A Tribute to Professor Florendo Visitacion
Florendo Visitacion was born June
7th, 1910 in Barrio of Bacarra, Illocos in the North Phillipine Islands. When he
was 10 years old Florendo became interested in the martial arts. He learned several
languages including Chinese, Japanese, and Hindu styles from his older brother.
There were no dojo's ( at least that we would recognize ), so the Phillipine martial
artists would travel around the country, giving demonstrations and seminars, much
like the seminar circuit of today. This method of teaching is popular today throughout
the United States as martial artists and schools hold seminars and demonstrations
trying to promote their own martial art styles and/or systems.
he left the Phillipines for the Hawaiian Islands. In 1928, he moved to Stockton,
California where he continued studying Filipino martial arts from available sources.
After traveling around California for a number of years, Professor Vee entered the
U.S. Army. This was during World War II. During this time, he read and became intrigued
with an officer's hand-to-hand combat manual which claimed to present a combination
of styles from different countries. This marked a turning point in his life in that
he began to view martial arts as parts of a greater whole. The idea of integrating
techniques from a variety of martial arts appealed to him and would become his lifelong
This soon led the young Professor Vee on a personal journey which
would be devoted to the study of different fighting styles. He began to believe that
mastery of a particular system was not always necessary. What was essential, however,
was an understanding of an art's principles and how to apply these principles correctly
in a situation. It was critical for a student of the fighting arts to absorb what
was applicable to him ( her ) and to customize the art to his or her needs. That
was the reason he also believed in researching other systems. By doing so, he believed
a person could learn the most effective techniques from a variety of techniques
and thus improve one's fighting skills.
During World War II, Professor Vee
studied under Sergeant Charles Nelson. Nelson, also a World War II veteran, was an
expert the field of military combatives ( hand to hand combat ). Nelson was particularly
skilled in the joint locking skills. Professor Vee's education included attending
High School at Boro Hall Academy in Brooklyn, Long Island University for one year,
and then a summer course in Liberal Arts at Pace College of Business in Manhattan.
1950, he moved to New York. It was here that Professor Vee augmented his training
by learning modern Jiujitsu under Kiyose Nakae, author of " Jiujitsu Complete
" a well known martial art book . He also took up Judo and the Indian art of
Varmannie. In 1958, he studied under R. H. Sigward, the author of Modern Self-Defense
. On September 5, 1955, he introduced his first combination martial art called Vee-Jitsu,
an early forerunner of his art, Vee-Arnis-Jitsu.
In 1960, Professor Visitacion
joined the American Judo and Jiujitsu Federation. He was appointed the director of
its Northeast Division. It was at an AJJF conference in California that he met and
became lifelong friends with Professor Wally Jay, the current grandmaster of Small
Circle Jiujitsu. He was also close friends with the late Raymond Tabosa, a noted
master of the Filipino martial art, Kali. Tabosa renewed Professor Vee's interest
in the filipino martial arts and Professor Vee began a ten-year study of Arnis Lanada
under Master Amante Mariñas. He studied additional techniques from Grandmaster Remy
Presas of the school of Modern Arnis and he also received training from Leo Gaje,
the leader of of of Pekiti Tirsia Kali system.
On February 6, 1966, Professor
Vee was presented with a Godan (5th Dan) certificate from the American Jujitsu Institute.
He also has certificates indicating him to be a Master Instructor of Arnis and Kali,
and a "Master of the Esoteric Principles of Okazaki Jujitsu and Judo."
As the founder of the Vee Jitsu systems, he was presented a Judan (10th Dan) certificate
and has been recognized throughout the martial arts community not only as a master
of Jujitsu but an innovative instructor as well.
In 1975 Professor Vee began
adding elements of Filipino stick fighting into the Visitacion arts
the Arnis America Organization headed by Grandmaster Gaje gave him the Datu award
in recognition for his work in promoting Filipino martial arts. In 1983, he received
the prestigious instructor's rank from Master Mariñas and the World Arnis Federation.
Professor Vee began his career as a martial arts instructor during the mid-1950's,
and for over 30 years, he taught his art at various sites in New York City , His
system would produce a number of well known martial artists, some who found their
own fighting styles. These include Professor Moses Powell, and Master Lil' John
Davis. Professor Vee continued to research other fighting systems. He studied several
different styles of Chinese Kung Fu which included Yang style Tai Chi ,Southern Praying
Mantis, Chuan, Wing Chun Kung Fu and Baqua.
Over the years, he continued
to modify his system. As the system evolved, so did the name. After adding Kenpo
Karate forms, he changed the name to Vee-Jitsu-te. In 1965, ProfessorVee introduced
Vee-Jitsu '65, an updated version of his art . One year later, the AJJF honored him
with the title of Professor and awarded him a 10th Dan ranking in his own style.
Again in 1971, after Professor Vee presented them with another update of his system,
now called Vee-Jitsu Ryu Jiujitsu the AJJF honored him again.. In 1983, he discarded
the Kenpo katas in favor of Arnis, and later adopted the name, Vee-Arnis-Jitsu..
Later, he approved the addition of Muay Thai boxing techniques, making the art more
powerful and effective.
In 1993, as a tribute to his contributions, Professor
Florendo Visitacion was elected to the Martial Arts Hall-of-Fame and given a "Life-time
Achievement" award. His martial art continues to prosper due to the efforts
of David James, the present chief instructor the Vee-Arnis-Jitsu School of New York.
He is a worthy successor to Professor Vee in that he continues to make improvements
by updating certain concepts, adding new techniques, or by just modifying and making
minor changes. Professor James is firmly committed to bringing his students the best
self-defense system available today.
In 1990, at age 80 and after more than
70 years in the study of the martial arts, Professor Visitacion was requested to
serve as a member of the World Headmasters Council, an international governing body
of recognized Grand Masters, whose purpose is to provide recognition to legitimate
heirs and masters of martial arts. To the end of his life, Master Visitacion remained
a student as well as a master, and because of this humility and willingness to learn,
his Vee Arnis Jitsu system is constantly growing and being refined.
proverb by Confucius has been used to describe the learning and teaching methods
of Professor and Master Instructor Florendo Visitacion:
"He who claims
to know all is a fool, for his learning has ceased; He who knows naught and knows
he knows naught is the enlightened one; For his wisdom will be great."
Vee Jitsu Ryu Jujitsu, a style of jiu-jitsu developed by Professor Vee
focuses applying the most effective techniques in self defense situations. Professor
Vee's jujitsu style is described as similar to escrima and including a multitude
of striking techniques up and down the body. Vee Jitsu Ryu has been seen four versions:
Vee Jitsu '55, Vee Jitsu '65, Vee jitsu '75 and Vee Arnis Jitsu.
Vee Arnis Jitsu is one of the styles known as the "Visitacion
Arts" founded by the Professor Vee.
Vee-Jitsu is the foundation of the
art. It combines the joint locks, breaks, throws, and ground movements of Judo/Jiu
Jitsu with the brutal, "no-holds-barred" approach of traditional street
fighting. Street savvy techniques such as groin kicks, biting, and eye gouging are
encouraged as street survival techniques.
Modern escrima ( or arnis ) arts
combine the classical and modern fighting systems used in the Philippines. Vee Arnis
Jitsu is no exception. Vee Arnis jitsu combines effective Jujitsu techniques with
knife and stick fighting. Vee Arnis students are introduced to various tactics
of stick and blade, plus kicks, blocks and counters of jiu-jitsu. Emphasis is placed
on drills to train reactions in the student. Students are encouraged to develop their
own fighting style under the arnis/escrima umbrella. Unlike many other martial arts
students, a student of Vee Arnis Jitsu learns how to handle and defend against weapons
early in their training. The rationale for training a student with weapons first
and then later with hands and feet is that training stick to stick can be safer than
taking punches and kicks to the body. If you can defend against a weapon, fighting
against punches and kicks will come more easily.
To further enhance and improve
the system, Professor Vee devised a series of fifteen two-person short forms dubbed
"Vee-Jitsu-Te's" . These enable the student to respond effectively to a
variety of attack scenarios using a series of sequential defensive moves. In order
to additionally prepare for the realities of street confrontation, students are drilled
rigorously in class and paired with persons of different shapes and sizes. That way
an individual can experiment with various techniques, determine whether they work
effectively against larger or smaller opponents within a given situation, and make
adjustments if neccessary.
The powerful weapons and empty-hand martial art
of Arnis comprise the second major component of Vee-Arnis-Jitsu. It is here where
we derive the famous "Cinco Tero" fighting pattern. Many of the Vee-Arnis-Jitsu
techniques such as the fifteen dimensions", and the "patterns-of-twelve"
drills are derived from Arnis. Students practice these techniques using a variety
of different stepping variations. The more important ones include Paqua circular
footwork, forward and backward motion, and the "V-stepping" pattern. A
number of training exercises , including the "Sinawali" drills are also
incorporated within the curriculum. The art of knife-fighting is another major part
of weapons training, and it places great emphasis on rapid, continuous repetition
of the "Cinco Tero" and other striking drills as a means of developing
speed and mobility.
Muay Thai boxing concepts are combined with stamina training
make up the third part of Vee-Arnis-Jitsu. Students are taught to maximize their
fighting abilities by utilizing their elbows, knees, shins, as well as traditional
hand and foot strikes during one-on-one, simulated combat conditions. Protective
gear is always employed during these particular sessions for safety and to allow
students to use maximum power against their opponents. Intensive bag work as well
as two-person punching and kicking drills are also part of the curriculum. In addition,
the system incorporates rigorous calisthenics in order to help students maintain
optimum fitness levels.
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