First Journey to Ancestral Homeland for Two Filipino American Eskrimadors

This article is from 2008 but is still newsworthy and worth sharing today.

Oringally posted at –

First Journey to Ancestral Homeland for Two Filipino American Eskrimadors

Invited to Participate in WEKAF’s Tenth Championship in Cebu, Philippines July 22-25

July 11, 2008

HONOLULU—(U.S. ASIAN WIRE)— The World Eskrima-Kali-Arnis Federation World Championships to be held in the Philippines on July 22-25, 2008, promise to be noteworthy for several reasons. One is that the contest marks the tenth anniversary celebrating this indigenous Filipino martial art on a global scale. Another is that it marks a homecoming for two of its long-time practitioners: Jimmy Robles and Joe “the Volcano” Behic. Both are of Filipino descent traveling to their ancestral homeland for the very first time.

Robles, an Eskrima instructor and master, was invited to attend the world tournament in Cebu. Together with Behic, also a master in the Filipino fighting art, the two developed their own style of Eskrima which they’ve named Sayaw Ng Mandirigma, or “Dancing with the Warriors” in Tagalog.

Practitioners of Eskrima are noted for their ability to fight with sticks and knives or empty hands interchangeably. Secrecy has been a large part of this art and teaching it outside of the Filipino community was considered taboo until the 1960s when Eskrima was first brought over to the U.S. by Grandmaster Angel Cabales. The first recorded military use of Eskrima was against the Spanish conquistadors arriving on the island of Cebu in 1521. Native weapons and techniques were responsible for the demise of Ferdinand Magellan, and fighting systems were further revised and practiced in secrecy.

Jimmy Robles and Joe “the Volcano” Behic will go to Cebu, from whence their families and their passion for Eskrima originated. Robles anticipated their emotional journey during a June 30 interview on The Morning Show, KPFA 94.1, expressing, “Our hearts are open.” The interview, conducted by Jimmy’s son Tony Robles, co-editor of Poor Magazine, can be heard online at

Kali sticks integral to the art and practice of Eskrima are handcrafted by Jimmy Robles, and can be purchased by calling 808-383-0531.

For more information about the World Eskrima Kali Arnis Federation Championship July 22-28 in Cebu, Philippines visit the website at

Attention Editors and Newsrooms: To schedule an interview with Jimmy Robles and Joe Behic prior to their departure for the Philippines on July 16th please contact Jimmy Robles 808-383-0531.

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