Senior Grandmaster Alfredo Bandalan

Senior Grandmaster Alfredo Bandalan.

I was born on a warm bright day March 10, 1939, in Lanai City, Hawaii. I weighed a whopping 6 pounds and my mom told me she had a very easy time delivering me. She tells me she screamed for three days. My parents, both Filipino were also born in Hawaii. They lived in Hawaii their whole lives. My mother, a warm and loving woman, was born Doris Blanko in Hilo, Hawaii on March 2, 1922. Her family moved to Hawaii from Cebu a small town in the Philippines in the early 1920’s. My mother was a beautiful woman. Like most Filipino women, she was short and slim with beautiful long black flowing hair. Considered a healer because of a small mole located near her left eye, she was always very popular with her neighbors and some of the locals in town. She loved to garden and walk on the beaches. I can still see her on the beach wearing a long dress with her hair pulled back tightly behind her head walking hand in hand with my father. She fell in love with and married my father when she was only 14 years old. She always said my father made her laugh and that’s why she fell in love with him. They were very much in love; they spent most of each day together, seemly inseparable.

My Mother and Father

Standing L-R: Lawerence Blanco-uncle, Alfredo Bandalan Sr.-father, Doris Blanco Bandalan-mother
Sitting: Paulina Blanco-grandmother

My mother worked hard all her life. Along with raising seven children, she worked for the Dole Company picking pineapples in the fields for over 15 years. She worked hard in those hot muggy sticky pineapple fields. I remember her getting up early every morning. She was always the first to wake up. After she awakened, she would start cooking our breakfast. She would make sure all of us had something to eat before she sent us off to school. She worked hard making sure we had all the necessary things we needed.

After she retired from Dole, she continued working. Not long after retiring, she went to work for the billionaire David Murdock from Australia. David Murdock was well known in our small island town. He built hotels and a community center for the local people, which made him very popular. My mother was the principle caretaker of his very large home in Lanai. David Murdock was good to my mother and paid her well. I have always loved, respected and admired my mother for everything she did for us.

My father, Alfred Bandalan, was a strict man. Our getting a good education was very important to him. He made sure we did all our chores before we left for school in the morning. When we got home from school, he made us do our homework and finish our chores before he would take us fishing. My father was born in Kula, Hawaii on 2/26/13. His family emigrated from Leyte, a small town in the southern part of the Philippines, around the early 1890’s. My father was a little taller than my mother was. He was slim and fair looking. He was also a very a good singer. He used to sing to us all the time. I loved listening to him sing, especially around Christmas and other holidays. He once sang at a radio station in Honolulu. His favorite song was “This song of Love” (Dahil Sayo) to my mother all the time.

My father started working picking pineapple in the fields for the Dole Company when he was about 15 years old. He used to come home tired from work every day. After about 16 years in the fields, one of the Dole supervisors with an offer of advancement finally approached him. He started driving caterpillars for the company plowing the fields for a new crop. This kept him working late at night sometimes starting work at 7 pm and continuing until sunrise. My father was offered; another advancement and jumped at the chance to get out of the fields. It was then he became a mechanic and welder for the Dole Company. He continued to work for the company for another 10 years until he retired. My father died of a heart attack when I was about 50 years old. He had not been feeling well and fell over at home before we realized something was wrong. He was rushed to the hospital and had to wait for the only doctor to arrive from another island. By then it was too late. He was on life support for only a day before we decided to let nature take its course and let him die with dignity.
I am the oldest of seven children. We were a very loving family and enjoyed spending time with each other. Eating family meals together and spending time fishing made us very close. Being the oldest of four brothers and three sisters made me feel responsible for them.

I recall helping change diapers and giving the babies milk. In those days, we had to wash diapers. There were no such things as disposable diapers like there is now. I never minded helping my mother care for my brothers and sisters. My parents both worked hard and I felt it was my duty as the eldest son to help as much as I could. When I was not in school or helping my parents care for my younger brothers and sisters I could often be found spying on my grandfather Pedro Blanko.

My Grandfather

My grandfather, whom we always referred to as papa, was a short man about five feet tall. He had dark leathery skin from working out in the sun all his life. I loved my grandfather. I was always very proud of him. We had a close relationship and I can honestly say he was one of the most influential people in my life. He loved telling me stories of his youth and how things “used to be”. His stories were exciting, filled with magic, mystery, and legend. He taught me about romance. He taught me about women. He was a poet and loved to sing like my father. One of my favorite stories was the one he told me about how he was raised by a Moro family in the Philippines. The Moros were very superstitious people and that greatly influenced my grandfather.

My grandfather was a very spiritual man. He was quiet and kept to himself. He wore an amulet bag around his neck. It was made of cotton and resembled a Durham tobacco pouch. I remember trying to touch it and having him slap my hand away promising me that someday the bag would be mine. He also carried a wooden pouch with a file in it. The pouch was about 10 inches long and he carried it around his waist whenever he went out. My grandfather was a scrapper and he never walked away from a fight. The old Filipino men with whom my grandfather spent time used to tell me my grandfather was an Escrimador. I had no idea at the time what an Escrimador was. I knew my grandfather loved to fight. His chest had a least a dozen scars from old knife wounds. One scar ran from his left shoulder down his abdomen. He had scars on his arms as well as on his back and legs. The scars, my father told me, were from death matches. Deathmatches were very popular in the Philippines when my grandfather was young. As a young man, he loved to fight and growing up in the Philippines, he was certainly no stranger to the now outlawed death matches.

In fact, my grandfather came to Hawaii because he had to leave the Philippines. I heard many rumors surrounding my grandfather’s hegira. Wanting to make a change, my grandfather moved to Hawaii and decided to settle down. It was in Hawaii he met and later married my grandmother. His first job on the island was for Lanai High School. After he had worked a couple years and saved some money, he married my grandmother Constencia. He worked as a janitor and maintenance staff for Lanai School district until he retired. Supporting his family was very important to him.
As I mentioned earlier the old Filipino men used to tell me my grandfather was an Escrimador. I remember him walking to the pineapple fields with his friends. There were about a dozen of them in all. They would laugh and tell stories as they made their way to the fields. They all wore big baggie pants made of old rice bags. Their baggie pants made it easier for them to move effortlessly when they fought. They used to carry rolled up newspapers and sticks in their hands to use as weapons.

When they got to the fields, I remember watching them using their sticks to hit each other. Their movements were slow and rhythmic like a beautiful hypnotic dance. It was years later that I recognized their movements as Kali movements. As I watched the old men fight, I wondered why they would ever want to do such a thing. It looked painful and yet they seemed to be enjoying themselves. I could hear their laughter as they sparred with each other in the hot pineapple fields.
One day, when I was about 10 or 11 years old, my grandma Constencia told me to go find my grandfather. It was dinnertime and she always insisted we sit down together as a family to eat. I went looking for my grandfather in the garden where he worked.

That day, for some reason, I was feeling mischievous and I wanted to play a prank on him. I fashioned a long stick from a stem I pulled off from a nearby hibiscus plant. I crept up on my grandfather as he was tending to his fighting roosters with the hibiscus stem in my hand and, while he was not looking, I stuck him in the back. All of a sudden, my grandfather turned around and began wildly swinging his file and calling me a ‘demonio’, which means little devil. I ran away laughing and yelling out to him, “Grandma wants you to come home for dinner now.” There was no way I was going to stand still as he wildly swung his file around my face. I recall thinking my grandfather was doing some crazy moves. That is when I realized my grandfather was a martial artist, an Escrimador like the old men had been telling me.

Boxing a Desire

Boxing was a premium on the island when I was in high school. Everybody was into boxing. Dado Marino, a Filipino boxer, was popular at the time and I really admired him. I liked the way Marino boxed. He was smooth and fast and enjoyed watching him train. Like all the young men my age, and mesmerized by boxing, heavy weightsI too wanted to be a professional boxer. While I was in high school, I started boxing for the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) and boxed for two years. I had a dreadful time boxing; it was awful. I swear everyone got a piece of me. I weighed about 110 pounds and fought guys up to 160 pounds. They usually got the best of me. The guys in the lightweight division enjoyed pounding me into submisheavyweightsenjoyed pounding me even harder. My father expected me to go to college and tried to convince me to stay in school. He threatened me, saying, “Son, you either box and be a professional boxer, or go to school.” Rather than tolerate the ongoing beatings, I decided to continue school and finish getting an education.

After graduating from Lanai High School I attended Honolulu Technical College, later renamed Honolulu City College. While in college, I studied welding. After graduating from Honolulu Technical College, and disheartened about my boxing skills, I was eager to get a job. Some one told me work might be available in Ewa, a small town not far from Honolulu; I packed my belongings and was on my way. I started my first job as a welder for the Hawaii Wielding Company welding structural steel for what was to be the biggest mall in Hawaii, the Ala Moana. I had been wielding for the company for a couple months when my supervisor instructed me to pick up two tanks of oxygen and acetylene from the Gaspro Company, which was a company that furnished welding products for other companies in Hawaii. It was there I met Phillip Doseo. Doseo was a sales representative for Gaspro.

Doseo and I hit it off right away. He asked me where on the island I lived. I told him a little about myself. I told him where I was from, where I went to school, and why I moved to Ewa. I even told him about my boxing fiasco. Doseo seemed to enjoy listening to my stories as a boxer. I don’t know if I’ve ever heard a man laugh so much. I finished loading up the tanks and was getting into my truck when Doseo called me back into his office.

As I walked into his office, I watched Doseo take out his wallet. He opened his wallet and showed me a card. I couldn’t believe my eyes. He showed me a black belt karate identification card. I stood there staring at his card, dumbfounded. I had heard rumors about karate, some deadly art with secret moves. I became excited as I stared at the card. At that time, you couldn’t just walk into a karate studio as you can today. At that time, you had to be asked to join. I could feel my heart pounding as Doseo asked me whether I was interested in joining the class. I stood there in shock. I was thrilled. I couldn’t believe my good fortune. Could this be happening to me? I couldn’t contain my excitement and I answered his question with an enthusiastic.” Yes!” Doseo gave me a name and an address and told me to meet him there later that night. After a wholehearted.” thank you,” I was on my way. I looked forward to that evening when I would join my first karate class.

Waiting for the day’s end was almost more than I could endure. I had read and reread the note Doseo gave me at least a hundred times. The address he gave me sent me to a town called Aiea, located on the outskirts of Pearl Harbor. I remember driving my 1952, two-door Mercury to the house. I noticed several cars parked outside as I made my way up the driveway towards the small island house. Feeling apprehensive, I stood at the door for several minutes. I took a deep breath and knocked. Within moments, the door opened. I was relieved to see Doseo standing in the doorway. When he saw me, he smiled and invited me into the house. We stood inside for a moment saying hello before he invited me to join the others in the class. I followed Doseo as he made his way into another doorway and down a flight of stairs that led to a basement.

About halfway down the flight of stairs, he instructed me to sit. He told me I could watch class from the stairway where I would be out of everyone’s way. I recall about 10 -15 young men dressed in old jeans and t-shirts standing at attention…waiting. Doseo continued down the stairs to join the others. He then took his place at the head of the class and began teaching. He taught things I had never seen before. I became entranced as I watched the students train. It wasn’t long before Doseo instructed the class to take a break.

Professor Marino Tiwanak

During the break, he introduced me to the group. I was delighted to have an opportunity to meet the students. They were friendly and seemed just as enthused to meet me, as I was to meet them. I was ecstatic and when asked to join the class, the following week, I responded with an irrefutable “yes”.
I learned a great deal studying with Doseo. I saw things I had never seen before when I was boxing. I’ll admit there were times when I got somewhat scared. In the fifties we used full contact sparring. We don’t have that kind of contact today. More often than not, we would walk away from a sparring match cut, bruised, and wobbled. I once saw a man cut across the face by his opponent with the strike from a single stick. I watched and learned and when I felt confident, I tested my skills.

My classmates and I enjoyed sparring with each other but found, even more, delight testing our skills outside the dojo. We considered the best way to train was to fight with the American sailors we’d see frequenting the local bars. They were no match for us. The sailors we fought didn’t seem to know much about hand-to-hand combat and even less about stick fighting. We usually stayed away from the Marines and Army soldiers because they were tough and not as easy to defeat. On more than one occasion, the Marines gave us a run for our money.

Moving to California and the Future

I studied with Doseo until I left for the mainland in 1968. The Hawaii Wielding Company was opening a new plant in California and needed experienced welders. I applied for a transfer and within weeks was notified I’d be moving to California. I was eager to start a new life in a new place. I wanted to do something different, something other than wield. After two years of boxing and two years of karate, I reconsidered professional fighting. I needed a career that was stimulating like professional fighting yet not as corporeal. I also needed to do something exciting that would give me an opportunity engage in combat and exercise my mind. I decided upon the law. I had considered taking paralegal classes when I got to the mainland.

After settling down in California, I began to miss my martial arts training. I wanted to continue my studies and looked for a school that would be able to accommodate my needs. It wasn’t long before I found the School of the Black Ram. Grandmaster Sam Brown, the founder, and owner of the School of the Black Ram later changed the name of his school to Ken-Ju-Bo-Ai. I studied with Grandmaster Sam Brown for about 10 or 15 years and obtained a black belt in Kempo in the early 70’s and about 30 years later was awarded deputy professor in Kempo, again, by Grandmaster Sam Brown.

Grandmaster Bandalan with Sijo Adriano Emperado of KAJUKENBO

Professor Marino Tiwanak received his Black Belt from Adriano Emperado one of the founders of Kajukenbo. In 1976, Professor Tiwanak, founder of the Central Hawaiian Activities III (C.H.A. III.), awarded Grandmaster Bandalan his Chief Instructor ranking and designated him head of the San Jose Chapter of C.H.A. III Kenpo. This was a turning point in his life. Grandmaster Bandalan says “I began to look back on all the years of my training. I believe my training gave me a strong moral character and strong leadership abilities. All my training made it easier for me to see the better part of my life. It also gave me a true and deeper meaning of what it means to be a martial artist.”
After I received, my black belt I considered a career in martial arts and was motivated to start my own school. I would teach under Professor Marino Tiwanek of CHA 3. CHA 3 was the name of Professor Marino Tiwanek’s organization. CHA 3 stood for Central Hawaiian Activities 3. I never learned the significance of the 3.

I opened my school in the late 70’s in San Jose Ca. After I opened, my school things really became hot. I was doing well and my classes were growing. I kept very busy with work and my studio. I was really enjoying myself and having the time of life. I made many new friends after I opened my studio and most of them were women. At the time, I considered myself a very lucky man. I enjoyed the company of the fairer sex. Their gentle ways energized and uplifted me. Their temperate behaviors were a much-needed contrast to the coarse, tough, and robust ways of the men with whom I spent time.

Kenpo Master Sid Asuncion and Wife, with Grandmaster Bandalan

Remembering the things my grandfather taught me about women encouraged me to be a Casanova. I was eager to experience all I could. Unfortunately, others became jealous of me and it wasn’t long before I was asked to leave C.H.A III. Some say I had to leave because I did not pay my monthly dues. Some even accused me of being a Don Juan. The truth is I had to leave because there were those who doubted my devotion to Eskrima. My art and my respect for my belt rank meant the world to me.

I continued studying Kempo and my skills improved. I was teaching a class and doing demonstrations on a regular basis. During the early 70’s I was giving a Kempo demonstration in Livingston California; after my demonstration, I took an opportunity to watch the other martial artist perform. While watching the other demonstrations I was re-introduced to Eskrima. I hadn’t seen stick fighting since I left Hawaii and when Grandmaster Angel Cabales walked onto the stage and started to perform, I was entranced. Memories of my grandfather and his friends sparring in the pineapple fields filled my mind as I watched Grandmaster Cabales swing his stick. I was mesmerized by his style and speed. I watched in awe knowing this man and his stick could do a lot of damage. His skill was like nothing I’d ever seen. His style, I later learned, was Serrada and that was it for me. I fell in love with Serrada Eskrima.

I waited until Grandmaster Cabalas was leaving before I approached him. I was so nervous I could feel my heart pounding. I walked up to Grandmaster Cabalas and I introduced myself. I told him I was impressed with his demonstration. I told him how it reminded me of my grandfather and his friends in Hawaii. I told him I was interested in stick fighting and asked him how I could learn to fight with a stick. Grandmaster Cabalas, pleased with my interest in Serrada Eskrima, referred me to Mike Inay, one of his instructors in the San Jose area.

I attended Mike Inay’s school for about a year. During that time, I continued to pursue my interest in Eskrima. I began to read books, and magazine articles on Eskrima. I read anything I could find. I even went to observe other schools and watch other demonstrations. I couldn’t seem to get enough of this incredible art. My interest in Eskrima continued to grow. After I had exhausted all my informational resources in the United States, I became discouraged. Then I had an epiphany. If I wanted to learn more about stickfighting, I would have to go directly to Eskrima’s birthplace, the Philippines. One night after class, I came home and wrote a letter to the Philippine government. The recollection of that first letter always amuses me. I actually addressed my first letter: To the Philippine Government and that was it.

My letter expressed my interest in Eskrima, my limited resources, and my desire to learn more about this art with which I had fallen in love. After two weeks, I received a letter from the Philippines. I was so excited I had to sit down before I could open the envelope. My hands shook and my fingers fumbled as I tore open the envelope. I held my breath as I read what was to be my first letter from the Philippines.

Standing L-R: Tirso Canete, Rufino, Selvestre Canete
Sitting L-R: Filimon Canete, Eulogio Canete, and Cacoy Canete

The writer introduced himself as Cacoy Cañete. He told me one of the government officials gave my letter to a representative of his organization, Doce Pares. Cacoy shared his history with Eskrima and the history of Doce Pares. Eager to learn all I could about Doce Pares, I responded to Cacoy’s letter that very day. Cacoy and I continued to correspond for several weeks. During one of our correspondences, he asked if I could meet his nephew Diony Cañete. Diony would be arriving in San Francisco within the next two weeks. Cacoy wanted me to meet with Diony so Diony and I could discuss my interest in Doce Pares. Of course, I responded to Cacoy’s request with excitement. I was very much looking forward to meeting Cacoy’s nephew and learning more about Doce Pares.

Grandmaster Diony Cañete and Grandmaster Alfredo Bandalan

I met Diony at San Francisco airport as we had planned. I recall waiting for his flight to arrive and not knowing how I would recognize him. The plane landed and I watched as the passengers leave the plane and enter customs. I was looking for anybody that looked Filipino. It didn’t take me long to realize the whole plane was full of Filipinos. How would I ever find Diony?

After a couple minutes, I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around to see a well-dressed Filipino man standing beside me. Diony had an air of elegance about him. Dressed in a well-fitted suit he reminded me of professional, the scholarly type. How could this man teach me about Eskrima? He looked like an intellectual and I wondered if he’d ever picked up a stick in his life.

“Are you Fred?” he asked.
“Yes, are you Diony?”
“Yes, I am” he said as he extended his hand.

We shook hands and, after our brief introductions, we were on our way to my house. As we drove and after we got to my house, we discussed Eskrima and Doce Pares. While listening to Diony speak my interest continued to grow.

We had a simple dinner that night and when we were finished eating he shared his agenda with me. Scheduled to meet with another man while he was here in California, Diony asked me if I knew Danny Inosanto. I laughed and told him I knew Danny very well. In fact, I could give him Danny’s phone number if he liked. Diony asked if I would call Danny first and introduce him.

Wanting to have a little fun with my friend Danny, and knowing he idolized anybody who was anybody in the world of Eskrima, I called him asking if he’d heard of the Cañete family from the Philippines. The Canetes, well known in the Philippines, are among those historically responsible for growth and development of Doce Pares Eskrima in the world today.

Danny confidently responded. “Yes, as a matter of fact. I’m corresponding with a Cañete now.” I think Danny told me he was corresponding with either Filimon Cañete or Momoy Cañete at that time, both well known for their involvement in Doce Pares. I asked Danny if he’d heard of Diony Cañete. “Of course,” he responded. “How would you like to talk to him now?” I handed the phone to Diony. For the next couple of minutes all I could hear was my laughter and Diony asking, “Dan, hello, Dan, are you there? Dan?” I knew Danny well and I knew Danny would be excited to speak with Diony.

Before long, it was time for Diony to go back to the Philippines. He invited me to go along with him. I could not leave at the time but I joined him a couple months later. We made plans to meet in Manila.

Mactan Airport during Bandalan’s visit in 1982
L-R: Grandmaster Filimon Canete, Bandalan,
Saturnino Arcilla, Grandmaster Cacoy Canete,
and Grandmaster Eulogio Canete

I was apprehensive as the plane landed in Manila. I was far from home, in an unfamiliar place and I didn’t know what to expect. I felt vulnerable and afraid. At the same time, I had a strange sense of “home”. Even though I had never been in the Philippines, I had a sense of something very familiar.
Diony couldn’t meet me at the airport, however; he assured me he’d send a group of his friends to greet me. He told me to look for his friends; they would be waiting for me when I arrived. As I walked off the plane, I noticed a large group of people with a banner. I quickly passed the group. I never noticed the enormous banner they held read “Bandalan, Welcome Home”. I walked around for about an hour and was feeling lost and abandoned. About that time, a young man walked towards me. “Are you Fred Bandalan?” he asked. I nodded my head. “Your name is being announced on the overhead. Your group has been looking for you for over an hour.” I was embarrassed. I apologized to all of Diony’s friends. We laughed about the incident as we drove towards Cacoy’s house. It had been a long flight and I was tired and needed to rest.

Rest would have to wait. We arrived at Cacoy’s home just as everyone was sitting down for dinner. Diony sat me at the end of a long table with the group of about 10 to 15 men who had been awaiting my arrival. Cacoy sat across from me at the other end. Introductions soon commenced. I think I must have met most of the Cañete clan. I remember meeting Eulogio, Filimon, Momoy, and Cacoy’s daughter Kathy. I also met other “family” members of the Doce Pares organization. After all the introductions, Cacoy asked me why I was there. His question really got to me as I wondered why he asked.

“Because I’m studying stick fighting and I need to learn more about Eskrima. I want to study the origins of Eskrima, which are here in the Philippines. Are they not?” I asked.

“Good,” Cacoy responded with a smile.
While I was answering Cacoy’s question, the oldest Cañete either Filimon or Eulogio sat beside me and showed me a book. “You’re going to want to see this,” he said.

L-R: Saturnino Arcilla, Filimon Canete, Bandalan,
Cacoy Canete, and Anting Carin

I was naive and stupid I didn’t know what the book was about 4 or 5 inches thick with a brown tattered cover. As I opened the book I and looked at the inside cover I saw the name Saavedra’s name written in very large bold print. I later learned Saavedra was one of the top champion fighters of Doce Pares. I thumbed through the book and handed it back to Cacoy. Cacoy started talking about my visit with the others. He said I was the first Filipino- American to learn Doce Pares from Filipinos in the Philippines. We shared stories and laughed until dawn.

The next day I had my first training session. Cacoy was teaching the class with the help of several of his chief instructors. Vicente Carrin was one of those instructors. Vicente immediate motioned for me to cross sticks with him. I could see he wanted to test me and I was ready. As I crossed stick with Vicente, I felt his stick hit my fingers. I don’t recall what happened next but before I knew it I was flying through the air. As I hit the ground, face down I was sure Vicente was going to kill me. Cacoy, seeing what happened, yelled a Vicente to stop. “Slow down, slow down! Fred is here to learn.”

Alfredo Bandalan and Vicente Carrin

From then on I stayed away from Vicente. Knowing that I truly respected his skill Vicente would try to engage me to cross-sticks. “Come, come Fred,” he said taunting me in his broken English with a toothless smile.
“Come on and join the fun, Fred!”
“Teach me the move you used to take me down,” I pressured him.
He laughed, “That was move number seven. Maybe I teach it to you one day.”
I never learned move number seven as Vicente died not long after that.

I spent the next 10 days with training with Cacoy. I learned things I’d never seen before. I learned how to stick fight like an Escrimador, like my grandfather.

Grandmaster Picate, Alfredo Bandalan,
and Grandmaster Armoreto Canete

My visit wasn’t all training. Cacoy gave me a delightful tour of the island. I met many influential people including General Estrada who was, at the time, the head of NISA. NISA is quite like the FBI here in the United States.

Bandalan receives Kampilan sword.

Soon it was time for me to leave the Philippines and return to the States. I was excited and couldn’t wait to get back home and show my colleagues all I had learned. Upon returning to the United States, I was visited by several eskrimadors and government officials. Tuhan Leo Gaje and Grandmaster Cacoy Canete both stayed with me for extended periods. General Estrada surprised me one day by ringing my doorbell.

Sitting: Bandalan, Dan Inosanto, Grandmaster Cacoy Canete. Standing: students (L-R) Cindy, John, and Benny at Bandalan’s home, late 1970’s.

I was proud and confident in representing the Filipino martial arts for Cacoy Cañete asked me to be a promoter of Doce Pares. My challenge, my goal, and my delight are to introduce and promote Doce Pares in America.

For twenty years, Grandmaster Bandalan along with his son Alfredo Bandalan Jr. trained with Cacoy and Diony Canete. Alfredo Bandalan Jr. eventually became Cacoy Canete’s demo partner. In 1981, Grandmaster Bandalan was granted permission, by Grandmaster Diony Canete, to name his school, Bandalan Doce Pares, thus becoming the first Hawaiian/Filipino to be accepted into the Doce Pares. He was also honored to be one of the first practitioners in the U.S to receive his affiliation papers from Doce Pares. Grandmaster Bandalan also became President of the United States Arnis, Kali, Eskrima Federation, affiliated with National Arnis of the Philippines (NARAPHIL), and later a Founding member of World Eskrima Kali Arnis Federation (WEKAF).

Grandmaster Bandalan, Grandmaster Giron, Grandmaster Lagusa, Grandmaster Cabalas, and Grandmaster Diony Canete. During the first USA National Championship Tournament, in San Jose, California – October 1988.

Grandmaster Bandalan along with Ed Abinsay and Leo Fernandez promoted the 1st National Eskrima Tournament in San Jose, California. From this tournament, the Regional, National, and the World Tournament was born, which today is WEKAF. He also became Assistant Coach to the First World Tournament and ever since, has always been actively participating in subsequent WEKAF World Championships, along with other WEKAF related activities.

Front L-R: Grandmaster Ben Lagusa, Alfredo Bandalan, in the Back is Leo Fernandez – Tournament in San Jose, California – 1988.

1st WEKAF World Tournament, Cebu Philippines – 1989 USA Coaches L-R: Grandmaster Richard Bastillio, Grandmaster Dong Cuesta, Grandmaster Alfredo Bandalan, and Master Fred Degerberg

Grandmaster Patalingo, Grandmaster Dong Cuesta, (WEKAF’s 1st President) Secretary Bunye, and Grandmaster Bandalan

Today Grandmaster Bandalan travels extensively to promote Doce Pares and WEKAF. Grandmaster Bandalan is currently the owner and chief executive officer of WEKAF U.S.A. His Bandalan Doce Pares is expanding in Hawaii and across the mainland. Master Robert Garcia, located in Honolulu, is a member of the Bandalan Doce Pares Organization and Mr. Garcia is the current four-time world champion in his division. Grandmaster Bandalan is considered the Doce Pares original founding member here in the United States and knows extensive history of Doce Pares. In 1988, Inside Kung Fu did an exclusive interview with Grandmasters Bandalan and Grandmasters Diony Canete.

Grandmaster Tirso Canete, Grandmaster Filimon Canete, Grandmaster Diony Canete, Alfredo Bandalan, Grandmaster Cacoy Canete, and Saturnino Arcilla Cebu Philippines – 1982

Grandmaster Patalingo, Grandmaster Dong Cuesta, (WEKAF’s 1st President) Secretary Bunye, and Grandmaster Bandalan

Grandmaster Diony Canete, Mr. Paragas, Alfredo Bandalan, and Butch Paragas Philippines
1982. Doce Pares 50th Anniversary