According to Reggie Carter-Swinson, the training of GM Rogers, (His younger brother), began at the age of 7 months old, when Reginald and brother Franklin began teaching him wrestling and a game called "Chest" where combatants hit one another in the chest to see if they could take it. Hand sensitivity drills and sparring concepts came later in the form of neighborhood competitions called "Slapboxing" this is GM Rogers first introduction to African American Martial Arts. Hi, i am GM Rogers and i grew up fighting on the streets of Vallejo, Ca. and at an early age my mom and 2 brothers taught me about slave rebellions in American history and took me to learn Judo & Boxing (Vallejo PAL), Wrestling (Coach Foley),Chinese Kempo (GM Bill G. Vargas), Kajukembo (GM Emil Batista & Prof. Tony Ramos) & Taekwondo (GGM Byong Yu). But it was at age 15 that i was introduced to a book that i still have today by Matsutatsu Oyama called "Advanced Karate" it states that "The oldest known record concerning combat techniques hieroglyphic scrolls from Egyptian tombs, dating back as far as 4000 B.C. At age 17 after the incouragement of African Martial Arts Master Waurice Washington and Tammarau Kuntao Kempo Founder Sifu Glenn Abrescy "Ya or Kwa Asilia Avita Sanaa" (The Original Martial Art) was born. At age 19 my entire school was recruited to fight for William Kim's Taekwondo. My first introduction to FMA was learning Balisong in Jr High School from Greg Carigon & Alex Lago of Sensei Pat Salinte's Shorinji Kempo. But later in 1983 i was introduced to FMA & Wu Shing Tai Chi by GM Anthony Davis when he brought Guru Ted Lucaylucay & Guru Dan Inosanto to Fairfield, Ca. and there i met GGM John Wong. When Dan Inosanto mentioned Egypt as a part FMA history and my mothers concept of anything you put in your hand could be a weapon was validated as a martial art by this seminar, i was sold and i have been teaching the basics of FMA as a tribute to the African American Machete called Kisu Na Fimbo (Knife and Stick) every since. I was later certified as Grandmaster and Founder of Kwa Asilia Avita Sanaa by the President of the California College of Martial Arts GGM Frank Waller and approved by the Founder of the African American Martial Art of Ashan-Tao GGM James Ash. For 30 years i have taught the African American Martial Art of Kwa Asilia Avita Sanaa, (The Original Martial Art), sighting "Chest", Slapboxing", "Slave Rebellions" and freedom fighting organizations like the "Underground Railroad" in North American, Central American & South American as it's history. The biggest goal of the African American Martial Art of Kwa Asilia Avita Sanaa is to connect to my culture and change the worlds perception of the Africans in early North America from slaves to "Freedom Fighters" and in this way uplift the pride and self esteem of African Americans in general. (This is one aspect of American history that has been overlooked or even suppressed in the writings on this subject until now). Amani, Upendo Na Staha (Peace, Love and Respect), to all of my martial arts brothers and sisters!!!
I built my own system from 30 years worth of knowledge in various disciplines. I have found that motion is motion and movement is movement. I simply comprised what I know works into a simple system that is easy to work and nasty as fish gut stew. In the end that's all that truly matters to me. Getting home safe at the end of the day is paramount and having a simple system that is chalked full of intent in your tool box is a good thing. So in essence I had no other reason for creating SEAMOK other than having a simple way for people to learn practical and tactical life preservation skills, minus the magic, dogma and politics that some times accompanies the arts we covet.
I chose FMA as it is part of my heritage. Being an Americanized Filipino, this was a way of getting back to my roots. Another big factor in chosing Arnis is what I view as a martial art that is effective and practical, an art that I can practice until I am old. However,the particular flavor of Eskrima was something that I did not choose, rather it chose me. Residing in a city with no formal FMA schools, I was about to travel hundreds of miles to attend seminars, maybe even attend formal classes sometimes to at least gain some knowledge of the art. Yet by chance an instructor who is within commuting distance to me approached me. I have been searching and asking around for a teacher for close to 2 years found nothing, then here is a master who has approached a student. Faith is silly sometimes. Modern Arnis and Kombatan has found me and I have never looked back. Under the superb guidance of my instructor and supported by awesome classmates who spends countless hours with me training outside of class, I have gained skills, and in the near future....I will be a very very formidable fighter.
On moving to the Philippines I wanted to get back into FMA. I previously had studied Latosa Eskrima in the States - my first exposure to FMA. I paid a monthly fee at my Wing Chun gym and they had Latosa so I gave it a go.
I then moved around a bit before coming to the Philippines. After I arrived I looked through as many you-tube videos from local Masters that I could. I saw one of GM Yuli Romo teaching Bahad Zu'bu and it was what I was looking for. I asked my wife where his location was and it turned out he was living in the same city as her parents - just 1 - 2 hrs away (depending on traffic LOL!). It could have been anywhere in the Philippines but I was lucky it was relatively close by.
I was even more impressed after our initial meeting and his demonstration of the art.
I think being able to train with a great teacher - regardless of the art - is key. The system can be amazing but if it can't be taught it is by and large useless. However, a good teacher can take a few simple basics and teach you how to use them effectively.
HI Simon, GM Yuli is a well regarded Kali Master of the Philippines. Although I have never met him in person he has my utmost respect. It's been a long time but I met some of his contemporaries - GM Tony Diego, Topher Ricketts, and of course, my teacher GM Rey Galang of Bakbakan International. All Mandirigma and true ambassadors of the Filipino Martial Arts. All the best and keep in touch.
Pekiti Tirsia Kali ( for which I am just beginning my journey) was the first of the FMA that I was exposed to and I like that fact that it is battle tested and used by the Filipino Marines. But I am always open to learn new systems that can enhance my skill set. God Bless,Don