Filipino Martial Arts for Families & Children with Special Needs

•04.15.2012 • 2 Comments

Last year as I worked on my Legacy Project for Sayoc Kali, one of my instructors Guro Joey urged me not only to demonstrate an understanding of the curriculum but also to take the material and really do something with it. He encouraged me to make it mine, to put it in my own life and context and functionalize it so that it is meaningful and unique to me. Just a few months later at our Sayoc Kali Sama Sama I found it particularly poignant when Tuhon Tom Kier moved with his family during our Sayaw, a time not only of preparation for conflict but an opportunity to engage with our brothers, sisters as a family. Every year during our Sayaws I circle the fire three times, and with each round I dedicate my thoughts to my wife and children. Although they are not always with me in proximity, they are always with me in my heart and mind. They are the reason I am where I am today, and greatly responsible for the person that I try to be. If there is any ounce of good in me, it is only because of them and the Grace of God.

I am a proud father of my sons and daughter, but I hold a special place for my oldest son William. As many of you know my son was born very prematurely and unfortunately encountered very traumatic circumstances close to and in the months following his birth. His first few months of life were spent in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, only to be followed a few weeks after his discharge by a few months more in a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. His injuries were catastrophic, and as a result he has spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, hydrocephalus, cortical visual impairment and a whole host of related diagnoses and has endured multiple surgeries for his brain, heart, stomach, hips and legs. He has far more strength than I do, and the only thing that exceeds his fortitude is his loving heart. He shows me that I am stronger than I am, I am more than I believe and I can be better than myself.

In the three primary Filipino Martial Arts systems that I practice and have the privilege to represent, the family and tribe are central to our philosophies. Our families propel us and drive our training, they are the reason we train and fight so hard. We are not separate from our families nor our tribe, and our conceptualization of combat is always rooted in this context. Most of us are not young men beating our chests for status or attention, and if we would ever have to use the technology we have been taught there is a good chance it may be with our wives, children or families present. With this in mind, I began fleshing out already proven and existing material and adapting techniques and concepts to our own specific and unique needs. With my son’s level of involvement he is encumbered in a heavy special needs wheelchair, and cannot observe, engage or even communicate with me or my wife in the same ways that other children would normally do. But we are no victims to circumstance, and my training has taught me to be a Feeder, not a passive recipient to life’s challenges. My family, no matter the specific situation is and always will be my primary security protocol; it is my life’s job to take care of them, to protect and provide for them unconditionally.

I began with a few video clips and with Pamana Tuhon Sayoc’s suggestions and permission I would like to present my ideas on using our Filipino Martial Arts for parents, guardians and family who take care of children with special needs.  A debt of gratitude must be expressed to Pamana Tuhon, Tuhon Carl and Guro Dan for everything they have taught and shared.  My instructors Guro Joey, Guro Travis and Guro Brian for their guidance and instruction, my brothers Guro Steve and Guro Jon for always working with me on my projects and ideas, my students for staying with me, and a special thanks to my wife who constantly puts up with my antics.

This past Easter season, I found myself thinking about my faith and the belief that there are angels and archangels that watch over us. For my profession I take care of sick infants in the same Neonatal Intensive Care Unit that my son was born into. I wondered about the spirits and angels in our midst that watch over these babies, and I remembered our second son Gabriel who we lost at birth. I find solace in the thought that he, the dearly departed and those angels entrusted with our charge who continue to guard and protect us continue to do so on their end. This project is my promise to work within my own faculties, my physical ability and mental creativity and build on the Filipino Martial Arts that I have been blessed with, and hold so dear. This is for my instructors and students, my brothers and sisters-in-arms, my family and above all for my son William.

IEFMA Sayoc Atienza Class 04.14.12

•04.14.2012 • Leave a Comment

This morning we warmed up with standing grapple skills then went into Sayoc Stick Grappling.  Next we covered Guro Pat Consing’s Silak Concepts Drill from Sayoc Kali and inserted Atienza Kali Lock Set Isolations from Knife Evolution 1, and covered variations pulling from the Inosanto-Lacoste and Maphilindo martial arts.

Kali 101

•04.06.2012 • Leave a Comment

A few years back now, my wife’s cousin suggested that I film some basic Filipino Martial Arts (FMA) material for him to start showing and practicing with his children.  While I do not want to encourage a “Learn FMA by YouTube” program, I do think that exposing friends, family and anyone else simply interested or curious to our art can have it’s benefits.  It may spark an interest in the cultural components of their selves, identities or family history, it may encourage more diligent solo practice for current students and ideally it would entice future students to go and seek qualified instructors for hands on training.

So here is the start of our “Kali 101” series, what I intend to be ongoing clips that demonstrate, showcase or educate the public on fundamental movements of the Filipino Martial Arts.  This first clip of many starts with the double stick basics of Sinawali, the name of the indigenous arts of my mother’s hometown province of Pampanga.  Thank you to the Patalinghug family of Doce Pares Eskrima (GM Cacoy Canete System) and Guro Dan Inosanto (Inosanto-Lacoste Kali) for giving me my base in Sinawali and introducing me to a part of my family’s past.  And special thanks to Kuya Marvin and his twins for the inspiration to start this in the first place.  Dominic and Victoria this is for you.

“Queng leon queng tigre ecu tatacut, queca pa?” (I fear neither lions nor tigers, why should I be afraid of you?) – Pampanga Warrior’s Motto taken from Galang’s “Complete Sinawali: Filipino Double-Weapon Fighting”


Guest Instructor Guro Victor Gendrano, Jr.

•03.25.2012 • Leave a Comment

Guro Victor Gendrano Jr. of Filipino Martial Heritage will be our guest
instructor next Saturday, March 31st, teaching sword and shield. This
is material that Guro Victor has been developing, refining and working
on the last several years and I’m excited to have him present it to
us. Based on “long and short” (sometimes described as “espada y daga”)
principles, he will be presenting offensive and protective shield
application with stick or sword. We will be implementing sparring
drills to develop proper footwork, body mechanics, awareness of
distance, range and timing.

Guro Victor is one of my seniors under Guro Dan Inosanto in the
Filipino Martial Arts and is a long time instructor at the Academy in
Marina del Rey. In addition he holds Ambassador title in our Sayoc
Kali system and is the founder of Filipino Martial Heritage, his own

Sayoc Atienza students are expected to attend, and City of Claremont
students are more than welcome to join us.  As always students are encouraged
to bring interested friends and family.

Sayoc Around the Country

•02.20.2012 • Leave a Comment

This weekend was another great weekend in the Sayoc organization.  Instructors and students at RiSU Martial Arts Academy in CT were privileged to have Pamana Tuhon Sayoc himself instruct at a public seminar!  Some of Pamana Tuhon’s family represented, as well as Tuhons Rafael Kayanan, Ray Dionaldo and Carl Atienza.  Sayoc and Atienza Kali full instructors Nick Sacoulas, Victor Wong, Dianne Atienza and Leo Manalo were in attendance as well.  Many of our brothers and sisters in Sayoc Kali and Atienza Kali showed their support, but it is nice to see a good mix of new and fresh faces.  Photos courtesy of Sayoc Kali, Silak Dianne Atienza and Guro Clint San Antonio.

Thousands of miles away, Sayoc Kali Full Instructor Patrick Consing visited the Sayoc Hawaii Training Group on his way to train and further develop the Pilipinas Sayoc Kali Training Group in the Philippines!  The Sayoc Hawaii Training Group is led by former IEFMA student and Doce Pares Guro Tony Angel Cruz.  Photos courtesy of Tony Cruz and the Sayoc Hawaii Training Group.

Lastly, this upcoming weekend Atienza Kali Full Instructor Guro Josh Votaw of Urban Jungle in NYC will be here in Long Beach teaching an Atienza Kali Tactical Pen seminar.  This is a rare opportunity to have Guro Josh instructing in Southern California, and a chance for us to learn the Tactical Pen curriculum that has been so well received on the East Coast.  Saturday class will be slightly shortened to accomodate travel to Long Beach.



March 2012 Schedule

•02.20.2012 • Leave a Comment

Current Sayoc Atienza Schedule

Saturday, February 25 @ 0900 – Class will finish early to accomodate travel for anyone attending Guro Josh’s seminar in Long Beach (see above post).

Saturday, March 3 @ 0900

Saturday, March 10 @ 0900

Friday, March 16 @ 2000

Friday, March 23 @ 2000

Saturday, March 31 @ 0900

February Schedule Update

•02.12.2012 • Leave a Comment

ALL Sayoc Atienza Students: Be advised, class this week will be on SATURDAY morning, and not Friday evening as previously posted.  Class next week will also be on Saturday.  See you then.