Origin and History of Kuntaw

Simultaneously a young man left Cotobato Mindanao to seek his fortune and oppose the Spanish domination of the Philippines. This man was Amang
Huinyo {Huinyo was changed to the family name used to this day which is "Lanada" in an effort to colonize the people of the Philippines completely the
Spaniards issued a decree that the people of the islands must change their names to a Spanish surname.} The young Lanada, in the course of his life,
added elements from other Filipino martial arts to his personal style. Arts such as sikaran (also known as sipa or tadyakan, "the art of foot fighting"),
gumol (also known as lampogan) and buno, an art related to gumol. (These last two arts both employed grappling, locks and holds similar to judo).
Once reaching Luzon Island he settled in Ogbon, Nabua, Cam, located outside Naga City in the Bicol region. In 1937 he formed and organized Katitunan
- Api (an organization that fought for the abused and the oppressed victims of the Spanish.)

In 1892 Andres Bonifacio organized Kataastaasang Kagalang - glang Katipunan ng mga Awak ng Bayan (The Exalted and Most Honorable Society of the
Sons of the People). In 1896 after planning and strategical operations the revolution for freedom from the Spanish became a reality.
Amang along with his two sons Yoyong and Yong Esteban (Iban) in support of their country taught Kuntaw to the freedom fighters in their region. Since
it was outlawed that any type of fighting was to be practiced by the Filipino's during the reign of the Spanish. The Filipino's had to disguise their
practicing by forming a dance that would amuse the Spanish, but let them practice their fighting arts. To add to this Amang and his sons also wanting to
have more freedom in their teachings dug an underground cave, at night they would gather the young men of the village and in concealment taught the
men the art of Kuntaw. With this training it contributed to the defeat and aided in the freedom of the Philippines from the dominance of the Spanish.

With the defeat of the Spanish and the Filipino people achieving freedom, the fighting arts of the country were coming into view, no longer having to be
practiced in secrecy. In 1901 Iban with the support of his father Amang (now nicknamed "Pilato" which translates as "skillfulness in kali and
kuntawian techniques" - techniques handed down to him from his father, for his actions during the revolution) organized Marharlikang Kuntawista.
However, Amang was to only see a small part of the success of this art which was passed from his father for he passed away in the year of 1933.

Iban continued to teach the art, and was the proud father of a son named Steban who also learned from his father the art of Kuntaw. Steban grew and
married and had a son Carlito (the Carlito of today, born in Naga, Bicol Region). Carlito as a youth lived with his father and grandfather. The village they
lived in was secluded, where neighbors were miles away. Because of their isolation, Carlito did not have peers to relate to and consequently in his
leisure moments practiced Kuntaw with his father and grandfather.

Carlito would accompany his father to all the provincial celebrations and watch with great interest when exhibitions of the fighting arts were
presented. One of his favorite sports was called "the circle fight," in which two contestants get in a circle and try to push or pull the other off balance.
The one who maintained his balance was declared the winner.

Just when the fighting arts commenced to merge into the open, another blockade to recognition was to become an obstacle in getting Kuntaw
recognized. The Japanese invaded the Philippine Islands. Again the art of Kuntaw was to go underground to be taught for the use in defending the
Philippines. Iban a commander of the Filipino guerilla force in and around Renconda Nabua, terrorized the Japanese forces in the area, using his own
son Carlito as a message runner and a lookout to reconnoiter. Using his own son Carlito as a message runner, messages were hidden inside the
coconuts. For, who would think much of a young boy running through the jungle with a coconut under his arm? It could be for his own nourishment or
for his family, "but in reality he was delivering messages to friendly forces and neighboring villages." Reporting Japanese troop movements together
along with the guerilla force they were a constant opposing force against the enemy in the region.

With the passing of the Japanese occupation, the Lanada family again brought Kuntaw out to the public. In hopes of making this ancient art recognized
and strong once again in the region as it was before the Spanish dominance of the Philippines.

Realizing that in order to make Kuntaw known he would have to get the art out to the world, Iban  planned to send his son Carlito Lanada to Olongapo
City to spread the philosophies and teachings of Kuntaw. With the American's help especially, Iban felt, that the art would spread and flourish outside
the Philippines and throughout the world.

It was in Olangapo City, where the Americans had one of the largest U.S. Naval Bases (Subic Bay Naval Station) in the South Pacific. Thousands upon
thousands of Americans passed through en route to all areas of the world every year.

Carlito left his province in 1958 going to Olongapo City to commence to establish the art of Kuntaw. At first not being taken seriously and essentially
being laughed at and challenged by other martial arts organizations, he was finding the way rough and not very prosperous at all. Here was a young
man wearing a belt colored red, white, and blue claiming to be a sixth degree of an art that had been secretly taught for hundreds of years. The belt
given to him by his father represented the Filipino flag and the determination, courage, and freedom the nation stood for in its self.

Kuntaw is a Filipino style of fighting which uses the natural weapons of the body for blocking, striking, kicking, and throwing, using the hands for
balance, parrying, and grappling techniques as well as throwing. The legs are used for powerful kicking techniques from various angles, including
jumping, sweeping, and stomping techniques as well as the knowledge employed to use these maneuvers at various angles of self defense,
countering an attack, or attacking. Kuntaw is unlimited in its combinations.

To all who came near, Carlito talked of unity of the fighting arts, unity in that each should show and have respect for each art as a separate art and all
arts as a whole, a belief which he still most strongly has lectured on throughout time up to the today.

When first opening his school on Fendler Street, Carlito named it the "Philippine Kung Fu Karate Association," Kung Fu being used to fit in with the
ideas of the martial arts then being that everyone thought of the martial arts as Kung Fu, Karate, or Judo. Much like today in the U.S. many americans
genericize the word Karate to ignorantly mean all martial arts. In 1964 moving his school to Linda Theatre, he reinstated the name of Marharlika
Kuntaw  (Royal Blood of Kuntaw), "the original name handed down from his grandfather Yoyong."The teachings were strict and very aggressive. Rattan
sticks being used not only to train in Kali - Kuntaw Arnis the Lima Lima style of Kuntaw weapons training, but instructors used these rattan sticks when
correcting students movements or forms.

Training in the Linda Theatre brought many students to Kuntaw. Night after night when entering the school for training you would see the senior
instructors lined up in the front rows followed by row upon row of students. Once all where ready Carlito would walk out in front (Mr. Lanada used the
theater's stage so all could see him for instruction) to commence the nights training.
Once all were, ready Carlito would walk out in front (Mr. Lanada used the theater's stage so all could see him for instruction) to commence the nights
training. The training starts with exercises to loosen the body, followed by a combination of exercises to loosen the body, then with a combination of
exercises to build the body and stretch the muscles in preparation for the evenings drills. Upon completion of the exercises, Carlito would put all
students through basic drills of movements in striking, blocking, and kicking. Then it was time for the instructors to take students in training according
to their degree of rank. Carlito would constantly make his rounds to see that instructors were teaching each group correctly, executing the movements
of Kuntaw with an understanding of the development of coordination, balance, and power for each technique.

As you observed the class, you could see beginners working and perfecting their basic's, others working on the flowing catlike movements of forms.
Yet others either learning Lima Lima style of Filipino stick fighting, or sport style of combat and finally learning the finer techniques of sparring.

In 1966 Carlito, proud of his accomplishments in getting Kuntaw recognized on Luzon Island. With the art commencing to spread throughout the
Philippines, he incorporated the name of Kuntaw ng Pilipinas (Kuntaw of the Philippines). In 1968, Carlito Lanada was acclaimed the youngest martial
art's founder in the Philippines.

Nineteen seventy, saw the forming of the Philippine Karate Association (PKA). It was Carlito's ideas, which put the association into motion and as one
of the founding members and a lifetime counselor and administrator. He commenced to see the unity of the martial arts in the Philippines.

As years continued to roll by, Carlito was honored by Senator Ambrocia Padillo at the Parlarong Pilipinas (Philippine Games) with a Commemorative
Award. In 1974, Fredinand Marcos honored Carlito with one of his countries' highest honors. This award singled out Carlito for his work in
rediscovering the art of Kuntaw, one of the few original, fighting arts of the Philippines.
With the awards came a regeneration of the art, which opened doors to military agencies in the Philippine armed services and throughout the American
bases. Kuntaw was now on the move and growing with schools located throughout the world in such places as Bahrain, Guam, England, Germany, the
Arab Emerates, Yemen, Canada, and the United States, with offers and interests in bring Kuntaw to Russia. Kuntaw was International so in 1977,
Carlito Lanada established the International Kuntaw Federation.

With the help of their father and grandfather Carlito’s children began learning Kuntaw. One of Carlito’s children, Alicia, began to make a name for
herself as she began entering the international martial arts arena. In 1980 Alicia earned her first international title as champion defeating Japan’s five
time undefeated champion as well as over fifty other black belts in open competition. Alicia’s performance proudly inspired her fellow countrymen and
helped catapult Kuntaw into the world spotlight as a formidable fighting art.  

Alicia’s achievement was even more remarkable considering, that it was still a time when women were generally not even accepted or allowed to
enter martial arts competitions. Alicia also received inspiration from her mother Melinda. Alicia followed her mother’s footsteps as she was one of the
first women ever allowed to enter a martial arts competition. Alicia’s mother Melinda earned her title as a national champion in fighting.

In the early 1980’s Carlito was as employed as a tactical martial arts training instructor for the U.S. Navy  SEAL’s. In 1982 Carlito was asked to have a
group demonstrate Kuntaw as cultural entertainment on Subic U.S. Naval Base at the Navy’s jubilee celebration. Commander of the naval base, R.
Admiral Smith, was so impressed and he officially awarded Carlito’s daughter Alicia for her performance including that of blindfolded self-defense
against live bladed attackers.

Iban’s dream was to see Kuntaw spread throughout the world establishing itself among all martial arts around the world. Carlito's father Amang Iban
Lanada passed away in 1984, but not before seeing his son Carlito and his granddaughter Alicia make his dream come true. It was earlier that same
year that his granddaughter Alicia left her titles behind as a three year consecutive undefeated international champion as she moved to the United
States.  Alicia soon began establishing her martial arts prowess in the U.S. earning the title of Grand champion in her first competition in Virginia.

In 1990 Carlito’s daughter Alicia successfully petitioned for him to come to the United States and for a few years resided in Virginia. Kuntaw quickly
gained recognition on the east coast as a formidable fighting art, and in a short period of time Carlito and his daughter Alicia opened a school in
Virginia Beach, Virginia. In nineteen Ninety-four, with the urging of his west coast students he moved to California to support and aid in spreading the
philosophies of the art.

Nominated, they have recently inducted Carlito into the International Karate Hall of Fame, and have an area dedicated to him in the Martial Arts Museum
of America which is located in Ohio. Usually they induct four candidates each year, but for 1995 GrandMaster Carlito A. Lanada Sr. stood alone as the
sole inductee.

Realizing that his fathers dream had now become a reality, Carlito continued promoting and spreading the philosophies and values of Kuntaw the
ancient Filipino Art of Hand & Foot Fighting. That too should be said for Iban’s granddaughter Alicia as she spent much of the 80’s and 90’s establishing
herself as once again and undefeated champion in local, national and international martial arts competitions.

In 1993 Alicia once again had to put her Kuntaw training to use in real life. Not long after she and her now husband, Bill Kossmann, started dating they
were assaulted by multiple gun and knife wielding assailants in Norfolk, Virginia during an attempted mugging. Little did she know as a little girl that
her many years of intense self-defense training, would her dedication and perseverance someday save her future husbands life. Alicia and her now
husband would later open their first gym together in Wilson County, North Carolina. They later moved to a better location in historic downtown Wilson,
which is now home of the IKF’s  headquarters. Alicia also spent much of the 90’s training both of her daughters Christine and Cassandra to later
become champions in their own right.

In 2010, at the 50th Kuntaw Anniversary Carlito’s granddaughter Cassandra earned her rank as a first degree Black Belt. That’s when GGM Lanada
formally proclaimed his granddaughter Cassandra Kossmann as his Kuntaw Successor in front of an audience filled Kuntaw Palace (IKF
Headquarters). Following in her mother and grandmother’s footsteps Cassandra had already earned her titles as National and International Champion.

In 2011 amidst much personal strife and turmoil and with the help of her “big brother” (in the art) GM Bud Cothern, Kuntaw Legacy was formed as a
means to preserve and ensure the longevity, credibility and integrity of the art of Kuntaw as it was originally taught back in the sixties.

On September 6th ,2015 at the 55th Kuntaw Anniversary  at Kuntaw Palace in Wilson, North Carolina it was formally announced that Great Grandmaster
Carlito A. Lanada officially retired passing on his title as Chief Executive Director of the IKF/KNP/NATO/MKA to his daughter Alicia Lanada Kossmann.