Expanded areas of Interest > Internal Arts

Internal Arts and KAJUKENBO

(1/2) > >>

Aloha to all of my KAJUKENBO Ohana and friends........
First I want to apologize for "neglecting" the very important portion of the Cafe, and of our art.

I was recently asked by Professor Mitch Powell (at the Visalia Ohana Seminar) to give and share my personal opinion and experience with internal (soft style) training methods within the philosophies and reality of KAJUKENBO, so here goes!

My first contact with martial arts came from old Japanese Samurai movies and then "The Green Hornet".
Of course I had no idea what the difference was, or that there even was a difference.  I just knew I wanted to do that (what I saw on the screen).  
Living and growing up on the Arizona/Mexico border on a cotton farm I found myself the minority "small, skinny kid" that got picked on and beat up on a regular basis.
I moved to No. California (Vacaville) when I was 15 and as luck would have it, walked into the class of GM Aleju "Al" Reyes at the Boys and Girls Club in Vacaville.
Well, that was all it took.  Everything I had wished for was at my fingertips.  My martial arts life had begun, and little did I realize who my teacher was or how he would influence the rest of my life!
My first introduction to the martial arts and the Hawaiian culture.  Time passed and I had become a part of the Reyes Ohana.  Between the KAJUKENBO and the Luau/Demos (Maria Reyes, wife of GM Reyes) was a Hula instructor and we traveled and put on shows around the S.F. Bay area, I thought I had died and gone to heaven.
During my years as a student and then finally assistant to GM Reyes I was exposed to all styles.  Even though I was still only training with GM Reyes in Hard Style (Kenpo Karate) KAJUKENBO, I had a secret urge and desire to learn Kung-Fu.
As a student of GM Reyes, I discovered that KAJUKENBO had several branches and methods that comprised the system including Kung-Fu.
During the entire time I was with GM Reyes (until my 1st Degree Black Belt test) I had been hungry and curious to "dabble" into the internal arts, but did not.  I only practiced what I had been taught and listened to the direction and wisdom of my teacher.
I have also had the honor and pleasure of training with instructors in almost every branch of KAJUKENBO including:
GM Jon Loren/Tum Pai - Gaylord Method/Prof. Gabe Vargas - GM Al Dacascos, Master Malia Bernal (Dacascos)and Sifu Bill Owens/Wun Hop Kuen Do/Chuan-Fa and several of the late Agung Tony Ramos' top students.
After I got my Black Belt, I had already met Sifu Eric Lee and the Dacascos' (through GM Reyes of course) and got up the courage to ask GM Reyes how he felt about Kung-Fu.  I realize I was very lucky to have met and stayed with him entirely through my KAJUKENBO training and then, being the kind, humble, caring father figure he was, he gave me his blessing to "try-out" the soft style.  All he told me was, "Don't forget your roots"!
I moved to So. Cal. in 1974 and GM Reyes set me up with GM Eric Lee in Los Angeles.  (He had just moved there from Oakland)
I began with GM Eric and started at the beginning.
This was much harder than I had expected!  The whole "flow" thing had me baffled.  I found myself trying too hard.  Especially when I was so "hard" already.
After a couple of years (and a couple of grey hairs for GM Eric I'm sure) I began to feel more comfortable.
I started to go out to tournaments, I'd still fight and enter "hard style" forms (Reyes KAJUKENBO style) and then go change into the appropriate Kung-Fu uniform (GM Lee approved of course, solid black with a single KAJUKENBO clover patch on it) and soon began my climb to the #1 national rating (Black Belt and Inside Kung-Fu Magazines) for Black Belt Men’s Forms and Weapons.
In interviews and articles, always getting the name KAJUKENBO out to the general public.
Many people (including many KAJUKENBO people) were confused as to where I stood in the system.
"Is he soft, or is he hard"?  This "questioning me, of which part of the art I came from" began to frustrate and cause me a little confusion as well.
Funny though, GM Reyes was never confused.  
I realize now that much of that confusion came from people who I now know were (some still are) confused themselves!  I think that because many individuals start and continue forever under one teacher or method, they don't and will never will grasp the concept SIJO had intended for KAJUKENBO.
My years of traveling on the west coast allowed me to visit and train with literally every family style and branch at the time.  My strong "hard Style" foundation made it possible to analyze and adapt the various flavors and theories of the other branches into my physical and mental makeup.
I can honestly say, I have had one of the most "broad" exposures to KAJUKEBBO that one could hope for.  
KAJUKENBO KENPO KARATE (Hard Style) with GM Reyes and his students, TUM-PAI (at it's beginnings) with GM Jon Loren, CHUAN-FA with Sifu Gabe Vargas (student of GM Gaylord), sparring with students of GM Tony Ramos (including Sifu Gene Ray and Sifu John Crossley) and then the years with SIJO.  I consider myself very lucky to have had him live with me for quite some time.
By 1979 I had incorporated the Kung-Fu training of GM Eric into my KAJUKENBO training in San Clemente.
ONE DIFFERENCE.......I never mixed them up.
Incorporating training methods of Kung-Fu is a given within our art.  It's a part of the whole.
However, representing yourself to the public in both, now that's a different storey.  I have always represented myself as KAJUKENBO, not just Kung-Fu or Tai Chi or another individual style.  These other arts help comprise the KAJUKKENBO system.  One can study and experiment and even adapt from the other parts, but that should be done to improve your KAJUKENBO.

This is the first part of my storey and it has taken you through my evolution within KAJUKENBO.  I wanted to get through this part of my evolution so everyone would have a clear understanding of the importance KAJUKENBO has made in my growth.

In the next chapter I will talk about my introduction to WUSHU and my travel to Beijing, PRC back in 1981.  I will also talk about how the CHEN style of Taijiquan (Tai Chi Chuan) has polished my movement and it's connection to KAJUKENBO.

Thank you all,
GM Gary Forbach

Mitch Powell:
GM Gary,
We're waiting!!!! Most of us have only seen the Shaolin Temple in magazines, tell us what it was like. It's time to post part II.


The Kai:
I second the request
BTW I enjoyed your post on Meeting the Ramos Method guys at tourneys, etc.
Any memories you want to share, I enjoy listening to thode who were there

Thanx.... Prof. Mitch and Todd!
I was just waiting to get "humbug" for my Wushu uniform.  ;D
Maybe they haven't ventured into this section yet!  ;)
The photo I posted was from back in the early 80's that was shot the same day we were shooting for an article (the cover  ;D) of Inside Kung-Fu.  The article was on the "King of Chinese Weapons" the Spear.
It's actually my favorite weapon (without a clip :)) and was very difficult to perfect.  (Of course it's never perfect!)  
I first learned how to handle the Spear from Grandmaster Eric Lee.  The form was/is called "Pai Lon Chueng" (sp!) and at the time, mid to late 70's, won me many Local, State and National tournaments.  Then in 1978 I met U.S. Wushu pioneer - Anthony Chan at he the Long Beach Internationals, saw him doing things with the spear that I had never seen before, walked straight over to him, introduced myself, and told him that I had never seen more amazing "Spear Play" in my life.
Again, I was lucky to meet this man and benefit from his openness and skill.  It was after that I started traveling up to San Francisco every other month to train with him.
I then continued to learn all I could from him and still practice and teach the traditional forms I had been taught by GM Eric Lee.  (Another wonderful, giving, honest, and "kick-asp" teacher and friend).
I'm finishing up SIJO's DVD this week and will post my "Part 2" soon after that.  OK?
I'll post another photo that everyone around me has been trying to get me to share for years......
"The Flying KAJUKENBO Side-Kick"   ;D (I wanted to show the Korean's we could develop our kicks (Tang Soo Do, Right?) as well as they could, and still have the rest of our art!  It's not a "doctored" picture, no trampolines, roofs or springboards!  :D
There's allot of directions I ventured into while dissecting "all the parts of the whole".  I really believe it helped my understand KAJUKENBO a little better.
Anyway, back to work...
Aloha for now!
GM Gary

Yes, I'd have to agree with Prof. Powell, and "The Kia".

I am looking forward to more "chapters".  I had the privilege of speaking with you during the last Sijo Birthday Banquet / Tournament and you have a very colorful back ground.

Thanks for continuing to share with us GM Forbach.


[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

Go to full version