Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Ron Balicki - The Loss of a Warrior (Edgar Sulite)

On April 10th 1997, the Filipino Martial Arts world suffered a major loss. Punong Guro (Head Instructor) Edgar G. Sulite passed away due to complications from a stroke that he had suffered two weeks prior to his death. Edgar Sulite was the founder of the Lameco system of Eskrima.

Edgar was born on September 25, 1957 in the Visayan islands. When Edgar was a boy his father a Filipino boxer and an Arnis expert introduced Edgar to the Filipino martial arts. Growing up in the Barrios of the Philippines, Edgar witnessed many skirmishes settled blade against blade. Completing college, Edgar earned his Bachelors in Arts and Majored in Economics. During his time in college, he sought out different Eskrima Masters to study under. In addition, Edgar was honored for his many achievements in the Filipino martial arts. He became a member of Bakbakan International (An Organization governing the legitimacy of the Filipino martial arts). He also became the representative for Leo Gaje"s national Arnis Association of the United States. Being a man of great vision, Edgar came to the United States in August of 1989. His plan was to bring his family over from the Philippines, own his own home, and spread Lameco throughout the world. He desired to live the American dream.

Upon his arrival in the U.S., Edgar would meet and befriend world renowned martial artist Dan Inosanto. Recognizing the talent and knowledge that Edgar possessed , Dan Inosanto would become a lifetime student and an advocate of the Lameco system. Edgar appointed Dan Inosanto as Vice President of Lameco International.

Edgar believed in his potential for personal achievement. If one walked into his house, they would see affirmations written out on paper in each of his rooms (including the bathroom). Being an avid reader of motivational guro Anthony Robbins, Edgar attacked all of his personal and professional goals tirelessly.

Determined to bring his wife and three children to America, Edgar Sulite started teaching his method of Lameco on the seminar circuit around the world. As he envisioned, he became one of the most sought after instructors. Edgar managed to bring his wife, Felisa Sulite from the Philippines in 1992. However, Edgar would still have to battle with the bureaucracies of immigration to bring his three children to America. His children would have to reside with relatives in the Philippines for several more years. During this painstaking time, Edgar and Felicia had two more children (Edgar Andrew, and Leslie) bringing the total of children to five. Soon after the birth of his youngest child, Leslie, he finally managed to bring his three eldest children from the Philippines. In addition, he bought a house in Palmdale, California, and had a full calendar of seminar engagements. He was living the American dream.

The Lameco System

In 1981 Edgar created the Lameco System of Eskrima. The name Lameco is actually three words joined together.

La = Largo (long)
me = Medio (Middle)
co = Corto (close)

All the ranges you will fall into in combat
. Lameco uses primarily Double and single Stick, Double and single Dagger, Stick and Dagger, Sword, Staff, Handkerchief, and Empty Hands. Lameco Eskrima is a synthesis of five major and 6 minor systems of Eskrima.

Edgar created training drills that he called Labon Laro (Play Fighting). Labon Laro would allow the practitioner to come as close to real combat as possible with out injury, it was also designed to make you get an uncountable number of repetitions in, in a short period of time. Following the theory "repetition is the key to success". Edgar was always looking for unique training methods to improve Lameco. He devised training armor for the hand and forearms that let the practitioners train more realistically.

The Future of Lameco?


When asked to comment Guro Dan Inosanto spoke of Edgar"s wish to make Lameco grow and prosper in the U.S. and around the world. Inosanto also expressed his hope that The Surviving Lameco Instructors under Edgar would continue in the tradition Edgar established.

The students of Lameco can be thankful to Edgar for a well documented system of Eskrima. Edgar left us with three books that he had written: "The Secrets of Arnis", "Advanced Balisong", and "Grand Masters of the Philippines". Also The foundation of the Lameco system on video: "Lameco Eskrima at the Vortex", "Labon Laro", and a series of instructional video tapes by Unique Publications. With all this material Lameco will live on forever.

Punong Guro Sulite will be missed by his wife Felisa, His five children, and the countless students around the world. To you Edgar we say, Maraming Salamat Po (Thank You) Punong Guro!

Lameco Eskrima is a highly combative form of martial arts originating from the Philippines. The ancient warrior arts of the Philippines are generally known as Arnis, Kali or Eskrima. The founder of Lameco Eskrima, the late Punong Guro Edgar G. Sulite, learned these techniques from several prominent grandmasters in the Philippines. The quest for knowledge led him on an adventure that took him throughout the Philippine islands. The result of his journey resulted in Lameco Eskrima. The word "LAMECO" reflects the three ranges of combat. "LA" for largo or long range of combat, "ME" for medio or medium range of combat and "CO" for corto or close range of combat.
The Lameco insignia represents the following:  

  • The Triangle represents the integration of the mind, body and spirit and the unity of these three elements. 
  • The Kris sword, the Balisong and the Bastons represent the Warriors of the Philippines. 
  • The Kris sword represents the island of Mindanao (Southern Philippines) where it is still used by the Muslims. 
  • The Balisong knife (butterfly knife) represents the island of Luzon (Northern Philippines) where it originated.
  • The Baston (rattan stick) represents the islands of the Visayas (Central Philippines).
  • The Arrows represent the flow of nature and the concept of going with the force, blending, not contradicting the laws of nature.

Lameco Eskrima teaches the following Filipino weapons:

  • Solo baston (Single stick), 
  • Doble baston (Double Stick), 
  • Espada y daga (Sword and Dagger), 
  • Solo daga (Single dagger), 
  • Doble daga (Double Dagger), 
  • Centro baston (Center stick Grip), 
  • Susi (Stick with Key Grip), 
  • Itak (Sword), 
  • Doble Itak (Double Sword), 
  • Panyo (Hankerchief), 
  • Mano y Mano and 
  • Dumog (Empty Hands).

Punong Guro Sulite was also an innovator and inventor. He invented the sparring arm guard and hand guard with the assistance of master Yuli Romo. With the input of the Five Pillars of Ilustrisimo they introduced the world to hand sparring to develop accuracy, range and timing. This method has now become standard practice in numerous Eskrima Systems.

Punong Guro and his fellow Pillars of Ilustrisimo initially only sparred with live rattan sticks only. Unfortunately this led to many injuries that took them out of the training that they lived for. They sought a safer alternative to spar without losing respect for the weapon by wearing too much protection. This led to the development of real rattan sticks with light padding or the padded stick used in conjunction with minimal protective gear. Thus the Backyard Curriculum consisted of Light Sparring or Hand Sparring, mid level intensity with padded sticks and minimal gear and finally Live Stick with minimal gear. It was Master Christopher Rickets that implementing sparring into the regular LAMECO curriculum.

Punong Guro is the author of three books, including "Secrets of Arnis", "Advanced Balisong" and "Masters of Arnis, Kali and Eskrima". Punong Guro has been featured in numerous magazines such as "Inside Kung-Fu" and "Cinturon Negro" in Europe. Punong Guro is the featured instructor in several videos including "Lameco Eskrima at the Vortex" "Laban Laro 1 & 2" and a whole series by Unique Publications. His book, "Masters of Arnis, Kali and Eskrima" was a landmark publication as it was the first time a researcher traveled and trained throughout the Philippine islands and compiled the findings in a book. This book opened up numerous Masters and Systems to the rest of the world outside of their province of origin and influenced the majority of books that came after it. Many of the photographs that Punong Guro Sulite took for his book also appear in the the books of Master Rey Galang and Mark Wiley.



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