We had the great pleasure to have attended Gat Puno Abon Baet’s Garimot Arnis and Harimaw Buno seminar during his visit to Chicago. When first meeting Guro Abon, there was an immediate feeling of comfort being around him, like we’ve known each other for a long time.

He is a kind man with a great sense of humor that just wants to teach his art. I later found out that as a profession, Guro Abon is also a chef that has won ice sculpting competitions. Being from Paete, Laguna, known for their world class wood carving skills, this didn’t surprise me.

The first thought that came to mind when I heard he was a chef was Casey Ribeck, Steven Segal’s character from the Under Siege movies who was also a chef. The main difference though, is that Guro Abon is the real deal.

The first day of his seminar consisted of the Moro-Moro, movements 1-15. There are 30 movements total. The Moro-Moro is a traditional socio-religious play that was created to disguise the Filipino fighting techniques into dance and movements when the Spanish banned the art of Kali.

When the Filipinos would have stick fighting competitions, the Spanish recognized the great skill involved and because they feared this could someday be used against them, proclaimed these stick competitions as a deadly “recreational” activity and banned them.

The second day of Guro Abon’s seminar covered his Harimaw Buno system, which is a form of Filipino wrestling and grappling. I must say, the training was exhausting but also rewarding as I did walk away with new techniques that could be applied effectively in the unexpected event of a ground encounter.

During the 2 days with Guro Abon, we were able to watch and learn a great deal from him. He is full of Philippine historical knowledge and one of the stories that intrigued me the most was the use of the Lubid for hunting animals.

The Lubid is a rope that is weighted on both ends and when thrown, will wrap itself around the legs of an animal, preventing it from running away. The hunter would then run to the animal and wrestle it to the ground, which according to Guro Abon, is where Buno first originated.

At the end of the second day, after hours of Filipino grappling with armbars, neck cranks, wrist and arm manipulations, etc., Guro Abon briefly went over some Hilot healing techniques. I personally had a Hilot session done to my wrists and all I can say is that when he’s back in Chicago, or I get a chance to visit him in Florida, will definitely have a full Hilot session with him!