The Pingga

Filipino Merchant with Pingga

Traveling merchants in the Philippines used to carry their merchandise on a pole slung over the shoulder, with a basket on either end (“pingga”). This pole could be used to fight off dogs or bandits. Sometimes these vendors would engage in challenge matches, wagering their merchandise.

What is interesting, though, is that GM Estalilla’s father used a stick about 46 inches in length, reaching from the floor to the “didi” (nipple). This was the same length as the pingga, and the elder Estalilla won his share of merchandise, such as clothes, in challenge matches with pingga-wielding vendors.

Instructor Ralph Grasso, who studied with Guro Amante Marinas, learned a system of combat featuring the use of the pingga as a weapon. If you think about it, the pingga makes sense on multiple levels (at least in the Philippines):

  • It is a readily available weapon.

  • It has the advantage of reach, which allows the wielder to fight at a safer distance, whether against dogs or bandits.

  • Its use is simpler –studying a short stick stick soon leads one into the tall grass, with ever more complicated techniques.

P.S. Instructor Grasso contacted me and wanted to make it clear that he is not certified to teach under Marinas.

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4 Responses to “The Pingga”

  1. DARRIN, MASTER MARINAS ONLY TOLD ME I WAS A KADY[WHICH IS WHAT I WROTE TO YOU] THIS MEANS THE ABILITY TO PERFORM THE CINCO TEROS[5 BLOWS] , DO SELF DEFENCE BASED OFF THOSE BLOWS AND PARTICIPATE IN FREE SPARING—A FULL INSTRUCTOR HAS TO STUDY THE 12 STRIKES, AND ANOTHER SET OF 20 AFTER THAT–I DO NOT WANT CREDIT FOR SOMETHING I DID NOT ACHIEVE, I DO NOT WANT TO BE KNOWN AS A FABRICATOR AND I DO NOT WANT TO DISGRACE VMASTER MARINAS, PLEASE REMOVE THAT FROM YOUR SITE. I AM A FULL GURO IN DOS MANOS UNDER GURO VIRGILIO IN DOS MANOS AND I AM A FULL GURO IN UNOS -DOS -TRES ARNIS [ALMOST EXACTLY LIKE SABER FENCING]–I AM ALSO AN INSTRUCTOR IN THE ORIGINAL MODERN ARNIS SYSTEM BROUGHT TO NEW YORK BY REMY PRESAS.—–PLEASE FIX THIS MATTER—–AS FAR AS DEFENDU AND COMBATIVES/BAYONET CANE–I HAVE FULL INSTRUCTOR UNDER BOTH CARL CESTARI, CHARLES NELSON AND CLINT SPORMAN—RALPH G

    • Greetings Mr. Ralph Grasso! I am located in Los Angeles, California. Do you know of anyone, here in Los Angeles, who is qualified to teach Charles Nelson system, or the Carl Cestari system? Thanks, for any information, you can provide.

  2. Sounds like the same length of the Jo although thicker.

    In our style we use 28″ 36″ 48″ we do this more with principles and not different techniques for each length. A 28″ can be used 2-handed, a 36″ can be used 1-handed, the 48″ tend to be used 2-handed but is not any different than using 1 36″ 2-handed. Some thrusts and joint locks can be done with either a 6″ stick or a 36″ stick.

    Principles rule over techniques.

  3. “Principles rule over techniques” I love this!

    I’m in agreement. I’d rather start with effective principles and try to apply them to every weapon, then to have a whole bunch of techniques of varying degrees of effectiveness, each applied to a different weapon, resulting in dozens of nunchaku techniques, dozens of short stick techniques, dozens of bolo techniques, etc.

    I think that’s how a lot of people “pad” their curricula.

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