GM Val Pableo launches book on eskrima in London

(The Freeman) - August 22, 2014 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Grandmaster Percival "Val" Pableo recently launched his book about eskrima (arnis) in London, England to the delight of European followers of this indigenous Filipino martial art that proudly traces its roots in Cebu.

"I am having this book as part of my contribution to the propagation and development of eskrima or arnis, a unique form of martial art that we can proudly call our own," said Pableo. Aside from his book launching, he also had a refereeing stint in the 2014 World Eskrima Kali Arnis Federation (WEKAF) held in Debrecen, Hungary.

Entitled 'The Lightning Speed of Grandmaster Percival "Val" Pableo, the 277-page book is authored by Cielito Caneja Seguritan, a practicing Filipina eskrimador now based in London. A clinical nurse by profession, Cielito is a practitioner of Guba Doce Pares International and is currently affiliated with the Great Britain Martial Arts Academy-Croydon.

Cielito, herself an eskrima world champion, tells the story of GM Val, the man they call the 'Human Weapon' in eskrima. She unravels the amazing trajectory of GM Val's life in his behind the scene journey - from his humble beginnings in Mindanao to his worldwide tour propagating and promotiong eskrima-kali-arnis, the country's national sport that is being practiced by 40 countries from both hemispheres of the globe.

Cielito also delved on GM Val's extraordinary roll of fate that is destined to be a part of national sports history.

A four-time world champion, Pabelo shot to fame after winning his first major title during the 1st WEKAF World Championships in 1989 here in Cebu City.

"I can still hear the roar as I face the giant Australian, who at 6-foot-3, was nearly one foot taller than me. It was like the proverbial David versus Goliath match in the final of the open weight division," recalled GM Val. "But with his sheer skills and big-fighting heart, I was able to slay that Australian giant."

GM Val did not only get the Most Valuable Player award, he also wowed the spectators with his artistic shadow fighting form to win the forms competition or 'Sayaw', a warrior dance mimicking a shadow eight, executing the art gracefully or as furious it can be delivered.

After claiming his first world title and six years of rigorous training, GM Val finally received his blackbelt. At 24 years old, the fighter has become a mentor, teaching eskrima in Cebu that eventually lead him to travel abroad. He had first seminar outside of the country in New Jersey, United States in 1991. Despite his age, he was able to give a very good impression, leaving the overwhelmed audience to crave for more.

For seven years starting in 1989, GM Val reaped numerous championships but in 1996 he decided to stop competing. Instead, he focused on teaching the art as advised by his mentor, Supreme Grandmaster Diony Cañete, ODL (Order of Datu Lapu-Lapu).

As master travelling to Europe and US, GM Val was based most often in Holland. In 2002, he concentrated on training Team Holland that competed in the WEKAF tilt that same year in London. His efforts and sacrifices paid off as 14 of his fighters won a title, 12 became a champion, while other two won silver medals.  GM Val also held several trainings and seminars including in Norway, Sweden, Greece, Hungary, England and Italy among other European nations.

GM Val also had a cameo role in "Eskrimadors", a 2010 Philippine documentary film about eskrima. It was written and directed by Kerwin Go, a Los Angeles-trained cinematographer. The film documents the development of eskrima, tracing its origins from the tribal warfare, and its practice among international martial artists.

For all that he has attained and accomplished in life, GM Val said he owes everything to SGM Diony Cañete. "SGM Diony is the one who made me perfect. Although I cried a couple of times after trainings with SGM Diony, without his guidance and teachings, I wouldn't be where I am right now. He molded me not only to be a great fighter but also to be a great teacher that will last," said GM Val with a grateful heart. (FREEMAN)


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