Sunday, June 29, 2008

Appropriation of Original Filipino Tapado By Ka69er

(Note: This article is posted with permission from the author)

Ever since we posted pictures and video clips in www.youtube.com, there were many questions being addressed to us. Questions like just curious, is Tapado part of Kali or is it a completely different art? Is it used with a kampilan too?”
“Hi. I was wondering where your style of Tapado came from and whether there is any relationship to Guro Mike Vasquez' "Modified Tapado?"
”It would appear that your style is an original style and Guro Vazquez' is an interpretation.
.(Steve Lamade, Instructor, San Miguel Eskrima Association Apr 09, 2007, 09:51 AM)

Then having read this comments and questions, I would like to make a history of Original Filipino Tapado. But in answering this questions, maybe I could touch on the historical background of the Original Filipino Tapado.

The last question was in 3 parts. First, the one asking wants to know where my Tapado came from. Second, he asks whether there is any relationship to Guro Mike Vasquez’ Modified Tapado and lastly it is a form of a statement that it appears that my style of Tapado is an original style and Guro Vasquez’ is an interpretation.

To answer the first question, I will give credit where credit is due. My Tapado comes from the Mamar and Lobrido Clan. It was handed down by the late Founder Grandmaster Romeo “Nono” Carmona Mamar to his nephew Grandmaster Benefredo “Bebing” Mamar Lobrido.

Original Filipino Tapado was born in the rice fields of Bgy. Taloc, Bago City , which is about 15 kms from the capital city of Bacolod , Negros Occidental. Original Filipino Tapado was fully developed into a different system in the small Brgy of Taloc.

It was first a family art. It only went public after it was fully developed in 1960. From then on, since no one can defeat GM Nono Mamar in friendly matches and not-so-friendly ones, many people outside Taloc got interested and curious about the newfound art of long stick fighting of GM Nono Mamar.

GM Nono developed his art with the help of his brother-in-law, Florentino Lobrido, the father of the current 1st Generation Inheritor, GM Bebing Lobrido. The duo, together with one of their cousins, developed what was raw, unpolished Tapado at first. Later on, also with the help of his wife and his nephew, GM Nono Mamar refined it into a different system of a two handed long stick fighting art.

But before this development into a new system, GM Nono was also a master in Arnis, specifically in the styles of Oido, Lagas, Sinamak, and Layaw from local masters. During the development of Tapado, he would practice it with his brother, his wife, and with his nephew, GM Bebing Lobrido.

Throughout the years of development it was only his nephew who sticked with him that is why he made his nephew his style’s Chief Instructor during the 1960’s up until the first Association was founded up to his untimely demise in 2005. It was the exploits of GM Nono that reached martial artists from Bacolod and neighboring towns that made him branch out outside his family.

It was in the 1980’s, more than 20 years after Original Filipino Tapado was perfected, that GM Nono Mamar, together with his nephew, introduced it to people outside of Taloc. Masters from Bacolod would flock to Taloc just to learn this unique art. People like the late Rene Cornel, the Gonzalez brothers of Central Philippines Combat Karate and also Mike Vasquez of the Vasquez Martial Arts Center. They would travel through a rough road just to reach Bgy. Taloc.

It was in 1984 that the association was founded by these people. These people have at one time or another were under the instructorship of both the Founder and his Chief Instructor, then Master Bebing Lobrido.

To answer the second question, Guro Mike Vasquez was once a student of GM Nono Mamar and one time or another was under the instructorship of the Chief Instructor GM Bebing Lobrido under the supervision of GM Nono. Aside from the regular practice in their dojo, Guro Mike Vasquez sought private tutorship with the Founder. In fact, according to reliable sources, it was GM Bebing Lobrido who fed for Guro Mike during demonstration and practices.

As to my acquaintance with Tapado, I was first introduced to Guro Mike’s Modified Tapado by a common friend and also a Junior Instructor of Original Filipino Tapado. At first I learned the basics from Guro Mike. As a seeker of truth, I was not just satisfied with what was modified but sought the original that is why I went to GM Bebing. When GM Nono was semi retired, Modified Tapado gained prominence. Lastly, GM Bebing was a Tapado practitioner since 1960 when he was just 10 and was already the Chief Instructor of the art when people from Bacolod (this includes Gonzalez Brothers, Rene Cornel, Elmer V/. Montoryo of Filipino Tang Soo Do, George Gargalicano, etc.) came to Taloc during the mid-1980’s in particular during 1984.

It was only in the mid 1980’s when they learned the basics of Tapado while GM Bebing was the one feeding for their strikes. Later on, Master Joe Pamilangko also of Taloc took over the task of GM Bebing as Chief Instructor when GM Bebing went to Manila to look for a job as a seaman (he was the first seaman in their purok to pursue his career in Manila. GM Bebing was a certified seaman after undergoing a 6 months study.But he was unfortunate and never landed a job as a seaman in Manila that he went back to Taloc). Meanwhile, these Bacolod enthusiasts would go to Master Nelson Carmona to practice in Bacolod at the back of the State Theater..

To answer the last question, it is a subjective one. If one looks at it as just an interpretation so be it. But it is clear that he was once under the Masters of Taloc. The basis of the strikes of Modified Tapado were from Original Filipino Tapado, no more no less. In ilonggo “waay kinalis.” After the Founder died, Guro Mike came out with the book Fundamentals of Tapado, which presents his Modified Tapado, retaining the original strikes of Original Tapado with some changes.

For the question of “Is Tapado part of Kali?,” the answer is no. By the mere fact that we do not call the Negrense Filipino Martial Arts or for that matter the Filipino Martial Arts as a whole Kali. It is a foreign word to the Negros Arnisadores. In fact, in one of the meetings of the Association, GM Nono would not approve of being affiliated to the Kali of Leo Gaje. So until now the Arnisadores and Escrimadores and Bastoneros here do not recognize Kali. It has no legitimate history. It is a word coined by the Fil-ams in America and tried to impose it on the locals. If the question is, is it a part of Arnis, then the answer is yes. GM Nono developed it from what he learned from the local masters of Arnis/Escrima/Baston.

This is also in response to those who are spreading the lies that the Original Filipino Tapado is no more because the Founder is already dead. This is to challenge those who are spreading the lies to go to Taloc and try to read the local news that the Original Tapado is alive and very busy in propagating the art. Maybe those who are spreading the lies do not know where Taloc is. One can not go to Bago City without passing Taloc. It is the first barangay that one encounters when one goes to Bago from Bacolod .

I Hope this will open the eyes and ears of those who are trying to be blind and deaf to the truth. Original Tapado is and will be alive so long as GM Lobrido and his to-be-designated successor are alive. The goal of the association is to keep the art alive and functional and not necessarily to mass introduce it. Those who are interested will find it wherever it is, just like I did and many others before and after me.
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(This is the recent statement of Romeo "Tokong" Mamar, Jr., the son of the Late GM Romeo"Nono" Mamar during the birthday celebration of the 1st Generation Inheritor GM Benefredo "Bebing" Mamar Lobrido)

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