Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Eskabo Daan Grand Opening

Eskabo Daan Grand Opening

November 7th was the opening of grandmaster Robert Castro’s Eskabo Daan school in San Francisco, and it certainly kicked off in grand style with drumming and demonstrations throughout the day.

This is a significant milestone not only for grandmaster and founder Robert Castro and the growth of his system, but also for the Filipino martial arts community in general. While there are many people teaching here in the Bay Area nowadays, almost all are using facilities such as other martial art schools, recreation centers, homes or parks (I’ve done all four). GM Castro’s school is special in that it is dedictated first and foremost to the FMA, thus putting a very public face on these arts that are still unknown to most.

Given GM Castro’s years of networking in martial arts, the opening was well attended by masters and grandmasters from throughout California. Balintawak was represented by GM Ver Villasin from Vallejo and GM Nene from Los Angeles, Tapado by GM Joe Tan, Senkotiros by GM Max Pallen, Kajukenbo by GM Emil Bautiste, Kombatan by master Alex France, and Serrada by master Ron Saturno, just to name a few.

The school facility itself is a fantastic resource, with large training spaces on two different floors. Robert understands feng shui, putting a lot of thought into creating his environment. The street level uses simple colors, mirrors, and a waterfall facing the entrance and windows for a sense of harmonious balance while emphasizing the public nature of this space.

Go down the narrow twisting passageway into the basement and you have the gritty feeling of an old-school private boxing gym, with mats, heavy bags, weights and other training gear. The two floors are yin and yang to each other, and a rare and fascinating combination to find in one school.

With a place like this, Robert plans to promote seminars. His first event hosted legendary Leo Fong, a martial arts pioneer, promoter and author who produced influential books on cross-training and conditioning for martial artists, as well as works on various martial arts that helped introduce them to the West.

Eskabo Daan is located at 1920 Polk St., San Francisco; (415)674-4388.