BOBBY TABOADA AND THE BALINTAWAK
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