Taboada Balintawak Eskrima Cuentada System

Taboada Balintawak Eskrima Cuentada is a vibrant, fast-paced, and highly evolved Filipino martial art (Arnis, Escrima, Esckrima) that predominantly focuses on single-stick and empty-hand combat. It was developed and popularized by the grandmaster Bobby Taboada who learned from a lineage of eminent Balintawak masters in Cebu City, Philippines.

Known for its close-quarter fighting techniques, this system aims to respond rapidly to attacks by deeply understanding angles, leverage, and timing. The style encourages a fluid and adaptive mindset, using a one-stick fighting method that can seamlessly transition into the use of other weapons or no weapon at all.

Practitioners of Taboada Balintawak develop agility, precision, and an intuitive sense of the flow of combat through a set of progressive drills known as 'Groupings'. These drills, combined with a unique sparring practice known as 'controlled combat' or 'the feed', not only emphasize on dynamic reactions to multiple attack angles, but also promote critical thinking and strategic improvisation.

Grandmaster Taboada's emphasis on safety, respect, and discipline within this system has made it a popular martial art globally, as it helps foster a sense of community while emphasizing individual progress and the practical application of learned skills.

The term Cuentada refers to "calculation" or "to counter." It is the principle that guides Balintawak Eskrimadors. The assumption is that the opponent is skilled and attacks will be countered - for every counter, there is a counter.

The Taboada Cuentada System is based on classic Balintawak close quarter fighting, originated and tested in the streets of Cebu City, Philippines. Identified by its use of the single stick and close-quarter play, it is designed to develop combat attributes: speed, timing, and distancing. Additionally, emphasis is placed on economy of motion, flexible body alignment without unnatural or forced postures, and delivery of direct line strikes to produce lightning-fast counter attacks.

Although it is viewed as primarily a close-range style, the training prepares the practitioner for varying combat ranges; full-power, body torquing swings, and blocks are Taboada Balintawak signature characteristics and can be employed for medium to longer range engagement. The stick is the primary training tool, but the theory is that the stick is only an extension of the arm; the system prepares the practitioner to adapt. Whether it is with the baton, blade, improvised weapons, and empty-hand fighting - the goal is to produce adept, functional fighters.

2 Classes & Stick $19.99

The Teachers

Josh Faram
7:30 - 9:00 pm

Josh Faram began training Martial Arts in the fifth grade and has been training for over 20 years in many different styles: Kajukenbo, Tae Kwon Do, Aikijutsu, Silat, Doce pares, Wing Chun, MMA, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and Balintawak under John Soriano.

Receiving his completion of the art in Balintawak in 2013 he has been teaching privately and is now looking forward to creating a home base to teach and further explore Balintawak. His experience in many different styles gives him a unique approach to training.

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Carlton Doup
Tuesdays & Thursdays
10:30 am - 12:00 pm

Carlton, the founder of Marysville Martial Arts, has been training in martial arts since 1992 and teaching since 1995.

He received his C.O.A. (completion of that art) of Taboada Balintawak in 2022 after studying under Guro Josh Faram, and testing under the supervision of Grand Master Bobby Taboada.

Carlton, the founder of Marysville Martial Arts, has been training in martial arts since 1992 and teaching since 1995.

He received his C.O.A. (completion of that art) of Taboada Balintawak in 2022 after studying under Guro Josh Faram, and testing under the supervision of Grand Master Bobby Taboada.

picture of the insructor


Anciong Bacon (1912-1981)
Founder of Balintawak Eskrima

Standing at 5 feet, 2 inches tall, and no more than 120 pounds, he was diminutive in physical stature, a giant in his influence and impact on Filipino Martial Arts history. Venancio "Anciong" Bacon was born in 1912 in Carcar, Cebu. He started training at the Labangon Fencing Club, learning the Corto Linear style from Lorenzo "Ensong" Saavedra, his only teacher.

In 1933 the Doce Pares Club was established. Anciong Bacon was one of the first twenty-four members. In 1952, fed up with the personal bickering and internal politics of the Doce Pares Club, Bacon left, starting his own club. The newly formed club began training in the backyard of a watch shop owned by one of Bacon's students. The shop was located on a small side street in Colon, called Balintawak, which eventually became the name of the style.

He was described as lightning-fast and surgical with a stick. He had a rare talent to be able to employ varying force to his exact targets on his adversary's body, and exploit their balance and coordination. Bacon was a veteran of many death matches in Cebu. Still, his greatest virtue was his constant desire to improve his art, diligently discovering techniques throughout the years, never ceasing his path. He taught his art to anyone who desired to learn it. The 1950's and 1960's saw the "Golden Age" of Eskrima in Cebu -Eskrimadors from various camps tested each other's skills in all-out challenges. These resulted in injuries and sometimes deaths. Some were under honorable circumstances, while others were treacherous. Venancio Bacon was ambushed in the dark while walking to his home in Labangon. He killed his assailant in self-defense, but he was incarcerated for murder; the judge considered that his martial skills were lethal weapons and should have been used with restraint.

Venancio Bacon was paroled from prison in the mid-1970's. When he returned to Cebu, he continued to check up on students, making sure the quality of Balintawak was up to his standards. He regularly attended training sessions led by Jose Villasin and Teofilo Velez. It was here that Bacon saw the next generation of Balintawak fighters. He was satisfied. A few years after, Venancio Bacon died, leaving a legacy known around the world as BALINTAWAK.

picture of ancion bacon

Grandmaster Bobby Taboada

As a young student of Balintawak Eskrima, Bobby Taboada made a bold statement to his teachers that one day he would promote the art to the world. Today he is recognized as one of the pioneers and most visible proponent of introducing Balintawak outside of the Philippines. His International Balintawak organization based in Charlotte, North Carolina, is global.

Known for his explosive and powerful brand of eskrima, GM Bobby was a veteran fighter of combat and tournament competition. He was trained by all the Balintawak masters in the practical aspects of combat fighting, including: Great Grandmaster Anciong Bacon, Jose Villasin, and his primary teacher Teofilo Velez. GM Bobby's mission is the same as when he left the shores of the Philippines in 1979 - to promote Balintawak Eskrima worldwide.

Having experienced violent and deadly fights and taught the "old school" way, which was often brutal, he emphasizes training safely. GM Bobby conducts training for law enforcement officers, martial arts instructors (of all styles), and those individuals who he thinks have attained maturity, discipline and the capacity necessary to learn his art. He states, "in my over 40 years of experience in martial arts, I believe the hardest thing to learn is how to defend, the easiest is how to strike, hit, punch or kick." Based on this philosophy he places primary emphasis on defense and the counter. His advice to students of all martial arts: "All martial arts have something good to offer, take it, study it, practice it, think about the counter, then it is yours - then one day you will be one of the masters."

pciture of bobby taboada

Guro John Soriano

John Soriano established and serves as the chief instructor for the Balintawak Seattle organization. He is a Full Qualified Instructor (Level 7) in the Balintawak Arnis/Eskrima Cuentada System, having been personally trained and certified by system founder, Grandmaster Bobby Taboada.

Guro John is the Pacific Northwest Liaison to the International Balintawak Organization, and in 2010 was appointed as an Ambassador for the World Eskrima Balintawak Arnis Federation.

picture of John Soriano and Bobby Taboada