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James Wilson is the Head Instructor of Black Star Eskrima. As a first-generation Filipino American, he was exposed to Filipino Martial Arts through his Father. He received his Lakan Isa (first Degree) in 1995, in Doce Pares Eskrima. The late Supreme Grandmaster Cacoy Canete attended his first Black Belt test. James subsequently received his Lakan Dalawa (second degree in 1997).
Through countless hours of the "backroom" sessions at the Patalinghug's school and fighting with other schools, James and fellow senior students refined their techniques by fighting with little padding and few rules. Many people helped him along this path, but two friends, Jon Moury, and Woodrow Little should be mentioned specifically for their contribution to his development as a martial artist.
In 1999 James moved to New Orleans with his wife. In 2001 he started training in Minami Ryu Ju Jitsu. He also began teaching Eskrima semi-privately at Garrett Sensei's dojo on Veteran's Memorial Blvd in Metairie. He continued to do so until Hurricane Katrina destroyed it in 2005. After the Storm, he briefly trained again in Minami-Ryu Ju Jitsu with Garrett Sensei and also began teaching Eskrima in Kenner. In the spring of 2007, he moved to the Temple Gym in Uptown, New Orleans.
During his constant search for more efficient and logical ways of doing things, James started training with Michael Janich, the founder of Martial Blade Concepts. While not specifically or exclusively a Filipino Martial Art, it is very heavily influenced by the FMAs and Indonesian Martial Arts. In November 2016, Mr. Janich recognized James as an Affiliate Instructor in MBC. James continues to actively train with Mr. Janich.
The traditional foundation of the Eskrima taught at Black Star Eskrima is Doce Pares as taught by the Patalinghug family. Black Star Eskrima is a hybrid style of Eskrima based on over 25 years of study. Elements of Doce Pares Eskrima, Pekiti Tirsia Kali, Inosanto-Lacoste Kali, LAMECO Eskrima, Libre Fighting, Mande Muda Silat, Martial Blade Concepts, and several other Filipino, Japanese, and Indonesian Martial Arts are incorporated into our style. Why not one system? Because no system has all the answers, and having to adhere to one style’s mandates or curriculum limits our ability to evolve. Filipino Martial Arts (FMAs) are inherently syncretic and are generally more interested in efficiency and less in a lineage. We honor this tradition by guiding you to be your best based on your attributes and dedicated practice. Our approach is pragmatic to martial arts study and training, but it is not some new art. Our focus, methods, and expression may be our own, but the art we teach we received from others, and it is they who deserve the credit.
The focus of our training is on simple, realistic weapons defense. The goal of any violent encounter is to stop the threat as quickly as possible. Yet more traditional Filipino weapons are also taught to develop and strengthen our fighting attributes (and they are fun to learn!): single stick/sword, double stick, Espada y Daga (stick and dagger), short staff, and bullwhip. Although we practice with traditional weapons we have refined techniques to use modern contact weapons such as folding knives, expandable batons, and improvised weapons.
We don’t use titles or ranks. We wear our street clothes when training. This is important because we also practice deploying the tools you may choose to carry for defense in the clothes you normally wear.
Eskrima is a Filipino Martial Art with its roots in both historical Spanish fencing and the indigenous martial arts of the Philippines. Unlike other martial arts, we START with weapons and our primary focus is weapons. Weapons are great equalizers against stronger/ bigger opponents, and learning how to defend yourself with them is our goal. Eskrima's main weapons are the stick and knife, but also include the sword, double stick, stick and dagger, bullwhip, and empty hands. It is a comprehensive martial art that covers all ranges of combat. We use the term, Eskrima in deference to our foundational art of Doce Pares Eskrima. Filipino Martial Arts have many different names but share very similar traits. Some of the other more common names are Arnis, Kali, or simply FMA (Filipino Martial Arts).
Eskrima is easy to learn and the techniques are simple, straightforward, and aggressive. Young or old, man or woman, no experience needed! Classes are taught in an informal setting, with no uniforms and little ceremony.
We start with tradition, but our curriculum has been simplified and streamlined - based on techniques that can be performed in real-time and with full resistance. Techniques that can be used with modern weapons such as folding pocket knives. Techniques that are taught conceptually so you can apply them to whatever weapon you choose to carry: knife, gun, or even improvised
Mabuhay ang Eskrima!
If you are looking for Crescent City Eskrima: It no longer exists. I have moved from New Orleans and I'm currently residing in Delaware....
Looking for Eskrima in Metro New Orleans? Checkout my buddy, Guro Scott Hughes at Alamut Combative Arts in Harahan!
I get grief from other "traditional" FMA practitioners that I don't teach a lot of footwork. I find many footwork drills...