Michael has been a regular instructor at maelstrøm as well as a very active member of various Filipino cultural arts groups in the Vancouver area. Michael has been instrumental in broadening the activities and interests of students and instructors at maelstrøm by introducing new influences such as dance performance and music.
Michael believes that studying martial arts helped him to foster a deeper appreciation and curiosity for culture. He is a member of the Filipino performance group, Kathara Canada, and is proud to serve on the board of Tulayan, a Filipino community organization. He is also a founding member of the Monsoon Society for the Southeast Asian Cultural Arts, working to create a more inclusive and diversified context for learning and training.
Michael also believes that martial arts training is a path of self development. Whether you want self defense, cultural arts, fitness, or all of the above, maelstrøm is a great place to start your journey.
Michael’s passion for the martial arts was first developed while training under Grandmaster Laurie Lowe of Jong Kuen Pai (aka Hung Jong Kuen) in 1994 in Coquitlam. GM Laurie Lowe demonstrated the depth of knowledge that is possible from a lifetime of training. Michael’s curiosity about the martial arts of his Filipino heritage led him to Pekiti-Tirsia System of Kali and Guro Nathalie Prevost in 2001. Guro Nathalie’s expertise inspired him to pursue the study of the strategies and art of Pekiti-Tirsia Kali. Michael credits Sifu Laurie and Guro Nathalie for inspiring and transforming an extremely uncoordinated person into a driven practitioner of martial arts.
Months into private training, Guro Nathalie introduced Michael to the Pekiti-Tirsia training group led by Tuhon Loki Jorgenson– along with Guro Edwin Tam and the dedicated core group that eventually became maelstrøm Martial Arts. Initially overwhelmed – like most new to the art- he was able to train more hours per week with a strong group of instructors.
Guro Loki introduced Michael to full contact weapon sparring and nurtured a higher level of intensity in training that increased his confidence in application under pressure. It was in this rich environment at maelstrøm that he achieved his first instructor rank of Lakan Guro in the art of Pekiti-Tirsia System of Kali in 2005 – an achievement he remains very proud of. He has since trained with Grand Tuhon Leo T. Gaje, Tuhon Philip Gelinas, and many other top-level instructors of the system.