Veeck, Toni

QUICK STICK  ---   Ihr Spezialist für philippinische Kampfsportarten

Toni Veeck was born in Fischbach, Germany, in 1951. His interest for martial arts first emerged at the age of ten: His grandfather had learned how to fight with a bayonet during his time in the German army prior to World War I. He taught Toni these skills using a stick as training tool. Toni's second contact with martial arts was at the age of seventeen. A friend of his was practicing Judo and Jiu-Jitsu. Toni became his sparring partner and learned until orange belt.
In 1971, Toni had to join the German army to do his military service. He was based in Schwarzenborn where he was a "Jäger". In 1974 a group of people gathered together there to train martial arts. The members came from various different martial arts, including Shotokan karate, boxing, wrestling, Judo, Jiu-Jitsu, Taekwon-Do and Toni trained with them. In the following year, 1975, he joined a Ho-Sin-Do karate and Taekwon-Do group in Fritzlar. The group was taught by Soo Ung Choi (7th Dan Ho-Sin-Do and Taekwon-Do, representative of General Choi Hong Hi). The training was very hard, almost everything was practiced in full contact without protective gear. Toni learned there until 1st Dan in Taekwon-Do and 3rd Dan in Ho-Sin-Do, Selbstverteidigungssportunion, System So Ung Choi. When Toni was still orange belt, he taught independently the group in Homberg as his direct teacher (1st Dan) trusted him very much and Toni's techniques were very accurate. Toni still was member of the Karate group until 1987 and had been teaching in Choi's private academy in Kassel since 1980.
Toni's first contact with the Filipino martial arts was in 1982. Having taken his holidays, Toni decided to fly to the Philippines in order to learn stickfighting. He had been interested in learning weapon based martial arts since a long time and his previous training had hardly included weapons apart from Nunchaku and some sword forms. In September 1982, Toni had read an article in a martial arts magazine describing the indigenous Filipino martial arts of Arnis / Escrima. This article caught Toni's attention and once he was on holiday, he shortly decided to fly to Manila. The trip was totally unorganized or planned, an adventure. He just bought a ticket to Manila and thought of coming to the Philippines, finding a teacher and learning Arnis! When Toni arrived in Manila, he was looking around for a teacher and got the information to contact the Teovel Balintawak Group at Cagayan de Oro, on the island of Mindanao. So he travelled to Cagayan. He stayed in the VIP hotel and one of the employees of the hotel gave him the information to contact Visayo Balinado, sen., who in turn would be in contact with Arnis teachers. Toni called Visayo and he came to meet Toni. Afterwards, Visayo Balinado, sen., got Toni into contact with the Teovel Balintawak Group, namely Rene Ilogon. Rene was assistant instructor and his father Jack Ilogon was instructor. Rene and Roberto Abecia became Toni's first teachers. They taught him the basics up to the point which they were allowed to teach. Rene's father Jack was an engineer and had to travel a lot, so he couldn't teach Toni on a regular basis. Thus Rene introduced Toni to Rene's and Roberto's teacher, Nonato Gaabucayan. Toni had to go back to Germany as his holidays were over, but in late 1983 he returned and continued to learn from Nonato. From him, Toni learned the rest of the basics, five technical groups and three Sinawalis. During his second visit to the Philippines, in 1982/83, Toni married Veronica "Nini" Balinado, the daughter of Visayo Balinado, sen. Toni and Nini had got to know through Nini's father when Toni first met him to find an Arnis teacher. The relationship developed until they finally married in January 1983.

In early 1983, Toni returned from the Philippines and his wife Nini came with him. Toni moved back to Fischbach in 1984 because he started working as a physiotherapist in a nearby hospital. Toni started training in Herrstein, a small town close to Fischbach. Initially, he only had Karate students and just one Arnis student. Nini also knew the basics of Arnis and helped in the training. In 1985, Toni founded the non profit organization Deutsche Balintawak Group e.V. In the following year he started training in Idar-Oberstein, also close to Fischbach, and in late 1986 the training in Herrstein was stopped. Until 1986, Toni had continuously been working on the Arnis techniques which he had learned and finally come to the point where he couldn't get any further just by himself so he needed support.
Visayo "Joey" Balinado, jun., had learned Taekwon-Do from Toni during 1984 until green belt. After this, Toni paid him the Arnis training with Nonato Gaabucayan and during 1985 and 1986, Joey kept up the training. In summer 1986, Toni brought Joey and Nonato Gaabucayan to Germany in order to help him in building up the Arnis training. Nonato taught together with Toni for 3 months in the Deutsche Balintawak Group e.V. and  Joey helped them. After this time, Toni lead the training again, further supported by Joey. After one and a half years, Joey married and quit the Deutsche Balintawak Group e.V.
In the late 1980s, Toni wanted to learn further than what Nonato was allowed to teach him. He had taught Toni up to the level of Chiefinstructor, a graduation which Toni achieved in 1985. Wanting to commence further with his education, Toni needed a new teacher. During a visit to the Philippines in 1987, Toni's father in law Visayo Balinado, sen., had an idea of whom to ask. He had an old friend who he got to know during his work for Del Monte. Visayo was working there as a manager while his friend, Arnulfo L. Mongcal, was a security officer for Del Monte. When Toni was initially searching for an Arnis teacher, Visayo, sen., hadn't thought of his old friend, Grandmaster Arnulfo L. Mongcal because GM Mongcal usually didn't train foreigners. Only then, in 1987, Visayo sen. had the idea to ask his old friend. GM Mongcal agreed to teach his style of Arnis to Toni because a good old friend, Visayo, was asking for his son in law, Toni, and also because Toni was already a Chiefinsturctor in Balintawak (GM Mongcal didn't train beginners). Since 1987, Toni pursued his lessons with GM Mongcal, flying to the Philippines almost every year, staying there  several weeks up to several months. In 1988, Toni became Chiefinstructor under GM Mongcal. In the same year, GM Mongcal introduced Toni to the Canetes in Cebu City and Toni trained with Dionisio and Ciriaco and his son for a few days to prove his skills in Doce Pares. After an examination, Dionisio issued a Doce Pares Diploma for Toni which allowed him to teach the style and appointed him Director of the Doce Pares for Germany. While staying in Cebu, GM Mongcal showed Toni the house in Balintawak St. in which Venancio Bacon held his training and which gave the Balintawak style its name. In the following years Toni unfortunately had less and less time to act for the Doce Pares and so the relation slowly fizzled out. There were no negative feelings towards Doce Pares. But due to the limited amount of time Toni had back then, his possibilities were also quite limited.
In 1990, Toni received the Professor degree from GM Mongcal. From then on, he was allowed to teach others the different instructor levels and also appoint them.
During all those years, Toni worked hard in Germany to develop the Deutsche Balintawak Group e.V. and his skills further. In addition to the training in Idar-Oberstein, Toni started a new group in Morbach. Oliver Reitz started his training there under Toni already in 1986, from the very beginning on. Oliver kept training until he became instructor and took over the responsibility for the group in Morbach after some more time. In 1990, Oliver was appointed Chiefinstructor.
Also in 1990, Rino Balinado, the youngest son of Visayo Balinado, sen., started learning Arnis from Toni. Rino had learned Ho-Sin-Do up to orange belt from Toni before, and he continued to learn Taekwon-Do up to 1st Dan from other teachers in the Philippines. Later Rino continued his Arnis training through training with GM Mongcal on an irregular basis. In 2002, Rino came to visit Germany and learned further from Toni.
Since 1990, Toni focused more and more on developing the Deutsche Balintawak Group further, especially on the education of the instructors. As a consequence, Toni could also work on higher-level techniques which so far hadn't been practiced much because he simply had no student who was technically advanced enough for those methods. In 1993 Toni had the strong feeling that he should travel to the Philippines again to continue learning from GM Mongcal. In December 1993 Toni carried out his plans and returned to Cagayan de Oro once more. Then GM Mongcal completed Toni's education. He taught Toni all his knowledge. For this reason GM Mongcal finally conferred Toni the Grandmaster title at Christmas 1993 and made him the only heir of GM Mongcal's style. At the same time, GM Mongcal, Toni and his father in law, Visayo Balinado, sen., founded the New Concept of Philippine Arnis (NECOPA). GM Mongcal gave the techniques, Toni designed the emblem and Visayo suggested the name. From then on, GM Mongcal's style was taught as NECOPA and the organization of NECOPA promoted further this Filipino martial art.
After GM Toni's return from the Philippines, he continued to teach with the same methods and in the same way that GM Mongcal had taught him. For GM Mongcal Arnis has always been an area of active research and development, so in addition to teaching what he had learned, Toni also continued this tradition and developed the NECOPA style further.
In 1995, GM Mongcal suffered a stroke from which he never fully recovered. He was paralyzed to a large extent and his condition was very bad. Toni travelled to the Philippines shortly after having heard the sad news. He did what he could to reduce the effects of the stroke. He succeeded in helping GM Mongcal, who could at least move and walk slowly afterwards. But GM Mongcal never regained his full mobility and therefor couldn't teach Arnis anymore. As this had been his major source of income, Toni raised funds within the NECOPA to ensure that GM Mongcal had at least a basic supply of money. Since then, the NECOPA people have always taken care of their Grandmaster Mongcal, without whom the NECOPA would not have existed. They have collected donations for GM Mongcal and have raised other money for his support until the present day.
Apart from the sad fate of GM Mongcal, the late 1990s as well as the beginning of the new millenium have been a good time for the NECOPA. The number of instructors grew steadily. They all originated from the area around Idar-Oberstein and Morbach, where they got into contact with Toni and the NECOPA. Some of them later moved to other places and opened new schools there. In 2002, Toni appointed Oliver Reitz as Professor. Markus Wetzstein advanced to the Chiefinstructor level in 2001, followed by Rene Reitz in 2002.
In the Homberg division of the Deutsche Balintawak Group (where Toni had originally started teaching Karate) only few people switched to Arnis. Most of them kept up the Karate training. One of those who started learning Arnis was Michael Hanstein, who advanced to instructor level under Toni's guidance. It was Michael who began the successful tournament movement in the NECOPA. He participated in the WEKAF German championships in Berlin in 1995, where he qualified for the World Championships in LA. There he won the World Champion title in 1996 (single stick, welterweight division). Motivated through this success, Toni has since then developed the tournament division much further, leading to many national and international titles. For example, Toni's eldest son, Serge (born in 1987) won the Junior World Champion title in the forms competition of the WEKAF World Championships in London, 2002. Toni's second son, Sylvester, was born in 1994 and also started learning the art of Arnis. The youngest kid of the Veeck family, Chantal, was born in 1998 and also developed an interest for Arnis.
Up to the present day, Toni has been developing the NECOPA style further, adding new elements. This includes chi work, which Toni knows from his work as a physiotherapist, techniques with a staff / long stick and various other elements.