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Post From:

Master Joel Juanitas of Bahala Na Martial Arts Association


It is with a heavy heart and great sorrow that I announce the passing of our Great Grand Master Antonio E. Somera at 5:18am on October 28, 2013. Please pray for the Somera and Flores families as they go through this trying time.

Views: 1858

Comment by Marc Lawrence on October 28, 2013 at 10:03pm

This has been rough two weeks in the FMA community. My family and I offer our condolences to GM Somera's family.

Comment by terry joven on October 29, 2013 at 9:19am
From Master Ron Saturno
At one time Stockton, Ca. had more Filipino's than any where else outside of the Philippines. When I was a child and visited the many farm labor camps surrounding Stockton, Ca. for parties, cock-fights and friendship: They were filled with Filipinos during the various harvest seasons. Asparagus camps were the premier locations for the crack crews of Filipino grass cutters.
As the years went slowly by the fields were being worked more and more by farm workers other than Filipinos. There had been a Bracero program that had brought in Mexican laborers. I also saw Middle Eastern laborers brought in. Many years ago there were other laborers from other lands brought in to work in the fertile San Joaquin Valley fields. Farm labor has had a long and illustrious history in the fertile farm lands of California and in other states as well. All of the workers worked long and hard hours for wages that were barely able to keep their families fed and their bills paid. Low pay and no benefits was what farm laborer's had to contend with.
Filipinos were strangers in a strange land. When the United Farm Workers Union organized: Many do not know that Filipinos were there as primary organizers from the very beginning. A man could work his whole life in the fields and have next to nothing to show for it. Filipinos tried to fix their plight in legitimate ways. The Filipinos of that bygone era paid in blood, sweat and tears to have earned their place as unknown and barely appreciated men in this great state of California.
But they were well honored by those that loved them. When WWII broke out many Filipinos answered the call of duty to defend this great land. They were promised citizenship after the war, which they were later denied after the war. Many do not know that California denied Filipinos the right to wed White women until 1949. Their dark color denied them their right to wed White women, but there skins were heavily darkened from working long hours in the sun to enrich the very men who denied them respect and equality. But they worked through it as most immigrants do. They put their heads down, worked hard and raised families. Their many children in many instances went on to become upstanding members of society. Many of these children got to see their fathers bowed down by age and the many years of stoop labor that their fathers had to endure in the fields.
Their Fathers had little to show for years of back breaking labor, but their bent backs. I know these things and remember. I got to see Stockton slowly lose these undervalued members of their community, because of Father Time. Father Time will wait for none of us. I remember the days of old. When I see a child of these immigrants pass away I feel an emptiness in my heart. That child takes many memories with them. That child may be the last living connection with some of those many forgotten immigrants of bygone days. A small piece of history is lost when these connections are broken.
One Tony Somera is one of those children who has just passed. He was a Grand Master and inheritor of the Bahala na System of the late Grand Master Leo Giron. Leo Giron was a decorated combat veteran. He valiantly served the United States of America in WWII.
He introduced the Bahala na System of Escrima to Stockton, Ca., after a psychopath murdered many nurses, many years ago. He wanted to teach people how to defend themselves against those who wished to take lives without a just cause. He had a history of trying to fight for and do what was right and just. All of the children raised by Filipino fathers in Stockton, Ca. have a lot of connections between one another. We are the inheritors of the hopes and dreams of our fathers. Their is a lot of shared history between us.
When Tony Somera passed away everyone of us should feel the loss and especially other Escrimadors. At times there has been a lot of contention between Escrima Clubs and even their members over the years as well as anger, disgust and outright open hostility.
So today I am speaking to the children of other Filipino Fathers who practice and love Escrima. Isn't it about time that we appreciate the long shared history that we all have between us. Didn't our fathers work and fight for America? Aren't we all Americans yet? Aren't we all worthy of love and compassion and at least of tacit understanding of all of our many faults. I was not a friend of Tony Somera
. We were acquaintances who passed each other infrequently and mostly on formal occasions involving Escrima. But I respected him, because Leo Giron said that he was worthy of respect. Leo Giron earned Tony the right to be respected. So I will try my very best to go to his funeral, just like I went to GM Leo Giron's funeral, because of our shared history. I am saddened by Tony's passing and offer my sincere compassion to those who loved him.
An Escrimador has passed, a fellow warrior will not rise again until God raises him. Until then Tony, rest in peace. Just know that there are many others who love the Bahala na System and will do their utmost to keep the art alive and prospering.
Bahala na.
Comment by terry joven on October 29, 2013 at 9:22am

Brent Matsuda

I am sad to report the passing of Grandmaster Antonio "Tony" Somera, Head of the Bahala Na Martial Arts Association, this morning in Stockton, California. GM Tony oversaw my graduation from BNMA in 2006 and opened my eyes to the cultural aspects of the Filipino martial arts and appreciation for those who teach it (not just Giron escrima, but all systems and styles). While the Bahala Na group that I trained with has now splintered, I will always cherish the time spent training under his tutelage and credit him with helping me to develop a solid foundation in escrima and introducing me to so many of my mentors and brothers. May he Rest in Peace (although I know he's up there now playing sticks with GME Leo Giron). My thoughts and prayers go out to his wife Sally and the Somera and Flores families.

Comment by terry joven on October 29, 2013 at 9:26am

From Guro Michael Cardenas

The VEA Martial Arts Academy offers its sincere condolences to the family and friends of Grand Master Antonio Somera. He was a steward for the Fillipino Martial Arts and it rich history as well as an advocate for the Stockton Community. May you find eternal peace and may the Lord comfort those you have touched and left behind.

Comment by terry joven on October 29, 2013 at 2:07pm


GM Art Gonzalez

From the Tenio's DeCuerdas Escrima Family of Stockton Ca USA

Rest in Peace Gm Tony Somera

We will never forget your great acomplishments


Gm Arthur Gonzalez

Comment by Alex L. Ercia on October 29, 2013 at 3:59pm

My condolences to the Somera family and Bahala Na Family. 

Comment by Al S on October 30, 2013 at 8:15am

Master Saturno,

Great history of the Filipinos and their emigration to Stockton California. Also a great reflection on GM Tony Somera and his passing. I think what you wrote is so great that I may suggest to you that at a time when you feel appropriate that you edit and reprint your comments under a different topic so that every member and non-member have the opportunity to read them.

“So today I am speaking to the children of other Filipino Fathers who practice and love Escrima. Isn't it about time that we appreciate the long shared history that we all have between us. Didn't our fathers work and fight for America? Aren't we all Americans yet? Aren't we all worthy of love and compassion and at least of tacit understanding of all of our many faults.”

Such great words, should be mandatory reading – at least in my opinion.

Comment by Black Swan Tactical on October 30, 2013 at 12:34pm

Al S,

Just to let you know, I am not sure how often Master Ron Saturno stops by  I am sure that he knows his material is cross posted here, but after his falling out with Tasi Alo years ago, he has not been a daily participant on  He is regularly cross-posted off of other resources, as he is above.  He may not see your note unless you locate him on Facebook and post your comments there as well.



Comment by terry joven on November 4, 2013 at 5:23pm

Here are tentative times for GM Somera

Monday, 11/11
4pm Viewing

DeYoung Memorial Chapel
7676 Shoreline Dr
Stockton, CA 95219 map

Tuesday, 11/12
10am Service

St Luke's Catholic Church
3847 North Sutter ST
Stockton, CA 95204 map 

Burial at St Joachim Catholic Cemetery
719 E Harding Way

Stockton, CA 95205 map

Comment by Guro Lawrence Motta on November 11, 2013 at 10:38am

Terry, is this confirmed?


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