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A Lucay Star

By Wes Bennett & Steve Charleson

Tough Lucay

"Maximum distance, maximum velocity. Applied to vital targets do not require great strength, only quiet assurance, knowledge, and precision."

Ted Lucaylucay, son of Guro Lucky Lucaylucay, was born and raised in Hawaii (Island of Kauai) until he was 13. He and the family then moved to southern California.

He often spoke of the "old men" with the blades who were always around his house gardening, training, and chasing little Teddy, who was pestering them and throwing "dirt clogs" at them. Guro Lucky (Ted's father) is considered by many to be the father of Panantukan, but he always told Ted that it "was all Kali, boy... all part of the whole thing". Guro Ted once told me that he started out his martial arts training first in Judo, that a friend of his introduced him to the art of Judo soon after his arrival in the states.

He once said, "I didn't get into only one system, but studied several different styles. My first (Wing Chun) Sifu was Fred Beiques, a "big French Canadian", according to Ted, who introduce him to the intracacies of Wing Chun Gung Fu. Sifu Beiques had studied with James Yimm Lee and then Bruce Lee, my first Karate style was Hawaiian system. "I spent a lot of years with that. Then I started experimenting and trying other styles like Shitoryu and Shorinryu. Then my Dad and I started Kajukembo with Tony Ramos.

When I first came to the states my Dad and I helped build a gym in L. A. where we trained Kajukembo. I stopped for a while and when I started back up I was in Praying Mantis, then I went to Dan Inosanto's backyard and that's when I first started JKD and Escrima. I was brought in because of the Escrima. My Dad knew Richard Bustillio who got me into the backyard sessions. I got in to learn Escrima but I really wanted to take JKD first. It was pretty good because I learned to like both of them. It used to be after the JKD class, before everyone would close out, Dan Inosanto would ask those of you who wanted to stay for the Escrima can do so, and everybody would leave except maybe about four or five of us. The Escrima class in those days was so brand new nobody even knew what it was. As it went further down the road, then I got involved in the Filipino arts more."

The three main systems that Guro Ted studied were:Serrada style by Angel Cabales, Largo Mano systems from Leo Giron and Villabralle/Kali style from Ben Largusa. This was also Lucky's system that he had learned as a kid from the Grandmaster Villabralle (Lucky was the God-Son of Grandmaster Villabralle). Also Lucky had been taught by others a knife fighting system, which Ted often said helped him in his Boxing, years later. Ted's Grandfather was a champion boxer on the islands and he didn't want Lucky to fight. As Lucky got older he stopped the martial arts training because, as a kid, everybody was doing basketball or whatever, and he just got tired of doing Escrima and Kali by himself. Guro Ted's Grandfather (Buena Ventura) stopped him from training with Grandmaster Villabralle because Lucky was such a `hot head' with a bad temper, but eventually Lucky continued Boxing and Kali. Ted's Grandfather (BuenaVentura) was known as a boxer in the Hawaiian Islands.

When he was in the Philippines, he was also known for a kicking art known as Sikarran. Ted said that Lucky used to play around with Ted's Grandmother. He would do a kick to her leg and take off running. She would chase him with a frying pan. But according to Ted, Lucky was more of a Boxer. "That's why he helped the immigrants come on over from the Philippines to settle in the main (Hawaiian) island. He was one of those who were prominent and they made money in those days from the Boxing, but he never really kept any because he helped immigrants come over, and get settled."

That is how Grandmaster Villabralle came to Hawaii. But, before Grandmaster Villabralle there were some Filipino men who would train my Father. Some of them were fishermen, some were long shore men, some were gardeners, and all of these men were Escrimadors. They use to be at my Grandparent's house and they would come drop off vegetables, fish, and whatever. What I did not understand was that my Grandparents had been instrumental in bringing them in and getting them settled. Like all of the old customs they would give back something. So along with giving back, they would teach my Father and since he was my Grandfather's only child, he was one of the chosen ones to be part of the Federation. I pictured him as a little boy in the Federation movement learning from the fishermen and longshoremen who were also Escrimadors, as Escrima was a part of their life. They gave back by teaching to my Grandfather's son and my Father taught me."

Grandmaster Villabralle was from the Island of Vitayan, which is where Ted's Grandfather came from. The Island of Vitayan is in the Visayan Islands. The Lucaylucay family helped him get settled, and that's how they became close."He became by Dad's Godfather and later on he trained him. My Father taught me Boxing when I was a kid but I did not like it. No matter who tried to teach me that, I didn't like Boxing, but it was years later that I went back to pick up the lessons that they were trying to give me. Sometimes youth overlooks the gifts we receive and looks instead to the ones we want."

Guro Lucky was eventually coined the "Father of Panantukan and Pananjakman" because nobody was really teaching those arts. In the early days at the Torrance Filipino Kali Academy, Dan Inosanoto used to bring in instructors but Ted said"Dad used to come in and teach the Boxing exercises and relate them to the knife. Through his contribution, he was given this title. At the Filipino Kali Academy, the art was given birth through my Dad."

Ted and his father were responsible for bringing in the Villabralle groups. At the time they were the only group that was known as Kali practitioners. However, it wasn't even out in the open, it was Escrima and Arnis that was known. Ted said,"The only group that was known for Kali was the Villabralle School. But as it came down to the Torrance Academy, it became generic and it improved the other systems that were using Arnis or Escrima. Today, you will see all three; Kali, Escrima, and Arnis which are basically in the same family. So, it was good because all of the bickering over the name, what is Kali? What is Arnis? What is Escrima?, slowed down a bit. It was a big thing then. The only real Kali School at that time was the Villabralle in Hawaii. Largusa Kali in San Francisco and Dan Inosanto's school. Everyone else was studying Escrima and Arnis."

In 1975 Ted left officially to open up a studio in San Diego. He left the academy, but, often went back to visit and train. Ted said, "Jerry Poteet and I were the first to graduate from the academy under Dan Inosanto and Grandmaster Leo Giron. It was a privileged moment for us." Of his training with Cabales and Giron he said, "It was a blessing in disguise. Grandmaster Cabales was in his 60's. He was shorter than I was but he was like a never-ending source of energy. And in Serrada, he was very quick with the stick and the empty hand. This little Filipino guy would be just continuously going with a lot of energy and at his own pace. He would be working out and have a cigarette in his mouth at the same time. He was a nice man and he shared a whole lot and I will always have a never ending gratitude towards him and his instructors for helping us.

He learned the old way and we spent a lot of hours working on what they showed us. It wasn't just given to us for a certificate and I thank them all for that. Grandmaster Giron taught us the long stick system; he shared a whole lot with us. He was always genuine, intellectual, articulate and very soft mannered. He was an older gentleman who was supposed to be ill yet he still outlived many of the rest. Then of course the Kali group that are my dad's `calabash kai/family' helped us a whole lot in those days. Everything was new and we got to learn from the masters themselves. Serrada was a blessing in disguise to our system because with Serrada, you got exposed to the close range. With the Kali it brought the concept of the long and short together so you could work inside and you could work outside. I enjoyed doing them all. I still do. But, it was much later that I got to appreciate the training I had and the development and awareness of the three different ranges. When the other styles came along, it was easy to pick them up because of the foundation of the three original styles we were taught. You could fit them in with anything else."

Student Lucay

When asked of the "controversy" surrounding the JKD, Ted had this to say about it all:"I think people have too much time on their hands as the saying goes. I believe in this: If there is a question as far as the combative aspect of JKD, take it to the middle of the floor, bring it to the gym, get in there and just do it. I guess that is what the JKD philosophy was all about. Let's test the essentials and do away with all this make believe. Let's find out the truth. That's the real JKD, so we are not getting into all of this hype about concepts or the original JKD. I think controversy sells. If this was like in other countries or if you had to survive in the streets of LA, New York or Chicago, you know people that walk the streets have no time for b. s. So I think some JKD people today are just trying to sell their politics. The martial art is no different than anything else. In my opinion it did not seem that the philosophy of the martial arts was being practiced. It was more than just hitting and "banging" and beating up on somebody.

There is a whole new life associated with that, and it wasn't being taught in that manner. But, like the rest, I enjoyed it in the beginning and learned new things, but later on you get tired of that. There had to be something more to be offered. And later you find out that it is more like 'brotherhood' and more harmony within the martial arts family. I just got disillusioned, sad, disappointed and maybe even angry. I hate to stay angry, but I guess I am still a bit angry. Of course we can't control how things have gone, but eventually you start to realize that you have got to face reality, so I've changed my views on things now. JKD in its true sense is streaming something for the individual. I think this would be a much better practice to present, but I think there is a lot of b.s. going on today. There is not going to be much settling until the authentic people take the reins and just try to organize and come together since JKD has become an individualized segment of the arts, so now it is time for organization. But, I think it's speaking for itself.

Already I have seen the trend go from okay, you don't have to do anything, you don't have to use GI's or tee shirts or salute or anything because all we want to do is fight.

Now, you do see uniforms again; you do see programs, schools and organizations.

Like it or not, JKD has become a style or system and it is part of the business world. It is not really changing a lot of blood, so there is always time for controversy now. It is just more verbal fighting and comparing going on than the actual fighting itself. That is what I mean by too much time on your hands."

Throughout the years Guro Ted was influenced by many great martial artists: Bruce Lee, Dan Inosanto, Angel Cabales, John LaCoste, Telesporo SubingSubing (the grandfather of his former wife Tanya), Floro Villabralle, Ben Largusa, Leo Giron, and many more including his own father Guro Lucky. All of these great Masters and GrandMasters had two things in common... they were great martial artists and humble men. Guro Ted learned much and taught much about both of these traits from them. Guro Ted was the founder of the Lucaylucay Kali/Jeet Kune Do Association and Temujin. (later Temujin USA and Temujin International) "Our motto is to show and do."

Exercising his forearms

The"show" is professionalism and courtesy as Ted used to say. And the"do" part is letting people know we can"do our stuff" with quality. Temujin Lucaylucay Kali/JKD direction is not to accumulate but to eliminate. When we say eliminate we don't mean against the traditional. We don't want to eliminate total respect for our tradition and culture. For the fighting part we want to get as much quality in the few things, the things that are going to get you through the fight. What is going to be the proper one at the moment, whether it is a straight direct hit or a complicated one then you just go with it. Whether it is the Kali/Eskrima/Arnis or the JKD straight-blast, it should make no difference. One of Ted's favorite sayings was"let the weapon dictate your movement... not your movement dictate your weapon". It took me years to understand... and sometimes I still don't get it right... but, I thank my Guro, my friend, my brother Guro Ted Lucaylucay for his direction and teachings that I still lean from every day.

Guro Ted was born in October... and was just over 50 years old at his passing in 1996. March 30th to be specific. I am told that the official cause of death was listed as (congestive heart failure) cardiac arrest. He left behind many students and admirers. Guro Dan Inosanto once said to me of Ted:"He is one of the best blade men I have ever worked with."I would venture to say he was also one of the best Boxers and Sifu/Guro, as well that has come this way.

Today, two Senior Guros are in charge of the LK/JA and Temujin. Guro Leonard Trigg (Oregon) and Guro Greg Allen (Texas). His family also continues to be involved in the organization and actively participates in the perpetuation of their family legacy of Lucaylucay Kali. I remain loyal to Guro Ted and his teachings and to my seniors and the Lucaylucay family in all it's senses... OHANA!

"My personal teaching philosophy is to lay a good foundation and then be open minded enough to build something on it. It's like building a house. So if you get a good foundation in a traditional martial art like some Kung Fu or Karate style or a Boxing style, they all share the same principals in terms of balance, centerlines, attitude, and that sort of thing. Now as far as the method eventually an individual will go down and change methods such as Karate or go to Boxing or Wing Chun, but I think that using the JKD view; if you are open minded you could see that. All of these principals intertwine.

First of all, I think you need to get a good foundation no matter where you get it from and once you have that you can build upon it. You must have an open mind and be able to get along with people and you must be able to observe tradition as well as not limit your infinite growth potential. The fun part of learning is blending all the different systems to help you develop your own style. When I say your own style, your own style as an individual. I am not creating a style on my own; I don't have one. I combine tradition and JKD to streamline it. But, my philosophy is to again be open-minded, enjoy having fun at it and shoot always for quality. I don't have time nor the patience to deal with politics or the ones who try and use it for their advantage", Guro Ted Lucaylucay.

*Some excerpts/quotations were taken from an interview conducted by Steve Charlson, at which I was present...

God bless and good training. -Wes bennett

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