Kuntaw New York: The school and its instructor
The story of the Kuntaw Martial Arts school at 753 Flatbush Ave, Brooklyn, NY follows an interesting trail of events. The school’s founder and sole instructor Kyud Leon Simmons has been practicing martial arts since he was 10 years old. As a teenager, he became involved in the art of Kung Fu, studying styles such as Hung Gar and Northern Praying Mantis.
As a member of the United States Air Force, while stationed at Clark Air Base in the Philippines, he became initiated into Kuntaw. Under the tutelage of Kyud Roberto Lao, Leon went on to earn his black belt.
Kuntaw is an ancient art of native Filipino hand and foot fighting using both hard and soft techniques. It is one of the oldest self-defense art systems of unarmed (kuntawan) and armed (kali) fighting devised by Filipino Muslim royalty prior to the Spanish regime.
Kyud Leon had long dreamt of opening the first school teaching Kuntaw in New York. His dream became a fixture after meeting the Great Grand Master, Carlito Lanada, at the 45th Anniversary of the International Kuntaw Federation, which was held at the Kuntaw Palace in North Carolina
In June of 2009, the school celebrated its grand opening. Over a plate of food, the guests listened on as Kyud Leon gave a history of Kuntaw and it’s lineage in the Philippines. After his talk, Kyud Leon acknowledged the promotion of his first crop of students in which some moved on from white to yellow belt and the rest from yellow to green belt. The students and Kyud Leon gave a demonstration of some of the Kuntaw forms (Sayawan) and some self defense techniques.
The future looks very bright for this Kuntaw Martial Arts school. This fascinating piece of Filipino culture, an art yet to reach it’s zenith in America, is now available in New York City.
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