Indigenous. Native. Natural.
Inherent to. Originating from. Characteristic of a particular country, region or people.
Tuhon Apolo Ladra is all of these things. He is a bridge. A torch. He is a bridge from our ancient, indigenous Filipino culture to our modern American life. He is a torch passed from Grand Tuhon Leo T. Gaje to his Kali 4 Kids program. He is the light that reflects the legends of Kali and illuminates the future of Filipino Martial Arts.
As a Filipino American growing up in Baltimore, I would see Master Apolo and his East Coast Karate Team, alongside his brother Master Bobby with their flying kicks and long hair, performing every summer at the Filipino Festivals. Starting with the Eye of the Tiger himself at Kim’s Karate, Master Apolo would soon open many Apolo’s East Coast Karate schools in the Baltimore area.
As the years passed, he also began to host many Filipino Martial Arts legends in the area and soon came up through the ranks in Pekiti Tirsia Kali. The local seminars he hosted turned into seminars he gave around the country, spotlights on social media and the Master became a Tuhon. Just a few months ago Tuhon Apolo appeared on the cover of Black Belt magazine alongside his mentor and teacher.
It was a privilege to sit down and talk with Tuhon Apolo at his Filipino Kali Academy Headquarters in Glen Burnie, about his organization, the Kali 4 Kids program, coming up in Baltimore and his journey into Filipino Martial Arts. All respect to Tuhon Apolo for honoring and uplifting his teachers, our forefathers and our indigenous culture and art, and if you are in the area check out his Academy Grand Opening the weekend of August 2, 3 & 4!