Doce Pares is a Filipino martial art that focuses on one stick fighting. Magellan's sword-wielding conquistadors fell to Datu Lapu-Lapu who used Eskrima to defeat the Spaniards at the Battle of Mactan. Doce Pares claims to trace its history to Lapu-Lapu although he used only one sword which can be seen in the Statue.
None of the founding members are alive, however several senior instructors who belonged to the second generation of eskrimadors are still alive and teaching their own interpretation or styles of Doce Pares Eskrima.
During World War II, Teodoro Saavedra, an active guerrilla fighter, was captured and killed by the occupying Japanese forces. Shortly after Teodoro's death, the Cañete brothers co-founded Doce Pares in 1932, while their younger brother and future eskrimador Ciriaco Cañete, concentrated on boxing.
In the early 1950s, Eskrima techniques and tactics were analyzed, devised, modified and systematized by Cacoy Cañete, based mostly on actual combat experience with other eskrimadors belonging to rival Eskrima schools. Among his many contributions to the development of this martial art is Eskrido, a combination of judo and Eskrima techniques, as well as the most modern forms of Eskrima-offense and Eskrima-defense.
However, one of the major proponents of the Doce Pares System has been Grandmaster Dionisio Cañete, son of Eulogio. After completing his law degree and establishing a lucrative practice, he systematized Doce Pares by combining the techniques of all Eskrima Grandmasters, such as Momoy Cañete, Filemon Cañete, Inting Carin, Cacoy Cañete, in order to provide an accessible, comprehensive and organized curriculum. He then organized the first Eskrima tournament in Cebu City in April 1979 and in August 1979 he organized the first Eskrima Invitational Tournament in Manila. It was at the Manila Invitational that General Fabian Ver instructed Grandmaster Cañete to send Eskrima champions to the United States. Soon after, in 1981, Dionisio Cañete personally arranged for Doce Pares delegates to move to the United States in order to spread the Doce Pares System he had organized. Among those he chose to represent were Cacoy Cañete, Attorney Amorito Cañete, Bonifacio Uy, and Arnulfo Cuesta. Finally, in 1985, he spearheaded the first World Eskrima Kali Arnis Federation (WEKAF) championship were 99% of members usually demonstrate escrima using only one stick, again in Cebu City.
Through his financial support and administrative skill, Cañete spread Doce Pares internationally, as evidenced by the successful 8th WEKAF World Championship held in July 2006 at Disney World in Orlando, Florida followed by his tour throughout the United States and Europe to promote Doce Pares. The History Channel, during the summer of 2007, aired an episode of Human Weapon which featured Grandmaster Cañete and the Doce Pares Multi-Style System.
During the Third National Arnis Tournament in Cebu City, March 16, 1985, the Doce Pares contestants made a clean sweep of all championship awards in all categories – Openweight, Heavyweight, Middleweight and Lightweight. Most runner-up honors also went to Doce Pares practitioners. Such was the reputation of invincibility of Doce Pares contestants that in the Fourth National Arnis Tournament, which took place in Bacolod City, on July 26, 1986, Doce Pares officers and members were invited only as observers and officials, not as contestants. Since its founding, Doce Pares has enjoyed a special reputation among Philippine martial arts organizations as the developer and innovator of the newest styles and techniques in Eskrima the new one stick system.