Andrea Rollo is the principal pupil of masters Jorge and Aurtenciano Jr Miranda.
He entered martial arts and combat sports in 1996 practicing boxing and Kick-Boxing in Lecce.
Other disciplines studied in his life include Muay Thai and Submission Wrestling.
The practice of the Filipino Kali, also known as Arnis or Escrima, began in 2001, under the guidance of Master Tony Ligorio and since 2006, when he moved to Rome, it has become his only passion along with some occasional amateur boxing match.
In 2007 he won his first major title by becoming the Italian Stick Fighting Champion and then reaching the top step of a world podium in 2008 and 2011 in Manila, Philippines. In 2013, he won the European Championship in Palma de Mallorca, Spain.
Now without going any further we hear directly from Andrea his story in martial arts especially those in the Philippines.
Tell us who you are and what martial arts you’re all about (which AM you teach)
Hello to all readers of Expert Fighting and thank you Andrea for this interview. I introduce myself: I am Andrea Rollo, a master of Kali – Escrima – Arnis.
At the moment I am the Director of the “Center of Excellence for Martial Arts Philippines”, an association dedicated to the promotion of the fighting arts of the Philippines through sports practice, study and historical and cultural research.
Okay Andrea, tell us a little bit about your research in Filipino martial arts.
I’m currently writing a book on the history of Filipino martial arts.
By analyzing some elements so far treated only marginally by other scholars, I was able to formulate a new theory concerning their origins, a topic of great debate among enthusiasts in the field.
I apologize but I prefer not to add anything else until the publication of the book, which will still be in English.
However, I can tell you about my two previous projects: one relating to the many white weapons of the Philippine archipelago and the other related to the many systems of Kali – Escrima – Arnis.
The first ended with the Center of Excellence’s website publishing about 100 pages on launch, cutting, flexible, impact and protection weapons.
It was not an easy job as there are about 500 different dialects in the Philippines so often the same weapon has many different names depending on the geographical region in which it is used and, conversely, the same name in different areas can indicate the same weapon.
The second, on the other hand, includes the description of more than 230 different combat systems, their history and that of their masters and founders.
All born before the middle of the last century with very rare exceptions for some masters who, although younger, have worked for the promotion of Filipino martial arts in the world. Soon, the systems will also be published on the website.
With what martial art did you begin, what was your beginning, a master or more masters who remember
My first experience was in Kick-Boxing at the historic Helios gym in Lecce; I can definitely not remember my first teacher: Andrea Presicce.
What do you think of today’s martial landscape on personal defence and competitions (WEKAF/GSBA/WAO/Other/etc.?.
These are two aspects to be dealt with separately.
Unfortunately, self-defence is an industry diverted from the prospect of easy gains.
There are schools that churn out instructors in a few hours or even on a weekend and then continue to pin their money, they have created a hierarchy of infinite degrees: for example for the only degree of “Instructor” there are the “Aspiring Instructors of 1st level”, “2nd level” …. “7th level”, etc., the “Full Instructors of 1st level”, “2nd level”, etc., the “Advanced Instructor”…
To avoid all this, and at the same time train highly specialized personnel, the “Center of Excellence for Martial Arts Philippines” opted instead for a hierarchy of only 5 degrees (learner, Advanced learner, trainer, instructor and master) based on a military model, with precise rules for passing degrees and different training processes according to the previous experience of the student. Please give you the link on my site for more information on the topic:
To answer the second part of the question, however, sports competitions (regardless of the regulations adopted) remain, in my opinion, the real test in which to test one’s skills and improve one’s technique, reflexes, estimation of combat distances and timing, skills difficult to acquire in the execution of a technique with a training partner in most cases too cooperative.
When you decided to teach/fight/ etc.
When Master Junior Miranda quit. Unfortunately, Master Jorge had stopped teaching for a few years because of a stroke that forced him to be in a wheelchair for months. So when Master Junior also decided to retire (if not for sporadic seminars), the other students and my training partners asked me to take their pose. And here I am….
How many hours you spend on training (athletic preparation and more, how you divide your training) and if you think it’s an important thing.
Training is key. I personally work out every day and teach 3 times a week. The training is basically divided into three parts: athletic preparation (general and specification of the discipline), technique and sparring.
What method do you use to teach your students how you plan your lessons?
Each lesson is focused on a certain aspect of combat that can be distance, counterattack, a particular weapon, etc., but, respecting one of the basic principles of Filipino martial arts, I follow each student individually. Each fighter is different from another and must learn to exploit their strengths and protect their weaknesses.
Who were the masters or characters that inspired you?.
The teacher who has influenced my life more than the others, martial and not, is undoubtedly the Mao Aurtenciano Miranda Jr. Originally from the Philippines, Junior is, along with his brother, the current headteaer of his family system called Kali Istukada Miranda System. This combat system was developed by the father of the Miranda brothers, a decorated Officer of the Philippine Army, integrating various combat systems studied throughout the archipelago.
Which equipment you prefer to use to train and train
In addition to the classic equipment of any combat sports gym such as bags, hitters, etc., during some special torque exercises I consider essential the use of protective clothing such as para-forearms, knee pads and gloves. In this way, the shots can be brought to maximum speed and power without worrying about any damage to your sparring partner and making the workout more realistic.
Your negative experience in martial arts
I can’t think of any of them. Maybe some refereeing mistakes that may have angered me at the time, but in hindsight I know I’ve learned so much from defeats that I consider unfair.
What strengths in the martial art you practice that you want to communicate to our listeners.
Of the many to talk about, I mention two particularly important ones.
A first strength of Filipino martial arts is to learn attack techniques before defensive techniques following the principle that you cannot defend yourself against a weapon if you are unable to handle it or a punch if you are unable to throw it.
A second strong point is the applicability of any technique with any weapon used therefore also with “occasional weapons” such as keys, pens, etc., which makes the Kali – Escrima – Arnis one of the most suitable martial arts for the personal defense and anti-aggression of women.
There’s something you wouldn’t repeat in your path.
No, absolutely not. Every single episode of my martial experience has led me to be who I am today, for better or for worse.
What martial art are you practicing most frequently today?. What other martial art if you had the time you would like to learn or want to learn?.
The Juego de Garrote, a particular martial art with sticks originating in Venezuela. I would recommend it to any stick-fighter to improve reflexes and responsiveness. If you were to give advice to a person who wants to start what would you say to them?.
To come to the gym and give it a try. It costs nothing, it is not binding and will surely be thrilled.
A habit that I recommend to those who practice martial arts.
The most important habit for a martial artist is to never underestimate who is in front of you, be it a teacher, an instructor, a training partner or an opponent. Is there any equipment you use and that you recommend that it be useful?.
First of all, the “Padded sticks” or the padded sticks for which the same speech is made before for protective clothing. Of course, without neglecting the full-contact work with rattan sticks for the more experienced.
Then I would recommend the car tires to increase the power of the shots and the “De Cuerdas” to develop the speed, that is, a kind of mobile hitr consisting of two sticks attached to a rope stretched from the ceiling to the floor that once hit begin to spin at high speed back to hit the user.
The best advice you’ve received?.
Only three letters that inspired my every next action: “OSA”!
If I had to leave tomorrow morning starting from 0 what would you do?.
Everything I’ve done, exactly the same.
Hello Andrea and thank you for your kind willingness to tell us about your experience in Filipino martial arts that is always attracting more fans, and if you are in Rome and its surroundings and want to learn this incredible martial art, surely you find with Andrea Rollo a great school to learn Kali in Rome, Escrima in Rome and maybe like him prepare to compete.
Andrea thank you again for the interview and a dear greeting to all your readers. I’m waiting for you in Via Valagussa 45 in Rome. For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org,call 331 1955676 or visit my website www.kalifilippino.it