Lakas Filipino Martial Arts Podcast Episode 5: Atman Smith – The Guru

I actually met Atman Smith sometime during high school, but didn’t really get to know him until we were both students at the University of Maryland, where for a short period of time he had the highest points per minute average in the NCAA after walking on the Maryland Terrapins Men’s Basketball Team. I would come to be friends with both him and his brother, though mostly through parties and hanging out on campus and on Knox Road!

Years later, while I still lived in LA I heard that the brothers along with their friend Andres started their own organization and had been working with youth in Baltimore City. After moving back here to Baltimore, I would hear even more. About yoga, mindfulness. About Oprah and NBC News. And then the internet pieces that went viral, with the elementary school in Baltimore and the young boy sitting in meditation. Soon, even the physicians and mindfulness experts that I worked with in the hospital were starstruck when I mentioned his name.

The Filipino Martial Art of Kali comes from two words, meaning hand motion, or more accurately body motion. Both our weapon and our shield, our attack and our defense is rooted in movement itself. And not just physical movement, but emotional stability and mental aliveness. So it made perfect sense to interview my longtime friend for this podcast, plus it gave me an excuse to hang out, catch up and scarf down some burritos (which you may hear us doing during our conversation).

About Holistic Life Foundation:

The Holistic Life Foundation is a Baltimore-based 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization committed to nurturing the wellness of children and adults in underserved communities. Through a comprehensive approach which helps children develop their inner lives through yoga, mindfulness, and self-care HLF demonstrates deep commitment to learning, community, and stewardship of the environment. HLF is also committed to developing high-quality evidence based programs and curriculum to improve community well-being.


We get asked this a lot and wanted to share our definition here for all to read, hear, and embrace.

Mindfulness is the combination of awareness, centering, and being present. It is the awareness of your thoughts, emotions, actions, and energy. It is the ability to get centered and stay centered in all situations. And it is the ability to be present, not letting internal and external distractions take you from the current moment. This leads to the development of empathy, compassion, love, balance, and harmony.

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