"I first heard about Filipino Martial Arts (FMA) through a flyer Mike Pana posted up in town. It said, ‘Learn to protect yourself and your loved ones the Filipino way!’. Despite the fact that I am Filipino-American, I knew practically nothing about my culture aside from a few Tagalog phrases, and the name of the country’s capital city. Also, had no training in any form of martial arts whatsoever, other than some ‘Movie-Fu’. I decided that taking the classes would be a perfect chance for me to break down any pre-conceived notions I had of fighting. It was also a chance to learn more about my heritage. I wasn’t disappointed at all. Through the classes, I learned so much about the disturbing reality of street attacks. I began training my body and mind to be able to react efficiently to those dangerous situations. Through all that, I realized that I wasn't just learning about my culture...I was actively participating in it.
One thing that kept me (and keeps me) coming back is the sparring matches. We treat all weapons as swords. For that reason, one hit is equal to a kill. It takes a great deal of awareness, precision, and timing to deal with a bladed weapon. During a lesson, Mike told us that the way we act when we fight is the way we act in life. At first, I brushed it off as something I once heard from a corny action movie. However, when we started to fight, I saw things in the way I moved, the ideas I thought, and the emotions I felt which reflected exactly how I dealt with the world everyday. Some of my actions were flawed. I quickly realized that if I could fix those flaws, fighting and living could be so much smoother and enjoyable. Studying the FMA’s has given me a way to improve myself not only as a Filipino, but as a human being."
"I am a freshman in college
Kali-Arnis is a Filipino martial art that involves the use of weapons including swords, sticks, and knives. The first moment I held the sticks I felt something burning inside me--an untapped desire that always happened to be there. Regardless of my timid character, Kali-Arnis helped me build a confidence in myself. If there is anything that keeps bringing me back to Arnis it is the feeling of the spirit of the art, the warmth of its instructor, and the sense of family with the people I have met thus far. I love it more than you can ever know."
~Kengo Yamada, College Freshmen/Assistant Instructor
"I had learned taekwondo a year before meeting Mike at the SHU martial art club meeting. Since then, I have learned a lot from Guro Mike, including different footwork drills, push ups, self defense, attacks, combatives, and how to deal with real life situations. I have also learned from Guro Mike how to fight with Kali-Arnis sticks and blades and how apply the same style and forms to defense and strike without using them. Guro Mike also taught me how to defend my self from someone attacking with a knife. I join Kali-Arnis class because I liked the art of fighting with weapons but I have learned more than just fighting with weapons.
I joined Kali-Arnis class because I believe knowing many forms of fighting puts one in a position to adapt to many forms and style of fighting. As Bruce Lee said, 'The highest art is no art and the highest form is no form'. My favorite part of learning Filipino martial arts was when we had to use marker as knife and fought against one another. Through this exercise I learned that one can be stabbed or cut by a knife 10 times or more in a fight that may last less than a minute, and for that reason it’s not a good idea to fight against some one with a blade. I also enjoy learning how to use pocket sticks, cell phones, keys and a pen or pencil to defend myself. I have learned a lot from Guro Mike. His techniques of teaching are easy to learn and powerful to use in real life situations. He is also understanding, friendly and caring when teaching. To my advantage he is a God fearing man, which makes him a perfect instructor, who teaches with passion. May God Bless you for the time you spend teaching combative, Kali-anis and self-defense!"
~Charles Osei, Karate Black Belt