"Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far." - West African Proverb


FCS Kali San Diego - Established September 25th, 2011

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Just a Note... "Environmental Awareness vs. Paranoia" by Manong Rich Verdejo

Environmental Awareness: mental preparedness to what's On-In-Around you. This is the ability to observe the environment and make decisions to prevent danger, or take an advantage of an opportunity.

Paranoia: a mental disorder characterized by systemized delusion and the projection of personal conflict.

Some can say there is a fine line between the two. To a trained person, someone with personal threatening experiences or a certain environment upbringing will see this behavior as awareness. To quote some Words of Wisdom during my Ed Parker Kenpo days, "Suspect first, Prospect later". This train of thought applies to just about everything, not just to people but your surroundings.

Learning to pay attention to what is around, on, and in you should be a constant. This type of training can help speed up your ability to make decisions, because of your ability to read between the lines. You train yourself to fore see possible shifts in your environment and most likely to avoid or take advantages of, by making preventative decisions. Anticipate danger and beat action with action verses re-action. "I sense a disturbance in the force" sort of speak.

Here are some not so typical scenarios/exercises to play with, but may save you from harm.

1. You're walking in daylight with a descent amount of people out. While visually paying attention to your 12 o'clock, do you pay attention to your 6? Listen or make note of footsteps, keys jingling or any sound that's constant. Can you distinguish its range? Most crowds walk at the same pace, pay notice to the sounds that don't.

2. How many of you have driven into an unfamiliar neighborhood and pay attention to the graffiti, not just the artwork but the "tagging". They tell a story of what IS, HAS, or WILL happen in that area. You don't want to be caught in a neighborhood war.

3. You're sitting at a table having some drinks with your friends. There are strangers all around you going in and out. Of course pay attention to their 6 o'clock. They may not know this concept so without sounding "paranoid' and ruining a good time, just look for their eye, facial and body expressions to give you a sense on what’s going on behind you. It also doesn't hurt to check for any reflections that you can check periodically either. You never know when a hot looking woman or man (for you ladies) enter the room till you see their eyes light up. Those tell the tale before they open their mouth.

4. Just like how we practice sheathing and unsheathing our blades, when entering your car, instead of looking at the door or ignition hole to enter the key, use your eyes to scan the area instead. Have your index finger as your eyes and feel for the key-entry instead. You'll be surprised on how easily and quickly someone can come up on you just from keeping your eye on the key entry instead! (Eh-em, personal experience!)

Finally people,  let's not forget ZombieLand rule # 22 : when in doubt, know your way out. Always thinking there's a monster around the corner can be mentally and physically taxing. That's why we "train it, to ingrain it". If you're aware then you're prepared.

Maraming Salamat Po,

Manong Rich Verdejo


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Knife Fights in Chula Vista?

Yes, this happens regularly in our own backyard. Are you prepared?  Do you train for reality? Just something to think about.

Three Men Stabbed Outside Chula Vista Bar
Happened Outside “On The Rocks” Bar Early Saturday Morning
POSTED: 3:51 pm PST December 24, 2011
UPDATED: 10:25 pm PST December 24, 2011

CHULA VISTA, Calif. -- Three men arrived separately at three different hospitals after being stabbed during a fight outside a Chula Vista bar Saturday.

The victims knew each other and were involved in an altercation with three or four other adult suspects outside the On the Rocks bar on E Street near Woodland Avenue, Chula Vista police Capt. Gary Wedge said.

Officers received the first report of a stabbing victim at 1:45 a.m. when a 25-year-old man with several wounds showed up at the Comfort Inn & Suites hotel on E Street near Broadway. He was transported to the UCSD Medical Center Trauma Unit, Wedge said.

Half-an-hour later, about 2:15 a.m., a 23-year-old man with a stab wound was dropped off at the emergency room of Scripps Hospital in Chula Vista.

The third victim, a 42-year-old man, was brought to Sharp Hospital in Chula Vista by a relative about 2:40 a.m. and was transported to Mercy Hospital Trauma Unit, Wedge said.

The conditions of the victims are all unknown.

Anyone with information about this crime was asked to call the Chula Vista Police Department at (619) 691-5151.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Just a Note... "Weapon Carry/Placement and Deployment" by Manong Rich Verdejo

How important is the Physical and Mental training of your weapon placement?  Let's see... Your knife is in your gymbag/backpack or purse. Mine is on my belt. "OK, Ready-Set-GO!" Where you place you weapon is crucial to the process of Deployment.

Most of the time during the start of blade training we either have our blade in our hands or have to get it out of the gym bag. Not a bad thing for just learning the core technique or drill.  Let's change it to the start where you would actually carry your weapon. Getting used to the habit of where you will access your blade seems like a BASIC thing to do, but not often done.

Do you have your blade/blades in your pant pocket, if so which one? Is it on your belt or in your jacket? Or do you place them in the ever-so-sneaky jacket cuff or collar? Practicing WHERE to access your blade will lead to the HOW and WHAT to expect. Every placement has some type of obstacle and must be addressed during training to minimized the "What-If" factor. Each can slow down your deployment based on your placement.

So what's the MENTAL part? The best example is the Good Ol' "Got a light?" question.  How often will people pat themselves down to check where they put it. Same has applied to "Anyone have a knife?" 
1) Train your mind to know when you're carrying or not.  2) Train not to Reach for a weapon because of habit even though you didn't carry one.  That can cost you time. Hopefully it's time you can give. 3) With added stress and obstacles, dexterity will decrease and the possibility of PANIC will sink in. "Not Good!" 

So just a note: Practice the simplicity of where you place your weapon ON you. I believe that's a good start to Combat or Art training.   :)

Maraming Salamat Po,

Manong Rich Verdejo


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

FCS Cali San Diego Group Practice Commentary - December 18th, 2011

Sunday morning the bells being were ringing, and not  from the neighborhood church, but from the heads of the FCS San Diego Cali Crew in sparring helmets!   LOL!  The pinging from the helmets was a great sound to hear, and the strikes to the head were a sight to see as our group was in the midst of our first taste of sparring.   There was no roar of the crowd, and there was no blood drawn, but we were gladiators if only for a few minutes!  Although the way the morning started we did not start in such sure numbers, only a few came in on time at 8:00am sharp for group practice. The handful of that were on time were scratching our heads, where was everyone.... we began to think had my Facebook posts hyping up the weekend sparring maybe scared people off... or was it Holiday hangover from Christmas shopping and parties wherein our participants perhaps preferred to stay in the comfy confines of their warm bed?  As we were about to start with only the handful, slowly and surely our usual core group began to show up.  Some sleepy eyed, others just getting a late start, but all with a twinkle of excitement in  their eye to start GP Sunday morning.  We even had another family member from all the way up from Washington come out of the woodwork to join us for a taste of FMA, a shout out to another brother in law of mine - Anthony for joining us, not lick of martial arts but jumped right in there with us!

Focus of our practices have been again Level 1 Curriculum for those that are thinking of going through the trial.  More of the usual, mano a mano , knife tapping, forms, etc... However the highlight of GP was the sparring, for the first time out we only strapped on the helmet and gloves, this was mainly just to get used to the equipment, what it feels like to move in such confines, and more pointedly how it feels to get hit up the side the helmet and get your bell rung in such fashion.  Personally this was a great learning experience, 1) yes your movement is quite different.  2) field of vision is again quite different,  3) depth perception  ( for me) was quite different, 4) things move so quickly, 5) but lastly the great experience out of all this was seeing where your skills was at. I actually did not think I would enjoy it as much as I did, like anything a new, once you have passed the initiation of trying it for the first time, I can't wait to try it again! 

As always a shout out to our San Diego Crew, great to practice with you all, and let's make Manong Rich proud, continue training and showing up!

Maraming Salamat Po,

Erwin G. 


Friday, December 16, 2011

Just a Note... "Intent to Kill" by Manong Rich Verdejo

When it comes to training in any Martial Arts, the mindset of  "Intent to Kill" must play an important role. People often disregard the Martial and focus more on the Art part. 

As fun as training may be, I can't say enough that there should be levels of neccessary stress applied in that training. Remember "As stress INCREASES, skill DECREASES." The ability to control stressful situations in combat, the less your skills will diminish.

A safer way of training this is to take the time and visualize the situation activated all your senses: Touch, Sight, Smell, Sound and even Taste. Ofter the question "Can I really do this?" will play in your head. This is the Mental Prepartion of our training. Visualizing you opponent has the Intent to Kill, will you? 

At a safe pace, can you make every counter attack with the Intent to Kill and visualize the damage YOU have created? This type of mental training should be done without hestitation. In other words, DON'T do the technique and visualize the outcome later. This may give you a false sense commitment. Does this sound extreme? Not at all...this exercise should be done as part of your basics to better prepare yourself for REALITY. Let's not forget what MARTIAL means and the value of Mental/Emotional preparation of a WARRIOR's Mindset.

Maraming Salamat Po,

Manong Rich Verdejo

Next week...  "Just a note on... Weapon Carry/Placement and Deployment"


FCS Cali San Diego Crew - Be Prepared for some Sparring this Sunday!


Sunday, December 11, 2011

FCS Kali West Coast - Group Practice and Extended Training 12/11/2011

I look forward to the weekends, not because it's just a break from a long work week, and not because it's time to cut loose, or relieve stress, beyond all this, it's because I'm eager to put in some work - FCS style.  As I get deeper into our martial arts discipline, I find it's changing me, opening my eyes on how I view and approach things - even in the simplest and most basic things in life. I see why those who follow martial arts fall in love with it, it's not just a discipline, it's a way of life... mind,body and soul, and until you are fully involved with something that's purely for yourself, people will always be in search of this thing that I believe we all strive to find within ourselves whether it's a passion in some other hobby, sport, or interest.  I believe my fellow FCS Cali San Diego Crew in their own personal ways feel the same way.

Today we had a total of 18 training today, that's got to be our high since we started our little club with 4 members in September.  We are not only growing in number, but coming together, as we progress together not only are our skills improving and sharpening, we also strive to build an extended family, and with this in spirit today we had a gathering of families after practice with a backyard potluck at Ed's house so as to get to know each other better out of the regular training environment,   It was great to meet each other's family because we recognize that although those who train sacrifice their time, the family's also sacrifice their time as well. I'm impressed, here we are in the middle of the Holiday Season, while most are likley trying to find a deal at the stores, our group topped itself out in Group Practice, good showing San Diego Crew!

So guess what... I'm going to sound a like a broken record, but it was another beautiful San Diego morning, a bit chilly to start but warming up beautifully - yes in the middle of December it was sunny and warm (check our pictures out)  only requiring  light sweats attire.   Today we were anticipating Manong Rich coming down again to train with us.  We didn't have any Level 1 test out which is still yet to be determined, however his visit with us was fruitful and productive.  We covered again basics for Level 1 Curriculum, as a group our focus was to have a more "combative" mindset as we train as our system is so aptly named.  Manong Rich further detailed small things he expected from us, observed us through some drills, some knife tapping, and then showed us some more additional material with stick take downs, today was also highlighted with the return of the "sarong".  For many in the Group this was new and hopefully enriching, and further adding to our skills.  BTW... we only had 2 stick drops today, which means 20 push ups, we've adopted the no stick drops otherwise everyone does push ups!  San Diego Crew, as busy the next week will be, try to put ins some time, be prepared, who knows what Mng. Rich may have in store for us on his next visit. Manong Rich, thankyou for taking the time to come down again and train with us, San Diego Crew let's continue to show him our appreciation and dedication!   Happy Holidays All!

Today's Group Practice Pics

Maraming Salamat Po,

Erwin G.


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Group Practice Commentary - December 4th, 2011

Standing L to R: Bernard, Gustavo, Dianna, Ileah, Ed, Glenda,  Faviolo, Wendell, Jeremy, Erwin
Kneeling: Daniel, Angelo, Greg, Paolo

The Super Bowl should be permanently played in San Diego, hands down... we have the best weather in the Country and this is something we can boast out loud as San Diegans.... the Chargers might suck, the Padres might suck, and thus our hometown has no major sports championships to claim ( other than the Little League World Series a couple years ago), but DAMMIT ALL.... we have the best weather in the World!!!    Hint, Hint... - maybe a major FCS Kali Gathering should be hosted in San Diego in the future!  So to all our FCS Kali brothers and sisters across America and internationally - throw the idea out to Tuhon Ray !   "wink wink"

So is it getting boring how regularly I mention how beautiful our San Diego mornings are even when the weather is what us spoiled San Diegans call too warm or too cold for our warm blooded tastes!   This morning was a brisk but very sunny 38 degrees... BRRRRR!  That's cold for us!  Today I broke out the sweats and a long sleeve undershirt, Bernard had his thermals, and most of us had some sort of sweats attire. Group Practice has been the same of late, stressing foot work, stick speed and handling, form, and Level 1 curriculum. Manong Rich may want to test some of us out on Level 1 Curriculum, I'm not sure if he's eager to test us out as an end of year goal, or if he's just looking for winter entertainment, probably both!  LOL!

Mng. Rich's Level 1 testing has been famously or maybe infamously reputed to be interesting to say the least, for sure it will cover the Level 1 Curriculum, but fellow San Diego Group Crew... please view the Youtube video of Mng. Rich's Level 1 test below, you'll see what I mean.  I post it not to shy anyone away but to be forewarned and prepare yourselves mentally and physically, who knows what our Manong Rich has in store for us.  FCS Kali San Diego Crew - practice and be prepared!  Also before I sign off, San Diego GP saw 4 new participants, a shout out welcome to:  Ileah, Dianna, Faviolo, and Greg, we hope you enjoyed your experience with us and hope you all become regulars!

Maraming Salamat,

Erwin G.

FCS Cali Crew Test Unlike No Other!


Today's Group Practice Pics...