This weekend Khalid Khan did a seminar in Oakland at Kenny Pitt’s school on Lakeshore Blvd., sponsored through the auspices of Professor James Hundon who teaches an innovative program there which combines Escrima with Wally Jay’s Small Circle Jujitsu and other arts.
In some ways this event reminded me of the White Tiger seminar Angel Cabales did in Oakland back in 1967. Both events were well attended by students from the school, lending an air of friendly camaraderie to the proceedings. Also reminiscent was attendance by some of the more senior instructors in this art, bringing together several generations of practitioners.
I was invited by Master Khan to assist in his class, and as it opened there were also half a dozen second generation instructors under Khalid. The treat for me was when early into the program two of our seniors from Stockton showed up.
Ronnie Saturno and Carlito Bonjoc are two of my role models in Serrada. I’ve known Carlito since my earliest training in this art back in 1985, and his skills and knowledge never cease to amaze me. Ronnie is someone I’ve had the privilege to meet far too infrequently, and his style and movement impressed me once again, reminding me how explosive and deadly this art can be. Both these men are articulate, intelligent teachers, and I got to feel like a beginner in the art once more as I let myself soak in what they have to offer.
What amazed me after I got home was realizing the cumulative experience there was of Angel’s students in that room today. Ronnie has at least 27 years in Serrada, Carlito about 25. I have 20 years myself with Khalid just a couple of years behind. All together we represented nearly 90 years of training in Serrada. Time spent like this matures the basic skills, nurturing each person through experience.
It was just as nice to see the younger generation of instructors starting to step up and show what they can do; Khalid’s top assistants have some nice skills. There is a lot of talent in this art, and it’s good to see it spreading. Today there was no politics, just the art itself, enjoyed for its own sake. I could feel Angel smiling in that room.