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Our Curriculum

The Bernas Estocadas system has a curriculum that includes foundational and combative drill progressions that have been carefully curated by the Grandmaster to rapidly foster free, fluid, and effective skill development, and are constantly undergoing refinement to produce the best outcomes for the student journey. Students are expected to demonstrate a willingness and capacity to learn, and demonstrate appropriate levels of courtesy and respect. The progressions treat the learning of a martial art as similar to the learning of a new language, with the ultimate goal being the development of a capacity to express oneself freely, spontaneously, and effectively in the art's "body language". Promotions are often performed as part of special events that include workshops with the Grandmaster, or ranks may be awarded more spontaneously, at the end of a training session, when a student has made demonstrable progress and achieved the appropriate standard. Each level wears a specific T-shirt, and as we are a not-for-pofit school, the only cost associated with the four student gradings is the cost of the new T-shirt. 

 

The major stages of development are much like one sees in the traditional medieval craft guilds. These stages are:

  • Novice (an ungraded student, new initiate, or Bag-ohan, who has just started learning the basics);

  • Apprentice (there are four levels of apprenticeship, as outlined below, consisting of Línghod - technical vocabulary, Gúlang - simple sequences, Habál - complex sequences, and Hínog - fluent expression, that represent the "ripening" of the practitioner's knowledge, understanding, and skills);

  • Instructor (the Manunúdlò or licensed teacher of the art, is the equivalent of the traditional journeyman rank in a trade guild, where the basics and 'system grammar' or principles, have been understood and developed to a high level, and the practitioner is now ready to both teach the fundamentals of the system to others; to go beyond the basics, expanding their capabilities through the study of the art's many sub-systems; and to have their own knowledge put to the test); 

  • Master (the Agálon has been awarded the highest instructor level, having demonstrated a capacity to engage in Intuitive action across a wide range of methods; a comprehensive understanding of the art at technical, conceptual, tactical, pedagogical, historical, and philosophical levels, and the embodiment of a very wide, versatile, and adaptive range of offensive and defensive tactics - akin to the ability to 'switch registers', moving with power, freedom, and elegance. In addition, the holder of a Master rank will also have demonstrated a proven capacity to teach the system, and to have effectively performed the role of an ambassador for the art over many years);

  • Grandmaster (the highest level, Lolo Amo, is reserved for the current head of the system, and in our case is exclusively the title of the system's founder, Grandmaster William Bernas).

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Línghod

Level 1

Uni-structural

Technical Vocabulary

Demonstrates the 12 Strikes and 12 Blocks in simple (isolated or paired) sequences, with reasonably accurate footwork, stick and body positioning, and some fluidity, while advancing (may have unnecessary pauses).

Pagsolóndan (Fundmentals)

  • Saludo (Salute)

  • Panguyat​ (Stick Grip)

  • Ngangáng Búaya (Crocodile Mouth)

  • Pigar (Push or Pressure)

  • Garahé (Parking Stick)

  • Preparar (Ready Position)

  • Abierta/Serrada (Open/Closed)

  • Kayâ/Kulob (Supine/Prone)

Paníndog (Stances)

  • Hiláy Likód (Back Stance)

  • Hiláy Tubang (Forward Stance)

  • Bakâ (Horse Stance)

  • Púngkò (Cat or Seated Stance)

  • Ekis (Cross Stance)

Palakát (Footwork)

Tag-Isa (Singles)

  • Opensa (12 Individual Strikes)

  • Depensa (12 Individual Blocks)

Páres Páres (Pairs)

  • Opensa Páres Páres (12 Strikes in Pairs)

  • Depensa Páres Páres (12 Blocks in Pairs)

Dágway Level 1:Tag-Isa (Form: Singles)

  • Dágway 1: Opensa Abante (12 Strikes Advancing)

  • Dágway 2: Depensa Abante (12 Blocks Advancing

Doble Baston: Santikanay (Double Stick Sparking)

  • High-High (R) | High-High (L)

  • Low-Low (R) | Low-Low (L)

  • High-High (R) | High-High (L) | Low-Low (R) | Low-Low (L)

  • High-High-Low-Low (R) | High-High-Low-Low (L)

  • High-Low (R) | High-Low (L)

  • High-Low-High (R) | High-Low-High (L)

  • High-R,High-L,Redonda Serrada-R | High-L,High-R,Redonda Serrada-L [Sinawali]

Mostly maintains form during low intensity attack and defense partner drills.

Opensa-Depensa (Attack & Defence)

  • Opensa-Depensa​ 1: Sagáng (Blocking)

  • Opensa-Depensa​ 2: Balos (Block, Check, & Counter)

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Gúlang

Level 2

Multi-structural

Simple Sequences

Demonstrates the 12 Strikes and 12 Blocks in consecutive sequences, with correct footwork, stick and body positioning, and good fluidity, while advancing, retreating, and switching directions (minimal unnecessary pausing).

Tagápat (Fours)

Pasunód​ (Consecutive Sequences)

  • Pasunód Páres Páres (Consecutive Pairs)

  • Pasunód Tagduhá (Consecutive 2-Strike Combinations)

  • Pasunód Tagtátlo (Consecutive 3-Strike Combinations)

 

Palabúlak (Flowering Strikes: Vowels)

  • Wasiwas (Wagging)

  • Redonda (Rotating)

  • Abaniko (Fanning)

  • Palpal (Pegging)

Dágway Level 1:Tag-Isa (Forms: Singles)

  • Dágway 1: Opensa Abante/Atras (Striking Advance/Retreat)

  • Dágway 2: Depensa Abante/Atras(Blocking Advance/Retreat)

  • Dágway 3: Opensa Krus (Striking: Cross Form)

  • Dágway 4: Depensa Krus (Blocking: Cross Form)

Maintains form and fluidity during low intensity attack and defense partner drills.

Doble Baston: Santikanay (Double Stick Sparking)

  • High-High (R) | High-High (L)

  • Low-Low (R) | Low-Low (L)

  • High-High (R) | High-High (L) | Low-Low (R) | Low-Low (L)

  • High-High-Low-Low (R) | High-High-Low-Low (L)

  • High-Low (R) | High-Low (L)

  • High-Low-High (R) | High-Low-High (L)

  • High-R,High-L,Redonda Serrada-R | High-L,High-R,Redonda Serrada-L [Sinawali]

 

Maintains form and fluidity during low intensity attack and defense partner drills.

Opensa-Depensa

  • Opensa-Depensa​ 3: Balos Dámò (Multiple Counters)

  • Opensa-Depensa​ 4: Paíway (Parry & Counter)

Mostly maintains form during moderate intensity attack and defense partner drills.

Dógsing

  • Dógsing​ 1: Sagáng (Blocking against Random Attacks)

  • Dógsing 2: Balos (Block & Counter against Random Attacks)

 

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Habál

Level 3

Relational

Complex Sequences

Demonstrates the 12 Strikes,12 Blocks, and Special Strikes, in complex consecutive sequences, maintaining correct footwork, stick and body positioning, while moving fluidly and effectively, in multiple directions (no unnecessary pausing).

Palabúlak Dámò (Multiple Flowering Strikes)

  • Redonda-Wasiwas

  • Palpal-Wasiwas-Redonda

  • Palpal-Wasiwas-Abaniko-Redonda

Palabúlak Páres Páres (Paired Strikes with Flourishes)

Dágway Level 2 & 3: Tagisa, Tagduhá, Tagtátlo (Forms with Single and Multiple Follow Ups)

  • #1: Opensa Abante/Atras

  • #2: Depensa Abante/Atras

  • #3: Opensa Krus

  • #4: Depensa Krus

  • #5: Letter I, H, and T

Maintains form, fluidity, and functionality during low intensity attack and defense partner drills.

Opensa-Depensa (Attack & Defence)

  • Ímo-Ákon​ (My Turn, Your Turn)

  • Balos-Balos (Counter-Counter)

  • Sagáng-Paíway (Stop & Pass or Block & Parry)

Maintains form and fluidity during moderate intensity attack and defense partner drills.

Dógsing (Exploratory Play)

  • Dógsing​ 3: Balos Dámò (Multiple Counters)

  • Dógsing 4: Paíway (Parry & Counter)

Mostly maintains form during high intensity attack and defense partner drills.

Hánas (Serious Play)

  • Hánas 1: Sagáng (Blocking)

  • Hánas 2: Balos (Block, Check & Counter)

 

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Hinog

Level 4

Functional

Fluent Dialogue

Demonstrates the 12 Strikes,12 Blocks, and Special Strikes, in complex non-consecutive sequences, maintaining correct footwork, stick and body positioning, while moving fluidly, intuitively, & effectively, in multiple directions.

Lakót (Mixing)

  • Lakót Tagduhá (Mixed 2-Strike Combinations)

  • Lakót Tagtátlo (Mixed 3-Strike Combinations)

Dágway Level 4: Karansa (Shadowfighting)

  • Bátak (Pulling Upwards)

  • Barína (Corkscrewing)

  • Kíwal (Levering)

  • Túmbada (Striking to the Ground)

Maintains form, fluidity, and effectiveness,during moderate intensity attack and defense partner drills.

Opensa-Depensa (Attack & Defence)

  • Pangágaw (Disarming)

Maintains form, fluidity, and effectiveness,during moderate intensity attack and defense partner drills.

Dógsing (Exploratory Play)

  • Dógsing​ 5: Paíway-Sagáng

  • Dógsing 6: Balos-Balos

Maintains form, fluidity, and effectiveness,during moderate intensity attack and defense partner drills.

Hánas (Serious Play)

  • Hánas 3: Balos Dámò

  • Hánas 4: Paíway

Manunúdlo

Instructor

Pedagogical

System Grammar

Demonstrates the 12 Strikes,12 Blocks, and Special Strikes, in complex non-consecutive sequences, with correct footwork, stick and body positioning, while moving freely, fluidly, intuitively, rapidly, powerfully, and effectively..

Dágway Level 5: Rompida

Maintains form, fluidity, and functionality during low intensity attack and defense partner drills.

Opensa-Depensa

  • Pangágaw Balos Dámò

Maintains form, fluidity, and functionality during moderate intensity attack and defense partner drills.

Dógsing

  • Abierta/Serrada

  • Ímo-Ákon

  • Pangágaw

Maintains form, fluidity, and effectiveness, during high intensity attack and defense partner drills.

​Hánas

  • Hánas 5: Paíway-Sagáng (Incl. Pang-Ágaw)

  • Hánas 6: Balos-Balos

Accurately explains, and demonstrates fluidly and effectively, the Abesedario and Pang-Áway Solo Baston curriculum of the Bernas Estocadas System in front of an international audience, overseen by GM Bernas.

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Agálon

Master

Transformational

Register

Success Criteria

  • Accurately explains, and demonstrates fluidly and effectively, the Combate Henerál curriculum of the Bernas Estocadas System in front of an international audience, overseen by GM Bernas.

  • Maintains form, fluidity, and effectiveness,during high intensity attack and defense partner drills, and deploys adaptive tactics as needed.

  • Engages in Intuitive action across a wide range of methods. Understands the art at technical, conceptual, tactical, pedagogical, historical, and philosophical levels, and embodies a very wide, versatile, and adaptive range of offensive and defensive tactics, moving with power, freedom, and elegance.

Engagement Criteria

  • Effectively performs the role of a public ambassador for the art of Bernas Estocadas.

  • Proven capacity to teach the system effectively.

  • Demonstrated ability to innovate consistent with the system's core tenets.

Curriculum Focus

All previous requirements plus:

  • Solo Baston (Single Stick)

  • Doble Baston (Double Stick)

  • Espada y Daga (Sword & Dagger)

  • Dagaso (Single & Double Dagger)

  • Sungkod/Olisi (Longstick)

  • Estokido (Empty Hands)

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