Showing posts with label mike martello. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mike martello. Show all posts

February 22, 2015

2015 Chinese New Year With Mike Martello

Miss all of you
Happy year of the Sheep / Goat!  I can think of no better way to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year then with my good friend and teacher Mike Martello.  He has been on my mind a lot lately as I was watching an Anthony Bourdain "The Layover" in Taiwan the other night, and sure enough if there wasn't Mike's old training crew under Wang Jie featured!  Then as mentioned in the previous post Feidor Laview brought back some great memories with the Miao Dao. 

Though I know I have posted these clips before, it has been seven years since this film was taken here in Seattle where we hosted Mike a couple of times.   Unfortunately this is the last film I have of Mike and us together.  He died in 2009 prior to returning stateside for another round of lessons.

There is pure gold in these clips regardless of what style you train.  Sadly the majority of us will never, ever reach even a quarter of what Mike attained prior to his premature death.  Study and learn. 

Miss you Mike...

Feidor S. Laview, Mike Martello, A Miao Dao, and Respect

Respect is one of the most overused, cliche words in the English pantheon, especially in the computer age.  That is why when folks like Feidor S. Laview and my student Cheryl show such unbridled, honest respect I feel the need to highlight such acts. 

My new Taiji student Cheryl was kind enough to ask if I minded her showing some of what I have taught her to a class of senior citizens she teaches weekly.  I was flabbergasted and humbled by this simple, yet often overlooked request in the martial arts.  Traditionally in most Asian Martial Arts you were forbidden to teach or show what you learned to anyone outside of your training family.  Now days that rule is a bit more lax, but it is refreshing none the less when a student asks out of respect. 
Miss you Mike

Similarly a gentleman I have never met Feidor S. Laview writes the Seagraves Journey, a web serial that has been described by David Schrock as:
“A turbulent, occasionally psychedelic, ride dotted by beautiful pools of reflection.”

As part of his research for Wu Ming, one of his characters whom uses a Miao Dao (a specific long sabre from the Chinese Martial realm) Feidor stumbled across my postings about my old teacher  Mike Martello who was an expert in the Miao Dao.  Long story short Feidor was kind enough and respectable enough to ask my permission to post a nice write up on the origin of the weapon and his research.  Much respect Feidor, and excellent writing!  

Click here to check out his post.

October 2, 2013

Mike Martello Babu Tanglang (Eight Step Mantis)

A short clip of Mike Martello training Babu Tanglang (Eight Step Mantis):

What can I say mi amigo... seems like yesterday you were locking me up in the living room.  You left too early yet somehow I feel you may have been late to the party.  God damn I miss you!

April 24, 2012

"Insights of a Gentle Warrior" - by Mike Martello

I am UBER late in posting this info, and for that I do apologize.  About a month or more ago I got a random email that I thought for sure was spam by the format of it, but it mentioned my good friend and teacher Mike Martello and something about a book.  As most of you know Mike moved on a couple years back, so I replied curtly to the email stating if this was a joke, or spam, I did not find the humor in it.  Thankfully I was wrong and author Yves Verbeeck responded:

"A month before Michael Martello Laoshi suddenly died of  a congenital heart  disease (Wolff Parkinson White syndrome) he gave me a CD. It was a treasure of information with hours of audio recordings and hundreds of pictures.
For one year I listened to these deep, very valuable insights.
It was quite a  challenge to type these random texts and create a coherent whole. Due to the enormous support of Lucia it became an easily readable book. I deeply appreciate that Rosa Mei took care of  the Chinese terminology and made sure everything was in line with the tradition
Now, almost 3 years later, the book is finished. It is a tribute to a great Master. ‘Insights of a gentle warrior’ is a book of 205 pages with deep insights of the common characteristics  of all the martial arts Michael Martello Laoshi embodied.

To state it in his words:
I hope all can enjoy objectively."

Miss you Mike!  
I have not had time to read from cover to cover, so this is simply an announcement (review will come later).  At first glance this is an amazing collection of Mike's notes and thoughts!  Just prior to his passing Mike and I were conversing about doing some writing projects together and he shared many of these notes and others with me to ask my thoughts.  I told him I would do whatever was needed to help him disseminate not only his knowledge, but his philosophy and way of life as well.  This text is a HUGE jumping off point for just that goal!  

Thank you, thank you, thank you to Yves Verbeeck for his hard work and effort in this project!  

To order please click here and follow the link!  

October 5, 2009

Happy Birthday Mike

Happy birthday brother! I am sure you are smiling down upon all of us wherever you are. Be in peace and know I will hoist my glass to you in celebration of our times together, none of them wasted!

We miss you Mike!

Jake, Dana, Nemo and all your students and friends!

August 26, 2009

Inside Kung Fu - Martello Tribute

Thanks to Dave Cater at Inside Kung Fu magazine for printing a tribute submitted after the passing of our friend Mike Martello in June. It is the Nov. issue and can be found on page 35.

You should be able to find IKF at most local news stands and bookstores. Locally Top Grocery even started carrying it!

Rest in peace Mike,
Jake and family

June 19, 2009

Martello - The Lost Interview Pt. III

JB: The common theme these last two weeks with training under you is the idea of play. Playing with different teachers, playing with students, basically exploration of principles and ideas via two person practice. Care to elaborate?

Mike: This goes back to teacher Wang’s lessons. I told him one day, “Teacher I truly wish I would have met you 20 years ago.” And his response was, “You would not have been ready for me yet.” What he meant was that I needed to experience all the things I had up to that point; good and bad, so that I could learn for myself what was good and bad. So I could take into control my training and seek out higher learning via a good teacher. You must recognize when you are bad to understand good. Take the bad experiences as a lesson, because once you find the truth you will never go back to the bad again.

Wang approaches his students as training partners. All he wants to do is practice and by practicing he gets better. So by building and growing together we foster this intense dynamic of teacher and student, where really there is no teacher or student, everyone is the teacher and the student. Wang Laoshi is the first to tell anyone that he is just a student practicing, and will be forever. I have never seen the man tell someone how to do something, he is there showing them how to do something! It is inspirational to get tossed around by an 80 year old man with this outlook on training.

JB: You are a bit unique in that you have lived, and taught on three different continents over the years; Asia, North America, and Europe. What do you see as similarities and/or differences in regards to the martial artists in these vastly different places?

Mike: People want Chinese martial arts. People want to train. But all around the board people seem to have an incorrect mentality towards their training. Not everyone, but many. They seem to train for all the wrong reasons, and I was guilty of this in the past as well. Too much ideology separation is going on though. Too much internal vs. external talk. They seem to think there is a special magic bullet, special magic form, special magic technique that will help them get the principles. There is no special technique, just the right teacher to show you, and the hard practice of a lifetime. You must understand this is a difficult question to answer.

I see people misunderstanding what martial arts are really for. Combat is merely the by-product, yet people want to be able to damage someone before learning about themselves. I always ask my students how many fights they have been in. Almost always the number is 0-3, unless of course you grew up in a bad part of town. But overall most people practicing martial arts have been in very few fights. So what are we spending all this time, money, and effort for? Just to learn to fight? Just to kick some ass? If that is the case go do sport martial arts, and fight with the best out there. Martial arts practice is truly about finding yourself, and pushing the limits of yourself. Mentally; physically; and emotionally. Sparring is so integral to practice because it is unrehearsed pressure to perform and execute your skills with an uncooperative partner. I am not saying you need to go out and get beat down, this is not productive. Push hands, sparring, wrestling, whatever methodology does not matter, but you need to test your skills in various formats.

This mentality seems pervasive throughout the martial arts regardless of culture, or country.

This segment really shows Mikes great attitude in his approach to training. Truly their is a blurred line between student and teacher, as with an open mind you will learn from any situation, any individual or group of individuals. Remember the fateful words of Napoleon, “Every failure is a blessing in disguise as long as you learn the needed lesson from it.” This last trip Mike was so happy that I had been training diligently in BJJ (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu). "This training will make your stand up much, much better." he told me. Mike even had me teaching certain techniques and follow ups at HIS seminar, for when we go to the ground!! That is how comfortable and humble Mike was with his level of knowledge, and his attitude of sharing. To ask some nobody like me to teach something at HIS what an honor. Mike also reveals the need for uncooperative partner practice (IE. sparring) in this segment. I cannot really remember a lesson (private, public, or otherwise) with Mike that was not hands on. Not a single one. Even when working a form Mike took the hands on approach and help the student feel the technique. Feel the stretch. Feel the power and where it came from. Again Mike would emulate his teacher by doing, not telling. Many students would ask Mike how he attained the level he had, some fishing for a "special" answer. "Hard work. Disciplined practice." is all he would ever say. "There are no secrets." Mike and I had some similar experiences in the past with various teachers both Chinese and Anglo who would be living a lie by telling their students that their was some mystical, metaphysical answer to our questions of why, how, when. In the end these charlatans revealed their true identities and we moved on. We learned that the true responsibility of our progression lay in our own hands. The student has to take control of his/her learning and progression. All too often the student has unrealistic expectations of the teacher, and never owns the responsibility of their own training. Let that be a lesson. Train Hard, JAB

June 15, 2009

Mike & his Miao Dao

One of the things that instantly drew Mike and I closer was our mutual passion for a relatively rare weapon; the Miao Dao (various translations, but essentially "Willow Leaf Sabre"). Mike and I had both learned the same form, though I must admit Mikes was so much more flowing and beautiful. The version I learned was via Taiwan as well, but more choppy, less fluid. Actually we were discussing a special camp here in the Pac NW where the Miao Dao would be the topic learning both form and function. Mike had spent a little time with me training the weapons intricacies and what not, but it was one of those projects that I said "later" to. Now I wish I had spent more time on it with him.

Their are videos all over of Mike teaching and training the Miao Dao, so I will not get too deep into it, but I wanted to share something with you all. The following text is an excerpt from a personal correspondence I had with Mike (though I do not think I was the only one privy to this info) via email. I am not going to share all of it right now because I have plans on writing an article about the Miao Dao in the future, but I think you may find this interesting:

"The Miao Dao may vary in size and weight, but a standard version would be approximately 128 cm long (blade 98 cm, handle 30 cm). When it comes to fierceness, the Miao Dao has no equal. Wielded with one hand or both, combining the characteristics of both saber and spear into one, it is not hard to see why this versatile weapon was unrivalled on the battlefield. The movements of the Miao Dao are fluent yet compact, with the body supplying power to the weapon, while the waist steers the blade in its motions. An attack is always wrapped inside a defensive technique, while a defensive movement immediately transforms into an attack. Its interlinking movements and rapid evading footwork makes the Miao Dao wielder an unpredictable foe. The Miao Dao is truly a great treasure within the Chinese martial arts world and also an invaluable part of Chinese history and culture." - Martello

I also want to share the following illustrations with you. I do not know the name of the illustrator (if anyone does, please forward it to me so I can give credit where it is due), but this is a beautiful rendering of the Miao Dao form as Mike taught it, and as it was passed on to me.

I hope you can enjoy objectively!


June 5, 2009

Mike's Youtube Legacy

Here is a link to Mike’s Youtube account where you can find hours and hours of footage. I know with his seminars in New Mexico, and here in Seattle, WA. he basically took all the footage I gave him and edited it down to the meat and potatoes so to speak. Those of you around the world are lucky in that Mike believed in sharing every

thing. He used to say: “Jake, why worry about anyone stealing something from video? They were not their, they did not feel what was happening. I want the world to see that the Chinese martial arts are still going strong, because honestly I am worried about the quality of the teachings being passed down.” Enjoy guys. Lots, and lots of good stuff on those videos. I do not know how things are handled on Youtube once someone passes, so you may want to burn them to hard drives just in case.



Mike Martello Tribute Site Launched

I am very pleased to announce that has launched as of today! You can log on and leave messages, pictures, share stories, photos, etc. Basically it is a ever present tribute for people to share, grieve, and remember our comrade in arms Mike Martello.

BIG thanks to our friends and brothers from Wutan Canada, as well as Kin and Keith who created and launched the site and domain name. You guys did a killer job, and got it up even though you have real jobs and families! Thanks so much guys!

I will assist on Mike Martello dot com as well so if you have questions or concerns I can try to help and answer them.


June 3, 2009

A word of thanks

As I swim through various ups and downs, laughs and cries, tears and smiles, it has been so nice to hear from people all over the globe and their positive experiences with Mike. I appreciate all the kind emails, and phone calls. Everyone I have spoken with has at least a dozen memories of Mikes laughter, humor, just his overall being. Mike was so many things to so many of us; friend, teacher, training partner, scientist, mentor, father figure, chef, photographer........ his legacy will be with all the people he has touched over the years.

If anything positive was to come from this tragedy it has been the re-connection that such events come with. I spoke to my very first Mantis teacher Keith Weiner this morning. We have fallen out of touch over the past few years, and it was refreshing to hear his voice and that he, and his family, are doing very well in NYC. I owe Keith eternally for without him I most likely would not be where I am today. He instilled a passion in me that I will never forget, and he has been a consummate supporter of all I do.

It has been a while since I spoke with Mike Gates, Steve Manning, and Jason Gregoire in the North Shore. Though bittersweet it was still nice to catch up and share memories of Mike. Mike, Steve, and Jason have always supported my attempts to expose martial artists to high level teachers and have become good friends and strong brothers over the years. I appreciate your support and love over the years guys!

One thing that has been constant are the stories. Everyone has a story about Mike, and though they are all different, we all know the story! Mike had a persona, a charisma that is one in a million! Sweet, outgoing, and yet one of the scariest mofo's when he turned it on! I have constantly had people accuse me, and ask me if the videos on Youtube with Mike tossing my ass all over the place are real, or if I am making him look good!?! Rest assured Mike had no problem making himself look good because his technique was TIGHT! I will write more on what Mike left behind soon. Right now I leave you with a beautiful poem someone shared on Mantis Quarterly forum:

Do not stand at my grave and weep;
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.

Mary Elizabeth Frye

June 2, 2009

Mike Martello Tribute

Here is a short montage Dana put together today. We plan to do more. She has been searching through literally thousands of shots we have with Mike and various situations at the seminars we have done over the years.

The support, emails, and phone calls I have received from brothers and sisters all around the world has been amazing. Thanks so much guys! It means the world to me, and I know Mike would appreciate the fact that we are all touching base even if the reason is grim. He was all about breaking down the bullshit barriers and politics, and just getting together and training.

I hope you enjoy some of our fond memories.

Update on Martello

As you can imagine I have been on the phone all morning talking with people all over the US and Europe. I will try my damnedest to keep you all informed as Mike had friends all over the globe and this blog is a convenient vehicle in which to communicate quickly and easily to the masses no matter what time of day, or where on mother earth you call home. Around around 9:30 (Belgium time) this morning Mike Martello, age 42, passed away in Antwerp, Belgium, due to a congenital heart condition (Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome). He was in the middle of giving a private lesson when he started to feel faint and weak. He got some water, but became white and collapsed. Immediately the student began CPR, and from what I have heard the paramedic's got there in record time but it was too late.

Mike went quickly and painlessly, literally doing what he loved; teaching the martial arts! We all should be so fortunate when our time comes.

Born 5 October 1966, Michael Anthony Martello, has played many roles and touched many lives.

Their will be memorial services in Beijing, Taipei, and New York City. Mike will be cremated in Belgium, and his ashes will be distributed at each place listed at various memorial services. I will post information as soon as I get guys.

Mike is survived by his mother and sister, both whom live in New York.

I will be posting pictures and memories and thoughts as time goes on. Living with a photographer has its advantages;) Moments are caught quite candid as with the picture to the right where Mike is wearing size 22 shoes (7 sizes larger than my big ass feet!!). We will have more of these coming.


My teacher, my friend.... farewell

I woke this morning to a blunt reminder of the frailty of life. My teacher, more importantly my friend, Mike Martello passed on to the next world this morning in Belgium. I know very little details other than Mike passed sometime this morning of cardiac arrest.

I find myself in a fog to be honest. This is so surreal, and frankly will take weeks, if not months and years to digest how this could happen to someone so young and in shape!

I just spoke to him a few days ago as we have been trying to organize his next visit to Seattle in the fall. For the last several years Mike has made the journey from his home in Belgium to visit me and my students in both New Mexico and here in Washington state. I was the first person to host Mike over here in North America for open seminars, and just recently Mike was able to expand his teachings to groups in New York City, as well as Texas.

There will be more information coming as I get it in, and I will be sharing more of my memories and experiences with Mike as I sift through the various emotions and feelings that come with such a situation. I am sure Mike passed with a smile, and most likely had just finished or started practicing, so I know he died happy. He always commented on how lucky of a life he led to be able to train day in and day out (and trust me, when I say "train" I mean FUCKING TRAIN!! Mike kept an insane schedule and pushed himself every single hour of every single day!), and share the arts he loved so passionately with his students in China, Taiwan, Germany, Belgium, and the US.

Their are few people who we can honestly say have touched our lives in the most positive of ways and Mike certainly was one for me. Our relationship was born out of BS political issues within the CMA community, and though we both were warned by certain parties to avoid the other, it was exactly this silliness that cemented our relationship as friends and as student-teacher. The parallels in our martial journey brought us closer together and when many criticized me and my approach, Mike not only supported my decisions but he helped me in every way possible to improve my understanding and abilities within the martial arts.

I am signing off for now. This is too much for me to handle to be honest. I will leave you with some video of Mike and his teachings. Search Youtube for hours and hours of footage of Mike with his teacher, his students, doing seminars, playing, fighting, performing etc.

I do not believe so much in good byes anymore. I believe we will all meet again on another plane, another place. Mike I cannot tell you how you have helped me in life, and I cannot fathom how much I will miss you. Life is completely unfair to many of us as I will never understand why you were taken from us so soon. You had so much to teach and share with us. Be safe in your journey and know that our hearts and prayers are with you. I will certainly be drinking one (or three) for you brother.

I love you my friend. I will see you on the other side.