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By Homer D. Sayson

A smashing Balintawak arnis success
Wed, 15 Jul 2015

Chantilly, VIRGINIA. As a warm blissful, Sunday afternoon slowly turned into early evening, the Balintawak Legacy's Gathering of Masters event concluded its three-day course at the swanky Nova Fiield House in this quaint suburb some 25 miles away from downtown Washington D.C.

Organized by the D.C. and Maryland chapters of Kapatiran Mandirigma , the event, which attracted over 70 delegates from all over the U.S. and the world, was a stunning success.

Over the years, the Balintawak arnis family has been fractured by mild in-fighting brought about by politics and differences in teaching concept. But that seemed forgotten during this event as six grand masters from six Balintawak lineages gathered here to share their immense knowledge of the Philippine's most revered form of martial arts.

It remains to be seen whether these factions can now co-exist happily ever after. Still, it was beautiful to watch the leaders at least try.

"No more grudges, okay/" Grand master Bobby Taboada sincerely pleaded to his peers at the Dulles Banquet Room of the Comfort Suites, the official event hotel. The other grand masters present were Monie Velez, Nene Gabucayan, Ising Atillo, Ver Villasin and Sam Buot.

"It was a historic event. And I can't thank the grand masters and the participants enough for making the trip," said Jhun Occidental, the gathering's lead organizer who worked tirelessly since October last year to make this happen.

The Crisostomo brothers -- Walter and Wesley -- were also instrumental in staging the event. Both longtime practicioners of the sport, Walter and Wesley helped document the gathering vie video and photos.

Day 3 was highlighted by six hours of grand master lessons that the students eagerly absorbed like a sponge.

A keen observer of the proceedings, my greatest take away of the 3-day event was the simple beauty of arnis, and my gratitude for those who continue to propagate our national sport.

Top photo shows event lead organizer Jhun Occidental with arnis grand master Shelly Millspaugh. Second photo shows grand master Bobby Taboada (far right) handing a gift to fellow grand master Monei Velez as Jemar Carcellar and Zack Taco watches. Third photo shows the delegates of the Balintawak Legacy: A Gatherng of Masters.

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