“Watch how he moves. Look at him.” I looked over my shoulder for a moment. “Did you see him?”
I was partnered up with Guro Victor Gendrano for the evening Kali class at the Inosanto Academy. I was there for Instructor Camp, so the school was crowded with both students as well as visiting instructors from around the country, even from around the world. We were pushed to the very back, at the edge of the mats. Sticks were swinging everywhere, the aroma of In-N-Out wafted in through the open bay doors. But even through the chaos and distractions, his movement was unmistakable. Professor Guy Chase circled his partner, counterbalanced his stick with his hands, moved with the flowing footwork of “tayada” and echoed the old footage of Guro Inosanto and Guro Ted Lucaylucay back in the day.
I had been telling Guro Victor about my craving for In-N-Out all evening, so when he asked Professor if he wanted to join us at the fast food joint after class, I immediately changed my tune and offered to go anywhere they wanted. But being the friend that Guro Victor was, and Professor really just wanting to spend time with him and catch up, the first time I spent time with Professor Guy Chase was over burgers, fries and shakes.
He said something to us that night though, something that haunted me for the last 3 years. “They ask the blessing of the souls before them, to come into the training. And at the end, they send the blessing with out with the students.” It was beautiful. And hinted at the deep and spiritual roots of Kali that is not often talked about today.
I had started this podcast with the intention of only ever interviewing and speaking with guests in person. The energy, the actual presence was different. Like our Kali, like the dialogue and flow and back and forth of Sumbrada, the sharing of flow and movement. But then of course Covid hit, and despite the restrictions on the world this pandemic granted me freedom. And when I asked Professor if he would consider being a guest and he agreed, I knew exactly what I wanted to ask him about.
Professor Guy Chase is a longtime student and instructor under Guro Inosanto, as well as Guro Ted Lucaylucay of the Lucaylucay Kali System and one of the privileged few to study and earn via blood ceremony his title of Professor under Tuhan Mel Lopez and Upong Tuhan Ben Largusa of Villabrille/Largusa Kali. He was a personal student of Pendakar Herman Suwanda, the legendary Karl Gotch and spent nearly a decade learning the prestigious Chado Tea Ceremony. It was my great privilege to have Professor Guy Chase on the podcast to talk about traditional Kali training, the spiritual component of the art, and his amazing journey.
And to my good friend and senior in Filipino Martial Arts, the late Guro Victor Gendrano. Rest in peace, Kuya. I miss our talks.