Kalis Ilustrisimo (Illustrisimo Kali) - art de extraordinaire
Illustrisimo Kali is the system of combat practised by the family of the very great master fighter, Grandmaster Antonio 'Tatang' Illustrisimo for centuries. It is an undiluted system in the sense that it has not changed much from from its ancient days.
The Illustrisimo clan has a long history as warriors and "men of
power" (mystics or medicine men if you like) that continued unbroken to
this day. Grandmaster Antonio Illustrisimo was the head of the style. The
previous head was his uncle, the great Melecio Illustrisimo who was famous and
dominant in northern Cebu (north coast, Bantayan and
Another famous relative was the great mystic Agapito Illustrisimo (uncle or
grand uncle) who was active as a fighter in the revolutionary
Katiputanan. The mystical community he founded still exists on the sacred
Illustrisimo Kali is a very deadly, direct and aggressive style. It is one of the very few styles that is still based on the blade. Its movements are compact and accurate. It may not be as beautiful to watch as other systems, but it is extremely effective.
It is characterised by typically small, simple and direct movements without any gaps between attack and defence.
This incredible style was kept hidden until the mid 1970's when Tatang started teaching Tony Diego and Yuli Romo.
Illustrisimo Kali is very unique, but strangely, its uniqueness does not arise from any exclusiveness of techniques as most system have similar or same techniques, but it is the simple, direct and cunning way it is done that is the distinguishing point. This is because Grandmaster Antonio Illustrisimo not only came from an illustrious fighting family, he is a living warrior with numerous experience of combat. He has perfected the way of executing the techniques which made them unique.
Contrary to expectations, the techniques in Illustrisimo Kali are very simple. But it is this absolute simplicity that is lethal - as many dead masters unfortunately found out too late. Many so-called "techniques" are actually illustrations of combat principles. The system is full of tricks of setting up an opponent, countering his counters, beating him to the punch, controlling the opponent. . . . . . . . . etc. Paradoxically, inspite of these setups. . . . . etc, the style is performed very casually - as if with disinterest on the part of the practitioner.
Footwork is simple but effective. As long as one can walk forward, backward and sideward, then one has basically mastered the footwork. Jumping, crouching, kneeling, rolling are not necessary.
The system is not based on memorizing techniques but rather on principles or concepts. Understanding principles or concepts allow the practitioner the flexibility to expand and transform into infinite combinations and permutations. There are no fixed patterns or templates. Efficiency is emphasized. The applications of kalis Ilustrisimo are endless. The only limitation is the practitioner.
Kalis Ilustrisimo lineage tree
Students of Antonio ‘Tatang’ Ilustrisimo
Titles conferred in Kalis Ilustrisimo
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Updated: 21 November 1998