A LETTER FROm
Dear Fellow Martial Artists,
This month we have a powerhouse double feature consisting of two young, ambitious martial artists that have incredibly exciting futures ahead of them.
First up, we have Kevin Lee, an instructor under Guro Dan Inosanto, Sifu Francis Fong, Ajarn Chai Sirisute and Sensei Erik Paulson. He currently instructs out of the Francis Fong Martial Arts Academy in Atlanta. He has trained extensively in Wing Chun, Jun Fan Gung Fu, Filipino Martial Arts, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Combat Submission Wrestling, Savate, Thai Boxing, Silat, Wushu, Aikido and Taekwondo. Kevin shares his story and shows some great skills & drills that showcase a nice blend of styles.
Next up, we have Daniel Bernas, a 26 year old phenom from the Kali Arnis Martial Arts Organization (KAMAO). Daniel has spent the past 8 and a half years as a practitioner in Arnis and has been representing his country as a Philippine Arnis Delegate for the World Martial Arts Union since 2012. Some of Daniel's achievements include: Gold medalist in 5 International Championships, World Champion in the 2016 WEKAF World Championship, Over 30 Gold Medals for both forms and full-contact sparring - A true testament to dedication, passion and purpose can help
We also share some interesting interim results from our Martial Arts Digital Seminar Survey that over 400 people filled out. A big thank you to everyone who participated so far as your feedback is nothing short of invaluable :)
Stay tuned for some interesting sneak peaks on things to come.
- Budo Brothers
Featured Budo Brother
I was born in a small town from Taiwan on November 1987. My first experience of Marital Arts was from an after-school program. I didn’t know martial art was, nor what to expect from it. I was mainly there because my parents thought I was too wild and needed some discipline. I was around 7 years old when I started my training in traditional Chinese Kung-Fu. In the old days, the teachers were allowed to beat you up with sticks. I remember getting beat up due to poor performances or bad behaviours in classes; it usually leaves bruises on my body for couple of days, sometimes weeks. At first, I was doing because I had to, I didn’t have a choice. But who knew it started to plan a seed inside of me, it became my passion, a part of my life.
After a few years of training, I began my second martial art training path in Aikido when my family moved to a different town in Taiwan. That was my first time experiencing Japanese martial arts. But what drowns me more was the uniform. I remember watching the class and I could not take my eyes off the uniforms that everyone was wearing! The uniform itself looks so clean and so elegant. I would tie up my uniform with my belt and carry it over my back while I bike to my dojo every night.
My family decided to move to United States when I was 13 years old. I was disappointed to leave because I had just gotten my green belt in Aikido. But I know I won’t stop my training and I will continue my martial art journey in the United States. So I decided to join the Tae Kwon Do Club in High School.
Just a few years after, I found a martial arts school nearby by my house. I would pass by it every morning on my way to school. I’ve decided to pay it a visit one night. I remember walking down the stairs and entering the door. The school was very clean and smelled really nice. I was offered to do a trial class and was blown away by the quality of instructions. It was indeed what I was looking for this whole entire time, it doesn’t not emphasise on a specific system, rather, the school offers multiple martial arts system to better educate the students. Without a second thought, I’ve decided to become a part of the Francis Fong Martial Arts Academy.
Over the years of training at the Francis Fong Martial Arts Academy, I’ve learned so much from Sifu Francis Fong. Wing Chun was my first primary art. But I also trained in other systems such as Jun Fan Gung Fu, Kali, Gracie Jit-Jitsu, Combat Submission Wrestling, Muay Thai, Silat and Savate. I don’t think there is such a system that is superior better than others, but the person who study the system must better educate themselves and become well-rounded in every other aspect. As a martial artist, my goal is to train harder and be better than where I was yesterday. I don’t compare myself to other martial artists, instead, I set them as my role models to motivate me, to help me training harder. I constantly challenge myself to face my fears; the fear of getting down on the ground, the fear of getting punch in the face, the fear that I won’t be able to defend myself against a better opponent. I know that’s my way to push myself and sharpen my skills.
Throughout my years of training, I have achieved my instructorships under the world-renowned instructors such as Guro Dan Inosanto, Sifu Francis Fong, Ajarn Chai Sirisute, and Sensei Erik Paulson. But it doesn’t make me stop. I continue traveling to my teachers yearly to train with them. It allows to see other talented martial artist and knowing that there are always better people out there. It makes me humble, makes me want to be better. A true martial artist never stop training, we must continue our training and keep researching to embrace our ability. Every accomplishment in my martial arts journey is a bless. I am thankful to all of my teachers for passing down their knowledge and wisdom. I know one day I will do the same. I am also thankful to all of the students who I have trained. They’ve helped me grown as a better teacher. My training has taken me up to this point, but I am only getting started. We must continue to mater ourselves and striving to be stronger, faster and wiser. A black belt is not the end of the journey, it is only the beginning!
Skills Of THe Month
by Kevin Lee
Trapping to grabbing
Kali Double Stick coordination drill
Kali Knife work
Single Stick kali drills
Kali Stick Grappling Skills
Figure 4 Skills
It's official, we are in production! A few months back we ran a survey to get your thoughts on what you would like to see in a digital seminar, and over 400 individuals provide some invaluable feedback.
Here's what people had to say:
Did you provide your thoughts?
If not, there's still time and we want to hear from you!
Featured Budo Brother
A little bit about me, I work as a part-time private instructor in Arnis and spend the rest of my time either training for competitions or studying for my graduate course in Counseling Psychology. I've been a practitioner of Arnis since 2009 when I began my first year of college. I took Arnis as a PE class and quickly fell in love with the art.
Arnis is very different from the martial arts I had tried before. I had joined classes in Taekwondo, Karate, and Wushu to name a few. Each had its own appeal to me but not enough to keep me around to get past the basics. With Arnis, it was different. I was instantly hooked within the first few patterns of basic stick strikes in my first class. The movements felt so natural to me as though I had an affinity with the weapons. One semester later, I found myself in the varsity team. Three years after that, I found myself leading the college team as captain. Now, I am representing the country as a Philippine Arnis delegate for the World Martial Arts Union.
One of the things I love about Arnis is the freedom to explore different movements; it allows for self-expression. I am lucky to have wise and experienced Masters in a school that's eclectic in practice yet preserves the cultural integrity of the art. We recognize that there is no "one size fits all" when it comes to combat movements, or any other type of movement for that matter. We pick up what our coaches teach and then see how we can apply them for ourselves. We put more value on constant development and growth; the continuous drive to master the art and improve the self, rather than the political correctness of a technique (though we do not discount the efficiency of some moves over others). For these reasons, one should not be surprised to discover that there are various styles and approaches in teaching Arnis. It has been said that there are as many styles as there are masters.
It is also in my practice of Arnis where I learned the value of persistence and discipline. I was never the sporty type as a kid. In fact, I grew up with asthma so I would get tired easily from physical activities. In my first few years of competitive training, I had the tendency of abruptly shutting down when I get gassed out and my sparring coach found it difficult to give me advice in-between matches. It was a rough few years in the competitive scene of Arnis for me. But the sheer love for the sport kept me hanging on despite the difficulty and I found myself slowly overcoming the mental and physical block I had been keeping. 8 years ago, I would have never imagined myself being where I am now. I'm proud to have championed several competitions and even more proud to having brought honor to my country in the process. It would have seemed even more farfetched to me that I would find myself teaching a martial sport and producing champions who love the art just as much.
When I was given the title of "lakan", the rank of a black belt, I was reminded by my masters that it was merely the beginning of a new journey, rather than an end. The rank of black belt is not about being some sort of lethal master of weaponry and combat. Rather, it is the initiation into a smaller circle of martial arts experts who strive to continue to develop themselves and the art itself. This is where I am now in my journey. I am in the constant process of looking for and learning new ways to grow and improve both myself and how I portray and preserve the art. I am proud to be one of the few who have chosen to be a bearer of the skills and traditions that have been passed down through several generations of Filipinos. I am a part-time teacher, a competing athlete, yet forever a student of this great martial art.
Skills Of THe Month
By Daniel Bernas