August 2007 Newsletter
Student of the Month
- Aldo Alarcon -
Please share with our readers a little bit of your non-martial arts background.
I am a mestizo born in the district of Mira Flores in Lima, Peru S.A. and came here when I was 3 yrs old with my mother. Peru in the 80's was a dangerous place due to the Shining Path guerilla group trying to overthrow the oppressive and corrupt government. That and the "American Dream" drew my mother to make the decision to come to the U.S. We lived in North Philly until I was around eight and then moved to Jersey where I've been ever since. I like sports, drawing, painting, writing poetry, reading informative/useful things especially societal and philosophical in nature.
What first drew you to Martial Arts and what motivated you to make it a part of your life?
I was exposed to martial arts in the form of Shotokan karate at the age of six back in Philly. Gratefully, my mother knew the benefits of martial arts and the need for discipline in my life thus giving me a positive early influence and much later, an appreciation for it. At such a young age one doesn't realize and/or appreciate the deeper meaning of martial arts, only seeing the physical aspect of it. My time in Shotokan was limited to 2 yrs. due to my relocation to Jersey. I took up Okinawan in grade school here in Jersey around fifth grade and practiced until sophomore year in high school only to quit one test shy of a brown belt. I quit because for one thing I just got bored with it and like many others started getting into Bruce Lee movies and wanted to learn to fight like him. He became my new motivation to learn his methods and philosophies. Back then the internet wasn't big and I didn't have a computer at home making finding a place that taught his art difficult.
How did you find out about PAMA and when did you first start training?
It was another seven years until I came across an ad for PAMA in a Princetonian newspaper, joining in March of '04 and here I am.
Over the years how do you think that your opinion of martial arts and your training has changed and what are some of the key things that Martial Arts has taught you?
My opinion of martial arts took a sharp detour (for the better) after getting into Bruce Lee. I realized the weakness inherent in all systems that do not lend themselves to pliability. Overall, all martial arts have something to teach the interested student and have a vast amount of benefits. So if I had to pick the top prominent five things it has taught me it's: open-mindedness, respect for elders, patience (in life and with oneself), relentlessness, and humility. My training over the years has progressively gotten more serious and changed from just learning a style of fighting to an overall desire to improve every aspect of my body, mind and spirit and to make them function in harmonious cohesion.
What is your impression of PAMA today? What do you like most about PAMA?
I'm most impressed with PAMA for the nature of the arts that are taught here (specifically it's real world applications), for the source of the arts (lineage), and the facility overall(training equipment, spaciousness, and upkeeping).
What are your favorite arts and why?
Like I formentioned, I initially came to PAMA yearning to learn the lessons of Bruce Lee but once I learned about the other arts like kali and silat I became enamored with them!! Consequently, I honestly can't say I have a favorite art since they all offer almost infinte lessons to learn.
What do you see as some of your goals in the martial arts and in your life in general?
Some of my goals in the martial arts include having a strong general knowledge of the arts (historical and functional), finding the cause of my ignorance, and to reach the spiritual level of the arts. Goals in life include finding my place in society, finding love's address, and being a role model for someone someday.
Anything else additional you would like to add?
Lastly I'd like to say that training at PAMA has been quite an experience and continues to be. I feel martial arts is more than just something to do, exercise, or a hobby. I love to train so if anyone has time and a desire to train with me outside of class, just ask. Thank you!!
Visiting Student Profile
- Nishaud Ali -
PAMA always enjoys the frequent visits of our international brothers and sisters who travel a great distance to train with us. In July, PAMA opened it's doors once again for a guest from across the pond. Nishaud Ali visited us from London for the weekend of the 4th, risking life and limb as a British citizen during our Independence celebrations. With a background in both Muay Thai/Krabi Krabong and Silat, Nishaud was very enthusiastic in coming here to train in the various arts. He arrived in the US and spent a few days of sightseeing in NYC, before coming to train here. Refreshed and ready to train arrived here for both Monday and Tuesday classes and actively participated in as many of the classes as he could: including Muay Thai, Jun Fan, Kali and MMA. During his time here made several friends and extended an invitation to anyone traveling to London.
- Sifu's Spiritual Journey in Peru -
Starting at the end of June through the beginning of July, Sifu Rick journeyed to Peru for exploration, experience, relaxation, and learning some internal healing aspects of the way of the warrior.
Click here for to see all the photos.
After spending a couple of days in Cusco relaxing and acclimating to the high altitude of the Andes, it was off to the area known as the Sacred Valley. While in this area he visited many ancient Inca sites, temples, and towns of this special place. Machu Pichu of course, is one of the most well known of these sites and recently voted to be included as one of the seven wonders of the new world. "It is a beautiful place, with great energy, that would have to be experienced first hand to appreciate fully".
Click here for to see all the photos.
Sifu Rick also had the privilege of meeting with, and sitting in on traditional Shaman ceremonies, meditation and healing sessions with elder shaman (Qero) from the high Andes. These people have an internal intensity about them that is difficult to verbalize. Although they are very intense while in ceremony or prayer, they are very warm, friendly, and each of them have a great sense of humor.
The Sacred Valley of Peru is a very beautiful, spiritual place, perfect to help balance out the external aspects of martial arts with the internal.
- 17th Pacific Northwest Muay Thai Camp (told by Poneyboy Miller) -
Once on board the aircraft, fast forward five restless hours exacerbated by three little children crying, we landed at Portland International Airport. Gathering our luggage and piling into the rental, Khun Kru Mike Lee, a seven time camp veteran began to tell us the routine, what to expect from camp, and of course the dreaded written exam, which if one should fail, he or she would have to run an extra three miles, 100 push ups, 100 sit ups, and 100 jump squats. Fearing the humiliation of exam failure and 100 jump squats like the ones Sifu makes us do, I begin to study. When we arrived at our hotel we took ten minutes to unload the car and after that headed for Camp Wilkerson.
Once at the camp, Ajarn Chai, out of his iconic uniform (black TBA t-shirt and sweat pants) wore a white polo shirt and jeans began to tell us the laws of the land. After that, he had us introduce ourselves to everyone one at a time; the introduction followed a script of name, length of training, trainer/school, and how many times one has attended camp. As people began to introduce themselves I was amazed at the depth of talent and felt truly honored of being there among them. Guro Dan Inosanto, Khun Kru Greg Nelson, and Khun Kru Bryan Dobler were the most senior of the group with Guro Dan Inosanto being the most senior of the three at 25 years training with Ajarn Chai. Once finished we raced down to our hotel room for some rest because our day would start at 5:30 am with streching and our two mile morning run, which I'm proud to say all the PAMA crew would always finish in the top 5 or 10 out of 110 attendants.
The days were broken into morning and afternoon workouts with the morning being the easiest for me. After the run we would stretch and shadow box for 30-40 minutes or until Ajarn Chai blew his whistle. We then would line up and pay respect to each other and sprint to the breakfast line. At 9:30 am morning workouts starts with whatever Ajarn Chai has in mind e.g. foot work and stance with Khun Kru Bryan Dobler, plum with Khun Kru Greg Nelson, or boxing with Khun Kru Leonard Trigg. We would continue training until 1:00-1:30 pm; once again we would all line up and pay respect and have lunch until 3:30 pm. The afternoon workouts would be further broken into five stations, station one: heavy bags, two: shadow boxing, three: Thai pads, four: Sparring, and five: Plum/clinch. We would spend four three minutes rounds and one minute break at each station with 30 seconds to change stations. On average we would complete 80-90 rounds each afternoon. All the while there were drummers playing native Filipino, Thai, and native rhythmic beats at the main lodge, which made us forget how hard we were all working out. The experience was truly awesome for a lack of a better word. Seeing Guro Dan Inosanto working out with us at age 71 was inspiring to say the least and working with Khun Kru Greg Nelson and Khun Kru Bryan Dobler was amazing. Khun Kru Greg Nelson of course is Sean Sherk, Brock Lesnar, and Nick Thompson's coach just to name a few and Khun Kru Bryan Dobler is famed for knocking out Parinya "Lady Boy" Charoenphol.
As a first time attendant I was awestruck by all the instructors and grateful for all the instructions given. The camp was truly a one of a kind experience from start to finish and even though the days were long and hard we all pushed through it. What I'm taking away from camp is that one can only push themselves so far, after that one needs to surround him or herself with people that can help them reach their goal and we are lucky as PAMA students to have such an incredible team of instructors, associate instructors, and diverse pool students who are lawyers, doctors, engineers, educators, and more who can help us reach our goals whatever they may be.
I would also like to congratulate Khun Kru Mike Lee for becoming a full instructor in Thai Boxing Association under Ajarn Chai. We are truly blessed in having him as our instructor. Please congratulate him when you see him round the academy.
- Kalarippayattu Workshop -
Sifu Recommends a Book
- The Four Insights: Wisdom, Power, and Grace of the Earthkeepers -
The Four Insights are the wisdom teachings that have been protected by secret societies of Earthkeepers, the medicine men and women of the Americas. The Insights state that all creation-humans, whales, and even stars-is made from light manifest through the power of intention. The Earthkeepers mastered the Insights, and used them to heal disease, eliminate emotional suffering, and even grow new bodies that age and heal differently.
Alberto Villoldo, Ph.D., a psychologist and medical anthropologist, has studied the healing practices of the Amazon and Inka shamans for more than 25 years. While at San Francisco State University, he founded the Biological Self-Regulation Laboratory to study how the mind creates psychosomatic health and disease. Dr. Villoldo directs The Four Winds Society, where he trains individuals in the U.S. and Europe in the practice of energy medicine and soul retrieval.
- Learn a Technique from Sifu Rick -
Sifu disarms an angle #1 strike using a sector #1 strip.
Sifu disarms an angle #2 strike off of sector #2.
- Learn a Technique from Guro Amy -
- Ajarn Chai will be conducting a Muay Thai seminar on September 15 & 16. Don't miss this great oppurtunity to see a legend. For more information, click here. Register in the Pro Shop.
- The 4 and 8 month tests for Jun Fan will be held on August 25. Please see an instructor for details and don't forget to sign up in the Pro Shop.
- EPA/DHA Essentials by Pure Encapsulations -
EPA and DHA from fish oil promote cardiovascular health by supporting healthy triglyceride and lipid metabolism, maintaining healthy blood flow, and supporting healthy platelet function. Fish oil is also important for optimal joint function. It maintains healthy prostaglandin and leukotriene production, which is important for maintaining connective tissue health and comfort. Furthermore, omega-3 fatty acids are important components of neuronal cell membranes and are essential to cognitive function. By supporting vascular health, fish oils promote oxygen and nutrient delivery to the brain. Studies suggest that healthy red blood cell membrane omega-3 fatty acid concentration is associated with emotional well-being. Both epidemiological and double blind placebo- controlled trials indicate that fish oil supports positive mood.
Video/Pictures: Mary Jo Colli, Mike Lee
Stories: Mary Jo Colli, Mike Lee, Poneyboy Miller, Rick Tucci, Max Wang