Christopher Ricketts (also “Topher” Ricketts) was a well-known Filipino martial arts innovator, teacher and author. He was also one of the chief founders and head instructors of Bakbakan International.

History and experience

Christopher Ricketts was a well-known martial artist in the Philippines, Australia, and the United States. “Topher”, as he was called by his peers, was an experienced tournament (both full-contact and point system) and street fighter.

He was known for his strict emphasis on using basics and frequent contact sparring. Topher had trained champions, many of whom have become part of Philippine teams in Asian and international competitions.

Apart from being Chief Instructor for Bakbakan, Topher had assisted his brother Ronnie Ricketts, a Philippine action star, in choreographing action scenes in many movies.

Numerous Bakbakan members have played cameo roles in Ronnie’s movies, lending credibility to the action sequences as well as drawing crowds to the theaters because of the authentic fight scenes.


Along with Rey Galang, Christopher “Topher” Ricketts was a founder and a major contributor behind the Bakbakan organization. He gained exposure in 1986 from a project called “Masters of Arnis”, which also featured Rey Galang, Antonio Diego and Edgar Sulite.

They toured Sydney and Melbourne, Australia giving seminars on the Filipino Martial Arts, particularly those taught as the Bakbakan curriculum.

This international exposure for Bakbakan triggered several articles in mainstream martial arts magazines. Since then, he had collaborated with Antonio Diego on a book about the art of one of his primary teachers, Antonio “Tatang” Ilustrisimo.

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