Last Saturday was FCS Kali West Coast's first event of the year and will go down already as one of the best events we will do this year. Over a month ago Manong Rich Verdejo was asked by one of FCS Kali's closest friends, L.D. "Stoney" Stone from the East Coast family if we could some how help a cause that was very special to him, the Long Road Home Project founded by Casey Miller. Manong Rich with no hesitation accepted the task on hand and immediately approached the West Coast brothers that he was going to host a benefit for Casey Miller's project. When Rich presented this idea, it only took a few minutes to realize that this meant a lot to him and Stoney, and we were going to do this, and after hearing what the benefit was for, how could one say no.
The Long Road Home Project's mission is threefold: 1) to help heal our veterans, 2) to raise awareness of the challenges faced by our returning service people, and 3) to raise monies to help our veterans live more meaningful and fulfilling lives. Casey Miller's project spearheads all three objectives with a coast to coast biking journey across America by 5 U.S. veterans, but before every project can begin, funding must be secured, and this is where those sponsoring this honorable cause have pledged to help. Long Road Home Project needs $75,000 to begin their ride of awareness for veterans across America.
So we all get by with a a little help from our friends, so the song goes.... In the previous weeks Manong Rich was able to put together a training seminar benefit that would showcase the talents of various disciplines and expertise of Rich's friends.... Ajay J. - former professional Muay Thai fighter - Muay Thai Clench technique, Matt Parks - Brazilian Jiu Jitsu - Ground Escapes, Bernard Herrera - Retired SWAT - Home Firearms Tactics, and finally FCS Kali's Manong Rich Verdejo - Knife Tactics. The event was hosted generously at Maurice Gomez's MG Kenpo Academy in Duarte, CA.
The turnout was good, we had over 20 participants stay the whole afternoon for the seminar. Manong Rich started the seminar with a warm welcome, tapered with a sobering reminder of why we are there besides camaraderie and learning, he noted how the challenges of the returning service people are not just physical but deeper, and that this among many more reasons is why we are all here today. We quickly moved into the learning segments, Ajay covered the Muay Thai Clench and how it could be used outside the ring. Ajay's instruction was excellent, clear, concise and effective as felt by everyone. I would bet nobody came out of that afternoon without some form of neck ache. Personally I have not had my head shaken around like that since my Tijuana days in college where part of the ritual was having a shot of tequila and your head violently shaken around, except at least learning the clench had no whistle blowing in your ear, LOL! Matt's instruction on basic ground escapes from his BJJ discipline was just as informative, and again for me and I am sure others who never had any grappling experience, this was an excellent lesson. I have come to further respect the ground game, especially after FCS Kali disciples were "volunteered" to roll with Matt, thank you Bernard! Manong Rich then followed with his knife blade tactics, demonstrating his technique with of course live blade, what I have always loved about Maonng Rich's tutelage, is he is very passionate about his subject matter, so even with a hoarse voice which he acquired that afternoon from either the clench or some BJJ hold from Matt, he pushed on. The seminar ended with Bernard covering his opinions on firearm tactics in the home, keeping in mind strategy on securing/containing a room, and basic common sense awareness to be mindful of in case the worst scenario were to ever happen in your home. The seminar ended in the late afternoon, and what better way to end the day than a pack of us raid the closest Thai restaurant down the block at Thai City Restaurant, excellent food!
All said and done, the seminar pulled in $797.00 for Casey and his project, word is there are still more donations to come in and be added, so the tally at the time of this posting may need updating. Saturday was a long day, and at the end of the day when finally getting home late that night early Sunday morning, I reflected. Bruises, sore muscles, aches and pains, a slightly swollen top of my foot due to a couple heel stomps during the exercises, all worth it as I reached for the Advil and re-hydrated. As my aching body allowed me to get some sleep, I felt good about a great day for a great cause, I then thought of what was next... in 6 hours back to FCS Kali training at our Luneta park for our weekly Sunday Group practice.
To End, here is a note from Manong Rich Verdejo:
Finally, thank you all that donated their time and money to Casey Miller's "The Long Road Home Project" We had such an awesome event and feel blessed to see old and new friends training for the cause. I'm happy to say It was a SUCCESSFUL event."
Maraming Salamat Po,