October 2006 Newsletter
Student of the Month
- Matt Foster -
What is martial arts to you?
Martial arts is a way of life. It's something I do because it's a part of me. I enjoy doing it. Also, training is another form of meditation for me. I have trouble relaxing sometimes because I'm somewhat of a worrier. When I practice martial arts I find that my mind becomes more clear and focused on what I'm doing not what I have to do later.
How did you get your interest in martial arts? How did you hear about PAMA?
I had a friend in middle school with whom I would watch all kinds of martial arts movies like Enter the Dragon (of course), Jackie Chan's First Strike, Kickboxer, etc. My friend was taking some form of karate at the time, possibly Tiger Schulman's, so we would "spar" in his basement. Basically, he kicked me around and I did my best to keep up. Then I convinced my parents to enroll me in a Tae Kwon Do class at the Princeton YMCA when I was eight years old. I continued that training until I was twelve, but never earned a black belt. After that I lost interest for a while until a couple years ago when I read Romance of the Three Kingdoms. The stories of those fierce warriors of Han China drew my attention toward the fantastic side of martial arts. I've always been a fan of mythology. Then, I saw Ong Bak which sparked my interest in Muay Thai and the slightly more realistic side of martial arts. I was referred to PAMA by a friend.
In what aspect other than the physical (such as spiritual, intellectual, or mental) have you noticed change since first joining PAMA?
As I mentioned before, when I train I'm able to clear my mind of all the excess. I think that this helps in all the areas. In the spiritual sense, I'm able to be mindful and be in the moment. I also think that the physical conditioning itself improves the mental. I definitely feel more energetic than I used to (even during school) and I'm more open to receive information.
Which classes do you take? Which ones do you like the most and why?
I take all of them. I don't always get to do everything every week, but I try to cross-train as much as possible and get a varied workout. I'm trying not to think of each class as a separate entity because I want everything to eventually come together. I'm going for oneness, if that makes any sense. However, recently I've been drawn mostly toward Kali and Silat. It could be because they're still somewhat new to me, but also they're not like any other martial arts I'm used to observing or practicing. I like the postures, body positions, mechanical concepts and I particularly like when we practice kicking from the ground in Silat.
As a musician being more in touch with tempo and rhythm do you feel it helps in martial arts? What are your thoughts on that?
I think that having a sense of tempo and rhythm is helpful in martial arts, at least for me. It's like everyone has their own rhythm and tempo and if I'm able to match that rhythm and that tempo, a particular way of moving, I'm no longer separate from that person. Then things become a bit more clear. Of course, I'm not sure that I've actually ever achieved that yet. That's an interesting question.
Can you tell the readers a little about your band and what being an artist means to you?
My band is a three piece, acoustic rock group called Selkow. I play the bass and handle most of the bookings. We're named after our frontman/songwriter, Ben Selkow. Actually, Selkow is Russian for "everyone should come out to the Local Sounds Concert Series at Conduit on October 14" to see us plus several other great funk / rock / hiphop acts. We're all from the Trenton area and broke into Philadelphia this past year playing venues such as the Northstar Bar, the TLA and Grapestreet. For me, being an artist means sharing. If music is something I can do well, then I should share my visions with everyone. Without an audience to observe it, art doesn't exist. For more information on Selkow visit, www.selkow.com.
Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Thanks to all the PAMA instructors and staff (Max).
- Ajarn Chai Seminar -
For the 18th consecutive year, PAMA hosted Ajarn Chai Sirisute for a two-day seminar. Ajarn Chai is the President of the Thai Boxing Association of the United States and has been instrumental raising the art of Muay Thai, or Thai boxing, to its current level of importance and popularity in our country.
The seminar started with a focus on traditional western boxing technique, particularly proper stance and form for the execution of the jab, cross and hook. A number of seminar participants then had the unique privilege of testing their skills by having Ajarn Chai hold focus mitts. Ajarn Chai, renowned for his amazing hand speed, gently demonstrated for everyone's benefit the importance of maintaining proper distance and not dropping your hands while punching.
Click here to see all the photos taken.
The seminar continued with the basics of Muay Thai, particularly the proper form for knees, elbows and kicks. Ajarn Chai then introduced a variety of combinations that incorporated these basic elements and showed their proper use and application. These combinations, though often simple, helped the students to see a few of the subtle nuances of Muay Thai and why it is such an effective and exciting martial art.
The seminar was attended by students from across the region and with a range of experience, from novices to instructors. Regardless of their experience, each attendee benefited from Ajarn Chai's individual attention to their form and technique and, as usual, his passion and unique sense of humor made this event exciting and inspiring for everyone.
Click here to see all the photos taken.
This year, PAMA had two candidates for Apprentice Instructorship, Mike Wolhfert and Dave Ramsey. Mike and Dave had been training hard and were both mentally and physically prepared to endure anything any holder had to throw at them. Both testers stood in front of Ajarn Chai and showcased great form and technique as they performed each technique that was asked of them. They performed beautiful Wai Kru's (the pre-fight ceremony) as well.
The first to start the rounds was Mike and after getting his head gear on, he had a look of determination that would have intimidated any holder. As soon as the bell rang Mike starting kicking and kneeing like a machine. By the end of the round he had over 80 kicks and 40 knees. He had an unbelievable first round. The second round started with more intensity than the first, as Kru Alex Chan let lose with hits. Mike showed unbelievable conditioning and heart. All of his hard work showed and everyone was impressed with Mike's test, even the holders.
Then it was Dave's turn. After Dave put on his head gear and the bell rang, Dave came out of the corner with a fury. He kicked and kneed despite the holder's constant barrage of punches and kicks. For a big guy Dave was able to kick and move like a lightweight fighter, helping him avoid some punishment. Like the first test, the second round became more heated as holder, Kru Luigi Cuellar, and Dave squared off. Both traded blows back and forth, but in the end Dave prevailed.
Click here to see all the photos taken.
Overall it was a great day because they both earned the title of Kru Dave and Kru Mike and they also showed through the test how tough PAMA students (now instructors) are. Congratulations to both of them.
On Monday night, PAMA instructors and selected PAMA students were invited for a special seminar by Ajarn Chai at the PAMA facility. This exclusive training was an amazing opportunity for personal instruction and critiques from the Master.
Also, PAMA would like to wish Ajarn Chai a happy Teacher's Day. Kop khun khrap sir!
Click here to see all the photos taken.
- Congratulations to Kuen Kru Rick! -
This Muay Thai seminar took special meaning this year for Kuen Kru Rick Tucci. In a personal ceremony, Ajarn Chai promoted him to Full Instructor in Muay Thai. Our admiration and congratulations go out to Kuen Kru Rick!
- Judo Olympian Mike Swain Conducts First Grappling and Judo Seminar At PAMA -
On September 12th, over 25 PAMA students got the chance of a lifetime to meet and train with Sensei Mike Swain. Sensei Swain is a legend in martial arts circles as being one of the finest Judoka ever produced by the United States. A four time Olympian Judo Competitor, World Judo Champion and the 1996 U.S. Olympic Judo Team's coach, Sensei Swain is also the founder of Swain Sports mats.
The workshop covered both Gi and No-Gi throwing and ground fighting techniques from Judo. Sensei Swain started the Seminar with warm-ups that prepared the students for the physical demands that Judo places upon an individual's body. Throughout the warm-up Sensei Swain trained alongside the PAMA students. Sensei Swain is known as a superb technician who won his matches on technique as opposed to brute strength.
After the warm up was done, basic judo throws called Nagewaza were covered. Three basic throws and the counter-techniques to each throw were covered utilizing both the Gi and the No-gi method. Sasaetsurikomiashi (hanging foot sweep), Osotogari (major outside reap) and Ouchigari (major inside reap) were some of the techniques taught during the throwing portion of the seminar.
Also some "Street Judo" stand up techniques were taught. The principal of Kuzushi (forcing an opponent into an unbalanced position, literally "breaking") was covered in detail. Students practiced each technique under Sensei Swain's watchful eye, with him stepping in and participating with the seminar attendees often taking throws himself, but from time to time executing a throw to demonstrate proper technique.
The next portion of the seminar addressed ground fighting. Chokes, submission holds and use of the butterfly guard were covered in detail. Sensei Swain also covered reversals and counter attacks from the perspective of a competitive Judoka. Sensei Swain pointed out that in competitive Judo one only has ten seconds to choke, submit or pin one's opponent before the rules require that you stand back up again.
The final portion of the seminar was a question and answer session where PAMA students were able to ask any type of Judo/Grappling question of Sensei Swain. This was very informative and enlightening for all.
Clearly an outstanding success, the seminar with Sensei Swain was an enjoyable evening of great training for all of those PAMA students in attendance!
- School's In!!! -
Once again students of Princeton University have been given the opportunity to participate in a semester long boxing conditioning class taught by instructors of Princeton Academy. The class meets 2 times a week and focuses on basic boxing offense and defense as well as conditioning. Instructors Neil Acevedo, Mary Jo Colli, and Mike Lee enjoy teaching this enthusiastic and focused group.
Sifu Recommends a Book
- The Peaceful Way: A Children's Guide to the Traditions of the Martial Arts -
Martial arts are not about fighting, rather they are about resolving conflict in life. By cultivating a positive attitude of humility, honesty, awareness, and discipline, martial arts students gain both physical and mental focus. And they learn the most important lesson of all, respect - for teachers, others, and themselves.
In clear, simple, and engaging language, The Peaceful Way leads young readers into the many aspects of martial arts. From the tradition of leaving shoes at the door of the dojo to the many physical and mental stages necessary for the mastery of black-belt skills, the authors emphasize that a cooperative spirit is the key to success in any martial art. Beautifully illustrated with graphics, sidebars, and anecdotes to hold the reader's attention, The Peaceful Way is the perfect educational tool for the young martial artist and a powerful resource for librarians, parents, teachers, and martial arts educators.
- Gold and Green Sash Testing - 8-13 Year Old Program -
On September 23rd all candidates were successful in demonstrating their physical skills appropriate for each level of training. They demonstrated their expertise in the areas of punching and kicking form, kickboxing, and trapping. The students also had to demonstrate their knowledge of basic terms and general history of the art. We wish them all the best in their continued growth in the martial arts.
- 4 Month Jun Fan Test -
Congratulations to Andy Maulbech, Ruben Tungol, Bruce Dunson, and Derrik Delorenzo (not pictured) for passing the 4 Month Jun Fan Test. See you in a few months for your 8 Month.
- Learn a Technique from Sifu Rick -
Sifu demonstrates an entry to a puter kapala and an empty hands disarm vs a knife thrust.
- Don't forget to buy tickets for the Guru Amy fundraiser. The prizes are amazing, including:
- Thai Dha. The blade was hand forged in Aranyik, Thailand by a gentleman by the name of Khun Lung Som and is not a practice or tourist blade. It's the real thing! Donated by Thom Jason. It's one of the top blades in this picture: http://i60.photobucket.com/albums/h17/cabbitmeow/3457fed0.jpg
- An amazing autographed picture of Carmen Basilio donated by Mike Wolhfert.
- Private Lessons donated by instructors.
- Thai Yoga Massage by Mary Jo Colli.
- Also, do not forget about the continuing photo contest. Great Prizes! Bring your picture in before it is too late.
- October is Teacher Appreciation Month. October teacher appreciation is celebrated by the students all month. Each student pays their respects by making a special gift to their instructor. This should include: flowers, 1 candle and 3 sticks of incense. For Muay Thai students, October 16th is the official Teacher's Day (as well as Ajarn Chai's birthday!). Respect and discipline are qualities that are expected of Thai boxers.
- PAMA now sells Swain/Dollamur mats. Get your personal training mat delivered to your door. Visit Swain Mats for more information.
Mention code: PAMA2208.
- Pure Encapsulations Gingko Biloba -
The Ginkgo tree has long been utilized for long and healthy life; for centuries, Chinese and Japanese traditions have used ginkgo leaves to support the brain, heart, and lungs. The active components of Ginkgo biloba, ginkgoheterosides and terpene lactones, enhance the flow of oxygen and blood to the brain and improve transmission of nerve impulses, supporting mental acuity. Ginkgo biloba offers nutritional support to the vascular system by sustaining the strength and elasticity of blood vessels and capillaries. In addition, it maintains healthy platelet function and acts as a free radical scavenger. Ginkgo 50 extract offers enhanced Ginkgo biloba support, providing 24% ginkgoheterosides and 6% terpene lactones per capsule.
Video/Pictures: Mary Jo Colli, Kurt Komoda, Mike Lee
Stories: Chul Choe, Mary Jo Colli, Bernie Dudley, Mike Lee, David Ramsey