December 2003 Newsletter 

Happy Holidays !!!

"I want to wish everyone a very happy, healthy, and safe holiday season. I would like to thank the PAMA instructors, staff, and students who have helped to make this another special year at PAMA." - Sifu Rick Tucci

Looking for a gift for the holidays? Consider a gift certificate at the PAMA Pro Shop, good for equipment, books, apparel, and even a private lesson!

Toys for Tots...

There is a box in front of the classroom for Toys for Tots donations. If you would like to donate a new unwrapped gift for a kid, please put it in the box by December 14th.

Student of the Month

Name: Asaf Ronen

Hi, I am the newsletter editor. Every month Sifu Rick selects a student and an instructor to profile in the newsletter. This month I got selected, so you're going to hear my story, so listen up. I'll keep it short.

When I was very young growing up in Israel my parents had me study Judo and Karate for a couple of years. Later when I came to the United States as a teenager I dabbled with Karate a little more thanks to a friend that got me involved. My memories from Karate are of barefoot training on cold hard floors.

Only as a student at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh PA I got the itch to seek martial arts training on my own. I wanted something practical and heard about a student on campus teaching Kenpo Karate for free. I got involved because I liked its more dynamic aspect compared to other Karate styles I experienced. When my Kenpo instructor graduated and left, I looked for a local Karate school that would inspire me. I didn't have many choices, but I found a local Karate school that got my attention. Not because it wasn't a very hygienic place but rather because there was more contact in the training and focus on basics than I was used to, and I saw the value.

Finally it was my time to graduate and move back home, so I asked some people at the Karate school I was training at if they knew of any good martial arts schools in New Jersey. They asked me where in NJ? I said the Princeton area. They said "are you kidding... open any martial arts magazine... there's this awesome martial arts school there called PAMA. You gotta try it". So when I moved back home to the Princeton area I checked PAMA out, and what do you know? I got hooked. The rest is history and it was right in my back yard the whole time.

I've been training at PAMA for about seven years now. I started by training in JKD and Kali. But since then I've trained in Silat, Kali knife/empty-hands, and Muay Thai as well. Recently I've started training in grappling and I love it. You can be at PAMA for years and always learn something new.

I've been looking for a very long time for a sport that would keep me active. Everything I tried didn't last long, no matter how hard I tried. I just couldn't find the fitness activity that I really enjoyed doing and inspired me to excel. That is until I found PAMA. Its a great feeling to advance and improve and enjoy it at the same time. You get to a point where going through the motions feels natural and ever stopping just feels wrong.

I think the first day at PAMA is really the only day you get to appreciate the quality of the instruction and material. Not being exposed to it before and suddenly being a part of it, you know that first day if its a lifetime commitment. Once submerged in it for a while it is easy to forget and not appreciate it. That's human nature, so you got to remind yourself.

I have two goals at PAMA. One, to prepare myself to "really" defend myself in real situations under a variety of scenarios, and two, to keep me in shape and active. Surprise. But, I believe you achieve these goals by focusing on the basics and drilling them over and over again until they are natural motions of your body. And keep refining those basics.


Instructor of the Month

Name: Cesar Olavarria

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

A: I began my studies in the Martial Arts with Tae Kwon Do as a young boy. Currently I hold a fourth degree black belt in this art. I have also trained in the Doce Pares method of Kali-Eskrima-Arnis in which I successfully reached the level of first degree black belt. I have furthered my eduction in the Filipino Martial Arts under Sifu Rick Tucci and I am very proud to be able to say that I am his apprentice. I have also cross trained in Jun Fan, shoot wrestling, and Silat under Sifu Rick Tucci. And finally, I studied Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for a short period which I was able to reach the rank of blue belt. However I can honestly say that Kali is my favorite.

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

A: I was introduced to the martial arts by my late father, who was a skilled boxer fascinated by the arts. Every Saturday morning I would watch my father spar with some of his friends, being in awe of his abilities. And so, my father thought that the best way to learn coordination before I began to box was with martial arts training. A short time after that I was enrolled at the local karate school in Hoboken, NJ.

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

A: I heard about PAMA shortly after I graduated from college. The only thing I heard at the time was that there was a highly skilled instructor teaching different methods of the martial arts. One of my friends was able to find the school located on Farber Road, and we decided to visit the academy. As I watched Sifu Rick Tucci, it reminded me of my father. His skills were amazing and I was once again filled with inspiration. On that day, I knew PAMA would be my home.

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

A: PAMA is the ultimate resource for martial arts training. It is where one can explore all ranges of combat and multitude amount of weapons training suited for street survival and sport. As a police officer, I can tell you that I have used many of the techniques taught to me by Sifu successfully. PAMA is an academy where one can easily identify weaknesses to become stronger.

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

A: The goals I hope to achieve through PAMA are: (1) to help others succeed in the martial arts, (2) to make myself stronger in Kali, and (3) to pursue Maphalindo Silat.

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

A: The best advice that I could give comes from a book that I read written by Richard Marcinko, "The more thou sweateth in training; the less thou bleedeth in combat."

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

A: I can offer help to all PAMA students with the Filipino martial arts.

Book of the Month

"A Book of Five Rings" by Miyamoto Musashi

The Japanese entrepreneur, is not nurtured at an Asian equivalent of our Harvard Business School. Instead, he studies, lives and works according to an almost mythic tome written in 1645 by the great Samurai, Miyamoto Musashi. Musashi was Japan's most renowned warrior. By age 30 he had fought and won over 60 duels by killing his opponents. The invincible Musashi eventually retired to a cave to record for future generations the lessons of his intense life. There he completed, a few weeks before his own death, the classic A Book of Five Rings. He wrote it not only as a thesis on battle strategy, but "for any situation where plans and tactics are used." Not surprisingly, business executives of 20th Century Japan revere Musashi's philosophy as a guide for their daily decisions. And they therefore view the running of a business like a military operation.

- Quoted from the back of the book

Next Test Date

The next opportunity to test for the four month and eight month tests is coming up on Saturday December 13th. If you are interested in testing please talk to one of the instructors as soon as possible or sign up at the Pro Shop.

Guro Amy in Los Angeles

Guro Amy has been busy in Los Angeles training and teaching at the Inosanto Academy. On November 1 and 2, Tuhon Leo Gaje, Grandmaster of the Pekiti Tersia system of Kali, taught a two-day seminar which Guro Amy trained in. She also assisted during the Instructor's Training Conference held in October at the Inosanto Academy. Close to 50 instructors in the Inosanto International Martial Arts Instructors Association from all over the US, as well as Europe, attended the four-day training event. Guro Amy also trained with Jean-Jacques Machado each day of the conference.

Pictured at right are from left Tuhon Leo Gaje, Guro Amy and Guro Dan Inosanto.

November was Sifu Rick's and Si Hing Bernie's Birthdays

A cake was shared on Saturday November 8th to commemorate Bernie's birthday before Bernie left on vacation. On November 11th Instructors, Staff, and Level II students surprised Sifu Rick with equipment for his band followed by dinner in his honor. All who attended enjoyed the festivities and had a wonderful time.

We would like to wish both Bernie and Sifu much joy and happiness in the coming year.

Technique of the Month

This is a new column in the newsletter where Sifu Rick demonstrates a different technique every month. This month Guro Rick, with help from instructor Neil, demonstrates a disarming technique from Kali. Guro Rick is holding a Pinute and a daga, while instructor Neil is holding a Zanzibar and a daga.

Please note that this technique is for demonstration purposes only and should not be attempted without proper instruction.

Guro Rick and instructor Neil in ready fighting position for a long and short blade technique.

Instructor Neil strikes angle one. Guro Rick does a gunting cutting the hand.

Guro Rick does a switch to change to outside line of engagement.

Guro Rick indicates a slash to the neck and a thrust in the arm pit, while zoning away from opponent's daga.

Guro Rick then pinches the long blade hand with his daga hand, in preparation for a disarm.

Guro Rick disarms instructor Neil's long blade and places his blade in his opponent's throat.

Instructor Neil attacks low with daga. Guro Rick does a low block, while simultaneously thrusting daga to the center.

Guro Rick then pinches instructor Neil's wrist in preparation for another disarm.

Guro Rick disarms daga and slashes body in one motion.

Guro Rick then indicates slashing of neck with angle one.

Guro Rick finally steps back while slashing arm.

Capoeira Demonstration

One Wednesday evening the Capoeira class had a large class and was invited to use the large green room. They had spectators from the JKD class that just finished. What a show they put on. Below are some pictures. If you've never seen Capoeira in action you must.

Newsletter Author: Asaf Ronen