Bisio, Tom

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Tom is probably the best all-round martial artist that Tuhon Gaje has produced. In 1979 Tom, with only three years of training in PT won the first national Arnis/Eskrima tournament in the Philippines, going up against men with 5 to 19 years experience in their arts. In the 70's and early 80's Tom and Erwin Ballarta traded the 1st place trophy at PT tournaments back and forth between them exclusively. Tom won two tournaments in one day in 1981. A full contact PT tournament and Eddie Jafri's Penchak tournament (I remember it well, because I came in 2nd when he beat me :-) Tom is the epitome of the Dog Bros phrase "If you see it taught, you see it fought" as he would hit you with everything he had ever learned in PT training. He would pull off just amazing stuff. In the 81 tournament Mike Sayoc and Tom were paired off to fight. During a round Mike started a shoulder throw on Tom (Mike had once trained in judo). While upside-down and completely vertical, Tom rotated his body around in midair, came down to land on his feet facing Mike, and came charging back firing shots virtually as his feet hit the floor. It was like something you would see in a movie and think "that could never work in real life." But Tom pulled it off. The rest of us always assumed it would be either Tom or Erwin who Tuhon Gaje would name as his successor (this is back when Leo only had daughters). Erwin (another great fighter) became a bit less active once he became a police officer in 83 and Tom told me he was moving on to Chinese internal arts because he wanted something less violent than PT. Years later, I see Tom being referred to in magazines dedicated to Chinese internal arts as one of the top internal instructors in the U.S. As Steve Lamade has pointed out, Tom learned Moy Moy Canete's San Miguel Eskrima and is now the foremost instructor of that art as well. I think the Pekiti-Tirsia system lost one of its best people when Tom decided to stop teaching it.