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For the general Filipino term for stght, see Boxing.

2 Characteristics

Suntukan or is the boxing and empty hands striking component of Filipino martial arts. 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.

Suntukan is not a sport, but rather a street-oriented

ghting system. The techniques have not been adapted
for safety or conformance to a set of rules for competition, thus it has a reputation as dirty street ghting". It consists of upper-body striking techniques such
as punches, elbows, headbutts, shoulder strikes and limb
destruction. It is often used in combination with Sikaran,
the kicking aspect of Filipino ghting which includes lowline kicks, tripping and knee strikes to the legs, shins, and
groin. Common targets include the biceps, triceps, eyes,
nose, jaws, temples, groin, ribs, spine, and the back of
the neck.


While many Filipino boxing champions such as Estaneslao Tanny del Campo[6][7] and Buenaventura Kid Bentura Lucaylucay[1][8] (Lucky Lucaylucays father) practiced olympic and sport boxing, they also used pangamot dirty street boxing which is distinct from Western
Boxing.[9][10] A particular trait of Filipino boxing (as opposed to Western Boxing) is that instead of standing and
trading blows with an opponent, suntukan practitioners
typically circle constantly to avoid getting hit and look
for openings, just like with knife ghting. According to
Lucky Lucaylucay: "...if your practice is based on knife
ghting, you have to become much more sophisticated with
your footwork, evasions and delivery because one wrong
move could mean death... ...Filipino boxing is exactly like
knife ghting, except instead of cutting with a blade, we
strike with a closed st."[11][12]

The term suntukan comes from the Tagalog word for

punch, suntok. It is the Filipino term for a stght or
brawl and for stghting or boxing. Panununtukan means
the art of stghting.
The Visayan terms pangamot and pakamot (use of
hands) come from the Cebuano word for hand, kamot.
Due to Cebuano language pronunciation quirks, they are
also pronounced natively as pangamut and pakamut, thus
the variation of spelling across literature.
Mano-mano comes from the Spanish word for hand,
mano, and can translate to two hands or hand-tohand. The phrase "Mano-mano na lang, o?" (Why
don't we settle this with sts?") is often used to end arguments when tempers have ared in Philippine male society.
Panantukan (often erroneously referred to as panantuken
by Western practitioners due to the way Americans pronounce the letters [U] and A) is possibly a corruption of
panuntukan (pronounced pa-noon-too-kan), an alternative form of pangsuntukan which means for the use of
stghting. It is generally attributed to the empty hands
and boxing system infused by FMA pioneers Leodoro
Lucky Lucaylucay and Floro Villabrille[1] into the
Filipino martial arts component of the Inosanto Academy
and Jeet Kune Do ghting systems developed in the West
Coast of the United States. It is said that originally, Lucaylucay wanted to call his art Suntukan, but he was concerned that it would be confused with Shotokan Karate,
so he used the term Panantukan instead.[2][3][4][5] The
terms panantukan and its sibling component pananjakman (for the kicking aspect) are virtually unknown in the
Philippines and are used more in Western Kali/Eskrima
systems of Filipino-American origin.

2.1 Weaponry
Even though suntukan is designed to allow an unarmed
practitioner to engage in both armed and unarmed confrontations, it easily integrates the use of weapons such
as knives, palmsticks (dulo y dulo) and ice picks.[13][14]
These weapons can render suntukans techniques fatal but do not fundamentally change how the techniques are executed. Weapons in suntukan tend to be
small, easily concealed and unobtrusive. Thus, suntukan minimizes contact with the opponent because it is
not always known whether an opponent is armed, and
knives are very often used in ghts and brawls in the
Philippines.[15][16][17][18][19][20][21] As such, parries and
deections are preferred over blocks and prolonged grappling.



Main article: Eskrima

Suntukan is also a key component of Eskrima. It is theorized to have evolved from Filipino weapons ghting because in warfare, unarmed ghting is usually a method of
last resort for when combatants are too close in proximity
(such as trapping and grappling range) or have lost their
weapons. Aside from this, some unarmed techniques and
movements in certain Eskrima systems are directly derived from their own weapon-based forms. In some classical Eskrima systems, the terms Mano mano, De Cadena
(Spanish for of chain) and Cadena de Mano (Spanish
for hand chain) are the names for their empty hand
components. Aside from punching, the suntukan components in Eskrima includes kicking, locking, throwing
and dumog (grappling).
It is interesting to note that a number of Filipino boxing champions are also known to have practiced eskrima.
World champion Ceferino Garcia (regarded as having introduced the bolo punch to the Western world of boxing) wielded a bolo knife in his youth and developed his
signature punch from his experience in cutting sugarcane
in farm elds with the bladed implement.[22] Legendary world champion Gabriel Flash Elorde studied
Balintawak Eskrima (under founder Venancio Anciong
Bacon)[23] and got his innovative, intricate footwork[24]
from his father, Tatang Elorde who was the Eskrima
champion of Cebu.[12][23][25] Elordes footwork from eskrima has been adopted by many boxers, including
his friend Muhammad Ali,[12][26] by transitivity, Bruce
Lee who was Alis fan and meticulously studied his
footwork[27][28] and again by transitivity, Manny Pacquiao who is a big fan of Lee.[27]
A left bolo punch in attack
A left bolo punch in counterpunch
Ceferino Garcia


Speed, ow, and rhythm

Suntukan emphasizes speed in striking, with the intent

of overwhelming the adversary with a urry of attacks.
Indenite combinations of dierent strikes are strung together continuously to make successful defense a relative
impossibility. Many strikes in suntukan are said to be performed on half-beats, or in between the major strikes
of a combination, so as to disorient and overwhelm an opponent, increasing the opportunity for more devastating
attacks. An example of this could be performing a swift
slap or eye strike after throwing a jab with the same hand


in a standard jab-cross-hook combination; the eye strike

both disrupts the defense against and masks the incoming
cross. Sometimes, low-line kicks are often executed between boxing combinations to further injure and disorient
the opponent.

3.2 Angles
The angles outlined in eskrima are incorporated to evade
and parry incoming strikes and to attack the opponent
from an outside angle where they are less able to defend
themselves. Constantly switching the ghting lead allows
for the exploitation of attack while maintaining ow. The
ghter will often use a nishing strike or kick in a combination to step into the new lead. Footwork is of utmost importance for these techniques, so in some systems, much time is invested into practicing stick-ghting
drills and combinations.

3.3 Gunting
Some moves which immobilise the limbs are called
gunting (scissors) techniques because of the scissor-like
motions used to stop an opponents limb from one side
while attacking from the other side. Suntukan focuses
on countering an opponents strike with a technique that
will nullify further attack by hitting certain nerve points,
bones, and muscle tissue to cause immediate partial paralysis of the attacking limb. Common limb destructions
include guiding incoming straight punches into the defending ghters elbow (siko) to shatter the knuckles,[29]
or striking the incoming limb in the biceps to inhibit the
opponents ability to use that arm for the remainder of
the ght. Gunting focuses on destroying the opponents
ability to wield their weapon. This term derives from the
word scissors in Filipino, Malaysian and Indonesian. In
Filipino martial arts, gunting can be done by cutting the
hand or wrist with a pair of blades (hence the name), but
it can also be done with a single blade or with the empty
hand by striking nerves and tensed muscles.

4 Dumog
Main article: Dumog
Suntukan also borrows moves from dumog (upright
wrestling) which twist and turn the opponents body with
the goal of exposing a more vulnerable area, such as the
neck, jaw and temples. This is accomplished by the use
of arm wrenching, shoving, shoulder ramming, and other
o-balancing techniques in conjunction with punches and
kicks. For example, the attackers arm could be grabbed
and pulled downward to expose their head to a knee

See also

[15] Pilipino Star Ngayon - Ex-boxer na hindi kaya sa suntukan, pinatay sa saksak

History of boxing in the Philippines

[16] Pilipino Star - Grinipuhan, tinarakan sa leeg...

Filipino Martial Arts

[17] Pang-Masa - Tinalo sa suntukan, rumesbak ng saksak


[18] Remate - Ungos sa suntukan, nadale sa saksakan


[19] Abante - Panalo sa Suntukan, Grinipuhan!


[20] Remate - Kuya grinipuhan ng bunsong kapatid, tigbak


[21] Rappler - 'Male pride' led to fatal stabbing of American in

Makati Carlos Santamaria, Nov 26, 2012


[22] The Manila Times: We should focus on boxing

Further reading
A Guide to Panantukan, the Filipino Boxing Art, Rick
Faye, Cambridge Academy Publishing, 2000


[24] YouTube: Carlos Ortiz vs. Flash Elorde II ght footage,

November 28, 1966

[1] Ted Luycaylucay Final Interview, Steve Charlson, Inside

Kung Fu magazine
[2] Panantukan Book Review
[3] Martial Talk:
Filipino Boxing Ernie Lake,
osanto/Lacoste Kali instructor

[23] Dog Brothers Forum:Filipino Martial Arts and Boxing,

see comments by Sayoc Kali instructor Rafael Kayanan
(user Sun Helmet )- Kayanans uncle was the good friend
of Elorde and user antoy about Elordes Balintawak
lineage - his batchmates were Baltazar Iti Gumapon,
former Mandaue City Mayor Pedong Ouano and TUCP
(Trade Union Congress of the Philippines) honcho Democrito Mendoza


[4] Filipino Indonesian Combatives History Ben Fajardo,

Nubreed Fighting Systems
[5] Mousels MMA Academy Forum
[6] Estaneslao Tanny del Campo - A Legend In His Own
Time, Krishna Godhania
[7] Remembering Filipino Great Flash Elorde Ronnie
Nathanielsz,, Jan 2 2008

[25] FMA Talk:Sayoc and Pekiti as they are now, Rafael

Kayanan (see comments by user Sun Helmet)
Ronnie Nathanielsz, Sun, 25 Mar 2012
[27] I Am Bruce Lee (2012 Documentary)
[28] YouTube: ES News - Bruce Lee & Manny Pacquiao, interview with Bruce Lees friend and sparring partner Leo
[29] Video: Filipino Combat Knife Fighting Mandala Baldwin
Nonoy Garrucho of Sundangan Baneg, demonstrating
Visayan empty hands limb destruction Jun 11, 2007

[8] FMA Pulse - Characteristics of Filipino Boxing Perry Gil 31.^
Mallari, October 20, 2010
[9] Western Boxing vs Filipino Boxing, two similar but distinct arts?, Krishna Godhania
[10] Video: Filipino Street Boxing with Peter Tisoy Sescon,
Jr. Footage of old school Filipino boxer Mang Tisoy
Sescon demonstrating techniques. Note the use of elbows,
shoulders, butting, getting inside the clinch and knees to
control the opponent. Vitalpoints, Mar 28, 2011
[11] ESPN Sports - A look at the history of boxing in the
Philippines Don Stradley, June 25, 2008
[12] Inside Karate Magazine - Did Filipino Martial Arts Revolutionize Boxing?, Lilia Inosanto-Howe
[13] Abante - Agawan o Holdap?
[14] Abante - Ngitngit kinambalan ng ice pick


Text and image sources, contributors, and licenses



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