Sikaran Pilipinas


Emmanuel del Espiritu Santo Querubin, Head Instructor of SIKAP, met Meliton Geronimo, in 1958 when the former affiliated his school Samahan sa Ikauunlad ng Karate sa Pilipinas (SIKAP) later renamed SIKARAN PILIPINAS (SIKAP) with the KARATE (SIKARAN) BROTHERHOOD OF THE PHILIPPINES, headed by Meliton Geronimo.

Querubin was appointed Director for Research and Standards of the Karate (Sikaran) Brotherhood of the Philippines. Part of his duties was to undertake a research in SIKARAN and related Filipino Fighting Arts. After a painstaking quest that took him as far north as Batanes and as far south as Jolo, he ended back in the town of Baras, in the Province of Rizal the hotbed of SIKARAN. There he met septuagenarian Cipriano Geronimo, the last SIKARAN Hari of Baras. With Cipriano Geronimo were octogenarians Manuel Ocampo and Melencio Bigasin, elder SIKARAN contemporaries and Haris turned Guros. Also present were long time inactive SIKARAN Guros Aurelio Cabacob, Angeles Pilapil and Servillano Javier.

Further search for other SIKARAN masters or teachers proved futile and fruitless. Querubin was convinced that these were the last living masters of SIKARAN.

Querubin met some practitioners in the neighboring towns around Baras, who trained in SIKARAN at one time or another. For some reason they have not attained the status of hari (champion) or guro (teacher) and therefore were not considered valid and legitimate authority to pass on SIKARAN. They were, however, an invaluable source of information.

In the 1950’s, Meliton Geronimo, under the tutelage of these last living masters of SIKARAN, Cipriano Geronimo, Melencio Bigasin, Manuel Ocampo, Aurelio Cabacob, Angeles Pilapil and Servillano Javier, started formulating the curriculum of what is now present day SIKARAN.

The genre of SIKARAN that was handed down to Meliton Geronimo at the tender age of eight by his father, Cipriano Geronimo, was a very effective and even deadly fighting system. However, it had to be elevated from a system to an art to gain international recognition. From SIKARAN, foot-fighting system of the Philippines, Meliton Geronimo elevated SIKARAN to the Foot-fighting Art of the Philippines. The author refers to SIKARAN as the Unarmed Fighting Art of the Filipino Farmer, which he feels is a more accurate definition.

To attain international recognition, it was imperative to apply a systematized classification and organization of the techniques and modernized the way SIKARAN was taught and disseminated.

To achieve this goal, Meliton Geronimo aligned the propagation of SIKARAN with Karate, even using the explanatory title “Philippine Karate”. He required the invaluable assistance of his two most senior disciples, his younger brother Jaime “Jimmy” Geronimo and his Director for Research and Standards Emmanuel “Emmy” Querubin.

To Jaime Geronimo, he delegated all the technical matters and the propagation of SIKARAN as a martial sport. To Emmanuel Querubin, Meliton Geronimo assigned the recording of the chronicle and journal of SIKARAN. Emmanuel Querubin now continues the propagation of SIKARAN as a martial art.

Meliton Geronimo modified where it needs modification, such as using the white martial arts attire and ranking system signified by the color of belt. He developed where it needs development, such as the practice of techniques and drills in choreographed balangkas (formal exercises or patterns). Meliton Geronimo also adopted new methods where it was needed, such as rules and regulations to be accepted as a modern sport while maintaining SIKARAN’s fighting attributes and origin. Meliton Geronimo laid down the foundation of present day SIKARAN.

This website, based on the book SIKARAN Fighting Art of the Filipino Farmer, the result of the persevering efforts of Emmanuel del Espiritu Santo Querubin, is a record of the evolution of SIKARAN from a system to an art. It came into reality with the encouragement of Meliton Geronimo, Jimmy Geronimo, Cipriano Geronimo, Melencio Bigasin, Manuel Ocampo and Daniel Rendal. Work on this book started in 1960, but due to unforeseen circumstances, publication was postponed until more than 47 years later. The author is using some of the pictures taken then, which explains the dated appearance and the all white uniform.

In the 1960’s while preparation of this book was in progress, Meliton Geronimo was busy making representations with the Asian Karate Association for the recognition of SIKARAN, as a distinct Filipino Unarmed Fighting Art.

SIKARAN has been in existence for centuries, but the first time that it was brought to the attention of the international world of the martial arts was when this author was named Philippine Correspondent for Black Belt Magazine in late 1965.

Using pictures from the book the author started in 1960 (but holding back pertinent information, such as the complete history of SIKARAN and origin of the techniques, until publication of the book), an article entitled “A Dying Art – SIKARAN, Art of Philippines Foot Fighting”, appeared in the April 1966 issue of Black Belt Magazine. It was then followed with another article entitled “It All Began 800 Years Ago” in the June 1966 issue, also of Black Belt Magazine. Both articles were written by Emmanuel del Espiritu Santo Querubin.

Black Belt Magazine published in Los Angeles, California USA, then, as it is now, is the premiere publication in the world purely devoted to the fighting arts.

Subsequent articles about SIKARAN came out in the pages of REDBELT Magazine, the MANDIRIGMA (Warrior) Magazine several other martial arts publications and the mainstream periodicals in the Philippines. SIKARAN and Meliton Geronimo were featured in the Martial Arts Masters, Founders and Leaders book published in the United States. Recently he was also featured in the Filipino Martial Arts Digest, published by Steven Dowd of Fallon, Nevada.

In 1969, Meliton Geronimo and Emmanuel Querubin published two SIKARAN instructional manuals.

Unfortunately, after all the articles about SIKARAN came out, followed by the recognition by the Asian Karate Association, unscrupulous people who read about it put together some hand and foot maneuvers and called their system SIKARAN. Adding insult to injury some even plagiarized the author’s writings about SIKARAN and related arts in an effort to validate and authenticate whatever they are teaching.

Self-proclaimed masters and even grandmasters in SIKARAN proliferated. Some claim to be the successor (?) to the art, while others even ridiculously claim to have originated the art. Some even juggled the letters to “create” their own “system.” One even claim, (in his own word) “to have seized SIKARAN from the Philippines, lock, stock and barrel, completely draining the country of all SIKARAN techniques.”

Still another student who exalted himself with the title of grandmaster, has claimed to have been bequeathed the title of Hari (champion) not knowing that the title is won in the “battlefield of combat” and cannot be passed on. Interestingly, this person was not even born when the Karate (SIKARAN) Brotherhood of the Philippines was established.

By not being a part of the genealogical order of SIKARAN, these unprincipled self-proclaimed masters and grandmasters are inherently fraud. The techniques they may be teaching may resemble SIKARAN, but unless they came from the lineage of SIKARAN, it is not SIKARAN and to call it so, is deceitful. Their incredulous rank and title unless bestowed on them by the only SIKARAN Grandmaster is therefore fraudulent.
These were the very reasons why the author omitted all the pertinent information about SIKARAN in his original article in April 1966 until publication of his book.
There is no written history of SIKARAN. SIKARAN was taught in the oral method of questions and answers leaving nothing in writing. The author unequivocally asserts that this is the first authoritative and most complete written account of SIKARAN. The information in this treatise were recorded, not on paper or papyrus tablets but etched in the hearts and the minds of a very select few. Thanks to the SIKARAN elders of the towns of Baras, Tanay, Morong and Binangonan, it was possible to sort out the truth from the hearsay and the fact from fiction and conjecture. The accuracy and veracity of the information was also verified by these SIKARAN followers.
The verifiable information all led to the lineage of Meliton Geronimo and only went back up to the early to mid 1800s, at the time of his grandfather Bonifacio Geronimo. The information, before the time of Bonifacio Geronimo, was sketchy and hazy at best with more superstitions than fact and can no longer be verified.
As far as it can be determined, the history of SIKARAN as recorded in this book (the product of years of research, interviews, checks, counter-checks and establishment of a point of comparison for confirmation) is the only written account of SIKARAN. The documentary evidence the author presents are the word and reputation of the people involved in the art that were practiced since the 1800’s and which they believed existed hundreds of years before them.
To set the record straight, it became imperative to publish this book with the complete history and the origin and foundation of the techniques of SIKARAN. This book is the first and only authoritative book in SIKARAN.

First and foremost, this book’s goal is to initiate the misinformed and the uninformed, in SIKARAN, the superior indigenous unarmed fighting art of the Filipino which is an integral part of the rich cultural heritage of the Philippines.
It is also this book’s objective to correct the misconception that SIKARAN is a “limited art,” that relies solely on foot techniques. Present day competitions adopted rules of SIKARAN contests of old, where the hands are used exclusively for blocking techniques and this contributed to this fallacy.

It will not be surprising that after publication of this book, these old self-proclaimed masters and grandmasters and new self-proclaimed masters and grandmasters will find a way to validate their systems based on the information contained in this book.

The materials used in this book were from original interviews with SIKARAN and other martial arts masters in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Unfortunately, most of the original pictures have been misplaced, so the author had to make copies from previously printed manuscripts, magazines and other periodicals. The quality of some pictures may be less than satisfactory but it makes a good indicator of the authenticity of what they portray.

This book reaffirms the stewardship of Meliton Geronimo as the only Grandmaster of SIKARAN acknowledged by the last Hari’s of SIKARAN. Meliton Geronimo, is the only 10th Degree Red Belt in SIKARAN, sanctioned and recognized by the Asian Karate Association.

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