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  • Who is Grandmaster Dionisio Cañete?
    “Diony” to his friends, Dionisio belongs to the second generation of the famous martial art advocates, the Cañete brothers of Cebu City, Philippines. He is the youngest son of Grandmaster Eulogio (Yoling) Cañete, the principal organizer of Doce Pares, who headed the organization since its founding in 1932 until his death in June 1988. Dionisio began his basic lessons in the Filipino art in 1946 at the age of eight from his father and brother Iluminado, the eldest of five children (4 sons and a daughter) of Eulogio and Irenea Aventurado. Three years later, he studied more techniques of the art under Grandmaster Felimon “Momoy” Cañete and later with Grandmaster Ciriaco “Cacoy” Cañete, both younger brothers of his father. Diony also trained with other masters of the organization, including Grandmasters Vicente Carin and Maximo Cañete (whose specialties were knife and empty-hand fighting). In 1950, during the golden era of boxing in Cebu, he was attracted to the sport and for five years regularly sparred and trained with several good amateur and professional boxers of that time. His love for the sport almost cost him his studies. He was made to choose between a college education and boxing by his parents. He opted to concentrate on his studies. In 1957, together with his brothers, Diony was introduced to Kodokan judo. He took up the sport seriously and participated in several local and national tournaments. His judo training lasted until the mid-60’s when he was already a lawyer. His experience and training in judo, boxing and eskrima proved to be a great advantage in broadening his ideas and perspectives about martial arts. His combined knowledge in the three disciplines became a big plus. It’s no wonder he moves adroitly and with refined ease either in long, medium or close ranges, utilizing espada y daga, empty hand, or knife fighting techniques. During the fifties, Diony was a constant witness to so-called eskrima “death matches” involving prominent names in Cebu and the neighboring provinces. These sparring sessions, which were usually held on weekends, called for protagonists to fight with the use of olisi without any protective gear. His personal experience to these bloody fights served him well. It offered him, years later, significant guidance when he drafted tournament rules that eventually “civilized” eskrima sparring matches. The said rules have been, since then, widely accepted and adopted in most tournaments. Through the prodding of his father and uncles, Diony became actively involved in Doce Pares in the late 60’s. Immediately upon his election as one of the officers of the organization, rules on the acceptance of students and membership were liberalized. The group also started a program to promote and develop eskrima not only to become a more popular martial art but also as a wholesome spectator’s sporting event. Realizing that the popularity and further development of the art wouldn’t prosper without the concerted effort of other major clubs and well-known masters, early in 1975, he initiated the formation of the Cebu Eskrima (Arnis) Association. All major eskrima clubs in Cebu banded together for the first time. It brought under one organization all the rival groups and masters, who had, for many years past, figured in a number of “death matches”. Such big names as the Bacons, Villasins, Velezes, Caburnays, Paezes, Marangas, Atillos, Lasolas, Arcillas, Carins, Culanags, Sanchezes, Navarros, Dinampos, Cañetes and many others were in the organization. In succeeding to organize and band together all the top eskrimadors, Diony, in effect, “civilized” the fight-oriented masters and curbed them to learn to co-exist for the sake of the Filipino art. The co-operative attitude of the big names in the art resulted in the staging of the First National Arnis Festival on March 6-7, 1976 at the University of San Carlos Gym in Cebu City which, incidentally, was the first major event held under the auspices of the National Arnis Association of the Philippines (NARAPHIL). More than 50 masters and Grandmasters from all over the Philippines attended the event. Participants from different clubs performed and showcased their individual styles or systems. It was during this event that the group devised the plan to hold a national tournament. Diony volunteered to prepare the tournament rules and design the appropriate protective gear. The subsequent approval of the tournament rules and full-contact gear by NARAPHIL cleared the way for the holding of the First National Arnis Open Championships at the Cebu Coliseum on March 24, 1979. This was followed by the First National Invitational Tournament at the Philippine National College Gymnasium in Manila on August 19 the same year. With the successful organizing and executing of three major events under his belt, Diony continued his relentless efforts to promote the art. In the late 70’s and early 80’s, Diony began to conduct seminars and workshops in various places in the USA, and even went to Europe for the same purpose of promoting the Filipino art. He was the first Filipino instructor to visit the USA for the sole purpose of promoting and propagating eskrima back in early 1975. With him were his uncle Grandmaster Ciriaco “Cacoy” Cañete, his cousin Amorito Cañete (a lawyer) and David Odilao Jr., a collector of customs. His dogged pursuit of pushing the art to attain a certain level of popularity paid off. On October 15, 1988, the First National USA Eskrima Kali Arnis Championships was held in San Jose, California. On the other coast, the First Eastern USA Arnis Championships was held in Jersey City, New Jersey on May 15, 1989. These two tournaments were made possible through the all-out assistance and initiative of Arnulfo Cuesta, Fred Bandalan, Edward Abinsay, Leo Fernandez and others. The two US mainland tournaments were actually the prelude to the First World Eskrima Kali Arnis Championships in Cebu City on August 11-13, 1989. It was during this world tournament, with participants from ten countries, that the World Eskrima Kali Arnis Federation (WEKAF) was organized. As a fitting tribute to his dedication and devotion to the promotion of the art, Diony was elected Charter President. He headed the world body in its infant stage until a new set of officers was elected during the Second World Championships and Congress in Manila on January 25-27, 1992. Muntinlupa Mayor and Metro Manila Authority chairman Ignacio Bunye succeeded Diony as president. In recognition of the imperishable achievement of putting the Filipino art on the map of the martial arts world by successfully holding the historic full-contact stickfighting tournament in Cebu, Diony was selected as Sportsman of the Year by the Sportswriters Association of Cebu (SAC) in 1989. Leadership and talent were qualities not wanting in the man. He was a consistent scholar during his student days and was the top performer in his classes. He graduated valedictorian when he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree, and Cum Laude when he completed his Bachelor of Laws degree (LLB). In 1961, at the age of 22, he passed the Bar Examination and became a full-fledged lawyer. Diony has pruned down his active participation in various activities related to eskrima, and in fact, has turned down requests for seminars and appearances. His private gym in Cebu, however, remains a popular training place for students and instructors, especially those coming from other countries. He sees to it that the visitors are well attended to, and are assured of learning what they want to know about the art. He still makes himself always available to render service to WEKAF and NARAPHIL. He now spends most of his time attending to his personal business as president and manager of Meadowland Realty (a housing development company), Gervince Trading Inc. (an export and trading firm), a logging and lumber business enterprise in Basilan province in Mindanao, and an insurance brokerage in Manila. He still shares his time with Doce Pares as the Dean of Instructional Staff (brother Eulogio Jr. was elected the new president on January 1, 1993), and with the integrated Bar of the Philippines (Cebu chapter), a National Lawyers Association, where he served as president from 1982-1985.
  • Do I have to be in good shape before I start?
    No, you will get into shape as you train. We have a series of exercises that you will learn as you progress through the ranking system which will enable you to perform the self defense techniques.
  • I am 31 years old, am I too old to start martial arts?"
    No, you are not too old to begin martial arts training. Kenpo regularly has students start from adolecense through their 50's and older. Kenpo is a practical and effective martial art that does not incorporate gymnastics.
  • What is Doce Pares ?
    Doce Pares (Spanish for Twelve Peers) is a Filipino martial art and a form of Arnis, Kali and Eskrima, that focuses primarily on stick fighting, knife fighting and hand-to-hand combat but also covers grappling and other weapons as well. In reality, the stick is merely considered an extension of the hand, and is meant to represent almost any weapon, from sticks to swords to knives to anything else you can place in your hand and use as a weapon in the modern context. Doce Pares was founded in 1932.
  • I am very busy with my work schedule, how much time do I need to devote to kenpo classes?"
    The two 1 hour classes are week are recommended, as is practicing at home. As you progress through the ranks if you want more 1:1 attention we offer 30 minute private lessons which can further help hone your skills.
  • How long does it take to get a black belt?
    In Doce Pares / Aikido Life , it takes approximately 5 years to reach student black belt.
  • What is Aikido Life ?
    Aikido-Life is a new school of Martial Arts that has taken shape from the desire to practice combat exercises as diverse as possible, without being limited by imposed and formal techniques and philosophies.
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