Student of the Month
- Dennis Woods -
Please share with us some of your non-martial arts background.
I've worked as a software engineer for 30 years, starting in NYC. I currently work from my home in Kingston, NJ, developing and supporting the telephone banking systems for hundreds of client banks. For 8 years, I regularly commuted to/from various NJ offices by bicycle, which was a rare and rewarding experience. My current activities include yoga and hiking. Interests include reading, astronomy, and history. I also enjoy watching and attending baseball games and car races.
Can you please speak to your first interest in Martial Arts?
My interest in Martial Arts started with its media exposure in the early '70s. I was also a boxing fan during the '70s and '80s.
How did you first hear about PAMA and what made you decide to join the academy? What also made you return after a hiatus from training?
I first joined PAMA in 1995 after discovering the Academy's full curriculum and taking a free class. I knew of the Academy's high standards and realistic approach to training, mostly by word of mouth. I initially trained in Muay Thai and Jun Fan.
Several years after I had left the Academy, I encountered Sifu Rick by chance one night and told him that a bad fall off my bicycle had resulted in my getting a prosthetic left elbow. I was moved by the genuine concern he showed for his former student. Sifu encouraged me to consider Kali training, as he has for other injured students much worse off than me. I was warmly welcomed at the next Academy Open House and started my Kali training the next week.
What are some of the benefits that you have experienced through the Martial Arts?
The major benefits I've experienced are self-confidence, an innate respect for others, patience, humility and an appreciation of the Academy and its superb teaching lineage. I also have come to appreciate the concept of 'embracing disappointment' as one's training progresses. It reminds me that setbacks are normal and inevitable and that there is no substitute for putting time and hard work into training. I feel that all martial arts classes taught at PAMA inherently build character.
What arts do you study and which are your favorites?
I currently study Kali and have started Silat classes. I truly enjoy Kali, as difficult as it can be.
It is fascinating how the smallest subtleties can greatly impact the effectiveness of a given technique.
How do you feel that cross training benefits you?
I'm looking forward to the empty hands training in Silat that 'overlaps' Kali techniques. I feel that empty hands against weapons is very realistic training for those situations where running away is not an option.
Unforeseen circumstances will dictate what techniques are best to use against real-life threats and well-rounded practitioners can react more intuitively.
What do you enjoy most about your training?
The challenge to improve and excel; self-respect and confidence gained from hard work; quality of teaching; camaraderie with instructors and fellow students.
I believe that blatant disrespect towards others stems from insecurity and is the polar opposite of the martial artist mindset.
Anything else additional you would like to add?
I want to express my sincere gratitude to Sifu Rick and the PAMA staff for their encouragement and excellent instruction. Thank you for getting me moving again.
- Children's Testing: 9-13 Year Old Test -
Congratulations to Spencer Stengle and Isaiah Warris, graduates of the 6-8 year old children's program, for receiving their first sashes in the older children's program. They both obtained their Orange Sashes. Also, Ethan Aquino, Alexandra Bell, Emily Minor, and Ethan Hamilton all passed their Green Sash tests and are now eligible for the Intermediate class. Welcome and great job everyone!
- Children's Testing: 6-8 Year Old Test -
- PAMA's 6th Annual Vacation Contest Reminder! -
Don't forget, summer is quickly passing by. Get your pictures in while you still have a chance for the PAMA Photo Contents!!! See the June Newsletter for details.
- The 4 and 8 month tests for Jun Fan will be held on August 21. Please see an instructor for details and don't forget to sign up in the Pro Shop.
- PAMA will hosting Ajarn Chai Sirisute on September 18 & 19. Come and experience a martial arts legend!!! Please make sure you sign up in the Pro Shop and pay before the weekend.
- 5 Mushroom Formula by JHS Natural Products -
Known as PSK in Japan and PSP in China, the immune supporting beta glucans extracted from the medicinal mushroom Coriolus versicolor are one of the first herbs from Traditional Chinese Medicine to be fully backed by modern scientific research.
This high-potency formula is the only medicinal mushroom combination product sold in North America that is made exclusively from hot water extracts.
Sifu Recommends a Book
- Ki and the Way of the Martial Arts -
While technical prowess and physical power are essential characteristics of a martial artist, true mastery of the art comes by cultivating one's inner strength. Here, Kenji Tokitsu-an authority on Japanese and Chinese combat arts and a respected karate teacher-shows how cultivating ki (life force) and understanding the principles of budo (the martial path of self-development) can make training in martial arts more meaningful, effective, and personally and spiritually rewarding.
Tokitsu emphasizes the mental aspects of martial arts practice including:
- The importance of ki development
- Seme, or capturing your opponent's mind
- Understanding ma, the spatial relationship in combat
Studying these concepts, he explains, gives martial artists the tools to train for a lifetime and at the very highest level. Tokitsu also gives a historical and cultural survey of budo, and explains how the Western view of budo training is different than the Japanese-a perspective rarely available to Western martial artists.
VISIT OUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL for many great techniques and videos by Sifu Rick.
Video/Pictures: Mary Jo Colli, Kurt Komoda, Mike Lee
Stories: Mary Jo Colli, Mike Lee