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The System Overview

Kalis Ilustrisimo is the system of combat practised for centuries by the family Grandmaster Antonio 'Tatang' Ilustrisimo.

The Ilustrisimo clan has a long history as warriors and "men of power" (mystics or medicine men) that continues unbroken to this day. Grandmaster Antonio Ilustrisimo was the head of the style. The previous head was his uncle, the great Melecio Ilustrisimo, who was famous and dominant in northern Cebu (north coast, Bantayan and Bohol islands) in the early 20th Century. Another famous relative was the great mystic Agapito Ilustrisimo (his great uncle), who was active as a fighter in the revolutionary Katipunan.

Antonio Ilustrisimo was born on Kinatarcan Island, Santa Fe, Philippines, in 1904. He began learning the art of eskrima at the age of seven under his father, Isidro Ilustrisimo, and his uncle, Melecio Ilustrisimo. Among his earliest recollections is his "calling" to go to America. By the age of nine, he was determined to do just that. Along the way, he encountered martial arts masters from around the world and fought in more patayan (death matches) than perhaps any other Filipino master. He is among the most respected and revered masters that the Filipino martial arts have ever known, as indicated by his nickname, "Tatang" (a Tagalog term of respect).