June 14th 2014 Martial Arts Cultural Exchange
Another M.A.C.E event has come and gone, it was truly an amazing day of cross training and collaboration as well as a historic chapter in the books for Stockton FMA and the VEA Martial Arts Academy. In attendance and on the teaching roster were representatives of Stockton’s greatest and perhaps more widely known eskrimador legends GM Gilbert Tenio, GM Leo Giron, and GM Angel Cabales. As a Fillipino Martial Arts Practitioner I owe a lot of gratitude to these men who through their efforts brought this highly effective art of their ancestors into the public and shared it with those outside of blood lineage, which historically was the way this art was passed from generation to generation.
The VEA Martial Arts Academy was honored to have Michael Giron the son of legendary Leo Giron, and GM Vincent Cabales the son of legendary Angle Cabales, on the teaching lineup. At the DeCuerdas helm and serving as the patriarch for Tenio’s lineage was GM Art Gonzalez. As if having these three indivuals under the same roof at the same time wasn’t enough, in addition to these living legends we had Professor James Muro, Master Harry Greene, GM Carlito Bonjoc, Guro Rocky Twitchell, GM Ramiro Estallita, Professor Paul Buitron, Senior Master Daniel Siazon & Master Mikeal Smith also on the teaching roster which made for a great experience for all who attended.
Looking out onto the floor and on the sidelines I noticed a several Guro’s, Sifu’s, Sensei’s and Professors all choosing to be the student that day and train as equals. I believe it is this type of humility and camaraderie about the MACE events that I find most amazing and humbling and what I enjoy most about hosting them. There was so much positive energy and good will at this event that it was hard not to stop smiling throughout the night and the following day. The goodwill continued post MACE event as I read Facebook posts and private emails of gratitude in which a participant described the MACE event as “great people doing great things”, “truly and epic day” and “a day made for the history books”. Being surrounded by all these legends and having the producer Sonny Sison of the bladed hand come to our school to witness the event and interview folks for his sequel documentary was also a rare treat. This is why it was truly an honor for me to be promoted in front of such luminaries of the martial arts community, this day was especially important milestone in my life as I earned my coveted Masters certification from GM Art Gonzalez, an honor that really puts into perspective the years of dedicated practice I have devoted studying and promoting our beloved DeCuerdas; as well as the many years my wife as has supported me throughout my progression.
Also on this day GM Art did something most leaders of the arts fail to do, he named his planned successor. Prior to doing so he told me he was doing this for us and that we truly don’t know how long one will be around at the helm to lead. While it’s tough to hear your patriarch talk about the days when he will no longer be around, after hearing his explanation I understood why this had to be done. For the record and to make it publically known he named Chief Senior Master Daniel Siazon as the next inheritor of DeCuerdas Diestro Fighting Systems and promoted him as 9th degree black belt of the system and to be made 10th degree and inheritor of the system if relinquished by GM Art through his free will or death. It is this type of announcements that make the history books within the FMA community and what made this past MACE event truly and epic experience. At the end of a long day it seemed appropriate to have Pastor Miguel Jurna end the day with a closing prayer and wishing everyone a safe return to where they came from. The night ended perfectly with some of the instructors and students gathering at my house for cold beers, hot food and great conversation. For me as the head instructor at the VEA Martial Arts Academy I am truly honored and humbled to have had the opportunity to meet so many great people via the MACE events and rest assured that I will do my part to continue promoting the arts regardless of style or system; as leaders of the arts we owe this to the next generation.