From an very early age, I had always been fascinated with martial arts. Growing up, I had watched many an action movie and imagined myself doing the spectacular feats that I saw the likes of Bruce Lee performing. Unfortunately for my younger self, my mother was less keen on the idea of me learning such things and relegated me to merely observing. Fast forward to my early 30s… I began training in Aikido—a modern Japanese martial art concentrated primarily on unarmed throws and joint locks, but also trains in weapons forms such as sword, short sword and short staff.
Several years into my training, I had attained my shodan rank (first degree black belt), but some chronic injuries forced me to stop my regular practice in the dojo. During the next few years, I still occasionally practiced the forms at home, but wasn’t able to train with others and missed it. That’s when I decided to search for something new.
What I found was Eskrima—a Filipino martial art that trains in stick, knife and sword fighting as well as unarmed combat. Even if the name is unfamiliar, if you’ve seen modern action movies with the likes of John Wick, Jason Bourne or Black Widow, you’ve seen Eskrima.
Grandmaster Albert Mendoza (head teacher of my school, Orihinal Doce Pares USA) working with one of my fellow students.