Doce Pares was founded in Cebu City, Philippines on January 11, 1932 by a small group of Eskrima Masters spearheaded by Eulogio Cañete, Lorenzo Saavedra and Teodoro Saavedra. Twelve of them originally conceptualized it but, shortly after its inauguration January 21st that year, the membership rose to twenty-four. Eulogio Cañete and Teodoro Saavedra were elected as President and Vice President respectively. Other elected officers and original members were Fortunato Peñalosa (secretary), Marcelo Verano, Deogracias Nadela, Strong Tupas, Rodolfo Quijano, Pio Deiparine, Florentino Cañete, Felimon Cañete, Juanito Lauron, Federico Saavedra, Cecilio Dela Victoria, Lorenzo Saavedra, Margarito Revilles and Anastacio Deiparine. SGM Dionisio "Diony" Cañete heads the Doce Pares (Multi-style System) organization today.
The name Doce Pares was adopted in reference to the famous twelve bodyguards of Emperor Charlemagne of France (AD 768-814). These twelve people, all top swordsmen, were known to have fought and killed hundreds of enemies in battles. Doce Pares ("Twelve pairs / peers" in Spanish), was also meant to honour the twelve people who originally planned to form the organization, each of whom was a master of his own respective style. When membership rose to twenty-four at the time of the inauguration, it indeed became more significantly fitting.
Eskrima (a.k.a. Arnis, Kali, FMA, among other names) refers to the indigenous martial arts of the Philippines that utilize impact, bladed, flexible & projectile weapons, as well as empty-hands.
Considering that the Philippines has 7,107 islands comprising the country's 3 island groups (Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao) and 80 provinces, along with interactions among foreigners over the centuries, it comes as no surprise that there exist many systems of Eskrima / Arnis. Each has its own weapon(s) of choice (e.g. stick, knife, sword, staff, bullwhip, spear, sword & dagger, etc.), training methods, techniques, fighting strategies, terminology & traditions.
Manong Jojo is a Filipino-Canadian of Visayan-Bicolano heritage who comes from a family of martial artists. Having started in the early 1970s as a child, his first teacher (his beloved Dad) had trained him in family-style Arnis / Eskrima, Boxing, Combat Judo & southern Kung Fu. Jojo's Dad is pictured on the homepage as a Datu (Chief) in traditional Moro warrior costume, holding onto his Kris (an ancient Filipino battlesword). His uncle was also a master of the Filipino, Chinese & Japanese arts. His grandfathers on both sides of the family were Eskrimadores / Arnisadores (Filipino martial artists).
Jojo has cross-trained in several martial arts. Through the years, he has trained people from all walks of life: elite figure skaters; housewives; dancers; policemen; students; hockey players; actors; other martial artists.
Nowadays in his hometown Toronto, Jojo teaches martial arts privately; specifically, Filipino martial art (Doce Pares Eskrima) & Chinese martial art (Hung Gar Kung Fu). Under the direction of his teacher, Deacon-GM Dong Cuesta & SGM Diony Cañete of Cebu, Jojo is helping to spread the Filipino martial art of Doce Pares Eskrima (Multi-style System) in Canada by offering group classes.