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By: Sam Buot, Sr.

Bobby Taboada was born in Cebu, Philippines on November 6, 1948, the oldest of the five children of Sergio and Gabriela Taboada. He grew up fighting in the streets of Cebu, not because he was a troublemaker but because it was the only means of survival on the streets. He in fact is soft-spoken and very slow to anger except when he rises up in defense of himself which is almost nil and infrequent. Bobby was first introduced to eskrima by his father. He also boxed for 6 years and later went into the exotic and imported arts of karate and kung fu.

Bobby left home when he was twelve and lived with Grandmaster Teofilo Velez like an adopted son as well as a student of eskrima. That literally meant sitting at the foot of the master in full obedience and loyalty in his search for knowledge and wisdom. That was also when he had the opportunity to learn from Grandmaster Jose Villacin and Great Grandmaster Venancio "Ansiong" Bacon the secrets of Balintawak eskrima. Bobby discovered that the art was deadly, effective and sophisticated. As a fearless and undaunted volunteer for fights and tournaments, Bobby was trained by all the Balintawak masters in the practical aspects of combat fighting. In this light, it must be emphasized that in the Philippines, eskrima is not a sport in the traditional sense of the word governed by rules of safety. It means combat fighting and sometimes a fight to the finish. Only lately have there been efforts to make it safe as a sport. Bobby is a long way from the street battles in Cebu, where he has experienced street battles and deadly fights, some with multiple opponents. He has also witnessed "fights to the finish" until one either surrendered or died. Now he is on a mission to promote balintawak eskrima worldwide with primary emphasis on self-defense techniques which he has continuously researched, tested, retested and improved on his own.

He teaches law enforcement officers, instructors of all martial arts styles, black belts and advanced students from all styles of martial arts, who he thinks have attained maturity, discipline and the capacity to absorb his skills and techniques quickly. In his 34 years of experience in martial arts, he says that the hardest thing to learn is how to defend; the easiest is how to strike, hit, punch or kick. And that is why the techniques he teaches put primary emphasis on defense, then comes the counter. This is his advice to students of all kinds of martial arts: "If any martial arts has something to office, take it, study it, practice it, think about the counter, the it is yours. Just take your time, one day you will be one of the masters too."

Bobby lived in New Zealand for 12 years and presently resides in Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S.A. where he has established the Balintawak Escrima International Headquarters.


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