The Offensive Movements of Derobio
Picture of the first Catholic Mass held in the Philippines
The style of Derobio is 2,000 years old and has evolved over the centuries. When the Spanish brought Christianity to the Visayan Islands in the 1500s, the Escrimadors on Leyte converted with all their hearts. These Derobio Masters grouped the Derobio offensive and defensive movements into 12s, in honor the 12 disciples of Christ. Even the defense movements form the sign of the cross in both one and two weapons combat. Until today, the foundation of Derobio is solidly based on Christianity.
Leyte is a very large Island with two main variations of the Derobio offensive strikes. Escrima students need to learn both variations and become proficient in the defense for both series of strikes.
Left Carlee Kramer, Lance Fujioka, Cristen Kramer. These three students started learning martial arts from their fathers from 4 years of age
Students need to do their basic 1 through 12’s, thousands of times in order to build a solid foundation on their offense, defense and footwork movements. When the instructor sense the student is ready for the next level, the drills are changed to do the offensive numbers from 12 to 1, over and over again for thousands of repetitions.
Next the Maestros teach the students broken numbers in which the numbered offensive strikes are mixed up. Finally the numbers all disappear and the student can strike any number they desire. Advance students are then paired up and each gives a strike, defense and another strike; as if a real battle is occurring. Advance training also includes multi opponents against one student; student needs to be able to quickly block the first blow, strike back and move on to the next opponent.
Chief Masters Gary and Leslie Largo shows the students broken numbers sparring of one bolo techniques
This system of training is the same for 1 stick, small knife, stick and dagger, 1 bolo, bolo and dagger, 2 bolos, staff and empty hand against weapons. Although it may seem very complicated to the outsider, Derobio is extremely simply and easy to learn because there is only 12 offensive strikes. From 1880 -1907, General Ablin and his officers were able to train tens of thousands of soldiers using Derobio to fight the foreigners for the independence of the Philippines.
Today, Derobio is taught as a self defense and is open to all races and religions to learn. Students are encouraged to dedicate themselves and to give themselves short and long term goals in learning this unique style.