Established in 1932 in Cebu City in the Philippines, Doce Pares brought together some of Cebu City's top Eskrimadors to train, fight and promote their art under one banner. It is recognised as the single largest International promoter of authentic Filipino Martial Arts.

Grandmaster D. A. CañeteDoce Pares means 12 pairs, and represents the original founding members, and also signifies the 12 angles of attack and corresponding defenses to those attacks.

Doce Pares is widely known for it's classic low stances and the original 12 Doce Pares forms. Forms training is considered an important element of the system, as it improves balance, strength, speed and co-ordination between the hands, body and footwork.

Many, if not all masters, grandmasters and students have contributed to the art's growth and popularity throughout the world. In recent times, the profile of Doce Pares has been significantly raised by Grandmaster Dionisio A. Cañete through his ongoing development of his Doce Pares Multi-Styles Curriculum and drafting of the rules for the WEKAF full contact stick fighting tournaments.

Since 1975, Grandmaster D. A. Cañete has been conducting seminars and workshops all over the world, inspiring such martial arts luminaries as Dan Inosanto, Richard Bustillo and Bobby Breen.

April 2000 saw the Doce Pares Australia Group officially certified and affiliated by GM Diony Cañete into the World Family of Doce Pares.

Regular training trips to the Cebu, Philippines Headquarters have seen the expansion of skill levels and knowledge in all aspects of the Doce Pares Curriculum and internationally recognised Black Belt rankings for Australian instructors.

Doce Pares International - 1st Annual World Championships and Congress 2003, Las Vegas

As of 1st January 2004, Peter Shannon has been officially nominated as the Representative for Doce Pares Australia by GM Diony Cañete.


Arnis, Eskrima and Kali are the only known traditional Filipino Martial Arts.

They are arts based on flowing, economy of motion and adaptability, passed on by people who used it in defence of their lands, and in recent times, applying them in the sporting arena on a worldwide scale.

The arts have their roots deep in the culture and history of the Filipino people, with the exact date of their origins remaining unclear to this day.

The Filipino Martial Arts date back for thousands of years, and were originally combative in nature, but were later preserved through dance, religious theatre and mock battles, (known as Moro Moro), with the desire to develop the individual practitioner's warrior spirit, and for the maintenance of their physical health.

Traces of historical evidence have revealed that these arts of self defence - involving the use of a single stick, two sticks, a long and a short stick, a dagger, or some other blunt instruments no doubt existed long before the arrival of the first Spanish colonizers in the Philippine islands.

The first known Filipino hero, Lapulapu, was believed to be one of the foremost masters of his time in Filipino Martial Arts, who had vigorously trained and prepared his men for fights against his enemies long before his historic battle with Ferdinand Magellan on April 27, 1521, at Mactan Island.

Filipino Hero, LapulapuIt was in this battle that Lapulapu and his warriors met the modern weapons and body armour of the finest Spanish steel with wooden instruments, spears and bolos, and when the epic battle reached it's conclusion, the Spanish conquistadors were found to be no match for the aggressive Filipino warrior spirit.

Magellan lost his life in that battle, and according to the surviving Spanish soldiers, his body was never retrieved as it was ripped apart and scattered across the battlefield. It was in the battle of Mactan where the native martial arts were put to a real test against the modern weapons of the Spanish invaders.

When Miguel Lopez de Legaspi landed in the Philippines and established the first settlement in 1565, he and his men noted that the Filipinos were in a class of their own in the arts of stick fighting and blade or sword fighting.

Arnis De Mano - The Battle of Mactan Island 1521He had his first glimpse of the natives exceptional skill and ability during his landing in Leyte in 1564 when he was entertained with a demonstration by the warriors of Chieftain Malitik. Similar observations were made when visiting Limasawa, Camiguin, Cebu and other places. Filipino Martial Arts were then the favorite sport of the royalties and every time a demonstration or competition was held, people came in droves to watch.

The popularity spanned well up to the Spanish times, however, when the Spaniards gained substantial control of the country they discouraged practice of the arts. Fearful of the Filipinos skills, they imposed a total ban on their practice, stating the unusual long hours spent in practice and training led to a neglect of their daily work. Hence, the Filipinos put aside their training devices and abandoned their practice.

It was not until the 19th century that the Filipino Arts began to surface again into popularity among the natives. This was the time of the introduction of the 'Moro Moro' plays and dances which became popular among the Filipinos, and gave them the opportunity to circumvent the rule which prohibited the display and carrying of bladed weapons. These plays resulted in the people mastering the arts with the use of pieces of hardwood, or with the use of fire hardened rattan or cane.

Eskrima fighters Due to the Spanish influence the Filipino Martial Arts came to be known as "Arnis de Mano" - derived from a Spanish word "arnes", meaning trappings or defensive armor.

It also acquired namesakes such as "estokada", "estoque", "fraile", or simply "arnis". The word "eskrima" is derived from the Spanish word "esgrima", which means "a game between two combatants with the use of blunt instruments". The name of the stick which could be either rattan or a piece of hardwood used in "eskrima" is called either - "olisi", "baston" or "garote".

The word "eskrima" became popular in the early years of the American regime, when the first Filipino Martial Arts club, organized in Cebu City, in 1920, the Labangon Fencing Club used the term in their practice of the arts. This group was dissolved in later years due to serious political conflicts among it's members.

In 1932, the Doce Pares Association, was formed with a nucleus of well known grandmasters based in Cebu, with this organization's popularity and name becoming synonymous with the practice of Filipino Martial Arts, and being credited and accepted as adapting the arts into a form of competitive sport.

In fact, the present tournament rules adopted by the World Eskrima Kali Arnis Federation (WEKAF) have been substantially lifted from the old rules of the Doce Pares Association.

WEKAF - World Eskrima Kali Arnis Federation