October 2003 Newsletter

Muay Thai Seminar Energetic

The Ajarn Chai Sirisute seminar in Thai Boxing held on September 13 and 14 was well attended. It was the fifteenth consecutive year Ajarn Chai Sirisute conducted a seminar at PAMA. He was charismatic and energetic. People from all over, including Virginia, Maryland, and the Washington DC area, joined people from the tri-state area at the seminar. Ajarn Chai electrified the crowd and enhanced everybody’s Muay Thai skills by reinforcing the basics and providing powerful combinations of Muay Thai techniques. Persons attending both days of the seminar received certification from the Thai Boxing Association of America certifying the hours of direct instruction from Ajarn Chai Sirisute in Muay Thai.

Highlighting this year’s seminar were PAMA’s own assistant instructors Neil Acevedo and Mary Jo Colli testing for their instructor certification under Ajarn Chai Sirisute. Both Neil and Mary Jo were tested in the proficiency of their basic Muay Thai strikes, basic combinations, and technique form. They also had to demonstrate the Rai Waykru ceremony and the Ram Muay ceremony. Both Neil and Mary Jo underwent two rounds of intense hardcore rounds on Muay Thai pads, demonstrating their defense against full blast kicks and punches, while executing over 60 kicks and 45 skip knees each round.

Neal and Mary Jo were joined in their testing for the instructor certification by Derrick Dockeray from Maryland. PAMA’s own Sifu Rick held pads for Derrick in the second round and gave him a demanding but fair hold. All three participants passed the test. We are all very proud of Neil and Mary Jo.

On the day after the seminar Ajarn Chai Sirisute held a special Muay Thai workshop for instructors and advanced students in Muay Thai. This workshop was also very well attended.


Book of the Month

"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.

Source: "Think on These Things" by Jiddu Krishnamurti

Student of the Month

Name: Will Friedman

Which martial arts have you studied to date and for how long?

I was interested in martial arts from a pretty early age; I can't remember exactly when, but I think it probably did start with Bruce Lee movies. I do remember that the first time I saw "Enter The Dragon" and "Return Of The Dragon" as a child, they struck a very deep chord in me, and I realized that I wanted to be able to do those things, more than just about anything else in the world. By the time I was about 13, I had studied a little bit of Shotokan, and about 2 years of Aikido. These were children's classes of course, so there was a lot of stuff left out.

The only pre-PAMA martial arts training that I will give any credit to, was a result of an unusual event taking place in my home town, around the time I was a freshman in high school. A wing chun instructor moved to the area, and started teaching hour-and-a-half long lessons, once a week, to a basement group of 5 or 6. I found out about this, and got myself accepted into the group. The instructor was hardly a wing chun expert, but he had studied wing chun for several years, and more importantly was a very nice man and a good teacher. This training was of course still a joke compared to anything even close to PAMA, but it was slightly more "real-world" than anything I had experienced before. After about a year and a half of this, the instructor moved out of the area very suddenly and disappeared, and I never found out where he went.

Where I grew up, in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts, the area is more rural and more "small-town" than here, and many people don't know anything about the martial arts, nor care or even know that there is anything to know. Quality instruction barely exists, and for many people, their only exposure to martial arts comes from movies, which they just dismiss as complete fantasy. I can honestly say, that by the time I was 16, I had never met a SINGLE person who had EVER seen a live person do a side kick! So I spent a lot of my youth quietly frustrated.

How did you hear about PAMA? What influenced you to join PAMA?

In the fall of 2001, after having spent two years at a small liberal arts school in western Mass, that did not inspire me much, I was up in New Hampshire for a few weeks doing some hiking and climbing. What happened while I was there was so remarkable, so unlikely, that I have looked back on it many times since I came to PAMA.

You wouldn't believe who I met--none other than Mary Jo! She had come with a friend, and I guess they were doing some hiking and climbing as well. During their stay there, I had a long conversation with Mary Jo. The martial arts passion was revealed, and she told me about PAMA, said it was absolutely the best, and gave me the website.

Not too long after that, I picked up a pretty bad foot injury on a climb, and ended up having to bail out of my NH activities, and return to Mass for a little while. In retrospect, I'm glad of this. Literally a week later, I came down to New Jersey to see PAMA and try out a class. Well, let's just say that I could barely believe my eyes. Going straight from having no legitimate martial arts exposure at all, to seing assistant instructors doing fast combinations and juen so tek's on focus gloves, is completely jaw-dropping.

After my first trial visit to PAMA, I felt both euphoric, and also a little angry at the same time. I had been waiting for a school like this my whole life, but never knew where to find one, never even knew one existed. Martial Arts is such defining part of who I am, more even than I think I ever knew.

When I left the area after seeing the school, my resolution was already complete, and solid as stone. I had found what I had been waiting for years. So, I was going to change my life. I was going to MOVE to New Jersey, SPECIFICALLY so that I could train at PAMA. I knew it would take a while, but I was going to do it.

What is your impression of PAMA today? What do you like most about PAMA?

In short, I think PAMA is just about as good as it gets. A top-notch facility with top-notch instructors. One of the best schools in the world. How many other schools can boast parallel credentials, or parallel caliber in the students and fighters they've produced......not too many.

I have to confess that when I first moved here, I was just joyful to have found quality martial training at all. I had no idea that PAMA was the Inosanto Academy of the east coast, that it had produced numerous national and world champions, and that Sifu Rick had gone to ESI.

Now, passing through my twentieth month at PAMA, I have to say that I sometimes almost wonder how Sifu Rick can put up with us--given all that he has to offer. I mean, PAMA has the ability to take every single one of its students to their top potential as a martial artist. But ultimately, it's up to the student.

If the truth be told, I actually wish PAMA would return to the "older", more "hardcore" days (stickfighting, the old Ajarn Chai seminars, etc.). I would love to train at that level. I have caught myself once or twice, jokingly thinking that I was born too late, and came to PAMA too late! I would love it if PAMA students could train together all the time, as though we were all going into the ring.

I also wish that the 10th and 11th areas of Kali could be included in in-class training, but this is totally impossible. We would need much more facilities, and probably an outdoor archery course. And liability obviously would be a big issue. This is something where of course it is simply the job of the individual student (in the same way that out-of class training time is in general).

Other than that, I'd say PAMA's just fantastic. I really can't think of anything that could be better. It's so refreshing to stand in front of Sifu Rick, and hear his speeches about what JKD is really about, and how it really was. It's so illuminating, and makes everything so clear.

What are your goals you hope to achieve through PAMA?

There are at least two definite goals I have, but I really don't want to put all that much emphasis on them here. I want to instruct, when I am ready, for certain. Someday, I hope, I would like to become certified as a full instructor. I also am actually interested in fighting in the ring, when I reach the appropriate level. I'd like to compete in several arts. The experience of eventually "putting things to the test", with little protective equipment, against someone who isn't a friend, who isn't a training partner, is very important to me. That's definetely something I want to do.



Instructor of the Month

Name: Lisa Melendez

Q: Which martial arts have you studied to date and for how long? (PAMA and non-PAMA)

A: I joined PAMA in February 1998 in the Women's Program, which includes Jun Fan Kickboxing, Muay Thai, Savate, and other arts. Over the past year or so, I have also participated in the Kali Edge Awareness, Trapping and Sensitivity, Jeet Kune Do/Jun Fan, and Muay Thai classes.

Q: How did you get into martial arts? Where did you get the interest?

A: I have been active all my life, playing sports and marching in a drum and bugle corps. However, after I graduated from college and started working, I became rather inactive. I thought about what activity I could do that I would enjoy and stick with. Kickboxing sounded like something that would work for me and get me in shape.

Q: How did you hear about PAMA? What influenced you to join PAMA?

A: I looked for a place near work and found an advertisement for PAMA. I decided to join PAMA when I called and talked to Simo Amy Tucci. The first thing she said to me was that "This is NOT kickboxing aerobics." Since I was looking for real kickboxing, not Taebo, I was very interested.

Q: What is your impression of PAMA today? What do you like most about PAMA?

A: PAMA is a treasure. You just cannot find the quality of instruction and the depth of Sifu Rick Tucci's knowledge anywhere. And you certainly cannot find the variety of arts offered by PAMA in very many places. Finally, what I like most about PAMA is that I will always be learning!

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

A: I hope to continue to grow at my own pace because I feel that I should take my time to absorb the many aspects of the different arts. If I rush through my training, I won't really get it. And I feel that PAMA allows each individual to learn at their own pace.

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

A: Be open to trying, to making mistakes, to asking for help, to enjoying the little successes, such as finally getting a technique right! And remember, as Simo Amy has told us, you will progress in life only by making yourself uncomfortable - whether by trying a new class at PAMA or by volunteering to take on a new project at work.

Q: Which aspects of PAMA training could you offer help to students?

A: I am most comfortable with kickboxing and find that I learn so much by instructing the women in the Women's Program. I thank them and I wholeheartedly thank Sifu Rick and Simo Amy for teaching me and allowing me to share that education with the other students.

Dan Inosanto Seminar !!!

On Saturday October 25 and Sunday October 26 PAMA is hosting a two day seminar in JKD/Silat/Kali under the instruction of Sifu Dan Inosanto at the Hun School in Princeton New Jersey. Go to the PAMA Seminar Schedule page for more information.

Free Yoga Class

There will be a free Yoga class offered by certified Yoga instructor Hani to kick off the start of the class again. Hani has eighteen years experience teaching Yoga. To find out more about it ask at the Pro Shop.

Buddha Says...

"Neither fire nor wind, birth nor death can erase our good deeds." - source

"Words have the power to both destroy and heal. When words are both true and kind, they can change our world." - source

Check out this cute narrated site about the teachings of Buddha: Sayings of Buddha - Teachings on Spiritual Cultivation.


Newsletter Author: Asaf Ronen