25 Years

Tom Gallo

Friday, January 30, 2015

  So 2014 marks 25 years of my training in the Martial Arts. Wow!

They say when the student is ready the master appears. When I think about the sequence that I had met all of my instructors, from formal classes, private sessions and seminars, it seems that this holds true for me. Of the many I have had the pleasure to train under three stand out as paramount in my evolution. 

My first instructor, Master David Nahon, set the tone for my attitude in Martial Arts. He always encouraged me to be open minded and to look at other systems to learn their principles and apply them to what we do. He said one martial art will not teach you everything you need to know. First and most important, though, you must have a good base in one art in order to understand others. Master Dave not only introduced me to other martial arts and masters but also to Qi-Gong and Reiki. Probably the most important task he gave me was to take apart what we were doing and make it easier to learn and more street applicable. I did not known it at the time but this was the beginning of T.A.C.T.I.C.S. many years before it was a thought in my mind.

The second instructor that had a major impact in my training is Professor Danny Paulo, founder of Vee Do Kwan, of which I studied his Combat Arnis Ocho Teros Largo system. He may not have been my first stick instructor but he was the most influential. I can still hear him say “keep it simple stupid” then chuckle. He loved that statement. He taught me to flow in my actions. Professor Danny encouraged me to blend my Hwa Rang Do training with what he was teaching. This really freed my thinking. He also was the only one to develop my left hand coordination. The only thing I never understood was why the tire drill time was four minutes…not five or three but four. What I learned from him I use as the foundation for my Combative Stick Curriculum as well as the FMA Curriculum.

Third would be Evan Pantazi, founder of Kyusho International. Master Dave introduced me to pressure points but told me we needed to go further and his knowledge was limited to basic reactions. He handed me a tape of Erle Montaigue and said “this is what we need to learn”. Hence the start of my journey into real pressure point applications. Through the many confusing books, videos and seminars the road finally lead me to Evan Pantazi. After numerous emails of questions from me with clear and understandable responses from Evan, I was asked to join Kyusho International. Through his guidance and training, pressure points became extremely clear. This took everything I do to a much higher level. And still growing!

A huge thank you to all of my instructors, training partners, and students (yes, my students teach me something every class!) for without all of you I would not be the martial artist I am today.
I may be an instructor but I will always be a student. Keep learning until you are unable. 

I can’t forget the family for putting up with what they like to call my “craziness” all of these years.

I am looking forward to another 25 years…at least. Hope you will be around for the ride!