"12 Basics..." Guro Michael-Vincent Malanyaon

sonder
n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.
— The Dictonary of Obscure Sorrows


Who are you? How do you define yourself? What's your story?
How were you exposed to Balintawak?
How long have you studied? Who was your primary instructor?

My name is Michael-Vincent N. Malanyaon, I was born in Quezon City, Philippines. My provincial heritage was from Bicol and Cavite.  I grew up in Libertad / Pasay City – Manila Philippines. 

I was first introduced to Filipino Martial Arts in Modern Arnis during my required physical education class in the Philippines.  Just for reference, Modern Arnis was developed from Balintawak.   My interest in FMA started at a very young age, unfortunately FMA instructors and classes were very scarce during my childhood.  Also, FMA were only taught “within the family” and was not widely accepted in Manila, Philippines.  The most formalized martial arts recognize were Tae Kwon Do or Karate at which I formally started training at the age of 7 learning Karate-Do taught by Shihan Manuel Veguillas.

In the late 1980’s, I immigrated to the United States to study and I adopted the city of Toledo, Ohio as my hometown.   After relocating to Cincinnati, OH in the late 1990's, I met Grand Master Jorge Peňafiel and formally started training Grand Master Bobby Taboada’s Balintawak Arnis Escrima Cuentada System.   

Many are not aware that during the many travels of GM Bobby Taboada, he resided in Cincinnati, OH for a good amount of time at which he formally generated the “first” Balintawak Headquarters in the United States prior to his relocation and making Charlotte, NC as the new Balintawak Headquarters.  

During his stay in Cincinnati, OH he was able to teach and promote Balintawak through Grand Master Jorge Peňafiel and to many including myself as this is when I re-started my FMA journey.

Grand Master Bobby Taboada (Left), Grand Master Jorge Peňafiel (Center), and Guro Michael Malanyaon (Right)

Grand Master Bobby Taboada (Left), Grand Master Jorge Peňafiel (Center), and Guro Michael Malanyaon (Right)

What was the hardest part of learning Balintawak?

In my perspective, FMA is such a diverse martial arts that Balintawak reflects the classical form that is applicable to be combined with other martial arts leading the final root structure to be dependent base from the practitioner and not the instructor.  Similarly with other martial arts, the basic foundation is critical prior to reapplication of what has been learned.

Similarly with other martial arts, the basic foundation is critical prior to reapplication of what has been learned.

Favorite part of Balintawak?

My favorite part of Balintawak are the people associated with this art at which,  the camaraderie between practitioners and friends extends to become your family at arms sharing the same interests.

Guro Michael, always in the middle of the action! Dinner at World Camp 2014

Guro Michael, always in the middle of the action! Dinner at World Camp 2014

Have you/do you study other arts? How have they influenced each other?

During my collegiate years I’ve explored and learned other martial arts informally such as, Ninjitsu, Aikido, and Kenpo.  Unfortunately, due to lack of funding to support my martial arts endeavors I had to stop.  Later on through my journey in FMA, I realized that what I have learned informally were applicable and compatible with Balintawak.

With my formal training with Grand Master Jorge Peňafiel, I continue to realize the effectiveness of Balintawak Arnis Escrima Cuentada System.   Such that, I further pursued the art by attending advanced training with Grand Master Bobby Taboada, Grand Master Nick Elizar (founder of Nicklestick Balintawak), and Grand Master Monie Velez & Grand Master Eddie Velez (World Original Teovel's Balintawak Arnis Group).   

In conjunction to the re-application compatibility of Balintawak, I continue to explore other martial arts formally as I am currently a BJJ practitioner under Jean Jacque Machado.  The context of “stick / weapons grappling” in my perspective, reflects the potential reality in street combat.

Guro Michael receiving his Blue Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in 2014

Guro Michael receiving his Blue Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in 2014

Guro Michael with Tuhon Ray Dionaldo (FCS) and members of the Ohio FCS crew

Guro Michael with Tuhon Ray Dionaldo (FCS) and members of the Ohio FCS crew

Late night training with GM Nonato "Nene" Gaabucayan

Late night training with GM Nonato "Nene" Gaabucayan

Guro Michael celebrating with Master Eugene Nepangue, Guro Jemar Carcellar, and Grand Master Monie Velez for GM Velez' birthday in 2015

Guro Michael celebrating with Master Eugene Nepangue, Guro Jemar Carcellar, and Grand Master Monie Velez for GM Velez' birthday in 2015

What's your day job? Have there been any concepts from that profession that have informed your Balintawak or vice versa?

My professional career is limited to any concept application in martial arts as I currently work in industry primarily as a Chemist in Product Design R&D and secondary as a ERT Firefighter at which to some extent I can fundamentally re-apply tactical approach concepts in martial arts.

What is the main lesson you want your students to take from your instruction in Balintawak?
What do you emphasizes with beginners and what do you emphasizes with your more advanced students?

FMA Balintawak and other martial arts training is a personal insurance that could help you survive potential life threatening altercations when it is presented to you unknowingly.   So preparation and training to understand your weakness now, is a preventative measure to increasing your awareness of your own strengths when you are ready to utilize it.

So preparation and training to understand your weakness now, is a preventative measure to increasing your awareness of your own strengths when you are ready to utilize it.

What does a typical class look like when you teach?

A typical class format includes the MAKTAN-FMA foundational training program that encompass empty hand to weapon base techniques.  These programs are complimentary concepts that enables practitioners to become successful in the Balintawak, Baraw Sugbo, Dumog, and FCS core training curriculum.

Guro Michael demonstrating a technique at World Camp in 2014

Guro Michael demonstrating a technique at World Camp in 2014

What kind of things were you thinking about when you were developing your 24 techniques?

There are concept techniques, application techniques, and combat ready techniques that I’ve generated in developing my 24 techniques.  All of them are simple and effective techniques to complement both competition and street combative applications.  

Why did you want to become a Fully Qualified Instructor?

Primarily, I wanted to become a Fully Qualified Instructor in FMA Balintawak as it is part of my heritage of being Filipino.   Secondly, it is my humble journey to promote the FMA experience as my legacy through training and demonstration performances to the community.   

Thus, I have generated MAKTAN Filipino Martial Arts to commemorate the Philippine legacy and historical events that reflects the variety of combative self-defense systems that Filipino Martial Arts can offer to the community such as Balintawak, Baraw Sugbo, Dumog, and FCS to name a few.

Even though I’m a lead instructor, my journey in the martial arts continues as a student, competitor, coach, judge, commissioner, and ambassador for FMA.  I strive to grow in perfection of the martial arts through my quest for physical fitness, broadening of the mind, and to teach an authentic Filipino Martial Arts to others.

Even though I’m a lead instructor, my journey in the martial arts continues as a student, competitor, coach, judge, commissioner, and ambassador for FMA.

1 Extra. What are you known for in the Balintawak community?

I have been a successful Filipino Martial Arts competitor in FMA Competition venues at which I was recognized as the only Balintawak practitioner to attain: 15 - 1st Place Awards, 19 - 2nd Place Awards, and 3 – 3rd Place Awards in the national level.

A pioneer of sport Arnis in Ohio, Michael is one of the most decorated competitors in the US. He has championed the Arnold Classic multiple times, was Grand Champion of 2010’s Battle of Columbus, and has captured championships in other sport venues.
— As quoted from the social media (04/2013)
Anyone know of any videos that have Balintawak player in a ‘sparring match’ ( dog brothers, wekaf ) ?” “I have only found a few, and they are all ‘Michael Vincent Malanyaon. hehehe Much respect to him.
— Discussion Forum FMA Talk(11/2011)
Grand Master Taboada (R) with Guro Michael (L)

Grand Master Taboada (R) with Guro Michael (L)


In his answers Guro Michael mentioned MAKTAN-FMA, a training group, headquartered in West Chester Ohio with multiple branches, dedicated to Filipino Martial Arts and heritage that he founded and leads as it's head instructor. I followed up with him about the name of his group and their distinctive logo and this was his response:

"MAKTAN is derived from Mactan Island, Cebu, Philippines where a historical event took place known as “The Battle of Mactan.”

This battle was fought on April 27, 1521 where the tribal warriors of Lapu-Lapu, a chieftain of Mactan Island, defeated the formidable Spanish sailors and soldiers during that era under the leadership of Portuguese sea captain and explorer Ferdinand Magellan.

Today, Lapu-Lapu is honored as the “first” Philippine national hero to resist foreign rule and he is commemorated by a monument in Mactan Island, Cebu, Philippines.

Filipino Word                    English Word
M - Mandirigma                 Warriors
A -  Arnis                           Philippine Martial Arts (Stick Fighters)
K- Kapatiran                      Brotherhood
T- Turuan                           To Teach
A -  Aralan                         To Learn
N -  Nagagalang                With Respect

Mandirigmang Arnisadores sa Kapatiran para Turuan at Aralan Nagagalang
— Filipino Translation
Warriors of the Philippine Martial Arts In Brotherhood to Teach and to Learn With Respect
— English Translation
Official logo of MAKTAN FMA

Official logo of MAKTAN FMA

I've generated this tribal depiction of two animal overlay with the MAKTAN scripted in Baybayin (Ancient Filipino Script):
The Philippine Eagle with its outline to the Philippine Water Buffalo's Head

Both animals are deeply part of the Filipino Culture with its respective presence
and in my perspective also translates seamlessly in the Filipino Martial Arts styles."

Visit MAKTAN's website at: www.MAKTAN.com