"12 Basics..." Guro Carlos "Pipo" Lopez

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.
— Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows

Who are you? How do you define yourself? What's your story?

My name is Carlos Alberto López García and my nickname is Pipo. Those names are very common in Spanish speaking countries so I mix them both to create a unique name (Carlos “Pipo” López) to make it easier for people to remember and find videos/info on the web. I am a person who loves learning, training, and teaching. I was a single child raised by my grandparents and mother in Puerto Rico.

From my parents, I learned discipline, hard work, respect for the elders, study, and self-learning. I started martial arts at 8 years old and love it but after 3 months the instructor suddenly left, leaving a bad reputation in my parent's mind so that was it for the moment. After that, I did many sports in my youth but never fell in love again until I got hooked with freestyle frisbee (flying disc) at 16 years old. I practiced alone for months in order to develop my skills and tricks. The results of those solo practices changed my life! A couple of months later I had the chance to practice martial arts again so I start developing both passions at the same time. After graduating from college with a bachelor's degree in electronic technology and an associate in instrumentation technology, it was time to look for work. The opportunity to apply for a job with American Airlines arose, which gave me the ease of travel to continue developing in my passions and even though it did not have anything to do with what I studied, I took the risk. Now I’m on a journey that involved everything I learned from my parents and my passions, I wish they were alive to see my evolution.

Guro Carlos working double stick

Guro Carlos working double stick

Pipo is also a Frisbee Guro

Pipo is also a Frisbee Guro

How were you exposed to Balintawak?

In 2010 I was looking to study another Filipino Martial Art and Tuhon Ray Dionaldo recommended me GM Bobby Taboada so I started looking for videos of him to get an idea of what I was getting into.

Tuhon Ray Dionaldo (FCS Kali), Tuhon Jared Wihongi (PTK), Lakan Guro (FCS Ranking) Carlos Lopez, and Kuya Doug Marcaida (Marcaida Kali)

Tuhon Ray Dionaldo (FCS Kali), Tuhon Jared Wihongi (PTK), Lakan Guro (FCS Ranking) Carlos Lopez, and Kuya Doug Marcaida (Marcaida Kali)

How long have you studied? Who was your primary instructor?

I started in the summer of 2012 with GM Bobby Taboada and Guro Brian Corey. They worked together as a team in my development.

(from L to R) Guro Brian Corey, Guro Carlos “Pipo” Lopez, and GM Taboada at World Camp 2015 where the future Guro Pipo passed his Level 5 examination.

(from L to R) Guro Brian Corey, Guro Carlos “Pipo” Lopez, and GM Taboada at World Camp 2015 where the future Guro Pipo passed his Level 5 examination.

What was the hardest part of learning Balintawak?

Finding someone to feed me the groupings when no one near me knew the art so I had to do a lot of visualization training as feeder and receiver.

Favorite part of Balintawak?

The way it is taught by GM Bobby Taboada, the possibilities in the art, how good it mix with everything I do and the family of Taboada Balintawak.

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

Filipino Combat Systems “FCS”, JKD / Inosanto FMA blend, Muay Thai, and some BJJ. Everything connects and added possibilities in my flow.

Guro Pipo training FCS

Guro Pipo training FCS

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

I work as a fleet service clerk for American Airlines but I’m also the FCS Latin America & Caribbean Regional Director. Yes, at this moment to be able to be considered for Instructorship in my region the student needs to pass the 5 levels of the curriculum and bring at least one student up to the same level (Taboada Balintawak way).

What is the main lesson you want your students to take from your instruction in Balintawak?

To be more relax, accurate and in control of there bodies no matter how fast or hard they want to move.

I wanted to give my students the best options for their development.

What do you emphasizes with beginners and what do you emphasize with your more advanced students?

In the beginners: Control & relaxation.

In the more advanced: Speed, power, footwork, more control, and relaxation.

What does a typical class look like when you teach?

It depends on the group and their needs so I flow from the traditional way that I learn with GM Bobby to whatever way I feel the group can enjoy and learn best.

Guro Carlos leading a seminar in Argentina

Guro Carlos leading a seminar in Argentina

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

The idea was to use FCS techniques and some of my own in a sequence that make them easier to be named and remember.

GM Taboada often speaks of Balintawak as a scaffolding that stands on it’s own but also allows you to attach other arts. Guro Pipo was inspired to incorporate his knowledge of FCS with Balintawak for his 24 techniques.

GM Taboada often speaks of Balintawak as a scaffolding that stands on it’s own but also allows you to attach other arts. Guro Pipo was inspired to incorporate his knowledge of FCS with Balintawak for his 24 techniques.

Why did you want to become a Fully Qualified Instructor?

I wanted to give my students the best options for their development. After getting the opportunity to train with GM Bobby Taboada, I presented the system to some of my students. The interest and support I got from them were enough to help me set the goal of becoming FQI.

Guro Brian Corey, GM Nick Elizar (Nickelstick), COA Franco Cardenas, a newly minted Guro Carlos Lopez, GM Bobby Taboada, and Tuhon Ray Dionaldo (FCS Kali) at World Camp 2018

Guro Brian Corey, GM Nick Elizar (Nickelstick), COA Franco Cardenas, a newly minted Guro Carlos Lopez, GM Bobby Taboada, and Tuhon Ray Dionaldo (FCS Kali) at World Camp 2018

Guro Carlos embracing GM Taboada as he receives his Level 7 certificate at the 2018 World Camp

Guro Carlos embracing GM Taboada as he receives his Level 7 certificate at the 2018 World Camp

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

I don’t know, I haven’t asked but it will be interesting to know and see if it change in the future.

Me and Pipo!

Me and Pipo!