Saturday I went over to San Francisco to my friend Chris's new training space. He was hosting a get together to celebrate the opening of his school in conjunction with what would have been Leo Giron 100th brithday.
There was huge piles of Paella, fresh shrimp and the joyful banging of Rattan. Chris was a great host and I wish him all the best with his new place.
For those that don't know, Leo Giron is the founder of the Filipino style called Bahala Na, named after the motto of the battalion he fought with in WW2. It means 'Come what may' or words to effect.
Giron did not want anything to do with violence after the war, he had seen most of his action behind enemy lines working recon, often using the sword over the firearm as his weapon of choice, so up close and personal to say the least. When the war ended he hung up his Bolo and called it quits.
Many years later, he heard that a man with a knife had attacked a group of nurses including some Filipinas, killing several. Giron thought that if only the nurses had had some training, with their strength in numbers they would have been able to overcome the attacker and thus lives could have been saved. This convinced him to start teaching again, and the system Bahala Na was born.
Leo Giron died in 2002 at the age of 91.
This coming Wednesday will also mark the passing of my teacher in 2006. Another day when people came together to sit, remember and tell stories. I prefer to remember his birthday more than his death (though he himself hated it and tried to keep it secret), but I'll probably play some sword and burn a Winston all the same.