Sifu-Guro Eddie Miller has been training his Interlake martial arts students for the last three years, and they all brought home medals from Winnipeg at the North American All Martial Arts Open and Games Dec. 2.
It was an open tournament that had a lot of different martial arts, and they competed against other students in what are called forms.
“They’re choreographed movements,” Miller explained, “showing the different techniques of their martial art, and different types of sparring, or combative divisions, including knife sparring, stick fighting, and machete.”
Of his four students, only two of them are learning his academy’s self-titled fighting style, Kali-Arnis. The rest competed in Kungfu.
“They all placed gold to bronze, representing Gimli with pride. Our team was spectacular!” Miller said. “Their families felt like such a blessing, having them there, cheering them on.”
Will Smith, 14, of Gimli brought home Gold in stick-fighting and silver in sparring. Josh Tourand, 13, of Sandy Hook brought home bronze in both sparring and Kungfu sword. Zen Finnson, 12, of Arborg brought home silver in sparring.
They will be headed to Winnipeg again for the May 5 world championship for Sikaran Arnis at the RCB Convention Centre.
“Because we are a provincial sport (Manitoba Association for Sikaran Arnis), we now have lots of rules and regulations in place to ensure the safety of all participants, so there will be different types of gear. The weapons are going to be foam, instead of the traditional stick that we would actually use in our matches, so hopefully they will all leave with the same amount of brain cells that they came with.”
Miller has been teaching dance since the 90’s, working with children since the new millennium, and more recently, has been teaching martial arts professionally for the last 5 years.
Kali Tribe Academy was named for Miller’s native Filipino fighting style, Kali-Arnis, and is a branch of his mother’s company, Manitoba Training, formerly tied to XCompany, a dance studio based in Steinbach, which he is in the process of selling.
“If you look at all the movies, especially within the past 5 to 10 years, it is mostly, if not all, Filipino Martial Arts based”, said Miller, “where in the 90’s we had the Kungfu, Jackie Chan, martial arts style of fighting. Because of the effectiveness of Filipino Martial Arts, it is taught to police and Special Forces, and is also quite effective in movies because it is quite brutal and realistic.”
Kali-Arnis, also known as “eskrima” has been used by prominent famous actors in major Hollywood roles, such as: Daniel Craig, in the new “James Bond” movies; Matt Damon, in the Jason Bourne movies; Denzel Washington, in “The Book of Eli” movie; and Stephen Adam Amell uses it in the popular television show, “The Arrow”.
Miller’s students are ranked as beginners in both Kungfu and Kali-Arnis. The average black belt takes about 10 years to attain, whereas the Kali-Arnis/Eskrima fighting style only takes about 5.
To join these Interlake kids in the upcoming 6th World Sikaran Tournament May 5, check out masamartialarts.ca for more details, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.