From: Guro Dan Inosanto
Marina Del Rey, CA
From: Daniel “Mumbakki Mumbakki” Foronda
AGAIN AND AGAIN…
This is probably my shortest definition of Applied Eskrima, and I defined it without even thinking hard. Aside from learning the use of weapons, Applied Eskrima as I understand it, is about learning the basics of stick movements to soon understand how the empty hands work!
I was wearing my Applied Eskrima shirt while doing my reps in a fitness center when a guy approached me and asked what the shirt is all about. I gave him the same definition and it triggered his curiosity. After a few more minutes of explanation using the short triceps bar as my visual aid, he asked; “Why do I need to go through all these stick movements? I’m sure I can go straight to learning empty hands”. The discussion went further as I did my best to explain that it is of course possible to learn the empty hands. But without the principles of the stick movements, the empty hands is just that…EMPTY! Empty in understanding, and empty in foundation.
Many students are impatient, thinking that jumping to the advance basics of Eskrima can already make them an expert. This is the very reason why many self proclaimed Eskrima teachers and small organizations are becoming a carnival and freak show with different menus and banners of FMA around their privately owned clubs but still could not define what FMA is all about. The culture is lost, the respect is lost, the principles of what every Filipino masters have taken cared of is lost. Only the thug attitude and impolite character remains.
Your stick is the key to every door that opens a new learning stage in Eskrima. Eventually, you will get there. There is nothing to lose by learning and finishing what is needed to be learned in the basics of Applied Eskrima, or any reputable Eskrima systems for that matter. There is a filter in every door that you enter, and you will know what it is when you finally become a legit Eskrimador.
From: Guro Marvin Ubanos
Applied Eskrima/ Serrada Eskrima
CA Deputy Probation Officer (Retired)
My journey with Master Cavada a.k.a. Master V began with a telephone call in February of 2011. He just returned from the Philippines and we were playing phone tag before we were able to have a meaningful conversation on a Sunday morning. I informed Master V of my interest in his brand of Balintawak and some of the possible roadblocks to my training such as time and distance. I live 2 hours away from him. After a long conversation, which included an informal interview and a gathering of information about each other, we agreed to start my training on March 2011. Well, this is what I got myself into.
When you train with Master V, bring a notebook because you will be taking notes. There are times when you can rely on visual, auditory and muscle memory but sometimes you just have to put what you have learned on paper immediately. Those who have been fortunate to train with Master V, especially group training, it is fun and serious at the same time. You better have the basic foundation down before you think of learning anything else. Master V focuses on the small basic things that you are doing such as bracing, hand and foot positioning etc., all of the basics in Module 1. You can even say Module 1 is the key if you really get it and apply it. Class time goes by very fast because you‘re having fun training that you lose track of time. His system is progressive. Left handed future practitioners should not fear learning this art because we are taught to be ambidextrous. It involves problem solving and if a problem is posed that hasn’t been confronted yet, Master V’s response is, “Let’s see.” When you come up with something that you think is unique, you’ll get a response of, “That’s in Module…” There are so many layers to his system. He loves to confuse or trick your brain and he emphasizes, “Your brain is your most important weapon.”
My favorite moments are when I have been his sparring partner and an accidental discovery is made during sparring that leads to an unexpected roadblock that we have to problem solve. Sometimes a new set of techniques, modifications or train of thought is established because of it. On a personal level, I’ve enjoyed our conversations on the Filipino martial culture and topics outside of martial arts. I gravitate to people of character. Master V is a man of character and treats you like family. I’ve been fortunate that my classmates have been open in sharing the system whenever there was something new that I may have missed. Kudos to them. This is a reflection of Master V. I’ve told Master V that his system is an international brand. I consider myself very lucky to be a part of his brand, A.E. (Applied Eskrima). I consider Master V family. Training continues to be a great journey of discovery and we have an awesome teacher to guide us. Stick Don’t Lie.
From: Kelly Phillips
CA Corrections Officer
Applied Eskrima Law Enforcement and Security Representative
As a force option instructor in law enforcement, which over the years has included chemical agents, less lethal weapons, firearms instructor, armorer, expandable baton instructor, and use of force policy instructor, I have not found anything that has the ability to add more to the law enforcement/security use of the expandable baton than the Applied Eskrima system. Although based on a full combat foundation, it can and has been refined for law enforcement application staying within the parameters of most departmental use of force policies and legal guidelines.
Although as with any martial art it definitely helps to be in good physical condition and not have permanent injuries, but I am proof that even with physical limitations this system is adaptable and works. Master Virgil is a dynamic teacher as are his various representatives. His literal world wide growth is a testament to his Applied Eskrima system. I am proud to be a part of this Applied Eskrima family.
From: Andrea Iacopini
Audio Engineer and Musician
Bologna, Italy and Nashville, TN
I’ve always been very interested in martial arts. When I was a little kid, I used to sneak away from the dinner table to secretly watch Martial Arts movies and Japanese anime. Unfortunately, my mom didn’t want me to watch them because she thought it was too violent. When I moved to the United States from Italy, I wanted to start studying martial arts. After moving to Nashville, TN, I started researching schools where I could learn traditional Wing Chun, because that’s what I was always interested in.
I met Sifu/Guro Jerome Teague at a local Kung Fu school. He introduced me to the world of Filipino Martial Arts, and particularly the Applied Eskrima System under Grand Master Virgil Cavada. I was not interested in FMA at first, but over the course of 3 months, I fell in love with it! I shifted my focus from Kung Fu to Filipino Martial Arts. Within two months my reflex, speed, dexterity and movement improved exponentially beyond my imagination. And I was surprised at how well my empty hand ability became. As Guru Dan Inosanto describes it, “Applied Eskrima is like Wing Chun with a stick.”
A lot of people don’t see the connection between stick and empty hand, and that’s where the Applied Eskrima System really makes it easy for you. Grand Master Virgil Cavada’s System is structured in such a way, that the empty hand applications translate clearly from weapon usage. If you practice and study hard, it is a no brainer!
I was scared starting out, because the stick travels so fast, but that is the secret to the art. If you can train with and against the weapon, an empty hand attack is easy. I have been training now for a year, and I am able to drill/spar with the senior students and instructors of other styles and even stand in front of my teacher and not “killed.” I am grateful to be a part of this system and the growing FMA community.
I recommend Applied Eskrima to anyone wanting to better themselves and their lives through fitness, self defense, and great friendships. I am looking forward to my up coming trip to California in August, 2013 to test for Module 1 completion and to train with GM Cavada and my West Coast brothers.
From: Shidoshi Randall L. Engle, BSW
Northeast Alabama Martial Arts
My name is Randall Engle, and I am the head instructor for Northeast Alabama Martial Arts. Over my twenty or so years of martial arts training I have been fortunate enough to gain an instructorship (5th Dan) in Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu. I have also had the opportunity to receive quality training in a myriad of other systems including Taboada Balintawak Arnis Cuentada (Level 4), Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Kodokan Judo, Modern Arnis, and Pencak Silat. For the last several months I have been practicing Applied EsKrima Saavedra System under Guro Jerome Teague of Nashville, Tennessee.
With Applied Eskrima, I have found a system that adds all new perspectives to my training. Practitioners of any system could benefit from their training methods. From reflex training to the emphasis of developing the left hand, the training will give you the ability to fight in close-quarters with people who have size or speed advantages. I 100% testify to their validity, their application, and their use! I am also taken back by the organization, from the instructors to the head master, Virgil Cavada. Everyone has been generous, warm, welcoming to me. Anytime I have questions they are all available to assist. To me, a good instructor is someone you can count on and they have consistently demonstrated these qualities.
With that said, I am grateful for the training, the new perspectives, and the friendships which have evolved from my association with the organization. No politics, only good training! I have never been chastised for cross-training, on the contrary I am encouraged to continue my current studies concurrently. I humbly endorse the system as a rapidly growing leader in top notch training, for not only Filipino Martial Arts but in the Martial Arts in general. I look forward to many years of growth and hope to be a part of this group for a long time to come.
From: Guro/Sensei/Sifu Jerome Teague
E-4 US ARMY (Veteran)
BA History & Anthropology, Middle Tennessee State University
Around 2009 I was fortunate to come across Master Virgil Cavada on YouTube, of all places. There was a video of him and his teacher giving a demonstration in Cebu. I was impressed by the speed, power, and precision of their movements. I contacted him to inquire about the system and he recommended that I pick up their training DVD. This was how I got my start in Balintawak. Master Cavada made himself available to me for any questions that came up, and I began adding Balintawak to my training. He was and still is very generous with his time and knowledge.
Master Cavada made himself available over telephone and Skype to check my progress. Most people would find this a very unorthodox way to learn, particularly in Balintawak circles. So much in Balintawak is dependent upon feel, relying on a senior practitioner to lead students in drilling. However, after more than thirty years of study and training, Master Cavada was able to design a curriculum so any serious and diligent students can teach themselves the fundamentals of structure, reflex, speed, and power. I like to say that if Ancion Bacon was the Mozart of Eskrima, then Virgil Cavada is its Da Vinci.
In 2010 Master Cavada extended me the oppourtunity to represent him and his style in the South East US. In 2011, I made the complete switch to the Applied Eskrima System and began teaching it full time. I am still amazed at how quickly FMA novices and people with no martial arts experience at all develop into formidable practitioners. As an instructor of both Japanese and Chinese arts, I highly recommend Master Cavada and this system. Thank you for you all your hard work and dedication Master Cavada! Mabuhay Applied Eskrima!