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Updated on October 10, 2013

Eclectic Martial Art from the Philippines

Kemscrima-Doh is an eclectic martial art that is comprised of techniques and forms of kajukembo-kempo, Shantung kuntao, Filipino escrima, and Okinawan kobudo. Techniques are both soft and hard style. The developer of the modern form is Sifu Glenn Abrescy. He has a school in Fresno:

Eastwood Martial Arts Academy. On this site is a photo of Sifu with his son.

The photo of the Arnis Sticks, used for Escrima, is in the public domain.

Unusual approach

including issues of philosophy

Sifu Abrescy has an unusual approach to the martial arts. Combining elements from several arts is not that unusual, but some of his other ideas certainly are.

When I first started studying with one of his students, I learned that to begin with, a person had to be able to do a jump kick six feet in the air to get a black belt. But as Sifu got older, his perspective on this changed considerably. I first met him when he was in his 50's. He is a year or two older than I am. At that time, he allowed students to substitute techniques in a form if the form was simply too difficult with the designated technique. Another thing he did was to allow a student to advance several ranks, and in fact, I advanced two ranks at my first testing. He also allowed students to learn advanced forms as long as they didn't neglect the material at their belt level. At the point I had to leave, I knew forms for another four ranks or so, and was hoping to test in just a few days.

Sifu also had an interesting way of designating how class was conducted when he wasn't there. The oldest student was considered to be the senior student, regardless of belt level. I don't mean to say by that, that the person got a belt level he hadn't earned, but rather, that as the senior student, it was his responsibility to lead the class. The senior student would run the students through the opening ceremony, and then would ask the most advanced student technically to teach the class ON HIS BEHALF. In other words, the art honors seniority in terms of age.

What we learned

Kemscrima-doh has a series of forms, which have been derived, in part, from forms of other martial arts. In general, they most closely resemble karate forms. A white belt student masters two forms. Next in rank is orange and purple.

In addition to bare hand forms, there are weapons forms. These use the following weapons: escrima stick, sai, bo.

The escrima stick is a short stick used for striking.

Techniques with the escrima stick

This video shows techniques using the escrima stick, often used in pairs.

The sai

The sai is a peculiar looking weapon.

The bo

A bo is a very long staff, about six feet long.

We were expected to learn an escrima form right away. A bo form came next. We didn't learn any sai forms at that time.

One steps

In addition to our forms, we were required to learn one steps. These are short sequences of moves with a partner to teach combat skills. The one steps were also combined into a very long, complex form.

We didn't do any sparring or board breaks.


We had a testing every few months, and it was conducted a lot like the testings most people experience in the hard style martial arts.

This video is the warmups for a kemscrima-doh testing.

Sifu always came personally to conduct our testings, even though it was a journey of hundreds of miles.

I regret these are the only videos currently available, but if I find others, I will add them.

Sifu and his family

I had the privilege of meeting with Sifu on a couple of occasions, for socializing and seminars.

The first time was at our instructor's home. Sifu is very personable. At one point, he gave us a demonstration. He stood, looking at me, as it turned out. A man approached him stealthily from behind. There was no way that I could see that Sifu could possibly know exactly where he was (or even that he was being approached), yet he whirled around and struck at a vital spot only an inch away from the man's body.

The next time, Sifu conducted a seminar. He taught EVERYONE a second degree black belt form. His son also performed. At the time, he couldn't have been more than eleven years old. The form had one move in it that is almost beyond belief. It starts with the artist on all fours. Suddenly, he jumped up with his body from this positing, COMPLETELY rolled over in the air along his vertical axis, and landed again on his hands and knees. Fortunately, we were given an alternate move. There is no way I would ever have been able to do that!

I originally started studying kemscrima-doh because I think the forms are very beautiful. It is no longer being taught in my city. I miss it. As far as I know, the closest dojo is in Prescott, which is a two to three hours' drive away from me.

Fortunately, I have videos of all the forms and one steps through second degree black belt, so when I have a little time, I'll learn the rest of these. Unfortunately, I don't have the ability to put them on YouTube, and since it was someone else doing the form, it wouldn't be right to do it without their permission anyway.

If you just want to comment, that's fine. But if you have more information on kemscrima-doh, or know where it is being taught, I would be most appreciative if you would let me know.


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