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Cor Navin commented on John R. Malmo's page School Directory
"WingTsun & Escrima Servette, Ecole du Liotard, 66 rue Liotard, 1203…"
Jul 1, 2021

Why did you choose FMA to train and what helped you choose the style that you currently train in?

Just wondering what was it that brought people on the path to the styles of FMA that they currently train in.

For me, I love weapons and always wanted to learn how to use them. 

I never really did much martial arts (except a few judo classes in school) and met a group of people that mentioned they were learning how to use swords, spears, axes etc. And needles to say, i jumped at the chance!

Was there I met my current teacher, Jon and he was also training in escrima and silat and i joined his club when he set it up. And now i train in Giron Arnis Bahala Na, Lacoste kali and Balinatawak.

Interested to hear how others got to where they are in their FMA training if they care to share?

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Started in Isshinryu back in the late 60s and from there went into the military combatives as taught to me by one of my cousins who was a marine during this time.. I enlisted in the military and had the chance to be stationed in Taiwan where I studied Kuntao which was being taught by one of the senior Taiwanese military NCOs at the base where I was stationed.. Moved from there to the Philippines and this is where I got my first exposure into the Filipino Martial culture by studying Kuntaw and Comjuka Kempo..It was during my training in Comjuka under Rafael Reston where I was introduced to the arts of Sinko Tiros and Balintawak as part of the training.. I had the ability to travel around the Philippines and train with various other instructors within the circle of friends that my instructors had..

I left the Philippines and started teaching the FMA at Maxwell AFB Alabama in 1976.. After leaving the Maxwell area, I went back to the Philippines and continued with my training in Kuntaw and Comjuka while there I also had the ability to pickup some more training within the eskrima arts in the local area..

Over the years I trained in various other arts which included Kajukenbo, Shito ryu, Kodenkan Judo and Jujitsu while teaching the FMA.. As time progressed I found the arts of Penchak silat (silat zulfikari) and cimande silat from several friends on the mainland during my time there in the Chicago area... It is here where I had my first exposure to Dekiti Tirsia Siradas as taught by GM Jerson "Nene" Tortal and I have been working with the Tortal family system of eskrima since then..

I also travel to the Philippines once or twice a year to help my affiliate clubs there with the enhancement of their training in Comjuka since Master Reston died in 2006 and there has been a renewed interest in the weapons and empty hand systems of the Pampanga region in which I have been an instructor of since 1975.. I also am sharing the Chinese Kuntao system along with the Kenpo systems that I have been practicing since the mid 70s with my affiliate groups there..

Wow, great question with wonderful responses.

I started out in Karate because I loved the movies, and in college, I got involved with some MMA training. I had always loved Bruce Lee's movies and read his books. I went looking for JKD back near my hometown, but all I found was Inosanto Kali with Guro Steve Fristoe. The MMA trainer had told me about Dan Inosanto's involvement with Bruce; so, I decided to give it a shot. I was hooked. My personality prefers simple concepts that can be combined, pulled a part and re-combined in new ways, and the FMAs readily fulfilled that. I trained with Guro Tim Rivera during my time at the engineering school. After college, I let my training lapse.

I went back to get a new degree and met some Karate guys who wanted to train as an informal group. There, I met my teacher who started me off in Cacoy Doce Pares. Luckily, within a few months, Master Zach Whitson would be in Springfield, MO. The trip was close; the seminar was priced appropriately to check things out. I was blown away; Zach, during the seminar, filled in concepts that I had been missing during all my previous training (My fault, not the instructors), and this seminar was the basics of his system.

Since then, I've trained in Counterpoint Tactical Systems with my instructor and with Master Whitson. I've also trained with a number of Master Whitson's students at the Iron Mountain camps and various seminars. The system works for me due to the organization and versatility of the material. It provides mental as well as physical challenges. The advanced material builds upon the stuff learned in the beginning, and the system focuses on the notion of playing the material, not just drilling it. The people I've met in the system are amazing. So, all of that makes CTS the system for me.



FMA seemed practical.  I like the fact that we generally use the same muscle memory patterns with or without weapons. I also remember watching a video of several older Filipino gentlemen moving fluidly with both sticks and knives. It impressed upon me the longevity inherent in the FMA systems.  

My first instructor was a Dog Brothers guy who I went to for knife training.  Later I started working with Hock Hochheim and one of his instructors.  I also coach Sombo and have found FMA helpful in hand fighting prior to an entry.   

FMA has the answers for every and any type of combat engagement.  I found my home in the Pekiti-Tirsia Kali System.  The answer is simple.  I was looking for a system that has great maneuvering skills making you nearly impossible to be hit while giving you the proper training methods to control range learn the effecient triangular footwork and tactics agains singular or multiple opponents in all weapon categories including empty hands.  The philosophy and training methods of PTK instill true self confidence and combative knowledge and physical skill.


I've studied other arts like Jeet Kune Do, Jiu-Jitsu and kickboxing but none compare even close to PTK / FMA.  This system is true to believing in Life, Health and Success and through the training you really do begin to live it in your everyday life. 

I grew up with the Filipino Martial Arts in a very informal manner...seeing it in bits and pieces at family gatherings. So it was not an uncommon occurrence to see things that I thought were "Kung Fu" as a young kid.

But it was Guro Inosanto's book that really hooked me...not only seeing technique but to hear so much about my own culture did it for me.

If Guro Inosanto had hooked me, it was Pekiti-Tirsia and Tuhon McGrath's expertise and ethics that kept me on board. It's a gift that keeps on giving in many aspects of my life. I try to give my own students an experience worth having and that will serve them in a myriad of ways. I can only hope my sons will choose to study and help keep their heritage thriving.

I seen Pekiti in a short Tim Waid clip. when hes teaches Marines. I liked the stick work. So I found a group in Tracy who teaches. Its really fun.


although the footwork is kinda confusing for me.

I did it for the reason I started any martial arts.


 The movies!


     I wanted to fight like Jason Bourne and Batman. Then I found out fights are nothing like it. But I feel in love with it and now I do Pekiti and Chinese Boxing.

I recently just started this past weekend with Guro Doug Marsh and I must say I'm exicited! I joined to learn more about my heritage being half filipino and also the benefits that come with Pekiti-Tirsia Kali. I'm honored to have the previlage to learn this here now n SA,Tx even if I was born in the Islands.

Another San Antonio PTK practitioner chiming in.  

I started off when I was young very interested in martial arts.  I was smaller than most other boys my age and as such, did not have much in the way of self-confidence.   I was also very much into the martial arts movie scene at the time (1980's = Ninja movies, Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee, etc.) and that shaped much of my childhood interest.  Unfortunately, the only martial arts in my area were TKD and the occasional Karate school.  My mother, being a single parent, really didn't have the money to send me to lessons, so I was out of luck on that until much later in my life.  

Later, I got into a Japanese Jujutsu style, and I enjoyed the training, but injuries mounted up (lots of small joint manipulations in JJJ) so I had to stop training.  During this same time period, I was exposed to FMA for the first time.  Someone I had met off of another martial arts forum was coming to town and was going to give a brief demo in Modern Arnis.  

Following this, I moved to another state and there happened to be a Modern Arnis school very close to me and I started training.  This school was quite different from any Modern Arnis school I have seen elsewhere in that we sought out knife work from other systems to supplement what we were doing, and did regular live stick and empty hand sparring, as well as knife sparring with aluminum trainers.  This training really instilled a love for FMA in me and got me hooked.  

After a while of this, my instructor stopped teaching as he was a LEO who was doing narcotics investigations and wanted to keep a lower profile.  So, I then sought out a Lacoste-Inosanto Kali school which was also in the same general area that I lived.  This school was run by Pat Tray, who was a founding member of SEAL team 6 and therefore was focused on keeping things fair combative in nature.  Unfortunately, there were multiple FMA instructors, teaching was inconsistent and the lack of curriculum and training plan led to a less than ideal situation at times.  All in all however, I did enjoy my training and like the system in general.  

A year or so following this, I had to move out of state and started training in PTK under one of Tuhon McGrath's instructors.  Training was sporadic at best since I lived 90 minutes away from the guy was studying with and therefore we were doing 8 hour blocks on a monthly basis.  This is obviously less than idea and though he was a good teacher and a very good practitioner as well, I honestly did not learn that much.  However, it was enough to wet my appetite for more.  

A year or so following this, I moved to a new location where there was a solid school which taught Lacoste-Inosanto and Sayoc Kali.  I had every intention of training there, but again, ran into a road block.  Shortly after I arrived, the head instructor changed his schedule so that he no longer had dedicated FMA classes, but rather taught a mixed blend of FMA, JKD, Muay Thai, and Silat.  Frankly, I like all those arts just fine, but my interest is in FMA so that really wasn't going to work or me.  I did train privately with one of his senior students for a few sessions here and there, and found the training quality to be very high.  

Three years later, and I am in San Antonio and spoiled for choices in FMA.  There are multiple high quality PTK groups as well as some Kuntao, Silat, and Garimot Arnis.  I am training at two different PTK groups with the blessing of both of my instructors who are both very good.  I am fortunate to have found such high level training on a regular basis.  I wish it could have come much earlier in my life than it did, but that cannot be helped.  All that I can do now is to work as hard as I can and get as much time in as I can so that I can learn as rapidly as possible.  

Good thread.  Cheers,  

As Guro Dan says, everyone is into FMA for their own personal reasons. In the beginning like most guys, I was into defending myself but as time passed as I was discovering, there was a lot more to what FMA encompassed that was way beyond my expectations, awareness and realizations. As 99% of everyone that sees Kali is actually experiencing the "buha" (flower) that is always mistaken as combat which is immediately judged and scrutinized by the ignorant. It's the "bungah" (fruit) which is not shared with the disloyal.

Tuhon Sam Tendencia once said, "If the instructor sees no sincerity and loyalty in the student then he will not teach the the strategy in the foot work". So the self centered false egotistical student with his "full cup" will think he knows everything and doesn't have to learn any more of the repetitious drills because he can create more on his own!

   There is a lack of respect among the many so called players of Kali that should wake up and realize that they are not "It"........ thinking they are superior among the rest!

As Tuhon Greg Montoyo once said, "There's going to always be someone better than you!" You can ask these guys, "What is the difference between "false ego" and "super ego"? Most do not even have a clue!

   For myself, Tuhon Sam Tendencia had a profound subtle influence on me while he and his wife were chatting with Guro Dan at the Kali Academy in Torrance in 1975 in Guro Dan's office.Since, I've realized the compassionate part of the art required learning some type of healing art which Hilot was the healing art that Tuhon Sam Tendencia was practicing!

   My great grand uncle was one of those spiritual healers from the Philippines that also had a very strong influence on me. I would always refer all the methods and drills in Kali to healing similarities. The same lines are used at specific times that are related to the organ that is dominant in that time zone.

   I asked Guro Ted Lucay Lucay about the 4 corners related to form and foot work, where the angels live referring to range, timing, sensitivity, awareness, heaven, man and earth. At his Hunting Beach school, he shared with me his personal notes on some of the spiritual aspects of Kali.

   As it is said, "You defang the snake and it cannot kill you!". This is a statement of compassion! Not to kill the being that is trying to kill you but to take away his weapons! This is what "gunting" is about!

   Back to the main point. As we are all born, every atom, molecule and cell is subtly influenced by all the gravitational pull from all the planetary objects in the universe. This is what makes each of us very unique indeed! Mars, the planet of war may have been a dominating planet when you were born so there is always an affinity to martial arts in some way or another whereas some of us Mars comes into play at specific times in our lives so when Mar's influence is strongest is when we find these guys at the Kali academy. When Mars is moving out of their influence, that's the time when the students begin to fade out and maybe lose interest where other planets influence become more dominant, such as Venus, for example so they tend to get into another type of art!

   We are in Kaliyuga for the next 400,000 years! The art of "metal"! So Kali will be influencing all of us and without metal and the vast variety and qualities of metal, we could not live in existence as we are today!

I began with Modern Arnis, because I went to a seminar with Datu Shishir (who was not a Datu at that time) and fell in love with the art.  I had finished with football at Simon Fraser University, or rather it had finished me.  I had taken up Tai Chi to dial back my aggression a bit, and had tried other martial arts, which didn't dance with me. I fell in love with Arnis, the flow, the functionality, the fun....The smell of rattan in the morning (those of you who remember the 70's will get that reference.)  Datu went on to work with GM Remy Presas in Modern Arnis, and so did I.  I have tried other styles, and arts (Catch wrestling, BJJ, JKD, PDR, Historical European Martial Arts, Gladiatorial) but for me, Modern Arnis is the root and trunk of what I do, though I will always respect all the Masters, and Instructors, who have shared their arts with me. I am proud to walk in your footsteps.


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