MASTER STEVE SARKISSIAN
With the exception of training in Karate for one year at the age of nine my experience in Martial Arts really didn't start until I met a fighter who recommended me to take Martial Arts lessons at the International Martial Arts & Boxing Academy in Torrance California. I first started training at the IMB Academy in 1991 because I was told that the Instructor there (Sigung Richard Bustillo) was one of the highest and most regarded students under the late great legendary Martial Artists Bruce Lee who had been my idol when I was a child. I trained at the IMB Academy six months a year during my off season from Yosemite National Park until 1996. I later found a place to train on my weekends because of full time employment at Yosemite, I started training at Pacific Martial Arts in Fresno California where I trained under a World Champion Muay Thai Boxer from Thailand "Paul Metayo", shortly after I started training private lessons with Eskrima Great Grand Master Ramiro Estalilla who was the first and only Filipino Doctorate of Martial Arts and one of the top Eskrima Grand Masters in the world, in 1999 Grand Master Estalilla ranked me as a forth degree black belt Bachelor Instructor in Kabaroan Eskrima. Kabaroan Eskrima utilized big weapons not just small ones like most other eskrima systems.
At the beginning of 2001 I started training again at the IMB Academy under Grand Master Richard Bustillo taking his advance classes of Jeet-kune-do which was a blend of Mix Combative Arts including Boxing, Muay Thai, Eskrima, Kali, Gung-fu, and grappling for a period of four years, in the forth year I started training in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu under Fabio Vinelli and assisting the childrens classes and received an Apprentice Instructorship in Jun-Fan Gung-fu (Jeet-kune-do) under Sifu Richard and a level 1 Instructorship in Boxing by the United States Amatuer Boxing Association.
At the end of 2005 I went to Cebu, Philippines to train with the greatest Eskrimador that ever lived! Supreme Grand Master Cacoy Canete, I had first met Manong Cacoy during one of his Seminars in 1994 at the IMB Academy and I had taken other Seminars that followed in other years, but now I was able to take private lessons under him for six months I trained at his home learning from him and his two top Instructors Master Chuck Canete, and Master John Mac. I trained six days a week in Eskrido, Eskrima, Pangamot, Judo at the time I was also taking private lessons in Niten-ishn-ryu and Ishikawa Kenjutsu under Sensei Batayola Isagani, and San Miguel Eskrima under GM Federico Mendoza a lineage from the late GM Mamoy Canete the older brother of GM Cacoy.
GM Richard Bustillo, Master Steve Sarkissian, SGM Cacoy Canete, GM Anthony Kleeman
Making of an Instructional DVD for Cacoy Doce Pares Federation. Torrance CA
Afterwards I went to Chang Mai, Thailand to train with World Muay Thai Champion Kruu Pedro Villalobos at Muay Sangha Academy who taught traditional Muay Thai and ancient Muay Thai known as Muay Baron. The classes there were six hours a day five days a week I stayed and trained there for six months. After Thailand I returned to Cebu to train for another four months at Cacoy Doce Pares Academy where I was given a ranking of second grade black belt in Eskrido, Eskrima. I also received more training in San Miguel Eskrima and Kejutsu, and grappling. My next stop was Rio de Janeiro where I trained Brazilian Jiu-jitsu at the famous Carlson Gracie Jr. dojo under Alan Morias for two months.
Kruu Pedro Villalobos and Master Steve Sarkissian
Then I returned to the United States for the IMB Academies Instructors Conference which I have attended once a year and have had the privilege to train under some of the Worlds finest Instructors, Fighters, and lecturers in the Martial Arts. Afterwards I went to train with Grand Master Estalilla at his home for two months training everyday four hours a day privately at his home as he trained me in Sincilia, Bombolia, and Compuesta techniques until he ranked me a six Dan and Master in Kabaroan Eskrima.
Master Steve Sarkissian and GGM Ramiro Estalilla
Creating and instructional video in Fresno,CA
After that I went to train with Grand Master Vince Palumbo for four months and lived in his gym in Adelaide Australia, Sensei Vince was a World Champion Fighter on many levels of Martial Arts, him and everyone at the ICMA Academy got me in shape and drilled me in Boxing, Stickfighting, Eskrima, Grappling, Karate, and Kickboxing in which Grand Master Vince Certified me as an Instructor in Combative Martial
Arts as well as Arjukempo Karate after doing some fights while I was there.
Master Steve Sarkissian and GM Vince Palumbo
After the boxing fight in Adalaide, Australia
Later I went back to the Philippines to train for another three months extensively in Eskrido Eskrima and Kenjutsu. I was able to meet up with a Menkyo Kaiden the Head Instructor of Niten-ishn-ryu Kenjutsu
(Colin Hyakutake Watkins Sama). Niten was the school of the legendary Samurai Swordsman Miyamoto Musashi and is considered the most respected Kenjutsu school in Japan where they do National deminstrations annually. I trained with Sensei Hyakutake on the Island of Bileran near Leyte and through careful evaluation he granted me verbally to teach Niten-ishn-ryu Kenjutsu with a written permition from the Soke and himself to follow. I was also given a certified Instructorship by Sensei Batayola Isagani in Ishikawa Kenjutsu. Grand Master Cacoy ranked me third grade black belt and a black belt in Pangamot the grappling and empty hand version of eskrido, also a verbal agreement to teach San Miguel was given to me by GM Federico Mendoza.
Sensei Batayola Isagani, Colin Hyakutake Watkin Sensei (the Menkyo Kaiden Hyakutake Sensei)
and Master Steve Sarkissian in Moal Boal, Cebu, Philippines
I returned to USA for another session of the Instructors Conference and another month of training with Grand Master Estalilla as he reviewed and showed me some new techniques to Kabaroan Eskrima, and later returned to the IMB Academy to learn under the eleven time Martial Arts Hall of Fame inductee Grand Master Richard Bustillo and taught and trained for some weeks where Grand Master Bustillo awarded me an Associate Instructor in Jun-Fan Gung Fu, Jeet-kune-do.
GM Richard Bustillo, Master Steve Sarkissian and Sensei Gokor Chavichyan
I would like to say that even though each one of my Instructors had a different method of teaching they have all been wonderful and enlightening.
Manong Cacoy, Apo Estalilla, and Sifu Richard have been my mentors for many years. I would not have met any of my other great Instructors had it not been for Sifu Richard and my path in life would have been very different.
Grand Master Vince and Kruu Pedro have given me insight and endurance relating to the fighting aspects of Martial Arts. All in all I have reliesed that I am very fortunate to have had the opportunity in association with such great men.
I have been trying to propagate the Martial Arts now in South America for the last six months, I first tried this in Buenos Aires, Argentina where I was unsuccessful do to poor contacts and now in Caracas, Venezuela. My contact here in Caracas (Maestro Bruno Cruicchi) who pioneered Martial Arts here in Venezuela has been helping me along with the aid of my family who have been helping me every step of the way and hopefuly I can spread what I have learned by my Instructors here in South America where there is little or no representation of these Arts and philosophies.
Yours Truly, Master Steven Sarkissian