Friday, January 06, 2006

The Lineage of a Wanna-be Samurai

The myths and legends are not true, my hands are not registered as "deadly weapons" with the state of California. It all began with a whim and a chance meeting - providentially enriched? Somewhere back in 1991 or 92, I hooked up with this Kun Tau guy named Luis Mayoral. He just opened up shop in Alhambra and I just so happen to notice his sign. I took a few classes got a free gi . . . then it happened! I was working at Ralph's at the time when I met up with a guy who would forever change my perception of martial arts and self-defense . . . Mike Stackowski, one of the store managers. He was a Hapikido drop-out turned Wing Chun disciple under Will Duvall (Robert Duvall's cousin), who was a LA Chinatown original from the Bruce Lee school (so I was told). Will was well connected with the LA martial arts community. Anyhow, Mike took me under his "wing" (no pun intended) and began to show me the finer points of Jeet Kune Do Concepts (or Jun Fan Boxing or JKD or whatever you want to argue is proper according to the JKD Nucleus - are they still around?). Soon I was exposed to the foundations of JKD, the 4 ranges of fighting according to Lee: grappling, trapping, punching, and kicking. Each range consisted of a different regimen of training. For grappling, we used judo and Brazilian Jiu-jitsu techniques, for trapping, we used wing chun, and so on and so forth. Through Mike, I was introduced to David Tice Sr., a Spanish high school teacher with a huge appetite for learning anything related to martial arts (a black belt under Shorinji Ryu Jujitsu master Kenneth Penland, chief instructor of the LAPD's only Aiki Jujitsu & Defensive Tactics Dojo). Dave introduced me to all sorts of weirdos, actually pretty nice guys . . . such as Sensei "Judo" Gene LeBell, Sensei Gokor Chivichyan, Marco Ruas (and Pedro Rizzo and Beverly Hills Jiu-jitsu club company - I remember when Genki Sudo was still a newbie, at least I think it was Genki training under Pedro and Bas), and last but not least Larry Landless (who is now a UFC and King of the Cage referee, along with Herb Dean who hung out with the old Will Duvall group). Mike and Dave kept my diet of grappling full for those early years (good connections with friends who trained with Larry Hartsell, Gene Lebell, the Machados - Jean Jacques is amazing). Fast forward a few years, I spent my summers training with Larry's Submission Factory crew back when they were hanging out at the Rosemead Boys and Girls club off Garvey. Larry used alot of his wrestling background in his techniques and experiences with the Lion's Den (these are my suspicions). By the time I moved permanently to Calgary, I found a good friendship with Alex Roque (a Brazilian born immigrant of Italian descent - great guy). He was hooked up with Marcus Soares (black belt under Carlson Gracie), who was the first guy to ever test me. Now fast forward a few more years and I am a couch potato, more specifically a "mouse potato" . . . Alex still keeps me up to date on the "haps" - he is now associated with Jose Mario MacCord Queiroga (an Alliance BJJ black belt and mundial champ; aka "Ze Mario Esfiha"). Just in case you are wondering, I do have too many stories to tell . . . for instance, Marcus Soares loves all-you-can-eat sushi . . . such as Granville Sushi back when it was good and has since been closed down, the guy is a BJJ historian with an attitude. Anyhow, that should do it, I cannot fight and will not, unless we are talking about who gets to man the BBQ grill! Then again, I do like to roll around once in awhile . . . "when in doubt, choke 'em out."

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