January 2008 Newsletter
Student of the Month
- Ray Alcantara -
Please share with our readers a little bit of your non-martial arts background and professional career.
I was born in the Philippines and my family moved to New Jersey before I turned one. They then settled in Piscataway, New Jersey, and have been there ever since. I grew up in Piscataway and consider it my hometown. For college I attended Rowan University receiving a bachelors degree in Political Science with minors in Sociology and Public Relations.
Professionally, I've been for the past several years working in politics. I've worked as a campaign manager, and program director for political campaigns. I've truly been fortunate to have a job that has afforded me the ability to travel the nation and see different areas of our great nation. I've also had the opportunity to work for the legislature, and currently I'm working for the executive branch of state government. Outside of work, I'm active in my Freemason's lodge, Delta Chi Alumni Organization (my college fraternity), organizations pertaining to my profession, and Catholic charities.
What made you first interested in Martial Arts and what motivated you to make it a part of your life?
I've always been interested in martial arts. Last year really reinvigorated my desire to train in the martial arts. I've always had a strong desire to continue learning, and during last summer I felt as though I wasn't learning anything new. What interested me the most about the martial arts is that it is a body of knowledge that has been passed down from teacher to student for centuries. It was this desire to gaining a piece of this knowledge, along with getting in better shape that really motivated me.
How did you hear about PAMA? What influenced you to join PAMA?
I searched the web and took a clear look at each of the schools near my job and also near home. I came across the PAMA web site, and saw that everyone had nothing but good things to say of the school, it was on the way home from work, and the curriculum and philosophies of the school really interested me.
I called up and set up a time to come in for an intro class. After taking that class with Si-Hing Mike Wolhfert, I was convinced that PAMA was going to be different than other schools, and that it would be a great school to attend.
Which arts do you study and what do you most enjoy about your training?
Currently I've been taking Jun Fan and Kali, and I've taken a few classes in Silat and Grappling. All the classes have been challenging, and interesting. Each of the classes has something different to offer, and I look forward to attending more Silat and Grappling classes in the future.
What I enjoy the most about training at PAMA is an intangible feeling that's hard to explain. I know that it's something special, in that I look forward to finishing up work and heading straight to class. Sifu keeps each class interesting, the opportunity to learn from Sifu, the senior instructors, and everyone who trains at PAMA is truly a blessing. I guess I can explain it by saying "from the outside looking in you would never understand it, but from the inside looking out you can never explain it", it's the spirit of the school and the atmosphere of PAMA that I truly enjoy and you can only experience it by going to class and being a part of it.
As a Filipino how do you feel that learning the art of Kali has helped you connect to your roots?
I've always been proud of my heritage and culture. I've always shared my culture with my friends and associates, especially Filipino food. Training in Kali has introduced me to a part of my culture that I really wasn't aware of. It's also great to see that the training of the art has induced others to learn about the Filipino culture.
What are your goals you hope to achieve through martial arts?
When I started at PAMA my goals were to obtain knowledge of the arts, the technical aspects such as how to throw a punch and block a kick (self defense), and get in better shape. But Sifu's letter that was emailed in November made me realize that there is so much more that can be gained from training in the martial arts. The same concepts, discipline, and theories that are needed to excel in the arts can be used in combating the daily struggles of everyday life. As Sifu put it, we should strive to be "Illuminated Warriors."
Being in my mid 20's, and the profession I'm in, I see so many people, that Sifu explained in his letter, who believe the world couldn't exist if they took an hour to themselves. They are bogged down in striving to obtain that media created happiness, and not that happiness you can find by following your dreams, and growing as an individual.
After reading that letter my goals in martial arts didn't change, but expanded. I want to strive to gain knowledge on how to throw a punch, and block a kick, to get in better shape, but to also use that same motivation to grow personally, and not get bogged down; to follow my dreams and not loose sight of what is really important. I truly thank Sifu for taking the time to pen that letter and share that wisdom with us. It reinforces the idea that we all as students made a excellent choice to train at PAMA, and that it is truly a special place.
Anything else additional you would like to add?
I would like to thank Sifu for sharing his wisdom and knowledge. I would also like to thank the instructors who have shared their expertise in the arts with me, and to everyone who has made every class an enjoyable experience. It's sometimes hard to leave all the "stuff" of the day at the door, but training at PAMA does make it easier to do that and to focus on personal growth, and improving in such remarkable art forms.
- New Years Eve Class -
Sifu Rick welcomed in 2008 with a wonderful New Year's Eve class. Unlike the typical class focused on the PAMA curriculum, Sifu covered a wide variety of subject matter in the 90 minute class.
The evening began with a cross-curriculum warmup (which for some turned out to be a workout in itself) and then transitioned into breathing exercises, some of which many had never done before, and a discussion on the journey and role of the Martial Artist. Sifu talked about the loss of identity of Martial Arts in the modern times, the importance of "soul" and expression behind movements, the value of stillness and centering especially in a world filled with emotional distractions, and much more. The night was a great way to start the new year on a positive and inspirational note.
- Holiday Party -
Keeping with PAMA Holiday Tradition, PAMA Instructors and Staff met at Triumph Brewery for their annual Holiday Gathering. As always good cheer spread throughout the room as we all reflected upon the past year, and looked forward to the new year ahead. We all wish you a prosperous, and healthy new year filled with growth, good will, and fulfillment.Pictures from the Evening
- Great Toys for Tots Turnout -
- Jun Fan 4 and 8 Month Tests -
In December, Boris Volodin and Allie Raghavan passed their 4 Month Jun Fan test and Poney Boy Miller passed his 8 Month test making him eligible for the intermediate class. Congratulations!
- Kids Testing: 9-13 Year Old -
Sriram Raganathan passed his first test in the Kids 9-13 program and earned his Gold sash. Great job.
Sifu Recommends a Book
- Soul Sword: The Way and Mind of a Zen Warrior -
The power of the Warrior Mind is its ability to act from Mushin...a state of No Mind. As a mirror reflects objects without clinging to the images, the Warrior Mind is free to flow from one object to the next without impediment. From this state arises instinctive wisdom, the power that allows ordinary people to perform extraordinary feats.
This is the power that lives within each of us: the power which the author, a legendary black belt and Zen master, hopes to awaken in his readers. It functions within us daily but is counteracted by the false mind and its endless projections. The task is to still the mind to the point where "the action and the actor [are] a seamless thread."
- Learn a Technique from Sifu Rick -
Sifu defends a jab with a woang pak biu jee to the inside, followed by a second biu jee when he meets an obstruction.
Sifu defends a low nao tek to jab combination with a pak tek followed by a loy da to trap.
- Learn a Technique from Guro Amy -
Guro Amy demonstrates a stick and dagger disarm starting with the switch and hit and then into a hand smash.
- MultiMin by Allergy Research -
Allergy Research Group's classic mixed mineral formulation, emphasizing hypoallergenic sources as developed by Stephen A. Levine, Ph.D., MultiMin includes minerals known to be important for metabolism, and at levels that are physiologically significant. MultiMin provides macrominerals, trace minerals, ultra-trace minerals, and minerals likely to be proven essential. Also included in MultiMin is glutamic acid, which is a mildly acidifying agent to aid with absorption.
Video/Pictures: Mary Jo Colli, Kurt Komoda, Mike Lee
Stories: Mary Jo Colli, Mike Lee