Panantukan - Your Definition?

Discussion in 'Filipino Martial Arts' started by Van Zandt, Dec 14, 2014.

  1. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick


    Sounds like an Egyptian pharoah, but it is (by all accounts) a fairly devastating system (or sub-system) of Filipino "dirty boxing."

    But what is "it" exactly? What techniques do you teach/practice in your classes that you would categorise as Panantukan? What makes it unique - is it actually unique, or is it nothing more than a certain instructor's preferred mix of western boxing, Wing Chun trapping and Muay Thai clinch work?
  2. Keith P. Myers

    Keith P. Myers Valued Member

    The word "Panantukan" just means "fist fighting" and is typically used in the Phillipines to refer to western sport boxing. Another term used is "Suntukan" but many years ago at the Inosanto Academy it was felt that this was too close to "Shotokan" and may be confusing to the public. So they went with Panantukan.

    As it has evolved in the west, Panantukan is essentially a western boxing base or foundation to which has been incorporated various empty hand tactics from FMA's. This includes limb destructions, joint locks or wrenches, body manipulations and sweeps. Many include low-line kicking (Pananjakman) and some grappling (Dumog) as part of this to create a pretty complete martial art. This is also sometimes referred to as "Dirty Boxing" or "Street Boxing."

    Now realize too that empty hand methods in FMA are typically based upon use of the knife. The way the knife has been used typically involves good evasive footwork and has many similarities to western boxing already. So it was not a huge leap at all to adapt this to a western boxing biomechanic.

    But Panantukan is not Muay Thai, Wing Chun, or JKD. It has its own unique flavor and approach.
  3. Bozza Bostik

    Bozza Bostik Antichrist on Button Moon

    I'm one of the few FMA people that don't buy into the whole idea that western boxing was influenced by panantukan. FMAs are a hybrid art, and they are constantly evolving unlike some arts that are quite eager to cling to archaic techniques and training methods. To me the attitude of many FMA practitioners towards their art is similar to JKD or MMA.

    I honestly believe that a lot of the panantukan you see these days with a big western boxing / muay thai influence is just a...Urgh...can I go back to the music thread? I can talk about music, not martial arts....well, people have used or added boxing and MT 'cause it works!

    Panantukan can be vastly different depending on where you train. I'd say our empty hands work looks a little like silat with guntings, destructions / defanging and dumog.

    Despite what I wrote about the connection between boxing and FMA, I like the panantukan that is influenced by boxing and MT, as ap_Oweyn and myself sometimes call it, "Muay Thai with guntings". So for me it's trained like MT, looks like MT, but has a few extra things thrown in; guntings, defanging, sweeps, bumps/barging, head butts, the FMA footwork and principles of coming off line etc etc. Kinda MT with dirty stuff, but I shouldn't say that as Hannibal will tell me off as the dirty stuff doesn't work! ;)

    I don't think I answered your question really at all! :)
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2014
  4. Keith P. Myers

    Keith P. Myers Valued Member

    I'm one of the few FMA people that don't buy into the whole idea that western boxing was influenced by panantukan.

    ---I'm with you! Some have said that Filipino influence was the reason that the old school boxing evolved into modern boxing. I don't believe that. There are good reasons for the evolution, which was relatively gradual, that has nothing to do with the Phillipines. The primary reasons being a change in the rules used for competition and the use of fluffy gloves.

    well, people have used or added boxing and MT 'cause it works!

    ---Yep! And like I said before, the mechanics from Filipino Knife work was already somewhat "boxing-like", so it wasn't a big step to do this.

    Panantukan can be vastly different depending on where you train. I'd say our empty hands work looks a little like silat with guntings, destructions / defanging and dumog.

    ---Even for the Inosanto folks, the lines can be a bit blurry. There is a lot of overlap between Panantukan and Maphilindo Silat. They use the same entries and destructions. Essentially, if after you enter you finish with a boxing combo...its Panantukan. If after you enter you finish with a sweep or throw and joint lock on the ground, then its Maphilindo Silat. I know that's a bit of an over-simplification, but I think that's the core of it.

    So for me it's trained like MT, looks like MT, but has a few extra things thrown in; guntings, defanging, sweeps, bumps/barging, head butts, the FMA footwork and principles of coming off line etc etc. Kinda MT with dirty stuff, but I shouldn't say that as Hannibal will tell me off as the dirty stuff doesn't work! ;)

    ---I prefer the western boxing based version. I think the MT based version is much more recent. Lucky Lucaylucay was one of the pioneers of this at the Inosanto Academy. He and his father had both been boxers in Hawaii as well as FMAists. I think this was well before Muay Thai became popular in the US. But I'm sure both are good! I've never trained MT, so I may be biased!
  5. baby cart

    baby cart Valued Member

    As a native Pilipino I have to correct this.

    1. Panantukan is virtually unheard of in the Philippines UNLESS you're into FMA. Or Filipino dictionaries.

    2. Suntukan means a fist fight, an exchange of fists/punches. Nothing special. It is the most used word to refer to a fist fight, not panantukan. A acquaintance raised abroad once alerted or group with "there's a suntukan (fist fight) outside." Nothing to it. Basic Filipino, UNLESS you are into FMA, then it comes with an exotic package.

    3. Most Pilipinos who are good in suntukan aren't in FMA aka arnis-kali-escrima but rather in boxing gyms, which the Elorde Boxing gym is one of the most famous. Some boxers I've met carry knives for protection, but they are not into FMA, just "stab them as much as you can when you cannot knock them out with your fists" way of fighting.

    4. I've known FMA guys going into Muay Thai to incorporate that into their "Panantukan" but I've never heard of Muay thai guys who branched into FMA for the empty hand aspects.

    5. I've seen FMA instructors use ordinary Filipino words and lace them with esoteric meaning for foreigners to use. Gunting, sipa, etc. Nothing special really. UNLESS you're into FMA.

    6. A Pilipino boxing great that directly came out of panantukan is virtually unheard of.

    1. Pananjakman is like Panantukan, virtually unheard of in the Philippines outside FMA. It comes from the word "tadjak/tadyak", which basically means to stomp. The Art of Stomping is not a very big draw, so better go with Pananjakman.

    2. Dumog as a wrod has entered normal Filipino lexicon that means to crowd somebody, to get too close. That form of Pilipino wrasslin', together with its close cousin pangamut (from the root word "kamot", meaning to scratch) has begun to spread outside FMA and into the general Pilipino MA scene. Dumog, as a specialized martial system, is much more recognized than Panantukan here in the Philippines, used by some military units together with some judo, karate, western boxing and FMA stick and knife fighting.

    3. When a fight becomes dirty (improvised weapons, kicks on foul areas,etc.) or just a plain old heated fight, it is called an "away," pronounced ah-why, that simply means a fight. NO such thing as dirty boxing or street boxing here in the Philippines, there's just a sanctioned/lawful match (a "LABAN") or unsanctioned/illegal one (an "AWAY"). A domestic dispute/marital discord is also called "away." A military action can be called a "laban." Whether or not one follows a traditional rule of "honorable fighting" as opposed to dirty fighting doesn't matter, what matters is what are you participating in: a "laban" or an "away." A "laban" can turn into an "away" when emotions are too heated up.

    4. Most Pinoy guys are not into panantukan, but into suntukan, which generally connotes western boxing.
  6. Ben Gash CLF

    Ben Gash CLF Valued Member

    One of the big problems with discussing panantukan is defining what is meant by panantukan. Historically the word doesn't seem to have been used, it's entered the western MA lexicon because it's main (public) proponents are the Inosanto-Lacoste line.
    In the Inosanto-Lacoste line Panantukan is one of 5 empty hand skills.
    These skills are:
    Panantukan: "boxing" for want of a better term
    Pananjakman: Kicking (typically low line)
    Dumog: Wrestling
    Hubud: sensitivity work/hand fighting
    Kino Mutai: dirty tricks
    When people from the Inosanto line say Panantukan often what they mean is Kali empty hands, encompassing all 5 skills.
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2014
  7. Keith P. Myers

    Keith P. Myers Valued Member

    Thanks for the clarifications baby cart! Always nice to hear from a native!

    What you say is something I have heard before in more than one place. That's why when I comes to the history of Panantukan, I think really what we now call Panantukan started at the Inosanto Academy with major contributions from Lucky Lucay Lucay, John Lacoste, and Dan Inosanto himself. I have seen more than one person say that nothing like this really exists in the Phillipines....meaning this FMA/Western Boxing combination. Other groups not associated with the Inosanto Academy have started using the term "Panantukan" as well though. So it really has entered the modern martial arts lexicon.

    As far as terminology, this is likely why the guys at the Inosanto Academy were initially going to use "Suntukan" but decided it sounded too much like "Shotokan' and went with the more exotic and uncommon term "Panantukan." But maybe that's a good thing. If "Suntukan" just means western boxing for Pilipinos, then saying "Panantukan" to be specific for this martial art is more appropriate.

    As far as "exotic terms" like "gunting" etc., you are absolutely right. But this is just the nature of using a foreign language to name things when you don't speak that language. It becomes somewhat "exotic" by default. I'm sure the same is true of other martial arts. Some of the Karate terms that sound exotic to westerners are just common Japanese words.

    As far as Pananjakman...yeah, I get the impression that while it may be inspired by kicking strategies from FMA and Silat, it is really an adaptation of the boxing hand techniques to the legs/feet and likely never existed separately from the guys doing it as part of their Panantukan.

    But I was not there, so a lot of this is conjecture on my part. But its based on what I've seen and read and heard over the years, but still conjecture. After all, Dan Inosanto's sister wrote a magazine article many years ago that maintained that Panantukan was a native Pilipino art that had a huge influence on western boxing and lead to the advent of modern boxing. Many still say that.

    Thanks again!
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2014
  8. baby cart

    baby cart Valued Member

    Well, Pilipinos usually like the "in" thing, the "hip" thing, so if the word Panantukan is cool, FMA'ers will use it. Just don't expect it to be as widespread as the words arnis or boxing. Arnis is a PE subject and boxing is from the west (Pilipinos LOVE many western things, in fact, many imported things). Hell, kali as a word is nearly unheard of in the average juan and escrima evokes images of modern fencing.

    Nah, boxing for Pilipinos is boxing, or as we spell it "Boksing." Suntukan is an unarmed fight, period. Legal or not, as long as both are unarmed and using punches. Panantukan will get you a stare and a question (especially the ladies), UNLESS the other person's into FMA.

    Not exotic. Esoteric. A common word becomes something special within the "in-crowd", all the while the same concept appears in more than a dozen styles elsewhere. Modern arnis is free of that, IMO. Plain words, no mumbo-jumbo.

    I'm not so sure about that. Even as a Pilipino, I see and personally condemn those who try a bit of revisionist history.

    The Pinoy Pancho Villa: does he have a connection to classical FMA? Flash Elorde? To claim that Panantukan has somewhat influenced modern boxing is a big thing. And another thing: Pilipinos are a blade-wielding culture until modern times (there are still traces left). I remember a guy who died when he accidentally stabbed himself while sitting down (he was drunk). When one says that unarmed native FMA was impressive enough to mold boxing to what it is today, that sets off alarm bells in my head. Are they good unarmed fighters? and at the same time good armed fighters? Philippines' boxing greats (those who had the chance of influencing boxing) weren't that renowned when it comes to armed fighting.
  9. ap Oweyn

    ap Oweyn Ret. Supporter

    Great post, baby cart.

    I don't think of most FMA empty hand as being "styles" at all. Panantukan perhaps, but only because that term is almost exclusively used by adherents of Guro Dan's kali approach. So they're all coming out of similar backgrounds.

    But to me, it's more useful to think of these terms (whether it's pangamot, mano mano, etc.) as simply designators of the fact that a particular school or trainer addresses empty hand, kicking, etc. It doesn't really signify anything specific or technical beyond that. GM Cacoy Canete's pangamot looks very different from Guro Dan's panantukan not because they're different styles, but because GM Cacoy's background is in judo, jiujutsu, aikido, boxing WHEREAS Guro Dan's is in wing chun, JKD, muay thai, silat, etc. (In addition to their respective FMA backgrounds, obviously.)

    If I had to give advice to anyone checking out FMA empty hand, I'd say "Make no assumptions. Go based on what you're actually seeing."
  10. baby cart

    baby cart Valued Member

    I have not problem with that.

    However, the problem remains that the unarmed component is more often than not, untested as a whole. If said unarmed component is largely from a certain GM's MA background, has it been tested by others? In Dan Inosanto's case, where does panantukan ends and JKD begins? Can one learn JUST panantukan? Then why label something as panantukan, pangamut, etc. if their main sources are other arts, unless it's a whole new style altogether?
  11. slipthejab

    slipthejab Hark, a vagrant! Supporter

    Thank you.

    I'm here now and talk about getting an avalanche of blank looks when asking around about this. No one has any idea. Even a good portion of those training FMA's here were scratching their head. :D
  12. Ben Gash CLF

    Ben Gash CLF Valued Member

    The structure of Inosanto's Panantukan is very obviously the structure of his Kali.
  13. ap Oweyn

    ap Oweyn Ret. Supporter

    You can get that reaction even amongst the FMA community here in the States. It's very much an Inosanto thing, in my experience. That said, I'm good with that. Guro Dan is unbelievable to me. He's the person who first inspired my interest in FMA, and he's just as inspiring today.
  14. ap Oweyn

    ap Oweyn Ret. Supporter

    I'm not certain that constitutes a problem though. So what if you can't identify where one ends and the other begins? To me, what makes it FMA is not that it's solely of Pilipino origin. But that it's adaptive, using other resources in a way that specifically addresses the considerations of FMA. It may be identifiable as boxing, karate, etc. But the way it's being used as part of a larger approach makes it clearly FMA to me.

    That said, the "untested" concern is precisely what makes the "muay thai with guntings" idea work for me. The chassis in that case (muay thai and boxing) has been tested plenty. The mods you add on (gunting, etc.) may be less tested, but at least I feel like their bolted onto an effective framework from the get-go.
  15. fire cobra

    fire cobra Valued Member

    Plenty of old time western boxers punched the outside of the biceps to tire/weaken the opponent and Thais kick same area for same reasons plus to delay punches,I know this isnt what you guys mean by gunting but similar idea/concept?:)
  16. fire cobra

    fire cobra Valued Member

    By the way Flash Elorde was a cracking boxer:)
  17. ap Oweyn

    ap Oweyn Ret. Supporter

    That's precisely what I mean by guntings actually. Literally, they aren't scissoring motions (which is what "gunting" means, as I understand it). But the term (here at least) tends to get used to describe attacks to an opponent's limbs. And even if that's the wrong term, the Thai leg kick and the boxing strategy you describe is absolutely bang on conceptually.

Share This Page