Reintroducing Grandmaster Jerson "Nene" Tortal
This blog is a follow up to my previous blog post about, GrandmasterJerson "Nene" Tortal. To be frank, I should not have to rewrite him back into F.M.A. history here in the United States, but I think it is important. No matter what history or politics you ascribe to, the simple fact is Grandmaster Jerson "Nene” Tortal is well respected by his peers (with good reason), and a fearsome Escrimador; In simple terms, Grandmaster Jerson "Nene" Tortal is a true "Badass."
It is also true that Grandmaster Tortal is not a braggart, he prefers to let his movement and teaching speak for itself. Nevertheless, in quiet moments, he would lay out stories in very matter of fact terms. For those whom do not know, in 1979, Grandmaster Tortal fought in the first Arnis Tournament on Negros, an impressive achievement, but how he did it, is even more so.
"We fought with Guava sticks," Grandmaster Tortal said. I noticed in the photo that he showed me, while talking about the tournament, it appeared he was wearing something more akin to TKD (Taekwondo) or Karate foam headgear. I asked him about this and he replied, "I didn't like the headgear they wanted me to wear. They were not going to be able to hit me, at least not in the head."
As we talked, he would show me technique he used in these tournaments, and share very nonchalantly, the brutal results. Finally, I asked him what place he came in at this tournament, he answered, "I came in second, but I was very ill that day." Later on that year, he would fight in the NARPHIL (National Arnis Association of the Philippines) tournament, in Cebu the same way, and would win his division.