Kalis Ilustrisimo (also Kalis Ilustrisimo) is a blade-based Filipino Martial Art (Eskrima) founded by Antonio “Tatang” Ilustrisimo. The style has been in the Ilustrisimo family for over five generations and is based on traditional Filipino stick and sword styles.

GM Antonio Ilustrismo died in 1997. There are several organizations that continue to teach and propagate his art: Bakbakan International- BAHAD Zu’Bu Kalis Ilustrisimo – Kalis Ilustrisimo – LAMECO – Olistrisimo Eskrima.

Antonio “Tatang” Ilustrisimo (1904 – 1997) was the Grand Master of Kali Ilustrisimo, a Filipino martial art bearing his family name.

Early life

Tatang was born in Bagong, Bantayan, Cebu in 1904. As a boy he studied eskrima from his father. At the age of nine he decided to travel to the United States, and stowed away on a boat he thought was headed for America. In actuality, he arrived in Mindanao, in the southern Philippine islands.

The Martial Arts

Antonio Alulud Ilustrisimo was one of the most well respected eskrimadors of the Philippines. He is famed for winning countless duels and street encounters, as well as serving as a guerrilla against the invading Japanese forces during World War II. GM Ilustrisimo was never defeated in combat, and earned great respect as a result of his brave exploits against the Japanese.

In 1976 Antonio ‘Tatang’ Ilustrisimo accepted his first students Antonio Diego and Epifanio ‘Yuli’ Romo. After Tatang’s passing in 1997, Tony Diego was elected head of KI. Other notable students include – Rey Galang, Romy Macapagal, Roberto Morales, Christopher Ricketts, Pedring Romo, Norman Suanico and Edgar Sulite.


Antonio Ilustrisimo has been featured in many periodicals and Martial Arts publications. His life and art were featured in the book titled Filipino Martial Culture by Mark Wiley. The art of Kalis Ilustrisimo had a section in the book Filipino Fighting Arts: Theory and Practice by Mark Wiley. The book titled The Secrets of Kalis Ilustrisimo was released in the United States. It was authored by two of his most prominent students, Antonio Diego and Christopher Ricketts. With a forward by Mark Wiley.

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