Training in the Philippines 2011 – Part 1


It is the 25th of January, heavy traffic between Las Pinas and Alabang…

After waiting more than an hour for the van to get filled

and after paying a double price for the ticket (in order to avoid

longer waiting), I am finally on the way to Taal – Batangas.


I meet Bobby in front of his gym, happy to see each other again

after almost 2 years. He brings me to my room,

in a former dormitory for nursing students, next to his his house –

the same place where I stayed in the beginning of my first visit here, in 2008.

Simple and lovely – feel like taking home the bamboo bed and table!


We have lunch in a nice carenderia (eatery is the “english” name for such a place),

with very good food, but kinda small portions.

Back in the room, I have time to fix the few things I took with me

and to rest a bit before the first training session.


Which starts at 16.00, with Corto Mano stick. I havent trained with Bobby

in almost 2 years, so there are things to be corrected first.

Posture, structure, proper technique and power generation…

Then I start drilling and drilling – with him and with his advanced student Serge,

basics and hand drills, round after round, with short breaks in between.

Everything is done here on a completely another level,

the speed and the snapping power of the strikes is simply shocking…

At the end I had two rounds of Largo Mano sparring with Serge,

and it looks like I didnt do so bad…But for sure he went easier on me.



We finish at 19.30 and after a quick dinner in the food market

I am going to rest…tired and excited about the next day!


The second session started at 7.30 in the morning

and we concentrate on Largo Mano stick and on knife concepts.

First twirling exercises (and I suck so much at such!), basic strikes and combinations,

static and with footwork, drills with partner and random work with partner.

Then basic knife attacks,  largo and medio defense, stick versus knife,

stick versus espada y daga.

This second session was really challenging and gave me some nice blisters…


In the break between trainings, I decided to have lunch in Jollibee

and to eat Palabok. The place was very crowded and loud, I was being stared at

and the person in the counter speaks to me only in tagalog…

After lunch I go to an internet cafe and the “administrator” tells me that he has

no vacancy, eventhough there are four available computers.

I ask him if those are out of order, so he decides to turn on one of them,

with a slightly displeased face. Thirty minutes later another guy comes

and asks me something – not in tagalog, but in “filipino”, because the sentence

contains the word “extend”… I kinda feel like during my first year in Austria,

when I didnt knew the language and most of the people insisted

in talking to me in german only 🙂

But I decide to take it easy and told myself that these people probably thought

I am half pinoy and I understand the language, hehe!


Anyway, most of the people I encounter are friendly and smiling

and senior citizens look pleased when I  am greeting them

(old habbit from my native village in Romania, to greet all the elders I meet…)

And especially the little kids of the housekeeper where I am staying

are always staring at me smiling, so I am buying chips for them

on my way back from lunch.


In the beginning of the 3rd session, Bobby introduces me

to the wonderful and challenging training tool called clubbel.

I do a few rounds of double swings, double gamacast  and mills

and I start to have cramps in my hands already.

We continue with Corto Mano until 8 PM. Faster and faster,

with more explosiveness and less cooperation.

I understand now why he keeps simplifying and compressing the curriculum,

things must stay simple and worked on so much

until they become instincts. Bobby is a hard-working genius!


…to be continued





~ by pinoro on January 27, 2011.

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