We arrived there early this morning with plenty of time to kill at the Arnold Sports Martial Arts Competition in Voinovich Coliseum for Nick Durst fight event for Muay Thai.
We were kind of disappointed that there were not many competitors this year. It was Master Lek who spearheaded the event with his assistant Hope Vitalis. Hope had been a strong supporter of our Muay Thai fights event for years in Dayton and asked me when we will have the fights again. Hopefully, next year Spring perhaps about May. As you know, it takes a good resource to put one together. If anyone likes to volunteer for our next Muay Thai fight event, just let me know (mt).
We missed the weight in for Nick and looks like the guy is heavier and I knew Nick had to cut some weight down to 145 fight weight. He was ready.
I met up with some old friends, Sensei Wayne Kenjiro, Chris Benavides, Rick Moore, Dee Daniels, Dennis Whitt, Doug Yates, DJ Yates jr, Steve Gross, Calvin Campbell, Brother Martin Ware (my brother disciple in Tien Shan Pai under Grandmaster Chien Liang Huang) and etc. Of course, I took some pictures too.
I was told that the event on Saturday at the Voinovich Coliseum was huge. That’s where most of the martial arts events took place and competed other than few events remaining for this early Sunday morning.
Hunter drove with Nick and later Nick’s mom and his brother arrived and later Keith came and missed Nick’s fight. Nick was a little tense although, we thought he had the upper hand but was not able to loosen up during the fight. It was declared a draw. But most of the judges were from the same club and he is fighting a person from the same school. Anyway, lesson learned, never give the judges the decision. I am very, very proud of Nick and even though, it isn’t his best but his courage to go up and fight and continue his quest to be the best he can be. There is more of Nick in the coming months fighting in other venues. Hunter will also join Nick to be in the fighting competition mode. And here comes… Team Tama!!
The competition was short and brief but the camaraderie and seeing friends in martial arts event were great. Grandmaster Choi was there to present the medals to the fighters and greeted everyone at Arnold Sports Martial Arts Competition in Voinovich Coliseum.
This is one of the events that we were able to go home early and enjoy the weather that is coming for us.
GM Taningco Received Martial Arts Lifetime Achievement
Columbus, Oh. March 6, 2020, Manuel R. Taningco was one of the inductees being honored as Filipino Kali Grandmaster for his martial arts lifetime achievement in Bruce lee & Arnold Legends of Martial Arts Hall Of Honor. The 44th Arnold Battle of Columbus Martial Arts World Games 2020 begins with honoring martial artists around the nation. To those who have contributed to their lifelong endeavor of both practicing and teaching martial arts in their perspective community.
The Battle of Columbus was founded 44 years ago by SGM Choi. To offer an opportunity for all martial arts practitioners around the world to compete in a variety of martial arts events and to test, explore, and share the skills that they diligently and patiently developed through their training. The Arnold Battle of Columbus also offers a chance to meet martial arts leaders to develop unity and harmony. To bring about togetherness among many styles who share common goals in martial arts traditions, philosophy, history, and principles.
Bruce Lee Legend Lifetime Achievement
The three-day event kicked off with the Hall OF Honor award ceremony held in 1349 Brice Rd. Columbus, Ohio – headquarters of SGM Joon Choi and the Oriental Martial Arts College. With the Bruce Lee & Legends of Martial Arts Hall of Honor Induction Ceremony, the Honor is intended to recognize those martial artists and supporters who have dedicated their spirit to the study and betterment of martial arts. One particular martial arts practitioner and teacher were awarded the Filipino Kali Grandmaster Bruce Lee Legend Lifetime Achievement Martial Arts Hall of Honor by SGM Joon Choi to GM Manuel R. Taningco. GM Taningco’s generosity, contributions and unselfish dedication serving the community teaching martial arts for 44th years straight in Dayton, Ohio.
SGM J. Choi congratulates GM Manuel Taningco-Bruce Lee Legend Lifetime Achievement
The dedication and passion of contributing to their community that makes a difference in people’s lives. This is where discipline, confidence, respect, humility, patience, and perseverance transcends students to new heights of their newfound self.
Grandmaster Choi is the Chairman for Arnold’s Sports Martial Arts Festival held yearly in Columbus, Ohio. It is one of the biggest events in the nation that boast hundreds of athletes from different categories. The 2020 Arnolds Sports Festival will continue through Sunday at the Greater Columbus Convention Center, Ohio Expo Center and the other venues around Columbus. With a State Order due to Coranavirus concerns, the event of martial arts will continue as plan and as the induction ceremony held by Chairman SGM Joon Choi went very smoothly without a cinch.
MURFREESBORO, TN — February 21, 2020, in Murfreesboro, This day was Sensei Shawn Hammonds’ black belt promotions held in MTSU, Tennessee. Tennessee was a surprisingly beautiful day, nice and warm, not cold like it was in Dayton where this journey started. The next surprise was how difficult it was to find a parking place around the Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) recreation building.
MTSU Black Belt Promotions
This is where Sensei Shawn Hammonds’ Black Belt promotion held in the Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) gym. Upon entering the gym and seeing the over 300 people attending the rank-promotion event being held by nationally recognized and Pan-American champion Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) Master, Sensei Shawn Hammonds, that was not that surprising at all. Sensei Hammonds has been the technical advisor instructor for the BJJ program at Dayton’s TAMA Family Martial Arts Center since 2008. He occasionally travels to TAMA to teach and evaluate the students’ progress. He even gets out on the mat and rolls with the students personally to gauge their progress.
“JR” Thomas Reynolds receiving his Black Belt Promotion from Sensei Shawn Hammonds in MTSU Tennessee
Sensei Shawn Hammonds Black Belt Promotions in MTSU with JR
The Shawn Hammonds Gathering
The event in Murfreesboro was a gathering of grapplers and BJJ practitioners from all around the USA. One could barely maneuver themselves about the gym. Between the large crowd of spectators and the gym mats spread out across the gym floor in anticipation of the days’ events, the venue was packed! In the center of it all, there was Sensei Hammonds, at his best with a microphone in his hand, “get ready to rumble”!
“JR”, Thomas Reynolds at MTSU Black Belt Promotions by Sensei Shawn Hammonds
The final surprise was the reserved for Dayton-area Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instructor, Thomas “J.R.” Reynolds. JR has been teaching Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at the TAMA Family Martial Arts Center in Dayton, Ohio, for 8 years. He has been studying the so-called gentle art of Brazilian jiu-jitsu for nearly 14 years. What he did not know today, however, was that he, too, was going to be promoted to the prestigious rank of Black Belt. TAMA owner, Manuel Taningco, and Reynolds’ friends, family, and students had kept this fact a secret from Reynolds for his Black Belt promotion but were all in attendance to witness this day.
Sensei Hammonds, JR and Sensei Taningco at MTSU Black Belt Promotions
The event began with Sensei Hammonds’ black belts introducing themselves. Sensei Hammonds then started calling the names of those being promoted to brown belt. Next up were the names of those being promoted to black belt. Anticipation surrounds this event because Sensei Hammonds does not let it be known who is actually being promoted prior to the event. Only his immediate staff that helped prepare the black belts and the black belt certificates know. The excitement among those in attendance was unnerving in MTSU’s Black Belt promotion.
JR Reynolds’ Black Belt Presentation
After many names were called, Sensei Hammonds finally called Thomas “J.R.” Reynolds’ name. The successful surprise was evident, as Reynolds was at first speechless. Then Reynolds’ face lit up as the surprise hit him. He was about to receive his coveted Black Belt personally from his long-time mentor, instructor Sensei Shawn Hammonds. Sensei Hammonds gave Reynolds a big hug as he had done throughout the ceremony. Sensei Hammonds then presented Reynolds with his Black Belt certificate, took off Reynolds’ old brown belt, and presented him with a new Black Belt around his waist. This event was truly a celebration of the aches and pain, the grueling workouts on the mat, and the test of time of close to 14 years when Reynolds first started Brazilian jiu-jitsu at the TAMA Family Martial Arts Center.
Reynolds’ primary jiu-jitsu instructor and owner of TAMA Martial Arts Center, Manuel Taningco, stated, “J.R. really deserves this! He has contributed so much to the growth of the BJJ class at TAMA. J.R. along with other instructors. He has stepped in to lead the class here for the last 7 years. J.R. actively trains alongside his students to show that he can practice what he preaches!
The Champion And The Perseverance
He also has won numerous competition championships. What I really admire is that J.R. has demonstrated patience, a willingness to grow, and giving nature to help others to be their best. His loyalty to the art and to the TAMA Martial Art Center is relentless and undeniable. J.R. has shown true dedication to his students and his own BJJ practice for nearly 14 years. This black belt is a testimonial of his dedication and is something to be celebrated and to brag about. But J.R. is humble and I have been fortunate enough to watch him grow over the years not only as a martial artist but also as a person with maturity and responsibility.”
After the ceremony, there was a workout after the promotion. Sensei Hammonds and two other guest instructors, John Salter and David Rielly, shared their unique technique to the crowd of grapplers. John Salter is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt under Shawn Hammonds, founder of the Salty Dog Jiu-Jitsu Academy as well as a professional mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter with a vast wrestling career. David Rielly is a pro-jiu-jitsu black belt champion is also under Team Shawn Hammond’s competition.
David Rielly and John Salty “Salty Dog” at Hammonds’ Black Belt Promotions in MTSU
There barely seemed to be enough room and mats to go around for the huge gathering of BJJ practitioners. With mat space at a premium, some even were practicing on the gym’s wooden floor! It was the perfect culmination of this celebration. Sensei Hammonds was clearly proud of his students and his newly promoted Black Belts and brown belts. Taningco added, “Events like these ensure the legacy continues, and Sensei Hammonds’ dedication embodies the phrase, ‘A good man, with good deeds, shall continue forever.’”
Filipino Kali seminar was held in Cleveland, Ohio hosted by Guro Tony Marcial at Karate Institute.
Jaden and I took off Friday and went to Cleveland to teach the Fillipino Kali Art Seminar at Karate Institute owned by Grandmaster Eugen Madry. Guro Tony Marcial teaches at GM Madry studio since this summer.
It was really great to see Guro Tony and his students again and other instructors who I last saw since June of this year. Great to meet Guro Tim Luckas (from Erie, Pennsylvania) who has also interest in learning the Filipino Kali art from me. Scott DaDante was there too who also operates his own martial arts studio in Cleveland area. It was great to see Scott again.
I had a surprise visit from Anthony Davies who is also a martial artist and a practitioner of the legendary Angel Cabales System – Serrada Eskrima. He and his wife hosted the Filipino Kali seminar in 1979 event for Guro Dan and Guro Richard Bustillo in Cleveland. I have never met both Guro Dan and Guro Bustillo until I specifically went there to do a demo along with Erwin Ballarta. I humbly ask permission to Manong Dan to see if Erwin and I can do a demo. It was so humbling of both Guro Dan and Guro Bustillo to allow us do a demo of our Filipino Kali art in front of their seminar attendees. These are great memories that Anthony Davies shared way back then. I have almost forgotten about that. As my wife says to me, “you are losing it”. Having Guro Tony Marcial host the event this past weekend, we would not have cross paths with Anthony Davies again. Another milestone of memories curved into our lives on our travel to Cleveland.
The seminar covered various aspects of the Filipino kali arts. I covered the empty hand at first against an attacker putting the attacker in complete control into takedowns then proceeded into the fast and furious single stick emphasizing the unarmed hand to be aggressive and active toward their partner. The knife vs knife was covered then into the lockhand flow. The lockhand flow is also translated from one of the dance movements into real application. There are many series of lockhand flow and some are very simple and some are very complicated from the traditional “Sayaw” (dance) of the Filipino folk dances.
When Spain occupied the Philippines, the practice of Filipino kali martial arts were outlawed. Anyone caught practicing back then, the practitioner’s head is cut off or killed. So the Filipinos preserved their martial arts into their dance, into their folk dances. This is one of many ways the Filipinos preserved the art other than teaching to their own family members in the very late night. I was very fortunate to learn some from my brother and my Grandfather Lorenzo Robles and also from my uncle George Robles whom I had lived with when I first arrived in the USA in Salinas, California. There in Salinas, California working in the lettuce field among older men, I saw many eskrimadors practiced their Filipino Kali art in between lunch break and some time during a short break. The exposure of the Kali arts was so refreshing and motivating with both curiosity and excitement and with great inspiration.
Fall has come and it is here to stay at least for a while. We fall back on time last week and so last week we experienced the exciting Tama Halloween Costume contest/piñata event for our kid’s martial arts students. It is very exciting to see these kids dressed up in their own unique costumes. Some are adorable and some are awesome but some are questionable?
Tama Martial arts hosted the Halloween Costume Contest this 2019 was a great success!
We eventually have over 25 kids participated in our Halloween Costume Contest and Pinata Party. Each Pinata was designated for each particular age group because of the large outcome every year. This is our way of celebrating with our kid’s martial arts and a safe environment without having to deal with the weather outside.
Although, there were times when one kid is swinging his stick to hit the Pinata, and there was another child running around that made me jump and stopped the event immediately. The parents should be more conscientious about their younger child running around while the event was going on.
Breaking the Pinata had no hitch and was very successful in those three age groups. They lined up to take turns in hitting the Pinata without being blindfolded in which we had done in the past years. The three Pinatas were completely full of goodies for them to take turns in trying to break it open by swinging the stick in their hand. That was the best part of the Halloween Costume Contest event.
We started on time at 5:30 even though we waited for at least 10 minutes before we handed out some candies at first. The children lined up to receive different varieties of candies. Right after that, the children in each particular age group lined up to be voted who had the best or their favorite costume. Each kid was voted with applause from their peers. There are times, it was hard to distinguish who had the loudest applause from their peers. Anyway, each age group from 3 to 6, then 7 to 9 and 10 on up was given each First, Second and Third places bag of goodies that I had arranged before the event.
Unfortunately, there were other kids who came later after the Halloween costume contest. However, Pinata breaking was always the last event of the evening. It was a riot for sure every year for the Pinata event. Those who came late were still able to participate in the most exciting event of the evening. I gave candy goodies to those who came late and perhaps we will stage that at a later time in the evening so every child has a chance to compete for the best costume and get a panel of 5 kids from different age groups to judge next year. The event was finished by 6:30 pm. It went rather fast at least with me and the kids wanted more things to do. Next year will just have the martial art kids have their evening with games and other events to be able to win some prizes.