Why do you train in martial arts? What is it that keeps you coming back?
I train in the martial arts because of the physical and mental benefits. I initially started training in 1973 while a graduate student in Cambridge Mass. I dabbled with Kung Fu in Boston. I then tried Okinawan style Karate at a school located in Watertown, Mass. I enjoyed the training but did not stick with either school for any period of time.
Over thirty years later, I find myself at the Harvard of the Martial Arts-- the Princeton Academy of Martial Arts. Training in the martial arts helps in making me more aware of my surroundings including the ability to focus and think clearer and act quicker than if I did not train. The self defense aspects, although I hope I do not have to use them, make me more prepared than I otherwise would be. Hopefully, if the situation should arise, some of the discipline and techniques from training would kick in with the fear and emotion, and assist in overcoming the adversary.
I keep coming back because I just feel better after training. My wife says I am a better person to be around if I train.
How long have you been training at PAMA? You left and came back at some point. What made you come back to PAMA?
I think I started training at PAMA sometime in 1999. I stopped after a few months and came back in 2000 for about a year and stopped again. I started again in 2004 and I am into my second year. I keep coming back to PAMA because of the quality of the program, that is the instruction and attitude of all the people involved. The talks by Sifu Rick on the philosophical underpinnings of the training, as well as on the skills, attitude and techniques all combine to make this a quality program. I keep coming back because I feel so much better after class. The class itself clears away all other problems. It is hard to think about anything else with someone standing in front of you executing a technique other than the proper response to that technique.
Which classes do you take? Why are you taking those classes?
I primarily attend Jun Fan classes and more recently Kali classes. Jun Fan, the Bruce Lee style, is what brought me to the school. It is the mixing of the different fighting techniques into a coherent style of fighting that I find appealing. The scientific approach, the notion of your arms and legs as tools in executing offensive and defensive actions I find conceptually appealing. More recently I have been attending Kali classes; learning weapons if nothing but a stick might come in handy.
What line of work are you in? What do you do for a living?
I completed my graduate studies and started my academic career as an assistant professor in economics at Texas A&M University in 1978. I moved to the University of Maryland at College Park in the early 80s and back to Texas in the mid 80s as a Professor and Head of the Economics Dept. at Prairie View A&M University. It was during the time at Prairie that my wife and I started our consulting company. I left full-time teaching in 1987 because the business demanded full-time attention. Currently I am President of our consulting company, which is headquartered in Texas. We have offices in Princeton, NJ, Washington DC, Budapest, Hungary, and Sarajevo Bosnia. In 2000 I felt the urge to return to teaching on a part-time basis. I taught an economics course at the College of New Jersey that year and taught at the University of Texas at Austin in 2002.
Do you watch boxing on TV? Do you find yourself watching it differently since you started training at PAMA?
My favorite sport is boxing. Since I started PAMA I find that I watch the feet, and leg movements more in boxing match versus just the end of the punch.
Anything else you want to add?
You are never too old to continue to learn. First, the training at PAMA helps me focus and do my job better. An added benefit is in trying to learn Jun Fan and the way it is taught at PAMA I will be a better economics teacher. Teaching something that you have done for years becomes almost instinctive. A good teacher is able to take what is instinctive to them and break it down such that others understand it. Trying to understand and execute, for example a series technique, for example pak sao to a lop sao, followed by a combination of punches and kicks is not conceptually difficult but trying to remember and execute it is difficult and takes practice. The patience with someone explaining and explaining, again, and again until you get it, is part of what makes a good teacher. As a student trying to learn Jun Fan I better understand what my students go through when trying to learn microeconomics. I forgot how difficult it was for me to learn economics. Jun Fan has brought it back home.
PAMA's Guro Amy Tucci taught a three-day training camp on June 24-26 in Newport News, Virginia, sponsored by Norris Domangue, owner and head instructor of East Wind Academy of Martial Arts. The 2005 Mini-Legends Camp, which also featured instruction by Guro Marc McFann, of Fayetteville, Arkansas, who, like Guro Amy, is a Full Instructor under Sifu Dan Inosanto, was well attended, with participants coming from as far away as Florida and Connecticut. Guro Amy instructed the attendees in Jun Fan Gung Fu, Filipino and Thai staff, flexible weapons and Silat. All who attended the camp had a great time and felt that they had learned a tremedous amount in a truly positive and fun atmosphere. A special addition to learning the martial arts were the extracurricular activities held after the training. Everyone enjoyed live music by the band Tim Morgan and the Mojo Brothers, picnic fare, and tubing on the river. As a special bonus, Guro Amy was invited to play as a guest drummer in the band. The combination of martial arts, summer fun and good company was unbeatable as detailed in the photos.
Guro Amy demonstrates Jun Fan trapping on Norris (Left photo) Guro Amy with Guro Marc McFann demonstrating grappling (Right photo)
Guro Amy demonstrates staff with Norris (Left photo) Guro Amy with other Inosanto Association instructors (Right photo)
Guro Amy with Guro Marc McFann (Left Photo) Guro Amy playing drums with the band (Right Photo)
On June 15 PAMA hosted a two-hour workshop in Brazilian Jui-Jitsu featuring Marcos Santos, the only East Coast Blackbelt under the Machado Brothers.
Attended by over twenty participants, including two Marcos Santos students from Pennsylvania, the workshop covered several aspects of Brazilian Jui-Jitsu, including throws, takedowns, passing the guard and drills to develop ground mobility and body positioning.
A question and answer session at the conclusion of the workshop gave individual students the opportunity to get specific answers from Marcos regarding the further development of their respective skills in Brazilian Jui-Jitsu.
On July 28 PAMA students were surprised with a rare treat. Professor Salem Assli happened to be passing through the New Jersey area and offered to give an impromptu mini seminar in the art of Boxe Francaise Savate. Those students who missed Professor Assli during his normal yearly seminar got a chance to see Savate in its purest form from a true master. Over the course of the two-hour workshop, the Professor covered various basics, distance drills, attack combinations, and defensive counters. By the end, an improvement could be seen in everyone's form. Thanks again to Professor Assli for taking time out of his trip to visit Princeton.
On Saturday June 18 PAMA conducted a two-and-a-half-hour self defense seminar for young women between the ages of 14 and 18. The seminar was given by PAMA instructors Mary Jo Colli and Neil Acevedo and assisted by PAMA student and Lawrence Township Police Officer Tom Everest.
The primary goal of the course was to educate and to raise the level of awareness for young women that are about to become more independent in their daily activities with respect to personal safety. The course combined lecture, question and answer sessions, awareness enhancing drills, and physical techniques.
There was great feedback from the students that attended, and they felt that they had learned useful information that could be applied in their day-to-day activities.
Many thanks to Tom for his help and valuable input!!
On June 10-12. PAMA assistant instructors Mike Lee and Mary Jo Colli took a cross country trip to Los Angeles to train at the Legends Camp at the renowned Inosanto Academy of Martial Arts. Famed Instructors Dan Inosanto, Chai Sirisute, Francis Fong, and Jean Jacques Machado came together under one roof to teach attendees the arts of Kali/Silat/Jun Fan JKD, Thai boxing, Wing Chun, and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
The two participants were very proud to represent PAMA at this event and very much enjoyed the camp which consisted of 10 hours training a day. Both Kru Mike and Kru Mary Jo assisted Ajarn Chai and helped the students with the Muay Thai drills. They also demonstrated drills during the camp in both Jun Fan and Wing Chun. It is always quite an honor to see and experience these Legends in person.
This is a little story from the newsletter editor, yours truly, me. I've been a student of Sifu Rick Tucci for nine years now. Time sure goes by fast. When I first joined PAMA I trained four times a week, and then, after I got married, twice a week but for at least three hours each time. Now with a baby boy on the way who knows what will happen... maybe I'll come to train every day to avoid changing diapers. One thing I can tell you for sure though, this baby will kick before it walks. Spinning heel kicks of course.
In any case I am rambling. I am writing to tell you about a recent experience I had that influenced me. In June I took a business trip to Texas for a week. I visited a friend in Austin and worked in Dallas. During my stay I felt the urge to train so I looked up local affiliated schools on the Dan Inosanto website. I was really happy to find schools in both Austin and Dallas training in the styles disseminated by Guro Dan Inosanto taught by colleagues of Sifu Rick and Guro Amy.
While in Austin I called Ray Parra at his Austin Academy of Martial Arts to see if I could train with him. Ray was very welcoming. It felt like an extended family. I met his students. They knew the same people I knew and we talked the same language. It was very interesting to take his class and experience his expression of the arts. In particular I found it stimulating how Jun Fan techniques and Silat techniques where intermixed into flowing sequences, while adapting the Silat moves to a JKD look and feel. At the same time it made me appreciate the more traditional training I received in Silat at PAMA, giving me a stronger base for effective execution. It got me to reflect on how Bruce Lee first trained in traditional Wing Chun giving him a good base for his modernized trapping techniques. This is surprising to me since I never thought of PAMA as traditional. In fact I find PAMA to be a good mix of traditional and adaptive.
Dallas was a whole different experience. While in Dallas I got the urge to train again. Surprise. So this time I just showed up at Valentine Espiricueta's Southeast Asian Academy of Martial Arts, also listed on the Dan Inosanto website. At first Valentine thought I was lost, seeing me in my work clothes. Then he though I was there to sell him something and was quick to say he was not interested in buying anything. But I insisted I wasn't lost and wasn't there to sell him anything. Once I mentioned I was a student of Rick Tucci his attitude change completely. Valentine is a hard-core, no-nonsense fighter and trainer, period. He trains you as if you are in the ring fighting and he is your coach. He gave me two-and-a-half hours of one-on-one hard-core training in boxing, and then we played with Kali sticks for a little while. We only stopped because I was getting tired. Valentine trains his cousin the current Muay Thai boxing champion in Dallas. He also trained some of the Dallas Cowboys football team players in how to incorporate martial art moves into sports to improve and enhance their performance.
PAMA sure opens doors for you when you least expect it. Thanks Ray and Valentine for your training.
Earning their gold sash in Jun Fan Gung Fu, are students Finnian Runyon, Lexuss Luongo-Hyatt, and Newell Woodworth. They are pictured here with Si Hing Max, Sifu Rick, Instructor Carrie and Guro Amy. We congratulate them on their hard work, persistence and martial arts spirit.
The Three Musketeers
Newell, Finnian, Lexuss, and proud instructor Carrie
Sifu Rick believes "Think On These Things " is such an important book to read that he recommends it a second time in this newsletter. Sifu Rick feels the philosophy aspect of martial arts is very important, and much of what Bruce Lee wrote and incorporated in his philosophy was from Krishnamurti.
"Think on These Things" by Jiddu Krishnamurti
The book "Think on These Things" from Sifu Rick's library collection is one of his favorites. See the first twenty pages of the book at Amazon.com. Here is an excerpt from the first chapter:
I wonder if we have ever asked ourselves what education means. Why do we go to school, why do we learn various subjects, why do we pass examinations and compete with each other for better grades? What does this so-called education mean, and what is it all about? This is really a very important question, not only for the student, but also for the parents, for the teachers, and for everyone who loves this earth. Why do we go through the struggle to be educated? Is it merely in order to pass some examinations and get a job? Or is it the function of education to prepare us while we are young to understand the whole process of life? Having a job and earning one's livelihood is necessary - but is that all? Are we being educated only for that? Surely, life is not merely a job, an occupation; life is something extraordinarily wide and profound, it is a great mystery, a vast realm in which we function as human beings. If we merely prepare ourselves to earn a livelihood, we shall miss the whole point of life; and to understand life is much more important than merely to prepare for examinations and become very proficient in mathematics, physics, or what you will.
This month Sifu Rick and assistant instructor Mike Lee demonstrate a Kali technique using a long dagger and a short dagger versus a long dagger and a short dagger.
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|"In oneself lies the whole world and if you know how to look and learn, the door is there and the key is in your hand. Nobody on earth can give you either the key or the door to open, except yourself." - Jiddu Krishnamurti|
|"The purpose of training is to tighten up the slack, toughen the body, and polish the spirit." - Morihei Ueshiba|
|"'Artless art' is the artistic process within the artist; its meaning is 'art of the soul'. All the various moves of all the tools means a step on the way to the absolute aesthetic world of the soul." - Bruce Lee
"Creation in art is the psychic unfolding of the personality, which is rooted in the nothing. Its effect is a deepening of the personal dimension of the soul." - Bruce Lee
Beta-1, 3-D Glucan
The following information is quoted from a brochure by www.transferpoint.com:
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Book about Beta-1, 3-D Glucan
Editor: Asaf Ronen
Photographs by Mike Lee, Asaf Ronen, Amy Tucci