Guro Inosanto in New York

This past weekend I had the great pleasure to see and train with one of my teachers, Guro Dan Inosanto.  Hosted by Guro Nick Sacoulas and Progressive Martial Arts in Queens, NY these March seminars at Progressive have become a much anticipated tradition for his students around the country.

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It has been a little over a year since moving away from Southern California and seeing him every week at this Academy in Marina del Rey, and I still miss him a lot.  For me personally, his thoughts and insights, stories about SiFu Bruce and many of the manongs that brought Filipino Kali as we know it to this country and his own stories as a Filipino American surpass the incredible wealth of knowledge that this man possesses and has shared for over half a century.

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This weekend we spent a significant amount of time working some of the Jun Fan Gung Fu curriculum (often referred to as the Jeet Kune Do/JKD sets), including the Attack by Combination (ABC), Attack by Draw (ABD), some of the Muay Thai combinations, Filipino Boxing and Silat.  For our weapon work, Guro took us through some of his Filipino Kali Contradas progressions, Sumbrada variations and stick disarms and counters.  It was an exhaustive block of martial arts training, but what really made this weekend memorable were the people I was able to connect with.

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photo courtesy of Richie Vasquez

From the first minute I walked into the venue (as there were so many registrants that Progressive Martial Arts could not accomodate everyone), Kathy Sacoulas and her staff welcomed me and every other attendee warmly and provided a welcome packet with seminar relevant information as well as helpful resources regarding the area for out-of-towners.  After just a few minutes in the training area I was also met warmly by fellow students and instructors that I had met last year at the same seminar and also at Guro’s Instructor Camp in Los Angeles.  They quickly introduced me to other friends, instructors and well established names in their own right in the martial arts.  

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Me, Guro Joel, Guro Richie & Guro Louis

On the first day (of two) I partnered up with a fellow instructor James Kiang under Guro Dan, who also teaches for Nubreed Martial Arts.  My second day I was happy to partner with Guz Gamboa, one of our own students in Lakas Filipino Martial Arts who also made the drive up from Baltimore.  That day I was also blessed with the opportunity to spend time with one of my great friends, mentor and kuya in the Sayoc Kali tribe, Tuhon Pat Consing of Kapatid Martial Arts in Pleasantville.  We not only caught up with what is going on in our own lives, but Tuhon told me a little bit about his own journey as an instructor, stories about his own training and even provided observations and suggestions that helped me in some of my techniques.  And as all good training should be, our day also included some good hanging out over delicious food.  For me, it was a tremendous day of legacy and family: attending Guro Dan’s seminar, hosted by one of my seniors under both Guro Dan as well as the Sayoc system, catching up with a longtime friend, mentor and Tuhon in the Sayoc organization, and training with one of my own students from back home.

Guro Nick Sacoulas, Tuhon Patrick Consing, Guro Dan Inosanto, myself and Guz Gamboa
Guro Nick Sacoulas, Tuhon Patrick Consing, Guro Dan Inosanto, myself and Guz Gamboa

To me, training in these Filipino Martial Arts has enriched my life through connection, family and legacy.  While I still maintain the enthusiasm and passion that I have always had for punching, kicking, sticks and blades, it is the community of excellence, mastery and brotherhood that sustains and propels me to bigger and better things… to be my own tree.

Maraming Salamat Po!

I even got to visit my old spot for martial arts supplies, books and videos from back in the day!  Bok Lei Po Trading in Chinatown, NYC.

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