Lakas Filipino Martial Arts Podcast Episode 20: Guro Jay Jasper Pugao – The Movement

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In our method of Kali as taught by Guro Inosanto, we learn that our term comes from the words “kamut” (hand) and “lihok” (motion, or movement) and so Guro explains that our art is one of hand movements; of body motion. Guro Ramon Rubia used to always say that “the truth is in the movement”, and that Eskrima as our Filipino Martial Art was one that no longer used the physical and literal arms (armas, harnes, or arnes or arnis) but an art whose armor was now comprised of movement itself. What the Spanish once used as metal armor, or what our forebearers wore as fibrous trappings are here and now replaced with our motion. Our skill is our armor.

Years ago I met an Eskrima practitioner in San Francisco, and when he told me that he was a student in Maestro Sonny Umpad’s system I told him how fascinated I was with the footwork and kicking I had seen on YouTube. Immediately he said it must have been “Jay and Greg”, and since then I have been following the Visayan Style Corto Kadena group online, first on YouTube and now on Instagram. In fact, although I have never (not yet) spent time training with Guro Jay, Guro Greg or their group I am constantly inspired by the videos they put out. Like my late friend, Guro Victor Gendrano they seamlessly blend movements of Kali alonside Capoiera, and truly demonstrate their system as one of constant motion, of arcs and angles and of faithful stewardship to their Maestro’s system.

Recently, on a family trip to Hawaii we had a short stayover in the Bay Area and on a whim I reached out to Guro Jay and asked if he would happen to be available, and be willing to meet me for an interview. Graciously, even though he was preparing for his own recent trip to Spain he shared time with me and we talked at a coffee shop in Oakland. Although it was loud and lively, we got to connect on many levels and Guro Jay talked about his work to promote Maestro Sonny’s art, as well as extending his efforts into the Filipino community promoting martial arts, health and clean eating. His work is a story of culture, motions of education, and a movement that binds our fighting arts to our spirit, minds and bodies.


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