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Manuel Robles Taningco

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Manuel Robles Taningco..[1] (January 7, 1956 - ) Martial Artist(FMA), Teacher and Mentor.


       Judy Taningco 


       Joanna Taningco Sohner(child: Adam)
       Lee Manuel Taningco (children: Ryan and Luciano and Jaden)


       Attended NMSU (Las Cruces, New Mexico, USA) with a full scholarship in Fine Arts. 
       Attended Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio for Graphic Arts for two years.

Early Life[edit]

Naw. Manuel "Manny" R. Taningco is a Filipino-born American citizen who devoted honing his family's martial art called The Willow System. He grew up in Sampaloc, Manila neighborhood.

Career, Distinctions, and Awards[edit]


He learned martial arts from his maternal Uncle George who gained his skills from his father, Lorenzo Robles who hails from Bacarra, Ilocos Norte.In the year 1974, he left the Philippines and settled in Salinas, California, USA. After his first exposure to martial arts magazine, he took up formal classes from various martial art instructors. Under Grand Tuhon Leo Gaje Jr., he learned Pekiti Tirsia System and became a Master level First Generation student of GT Leo Gaje, Jr. in Ohio. Under GM Diony Cañete, he mastered Doce Pares -WEKAF , Eskrido -Doce Pares under GM Cacoy Cañete, Integrated Kali under Guro Dan Inosanto -Bruce Lee’s Protégé, and Balintawak System under GM Remy Presas.


He founded and established TAMA Martial Arts Center[2] in Dayton area in 1976. He was featured in Who's Who in American Martial Arts[3]

The core of his martial art teachings are mainly rooted in his family escrima style also known as kali, arnis, didya, etc., which he named as the WILLOW SYSTEM was adopted from his maternal grandfather's surname Robles which is translated into English as Willow Tree.

1977, 1978, 1979, 1980[edit]

He is a three-time International Karate Champion, (USKA International Championship). He emerged as the only person using Kali sticks in Weapons Kata. He competed in three categories: Kata, Weapons and Kumite. He is undefeated for twenty-six consecutive competitive weeks in one year in USKA Long Streak competition. In 1979, he was recognized by Grandmaster Remy Presas as FMA[4] practitioner/teacher. In the same year, he was recognized by Guro Dan Inosanto as FMA practitioner/teacher. During the U.S. Open in 1979-80, in he became the Superstar Kung-Fu Champion for two consecutive years. He is the Full Contact Stick Fighting Champion, Great George, New Jersey in 1980.

1982, 1983, 1984[edit]

For the three years, he is a Chuck Norris United Fighting Arts Federation Awardee by teaching FMA. He made it through the State of Ohio Police as certified Defense Tactical Instructor.

1986, 1987[edit]

He was inducted by the World Martial Arts Hall of Fame as “Instructor of the Year”, an honor which he again received in 2017. He was inducted into Martial Arts Hall of Fame by United States Police Defense Tactical Association in 1987 as "Martial Arts Practitioner," while being Dayton Swat Team instructor.

1988, 1989[edit]

He served as the Ohio State Coach Junior Olympics in 1988. He was inducted into Martial Arts Hall of Fame by National Martial Arts Federation in 1989 as "Instructor of the Year." He was a recipient of Top Martial Arts School Award by EFC 1989 — National winner for performance and quality standards regarding student's enthusiasm, support, and diligence.


He was featured as "Martial Arts School of the Month," in 1992 in the Black Belt Magazine. The succeeding year, he became the coach for TEAM USA for World Kuoshu Tournament in Taiwan where TEAM USA took the 3rd place among the 40 countries competing. He served as Martial Arts Professor teaching at University of Dayton from 1993 to 1996. He did three Martial Arts Productions — Fightzone, Superfights and Deadly Dance of Swords. He was inducted into Eastern USA Martial Arts Association, "International Hall of Fame," Martial Artist of the Year. In 1994, he demonstrated FMA (Filipino Martial Arts) in St. Petersburg, Russia in the International Martial Arts Event. He became World Champion in Kumite held in St. Petersburg, Russia during the event. Team Winner in the USA vs. Russia in Kumite (fighting), where their team competed against 6 other countries. He won the Silver Medal in 1994, in the Tai-Chi and Chinese Weapons Forms in Friendship Martial Arts Tournament, Shanghai, China where he competed against five different countries. Soft Weapons Full Contact Grand Champion, Denver, Colorado, 1994 which he organized himself. He studied Penjak Silat Indonesian Martial arts, under Herman Suwanda from 1995 to 1996.

1997, 1998[edit]

He was recognized by Martial Arts Gallery of Fame and was bestowed with the "Golden Achievement Award," in 1997. Due to his consistent promotion of FMA, he was awarded the “Sultan Crystal Award” by GM Leo Gaje Jr. He was the Filipino Martial Arts Hall of Fame — Grandmaster of the Year in 1998. He was also recognized by the Chinese martial arts community in the World Kuoshu[5] Competition in Baltimore, Maryland in Demo Category. He was named Chief Referee at Arnolds Schwarzenegger Martial Arts Festival in Columbus, Ohio in the same year.


He created ISD –Integrated Self-Defense (combative fighting system) for US Armed Forces – AFSecurity Forces in 2004. He taught US Armed Forces training in Close Quarter Combatives to Security Forces over 250 members. He also taught Philippine Marines Special Action Force Instructors including officers of the National Bureau of Investigation(NBI) Close Quarter Combatives lessons. In the following year, he taught at USA Marine headquarter at Quantico, Virginia Close Quarter Combatives lessons and was awarded “Martial Arts Excellence” and got inducted into the “Ohio Black Belt Hall of Fame” in the same year. He caught the attention of high ranking officers in the military like Lt. Col. Schusko and was awarded the “MARTIAL ARTS EXCELLENCE” by US Marines officer. He was inducted into LEGION OF HONOR by Miami Valley Karate Tournament Association. In 2006, driven by his philanthropic spirit, he created Daystar In Action a non-profit charitable organization to help underprivileged kids. He again received an award from US Marshal by Teaching CQC. And finally, at home, he was inducted in the Ohio Martial Arts Magazine’s Hall of Fame. He is the martial arts director for Arnold Schwarzenegger Martial Arts Festival in 2006-2011 in San Shou and Muay Thai[6]


He was included into Association Boxing Commissions Unified Rules and Regulations Committee. As FMArtist, he promoted Panantukan and Muay Thai Fight events from 2001 to 2016. In 2012 - 2013, in President’s Cup, he emerged a Runner Up MVTA – Team Tama champion. In 2015, he was recognized by Circles of Masters in Cleveland, Ohio where he spent time teaching and helping raise funds for US Veterans.

2019 onwards[edit]

He is taking his career to a global scene and opts to promote martial art online.

Martial Arts Rank Earned[edit]

· 10th Dan Black Belt—Filipino Kali “Willow System” (Robles Family Style), Grandfather Lorenzo Robles

· 65th Generation Disciple of Tien Shan Pai Kung-Fu under Grandmaster Chien Liang Huang

· 10th Dan Black Belt — Professor in Kenpo Jujitsu under Grandmaster Gasper

· Mandala Tuhon – 1st Generation Disciple in USA under GM Leo Gaje Jr.

· 6th Dan Black Belt — Doce Pares Eskrido System under Grandmaster Cacoy Cañete

· Lifetime Doce Pares member signed by Eulogio Cañete 1984

· 3rd Dan Black Belt — Aikijutsu, Icho-Ryu Style under Sensei Bernie Lau

· Shodan Danzan Ryu Jujitsu — Professor Ancho, “a classmate of Professor Wally Jay”

· Master – Pekiti Tirsia by GrandTuhon Leo Gaje Jr.



· Wings of Thought – Martial Arts Handbook by M. R. Taningco

       ISBN 0692460993 Search this book on Logo.png.

· Doggone Truth About Meditation by M. R. Taningco

· Chi Of Life by M. R. Taningco

· Secrets Of Tao by M. R. Taningco

· Kali Student Handbook by M. R. Taningco


Sticks of Fury – 6 DVDs/1 hr each (Instructional Kali)


  1. "GM Manuel Taningco".
  2. "Tama Martial Arts". Tama Martial Arts Center. 29 April 2013.
  3. USAdojo (18 May 2005). "Manuel Taningco TAMA".
  4. "-- FMA Informative --".
  5. "The World Kuo Shu Federation – Official Website".
  6. "Manuel Taningco".

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