Friday, August 20, 2010

Abelardo Jagocoy Sr.: An Arnis Old Timer by: James U. Sy Jr.

Grandmaster Abelardo Jagocoy Sr. (right) demonstrates his technique to his grandson, Grandmaster Felix A. Guinabo (James U. Sy Jr./CMAS photo)

The research by the Conceptual Martial Arts Society (CMAS), Inc. in the past few years showed that many old timer arnisadors of Negros Occidental had already passed away. Nevertheless, the CMAS Documentation Team had successfully recorded the lives of several of those who are still with us, with the hopes that the new generation will take an interest in our own indigenous Filipino Martial Art (FMA) of Arnis/Eskrima and maybe, maybe, learn it from the old men who had immersed themselves in the life long practice of this Filipino martial tradition.

One of these old timers is Abelardo Baga Jagocoy Sr. At age 79, he made his first public demonstration together with his grandson, Grandmaster Felix A. Guinabo, during the 1st GSMASDA-Arjuka-CMAS Arnis Expo last August 1, 2010 at Gaisano City Bacolod Supermall in Bacolod City at the invitation of the Conceptual Martial Arts Society (CMAS), Inc. of Founders/Masters James U. Sy Jr. and Narciso “Hansy” L. Alojado. The event attracted more than 60 arnisadors/eskrimadors from Bacolod City, Bago City, Iloilo City, Murcia, and Pennsylvania, USA representing not less than 19 systems of Western Visayan Arnis/Eskrima.

Abelardo Baga Jagocoy was born to Gervacio Claridad Jagocoy of Sum-ag and Herenia Baga of Bohol on March 31, 1931 in Cansilayan, Murcia. He was the youngest among six siblings which included (in this order) Jose, Perfecto, Marianing, Maming Jagocoy-Cadigal, Petra, and him.

Jagocoy had relatives who were arnisadors, among them Francisco Salanap and Buenaventura “Tora” Salanap. Jagocoy started his studies of Arnis in 1950 under Grandmaster Federico “Peding” Abendan, a student of Grandmaster Abraham T. Gubaton, who is in turn a student of the Founder of Oido de Caburata, the late Grandmaster Antonio “ToƱing” Tolosa of Minoyan, and his student, Grandmaster Jose D. Aguilar.

According to Jagocoy, GM Abendan taught him the short stick and called his art Oido. GM Abendan founded the long stickfighting art of Backhand but only did so after studying Oido under GM Gubaton. GM Abendan did not charge Jagocoy for the lessons because they were neighbors and relatives.

The art taught to Jagocoy must have been an earlier version of Oido de Caburata since GM Tolosa was continuously evolving his system up to the 1960’s. Oido de Caburata was founded in 1936.

The next teacher of Jagocoy was Jose “Joe” Mamar, who taught him the two handed stick. According to Jagocoy, Mamar was a student of GM Aguilar. It is not clear whether the long stick art taught to him was Backhand or methodo but it could not have been Original Filipino Tapado since it was only founded by the late Grandmaster Romeo “Nono” C. Mamar in 1960.

Jagocoy later exchanged ideas with other eskrimadors to gain more experience. He never taught because his purpose in studying Arnis was only for self protection. After years of silence, he started teaching his grandson, Grandmaster Felix A. Guinabo, the Founder of Trese Grabes Piga-Piga System.

Jagocoy was among those recognized and honored as Grandmaster of Arnis by the Conceptual Martial Arts Society (CMAS), Inc. and Gaisano City Bacolod Supermall during the Arnis Expo since he holds the link to an earlier version of Oido which helps show how the art had developed through the years when viewed side by side with the Oido that is practiced today.

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