Grandmaster Leo M. Giron

Grandmaster Leo M. Giron was born on August 20, 1911 in Bayambang in the Philippine province of Pangasinan. In Pangasinan at this time eskrima matches where a daily occurrence and the barrio could be tough at times. At age of 10 GM Giron's first instructor was Master Benito Junio, a master in Largo Mano, or Cabaroan style. His next instructor was Master Bundoc, GM Giron's cousin and a graduate of Master Junio's. Master Bundoc also taught GM Giron the Cabaroan style as well as the Cadaanan style. His third instructor in the Philippines was Fructuso Junio, Master Junio's uncle. He taught GM Giron the Macabebe style, which uses the double sticks. Master Fructuso Junio also helped GM Giron distinguish between the old and new styles of Luzon.

 

On October 20th, 1926 GM Giron migrated to California, USA. While working in the orchards GM Giron met Flaviano Vergara. Master Vergara teacher was Delmacia Bergonia, the only person who ever defeated the legendary fighter Santiago Toledo, a champion of the Philippines. Master Vergara taught GM Giron some of the influential styles from Giron's old home of Pangasinan and the nearby Cagayah. GM Giron's training with Master Vergara laid the ground work for GM Giron's Abanico Del Maestro, "The Fan of the Master".

 

After the outbreak of World War II GM Giron joined the U.S. Army. He would live out his service fighting the war in the Philippines. During this time he had numerous exploits to use his skills. GM Giron was serving as a Sergeant in the Allied Intelligence Bureau, was a member of General Douglas Mac Arthur's own personal groups of commandos. GM Giron was part of an elite group of fighting men along with the Filipino guerillas that performed covert operations in the jungles of Northern Luzon. For his actions during the war he would receive several medals including the Bronze Star.

GM Leo M. Giron JPG

 

After the war GM Giron only thought of eskrima on occasion. He wanted to leave all the violence behind as most soldiers do when their job is done. But just as the violence of WWII made GM Giron retire from martial arts violence would encourage him to teach and pass on his knowledge. It was 1968 in Chicago when eight nursing students, most of whom where Filipino, were killed by a maniac. During the tragedy not one of the victims made any effort to subdue the killer. This prompted GM Giron to teach Filipino martial arts so that innocent persons would not have to give up their lives because they did not know how to defend themselves.

Symbol JPG GM Giron opened up his first training group in Tracy, California in a small room in back of the Veterans Foreign Wars building. Later in 1973 he changed his location to Stockton, California and opened up the "Bahala Na Filipino Martial Arts Academy". Guro Dan Inosanto was the first to graduate from GM Giron's training. Other graduates from GM Giron would include Richard Bustillo, Ted LucayLucay and Dentoy Revillar.

 

For more information about Grandmaster Giron and his martial arts two books are available: " Memories Ride The Ebb of Tide " and The " Secrets of Giron Arnis Escrima ". Bahala Na Escrima also offers a four part video series.

Bahala Na Systems International
P.O. Box 8584

Stockton, CA  95208

 


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