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Ola`a Nalo Eskrima

Master Ron England

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Martial Biography of Master Ron England

 

 

Olaa-Nalo color Logo1 The Early Days: I was born in California 1948, my family moved to Hawaii in 1959 and to Guam in 1963 where I graduated from high school in 1966. My martial experiences (non-formal) started at an early age, my brother was on his junior high school wrestling team and since I was the little brother I became the training current camera photos Mar 2011 059dummy for him and his friends. We had a big front lawn and when his friends came over they naturally practiced their wrestling skills on me. I did a lot of flying through the air, but became very proficient at taking falls and learning how to roll, a skill that served me well and probably saved my from serious injury more than once over the years. During my years of growing up in Hawaii I weight lifted, surfed and rode my bicycle everywhere. When I was in the 8th grade I tried to take Aikido, but when I inquired about classes, the dojo said their class were full and to come back next summer. Interestingly, my Japanese friend entered classes there that same week, but that was how it was in the 60’s, the martial arts in Hawaii were very much ethnic oriented. I never tried to take formal martial arts training again until 1980. I did however learn how to protect myself, as growing up in Hawaii and Guam in the public school systems as a minority (Caucasian) I was challenged constantly. When I lived in Guam I was the only non-local on 6 school buses from the village I was living in. Once thing I learned growing up as a minority is that you cannot fight the world, “you have to learn to get along”. I had several jobs growing up on Guam; one of the more interesting jobs was working as a “machete man” for a landscaping company. That job entailed clearing brush from ravines that we could not operate machinery in. I am probably one of the few Caucasians involved in the Filipino Martial Arts that has made a living swinging a machete. After I graduated high school, I went to college for a few years but ended up being drafted into the Army in 1969. After my military service I toured around Europe and the Middle East traveling from Germany to Afghanistan and back to Germany overland. Eventually I made my way back to the United States where I hitchhiked across the country. I returned to Guam in 1974 where I co-owned a small retail business. Looking for more career opportunities that what Guam could offer I returned to Hawaii in 1978, still with no formal martial arts training, but with a solid knowledge of street survival skills.

 

My formal martial training begins with GGM Braulio Pedoy:

In 1980 I met (then ranked) Maestros Peter, Knut and Carlton and started training with them in Derobio Escrima. Within the year I met Master Braulio Pedoy (1900-1992), the founder of the Pedoy School of Escrima. At first I was training because it was fun and a good way to get regular exercise. However, when I fully understood the opportunity presented to me, if possible, I never missed a class for the next 12 years. I trained under his direct supervision from 1980 to 1992. GGM Pedoy promoted me to the rank of Maestro Instructor in 1988 and Chief Instructor in 1991.

Studying several days a week I learned the entire system of Pedoy Style Derobio Escrima including the secretive 144 counter to counter movements. Class work included single and double garote, short and long blade and the occasional staff training. Derobio Escrima has no staff in the system, but one of the Chief Instructors held a master level ranking in Iron Palm Kung Fu from Mindanao, so GGM Pedoy allowed us to train in the Saboy long stick-staff style occasionally. Derobio Escrima from it ancient roots was a long blade style of the Filipino Martial arts, therefore our classes contained a significant amount of live blade training with the standard length Bolo. His classes also focused a lot on counter to counter training with empty hands, blades, sticks or any combination thereof. It was an exceptional well rounded martial learning environment.

 

Under GGM Pedoy I studied the old ways concerning orascion (prayers), anting-anting (spiritual protection) and other spiritual matters that were essential to many of the old time Escrimadors. GGM  Pedoy had tremendous respect for all living things and was especially fond of visiting the Volcano National Park on the Big Island of Hawaii. He said that Madam Pele, the Hawaiian Goddess of the volcano was one of the true living spirits in this world. The Pedoy School and the master made yearly trips to the volcano starting in 1985. I have tried to make that pilgrimage to Hilo as often as possible. I learned from Master Pedoy to respect nature in ways that I never thought of, such as how the energy of a particular object is viewed. He often explained that an experienced person will know what to look for in nature and the non-experienced person will not have a clue on how to read the signs provided in nature. During my early days with Master Pedoy he did a lot of Hilot (healing) work on me to help alleviate my back and spinal problems. Eventually with his help I was able to return to a regular job and a 3-4 day a week work out program in his classes. Over the past 30 years many people have said to me “you were so lucky” to have trained under such a renowned master and I can only reply, yes, I am fortunate, very fortunate!  During the years that I trained under Great Grandmaster Pedoy, we (or anyone that was in his school) were exposed to not only the movements and history of Derobio Eskrima, but also his teachings about the spiritual aspects of Escrima. The time that I spent with him was a constant learning environment and a special life experience that I will never forget.

 

Batikan Eduardo “Eddie” Pedoy: During the 23 years that I associated with Batikan Eduardo Pedoy (1950-2010) I learned many martial and life lessons from him. While in many ways he operated under the shadow of his father, at the same time he was his own man and took the Pedoy organization and  Derobio Escrima in his own direction. He helped to solidify the mainland branches of the school while inserting his own martial interpretations of Derobio. As the Batikan was a big man, over 6 foot and 240 plus pounds he perfected the concept of big man Eskrima. His first martial art that he started with at an early age was Kempo Karate. Once Eduardo learned of his father’s proficiency in Escrima when he was about 13 years old he became the established and recognized heir of his fathers system (Eduardo was the only bloodline son of  GGM Pedoy). Eduardo Pedoy had heavy hands (hard hitting) and devastating elbows. While he was proficient at any fighting range, what I learned from him in particular was his close range techniques with weapons and or empty hands. The Baikan and I had many discussions concerning the movements, history and spiritual aspects of the Filipino martial arts. He had a unique ability to motivate people in his classes, which at times were wild, but very instructional as well. After GGM Pedoy passed away in 1992 and under the supervision of Batikan Eduardo Pedoy I was the most active and at many times the only Chief Instructor (1995-2003) teaching at the Honolulu main branch of the Pedoy School of Escrima.

 

My first solo teaching assignment: During the years that I was at the Honolulu branch of the Pedoy School of Escrima (1994-2004) was an important time for me of martial development. I learned through trial by others that Derobio Escrima could hold up against any other martial art. In the mid 1990’s many martial artists were discovering the Filipino Martial Arts. In our classes it was not uncommon to find people that held black belt rankings in other martial arts. Some people were in our classes to learn Derobio Eskrima and some were there to test out how their skills held up against the Filipino Martial Arts. It was my duty as a “certified Derobio instructor” to see that all inquiries were answered, some questions were friendly and some were “more challenging”. I answered all questions with humbleness. It was essential that I represent Derobio Escrima in the proper manner. In 1995 Batikan Eduardo Pedoy issued a certificate of appreciation to me for “Outstanding performance in operating the main branch of the Pedoy School of Escrima”. On October 16, 2003 Batikan Eduardo Pedoy promoted me to Senior Master Red Level 6. In early December of 2004 due to personal issues I separated from the Pedoy School of Escrima.

 

A new martial beginning with Ola’a-nalo Eskrima:

It happened on a late December morning in 2004. As I was standing in my living room at 3:00am quietly practicing the 12 offense and defense movements I received a ghostly visitation from 5 Escrima Manoys (word of respect for elderly Filipino men). The message from these Eskrima “Guides” was clear to me: I must progress in my martial journey; I should preserve and perpetuate the movements and spirituality of the Filipino Martial Arts as it was taught to me by my masters. I must embrace the healing, spiritual and martial concepts of Eskrima and pass on to others how the art relates to the jungles and people that it arose from.  Immediately after the visitation I sat down and drew a rough draft of the logo and wrote the martial basis and philosophy of Ola’a-Nalo Eskrima.

 

The 1st rendition of the

Ola’a-nalo logo as provided  by the Eskrima guides

Over the years many people have said to me that this is how an Eskrima school should be formulated: With a clear vision and a strongly defined mission. I had the teaching experience, certified rank; knowledge and maturity to open my own Eskrima School. The guides that came to visit were telling me it was now time for me to take charge of my martial destiny!

 

 

As a traditional Eskrima instructor I focus on details of movement: including body position, striking accuracy, range to target, footwork and angles of attack. Survival is of first concern. My purpose in teaching the Filipino martial arts is to pass on the teachings that I learned from my masters and share my own martial techniques and life experiences that I have acquired in 32 years of training in the Filipino Martial Arts and 64 years of living, traveling and working around the planet. Over the years a few hundred students have passed through my classes. In my multiple years of training and teaching Derobio Escrima, I have been exposed to many systems of the Filipino Martial arts. In addition I have traded fighting techniques with qualified instructors in the arts of Western Boxing, Iron Palm Kung Fu, Wing Chun Kung Fu, Judo, Aikido, Indonesian Silat and Japanese and Brazilian Jujitsu, Kempo Karate and several other systems.

 

The healing arts: One thing that I regret is that I began my formal studies in the healing arts 4 years after GGM Braulio Pedoy passed on. Little did I realize that in 1991 when GGM Pedoy promoted me to Chief Instructor not only did he give me his blessing to that rank  but he also did what is called in the healing arts as “attunement”. Attunenement is where energy points, usually the head (Chakra’s) are remodulated so you can conduct a certain energy frequency. In 1996 I began my studies in the healing arts of Reiki (Traditional Usui Method) under Reiki Master Judy Lau and received my 1st degree certificate in May of 1996 and my 2nd degree certificate in December of 1996. Under GGM Pedoy before he passed away I was schooled in some of the healing factors of Hilot. Under Master healer Jim Laughlin I was guided in the healing properties of Magnetic Therapies and herbal healing modalities. I know that due to GGM Pedoys influence my energy field is different from the average person that takes up the healing art of Reiki or other energy conducting diciplines. In one memoriable epiosode the Grand Master of Reiki in Hawaii sat in front of me and asked me to touch his knees with my 2 index fingers, he closed his eye for a few seconds and when he opend them and looked directly at me and saidI do not know what you have, but it is not Reiki”. At that point I knew that GGM Pedoy’s energy gift was in my body. I do have Reiki, but it is interwoven with the jungle energies that GGM Pedoy gave to me as well. My healing gifts are a combination of ancient and newer modalitites. Even after all of these years, I admit I am still a student of the healing arts.

 

As in Yin and Yang, positive and negative, balance in the arts is essential for harmony. I believe the martial arts and the healing arts are parallel pathways and that you should not do one art without the other. To understand the Filipino Martial Arts, you must study the movements, history and spirituality of the art.

 

Pau!!

 

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