Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is Balintawak?
A: Balintawak is a close quarter fighting and self-defense system, originated and tested in the streets of Cebu City, Philippines.  Identified by it’s use of the single stick and close quarter play, it has evolved to help develop combat attributes:  reflexes, speed, timing, and distancing. It is known in the martial arts community as a fast and direct fighting system, adaptable to practical self defense on the streets.

Although it is viewed as primarily a close range style, the training encompasses mid and long range techniques as well. The single rattan stick (or “cane”) is the primary training tool but the system concepts and techniques can be adapted and applied to hand to hand combat (“mano de mano”), blade, and other improvised weapons easily. More about Balintawak here.

Q: What’s the difference between Balintawak systems or styles?
A: There are many different “styles” of Balintawak, all of which originated in the Philippines.  Each style may differ slightly or more pronounced from the next style depending on lineage, instructor and practitioner. The one common thread that all Balintawak systems share is that each can trace its lineage back to the original founder, Anciong Bacon from Cebu, Philippines.

Q:  Is there a difference between Arnis, Eskrima* and Kali?
A: Arnis, also known as Eskrima and Kali, is the national sport and martial art of the Philippines. The terms themselves are commonly interchangeable names for the traditional martial arts of the Philippines (“Filipino Martial Arts,” or FMA) that emphasize weapon-based fighting with sticks, knives, bladed weapons and various improvised weapons.  The terms themselves have different originations depending on geographic location, language dialect, and most often, the preference of the system’s founders. The Winston-Salem Balintawak Club prefers the term Eskrima. *Also spelled “escrima”.

Q: How old do you need to be to train in this system?
A: All ages are welcome to train with us, but maturity – both physical and mental – are key factors in approving new students. While we have no “age restrictions”, we typically do not train children under the age of 15, unless the student can show the maturity and capacity required to train.

Q: Where are you located?
A: We are located near downtown Winston-Salem, North Carolina, in the Historic West End district. Our students come from all over the greater Piedmont Triad area (Winston-Salem, Greensboro, High Point) and beyond.

Q:  Who is Grandmaster Bobby Taboada?
A: GM Taboada is recognized as a martial arts legend and pioneer and the most visible proponent of introducing Balintawak Eskrima outside of the Philippines. His International Balintawak organization based in Charlotte, North Carolina, is global, promoted by his Qualified Instructors across Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States.

Known for his explosive and powerful brand of eskrima, Grandmaster Bobby was a well respected practitioner and fighter during his younger days growing up in the Philippines.  He was trained by many of the original Balintawak masters including: Great Grandmaster and Balintawak Founder Anciong Bacon, Grandmaster Jose Villasin, and his primary teacher Grandmaster Teofilo Velez.  Many of his peers from that era have gone on to develop their own distinct schools and respective styles across the globe. GM Bobby continues to travel the world teaching martial arts and promoting friendship and brotherhood wherever he goes.

GM Bobby’s mission is the same as when he left the shores of the Philippines in 1979 – to promote Balintawak Eskrima, more commonly known as Balintawak Arnis Cuentada, worldwide. More on Grandmaster Bobby Taboada at

Grandmaster Bobby Taboada

Grandmaster Bobby Taboada

Q:  How many levels or belts do you have in the system?
A: The WSBC doesn’t rank or certify in belts, but does follow the same curriculum standards as set by Grandmaster Taboada. There are 6 levels of accomplishment we recognize: “Basic” levels 1-5, and one “Advanced” level 6, also known as Completion of the Art.  Level 7 is the rank of Full Qualified Instructor, or FQI. Currently, only GM Taboada can test and certify advanced levels 6-7 after endorsement by a recognized Fully Qualified Instructor.