming man.
He was a veteran of a great many death matches in Cebu.
Described by many of his students as lightning fast,
Bacon was very good in exploiting his opponents’ balance and coordination.
He was known to be very surgical with a stick, able to employ varying force
to his exact targets throughout his adversary’s body.
But, his greatest virtue was his constant desire to improve his art,
diligently discovering techniques through the years, never ceasing in this path.
He taught his art to those who desired to learn it.
The 1950s and 1960s saw the “Golden Age” of eskrima in Cebu.
Eskrimadors from various camps, mainly the two already mentioned,
tested each other’s skills in all out challenges.
These resulted in injuries and sometimes deaths.
Some were under honorable circumstances, while others treacherous.
Vincente “Inting” Carin of Doce Pares found himself attacked by multiple assailants,
he was badly wounded, but he injured lethaly two of his attackers.
Delfin Lopez was knifed from behind, placing him in a small lot in Calamba Cemetary.
Venancio Bacon was ambushed in the dark while walking to his home in Labangon.
He killed his assailant in self defense, but he was incarcerated for murder,
the judge considering that his martial skills are lethal weapons
and should have been used with restraint.
Venancio Bacon was paroled from prison in the mid-1970s.
When he returned to Cebu, he continued to check up on students,
making sure the quality of Balintawak was still up to his standards since he left it.
He regularly attended training sessions conducted by Jose Villasin and Teofilo Velez.
It was here that Venancio Bacon saw a glimpse of the next generation
of Balintawak fighters. He was satisfied.
A few years after, Venancio Bacon died,
leaving behind a legacy now known around the world as Balintawak.