Guro Dan Birthday Celebration July 24, 2007

July 24, 2007 at the Inosanto Academy. Happy Birthday Guro Dan!

Silat Dancers


Willie B. Laureano
Barbara Dalla Riva
John Spezzano
Suzanne Spezzano
Victor Gendrano
Clark Dizon
Clarrel Pope
Alain Rono
Jason Menadue
Richard Kwon
Cris Trinindad
Anne Monteclaro
Genelle Gaudinez
Marieclare Sia
Jared Witzer
Ed Cadiz
Cecilia Flores

Buddy Helm

Snake Disarm To Abanico

Single Stick vs. Single Stick.
Inside deflection.
Kedana Royal (Kambiata).
Hook with the punyo under the arm.
Snake with your left hand and apply an abanico (fan) to the head.
Continue the abanico.
Finish with an angle 1 (forehand) strike to the head.

Split Entry to Outside Wrist Lock

Parry the jab.
Split entry against the cross.
Hook the elbow and wrist.
Pull opponent down.
Switch hand position to an outside wrist lock.
Apply the lever to finish the lock.

Wheeled Warrior Clothing

Wheeled Warriors – Merchandise for Disabled Martial Artists. Our logo is a warrior in a wheelchair wielding a knife and an escrima stick. This is just another way of showing that disabled people can participate in the martial arts.

Wheeled Warrior Gear now available!

Wheeled Warriors – Merchandise for Disabled Martial Artists. Our logo is a warrior in a wheelchair wielding a knife and an escrima stick. This is just another way of showing that disabled people can participate in the martial arts.

– Ken Chun

Life may not be the party we hoped for…but while we are here we might as well dance!

Get your gear today!

Sean Sherk in UFC 73!

UFC 73
July 7, 2007
Arco Arena in Sacramento, California

Sherk, Sean “The Muscle Shark”
Styles:Mixed-Martial Arts (MMA)

Record:Pro MMA: 34 -2-1
Weight:155 lbs (69.75 kg)
Last Fight:10/14/2006

Sean has trained extensively at the Minnesota Martial Arts Academy since 1994. Sean is currently the UFC Lightweight World Champion, only the second person in history to ever hold the lightweight title. He has wrestled since the age of 7 and has over 400 matches. He also has trained and competed in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, submission grappling, and mixed martial arts since 1998. His fight name is “The Muscle Shark” given to him by Japanese fans before fighting in Pride Bushido. Sean holds an Associate Instructorship in Combat Submission Wrestling from Erik Paulson. He is a consummate coach with an eye for detail, and a passion for his students and fighters. More info about Sean can be found on his website at
UFC World Lightweight Champion
courtesy of Minnesota Martial Arts Academy

The Lesson

written by Clay Johnson

This article is about one of the most important martial art and life lessons I was ever taught, and it wasn’t taught to me by a martial arts teacher, but by a very unlikely source. I would like to share the story with you, the reader, because you may find it interesting and helpful in your study of the martial arts.

On December 31, 1989, I had asked my girlfriend, Kimlee, to dinner after I finished teaching classes at my first school in my hometown of Clifton Forge, Virginia. As it happens, that was also the last day the school was going to be open, because I was closing it for good. The restaurant we were going to was down the street from the school. Kimlee got to the school, and we decided to use my wheelchair to go to the restaurant so I wouldn’t have to walk. We asked one of my students, Kemper Murray, if he would like to come with us. He said he would meet us there, because he had to fix a hole in the wall at the school, since we weren’t going to be at that location anymore.

As we were heading to the restaurant, I saw a disabled guy I knew sitting in his wheelchair on the street, watching cars go by. First, I think I better explain how I knew this person. I’m not going to use his real name here. I’ll call him Brian. He’s since passed on.

I knew Brian back in high school, before his accident when he could walk. We were not friends. Brian and his friends gave me a very hard time for the most part. I had been out of school about a year or so when I heard Brian and a friend of his were in a car accident, and drinking and speeding were to blame. Brian’s friend died and Brian ended up in a wheelchair for life. (The old saying is very true: “What goes around comes around.”)

As Kim and I got closer to where Brian was sitting, I noticed that he had a new wheelchair – one of those you can use for all kinds of sports. As we passed him, we said, “Hi, Brian,” and I remember also saying something like, “Cool looking chair.” Brian said, “Yeah, I just got it!”

We stopped for a minute to ask about the wheelchair, and I asked Brian what it cost. He said it was around $5,000.00. He told me he had gotten a loan from the bank to pay for it. I said to him it was too bad his insurance couldn’t help with the cost of the wheelchair. Without missing a beat, he said, “I’m not like you. Everyone gives you everything.”

That was just like getting slapped in the face. I came back with, “Well, I wasn’t drinking and driving and killed someone and half myself.” Brian said something back to me – I can’t remember exactly what – but it wasn’t very nice. Kim realized I was mad, and knew I had a very bad temper. So she said, “Let’s go eat,” and starting rolling me down the street toward the restaurant. Meanwhile, Brian and I were shouting at each other on the street. Brian was trying to goad me into a physical confrontation.

Luckily for Kim and me, it remained a verbal confrontation.

Kim and I were now in the restaurant getting ready to order. I was very upset at myself for letting Brian get under my skin. My student, Kemper, came in and asked what had happened. He had heard all the shouting. So, we told him what had been said. He then told us that Brian had told him his side of the story.

Brian told Kemper it all started because I had said he was nothing because he didn’t do karate. Kemper knew I wouldn’t say that to anyone. He then asked me if I’d I noticed that Brian had one of his anti-tip bars off of his chair, ready to use as a weapon. This news really upset me because I did not notice it at all. Kim and I could have gotten badly hurt, because Brian was just mean enough to use that anti-tip bar on us.

Thoughts of this played with my head for a long time. I realized I was not really ready for any kind of physical confrontation. I remember thinking that I ‘d wasted six years getting a black belt, and I was useless if I couldn’t keep Kim safe.

This is the reason why the arts I now use are the Filipino Martial Arts, Jun Fan Gung Fu, and Thai Boxing. From doing these arts for almost 19 years, I feel I’m better prepared for a confrontation. I still teach American Freestyle Karate, but I don’t use it anymore. Don’t misunderstand; American Freestyle Karate is a great art, but it’s just not for me. So, in a way, Brian did me a big favor by showing me that I wasn’t where I should be as a martial artist.

I think about that night often, and today, I have to thank Brian because he helped make me the martial artist and person I am today.

How I Became A Martial Arts Teacher

written by Clay Johnson

 This article is about being a disabled martial arts instructor.  As of March 1, 2007, I’ve been teaching the martial arts for 20 years.  I would like to tell you the story of how it all started.

I started studying martial arts in 1981 under James Mays, who was teaching Tae Kwon Do in the area at the time.  I trained with him for a year. I never received any rank in that art; Mr. Mays had to stop teaching, because while he and his family were on vacation, they were in a car accident.  He injured his neck, and it left him unable to train or teach for a long time.

I had been looking for another teacher for quite awhile, when in  December of 1983, my girlfriend and I were Christmas shopping in Salem, Virginia, and we happened to drive by a new school that had just opened: “American Freestyle Karate.”  The school was owned, and still is, by Eddie Thomas.  We went in to check and see if they might accept me as a student. The answer I was expecting was No.”  To my surprise Mr. Thomas said, “We’ll give it a try.”

The art of American Freestyle Karate has 3 arts in it: Shotokan Karate, Tae Kwon Do, and American Boxing.  At first, my training with Eddie was one-on-one, once a week.  The trip to Salem is 50 miles each way, but as time went by, I tried to make it over more than once a week, and Eddie and I became good friends. In the summer of 1986, Eddie came to visit me on my birthday. I had known him for 3 years by this time, and had become a blue belt.  This was the first time he had visited my hometown of Clifton Forge, Virginia.  Clifton Forge and the surrounding area has a population of about 5,000 people.  The first thing Eddie asked me when he got to my house was, “What is there for people to do in such a small community?”  I said, “Not too much.”  There were a few movie theaters at the time, but not much else.

I had mentioned to Eddie about a year before that I wished the school was closer to home so I could come to class more often.  After his visit, I didn’t think too much more about what he had asked me, until a few months later, when he asked if I would be interested in starting a karate school with him, in my hometown.  I remember thinking that would be cool!  Eddie told me he thought that if we both put in $3000.00, we could start looking for a place for the school.  Since I didn’t have that kind of money, I had to ask my mom and dad for the money.  My parents were not really sure how a karate school would do in such a small town, and they didn’t know if they could trust Eddie to put in his part of the money. They liked Eddie, however, and were very thankful for what he had done for me so far teaching me karate.  I think they thought that  if the school failed, it would really hurt me, while Eddie still had his other school in Salem, and could go back if the Clifton Forge school  closed.  I remember telling my parents I thought I could do this and asked them to please let me try.

They agreed to give me chance, but they were still worried. Still, by the middle of February 1987, we had found a place for the school.  We held a day of demo’s on Saturday, February 27th.  Two hundred people visited the school that day.  We gave everyone the first week of classes at no charge, to let them try and see if they would like it before signing up.  (I still do the same thing today, because I know I’m not the right teacher for some people.)

We opened for business on March 1st. 27th.   After the first week, we had a little over one hundred people sign up for class. As I recall, Eddie taught most of the classes the first month, and I taught a few.  Mostly, I answered the phone, signed students up, sold uniforms, etc. and learned the ropes about running a school.

The first class that I did teach, I remember Eddie wheeled me out on the floor and he said,  “OK, teach.”  Needless to say, I was scared to death to teach a class by myself.  I have to admit that first six months of teaching classes were terrible, awful and really bad.  You have to remember that I was still only a blue belt at the time.  I guess we could say it was “on the job training.”

The first year and half, the school did very well for being in such a small area. During this time, Eddie ask one of his brown belts to help with teaching duties.  This went on for about six months until the brown belt got tried of helping me, and felt he wasn’t getting paid enough.  By then, I had  my brown belt, and my teaching was much better.  I also noticed I was becoming a much better martial artist as well, and was becoming more intoned to my students.  For example, I can look at my students today and be able to help them fix a problem, such as doing a kick correctly.  I have had other instructors visit my school, see me do this, and say “How do you do that?”

The Clifton Forge School closed in December of 1989 because of declining enrolment, but five black belts came out of that school.  In the spring of 1989, I met Guro Dan & Simo Paula Inosanto at my first seminar with them.  That seminar changed my way of thinking about martial arts, and my place in it.  After the Clifton Forge school closed, I started a martial arts club, from 1990 to 1996.  Since June 1996, I’ve  have had my own academy, and eight black belts have came out of this academy so far.

In my 20 years of teaching, I’ve learned a lot about myself, and people in general.  I have met, and had the chance to train with, some of the very best martial arts teachers in the world today.

Before I conclude this article, I would like to thank my parents, who are no longer with us, for believing in me; Eddie Thomas for helping open my first school (I don’t think he ever believed that I would become the teacher that I an today!); Simo Paula Inosanto (I think she always knew I had it in me – thanks for giving me a kick in the butt when it was needed!) and my girlfriend of 25 years, Kimlee Reid, for being with me in good and bad times, and believing in me without question.

I believe I am a good teacher – not great – but give me another 20 years and we’ll see!

Cage Fury 4

Great weekend in Atlantic City and Springfield, Mass. The team did outstandingly well in the cage over the weekend. All the guys did really well, showed great skill, demonstrated excellence on the ground, the clinch, while striking, tactically and in spirit. Team BombSquad 5 and 3 for the weekend with strength and diligence shown by all. Congratulations to Tamdan “The BarnCat” McCrory on his 2nd NABC Title Defense over Nuri Shakir in an awesome display at Cage Fury 4. Congratulations Eric Henry, Matt Zacarria, Randy Smith, and Aaron Newman.