Grandmsaster Norman Z. Suanico
Grandmaster Norman Z. Suanico was appointed by the late Great Grandmaster Antonio A. Ilustrisimo as the representative of Kali Ilustrisimo to Canada.
He was the late Great Grandmaster Ilustrisimo’s personal assistant who trained and lived with him for several years. However, his training is not limited to the Ilustrisimo System.
When he was in his hometown Iloilo City, he has trained in bolo, knife and bayonet fighting under Manuel T. Suanico. Zosimo Flores shared him the style Pangamot (Empty hand combat) and Kali weapons. Largo Mano Style under Raul Villaluna who was the grandson of Pedro “Walis” (left handed) Villaluna. Cruzada Style ( De Salon) of Master Antonino Agi of Silay Negros Occidental from Mario Taleon, who was a Kali instructor in the Philippine Scout of Bolo Brigade. Trancada Aldabon Style and Agi Style he learned from Agustin Hinojales. Ilisio “ Seong” Haliky ( Pastolero) added Master Norman’s training in the Trancada Aldabon Style and the Larga Mano Style . Fabian de la Paz Mananon tutored Master Norman in the Pluma Style of Leyte. Jesus Bayas who was a Bolo Battalion Philippine Scout Kali Instructor during World War II was another important guide and teacher for Master Norman. Master Norman also trained in the deadly Balintawak Style of Cebu under Ceazar Turoy.
As well as his vast knowledge of the Filipino martial arts, he has trained also in Karate, Jiu Jitsu, Yawara, Hapkido, Seven Star Praying Mantis, Five Animal Kung fu, Tai chi chuan and
Iaido in Japan.
Master Suanico has tested his art as a bouncer and entertainer in many rough bars and Nightclubs. He is a veteran of many conflicts.
It was Gerry “Nonoy” Gallano who first introduced Master Suanico the Ilustrisimo Style, before he went to migrate to Toronto, Canada in 1983.
In 1986, Master Suanico went to Manila with his band to play in nightclubs ( Master Suanico is also a world class singer and pianist ). So, he took the opportunity to stay and study with “Tatang” ( Great Grandmaster Antonio A. Ilustisimo ). He told him that the husband of his aunt Rizalina is Col. Gabriel Ilustrisimo. “Tatang” answered that Gabriel is his cousin. “Tatang” offered him to stay in his house and he accepted it. Living space was tight, so, “Tatang” shared with him the same double deck bed (bunk bed) together. He slept on the upper deck and “Tatting” on the lower deck.
When “Tatting” realized that Grandmaster Suanico had a background in Arnos, he would spar with him a lot. He said to him,” You learn fast”. He would always correct his technique and when he was open. “Tatang” did not repeat his technique if he did not trust you. He would hit you hard. Grandmaster Norman usually took notes after their practice.
Usually during those times, “Tatang” would let Master Suanico spar with some of the students. Sometimes, his sparring partner would get angry and their sparring became more realistic and they would hit with hard contact. Before, they used live stick without any body armor.
In 1997, Arsenio “Sonny” Padilla went to Rizal Park (Luneta) Philippines. He asked “Tattang”, “Who among your students you want me to bring to Canada to teach?””Tatang” answered, “You bring Norman”.
Grandmaster Suanico first arrived in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada on December 25, 1999 and he started teaching Kali together with Arsenio “Sonny” Padilla regularly and on scheduled seminars around Canada.