Present Day
Growing up in the 80’s, I was introduced to a lot of martial arts movies. I would eagerly await for Samurai Sundays and catch my favorite Hong Kong martial arts flicks, such as “The Master Killer” or “Return of the Dragon”. Ninja movies were also a big hit as well as the Chuck Norris and Steven Segal craze. I watched in awe as the person with all the disadvantages could overcome younger, stronger and more aggressive opponents. I knew that I wanted to be like those heroes. Thus began my martial arts journey.
The small farm town that I lived in only had one martial arts school nearby. It was an Okinawa Te school that was being taught by one of my friends. I soon joined and practiced hard. Point Karate tournaments were popular because of the “Karate Kid” movie. I competed and found that I was very good at these events because I was extremely fast and dynamic. I was winning but something inside of me was searching for something else, but what “it” was eluded me. So I continued ever forward.
I graduated from High School. Almost all of my accomplishments were from wrestling, track and football. There was no denying that I was athletically gifted. I knew that I was not mentally ready to go straight to college, so I decided to leave the small farm town and joined the Marine Corps.
In the Marines, I graduated at the top of my class and was given the title “Honor Man” from boot camp. I worked in a CH-46 helicopter search and rescue unit and was part of the Desert Storm, Desert Shield War. I finished my tour of duty with Honors and a Veteran. During my time in the service, I met many martial artists from all walks of life. It really gave me a diverse look at how much was out there in the world.
I decided to move to Southern California to pursue my martial arts quest. I still didn’t know what I was searching for, but I knew I wouldn’t find it in a small farm town. I began studying at the Inosanto Academy. When I walked in, it didn’t feel like a school, it felt more like a boxing gym. I was hooked. During that time, the Academy was filled with fighters such as Yori Nakamura, Erik Paulson, Ron Baliki, Chad Stahelski, Damon Caro, Nicolas Saignac, Joel Clark and many many others. I studied Shooto and Jun Fan during my stay. We sparred a lot there and it was in the ring that I found myself not having a physical advantage, because these guys were in top notch shape as well. I couldn’t get techniques to work because I was physically smaller. I was the one with the disadvantages who worked extremely hard, just like the martial arts movies I grew up watching, but nothing seemed to matter. My martial arts journey was heading towards a dead end.
It was during this time in my life I met Hawkins Cheung at his Wing Chun School. It was the first time that I saw a smaller, weaker and older person able to handle young, strong partners. I began to study there, but I was also stubborn to let go of all my previous experience, so I also continued to study at the Inosanto Academy as well. I was in a quandary because I still wasn’t consciously aware of what I was searching for.
I thought that if you trained hard you would eventually get “there” but I wasn’t sure what “there” meant for me. This was a challenging time for me. Hawkins Cheung was such an inspiration for me, but I didn’t seem to understand his teaching, which in hindsight was not his fault but rather mine. But at the time, It felt like my martial arts progress was stagnant. This lead me to go and train all over the place. I studied at as many martial arts schools as I could. I kept bouncing around looking for something but whatever it was, it kept eluding me even though I gained a lot of knowledge and trained with a slew of amazing martial artists. One thing I kept finding myself doing though was returning back to Hawkins Cheung, sometimes for a few days, sometimes for a few weeks but never consistently, but I would always return.I would venture out into other martial arts trying desperately to find what I was searching for, but again, the problem was I didn’t know what that was. I only knew that I would find myself back at Hawkins Cheung’s school. I realize now, it wasn’t for learning forms or new drills, I was returning back to him because he inspired me, just like those old martial arts movies I used to watch. He inspired me every time he would say, I can do it, but can you? He inspired me to continue to search and to not give up. I realize now, that it’s like a rubik’s cube puzzle, and it’s a puzzle that no instructor or style could solve for you. It had to be solved by me alone. That’s when everything began to change. My martial art journey was no longer about searching for the best style, the best forms, the best drills or even the best techniques. I finally realized that what I was searching for was “efficient skill”. How do I rely less and less on my physical abilities and more and more on developing “efficient skill”, to become like my martial arts heroes who were the ones with all the disadvantages but could overcome younger, stronger and more aggressive opponents.
I am on a constant drive to find answers that are based on nature and the laws of physics and how to master and use the concepts of connection, weight distribution, angle change and leverage in my daily life, so that I am able to give or handle pressure at any given time, mental or physical. I am dedicated to constantly improving my method and philosophy while sharing my knowledge with everyone. This ever-evolving method of developing “efficient skill”, I now call “The Art of Pressure Fighting”.

Present Day


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