Grandmaster Warlito “Lito” Concepcion
Sad news reached the world of martial arts in September 9th 2015.
Grandmaster Warlito “Lito” Concepcion had passed away after fighting against illness.
Grandmaster Lito was a great friend and a teacher. He was always smiling, ready to help and teach.
Thank you for all the inspiration, teachings and kindness you have given us.
The legend will live through us all now and forever.
Our deep condolences to the family
Rest in peace, we all miss you.
on the behalf of members of Kombatan and Modern Mano Mano Europe
Master Salvador Caballero, Master Marina Regner and Master Tomi Harell
HISTORY OF GRANDMASTER LITO
Grandmaster Warlito “Lito” Concepcion was born on May 28, 1944 in Butuan City, located in the Agusan Valley region of Mindanao, Philippines. He graduated from the Philippine College of Arts and Trade in Manila, specializing in auto mechanics. He emigrated to the San Francisco Bay Area, California, USA in 1972; eventually got married, and raised a family while owning and operating a car repair business. Life was pretty ordinary for GM Lito until he stumbled into the world of Martial Arts in the late 1980’s when he joined his twin sons in Tae Kwon Do classes. He was 48 and the oldest white-belt student in school.
In the early 1990’s, GM Lito decided to switch from Tae Kwon Do to Filipino Martial Arts (FMA) when he met Great Grandmaster (GGM) Ernesto Presas, Sr., the founder of International Pilipino Martial Arts Federation (IPMAF) and the creator of Modern Arnis/Kombatan. He was given private lessons and soon became GGM’s demo partner during exhibitions and seminars conducted in California, USA from 1995 through 2001. GM Lito was one of many black belt students that participated at the IPMAF World Training Camp in Hinigaran, Negros, Philippines where international Martial Artists convened every two years for training.
With GGM’s encouragement, GM Lito established the Concepcion Combative Martial Arts Academy in Vallejo, California USA in 2001. GGM Presas appointed him IPMAF Chief Instructor for California, USA that same year. At the World Hall of Fame Sokeship Council (WHFSC) in Orlando, Florida, USA, GM Lito received the International Hall of Fame Award for Master Instructor of the Year for 2001 and again, in 2002.
2006 marked a milestone for GM Lito when some of his students asked him if he had ever fought in a tournament to test the effectiveness of Kombatan. He admitted he never had. So, wanting to earn their respect, he competed in his very first World Escrima Kali Arnis Federation (WEKAF) World Tournament in Orlando, Florida, USA in July at the age of 62. He competed again in July 2008 at the WEKAF World Tournament held in Cebu City, Philippines. Although many considered GM Lito a senior citizen and too old to participate in a Martial Arts competition, he garnered a total of 3 Gold, 3 Silver and 3 Bronze medals for Form, 3-Man Team and Single-Stick events.
During the 2007 Hall of Fame and IPMAF Camp in Hinigaran, Negros, Philippines, he was promoted to Grandmaster - 8th Degree Black Belt. But GGM Presas upgraded the rank to Grandmaster - 9th Degree after watching GM Lito display the applications of Kombatan techniques while filming a scene in production of his movie.
Through his participation in seminars, tournaments and the IPMAF training camps, GM Lito met many world-renowned Filipino Martial Artists and reached out to them in friendship. He hosted two “Gathering of Warriors” at his home in Vallejo, the first in August 2002 and the second in June 2007. With so many different styles, GM Lito’s passion for Filipino Martial Arts only grows stronger as he continues to analyze, improve and learn new methods to complement and build on his Kombatan foundation.
GM Lito lived in America for 37 years, but moved back to his homeland when he retired in 2009. He resides on the island of Cebu, Philippines with his wife, Caroline.