About Training at maelstrøm Martial Arts
– interested in Southeast Asian weapon arts?
maelstrøm Martial Arts has what you are looking for. We offer a challenging and yet relaxed personal atmosphere, for adult men and women, for learning unique martial arts from highly experienced instructors. You can get fit, advance your skills, and enjoy doing it – for a month, a year, or as a life-long pursuit.
No egos. No attitudes. No judgements.
Just friendly people, vigorous training, and great martial arts.
What the classes offer
Filipino kali (also known as “eskrima” or “arnis”) is a practical, street-wise approach to physical encounters. It tends to focus on weapons, and is unmatched with respect to knife defense. Combined with Sunday training, maelstrøm’s regular classes provide you with the capability and the confidence to meet the unexpected. Practical, non-lethal weapons like the pocket stick or key chain are well suited for daily carry and effective application.
Pekiti-Tirsia System of Kali is a specific form of kali well known around the world for producing skilled fighters. The effectiveness of the art and our training methodology are proven and continue to be tested and refined in many arenas of combat, sport, and performance.
At the same time, there is a balanced emphasis on the martial arts – you will discover the subtlety of traditional weapons play and the graceful execution of more complex techniques. The training emphasis is on bladed weapons such as the knife, bolo (machete), and sword. As well you can develop skills in staff, spear, shield and whip. Although not part of your day-to-day life, weapons training develops key martial skills that are transferred to empty hand or improvised weapons – in the street or on the field!
With the weapon skills you develop comes the motivation to attain the physical attributes needed to execute the arts. You will acquire the drive to advance your muscle strength, cardio-vascular conditioning, and coordination to make your body flexible, toned, and healthy. Brute strength is not as much of an advantage with weapons – precision, agility, and endurance are much more important.
Along with weapons training, you will develop your empty hand and defensive skills. Understanding the knife gives you an advantage when confronted by an assailant who is armed or unarmed. Kali has highly effective empty hand techniques – if you have seen the Jason Bourne movies, you have seen kali applied in realistic fight scenarios with elbows, knees and hands as well as improvised weapons.
Who your instructors are
Maelstrøm has offered classes in the Vancouver area since 1994. Chief instructor Loki Jorgenson has been training in Southeast Asian weapon arts continuously for nearly 30 years. Tuhon Loki is certified by the authoritative masters of each of the offered arts. He has tested his skills in full contact, no rules stick fighting bouts and traveled to Southeast Asia to train and fight.
Only certified instructors lead classes at maelstrøm. Every instructor has teacher ranking and fight experience. Each instructor has cultivated their own specialties and interests – such as weapons grappling, physical conditioning, healing arts, and non-lethal self-defense – that they are keen to share with students. Along with the regular instructors, there are occasional invited guest instructors who offer unique training opportunities.
What the training is like
Most classes are 1.5 hours (except Saturdays and Sundays which are 2 hours). Typically the first 30 minutes is a vigorous warm-up of combined cardio and anaerobic exercises designed to strengthen the body specifically for weapons.
While the pace of the warmup can be brisk, and the workout can be strenuous, you are encouraged to be responsible for your own pace – reducing the number of repetitions, slowing the rate of movement, or even taking a break. We invite you to push yourself and set your own goals, but also to set your own limits. .
After the first 30 minutes, the training transitions to some basic techniques – these may be exercises from a previous class or material that will be needed for later in the workout. Often these are done with a partner. Sometimes the instructor will have you train with people who are at the same level, and sometimes with people who are much more advanced. Much of Filipino training methods benefits from interactive training with a partner.
Never worry about slowing some else down – training with mixed levels of skill is an important part of learning for everyone.
The final 30 minutes may be composed of applications, light sparring, or more advanced techniques. See the regular class schedule for days and times.
You may prefer Basics training on Saturday mornings. These classes are less strenuous and primarily aim to help you develop the basics. Sunday Fight Lab offers an equipment-based approach based on Dog Brothers Real-Contact training (masks, gloves, and other protective gear) – this is more advanced and demands considerable focus. Usually more advanced students train on Sundays to test out what they have learned during the week. However, once a month there is an Intro to Fight Lab class for beginners where we tone down the intensity let new people give it a try.
How we train safely
Our instructors are all fully certified in the arts that they teach. Students are never asked to teach except under direct supervision. Proven teaching techniques are used that limit risk of contact and maximize realistic training. You are encouraged to stay within your limits and avoid situations where you lose control.
Protective equipment like safety goggles, mouth guards, padded sticks, gloves and masks are used in any circumstances that pose extra risk. Direct stick contact is generally avoided, relying instead on stick-on-stick contact to absorb energy. A first-aid kit is always available to deal with minor incidents. Hygiene issues are carefully monitored and immediately addressed.
While the attending instructor(s) seeks to maintain a safe training environment, it is up to you to monitor your own comfort levels, take responsibility for your own safety, and speak out if you have any concerns. You are encouraged to stop training at any time that you feel unsafe and/or point out issues to the instructor. In general, we seek to keep students training within their abilities and limits to maximize the safety of the training experience for everyone. You are asked to comply with all directions from the instructor in that regard.
What is needed for each class
You should be dressed in loose fitting, comfortable training clothes. The basement studio is usually cool, although it gets a bit warmer in the summer. Footwear must be indoor-only shoes – runners or wrestling boots are typical – otherwise bare feet or socks as the floor is matted.
You will eventually require a pair of 28″ rattan sticks, and a short stick (or training knife). However, there are always some extras at the club for new people or visitors. The club sells sticks (as available) – just ask an instructor. As well, there is the New Student Kit which provides everything you need to get started – and some extra value to welcome you to maelstrøm!
Otherwise, you may want to have a water bottle, possibly a towel, head scarf, or handkerchief, eye protection, or a snack. Many students trend to wearing black (the club T-shirts are black or grey). You are not required to buy the club shirt but it is nice to have.
There is also stick bags, books, videos, sarongs, and other training gear available.
Where the classes are held
Classes are held in Vancouver, BC, Canada at
15 West 2nd Ave (Ancient Fire Dojo)
Detailed address info can be found here
Sometimes during the summer, the club goes over to the nearby park – so call if you are in doubt.
How formal the classes are
Not very. No smoking, drinking or swearing are accepted in class. Beyond that, it’s pretty relaxed. Respect – for oneself, each other and the instructor – is certainly the rule.
There are only a few special phrases, gestures or salutations that are specific to the school and the systems taught – these you will pick up along the way as you train with us.
There is a traditional salutation that is used at the beginning and end of each class. It is specific to the system being taught – in Pekiti-Tirsia System of Kali it is made up of 4 distinct movements representing respect, gratitude, honor, and commitment. You can always ask an instructor or another student if you are keen to figure it out quickly.
What classes to choose
Most students train in Pekiti Tirsia System of Kali. . During the week, Tuesday nights (Fundamentals) are the most popular with Wednesdays (Core Skills) and Thursdays (Applications) not far behind. Two nights per week is a typical level of commitment – either Tuesday and Thursday, or Saturday. Some people train as many as possible including the Sunday fight class.
Aside from the kali, there are various other arts to learn: empty hand Panantukan, Thai krabi krabong, Indonesian pencak silat, and other more exotic arts (such as fire sword, whip, and the like). Any of those classes are available to any student – but many people keep their focus on the kali until they are proficient.
If you are unsure of what you should be training in, talk to an instructor. We will help you figure out what fits your schedule and your goals most effectively.
What is most important
Enjoy yourself while training! If you like the students and the instructors, if you have fun training, if you feel confident that you are learning and if you feel comfortable in class, you’ll want to train regularly. And that’s the key to success. No art can compensate for lack of motivation. And no art will protect you or keep you healthy if you are not training regularly!