Besides you, you have other family members training at PAMA. Who are they and how long have they been training at PAMA? Which arts do they train in?
My entire family signed up around September 2002. Our children, Luthien and Gil, started with the children's classes immediately after. Jennifer and I began our JKD and Kali classes a month or so later. Jennifer had to stop after about a year because of a series of injuries (not from martial arts!) but the rest of us are still at PAMA. Luthien is now my "classmate" in Kali and Silat. Gil is still in the children's classes but is already looking forward to next year when he'll be old enough to join the adults. I've been taking the JKD and Kali classes from the beginning and added Silat to the mix last year. I also attended a couple of grappling classes and took a liking to the art. Unfortunately, it's hard for me to make it to the scheduled classes.
What influenced you to start training and how did you convince your family to train as well?
My kids inspired me to take up martial arts not the other way around, although my wife was the one who set them on the path. Luthien and Gil took martial arts lessons before they joined PAMA and their sense of enjoyment was contagious. Jennifer and I decided to try it out for its potential health benefits and as another thread we could weave into our family life.
How would you characterize your progress since you first started?
Frankly, in the beginning, I joined PAMA only for what I thought I could tailor into an "exercise program" that would keep me engaged. I had minimal interest in sports and fitness, had zero experience in martial arts and physically, years of neglect showed. I was a middle-aged non-starter! I didn't even show up for my first class until a month or so after I signed up. However, the PAMA program and community -- Sifu, Guro Amy, the instructors and the students -- drew and sustained my interest. I've since become more comfortable with the idea of learning fighting skills although it is still hard for me to even think about literally going for the jugular. Up to now, targeting anything other than an arm, a leg or a mitt still does not come naturally. In sum, most of the change I experienced is not physical although I don't have as much back pain as when I started, my joints don't creak as much as they used to and I can now make it past the warm ups :-)
What is your favorite aspect about training at PAMA?
I've come to appreciate PAMA as place to learn, not just martial art techniques but more so about the self. It's where I'm beginning to appreciate martial arts as a new lens through which I can view life. What PAMA asks me to do and think about resonates within although the actualization takes time. The things on the walls, the music, the stories, the readings, even the smell of incense round out the experience and remind me that Kali has a 12th area and that there is a chance for good traditions to live on. The totality helps me correlate and connect slices of life past and present (which is not the most appropriate thing to do when there's jab is heading your way). On top of this, PAMA is one place that my teenagers deign to be seen with their parents.
What happens at home with so many JKD and Kali practitioners?
Luthien and Gil practice together for their tests and we would sometimes help each other execute drills and techniques. Other than that, PAMA teachings come out mostly at playtime. PAMA gave us new "toys" and provided a twist or two to horsing around (to the detriment of my wife's effort to maintain a degree of order). Gil and Luthien like to nail Dad with the action flex sticks, with the boxing gloves too but I've been keeping them out of that until I get protective gear. One move that Gil likes to do is to turn me from an Anakin into a Darth Vader by "cutting-off" my legs with the action flex sticks. We "wrestle" for a better position on the sofa or for a preferred TV viewing angle. We also "ambush" and "tag" each other with hand or feet taps, kutos (noogies), kurots (pinches), kiliti (tickles) and kagat (bites).
What do you do for a living?
I've been in the information technology (IT) industry for almost 20 years and was in the academe as a teacher and researcher for several years before that. When I joined PAMA, I was still an IT consultant spending most of my days on the road. Recently, I went back to a more predictable corporate IT job at a place close to home. My current focus is on corporate IT strategy, architecture and practices -- areas where conceptual parallels with teachings at PAMA can be found.
Bruce Lee's personal writings on martial art and the art of life.
"Bruce Lee, Artist of Life"
Bruce Lee was an intense man with such sheer concentration of energy that no one who encountered him, on screen or in person, could help but be drawn to him and his enthusiasm for life and knowledge. A voracious and engaged reader, Lee wrote extensively, synthesizing the thought of East and West into a unique personal philosophy of self-discovery. Bruce Lee, Artist of Life explores the development and fruition of Bruce Lee's thought about gung fu, philosophy, psychology, poetry, jeet kune do, acting, and self-knowledge. This volume from Bruce Lee's private notebooks is capped by a selection of Lee's letters that eloquently demonstrate how he incorporated his thought into his actions and advice to others. Also included are multiple drafts of select compositions, showing how Lee's thought evolved and was refined over the years and how the ideas he was reading and writing about were reflected in his work and everyday life.
In the July 2005 issue of Great Britain's number one martial arts magazine, Martial Arts Illustrated, you will find a three-page illustrated article covering an interview of our instructor Rick Tucci.
The "Kali, The Filipino Martial Arts" video series by Rick Tucci is now available on DVD. Ask at the ProShop for more details.
Sifu Rick demonstrating a Silat technique
On the last weekend in July Sifu Rick visited Malmo Sweden to provide a two day-seminar in JKD, Kali, and Silat. Seminar participants came from as far away as Paris and England. The seminar took place at the Malmo Academy of Martial Arts, belonging to Dan Johansson. Dan Johansson is the only instructor in Sweden under Sifu Rick, since 1990. Dan Johansson is also certified under Guro Dan Inosanto. Sifu Rick offered a special advanced workshop for instructors covering material very rarely covered, not known by many practitioners. Assistant instructor Mary Jo Colli attended the seminar. For information on future seminars in Sweden contact Dan Johansson at email@example.com.
Some instructors out for a Swedish dinner
Instructors Mary Jo of PAMA, Sylvain From Paris and Laurence from England
Seminar participants training
Dan Johansson and Eddie Bengston
Neil Acevdeo, Chuck Choe, Mike Lee, and Damian Chojnowski
Before I start to speak about the trip, congratulations need to go out to Mike Lee who became an associate instructor and also won an award for hard worker during the camp. This was my first Thai camp and even though Kheun Kru Mike Lee filled me in and gave me many tips on how the camp was going to be, it was an experience that really can't be described, it has to be physically experienced.
The whole Thai Camp experience started around 6am at Newark Airport. Takeoff was 7 am and we landed in Portland around 10 am, checked out the city and had lunch. After walking around Portland for a bit, we headed up to the camp. The camp was basically situated on top of a mountain and when we arrived we all met with Ajarn Chai. He welcomed us like we were family; along with everyone else we met at the camp.
The group with Leonard Trigg The group with Ajarn Chai
The first day of camp was finally here and wake up was around 5 am. If it weren't for Kheun Kru Mike's ability to speed to camp, we probably would have had to get up around 4:30. The first day started off with a run, with half the run being up hill. After the run, breakfast was served. A little break was given to digest our food, then it was five stations that consisted of shadow boxing, Thai pads, Plum, heavy bags, and timing drills. After 40 rounds of drills, the fighters group also had to do body builders and 3-on-1 plum. After the 3-on-1 plum, we all got to eat lunch. After lunch it was basically the same routine, but we all had to run after we completed the 3-on-1 plum. It was cramps galore when the night ended. I didn't feel too bad though, because looking around it was apparent that I was not the only one who was getting cramps. It almost seemed as if a disease was going around with all the people suddenly cramping up and making some crazy faces.
Neil at Bruce Lee's and Brandon Lee's Graves
The daily workouts were all similar to the first day, but on two of the four days we all got a special treat when Kru Leonard Trigg had his mini-seminars on boxing. We all got the opportunity to learn a lot about the science of boxing. It was more than just learning how to throw a punch; it was a breakdown of the art. After the first day, the remaining days just seemed to pass by very quickly. It was also great to workout with Kru Neil because he was able to breakdown a lot of the techniques learned and re-teach them to me. Even though we were training for 100 rounds on certain days, the laughs that I shared with Kru Neil, Kheun Kru Mike and Damion made the many rounds and long days well worth it.
On the last day we all went to Seattle to pay our respects to Sigung Bruce Lee. It was a very special moment to actually see the grave and be around the spirit of a legend. After that we all went to check out the Space Needle, which was very neat. After the Needle we all headed back to the airport to go home. Overall the camp was an unbelievable experience. Ajarn Chai is an incredible instructor and in just four days I gained a lifetime of experience in the art of Muay Thai. A special thank you to Sifu Rick Tucci and Guro Amy Tucci for having a martial arts academy that offers opportunities such as Thai Camp. I realize that PAMA students belong to something special and I am grateful to be part of PAMA.
This month Sifu Rick and assistant instructor Mike Lee demonstrate two Silat techniques.
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|"Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever" - Gandhi|
|"Those who have failed to work toward the truth have missed the purpose of living." - Buddha|
|"Four thousand volumes of metaphysics will not teach us what the soul is." - Voltaire|
|"Eternity has nothing to do with the hereafter... This is it... If you don't get it here, you won't get it anywhere. The experience of eternity right here and now is the function of life. Heaven is not the place to have the experience; here's the place to have the experience." - Joseph Campbell|
|"I'm glad I have not found my style, I would be bored to death." - Degas|
The following information is quoted from a brochure by AllergyResearchGroup:
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For more information read the brochure about BrainStorm(R) by AllergyResearchGroup.
Editor: Asaf Ronen
Photographs & Videos by Mike Lee and Asaf Ronen