De Campo Uno-Dos-Tres Orihinal is basically Largo Mano, or long range. If you’re using a stick to fight another stick fighter, that in essence is long range. If you want to get up close and personal, then use a dagger or your fist, elbows, head butt, etc. So what’s the point of using a stick in the first place if you just want to gouge your enemy’s eyes with your fingers? That’s why practitioners of this method of Eskrima find it logical to optimize the length of your stick by fighting long range. De Campo uses linear assaults and thrusts at punching range instead of angular strikes common in most close-quarters systems.
There are no stick to stick blocks and tapi-tapi or alive hand techniques. All disarms are simple, direct strikes to the weapon hand. Training cannot be overemphasized in this method of Eskrima with the importance of power, speed and hitting accuracy. The grueling target hitting drills are practiced one-on-one in Instructor-Student tandem. Doing this exercise by a pair of fighters of the same skill level is never encouraged. The rationale behind this is that a student should always be conditioned to fight a highly skilled fighter and not just a big muscle-bound bully. Grandmaster Jose D. Caballero did not just beat up ordinary drunken thugs, he defeated the best fighters of his era.
Tinni Macachor explaining the antaw of De Campo JDC-IO to the trainee
Renamed by practitioners as Eskrima De Campo JDC-IO, it has gone back to its hidden roots that is simple, fast, intense and violent. The acronym JDC-IO (pronounced jaydesio) is derived from the inventor Jose D. Caballero and his number one protege Ireneo L. Olavides.
Except for a few select students, the enigmatic warrior chose to keep his most lethal techniques to himself. The 84-year-old widow of Grandmaster Caballero, Manang Amparo Libumfacil, recently intimated that the De Campo Uno-Dos-Tres Orihinal patriarch was torn between his desire to gain the recognition of his system and his mistrust of people who might one day exploit and commercialize his brand of Largo Mano Eskrima.
THE THREE LEVELS
There are no feints in De Campo; the first strike is always delivered with a maximum effective force. Any part of the enemy anatomy closest to you should be your first target. In most cases it is usually the weapon hand. If the weapon hand is retracted rearwards and other parts are of the body like the head, elbows, knees and checking hand offer a good opportunity, they should be hit first.
1. When the enemy advances- strike at the knees
2. When he sees an opening hit the hands or elbows.
3. When his focus is good hit the eyes.
These are the three primary targets of De Campo. There are no stick to stick blocks and tapi-tapi or alive hand techniques. All disarms are simple direct strikes to the weapon hand. Manong Jose called this the defensive strike. Training cannot be overemphasized in the method. The grueling target hitting drills are practiced one on one in instructor student tandem. Doing this exercise by a pair of fighters of the same level of skill is never encouraged. The rationale behind this methodology is that a student should always be conditioned to fight a highly skilled fighter and not just a big muscle bound bully. GM Caballero, did not just beat up ordinary drunken thugs, he defeated the best fighters of his era like Balbino Mancao, Simeon Saavedra, Vicente Labor, Master Juan Carolla, Heneroso Carbajosa, Master Alfredo Macalolan, Tanciong Lopez, Horje Navajo, Solomon Canonio, Pastor Hingoyon, Anoy of Tangub and other unknown challengers.
ANTAW - THE MA-AI OF DE CAMPO
As a Largo Mano fighter, perhaps no other Grandmaster of Eskrima mastered what the Kendoist call the ma-ai like Manong Jose - his fundamental principle of maintaining maximum effective distance. The foundation of this principle is accurate range estimation and the boxer footwork that he adapted - not too wide and not too short. Like a one shot one kill sniper the Grandmaster can measure accurately the striking range of his opponent. In one of his sparring sessions with his father, Mawe saw how the old man took advantage of the natural stoop of his physique by simply contracting his flexible abdomen to evade a strike without budging an inch of his footing. Mawe's stick missed the concaved abdomen of the old man by a few short inches.
De Campo practitioners never prescribed a standard sized stick. Sticks are cut according to the weight to length ratio. An inch of reach is sometimes sacrificed for optimum speed, accuracy and power. Stick lengths may vary from 31 inches to 26 inches. The flight pattern of a De Campo strike although effective with heavier hardwood sticks, was developed basically to take advantage of the lightness and strength of the tough rattan stick. While many of the strikes involve flywheel wrist action, GM Caballero had no trouble transitioning to live blade that he also practiced regularly. You will also note that the rattan sticks used by De Campo practitioners are unvarnished, without burned pattern accents and outer skin still left intact.
UNO DOS TRES- SIMPLICITY DEFINEDTeaching De Campo doesnt make good business sense, unless you intend to fleece a gullible apprentice, then you establish a protracted format of progression that can be redundant and boring and worse ineffective. Manong Jose once gave this straightforward advice to beginners: “If you find the weapon hand hard to hit, target the elbows since it travels at a very narrow radius. If he strikes you with a planchada,(horizontal strike) counter with a vertical strike from the ground up or vice versa and if he strikes you with a vertical strike at any angle, counter with a planchada - but remember maintain maximum effective distance. Like a worn out vinyl record he always reminded students: “I trained you to fight very good fighters and not just a big bad clumsy bully with a stick. A stick fight should be over in three seconds, beyond that, be careful!
EAGLE EYE-THE PERIPHERAL VISION
Back in the days when they were still living in Cebu province, Manang Amparo told us of the story of two gentlemen in business suits that visited them to see firsthand the much ballyhooed skills of Manong Jose. They have travelled the entire breadth of Cebu and nearby provinces to look for the Eskrimador who can pass their test. When these two smart gentlemen finally came face to face with Manong Jose, one of them persuaded the young Caballero to engage them in a friendly strike and block drill or what Cebuanos call dawat-dawat sparring. "Joe, how do you block this!" the visitor warned as he telegraphed a classic No. 1 strike, and Manong Jose obliged with a rising block. Without warning he poked a sneaky Nukite (knifehand) like thrust with his "alive" hand to the solar plexus that was swiftly snapped with a Wetik strike by the young Caballero. Stunned, the man bowed his head and ignoring the pain in his hand, proclaimed: "We've travelled many places, and finally we have met a real Eskrimador who passed our test. Usbon Nato! (Let's do it again), those who failed can only protest loudly."
There was nothing magical Manong Jose did to react with blinding speed to this tricky attack. He used peripheral vision or what other martial artists call the eagle eye. He once advised students to look at the enemy as one whole entity and never to concentrate their focus on a specific part of the body like the eyes, weapon hands, center mass or the feet. He also further warned: "once you hold a stick before another person, treat it as a combat situation, whether it's friendly dawat-dawat, (play fight/pre-arranged sparring) keep your alert level up."
For all its ferocity, the system emphasis in hitting the weapon hand is primarily intended to de-escalate a lethal confrontation. GM Caballero never inflicted serious injury or killed any of his vanquished challengers.