Filipino Boxing has many names: Panantukan, Pangamot, Sikaran, Suntokan, Panajaykan, Dumog and others. The art that these names refer to is the empty-hand section of the weapon-based Filipino martial art called Kali, Escrima, or Arnis.
The Philippines consists of more than eight hundred populated islands with different languages and dialects, and this is probably the main reason they have so many names for their martial arts. On the other hand (though it is not obvious) it really is one art. There were and still are many tribes around, and sometimes there is a wide difference between their training methods, strategies, preferences and orientations, just as there are differences in the weapons they use.
But it is generally true that they prefer to use weapons in combat, like sticks and knives, and therefore the empty hand techniques are taught as a secondary choice (in case someone should lose his weapon). These circumstances and conditions have really shaped the art everywhere in the Philippines.
Thus „Filipino Boxing” originally included techniques and tactics which would not be allowed in sport & fair circumstances; principles that come from armed combat, designed to disarm the foe and fight against more than one opponent.
As Filipino Boxing / Panantukan has met with the western world it has become more refined, and made more and more connections with western boxing. So the repertoire has changed.
In any evolving creative process, however, there is always a risk that without living connections with its origins, an art will exist just for its own sake; it becomes too artistic, and no longer practical for use in actual combat. This is a challenge for the art and even more so for the practitioners, but especially for the instructors.
In our training we focus on the basics, developing solid boxing skills with carefully selected exercises, combining old and new training methods. According to the old masters, whoever has good fundamentals can adapt well to any situation, and this is my experience too.
Around this core we build, according to the principles of Panantukan, techniques that are not allowed in fair fights, but help us to face any opponent. It means first of all learning the limb destructions that come from stick, sword and knife fighting; the use of the whole body as a weapon (headbutts, elbow strikes, lowline kicking, trapping the arms and the legs), and wrestling / clinching /standup-grappling.
The use of the sticks (olisi), pocket sticks (kubaton) is also part of our training process. We use these tools to make our hands more skillful; because this is the origin of many our movements; and also because it is great fun!
Our goal is to have and practice something useful; at the same time as a martial art, Filipino boxing is not only just for fighting, but it helps you to know yourself better as a human beings, as a body connected with a mind, and also helps you to stay healthy.