Here is a link to Guro Glen Abrescy's blog spot, please see Glen's responce to some cleverly edited video "Propaganda". This video was made obviously to attack Leo's former Head Instructor Dexter Labonog and his son Michael Giron. I do not think that when Leo made this video, he intended it to be used in this manner. This is truly "disrespectful" to the memory of a truly honorable man, Leo Giron.

The views expressed herein are my own and do not necessarily represent the views of or its administrators.

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Tags: bahala, escrima, giron, leo, multi-style, na

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Comment by Sonny Sison on December 14, 2010 at 12:10pm

See what happens when all parties being talked about aren't present?  "He said this, he said that".  This is the sad thing that seems to happen in all martial arts "organizations" but continues to flourish even more so in FMA.  Ego and politics.  Get over it.  If we don't respect ourselves, why should those on the outside do so?

Comment by John R. Malmo on December 14, 2010 at 12:24pm

As I indicated to Terry, we will allow full discourse on concerning this matter as long as it remains civil.  We understand that this may vary from individual to individual.  However, we will step in if necessary.  I encourage all sides to weigh in while focusing on the many positive aspects that GM Leo passed on to all of his students. 


I have communicated with individuals on all sides of this issue and wish all of them the best.  It is somewhat easier for me to remain neutral because I do not have a personal stake in the outcomes.  I have my personal opinions, but they will remain between myself and all parties involved.


I agree with Sonny that politics and egos are often our own worst enemies.  That is one of the main reasons I established this network - to bring the FMA community together by focusing on the positives and working through the bs.

Comment by Sonny Sison on December 14, 2010 at 12:30pm

Those who hold allegiance to a "style" do so at the risk of being closed minded.  Honor the man...his character, principles and effort.  "Taking the higher road" isn't done through words...Action above all else reveals truth.

Comment by terry joven on December 14, 2010 at 12:31pm


Thank u for allowing this matter to be discussed an an open forum.



Comment by Chris Soriano on December 14, 2010 at 8:43pm

It is sad to see this sort of thing in FMA, but the sadder truth is that as a friend/classmate of mine has mentioned, this is all too familiar in other non FMA organizations, systems, and styles as well.  I am not taking sides, and I will not even to bother to weigh both sides of the equation.  To me it is quite simple.....honor your instructor(s) and be very grateful and thankful for the knowledge that they have passed on to you and for the guidance that they have given to you in order to develop your potential.  Be respectful of your classmates despite their high skill level or lack of it as they are your support in your own development in the martial arts.  Too much ego is going around.  


FMA has the toys....swords, knives, sticks, etc.  FMA has skills.... kicking, punching, grappling, etc.  What may be lacking are manners and etiquettes of the classical styles and other mainstream arts.  Being hot blooded warriors, we may be too quick at drawing the sword never thinking about budging even an inch on simple trivial matters, but if FMA is to have a hope as being mainstream, we need to show that we are not mere ignorant brawlers, but civilized fighters of the finest caliber with high principles.


Honor your teacher(s).  Respect those who are around you while maintaining your own dignity.  If all else fails...FIGHT.

Comment by butch gargalicana on December 14, 2010 at 8:54pm

i have reviewed this video (which was nicely edited) an what i get from it is that Tony Somera is admitting that the system that he now teaches is not Leos "original" system, but one that he made up himself. Leo was a combat vet in WWII who used his escrima skills in actual bladed combat in the jungles of the philippines against te japanese samurai sword and lived to tell about it. Has Tony seen actual combat? so why would he want to change a system, if flaws were found in the original techniques. My question is if Tony has never seen or participated in actual combat, how would he have the experience to, first see the flaw in the technique, second the knowledge to fix it, third if you have a system that is combat proven how many changes would you have to make to it. Leos original system was basic,simple and to the point. i have personally heard from people that have trained with Tony that he now has several new worksheets of new material that he has blended with Silat techniques but still calls it Giron Escrima. I have been unable to find anywhere, where it states that Leo practiced silat. Could money be a factor in the creation of this new material and the attempt of this video to persuade others to buy into Tonys new system?

and for those of you wondering who i am, i am an original graduate under Leo Giron, graduate #44 to be exact..i started in 1987 and my instructors were Dexter Labonog,Roy Atay and Leo, i continued my training on and off until Leos death so i have been around awhile. Tony never taught me anything, i owe it all to the three men i mentioned earlier. When Tony was there he was usually sitting next to Leo or feeding his cats. They (Tony/Joel) make us out to be the badguys who supposedly betrayed Leo which is false. The split in the club happened a few years after Leos death but during that time Tony did have the support of everyone in the club. It wasnt until Tony started to change things within the club such as the bylaws without the ok of the boardmembers. Tony basically stated that he was the grandmaster and he can change anything he wants. The first to see the darker days ahead was Guro Glenn Abrescy, he left to due his own thing and is a part of our new school. The straw that broke the camels back was when Tony sent out an email to everyone associated with the club ousting Head instructor Dexter Labonog, Tony went as far as to tell us not to associate with Dexter, to this day Tony has not publicly/verbally told this to Dexter. He was told by us as we recieved the email (how cowardlly is that)...well my question is, if we Bahala Na Mutli style are the supposed traitors then why do we have all of the original instructors such as June Gotico and Glenn Abrescy who both have signed teaching certificates from Leo which have no expiration date. Tony later added expiration dates so he could charge you to renew it. When Leo was alive you no longer had to pay after you graduated,  all he asked was that you come back to help teach. So why did everyone Follow Dexter if he was so bad? Tonys brother in law also left and is one of our Guros as is Sam Juanitas,brother to Joel who is Tonys master...your own family members left you...why?..kind of makes you think who is the real evil one?  i know we have had words back and forth in the past but truth be told..our school,Bahala Na Multi Style, which was started by Dexter Labonog is flourishing. We have more students coming every class as yours dwindles, so we must be doing something right..our thing is about keeping it real,keeping what Leo started alive to be passed to the next generation, not about titles or money, some students dont even pay, we teach because we love the art, because we love Leo..time will tell and we will see who is left standing after the dust fall......thank you Guro Butch Gargalicana

Comment by butch gargalicana on December 14, 2010 at 9:12pm

i encourage everyone to voice their opinon and experience through those dark days, the truth needs to come out and my friend Lee Gagnon in the UK knows what i sure he has a few words for Tony/Joel

Comment by John R. Malmo on December 14, 2010 at 10:13pm

I thought this might help to keep some perspective for all of us. *smile*


Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.


Comment by Travis Pond on December 14, 2010 at 10:17pm

Total outsider perspective here...

I have been training a short while with another Eskrima group that was once based in Stockton. As a result, many of my instructors have known GM Dexter, Terry, and many of the other Bahala Na guys for quite a while. Myself, due to association, have had the opportunity to meet many of these individuals including GM Dexter and Terry. 

One thing I would like to make clear to all those who may question motives, perceptions or what have you, is that character shows through in every action. These Bahala Na guys have welcomed me, a total nobody, with big smiles, firm hand shakes, cold beer, and tasty ribs. They made it a point to welcome me. They made an impression. Their character has shown through their actions honorably. Someone with poor character cannot lead another who's character is better. The group is the reflection of its leader. If the leader lacks character, so will all those who follow. 

I'm not taking sides as I have never met Tony (although it seems like I am), all I can do is give testament to the good character that the Bahala Na guys have shown me, a guy without any rank or title, that happened to show up one day. 


Comment by Sonny Sison on December 14, 2010 at 10:19pm

Great post John! - Filipino Martial Arts Network is the premier social network for everyone interested or involved with the Filipino Martial Arts. features include photos, videos, events, forums, blogs, chat, and more.

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