July 2004 Newsletter

Student of the Month

NAME: David Ramsay

Q: How did you get the interest in martial arts? How did you hear about PAMA? What influenced you to join PAMA?

A: I spent most of my adult life trying to squeeze in gym workouts around my work and family schedule. I found it increasingly hard to get motivated to slog away on a stairmaster, treadmill or the weight machines and, over a period of 10 years, got more and more out of shape. I saw what was happening to my older colleagues who had basically given up physical activity to focus on careers and how they really suffered from illness and overall poor condition as they aged. One day my daughter bragged to a friend that I was the best dad to hug because I was nice and soft and I pretty much resolved then to look for an activity that would get me reenergized and focused on a more physical life. A friend recommended trying martial arts and I looked on the web for schools in the area. Even though I had no experience it was clear that PAMA stood out from the rest based on the breadth of curriculum and qualifications of the staff. I took a trial class and, despite gasping for breath, found it interesting and challenging in a way a gym never was.

Q: What are the goals you hope to achieve through PAMA?

A: Initially my interest was pretty basic -- getting in shape and losing weight. Since I joined PAMA I have lost about 50 pounds. As I have spent more time here I have a much greater appreciation of what can be accomplished through martial arts in addition to just losing weight. More than any other sport I have been involved in, martial arts demands and develops all my physical attributes -- strength, speed, endurance, coordination, agility, flexibility, balance, etc. A lot of these attributes are missing from most gym workouts and they are also the attributes that I think enhance physical well being as you get older. A lot of the injuries people get as they age are the result of diminished agility and flexibility and I think a lot of machine-based programs work limited sets of muscles in a very linear way and don't give you the benefit of exercising in a complete rage of motion, laterally, etc. As a result of the curriculum at PAMA I feel I have become much more in tune with my body, its capabilities and its weaknesses and have a lot more areas to work on. Most recently, with guidance from Sifu Tucci, I have really been trying to focus on nutrition because I can see how it affects my ability to perform and overall health. To summarize, my goal is to die young at a very old age and PAMA has helped me work on it by providing a fun and interesting way to develop my body toward that end.

In terms of specific technical goals, I would like to get better at taking the theory and techniques we learn and applying them to fighting situations with uncooperative opponents. I have found that the sparring drills and the sparring sessions that are incorporated into the curriculum make the arts real and help me figure out which techniques work for me. To me, this is one of the hardest parts of martial arts and it obviously takes a well crafted program to help people do this in a way that is nonjudgmental but still provides an enjoyable challenge for everyone.

Q: Which martial arts have you studied in the past and which arts are you studying now? Which are your favorite?

A: I never studied martial arts before joining PAMA. I am pretty focused at the moment on Jun Fan and Muay Thai because I like the physical pace and energy level of those classes. I enjoy Kali and have been trying to start learning more grappling. If I can ever create more time in my schedule I would like to spend more time on grappling and take up silat as well because they are both seem to have a lot of value in a self-defense context, are technically very interesting and stress different physical attributes. One of the problem we face as PAMA students is a lot of arts and classes to choose from and not always enough time.

Q: How has martial arts helped or influenced other areas of your life?

A: Most importantly, being more fit has improved my overall health. I also find the mental engagement required by the arts to be very relaxing. It is really hard to think about work or other problems in class because your mind is as involved as your body. I think my training has definitely been an outlet for getting rid of a lot of stress. I have also met a lot of interesting people from a variety of different backgrounds at PAMA that I would never have had the chance to meet otherwise.

Instructor of the Month

NAME: Keith Byrd

Q: How did you get the interest in martial arts? How did you hear about PAMA? What influenced you to join PAMA?

A: Martial arts have been an interest of mine since I was about 10 years old. At that time Kung Fu Theater was very popular among my peers as well as me. But, Bruce Lee's film "Enter the Dragon" really sealed the deal. PAMA was highly recommended to me by a coworker and friend who attended in years prior. Being a huge Bruce Lee fan led me on a search for a school that taught his system. PAMA not only taught Lee's system, but also happened to be the only school in the state of New Jersey certified to teach Jeet Kune Do by Sifu Dan Inosanto. Hence, my decision to try PAMA was a very easy decision to make.

As a student at PAMA it is truly evident that Sifu Rick and Guro Amy believe in the systems which they teach. In my opinion, this quality helps make Sifu Rick and Guro Amy great instructors because it helps the students believe in these systems as well. Other principles established at the academy such as hard work, dedication and willingness to learn (to name a few), make PAMA the best place to train and learn about martial arts.

Q: What are your goals you hope to achieve through PAMA?

A: My goal at PAMA is not to learn how to take a man apart in a matter of seconds, but rather, it is to learn how not to take a man apart in a matter of seconds. As Bruce Lee said in his movie "Enter the Dragon", it’s "the art of fighting without fighting". So... it looks like I could be here for a while!

Q: Which martial arts have you studied in the past and which arts are you studying now? Which are your favorites?

A: PAMA is my first and only martial arts experience. Unless, play fighting in the backyard after Kung Fu Theater counts as experience. Currently, I am studying JKD, Kali, Silat, Muay Thai, and grappling. JKD and Silat are among my favorites. JKD is exciting because of the movement, footwork, and emphasis on speed and economy of motion. Silat is fascinating because of the use of leverage to find sweeps and takedowns while using incredibly creative techniques.

Q: What advice would you give students based on your experience as a student and instructor?

A: There are two pieces of advice I can give students based on my experience as a student and instructor. First, be true to yourself. In many respects, martial arts are about finding yourself, your strengths, your weaknesses, and the limitations you've set for yourself. If you’re not true to yourself, it may become difficult to find answers to these questions. Secondly, never cheat yourself. Always train hard and never take anything for granted. While training at PAMA I've found that I have some good days and some bad days. But, giving maximum effort every day gives me satisfaction.

Guro Amy Seminar in Virginia

On June 19 Guro Amy taught a Kali and Silat seminar at the East Wind Academy of Martial Arts in Newport News Virginia to a crowd of about 35 local and visiting students from as far as New York. The emphasis of the seminar was on flexible weapons, specifically the sarong. The seminar covered some empty hands silat and ended with a short segment on Capoeira. "Everyone said they loved the seminar and had a great time, so for me it was a success" says Amy.

For more picture of Amy's seminar visit the Inosanto Academy Photo Gallery.

Congratulations for Gold Sash

Diana Befi from 8-13 kids class tested for Gold sash and passed. Congratulations Diana!!!

Book of the Month

"Pain Free - A Revolutionary Method for Stopping Chronic Pain" by Pete Egoscue

This month's book is not a book about how to train a particular martial art or about how to develop your attributes. This month we bring you very practical reference material that should help you if and when you get hurt training. This book was recommended by Sifu Rick to a couple of students over the years and proved to be very helpful to them.

Quoted from the back of the book:

"Pain Free is based on a very sound understanding of human physiology. It shows how we can break the circuit of pain and naturally heal one of the most significant disabilities of our times." - Deepak Chopra, author of The Path of Love and The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success

"When I first met Pete Egoscue, I had such a significant back pain that I never thought I would be able to play golf or tennis again. Within a matter of months, I was able to play both without any problem. It is hard for me to find adequate words to describe my gratitude and admiration for Pete and his no-nonsense, straightforward approach to relieving chronic pain." - Ted Forstmann, CEO, Forstmann Little & Co.

"Born from the genius of Pete Egoscue, the simple and effective routines in Pain Free are the cutting edge of physical therapy. This book is extraordinary, and I am thrilled to recommend it to anyone who's interested in dramatically increasing the quality of their physical health." - Anthony Robbins, author of Awaken the Giant Within and Unlimited Power

"Pete Egoscue teaches you practical, powerful 'motioncises' - motion exercises that will become your own best exercise therapist. Whether you are in chronic pain or are a peak performance athlete, Pain Free can help you transform pain into power, and hurt into heart. Egoscue's methods will help you feel at home again in your body!" - Harold Bloomfield, MD, author of How to Heal Depression

Dietary Supplement of the Month

BioBuilde (TM)

This month we introduce to you BioBuilde(TM). The information below is quoted from an article about BioBuilde(TM) in the March 2004 issue of Triathlete. It provides background information to make it easier to understand how this product is useful.

Our bodies are built of proteins, which are what our muscles, bones, hair, skin and organs are made of. Proteins are also the basis for many of our hormones, neurotransmitters and immune cells - you could call them the building blocks of the body.

When we use our bodies a lot, such as in training and racing, these proteins break down and need to be replaced. The faster they are replaced, the faster we return to our normal state. Overtraining is a result of our repair system not keeping up with this breakdown.

For a muscle to get stronger, it must add protein to its existing mass. When muscles work at a high level, they build up lactic acid. The muscle cells have enzymes to breakdown the lactic acids. These enzymes are also made of protein.

Proteins are actually chains made up of smaller basic units called amino acids. In nature, there are 22 known amino acids, but our bodies only really need eight of them to construct all of the proteins of our body. These eight are called essential amino acids. Essential, because we cannot live without them; they must be part of our dietary intake.

After a hard workout, the muscle cells need to rebuild their proteins. If the amino acids they need are not readily available to the cell, those proteins will not be built, and the whole sequence of repair will be incomplete or delayed. As a result, new muscle growth does not happen or happens belatedly, so the training effect one expects does not occur, and, even worse, breakdown and injury follow.

The same thing happens with the proteins that make up our immune system. After a hard training or race day, if there is insufficient protein intake to complete the repair process and keep the immune proteins at their optimal level, we can get sick. The bottom line is that we need the proteins that give us the eight essential amino acids, in the correct proportions, and in a form that the body can easily use.

We can evaluate various sources of protein from our diets based on how well they supply these eight essential amino acids and how well the body can use the amino acids from them to build up body structure. Nutritionists use the term Net Nitrogen Usage (NNU) to evaluate this. The NNU is a measure of what percentage of a given protein is actually used by the body. If the protein is in the wrong form, or the proportion of amino acids that make up the protein are not what the body needs, then the protein will be turned into waste or burned as calories.

The makers of BioBuilde(TM) claim to have a much higher NNU percentage than other sources of the eight essential amino acids and therefore a much lower percentage of Nitrogen Waste. Other sources of the eight essential amino acids they compare their product to are whole hen eggs, fish, poultry, meet, whey, soy, casein, and egg whites.

Technique of the Month

This month Sifu Rick demonstrates a Silat technique with help from assistant instructor Neil Acevedo.


Author: Asaf Ronen