"If I have seen further it is only by standing on the shoulders of giants."
-Sir Isaac Newton
Antonio and Evelyn Pana
I am very blessed and fortunate to have parents who always put my spiritual development first and foremost. My parents always gave me the freedom to properly express myself and encouraged me to always help others. My father has been a constant source of information for me. As a person who grew up in the Philippines, my father has told me about the nature of fights over in the Philippines. He himself has been in altercations himself, and the Bayani Warrior curriculum has been greatly influenced by his advice and words. His current state as a deeply devout religious man, his ability to focus through any challenge, and his hard work ethic gives me more inspiration to become a stronger warrior in my life. My mother has taught me to be the Bayani (hero) in my life, always encouraging me to help others and to maintain focus on God when it comes to any decision I make.
Tuhon Carl Atienza
I have had many instructors in the Filipino martial arts throughout my whole life. However, Tuhon Carl Atienza (on right) has been my greatest influence. I have been a student of his for the past 5 years. On a physical level, he has transformed me into a more skilled fighter. His real-life experience applying his skills in the street along with his incredibly unique training methods has truly transformed the way FMA is being taught. His training methodology and his ability to develop skilled fighters is unlike anything I have ever encountered or witnessed. On a spiritual level, he is the one who has taught me how to connect my FMA training to everything in my life. I have been able to come to him regarding how to run Bayani Warrior and how to become a better leader in every aspect of my life. I have personally never witnessed such courage, focus, and leadership in a Filipino martial arts teacher. As a strong Filipino-American leader, he is truly an inspiration for me as a Filipino-American starting out in the FMA scene. In addition, he is also the one who has encouraged me to explore and develop my own FMA material. If it weren't for him, Bayani Warrior would've never grown or flourished. I mention him all the time while teaching and I credit him with much of the success I am experiencing right now. Without him, I don't know where Bayani Warrior would be.
Tuhon Darryl Atienza
Tuhon Darryl Atienza (aka Tuhon Dee) was my very first instructor in Atienza Kali. He is the youngest of the Atienza brothers, and it was through him that I was set on the path I am now through Atienza Kali and Sayoc Kali. Tuhon Dee's approach to teaching was always very relaxed, family-oriented, and focused on efficiency, power, and economy of motion. He is a remarkable fighter with or without weapons, and Tuhon Carl often refers to him as the "empty hand guy", due to the fact that he is more than capable of dispatching individuals with just the use of his hands. The bulk of my approach to empty hands stems from his teachings, particularly as it regards in the application of non-telegraphic movement and power in one's hand strikes. On a personal level, he has always been supportive of me both in and out of training, and I refer to him as one of my many Kuyas (older brothers) in my life.
Guro Sean Brandt
I began training Sayoc Kali under Guro Sean Brandt (on right) a little over a year ago. While I am not a Sayoc instructor, I feel that Guro Sean has influenced me in the way I view training. Guro Sean has always emphasized the importance of communication, which is something I feel is overlooked in martial arts training today. He has made me more detailed in the way I view movements, tactics, and techniques and always emphasized training with an intellectual and logical approach. He has also taught me how to train past stress and fatigue. He is probablly one of the most intelligent and toughest people I've ever come across, and anytime someone asks me where they can learn real-world knife work and stick work, I always try to point them his way. As a teacher, he has always been one to make sure my training is consistent and that I understand the methods inside and out.
Tuhon Patrick Consing
While I have only known him for a relatively short time, I have been able to come to Tuhon Patrick Consing within the last year for advice regarding martial arts instruction and martial arts business practices. Tuhon Pat is the owner and chief instructor at Kapatid Martial Arts in Pleaseantville, New York and is also a Tuhon in the Sayoc Kali system under Pamana Tuhon Chris Sayoc. I first met him at Sayoc Kali Sama Sama 2011, and it was there that he told me he saw great potential in me. I have been able to come to him not only for advice as to how to run a successful martial arts organization and business, but also in regards to personal issues such as overcoming inner conflicts. He is also a God-fearing man and I am glad that there is a Believer who also knows what it means to "Be the Feeder" and take charge of one's emotions, thoughts, and circumstances.
John Ferguson (no picture available)
John Ferguson was my first teacher in the Filipino martial arts. After leaving my old Karate school behind to pursue and seek out a Filipino martial arts teacher, John Ferguson had opened up a school ten minutes from where I lived. He is an instructor under the legendary Paul Vunak, the man who is famous for his street-realistic approach to Filipino Kali and Jeet Kune Do. John brought me into his adults class where at thirteen years old, I was forced to hold my own against people 10, 20, or 30 years older than me. John always emphasized realism and functionality in training. He taught me many of the weapons and drills that I have adapted and modified into the Bayani Warrior curriculum, which include Sumbrada, Hubad, Numerado, and Panantukan training. He always encouraged me to learn as much as I could and to explore any avenue that interested me. He always supported me in my endeavors and certified me as an instructor at age 17 to pursue and spread my passion. I have not seen or heard from him for many years but he still has an important role in how Bayani Warrior began.
I had the privilege of being able to train with Tony Diego of Kalis Ilustrisimo Repeticion Orihinal several years ago in Manila. The man is famous for being the first student of the legendary Tatang Antonio Ilustrisimo, who is regarded as the greatest Filipino swordsman of the 20th century. Tony Diego was kind enough to take me under his wing and train in his system, which is the original system taught by Antonio Ilustrisimo. The system places a heavy emphasis on sword and dagger work, which has influenced our stick and dagger work. If you are in Manila, I highly recommend you go and train under him. He's an excellent teacher and a kind human being.
Master Romy Santos
I trained with Master Romy Santos as a teenager in Manila. During my family's time living in Bangkok, Thailand, my parents would allow me to visit the Philippines regularly to visit family and train. For two consecutive summers, I spent the bulk of my time training in Lightning Scientific Arnis in Manila under this man. As one of the original students of the legendary Master Benjamin Lema, Master Romy struck me as a very disciplined and focused teacher, who was incredibly driven to teach the basics and master them well. He taught me the importance of developing power in your strikes. He emphasized that when fighting with a stick, true stopping power is generated from the waist, and this has been a big aspect of my teaching to this day. He also taught me the bulk of my original training in Stick and Dagger, and the movements have greatly influenced the Bayani Warrior Stick and Dagger curriculum today. I haven't seen him in many years, but he certainly has had a huge impact on the way I view FMA.
I had the opportunity to train with Rommel Tortal of Pekiti Tirsia Kali several years ago in Manila. He was kind enough to teach me the knife, stick, and empty hand portions of the Pekiti Tirsia Kali curriculum, which you see here. He is famous for training Philippine Marine Force Recon in the Philippines and has been featured on the Discovery Channel show "Fight Quest". He's a great guy and an amazing teacher. I'm glad to have had training under him.
Punong Lakan Garitony Nicolas
I met Punong Lakan Garitony Nicolas during my freshmen year of high school and he was my very first teacher in FMA in the Philippines. He taught in a small gym in Pasay City, Manila, and I trained both privately and in a public class setting under him at this time. He introduced me to the various methods of Sinawali, and he was also instrumental in my earlier teaching experiences, having allowed me to substitute for him during my short time with him. He and I keep in touch to this day, and you can often find him on Filipino news networks as a spokesman for the Filipino martial arts. He recently completed the first ever Hall of Fame Awards event for Filipino Martial Arts in Manila, in which dozens and dozens of masters and representatives from different systems met for a gala event in support of the FMA community.