Panantukan Filipino Dirty Boxing (Suntukan)
Suntukan is the fist-related striking component of Filipino martial arts. (The term "suntukan" however is most commonly known in the Philippines to simply mean punching or boxing.) In the central Philippine island region of Visayas, it is known as Pangamot or Pakamot. It is also known as Mano-mano and often referred to in Western martial arts circles of Inosanto lineage as Panantukan. Although it is also called Filipino Boxing, this article pertains to the Filipino martial art and should not be confused with the Western sport of Boxing as practiced in the Philippines.
History and Philosophy of Kudo:
Interview with Daniel Sullivan
I'm Daniel Sullivan, the founder and head instructor of Warrior Arts Alliance. Also the founder and head instructor at OC kickboxing and mixed martial arts in Irvine California. I've been involved with the combat of martial arts since 1985 and I was fortunate enough to meet Diana Lee Inosanto in a college class at the time I was doing Taekwondo. I didn't know anything about the Filipino martial arts, Jeet Kun Do or Muay Thai, any of that. I only knew about karate, kung-fu and those sorts of typical martial arts.
About Dan Lee Inosanto:
I met Diana in a college class and that fateful day pretty much forever changed my life. She introduced me to her dad Dan Lee Inosanto. And he introduced me to several different martial arts: the Filipino martial arts, Jeet Kun Do, Muay Thai, Silat, Jiu Jitsu, Shooto.
He's pretty much involved in the most combat martial arts in the world, he's a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and he's played the man. In my opinion he has done more research into the martial arts than anyone else in the world. Hands down there was only one that has even a quarter of the knowledge of him that I know of. I always challenged people tell me someone who's got more knowledge in the martial arts than Dan Lee Inosanto. I never hear a single comeback.
About the Best Martial Arts for street fighting and self-defense:
Since 1985 I tried to follow the same path that Dan Inosanto and his best friend and mentor Bruce Lee. We're on back in the sixties and early seventies basically they were researching every martial art in the world to try to find one of the best arts for the real world, for a real street fight. Basically it's MMA for the real world. You have MMA for competition and MMA for combat and these two are a little bit different. Because MMA for combat includes all of the competition arts like Muay Thai, Brazilian jiu-jitsu and wrestling, and boxing - all the mainstream stuff. But we cross train and Filipino martial arts. If Muay Thai is the King of the Ring then Filipino martial arts is the king of the streets.
That is true because almost every fight is going to involve a weapon. Fights will always involve a weapon especially here in Bangkok, Southeast Asia people carry edged weapons. Is accessible, everyone has one.
The other difference, major difference between the Combat Arts and the competition arts is that fights are never one-on-one. Let's be honest, people travel in packs, looking for trouble so we've all heard the sales pitch that all fights go to the ground and it's true a lot of fights do go to the ground. In reality that' the last place you want to be in a real fight because it's never one on one it doesn't matter how good you are on the ground you can have beginning of submission you can be in the top position you can be ground and pounding but when the second guy comes along you're in bad trouble, because they can strike your head, shin kick your head, soccer kick your teeth.
You can use MMA as a sport but you need to add cross training right we know we need to cross train.
When and why did you start practicing self-defense?
When I was a kid, I was a skinny surfer kid and I grew up in a family that fell apart, my mother left my father and ended up marrying a hippie that basically turned us into a happy family and moved us to Santa Cruz, California, a hippie center, and so when I got there I ran into trouble right away. Actually the part of Santa Cruz where we lived was the red neck area, but I had the long hair, so I started to get picked on here in there, so I always wanted to learn self-defense, and one of the things that got me really interested in the martial arts was the Kung Fu series with David Carradine. I loved that he would never look for trouble, he never went looking for trouble, but trouble always found him and he would never use more violence than he had to, he would always just diffuse the situation without hurting the guy as much as possible, and he would always try to avoid it. There was always the message that went back to the his Sifu at the Shaolin Temple and there's always that he'd have the flashback and there was a lesson you learned in every episode, and I just loved that positive message that the martial arts sent. It really got me interested in it and then I was just fascinated with Bruce Lee.
How often do you use your skills in the streets?
I try to avoid conflicts at all costs, I always walk away, I always try to talk my way out of it, I very rarely get into street fights although I have to. When I lived in a house in a really bad area of Long Beach it's always been for me trying not to kill the guy or harm him too much, to just get out of the situation. I can't have it on my conscience to give someone brain damage or kill them. I've had several incidents go down and I think one of the great things about the martial arts is that you get confidence and when you're confident people just don't really mess with you any more. They don't bother you as they can sense that you have something.
The best styles for self-defense
No martial art has it all, no martial art is complete, and that's why we call it mixed martial arts, so mixed martial arts for combat, for the real world that's what I'm about. I think anyone who is serious about learning self-defense needs to have a Thai boxing (Muay Thai) background. I’m here in Bangkok right now, just did a seminar on Dirty Boxing, Filipino Boxing, but I'm also here to train Muay Thai. I love Muay Thai, I’ve been doing it since 1985, and let's be honest, it’s the best striking system in the world. I think anyone without a Muay Thai background is really not serious about learning how to defend themselves. Then, obviously, Brazilian jiu-jitsu is one of the best grappling arts out there. There are probably other great ones too, but I think you need to have some knowledge of Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Boxing is the most sophisticated system of using the hands of all the martial arts according to Bruce Lee and I agree with him. Wrestling obviously is very important and knowing how to defend takedowns, but then what I like to do is other martial arts that aren’t in the mainstream, like for example the Filipino martial arts which is the best with the knife and the stick. Some of the systems have the best empty hands that I've ever seen like the cross method that the Filipino martial arts includes, dirty boxing or Filipino Boxing, Panantukan or Suntukan, which is a mix of boxing styles that master John Lacoste learned in the central region of the Philippines, and then he learned Silat in the south in Mindanao, so he mixed Silat with boxing and it's one of the most sophisticated, the most effective, efficient forms of self-defense that I've ever seen. Dan Lee Inosanto taught me for over thirty years, I had several workshops with him, to focus just on the Filipino Boxing, so I took what he did and also did my own thing a little bit with the Filipino Boxing. I think Silat is one of the best. I like Savate Boxe française, it’s one of the best striking arts. There are a lot of great martial arts, there are certain things that I like and things that I don’t like so much, and it’s like that for everyone, that's why I think it's so important to cross train.
Another important thing about cross training is that when you're 20 years old you’ve got Muay Thai, MMA, Jiu Jitsu, but I'm 53 years old so my shape isn’t as it used to be and I have injuries and stuff like that. As you start getting older if you don't cross train you're not going to be able to do it anymore and you get depressed, and when you stop training your life's just not the same, so it's really important to be able to train different martial arts that you still can do. Filipino martial arts is great because you can practice it into your sixties, seventies, eighties, nineties like a lot of the Masters that were WW2 heroes they fought the first Filipino Infantry Division and they were sent to the Philippines to fight over there. They fought with live blades, swords against the Japanese, and most of them are gone now, they were heroes and the Filipinos were no exception to the rule, they were definitely heroes who fought against the Japanese. By the time Groudon met these guys a lot of them were already in their eighties, seventies, eighties, some of them pushing 90, and they could still move, they could still do a lot of things, like Lacoste for example, when he was in his late 80s he still trained every day, later he got shot in the back which is a very sad story because we all wanted to learn what he had. So I think it's great to cross train because it gives you that option to do something else. For example, if your body can't do the Shin kick anymore, you have other things you can practice.
My Academy in Orange County, California, specializes in beginners, we love to take people who have no martial arts experience at all and teach them how to defend themselves, we get them involved with all the different combat martial arts, and normally what I like to do is to start people with Thai boxing, with Muay Thai. There are several reasons for that, one is that they're learning to use their natural weapons - their punches, their kicks, their elbows and their knees, and they learn basic defenses, it'll work in the real world. They're also at the same time getting fit. Being fit is a very important part of being able to defend yourself. Muay Thai, kickboxing, boxing gives you timing, it gives you an understanding of movement, it gives you an understanding of the way that you probably gonna be attacked in the real world. Now everyone does Muay Thai, everyone does boxing, everyone does mixed martial arts, I like to start people with Muay Thai or we start them with mixed martial arts, that’s what we do in the Academy. I offer everything, we have a mixed martial arts program, we have a Muay Thai program, but usually we don't like to start people in Brazilian jiu-jitsu for example, because, like I said, you need to learn how to strike first in my opinion. I think it you don't want to go to the ground right away, if you don’t want to be in a bad trouble in a real situation, if all you can do is to grapple, it’s better to start with Muay Thai or MMA. In my Academy once they've gone through three months or so of Muay Thai or MMA then they become eligible to go into what we call a combat program. We offer Jeet Kun Do, Filipino martial arts, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, No-Gi Jiu-Jitsu, Boxe Française Savate, all those martial arts are taught separately but we'd like you to have a base in striking first, because pretty much all the martial arts we teach are striking the boxing based, like the Filipino martial arts is boxing based, Jeet Kun Do is boxing based, Savate is obviously boxing based, Muay Thai is boxing based, MMA is boxing based again, even Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Even Hélio Gracie believed in boxing, nowadays all the Brazilians know that if you have to do Muay Thai you have to do boxing, they used to laugh about it in the early days of the UFC, they would laugh at Muay Thai boxing, but now it’s not like this anymore because they realize you have to have a foundation and striking, that's why people start Muay Thai Boxing or MMA to get used to their tools, to get used to know how the body moves, and later on they get into the the Brazilian jiu-jitsu and whatever else that they want to get involved with.
Filipino boxing comes from Grandmaster Johnnie Juanito Lacoste, he's very unique in his approach because he traveled all over the Philippines to learn all the different Filipino martial arts, the thing that he was able to do that other Filipino martial arts masters weren't able to do was to learn all the southern styles that aren’t really in existence anymore - from Mindanao Silat, the different Filipino Silat systems, and he converted to Islam. The reason why most people weren't able to learn it is that Christians are not allowed to learn Silat, so what he did was he converted to Islam and learned to speak twelve different Muslim dialects so that he could learn all the different Silat styles which made him very unique. So what he did is he took the boxing that he learned in the Visayas, in the central region of the Philippines, Suntukan and Silat, so it's a very effective boxing base, but it's got all the dirty techniques: it's got eye, head, butts, kicks to the groin, foot stomps, strikes to the arms, clinching, double thumbs and grabbing, etc.
What is Panantukan:
Filipino boxing also known as Panantukan or Suntukan in my opinion is one of the best martial arts for the real world. It includes striking similar to Thai boxing, but it also includes head, eye gouging, all types of clinching, knees, strikes to the groin and foot stomps and overhooks and underhooks. What makes it so effective is how do you get from eye-gouging to head, how do you get into the other techniques, how do you flow from head, elbows, knees and clinching. Filipino boxing is best in the world at flowing between regular mainstream type of strikes like elbows, knees, kicks, punches into the dirty tricks like eye gouch for example. Once you get your eye gouged it’s the best time to hit him with traditional type of boxing strikes.