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grandmaster narrie babao

Narciso "Narrie" Babao
October 29, 1945 - October 11, 2013
10th Grade Grandmaster
Cacoy Doce Pares
Cacoy Doce Pares World Federation

Villabrille-Largusa Kali
GM Floro Villabrille & GM Ben Largusa
Kali Association of America

4th Degree Black Belt
GM Carlito Lanada
Philiipine Kuntaw Association
Olongapo City, Philippines

1st Dan Black Belt
Sphinx Karate
Master Jimmy Galez
Black Master Sphinx Karate System
Manila, Philippines

Brown Belt
Shotokan Karate
Griffins Karate Club
Rafael and Romeo Plantado
Naga City, Philippines

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Narrie Babao, founder of Babao Arnis System, is a martial arts legend in the martial arts community. He was known as the Father of the Filipino Martial Arts in San Diego, California. He was the only certified Doce Pares Eskrido Eskrima Grandmaster, and Kali Guro in the County of San Diego. The certificates were awarded to him by Doce Pares 12th Grade Supreme Grandmaster Cacoy Canete and the late Kali Grandmaster Ben Largusa.

In November 1963, 18 year-old Narciso “Narrie” Requina Babao reluctantly started his Arnis de Mano training under his father, the late Turing Babao. The style he learned was the Baston Batangas system, which his father learned from Master Ka Juan, a Katipunan rebel under General Miguel Malvar, during the Filipino- American war. For two years, the father and son trained hard in Arnis. Twirling the rattan sticks was the only warm-up exercise. Their training consisted mainly of free-style sparring. Narrie Babao described the training as the school of hard knocks, with his knuckles being busted many times over. After which Narrie enrolled in Shotokan karate at the Griffins Karate Club in Naga City, Philippines. His first instructor was Romeo Plantado, but it was Master Jimmy Galez of Manila, who awarded Narrie Babao his first black belt.

In November 1968, he joined the United States Navy. Whenever his ship was in Subic Bay, Narrie Babao trained at the Philippine Kuntaw Association school under Grandmaster Carlito Lanada. Eventually, Narrie Babao was awarded a 4th degree black belt in Kuntao.

In 1975, Narrie Babao met Dan Inosanto and his training partner, Richard Bustillo. Dan Inosanto and Narrie Babao exchanged their knowledge of the Filipino Martial Arts.

In November of 1976, Narrie Babao and Dan Inosanto formally introduced the arts of Arnis and Eskrima to the people of San Diego, California.It was also in 1976 that Dan Inosanto introduced Narrie Babao to Kali Master Ben Largusa, who accepted him as a disciple.

In July 1978, Narrie became the first Weapons Sparring champion, during a tournament sponsored by Ben Singleton in Vista, California. It was the first of its kind in American martial arts competition where the fighters would select the weapon of their choice. Narrie Babao defeated other instructors, who used esoteric weapons like the nunchakus, bo, and shinai. It was also that year (1978), when Narrie Babao was promoted to Kali Guro by Grandmaster Floro Villabrille and Grandmaster Ben Largusa.

In 1981, Narrie Babao met Doce Pares Grandmaster Cacoy Canete, the undefeated stick fighter in the Philippines. He was captivated by the close quarter combat fluidity of Eskrido, the art that was developed by Grandmaster Cacoy.

In 1984, Narrie Babao was promoted to the rank of 4th Grade Blackbelt in Doce pares Eskrima. Also in 1984, he became a Master- at-Arms (MAA) in the US Navy.

In 1990, he was not only the Chief Master-at-Arms, but also the Assistant Physical Security Officer of the USS Jouett. He taught Defensive Tactics to numerous Shore Patrol and Master-at-Arms personnel. As a Master-at-Arms Chief in the U.S. NavyHe also developed and trained his Command's Boarding Party, which in 1990 became the U.S. Navy's first officially certified VBSS (Visit, Board, Search and Seizure) Team in the Persian Gulf.

In 1996, Grandmaster Cacoy conferred to Narrie Babao the rank of 6th Grade Master of Doce Pares Eskrima.

On October 25, 1997, he was again promoted to the rank of 8th Grade Master.

On June 9, 2007, Grandmaster Cacoy promoted Narrie Babao to the rank of 9th Grade Grandmaster.

On June 19, 2010, Narrie Babao was inducted into the Martial Artists’ “Masters Hall of Fame” and received the Platinum Life Achievement Award.

On January 30th, 2012, GM Narrie Babao was promoted to 10th Grade Black Belt Grand Master in Doce Pares Eskrima by 12th Grade Supreme Grandmaster (SGM) Ciriaco "Cacoy" Cañete. SGM Cacoy Cañete is the founder of Cacoy Doce Pares Eskrima and developed the art of Eskrido.

Grand Master Narrie Babao also has the rank of Guro in (Villabrille-Largusa Kali) Kali by Grandmaster Floro Villabrille and Grandmaster Ben Largusa; 4th Degree Black Belt Kuntao by Grandmaster Carlito Lanada, Philippine Kuntaw Association (Olongapo City, Philippines); 1st Dan Sphinx Karate by Master Jimmy Galez, Black Master Sphinx Karate System (Manila, Philippines); Brown Belt Shotokan Karate under Rafael and Romeo Plantado, Griffins Karate Club (Naga City, Philippines).

On October 11, 2013, GM Narrie Babao passed away from a stroke followed by a heart attack, leaving the martial arts community at a great loss.

Grandmaster's Narrie Babao teachings and legacy will continue on through his 3 sons: Master Narrison "Nar" Babao, Guro Jack Babao and Maestro Kris Babao; his direct Master & Guro instructors; his direct students; and Maestro instructors that his Master & Guros have taught.

Like the three sides of the triangle, the Babao Arnis system is composed of three main fighting systems; Villabrille-Largusa Kali, Cacoy Doce Pares, and the original Baston Batangas taught by Turing Babao.

Babao Arnis


Demo at Black Belt Club USA

Students of Grandmaster Narrie Babao perform a demo at the Black Belt Club USA Holiday Party on December 16, 2011.

Grand Master Narrie Babao

Eskrima demo at Balboa Park, San Diego, CA. August 07, 2011

Philippine Cultural Arts Festival

Grandmaster Narrie Babao of Babao Arnis and his students demo their martial arts at the 27th Philippine Cultural Arts Festival on August 07, 2011 at Balboa Park in San Diego, CA.
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