Wrap up of the "Keepers of the Torch"




That is the only way to describe the “Keepers of the Torch” event held on Saturday August 9, 2003. From the moment that you arrived at the luxurious Gaylord Palms Resort in Orlando, Florida, you knew you were going to be part of a very special event.

The formal program began Saturday morning with 10 different seminars held in the Convention Center of the Gaylord Palms Resort. Each instructor was allocated time to demonstrate to the 75+ students and guests that registered. John Wooten of Miyama Ryu, known as the “World’s Strongest Man”, went first and demonstrated control techniques and devastating arm bars.

Next was Professor Ruben Torres of Kido Ryu. He shared stretching techniques and demonstrated the importance of tactical breathing. Dr. Philip Chenique along with Chief Professor Lioni Velasquez of Atemi Ryu Ju-Jitsu / Sanuces Ryu performed explosive techniques from a variety of self defense situations. Professor Wilfredo Roldan showed everyone a unique blend of his Nisei Goju Ryu system and the Vee Arnis Jitsu system. Remember “The Ju in Ju Jitsu is the same Ju as in Goju”.

Professor Robert “Sugar” Crosson dazzled and entertained the group with his exciting Sugar Ryu system. Steven Segal’s Top Student, Sensei Bantos, performed defensive Aikido techniques against a boxer. Professor David James of Vee Arnis Jitsu, as usual showed effective and devastating self defense techniques. All of Professor James’ techniques were taken from the successful 1-2-3 HIT program.

Soke Lil John Davis did what he does best, showing everyone techniques with not only speed but power from his system, Kumite Ryu Ju-Jitsu. Master Mahaliel Bethea “Master Mo”, a 2 Time World Champion & Stuntman, discussed the pros and the cons of being a Hollywood Martial Arts Movie Stuntman. Finally, 5 Time World Champion Master Adam “Bar None” Guerra of Team Hammer House demonstrated different ground techniques from the mount and guard position. He also discussed his upcoming Mixed Martial Arts fight in Tokyo. We wish him the best.

As you can see the morning was packed with teachings from some of the best instructors in the world of martial arts. By the time the day long seminar was over everyone was ready to grab something to eat and relax for a couple hours before the awards ceremony and dinner.

After everyone rested and changed into their dinner attire, they made their way back to the Convention Center for the cocktail hour. Following an hour of cocktails and mingling with friends and associates, an elegant dinner was served. Once dinner and dessert were finished, Professor David James stepped up to the podium and gave the opening remarks to the 150+ attendees.

Professor James then showed a video which was a stirring tribute to the late Supreme Grandmaster Professor Florendo M. Visitacion. Seeing everyone in the room become so emotional from viewing the video of Professor Vee, shows what an enormous impact he had on so many lives.

Next, Professor James introduced the Master of Ceremonies, Shihan David Washington. Shihan Washington along with Professor James and Professor Daniel Torres began the “Prestigious Awards” presentation. The following were presented with a framed certificate signed by the 12 recipients of the “Keepers of the Torch Award”.

“Prestigious Awards”

Silver Award – 10-19 years in the Martial Arts

• Dr. Eliseo Olivares
• Sensei John Petrone
• Sensei Robert Valentin
• Shihan Michael R. Whitworth

Gold Award – 20-29 years in the Martial Arts

• Sifu Doug Corpolongo
• Master Adam “Bar None” Guerra
• Dr. Matthew Harris

Platinum Award – Over 30 years in the Martial Arts

• Hanshi Inasio Anzures (accepted by Sensei Eric LaLone)
• Master Mahaliel Bethea “Master Mo”
• Professor Papasan Canty
• Dr. Philip Chenique
• Professor Robert “Sugar” Crosson
• Soke Lil John Davis
• Dr. Alberto R. Echevarria
• Professor Frank Edwards Jr.
• Grandmaster Amin Sami Hassan
• Professor Richard Petronelli
• Professor Doug Pierre
• Grandmaster Earl Portnoy
• Grandmaster Ovid Rodriquez Jr.
• Professor Vincent J. Sands
• Grandmaster Carlos Silva
• Grandmaster Daryl Stewart
• Professor Ruben Torres

Professor David James then took the podium again to honor two people with awards from the Vee Arnis Jitsu School. The first award was given to Philip Sheehy for his hard work and dedication in training. Rain or shine, healthy or hurt, you will always see Philip at the school training to the max and trying to take in as much as possible from his teachers. The next award went to Nury Rivadeneira. Nury plays an important role at the Vee Arnis Jitsu World Headquarters in New York. She has been with the school since 1993 and provides an invaluable contribution to the efficiency of the school.

Next was the presentation of the “Keepers of the Torch Award”. To qualify for this highly coveted award one must have over 35 years in the martial arts, be a founder of a system, and a teacher of teachers. Recipients of this award receive a custom crafted 14 Karat Gold/Diamond Medallion in the shape of a torch grasped by a hand with a “V” over it. The honorees of this award are as followed:

“Keepers of the Torch Award”

• Doctor Moses Powell – Sanuces Ryu-10th Dan
• Grandmaster Rick Riccardi – Vee Jitsu Ryu-10th Dan
• Grandmaster Peter Urban – U.S. Goju Karate-10th Dan
• Grandmaster Kalaii Griffin – Kajukenbo-10th Dan
• Grandmaster Danny Paulo Vee Do Kwan-10th Dan
• Grandmaster Rico Guy U.S. Budo Kaikan-10th Dan
• Grandmaster Jose Velez – Ju Kido Kai Ryu-10th Dan
• Grandmaster Frank Edwards Sr. – Vee Jitsu ’75-10th Dan
• Grandmaster Wilfredo Roldan – Nisei Goju Ryu-10th Dan
• Grandmaster John Wooten – Miyama Ryu-10th Dan
• Grandmaster Silverio Guerra – Kakuto Shin Ryu-10th Dan
• Grandmaster David James – Vee Arnis Jitsu-10th Dan

Following the formal program, the evening continued with dancing, good conversation, and renewal of old friendships. We would like to thank everyone who attended and supported the 1st Annual Keepers of the Torch Banquet and Awards Ceremony. See you next year!

A special thanks to Grandmaster David James for orchestrating such an enormously successful event. In remembrance of the late Supreme Grandmaster Florendo M. Visitacion, we thank him for showing us the way and his unconditional love… through which we are not only better on the mat... but in life. We thank you Professor Vee!

Latest Discussions