Who is the most effective combative arts teacher by your standards today?

Jun 16, 2006
Joe Rossi (RIP), Ralph Bergamo, Ron Kosakowski, Leo Gaje, Edgar Sulite (RIP) and any good muay thai instructor.

For firearms, Andy Stanford, Ken Hackathorn and Bryan Williams.
Aug 23, 2003
Leo Gaje, Head of Pekiti Tirsia Kali
Rommel Tortal, Pekiti Tirsia Kali edged and impact weapons instructor for the Phil. Marines Force Recon and Specops
Jan 7, 2003
All excellent and reputable names mentioned indeed.

I do however feel obligated to mention a former teacher of mine who, IMHO, is worth mentioning in terms of talent/skill-wise and the ability to "integrate and improvise" from all the arts that he has harnessed in his lifetime.

Whether, unarmed (silat/grappling/kickboxing flavor), various schools of stick, knife, sword (kampilan, barong), improvised weapons, etc., guys, if you have the time to study in Manila, one of the original disciples of Tatang Illustrisimo: Maestro Yuli Romo and his own "Bahad Zubu" System. The man simply "astounds".
Jul 5, 2006
1. AMA Guro Billy Bryant for FMA/Silat - I can't begin to discuss how good he is. It is unreal. He has gone dark for a while, ala Bobby Fisher, but when he surfaces watch out. I hear he is in the Bronx.
2. George Lee, Springfield, VA - One of a few people certified to teach both Concepts (Inosanto) and Original JKD from Ted Wong. Not to mention his 20 years of Secret Service doesn't hurt nor does his Brown Belt in Judo and Purple Belt in Gracie BJJ.
3. Ted Wong - An amazing JKD instructor and one of two living people authorized to teach from Bruce and one of three of the original people certified to teach JKD, James Lee being the third. His additional training in Shuai Chiao doesn't hurt.
4. Tommy Gong - http://www.defensiveoptions.com/ - Great blending of JKD, Knife and gun awareness

Update 2-11-2011
I have an update to this list. Troy Coe, Reality Defense Training, www.realitydefense.com is the best guy I have ever trained with.
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Jul 17, 2006
TrentKTS said:
Steven Gartin-- Bapak Willem de Thouars has repeatedly said that he is the best knife guy he has ever trained, and Mr. Gartin has been a 30 year student of Uncle Bill's.. I'm also biased as I've trained under both men extensively.

Isn't Steve Gartin an escapee from a m******i**********? (maybe i'm confusing him with somone else:D )
Oct 13, 2003
sumito said:
2. George Lee, Springfield, VA - One of a few people certified to teach both Concepts (Inosanto) and Original JKD from Ted Wong. Not to mention his 20 years of Secret Service doesn't hurt nor does his Brown Belt in Judo and Purple Belt in Gracie BJJ.

Wow! Somebody else knows George??? :)

I studied under him for a year and a half! :thumbup:
Oct 29, 2005
TLE/REL said:
Here are some that I have trained with and have the most respect for. Guro Dan Inosanto, Grandmaster Giron, Steve Tarani, Hock Hochheim, James Keating, Guro Ricardo Kayana (SP??) with Sayoc Kali, Guro Jeff Chung, Tuhon Ray Dionaldo w/ Sayoc Kali, Marc Denny w/ Dog Brothers, E. Emerson, Mike Janich, Bram Franks, Ben Salas.


Tuhon Ricardo Kayanan is the correct spelling.
Jul 17, 2006
For me it would be three people, Tuhon Chris Sayoc , Tuhon Tom Kier & Tuhon Rafael Kayanan. They all poses exceptional technical skills which relate directly to the most brutal combat situations. I have always found it difficult to find instructors who could bridge the gap between technical skills & real life down & dirty combat. Usually you will get a person who is very good with the technical side or a person who is hardcore combat who will tell you to lose the technical skills. IMOP, They are the best at understanding this relationship & have a teaching method that produces some interesting & amazing results. Learning some techniqes or some hardcore combat methods are only part of the picture, They have a unique way of guiding you in the right direction but, making the learning process the top priority. Nothing is handed to you & nothing comes easy.

Nov 10, 2005
Grand Tuhon Leo T. Gaje Jr. is an amazing person to learn from. In addition to being one of the most effective combative teacher out there, Grand Tuhon is just an amazing person to talk about even just life in general. His wisdom and knowlege surpasses beyond the level of superficiality. He is deep in every aspect of the way that if you learn to understand, the things that you do has a deeper meaning to it.
Nov 1, 2007
Good Evening Gentlemen,

I proudly state an addendum to all the answers given thus, far.

Mines, is a Modern take but bear me out.

The effectiveness of the instructor is at least partially affected by the efficacy of the Student, himself. Assuming Instructor X is the Best in the United States of America. Well, it really means nothing if the Student himself is not dedicated to the learning process and already in possession of many if not all the combative attributes desired by the Art.

The student might be the most diligent pupil a teacher ever hope for. However, if he's not flexible ( literally ), doesnt' keep and retain the basic foundation of the style,
and doesn't have the ( sought after combative attributes ) then we'll probably see less " style effectiveness " than originally hoped for.

( Going back to the Spirit of the the Thread. ) Who is the best teacher by our standards? I humbly add....

When it comes to fighting there is an element of " crapshoot " luck out there. It really might not be your lucky day. Regardless, of your training, any Professional experience you might have, Civilian or Military, your physical and mental attributes, it really could just be a " crappy " day. * the end

I state these seemingly obvious facts because I will contribute to this " popularity " contest which mixes politics and the Arts, quite well.

I like the Entire Lameco Group and Sub Groups. Especially, those instructors
who weigh Pekiti Tirsia heavily in their curricula.

Furthermore, I put the Responsibility on the Individual ( Student ) to do what is necessary to make the most of his Strengths and to minimize his weaknesses. There's only so long you can rest on the Pedigree on your wall. There's only so many times you can have a beer and brag about the great guys you served with in the Military when you were a teen ager. There's only so many memories of styles and instructors past that will bring a smile to your face.

Then, look out....

You'll find yourself squarely moment. And what was the question being asked in this thread, again?

Completely Devoid of Sarcasm & an FMA Loyalist,


ps. After all that, I think the Filipino Martial Arts are the best thing since Sliced Bread. And though I feel they are on the Rise with the potential to make the world a Better place, well.... let's just say I'm in No Rush to let the world in on this thing we do. ( Btw, much Respect to the conglomerate of Indonesian Systems and their US satellites. ) I am an admirer of Willem De Thours.
Oct 31, 2007
I haven't seen his name posted so let me offer Ron Belicki, Guro Dan Inosanto's son-in-law and just an outstanding instructor and martial artist. I am lucky enough to have received regular training from him for the last 6 or 7 years.
Aug 12, 2007
Wow...I see so many here tout the efforts of higher profiled players (deservedly so) while bypassing there own efforts. I personally feel that my work is as good as anyone else's...not to sound cocky, rather confidant in what I do, which shows with my students who are coming rightfully into their own. I believe that there are many top players who are under the covers so to speak. We may not be well known but every bit as capable! So to answer the question of who is highly capable (not best..that's unfair) I will put my name right up there, NOT BETTER than anyone but highly capable and confidant to teach what i find pertinent in a combat situation based on my years of experience. Here is a small list of others that I find capable:

1. Grand Master Yuli Romo (my teacher, mentor & adopted father)
2. Guro Erik Kruk (Baringin Sakti)
3. Terry Trahan (great teacher and friend)
4. Mushtaq Ansari (Friend, mentor, fantastic teacher and player, ..nuff said)
5. Ken Delves (old pioneer in the combative nature of Xing Yi and Bagua)
6. Richard DeBordes
7. Brandon Jordan (Derobio)
8. Dana Mattos (Pencak Silat...retired law enforcement)

That's just a few that I know that are in my opinion top notch!

All you teachers, give yourself credit and put your work first and foremost...it is up to you to teach your clan. Keep your mind and heart open..learn from a stone so that you may teach a rock!..Salamat

Punong Guro Mike Blackgrave
BaHad ZuBu
SATX..Western HQ
Jun 11, 2007
I have trained in martial arts for a few years now and what I find in the 'industry/ business' part of martial arts is this: There is nothing new under the sun. All of the flashy, tactical, garbage being taught by most instructors is laughable at best. Every thing in life moves in cycles; when UFC started out it was stand up striking fighters, until gracie and graplers came onto the scene and started cleaning up on the ground. The stand up guys had to learn grappling and be proficient at it to not get shot-in on and taken to the ground where now it is back up to stand up striking with an occasional take down. That is not to say you don't ever stop 'putting tools in your tool box'.
When you dig for water, you do not dig a shallow hole here, and then another there and yet another there. You dig one hole and stick with it. I do not mean to be 'philosophical' it was just something my master instructor told me. The art I study is traditional Korean 'Karate' (even though its really TKD) and it looks more like shotokan than the olympic garbage. After doing it a while it is like tying your shoes. It is something you can do in the dark just by memory from doing it over the years with out thinking.
I don't think traditional martial arts is good for SF and SEALS. They have too much gear, too much weight on them to make it viable. This is where Worden has found his niche. For those of us in our day to day lives traditional martial arts are amazingly effective.
Feb 18, 1999
Kuya Doug Marcaida of PTK, out of Rochester,NY.

i'd done judo, balintawak, Dogbrothers, 15 years of medieval armored combat and LEO training in the past and Doug really opened my eyes and took it to the next level. he has an intensive non-linear training style that encourages you to put it together for yourself.

i've been training with him for less than a year, and everywhere i go people tell me how lucky i am to train with him and what a phenomenal and accomplished 'technician' he is.

heh, turns out one of his students edited a vid of him for YouTube:

May 22, 2006
I would also like to add the name of Guro Roger Agbulos of ASTIG Lameco, also a member of Lameco SOG.
Along with indisputable skill, he also presents an amiable personality and excellent training methodology.