Andrew S.

I was exposed to some exceptional coaches very young and have been training seriously in various martial arts since age 18- the last 21 years. As a child, I wrestled (poorly) through junior high, did a little Aikido with a family friend who was a student of the founder, and did a little fencing with legendary coach Lajos Csiszar. The during my second year of college at age 18 I started training in Okinawan Kempo with Ralph Buschbacher. For the rest of college I trained at University of Virginia’s Okinawan Kempo club and with Joe Aldridge at Aldridge Karate Institute. During that time I was exposed to Wally Jay’s Small Circle Jiu Jitsu, tuite, and Remy Presas’s Modern Arnis.

After leaving Charlottesville for further schooling in Cleveland, I visited many schools in the Ohio area, trained briefly in Escrima at a JKD/FMA school, an eclectic Taiji system, and Northern Mantis. Around this time I developed an interest in the neijia (Chinese Internal Arts). In spring of 1994, I found Wing Tsun through Mike Adams and his student George Hodge, and started training in the AWTO going to seminars and began training privately with Emin Boztepe. I travelled extensively to train and test my skills during this time, interacting with many talented martial artists. As I tried to puzzle out the mechanics of WT, I was deeply influenced by a number of people active in the neijia who I had contact with- Mike Sigman, Nick Gracenin, and Yang Yang.

In 1995 I met Rene Latosa for the first time and was amazed by his system, approach to teaching, and character. I worked hard on the basics I learned from him for a year, and then realized that I couldn’t devote the time to his art that it deserved. I further pursued my WT training under Philip and Anna Weinschrodt until I completed my professional development and departed Cleveland in 2000.

In August of 2000 I moved to Los Angeles to train at the WT headquarters. I found a job that let me train 20+ hours a week, attending classes at the headquarters, working with training partners, and doing private lessons with Michael Casey, Emin Boztepe, Jannis Simonedes, and others. My apartment rapidly became the ‘Very Hostel’- a crash pad for people from the US and around the world coming to train at what became EBMAS headquarters after the split with Leung Ting. By 2001, I felt my WT was on track enough to resume training Escrima and trained extensively with the first three people awarded technician rank in the AWTO- Michael Casey, Per Hansen, and Joe Perry. Per and I developed a close friendship and he became my primary training partner until I left Los Angeles in 2008. In 2003, Michael Casey and I took over ownership of EBMAS headquarters and we ran the school together until its closure. From roughly 2002 to 2008 I did hundreds of hours of private lessons with Emin Boztepe, Michael Casey, and Jannis Simonedes. During this time I started grappling, training at the Bomb Squad with Eddie Bravo, and doing private lessons with Gerald Streibent, as well as rolling at Gene and Gokor’s occasionally. I was exposed to Rodney King’s Crazy Monkey approach in the mid 2000s and have found it a useful addition to my game since. I helped some friends train for low level MMA fights, did an amateur fight myself, and made many good friends during this time. Since the EBMAS headquarters closed, I have kept a training group going focused on skill development, hard work, and friendship, dedicated to the improvement and contributions of all- not rank, hierarchy, or politics. When I left LA in 2008, I was training Muay Thai at the Yard. In the fall of 2010 I resigned from EBMAS because of philosophic differences.

I started training privately with Rene Latosa in 2006 having attended many seminars with him, and the main focus of my training has been under his coaching since then. When I moved to Seattle in 2008, Eric and I connected and founded the Seattle Escrima Club, a group dedicated to pursuing the study of Escrima and the martial approach of Rene Latosa as we have learned and interpreted it.

My approach is pragmatic- influenced by years of coaching, exposure to traditional methods, and extensive reading of sports science and motor learning literature. Simple, solid, useful skills are most rapidly developed by hard work done in an organized manner.

There are many folks who’ve influenced me who I’ve failed to mention. Among the folks who I’ve worked with who I would like to thank and give a shout to-

Charles Andres, Erik Hatcher, Dan Lucier, Tom Valesky, Ian Griffith, Aria Benner, Joe Bui, Mike Muratore, Greg Dark, Dhira Yesufi, Ernie Barrios, Tommy Galloway, Josh Talbot, Sascha Dib, Kevin Willenson, Fran Poteet, Jim Popp, Alex Hanning, Christian Bennigus, Clay Fife.

If I forgot you- my apologies.

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