November 2007 Newsletter
Student of the Month
- Vincent Hohn -
Please share with our readers a little bit of your non-martial arts background.
I was born in Cebu City, Philippines and came to NJ as an adoptee when I was about 18-month old. I grew up in Chester, NJ with my adoptive parents, two younger brothers, and a classic Italian-American family.
Grade school to high school I was very involved with sports. In high school I played soccer, baseball, and track. Soccer was my best sport and I played on various teams year round. I started college at Seton Hall U. to play D1 soccer, but was unprepared for the fall season. I transferred to Rider U. after soccer didn't work out, and before turning 20 had my third knee surgery. I was without sports for the first time in 14 years and focused on school by studying Behavioral Neuroscience and Marketing.
In my senior year of college, and the following year after, I tore my ACL twice playing pick-up football. After that I just played golf and corporate softball.
Currently I am working in the regulatory department for Bristol-Myers Squibb in Lawrenceville, NJ, and am attending classes at Temple U.'s School of Pharmacy for an MS in Regulatory Affairs.
Which martial arts have you studied to date and for how long?
Growing up I had taken jujitsu classes with a guy who ran a small, local dojo. He was an ex-cop and started by training his kids, then his kids' friends, and so on. I liked that he showed us as many different arts as he knew, primarily jujitsu and karate, and he meant everything to be practical. We had belts like a lot of other schools, but it didn't seem as pretentious. I used to think my success in soccer was what helped me in martial arts, but now I think it was the other way around. I trained there for about 6 years before going to college. Looking back I definitely took the opportunity for granted.
I started at PAMA around Feb. 2007. I've been doing Kali, Jun Fan, and a few classes of MMA. It was about 6-years time between my jujitsu training and PAMA. I knew I was going to be starting from scratch, but first couple months were still frustrating because it felt like I wasn't really progressing. It's like my body had been asleep for 6 years and I was like trying to wake it up.
What is it about the martial arts that motivate you to make it a part of your life?
It might be the idea of wholeness and balance. Growing up I was always comfortable straddling the fences of various social groups, jocks, nerds, artists etc., and it seems like martial arts embraces that renaissance (wo)man mentality.
I also try to incorporate balance between my work, school, training, and family & friends by dedicating myself yet not to over committing to any one thing.
How did you hear about PAMA? What influenced you to join PAMA?
I actually found PAMA on the internet. I had been considering resuming martial arts training and was looking for about a year or so. A former co-worker at the time was looking for a school as well. He would tell me about the different schools he visited, and how one in particular would not let him join right away because the sensei did not want people who traveled around "padding their martial arts resume". I knew that was not the type of school I was looking for. I hoped to find something exotic art to learn. Eventually I came across PAMA's website, read the school's philosophy, saw the extensive class schedule and had to check it out in person. The website really distinguished itself from other schools and is an honest representation of the school. My trial session in Kali with Si-Hing Mike Wolhfert was pretty convincing of the school's curriculum. It was my first introduction to Kali and the art just seemed so brutal and sophisticated.
What is your impression of PAMA today? What do you like most about PAMA?
It is hard to believe that I've been so close to PAMA for the last 7 years and I've only just discovered it. It is funny when you find this great thing that has been right under your nose for so long.
PAMA's philosophy of incorporating various martial arts while maintaining the identity of each individual art is so unique. Early on I saw that students train with each other out of class, but questions are directed towards Sifu or the instructors. I appreciate the absence of belts to represent students' tenure or level of training. You learn quickly enough who has been around after getting punched in the head 3 times before you know what happened. I like that we learn beyond the drills and techniques the significance of the philosophies and cultures behind the arts. Also, I love how music is an integral part of the training.
Has your Kali training helped you connect you to your Filipino roots?
I grew up quite removed from my origins. I needed something about being Filipino to be proud of. Being a student of Kali, and knowing it originated in the Philippines is definitely new found source of pride.
Kali has introduced me to other Filipinos in class, and gives me something to talk about with Filipino's at work. I didn't expect to one day feel more Filipino after having studied Kali, but it gives me a chance to talk to others and learn about their families and their backgrounds.
What do you see as some of your goals in the martial arts and in your life in general?
My short-term goals at PAMA are to pass my 8-month test in Jun Fan and move out of the front in Kali. Long-term, I one day hope to be able to express myself through martial arts. I have always admired the way Brazilians play soccer; they express themselves through the sport. I used to play with attitude and personality and that's probably what I loved about the sport.
Professionally I hope to finish my MS degree in the next year or so. I like the pharmaceutical/biotech industries, and look to advance through the regulatory field or possibly move into Food and Drug Law.
Is there anything else that you would like to add?
I have always enjoyed this feature in the newsletter, so I thank the school for the honor and hope this helps my fellow students get to know me a little better.
Thank you, Sifu and instructors for the training you all provide. I'm honored to train under, and with, so many great people.
- Sifu Rick Visits Sweden -
Once again it was time for Guro Rick to spend some time in Malmo Sweden. Of course the main thing was the two-day seminar at MMA-Alliance/ Malmo Academy of Martial Arts. The seminar was divided into three segments so those attending could choose any combination of what they were interested in. The first segment covered no nonsense street knife defense. Guro Rick with his usual skill and ability to get the important points across really got the participants to understand the different aspects.
Click here to see all the pictures taken from Sweden.
The second segment gave an in depth look at some of the basic skills, techniques and training methods for having a great stand up game. Especially two of my students who are going to compete in Thai Boxing really appreciated this segment. The second day was devoted entirely to the third segment, which covered the martial arts from South East Asia. Guro Rick really showed all students the effectiveness of these arts. He also stressed the fact that these arts mostly were not designed for sport but for pure survival and combat effectiveness.
Click here to see all the pictures taken from Sweden.
I have been a student of Guro Rick since 1988 and still he inspires and motivates me as much as he did the first years. Probably more when I come to think about it. Martial arts is a continuous growth and as much in life everything becomes much more clear if you have a really good guide to show you the way.
Everybody had a really great seminar and I of course was very grateful for the extra days to talk and train with Guro Rick.
- Teacher Appreciation Month -
Students showed their gratitude and appreciation to Sifu Rick by bringing in flowers and cards during October's teachers appreciation month. Thank you to the students for their warm thoughts and sentiments regarding the martial arts and what training at PAMA means to them.
- Kali in the Park -
For those of you who missed the Kali in the Park event, you truly missed an opportunity to enhance your knowledge and training in Kali/Martial Arts.
The majority of our training is done under "ideal" conditions (good lighting, level surfaces, etc) in a comfortable environment. Is that a "real world" situation you may find yourself in? Are your skills of perception with respect to your environment as sharp as they should be?
Kali in the Park was about training in less than ideal conditions. The ground was uneven, slippery and had fallen tree branches everywhere. Even basic Kali drills and footwork took on a new dimension. As an example, I ran into several trees trying to defend against a charging attacker with a sword. Needless to say, the outcome of being backed up to a tree limits your options.
We worked on drills to develop our awareness and peripheral vision, defenses when your opponent has the high ground, defending against multiple attackers and how to use the environment as a defense or weapon.
For me, I continue to be amazed by the vast amount of knowledge that Sifu has in the arts taught a PAMA. An equally rewarding part of this event was the time spent "outside of the classroom" with our fellow students and instructors. I encourage you to take advantage of these rare opportunities if you are able.
- PAMA 3rd Annual Vacation Photo Contest Winners -
The 3rd Annual PAMA Vacation Photo contest brought more entries than ever, making it especially hard to select winners from all the great pictures. Thanks for all those who participated.
And the winners are (as voted on by fellow students):
- Muay Thai Level 1 Test -
On October 22nd Poneyboy Miller took his Level one test in Muay Thai. He was evaluated on his form and technique in boxing and Muay Thai. He then went on to show the basic TBA count and performed the Wai Kru. Only after showing good form and technique he was allowed to complete the test with 2 rounds on the Thai pads with a 60 kick and 35 knee minimum while the holders hit you.
Poneyboy showed a true warrior's spirit the whole way with a tremendous effort. Round one was held by Kru Mary Jo Colli and Round 2 was held by Kru Mike Wolhfert who as holders made Poneyboy push himself beyond his limits and keep fighting. It was a great effort all around by Poneyboy.
After passing this test he is eligible for the Phase II Muay Thai class. He is also one third of the way to complete his apprentice instructorship under Ajarn Chai Sirisute founder of the Thai Boxing Association of the U.S.A.. Congratulations to Poneyboy who achieved this first step in his martial arts journey which is not the end but only the beginning.
- Guro Amy Says Hi -
Guro Amy would like to thank the guys from Belgium for their visit to Cologne, Germany.
Stay tuned: You will see more of Freddie, Vince, and David in next month's seminar section.
- Jun Fan 4 and 8 Month Tests -
Jeff Mulford and Marcelina Reyes passed their 4 and 8 Month Jun Fan tests respectively. Great job.
- Kids Testing: 9-13 Year Old -
Congratulations to Omar Tsoutiev, Nick Castro, and Matthew Tantoy for passing their first tests in the Kids 9-13 Program and earning their Gold and Orange Sashes (awarded to graduates of the 6-8 Kids Program who have already tested).
Sifu Recommends a Book
- The Martial Way and its Virtues: Tao De Gung -
A Classical Vision of the Martial Arts
Through the millennia, man has been subject to aggression and violence from other men, and has pondered ways to meet such hostility. The source of man's ceaseless conflict lies in our nature. We are just not content with the simple life. We want what we do not have and lust for what others possess.
Ironically enough, the modern civilized world promotes many alternatives for conflict resolution in place of overt violence. As a result, physical strength, mental determination and emotional endurance have lost their urgency in today's popular society. Are we a generation self-absorbed in the absence of routine discipline and sacrifice?
While the martial arts revolve around the way of personal combat, it also demands that its adherents live in accordance with a certain warrior code of conduct and honor. The Martial Way promises a long and arduous journey. It is an invitation to the subordination of self, the endurance of sustained practice, and the cultivation of the body and mind, with no tolerance for self-indulgences of any kind.
- Learn a Technique from Sifu Rick -
Sifu defends a backhand stab with a counter thrust, knife strip, and head throw.
Sifu defends a straight thrust by destroying his opponents weapon hand and then enters into a sweep.
The PAMA Family extends their thoughts, and prayers to the Family of Will Friedman
William J. Friedman
March 17, 1982 - October 6, 2007
GREAT BARRINGTON -- William James Friedman, 25, of 154 Main St. died Oct. 6 in East Mountain State Forest.
Born in Pittsfield on March 17, 1982, son of Warner Friedman and Gina James, he graduated from Monument Mountain Regional High School, where he was a member of the National Honor Society. He also attended Simon's Rock College of Bard.
A practitioner of martial arts, Mr. Friedman studied at the Princeton (N.J.) Academy of Martial Arts. He also taught the disciplines to others. He had an in-depth knowledge of the topography of the Taconic Mountain range and hiked from Mount Greylock to Mount Everett. During his hikes, he discovered the art of the Hudson River School and especially admired the exalted views painted by Thomas Cole and Frederick Church.
Besides his father, of Sheffield, and his mother, of Great Barrington, he leaves a brother, Louis Friedman of Larchmont, N.Y.; and a sister, Paula Friedman of Buffalo Grove, Ill.
William also leaves his caring friend, Janet Rickus of Great Barrington. Family and friends will miss his smile, wry sense of humor and empathic nature. He had a love, appreciation and deep appreciation and understanding of the wilderness. He enjoyed watching and discussing films, especially action-packed ones, an interest he shared with his late grandmother, Pauline Kael.
Will, as we all know, was a very passionate person. He was brave enough to explore and live a life that most are undaring enough to do. He was inspired at a young age by Bruce Lee and in his youth longed to study martial arts. When he heard about Princeton Academy of Martial Arts (PAMA) and the martial arts that were taught his passion for martial arts brought him down from the Berkshires to New Jersey to train at the world renowned Academy. Most might have not dared to leave home for the unknown but that was passion ignited!
His time at PAMA was filled with the drive and passion. Ignited and inspired, Will spent many days at the academy studying, taking classes, training on off times, and sparring. Learning, growing, and exploring everyday through his physical, mental, and spiritual training. Martial arts brought a dimension to Will's life that he could have never envisioned. To take a quote from Will's student of the month interview Will said, "Martial Arts is such defining part of who I am, more even than I think I ever knew."
Like his inspiration, Bruce Lee, who died at the age of 32, Will has left this world at an early age. Most people spend years on this earth but Will actually lived his life. All his friends and training partners at Princeton Academy wish him safe journeys and as our Kali salutation states "May his fighting spirit and soul rise to the heavens for they are unconquerable!"
- Sifu Rick will be conducting a Jeet Kune Do, Kali, and Silat seminar in Brussels, Belgium on November 24 and 25.
- The 4 and 8 month tests for Jun Fan will be held on December 15. Please see an instructor for details and don't forget to sign up in the Pro Shop.
- PAMA goes back to school as it continues its fall offering of a Boxing Conditioning class at Princeton University, open to members of university's students and staff.
- l-Theanine by Pure Encapsulations -
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Video/Pictures: Mary Jo Colli, Kurt Komoda, Mike Lee
Stories: Mary Jo Colli, Dan Johansson, Mike Lee, Orlando Skelton, Mike Wolhfert