Dumog is the term used in Eskrima to refer to wrestling techniques. A specific system of Filipino wrestling, Buno, is considered by some to be more advanced. “Combat Judo” is another local name. Buno is the term typically used in Luzon, specifically in the Southern Tagalog provinces as far south as Mindoro while Dumog is the term more widely used in the Visayas and Mindanao.

The term “dumog” is also used in the Philippines to describe dogs, kids or drunk people wrestling around without any skill (brawling).

Dumog includes methods of standing and ground grappling, which can be applied appropriately depending on the situation. The term Buno is also sometimes used to refer to the indigenous wrestling methods of the Philippines.

Mark Wiley, in his book “Filipino Martial Culture” (Charles E. Tuttle Publishing, 1996) acknowledges the existence of many indigenous Filipino grappling arts among the various tribal and ethnic groups in the Philippines.

Tribal groups such as the Ifugao, Samal, Igorot, Ibanag, Manobo, Dumagat, and Maranao are said to practice grappling arts known respectively as bultong, silaga, dama, garong, buteng, purgos, and kapulubod; while ethnic groups such as the Tagalog, Ilokano, Cebuano, Bicolano, Pampanga, and Pangasinan, are said to practice grappling arts known as gabbo, layung, lampugan, pantok, balsakan, and dumog respectively.

It can be seen that there is a great diversity in the terms appended to these grappling arts, due to the diversity of the people and their languages throughout the 7107 islands which make up the Philippine Archipelago. However, for the purposes of this article the generic term “Dumog” will be used.

Filipino Martial Arts are continually evolving, and it is likely that Dumog was influenced to some degree by grappling methods from other arts (e.g. Western wrestling, Judo and Jujitsu) as many Eskrimadors in the post-World War II era crosstrained in other arts. Exponents of some Eskrima or Arnis systems refer to the unarmed grappling component of their arts as “Combat Judo”; although Mark Wiley states in “Filipino Fighting Arts – Theory and Practice” (Unique Publications, 2000) that there is “…no connection to Japanese Judo proper”.

Dumog utilises the concept of “control points” or “choke points” on the human body, which are manipulated – for example: by grabbing, pushing, pulling – in order to disrupt the opponent’s balance and to keep him off balance. This also creates opportunities for close quarter striking using head butts, knees, forearms and elbows.

Two of the main control points are the arm and the head. Two useful phrases to remember are: “If you control the elbow, you control the arm”, and “If you control the head, you control the body”. Dumog also contains methods of joint-locking and choking, as well as takedowns, throws and submission holds.

In general, dumog is a basic Filipino technique that is often taught along with Silat, Kali, and Arnis styles. A dumog technique encompasses a variety of pushes, pulls, weight shifts and joint locks designed to “move” the opponent. It is a term used to describe a technique that creates a quick change in weight or force which is very similar to the soft styles of martial arts such Aikido.

The core of the technique is to utilize your own and the attacker’s own body weight to force them to try to regain their balance. An example of this sort of dumog could be seen by a fighter defending himself from an attacker trying to clinch (like a Muay Thai style clinch). The fighter would grab his other arm inside the joint of an opponent attempting to clinch him and drop his weight downward immediately.

The sudden shift of weight forces the opponent to temporarily be pulled forward which could potentially expose an opening for a counterattack such as a headbutt or even another dumog technique to push their weight back as they attempt to correct themselves.

These techniques can often be performed just as easily with a weapon such as a sword or an eskrima stick, e.g. replace grabbing one’s own arm with grabbing the other end of an eskrima stick.)