Master Kirk McCune
December 12, 2017 interviewed by Guro Frank Buechner
In LA, there are a number of martial arts schools. Why did you decide for Giron Arnis Escrima?
— I was not really a martial artist at that time. I was running a little bit wild in those days and I needed practical skills as far as fighting. So no regular schools really appealed to me. Once I saw the intensity, power and reality within the art I was hooked! The practicality of Bahala Na was exactly what I was looking for. The philosophy of Bahala Na was also exactly what I needed because it taught me much much more than any physical skill. Our motto from GME is “survive and don’t get hurt”. Or as GMT says, “We train escrima to preserve life”.
Bahala Na as revealed trough GME Giron and GM Tony Somera grew responsibility and leadership in me and allowed me to find real power within myself. Meeting these two was when I stopped acting tough and began to be tough.
Looking back at your beginnings in Giron Arnis Escrima, could you describe a typical training session back then for us?
—No because that would be evidence. Ha ha.
We trained really hard and tried to hit each other with anything we could find; boards, baseball bats, crowbars, shovels and lead pipes! At that time we only understood the art as a stick art. We tried to test our speed and power constantly through stress testing each other. “What would you do if I did this?” Hit whack! Counter strike! Whack! Stitches.
We were not what you call the most subtle guys at that time. We were consistent though. We tried to train every day. We were always in the park or the backyard. We even trained in the back of the Safeway by the dumpsters because there were lights back there. Another great place was the racquetball courts by my house in Huntington Beach California. Those were great days with a lot of laughing and bumps and bruises given in brotherhood. It was the “school of hard knocks” that every student should go through at some point in their development.
Later came the refinement into bladed fighters but I still fondly remember those crazy days of blood sweat, and beers!
Were there any social activities in the Giron Arnis Escrima community?
— yes I have great memories of barbecues after practice or weekends, anytime, and laughing and joking with my brothers and my Bahala Na family. Also we always made a habit of taking GME and GMT to lunch after our training in Stockton. I remember great fun hanging around with our brothers in Stockton and sharing a lot of laughs and family time.
Other activities were demos and seminars to promote the art like at the Barrio Fiesta and Obon Festival events in Stockton. We worked with Little Manila and FANHS as we do now in many projects to paint and clean up old buildings in Little Manila like the Iloilo Circle Building and the Daguhoy Lodge. And we were always involved with helping the older residents of Stockton by bringing food, driving them to appointments and visiting often.