San Miguel Eskrima

San Miguel Eskrima is one of the major systems of eskrima, a martial arts from the Philippines. Founded by Filemon "Momoy" Cañete (often incorrectly spelled Canete) of the Doce Pares Club, SME served as vehicle for his own personal expression of the art and methodology of the club of which he was a co-founder and instructor. The name San Miguel (or "Saint Michael") is taken from Michael (archangel), the slayer of Satan, and is also one of the major strikes used in Eskrima (From right shoulder to left hip)

The system

SME is blade-based or weapons-based martial art system wherein various weapons are used as a primary training tool to teach universally transferable skills. In SME special emphasis is placed on training with the "espada y daga" (long blade or sword and dagger). Although, the system encompasses single and double stick, dagger, long blade, bullwhip, staff as well as non-weapon, empty hand areas such as striking, elbows, takedowns, chokes, knees and kicks. Like all eskrima systems, SME uses the rattan stick as a primary teaching tool for other bladed weapons and empty hands.

SME is characterized by constant movement, efficiency and simplicity. Proper and precise body mechanics are emphasized, as do proper striking involving speed and power. Forms are also used to train the eskrimador.

Although the system trains with both low stances and stand up stances more common in today's Doce Pares as influenced by Momoy's brother Cacoy, the former (low) stances are preferred by SME practitioners for its power and stability. However, both low and stand up stances are equally employed when the situation arises. The system encompasses close quarter (corto) fighting with weapons and empty hands, long range (largo mano) and throws/grappling (dumog).

SME training is skill based, as opposed to technique based. Constant drilling, forms and "repitacions" are combined with one-on-one touch hands guided sparring with the instructor. It is for this skill based approach that SME needs to be taught in a more intimate setting between instructor and student or a smaller group where touching hands with an instructor is essential. It is through this type of interaction that certain energies are felt, sensitivity is heightened and the qualified instructor "guides" the student. But for certain aspects of SME such as drills and forms, these important touch hand aspects of SME make it almost impossible to teach in a large classroom and seminar based environment.

Both unprotected and padded protected sparring are practiced. At a higher level live blade is used for training but only with the instructor.

A common source of confusion is that people erroneously think San Miguel Eskrima is apart from Doce Pares - not realizing that San Miguel was just a particular expression and methodology of Momoy within the Doce Pares Club and system. His influence cannot be ignored as many of the current Doce Pares drills have their roots and terminology (often borrowed by other system) in Momoy. In fact, Momoy was the Club's founder and its longest instructor until his death in the 1990s. If one was to study under the Doce Pares banner in Cebu they would have automatically studied under Momoy. Thus, Momoy and his expression (SME) and Doce Pares are one of the same. To say that Momoy or San Miguel Eskrima is different from Doce Pares is as absurd as saying Cacoy's Eskrido style is not Doce Pares.

Another common misconception is that San Miguel are just a particular set of forms and certain strikes within the Doce Pares system. Again, due to Momoy's influence certain strikes, drills, exercises, footwork and forms were inevitably called San Miguel. But Momoy's complete system goes beyond these.

Filemon "Momoy" Cañete - founder

Born Filemon Cañete, on October 12, 1904, in the central Philippine island of Cebu, Momoy was the chief instructor of the Doce Pares Club for 55 years until his death in 1995. Together with Lorenzo Saavedra, Teodoro Saavedra, Rostico Cobarrubias and others they formed the Labangon Fencing Club in 1920. In 1932, Momoy again joined both Saavedras and his other brothers to form the Doce Pares Club.

Momoy was part of Cebu's famed Cañete clan of eskrimadors (martial artists that practiced eskrima). His brothers included Eulogio (Euling, b. 1919), Tirso, Ciriaco (Cacoy), Rufino and Silvestre.

Momoy gained a reputation for not only being an accomplished martial artist and self-defense expert but for being fair and honest person - one who valued a person's character of utmost importance. In addition, during the golden years of eskrima, where challenges and death matches were a regular occurrence, Momoy provided the Doce Pares with its stable of fighters. Momoy was also a well known musician, faith healer and herbalist. He was a religious man that practiced oracions and palabras.


With the passing of its founder, Momoy's son Andres "Kano" Cañete has become one of the current official recognized bearers of the system. The remaining top students, former well-known fighters of Momoy and now Grandmasters, Benjamin "Ben" Culanag, Urbano "Banoy" Borja, Federico Mendoza Jnr, Edring Casio and Genaro "Naro" Mendoza serve as the "Advisory Council" of the system. The council oversees all functions of the San Miguel Eskrima organization including curriculum and organizational direction.

External links

* [ San Miguel Eskrima, USA]
* [ The Rare Art of San Miguel Eskrima] - Capital Doce Pares
* [ About San Miguel Eskrima] - USA Dojo
* [ San Miguel Eskrima] A website that contains information about San Miguel Eskrima. It includes links to video clips, books, magazine articles, and a DVD that features San Miguel Eskrima.
* [ San Miguel Eskrima Association] A website about San Miguel Eskrima
* [] The official web site of the World San Miguel Eskrima Organization
* [ Grandmaster Filemon "Momoy" Canete] An article about Momoy Canete
* [ Filmocan Eskrima Club] San Miguel Eskrima as expressed by Momoy Canete's grandson, Panto Flores.
* [] information on the World San Miguel Eskrima Organization headed by GM Federico Mendoza Jnr.

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