JKD Kali Guam welcomed back to Guam world-renowned martial arts Professor/Sifu Salem Assli for a two-day seminar on martial arts, Saturday and Sunday, at the Tae Kwon Do/Hapkido Dojo in Tamuning.
The seminar included instruction on Jeet Kune Do, Jun Fan Gung Fu, French Savate and Mixed Filipino Martial Arts. Professor Assli has been making the annual trip to Guam since 2012 for student and instructor qualification testing. He also provides ongoing teaching in JKD and Pilipino Martial Arts.
JKD Kali Guam President Mark Pachkoski, who has been teaching martial arts on Guam for more than 20 years, said the experience is invaluable for students to get instruction from a teacher with the background of Professor Assli.
“Salem comes from the lineage of Bruce Lee … I’m trying to keep this going and pass it down to my students,” said Pachkoski.
One of the most respected instructors and practitioners of Savate, Assli often holds seminars in various countries, sharing his teachings. Savate is a diverse art that focuses on using the feet similar to how boxing uses hands to fight.
Salem Assli was born in Lille, France, and discovered martial arts, like many kids of his generation, watching Bruce Lee movies in the 1970s. During his youth, Assli was a competitive gymnast and soccer player. He began studying Jeet Kune Do and other fighting disciplines on his own as a teenager.
Assli moved to Los Angeles in 1982 and began training directly under the guidance of Sifu/Guro Dan Inosanto, the only Jeet Kune Do instructor who was certified by Bruce Lee.
Professor Assli has also studied Muay Thai under Ajarn Chai Sirisute and has become a master in the Filipino Martial Arts such as Inasanto-Lacoste System, Eskrima and Kali.
Professor Assli said he likes the real-life application of the Filipino Martial Arts, which include traditional fighting methods mixed with a variety of weapons including sticks, swords and daggers. Professor Assli said he embraces the concept that martial arts do not have to be rigid disciplines with no flexibility and are realistic and practical.
“Bruce Lee’s view on combat was it has to be realistic and something you can use … simple, direct and efficient,” Professor Assli told The Guam Daily Post.
The opportunity to teach and travel the world sharing his knowledge in martial arts has been a blessing, Professor Assli said.
“It’s great having Mark continue to keep teaching … these styles are not as popular. I think when people start to learn them, they like that it is good for self-defense,” Assli added.
He stressed that in 40 years of experience the most important quality he has learned from martial arts is humility.
“Pride can make you become an idiot, because your pride can blind you. If you have humility you will be loved by people,” he expressed.
Pachkoski said students like the chance to learn how to use weapons.
“If I get into a fight with someone larger than me and I know how to use a weapon, even a stick, I have a little bit more of a chance than if I depend on punching and kicking,” acknowledged Pachkoski.
“It’s all about expression, taking things from other arts and making it your own. Being fluid and having no real set way of doing it because everyone is different,” Pachkoski said.
For more information on Jeet Kune Do, Savate and Filipino Martial Arts classes, contact Mark Pachkoski at 727-6803 or visit the organization's Facebook page @JKD-Kali-Silat-Savate Guam.