Kalis Ilustrisimo Program

**Available via online streaming only**

For sample videos, click on the YouTube graphic. You will have access to 3 clips. Click on the top right button to access a drop down menu of the clips. 
  • 76 videos
  • 6 hours of instruction
  • Includes video breakdowns of Tatang Ilustrisimo demonstrating the art and sparring

Buy the training swords used by Burton in these videos

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Download the sparring logs and testing requirements here

I met Antonio “Tatang” Ilustrisimo in Luneta Park, Manila, Philippines in 1994. I couldn’t have imagined that three decades later I would be making a detailed, in-depth video program to not just help preserve the legendary sword fighter’s art, but to keep it as a living and breathing entity. 

I have been incredibly fortunate to train with many of the very best instructors in the Filipino martial arts. Starting with my mentor the great Guro Dan Inosanto in 1980 to Grandmaster Richard Bustillo, Grandmaster Roberto Labaniego, Punong Guro Edgar Sulite, and many more.

I spent three weeks with the man himself, Tatang Ilustrisimo, in 1994 and then another week with him in 1996. Two of his top disciples, Master Tony Diego and Master Christopher Ricketts, trained me as well on those trips. No wonder my Dog Brother name is Lucky Dog. 

  Why is Tatang (an endearing term of respect for an older man) so revered in the Filipino martial arts community decades after his passing? Because he actually fought sword against sword, knife against knife, and stick against multiple attackers. He had actual, first hand insight to the most harrowing combat situations. Talk about pressure tested self-defense! And what was the reason that he was able to prevail in so many life and death encounters? Because of his training in his family system, a unique system of armed combat that had proven its effectiveness for generations. 

The day I met Tatang I made a very good decision. I took my week’s pay for the American movie I was working on and spent it on a video camera with all the necessary accessories. The following day, I started video taping. Why was this important? A few reasons. First, it allowed me to consistently study Tatang long before any YouTube footage was available. I was able to analyze and better understand the intricacies of his art. (I also continued to train with Masters Diego and Ricketts before their untimely passing.) Studying for all this time while continuing to spar regularly has helped tremendously with my ability to teach this art.

More importantly, I have utilized much of the footage I took, along with other samplings, to create a unique teaching format of this Kalis Ilustrisimo program. Not only will you see me teach each element of this amazing Filipino Martial Arts system as I normally would, but most techniques or training methods will be followed by footage of Tatang performing the technique or training method himself. You won’t just learn from my own teaching and explanations, but will also be able to watch and emulate the great Tatang himself! Watch what he did and how he did it and learn from his movement. There are even a few clips of him explaining principles of the art. 

Thanks to Master Ricketts, who captured excellent footage of Tatang, we have video of the great warrior sparring. I don’t know of sparring footage of any other Grandmaster. I include several breakdowns of Tatang’s amazing sparring tactics in this program. I think you will have an even great appreciation for his genius when you see how, in live sparring, he uses the Kalis Ilustrisimo footwork, enganyos (set-ups/feints), and measure to completely dominate his highly skilled and much younger partner. All of these elements are explained in detail in the program.

It is my hope that many of you will not just study the Tatang’s Living Art of Kalis Ilustrisimo program, but will go through the testing process in order to become a certified instructor in this art. It is fun, safe, and challenging. And no, you don’t have to fight with actual swords! If you learn and apply the Ilustrisimo system just as Tatang learned, you will become highly proficient in the art. If you become an instructor and teach others, we can ensure that Kalis Ilustrisimo, a gem in the Filipino martial arts world, will live on for future generations. And that is the primary purpose of this program.

Tatang asked me to spread his art and I believe that he would be happy with my work here. I hope it benefits you and your students so we can all add to Tatang’s legacy of Kalis Ilustrisimo.


For those who want to eventually teach Tatang's Living Art of Kalis Ilustrisimo, I have designed this program as an instructor certification course. After you have purchased the program, watch it in its entirety. That will give you the complete scope of Tatang’s art. Then download the tests and training logs. Look at the first test. you will find all the answers within the program in chronological order. You will log your rounds on the training log and when you have finished all the requirements for the first level test, you can test by video. Your test will be reviewed and feedback given so that you will be even better on your second level test. You can do all tests by video, including the Kalis Ilustrisimo Instructor Test. Some prefer to take the Instructor Test in person, so they visit me in Hawaii or we arrange to test elsewhere, usually at a seminar that they can attend. I have been testing students through video for nearly twenty years now, and I am happy to say that it works extremely well. I have developed exceptional fighters worldwide with this method. You learn, apply, test, get feedback, then repeat the process. And it is fun!

Let us know if you have any questions at all. We are here to help!

Burton Richardson

Download the sparring logs and testing requirements here

Buy the training swords used by Burton in this program

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