What is meant by 'styles' in Kalis Ilustrisimo?


In Kalis Ilustrisimo, the term ‘style’ has a different meaning from other martial arts systems. The following paragraphs discusses and explains what the term ‘style’ means in Kalis Ilustrisimo.


In Chinese/Korean/Japanese martial terminology a "style" is a particular tradition of fighting that had been systemised and passed down intact in a formalised curriculum or body of knowledge. Thus, ‘style’ in this context is a system or tradition.

In Kalis Ilustrisimo, a style is a style. It is just a style of fighting. In other words, it is a particular method or way of fighting.  It has nothing to do with a tradition or school founded by certain masters. Thus, style in this context means a method or way of doing things. For example, when a person moves in a particular way, or likes to use particular moves, we colloquially say “That is his style”. This is correct English. “Style” refers to the way he does it or the method that he uses.

The following are examples to illustrate the meaning of “style” in Kalis Ilustrisimo:-

        Elastico:  The eskrimador who weaves forward to strike and backward to avoid, like a rubber band, is using the Elastico style of fighting.

Retirada:  The escrimador who uses a retreating footwork, is using the Retirada style of
fighting. There is a particular retirada that is unique to Kalis Ilustrisimo. It is called 'Retirada Ilustrisimo' in Lameco Eskrima. Its principal variation is the 'Lutang'. The eskrima of the Ilustrisimo family was sometimes called Retirada in former times because of this particular emphasis.

        Sombra:  The eskrimador who uses an overhead cover for his defences, is using the Sombrada style of fighting.

        Salok: The eskrimador who uses scooping strokes that cut the opponent's hand on the up-stroke, is using the Salok style of fighting. This style is often used in Kalis Ilustrisimo since it is designed for the blade, and although I have not found this style extensively used in other systems of eskrima, this style is not taunted as unique to Kalis Ilustrisimo, for unknown reasons. 

        Sungkite:  The eskrimador who uses lateral thrusting from the sides is using the Pasungkite style of fighting.

        Bagsak:  The eskrimador who emphasising the downward drop to destroy the opponents attack is using the Bagsak style of fighting.  This is also unique to Kalis Ilustrisimo. 

        Cerada:  The eskrimador who uses sealing/closing moves always  -  usually from the  closed/outside/blind side of the opponent is using the Cerada style of fighting. Pluma: The eskrimador who uses twirling or spinning moves to take the empty line, especially with a ‘pen-like’ hand posture, is using the Pluma style of fighting. 

        Repeticion:  The eskrimador who continually raining strikes on the opponent is using the Repeticion style of fighting. 

Thus, when fighting, an eskrimador has many methods or styles to defend himself. He uses whatever style he is most familiar, and whatever is the most suitable for the occasion. This is how the term "styles"  is used in Kalis Ilustrisimo. 

As a side note, the above information is inserted into this book to correct any misunderstanding caused by statements such as “Kalis Ilustrisimo contains many styles of fighting.”  The correct interpretation of this statement is that Kalis Ilustrisimo has many methodologies and principles of combat. It does not mean that Kalis Ilustrisimo drew the repertoire of its techniques from many eskrima traditions. The truth is that the fighting art of the Ilustrisimo family had a very long history, and being the most influential eskrima family in north Cebu for at least 200 years, it influenced many other eskrima families, not only in north Cebu (principally Bantayaan and Bohol islands), but in many parts of Philippines. Before the time of Tatang’s uncle Melecio Ilustrisimo, this statement is based on hear-say stories passed down from previous generations). However, we know this for a fact during Tatang Ilustrisimo’s time, because we have met or known old folks from various parts of the Philippines who have learnt from Melecio Ilustrisimo. These old folks came from as far north as Luzon, as far south as Mindanao. In addition, some of the students and associates (eg., Pedro Cortez) of the Ilustrisimo family settled in other parts of the Philippines.