of Master Monching J. Gavileño
The Story of Filipino Martial Arts
TAPONDO, the “Filipino Martial Arts for Peace” originated from a man whose growing years and progress in martial skills parallel that of the growth and development of martial arts in the Philippines.
Born in Buenavista, Guimaras, the island-province which was used to be part of the legendary Madyaas Confederation of Panay during the 13th century. “The place where the first known Filipino Martial Art of Kali, the technique of using Kalis swords (karis or kris), were originally structured and developed”. At age 7, “Monching” as he is fondly called, showed precocious signs of becoming a superior martial artist someday. He engages in boxing bouts with bigger boys during fiestas and weekend jousts. His unusual strength was not a surprise to his town mates, Monching’s grandfather and his namesake was well known in the province to be unbeatable in ‘bunong braso and sumping’ both popular contests of fingers and arms strength.
In 1963, Monching was 21 then and in his 4th year at the PlaridelHigh School, when he met Benjamin Galarpe, his classmate, who happens to be black belt Aikidoist at that time.Benjamin, an American citizen, who left Guam for the Philippines, turned out to be a native of Guimaras, the home province of Monching. Benjamin and Monching became good friends, such that when Benjamin put up a personal gym in his San Andres Bukid residence, Monching became his 1st private student. Soon they put up a gym at Rizal Avenue, then later at Mayon St. in Quezon City. From thereon, Monching became an avid practitioner of the martial arts and dedicated his time to learn more about its various combat styles.
In 1965, Sensie Koichi Tohei of Japan came to the Philippines and promoted Monching, Jessie Garcia, Saing Sequitin and Ernesto Talag and became the first Filipinos to held 1st Dan Blackbelt in Traditional Aikido (Aikikai style). Two years later, Monching was elevated to 2nd Dan Blackbelt with the distinction of being the first and only Filipino to hold title at that time. It was also on the same year that Monching and Galarpe graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminology from the Philippine College of Criminology in Manila.
Fondly called “Master”, in 1968 he founded the Philippine Aikido Club in Baclaran, Parañaque and in 1969, he transferred to a new gym in Quiapo, Manila and renamed the club to Philippine Aikido Sports Association Inc. (PASAI), which later opened several branches in Metro Manila.
Throughout his Aikido life Master Monching had been searching for styles in the different martial arts which manifest the indigenous Filipino way of combat; in war or in street fights. He studied the basics of tactical defenses in judo and karate, where he also became a champion during his college days. He learned the rudiments of the traditional arnis from an arnis practitioner from Pangasinan and later from the teacher/master of the popular Dose Pares Club in CebuCity. He later integrated the various arnis styles he learned into the Aikido movements and developed “Modified Arnis” which is very effective in street fighting. From the combined fighting features of Boxing, Karate, and Aikido, the Master created a new kind of Combative art, which he called “BOKAIDO”, also considered as Kick Boxing.
Several training and seminars on Aikido were being conducted during those times by other clubs. Master Monching together with other clubs and organizations decided to form Aikido Association of the Philippines (AAP) where he became the first President to unite all Aikido clubs in the country. The founding members of AAP were; Philippine Aikido Sports Association Inc. (PASAI), Philippine Aikikai, Shinbu Dojo, Makati YMCA Aikido Club and the Martial Arts Training Center of the Philippines (MATCOP).
In 1992, he founded the Philippine Combat Aikido Federation, Inc. (PCAF), which has 37 chapters all over the country. The main dojo of Combat Aikido is located at Cubao in Quezon City. Master Monching has transformed Traditional Aikido into Combat Aikido.
The Master’s rationale was;
“Combat Aikido is more adaptive to actual street fighting with its modified combative self-defense techniques. It is based on the Filipino culture of fighting which is different from that of other countries in the sense that it is more practical and can be used right away in street fighting more effectively.”
The primary goal of Combat Aikido is to enable its practitioner to defend himself against any assailant especially in street fighting or in defending oneself against possible criminal act. Therefore, it teaches only those techniques which have been proven to be effective in combat and discard those which seemed to be less effective. The Combat Aikido does not go against the force of the opponent, but the very force of the opponent is what he uses to either throw or pin the opponent down to the ground.
The dojo of Combat Aikido have produced lots of black belts some are foreigners, politicians, movie personalities, military men, including bodyguards of well known businessmen and politicians. Men and women, young and old, the rich and the poor, have enrolled in the dojo to learn this art. Many schools and companies have also tied partnership with Combat Aikido to train their employees and students in security and self-defense.
“With maximum use of his imagination, a Combat Aikidoist can modify and refine any martial arts technique and even create new ones, to his own advantage. For this modest art of self-defense keeps on evolving beyond its present state of effectiveness, the sublime art of self-defense.”
Today, Combat Aikido has evolved full circle into TAPONDO which can be truly called the Filipino Martial Arts for Peace, from the root words “Tapon”- to throw and “Pondo”- to pin down. In TAPONDO, the precise movement of Combat Aikido and the creative movements of indigenous street fighting techniques were combined to produce this becoming popular martial self-defense.
Master Monching married the former Edith Gealone, who hails from Sorsogon and a Combat Aikido blackbelt herself. Master Monching’s six children (Charlie, Ronald, Mary Jane, Beverly, Venus and Mark Anthony) were all Combat Aikidoist.
Monching’s secret; simple life style, dietary regiment of fruits and vegetables and no cigarettes.