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Supreme Grand Master Ciriaco “Cacoy” Canete (August 8th 1919-February 5th 2016)

Born in San Fernando, Cebu, in the Visayas region of the Philippines, Cañete was the youngest of eight brothers and four sisters. The martial art Eskrima was a tradition in his family, and he began training at age seven under his brother Filemon "Momoy" Cañete. Filemon had learned it from his father, Gregorio, and uncles Gavino, Pedro, and Juancho. Ciriaco Cañete was also trained in other martial arts, including ju-jitsu, boxing, judo, free style wrestling, Shorin-ryu karate, and aikido. Ciriaco "Cacoy" Canete is famous for fighting over 100 no-rules eskrima matches.  Undefeated in more than 100 death matches, Cacoy was the only Filipino martial artist invited to join other martial artists from China, Japan, Russia, Korea and other Asian countries in the World Ancient Martial Arts Festival in Adelaide, South Australia in August 1988.   He was the preeminent Doces Pares warrior. 
He is ranked: 

  • 12th Grade Black Belt in Eskrima

  • 12th Grade Black Belt in Eskrido

  • 12th Grade Black Belt in Pangamot

  • 8th Degree Black Belt in Judo (USMA)

  • 8th Degree Black Belt in Ju-Jitsu (USMA)

  • 6th Degree Black Belt in Aikido (USMA)

  • 6th Degree Black Belt in Shorin-ryu Karate (USMA)

Cacoy was introduced to boxing at age 5 and Eskrima two years later by his elder brother Filemon (Momoy).  Cacoy began studying Ju-Jitsu and other related throwing arts at age 14.  Cacoy also trained in freestyle wrestling and received training from the top instructors in Manila for the Philippine National Wrestling Association in 1963.

Amid high interest in Filipino martial arts, Visayan martial arts practitioners formed the Doce Pares association in Cebu. In 1939, Cañete's elder brother Eulogio "Yoling" Cañete became president of Doce Pares. The organization became the longest-lasting martial arts organization in the Philippines, and was instrumental in popularizing the Filipino martial arts. Eulogio Cañete was president of Doce Pares until his death in 1988. 

Ciriaco Cañete served with the U.S. Arm Forces in the Far East (USAFFE) during World War II; during the Japanese occupation, Ciriaco Cañete served as 2nd Lieutenant Combat Intelligence Officer, Cebu area and joined the Cebu  Guerilla movement Southern Sector. In 1945, he was transferred to the 38th Military Police Company, where he served as Chief Instructor in Defense Tactics and trained the 38th & 39th MP companies stationed in Dumanjug, Cebu; after training was completed, Ciriaco Cañete was the Military Police Detachment Commander and was stationed in Balamban and Tuburan, Cebu until his discharge in 1947. He studied at the University of Southern Philippines and taught martial arts in various Cebu schools.  He served as a Kodokan Judo instructor at the University of San Carlos, Cebu City from 1962 to 1968.  He was the martial arts instructor of the University of Visayas College of Criminology from 1964 up until late November 1991.  He also taught Eskrima at the Cebu Central Colleges from 1971 up to 1984.  Cacoy also holds a Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Southern Philippines, Cebu City, where he graduated in June 1950.

In 1947 the Doce Pares club reorganized. Ciriaco "Cacoy" Cañete was senior single Olisi (stick) instructor, at the Doce Pares club. He also taught pangamot (empty hand versus weapons). The single stick is a training weapon used to represent a short sword, machete (bolo, pinute) or knife. During this time Cacoy Cañete revolutionized the use of the stick, incorporating traditional linear strikes (corto orihinal) with hooking strikes, butts, thrusts and developing a system of curving and circular strikes (corto kurbada); the strikes were used in conjunction with traps, locks, throws and disarms. Cañete began incorporating concepts of pangamot, ju jitsu and judo into his system as early as 1948; later incorporating aikido into his combat system. "Eskrido" or 'way of eskrima" was the name Cacoy Cañete gave to this revolutionary system of single stick combat.

By 1952, Cacoy Cañete was the chief instructor in single olisi, pangamut (empty hand techniques) and eskrido; his brother Filemon remained the senior instructor in espada y daga or olisi y daga.

Cacoy Cañete was instrumental in popularising eskrima in the Philippines. During the 1970s, he met with other members of the Cebu Eskrima Society and spearheaded the movement to create a unified regional and national tournaments with sport rules, to popularize art of eskrima. Up until this time, eskrima matches had been fought with no rules and no protective gear; eskrima skills were to protect oneself from multiple armed attackers.

In 1979, at the age of sixty, he was champion of the First Open Arnis Tournament in Cebu City and the First National Invitational Arnis Tournament in Manila; both of which were sponsored by the National Arnis Association of the Philippines (NARAPHIL).

Cacoy featured in the British Book and BBC series “Way of the Warrior” published in London in 1982.  He founded Eskrido in 1948 which is Eskrima integrated with Jiu-Jitsu and Judo with principles of Aikido.  He also developed Pangamot, the bare-handed defense system and pushed for full-contact fighting with armour, which he pioneered during the National Eskrima Championships in Cebu City, in 1979.  

He has conducted Eskrima, Eskrido and Pangamot seminars in the U.S.A., Canada, Mexico, England, Germany, Poland and Australia and conducted exhibitions of Eskrima and Eskrido in Indonesia.  

“Technique alone does not make for the best fighter.  To be a successful fighter that person must have heart, an indomitable spirit, the personal belief that he is the best at what he does, and most important the willingness to take on all challengers.  This strength of character, combined with the broadest of technical bases, is what made Cacoy Canete…. Always challenged, never beaten… the greatest (living) fighter in the history of Doce Pares”. – Tom Meadows (excerpt taken from The Challenge Fights of Grandmaster Ciriaco Cacoy Canete).

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Cacoy Doce Pares Melbourne 


@ Kyokushin Karate School

Level 1, 1 Central Ave, Moorabbin 3189




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GM Anthony Kleeman eskrido

Cacoy Doce Pares Melbourne / Master Andrea Wheatley / Guro Rob Bryant / eskrima / eskrido / pangamot / fma / martial arts / stickfighting / martial arts Melbourne