September 2004 Newsletter

Instructor of the Month

NAME: Neil Acevedo

Q: How did you get the interest in martial arts?

A: My journey in the martial arts began for me at the age of 7 after being exposed for the first time to Bruce Lee in the movie "Enter the Dragon". At that point, I knew that I would be devoting some part of my life to the martial arts. I just didn't know in which form it would be. I searched desperately for a martial arts school that was affordable and close to home. But I could not find one in the Bronx neighborhood where I grew up. When I was 9, my uncle, who was an All-Army boxer in the fifties, suggested that I look into learning boxing because he thought it was more practical than Karate. Soon after that conversation with my uncle, I convinced my parents to let me join an after-school-boxing program that was sponsored by the Police Athletic League in the South Bronx. The program only lasted for about 1 year.

For the next few years, I devoted my time to participating in organized team sports. In high school and college I played football and ran track. But my first love has always been the martial arts. After college, I spent 6 years in the military as a flight engineer on Black Hawk helicopters. While I was in the military, I was stationed at Fort Riley Kansas, Honduras, Panama, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Fort Campbell Kentucky. During that time, I used every opportunity I had to train in the martial arts. Due to my hectic military schedule and the constant moving around, it was hard for me to train consistently in one place or in one style. The one positive is that the constant traveling allowed me to train in different martial arts such as Tae Kwon Do, Karate, Ju Jitsu, and White Crane Kung Fu. It was this opportunity to train with different instructors that made me believe that value can be found in all styles.

When I was reaching the end of my time in the military in early 1997, I knew that I would be returning to the New York/New Jersey area. So in the middle of looking for a place to live and researching the area job markets, I ran across an ad in Black Belt Magazine for PAMA. In fact, I still remember where I was when I found the ad. I was in a tent in the back woods of Louisiana on a military training exercise when I saw it and I was completely blown-away. I could not believe that there was one place that taught and encouraged cross training in different arts. It was also the first school I had seen that taught Bruce Lee's art as well. Right then, I knew that when I returned to the East Coast I would have to come to PAMA and see what it was all about.

Q: Which martial arts do you train at PAMA, and which ones are your favorite?

A: I have trained in all of the arts offered at PAMA and must say that I love them all equally. Each art brings out something different and teaches you more about yourself every time you do it.

Q: What do you do for a living?

A: I work for a real estate development firm that manages Princeton Forrestal Center, a 2,200 acre mixed use facility along Route One. We do everything from property management to financial analysis and land planning for our clients.

Q: What advice would you give new students as an instructor and martial arts practitioner?

A: Cross train! Cross train! Cross train! There is no faster way to progress in these arts than to do as much as you can whenever you can right from the start. It is truly the only way to learn how to "flow."

Q: What martial arts certifications and levels do you hold?

  • Apprentice Instructor in Filipino martial arts under Guro Rick Tucci.
  • Apprentice Instructor in Jun Fan martial arts under Sifu Rick Tucci.
  • Apprentice Instructor in Thai Boxing under Master Surachai Sirisute, Thai Boxing Association of the U.S.A.
  • Fourth level (White Glove) in Boxe Francaise Savate under Professor Salem Assli.
  • Yellow Cord in Capoeira under Professor Caxias.

Student of the Month

NAME: Justin Corbalis

Q: Which martial arts do you train at PAMA? Why/How did you choose to study those arts?

A: I currently train everything besides capoiera. At first, like most students, I started off with Jun Fan. At the time, I was told by many people that this simply was "THE" martial art to do. After being taken back by the sheer complexity of the art (keep in mind I was only in the front at the time), I knew that I had to see what else was out there. For a little bit, i was caught up in the "hype" of training in "Bruce Lee's Martial Art," and made the common mistake of thinking this was THE BEST. But as with all things, time exposes you to other perspectives. I slowly transitioned into taking Muay Thai, then Grappling, then Kali, and then came the fateful day I watched a Silat class, and for those of you who have taken Silat, you know it sells the second you lay eyes on it.

Q: How has training at PAMA helped you with other aspects of your life? (such as in other sports/activities, every day life, aspects of life)

A: I could write an essay on how training at PAMA has intertwined and become part of all the circuits of my life, but I'm sure you wouldn't want that. Physically, PAMA has put me in the best shape of my life, and continues to do so every time i go there. There are no lulls in training. Simply put, it is a non-stop improvement of my body. My speed, endurance, flexibility, accuracy, relaxation..... everything has improved. I am also a big supporter of the phrase "my body my temple," and therefore see improving your body as a way to branch out into previously untapped levels of conciousness and being. Continuing on the mental trend, Sifu Rick constantly drills the philosophy of both the arts, and life in general, into classes. Control, confidence, respect, etc. are only some of the many mental attributes training, and thinking at PAMA can hone in you. (note how training and thinking coincide).

Q: If you are a student, what are you studing? If you are working, what is your profession?

A: I am currently a student at the College of New Jersey. My major is Philosophy, and I hope to one day be a professor. I also work as a waitor on Saturday and Sunday at Ristorante Capuano (I rule, visit me and tip me well), and just very recently have started working in the PAMA pro-shop.

Q: What goals do you hope to achieve through PAMA?

A: Perpetual self improvement is really the only goal I'm interested in. I let you know when i get there.

Q: When you tell friends about what you train at PAMA how do they react?

A: Well, MOST of my friends wouldn't know the difference between Thai Boxing and Tae Bo unless you threw them in the ring. So usually, if they ask, I try to make it as short and concise as possible, because there's nothing like wasting an hour on explaining things to people (which I could easily do introducing all the arts I train in), when they will forget the next time they see a bright color. However, for the few interested friends I have, they are usually awestruck by the way it sounds, and on the rare occasion they get to see Aki and myself train, they just say "damn." After thay, they either take my advice and check PAMA out, or do their own thing, which is still cool.

Guru Amy at Tuhon Leo Gaje Seminar

Tuhon and Amy

August 21 and 22 Guro Amy trained with Tuhon Leo Gaje, Grandmaster of the Pekiti Tersia system of Kali, at his seminar sponsored by East Wind Academy in Virginia, covering a Filipino blade fighting system, edged weapons, impact weapons, and empty hands combat. The following day Guro Amy was a guest teacher for the Jun Fan class at the academy.

Pekiti-Tirsia Kali is a close-quarter, in-fighting combat system against multiple opponents based on the use of the Blade. The Pekiti-Tirsia system of Kali originates from the province of Negros Occidental in in Philippines and was formulated by the Tortal Family of Negros and Panay islands. The family patriarch, Conrado B. Tortal, passed this system and its attributes onto his only grandson, and sole heir, Grand Tuhon Leo Tortal Gaje, Jr. - source

NAGA Competition

PAMA competitors with Sifu Rick from left Hank Goodhue,
Ben Brophy, Sifu Rick, Mary Jo Colli, Mike Wolfert, and Kurt Komoda.

On Saturday and Sunday August 7 and 8, for the fifth year NAGA (North America Grappling Association) has brought the "Battle at the Beach" submission tournament to Wildwood, New Jersey, this time at the Wildwood Convention Center. The competition's website states "This event has grown so large that we have increased the number of divisions to 170! This is the largest event we ever had, more grapplers, more divisions, more awards than all our competitors combined!"

A group of PAMA members, accompanied by Sifu Rick, have attended and competed at the "Battle at the Beach", bringing home some awards. Cogratulations Mary Jo Colli and Hank Goodhue!!!

Mary Jo brought home second place in the Women's Light Heavyweight Advanced division as well as third place in the Women's Lightweight Advanced division. Hank took home third place in the Men's Light/Heavyweight Novice division. We are proud of our PAMA friends that participated in this competition.

New Mixed Martial Arts/Striking/Grappling Class on Thursday Nights

Starting in September PAMA has added another class to the schedule. On Thursday nights at 7:30 you can learn a combination of striking and grappling with no gi required. It is an exceptional workout and teaches the groundwork combined with striking. See you there!

Dietary Supplement of the Month

Immune Builder - Mushroom Combination Formula

MaitakeGold is a potent Maitake extract developed by Dr. Hiroaki Nanba, PhD., the inventor of Maitake nutraceuticals. MaitakeGold represents such a significant improvement in Maitake formulations that it was recently granted a U.S. Patent (U.S. Patent # 5,854,404). The only Maitake product that carries Dr. Nanba's personal endorsement, MaitakeGold is organic, and is extracted from a unique strain of Maitake mushroom grown by the Yukiguni Maitake Company of Japan. - source

Read an article on the health benefits of mushrooms at

Book of the Month

"The Secrets of Giron Arnis Escrima" by Antonio E. Somera

The late Leo Giron was Guru Dan Inosanto's instructor. "This book is long overdue, and a welcome addition to my martial arts library" says Guru Dan Inosanto.

Quoted from the back of the book:

"The history of the Philippines and her martial arts is a history of resistance and revolt. Born into this fertile time and place, Grandmaster Leo M. Giron became a child of revolution. He grew up in a time when martial arts training was a necessity, not a luxury. His system was taught to him by five renowned masters; his experience honed in the jungle warfare of World War II"

"The Secrets of Giron Arnis Escrima is an engaging biography of Leo Giron, a senior master of escrima and survivor of numerous hand-to-hand encounters in the Philippine jungles. It is also a visual and descriptive survey of Giron's fighting art-a classical weapons and empty-hand self-defense system applicable in today's modern society. Included herein is an overview of the twenty styles that make up the Giron system in general, and an analysis of the de fondo and cadena de mano styles in particular. Packed with over 300 historical and instructional photographs, this book truly reveals the secrets of Giron arnis escrima."

"Tony Somera is the only person to whom Grandmaster Giron awarded the master's degree in the art of Giron arnis escrima. He is the presiding master of the Bahala Na Martial Arts Association, and his articles have appeared in Free Voice and Martial Arts Legends magazines."

Technique of the Month

This month Sifu Rick demonstrates the Villabraille eight-count from Kali with help from assistant instructor Neil Acevedo.


Author: Asaf Ronen