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The System Principles

The Kalis Ilustrisimo system is full of strategies to set up an opponent, counter his counters, beat him to the punch, etc. Footwork is simple but effective. As long as one can walk forward, backward and sideward, then one has basically mastered the footwork.

Kalis Ilustrisimo is comprised of Ilustrisimo family eskrima (stick) techniques from the Visayas and the Sulu kalis (sword) techniques of Pedro Cortez. The style features training in the use of the single and double sticks, single and double swords, sword and dagger, staff, handkerchief, and the empty-hands.

As a system, it is composed of different "styles" or techniques of fighting including, but not limited to estrella bartical (vertical block and parry), florete (circular thrust), boca de lobo (overhead parry and strike), BatangueƱo serrada (Batangas close quarter techniques), de cadena (chained strikes), media fraile (central vertical parry), and warwok (return to sender). Among Grandmaster Ilustrisimo's favorite techniques are the pluma (so-named after the motion made by a ball pen), and the cruzada (crossed-shaped movements).


It must be noted, however, that the techniques themselves are not the secret to mastering the art of Kalis Ilustrisimo. Rather, it is the fighting concepts of enganyo (feinting maneuvers), prakcion (off-beat timing), cadena real (linking the principal techniques), reloj de arena (hourglass shape concept), and dakip-diwa (spontaneous action without conscious thought), which distinguish the application of this art from others. Many so-called "techniques" are actually illustrations of combat principles.

Of techniques found within the system, attacking methods are considered the most important. Given Grandmaster Ilustrisimo's background, one can certainly appreciate why. Practitioners of the art either take offensive or bait their opponent into committing the first move, then attack to the opponent's open guard.

Prakcion are strikes to attacks without any prerequisite blocking techniques. These are the most direct, practical, and efficient defensive or retaliation that one can execute. Your counter is a half-beat (i.e., a fraction) faster than your opponent's attack, and therefore does not need a block to stop the attack. Rather, you make use of the created opening in the opponent's position to your advantage. The opponent's attack supplies the opportunity or opening. You simply observe the attack of the opponent and counter directly. Based on his application of these principals in patayan "death-matches," Ilustrisimo has no preference as to where he strikes an opponent's body. Openings can present themselves in any form, such as an extended hand, or an open head.

The practitioners of Kalis Ilustrisimo diligently train all known variations of their movements until such a time as they are executed automatically in free-sparring sessions. Any change in an opponent's attack or defense will then automatically be identified by the exponent of this art who, in the moment, evaluates, modifies, and reacts spontaneously to the new threat with proven and tested tactics. The possible changes of angles and positions an opponent could take have been classified in Kalis Ilustrisimo as the reloj de arena pattern.


The horizontal and vertical lines found in the hourglass shape symbolically represent all possible changes of an oncoming attack. In addition, any shift will cause enough displacement in the opponent's position, allowing the Kalis Ilustrisimo practitioner to evade the attack or parry. With each subtle change, a new opportunity is presented to the practitioner. It is through these opportunities that practitioners of Kalis Ilustrisimo are able to cease the moment, become the combat, and transcend the boundaries of ordinary fighting techniques.