From Ron Balicki
The Loss of a Warrior
On April 10th 1997, the Filipino Martial Arts world suffered a major loss. Punong Guro (Head Instructor) Edgar G. Sulite passed away due to complications from a stroke that he had suffered two weeks prior to his death. Edgar Sulite was the founder of the Lameco system of Eskrima.
Edgar was born on September 25, 1957 in the Visayan islands. When Edgar was a boy his father a Filipino boxer and an Arnis expert introduced Edgar to the Filipino martial arts. Growing up in the Barrios of the Philippines, Edgar witnessed many skirmishes settled blade against blade. Completing college, Edgar earned his Bachelors in Arts and Majored in Economics. During his time in college, he sought out different Eskrima Masters to study under. In addition, Edgar was honored for his many achievements in the Filipino martial arts. He became a member of Bakbakan International (An Organization governing the legitimacy of the Filipino martial arts). He also became the representative for Leo Gaje's national Arnis Association of the United States. Being a man of great vision, Edgar came to the United States in August of 1989. His plan was to bring his family over from the Philippines, own his own home, and spread Lameco throughout the world. He desired to live the American dream.
Upon his arrival in the U.S., Edgar would meet and befriend world renowned martial artist Dan Inosanto. Recognizing the talent and knowledge that Edgar possessed , Dan Inosanto would become a lifetime student and an advocate of the Lameco system. Edgar appointed Dan Inosanto as Vice President of Lameco International.
Edgar believed in his potential for personal achievement. If one walked into his house, they would see affirmations written out on paper in each of his rooms (including the bathroom). Being an avid reader of motivational guro Anthony Robbins, Edgar attacked all of his personal and professional goals tirelessly.
Determined to bring his wife and three children to America, Edgar Sulite started teaching his method of Lameco on the seminar circuit around the world. As he envisioned, he became one of the most sought after instructors. Edgar managed to bring his wife, Felisa Sulite from the Philippines in 1992. However, Edgar would still have to battle with the bureaucracies of immigration to bring his three children to America. His children would have to reside with relatives in the Philippines for several more years. During this painstaking time, Edgar and Felicia had two more children (Edgar Andrew, and Leslie) bringing the total of children to five. Soon after the birth of his youngest child, Leslie, he finally managed to bring his three eldest children from the Philippines. In addition, he bought a house in Palmdale, California, and had a full calendar of seminar engagements. He was living the American dream.
The Lameco System
In 1981Edgar created the Lameco System of Eskrima. The name Lameco is actually three words joined together.
La = Largo (long)
me = Medio (Middle)
co = Corto (close)
All the ranges you will fall into in combat. Lameco uses primarily Double and single Stick, Double and single Dagger, Stick and Dagger, Sword, Staff, Handkerchief, and Empty Hands. Lameco Eskrima is a synthesis of five major and 6 minor systems of Eskrima.
Edgar created training drills that he called Labon Laro (Play Fighting). Labon Laro would allow the practitioner to come as close to real combat as possible with out injury, it was also designed to make you get an uncountable number of repetitions in, in a short period of time. Following the theory "repetition is the key to success". Edgar was always looking for unique training methods to improve Lameco. He devised training armor for the hand and forearms that let the practitioners train more realistically.
The Future of Lameco?
When asked to comment Guro Dan Inosanto spoke of Edgar's wish to make Lameco grow and prosper in the U.S. and around the world. Inosanto also expressed his hope that The Surviving Lameco Instructors under Edgar would continue in the tradition Edgar established.
The students of Lameco can be thankful to Edgar for a well documented system of Eskrima. Edgar left us with three books that he had written: "The Secrets of Arnis", "Advanced Balisong", and "Grand Masters of the Philippines". Also The foundation of the Lameco system on video: "Lameco Eskrima at the Vortex", "Labon Laro", and a series of instructional video tapes by Unique Publications. With all this material Lameco will live on forever.
Punong Guro Sulite will be missed by his wife Felisa, His five children, and the countless students around the world. To you Edgar we say, Maraming Salamat Po (Thank You) Punong Guro!
From Louis D. Lindo
My name is Louie D. Lindo, originally from the Philippines and Los Angeles and now residing in Vancouver, b.c. Canada. I am a student of the Filipino martial arts and have only attended 3 workshops by the late Punong Guro Edgar Sulite. Those 3 workshops I now hold dear to my heart. I have heard about Punong Edgar back in the mid 1980's while he was still living in the Philippines but never had the chance to meet him. I knew old friends back in Manila who have trained with him and I too was looking forward to the day I would have the opportunity to meet him. After over 10 years I finally met him at a seminar in Oregon, Washington and finally here in Vancouver. The one concept or method of training which I hold valuable is training with intention as well as the Laban-Laro drills and drills using the hand guard. they are simple but very practical. I now operate 2 small clubs in Vancouver and Burnaby and every time we train I always dedicate the training sessions to the late Punong Guro. Me and my family will always treasure the few days the Sulite family spent at our humble home. The few Lameco eskrima drills that were shared, will be here in Vancouver for the years to come. At the very least, the Vancouver based eskrima enthusiasts had the opportunity of meeting him and got a taste of Lameco Eskrima.
Louie d. Lindo Eskrima-Silat Canada
From Phil Rapagna:
I first met Edgar Sulite at a workshop, at Dan Inosanto's Marina Del Rey School in 1990. I was impressed with the material, but did not at that time seek to study with Edgar privately.
In early 1992, I was seeking something different from Kali. I had trained with Dan Inosanto for about 10 years and had also trained extensively with Steve Aron, Pete Jacobs, Daniel Lee, and Paul Vunak.
I asked Dan Inosanto what I should do, and he told me to seek out Edgar Sulite. At that time, I also ran into an old friend and kali brother, Marc "Crafty Dog" Denny. After I told him that I was seeking something different in Kali, he stressed to me that I needed to seek out Punong Guro Edgar.
I always respected Marc as being a very practical and realistic practitioner of the arts. I knew that if he said something was good, I could believe him. So when he insisted that Edgar was the teacher I needed, my mind was made up. (Marc had mentioned Edgar on earlier ocassions, but I was not in the market until now).
I started training, with Edgar, privately (on a weekly basis) in March 1992 (and ended up spending five solid years with him). Immediately, my eyes were opened. His program was the most organized I had ever encountered. Everything he did was combat oriented. I was a hard person to impress, as I had been in kali for fourteen years by this time. But Edgar impressed me far beyond anyone ever had before.
Edgar started by converting my knowledge of kali into a usable combative style. Everything he did could be used in sparring. There were no wasted movements. He coached me (yes he was an excellent coach, which is rare these days in martial arts) to be a better eskrimadore.
Edgar made me "focus" my strikes and movements. He would say, "Hit with intention, focus. Don't just swing the stick." Edgar believed in training as he had done in the Philipines. He would make me do one single movement for a whole hour. On many ocassions, I would be in so much pain, I thought my arm was going to fall off. After a while, though, I began to see myself change as an eskrimadore. My movements were no longer what they used to be.
Training with Punong Guro Edgar Sulite was the most important thing I ever did in my kali training. We delved into much more than just stick work.
Whenever someone thinks of Edgar, they think about the stick, and maybe the knife. Edgar was more than that. He just was not around long enough to show it all. He would have gotten around to it. Luckily, by training privately with him, I got a taste of many different things.
Edgar was a well rounded martial artist. Few people know that He was very well versed in Tai Chi Chuan. His understanding of energy flow was out of this world. Edgar had a whole system of locking and counter-locking, of unbalancing, and pressure point manipulation. He had the best and most practical "knife attack defense" techniques (I am always loathe to use the word "technique." It is so limiting) that I have ever seen.
Edgar always made sure that he gave his teachers credit for any material he learned. he hated people who would not respect their teachers enough to credit them with what the taught. One time, after returning from a trip, Edgar was angered by someone he had met. He had liked what someone was doing and asked him where he had learned it. The person told him that he had never studied kali, but just learned everything by himself.
Edgar was disgusted that the guy did not respect his teachers enough to give them credit for teaching him anything. The guy obviously thought that Edgar would be impressed that he was cunning enough to learn Kali on his own. He did not realize that Edgar would have been more impressed by a beginner who had enough dignity to give credit to his teachers.
Besides being a great martial artist, Edgar was the warmest, most giving person I have ever known in the martial arts. He was a true giver. He would tell me, "Oh, so and so can't afford it. Just let him come."
Edgar would always have parties at his house, and he would invite even the newest member of the group.
I am just beginnig to feel the emptiness, with him being gone. I spent five years studying under him, and had expected to study for many years to come. Every so often, questions pop up in my mind, and I need to ask Edgar the answer. But since he is not here, I try to answer it myself. That's the way he would want it anyway.
I can understand the emptiness felt by the Bruce Lee's students after his death. There were so many unanswered questions. So many things you took for granted or did not bother to write down, because you could just ask next week. What the hell, he'll be around.
Ironically, I was supposed to go to the Philipines, with Edgar, when he died. Things happenning at work would not allow me to go. Of course, I live with that now.
Steve Reid, an old Kali buddy of mine, once said, "one must leave the table while still a little hungry to appreciate it. One must not wait until he is too full." Well I am still hungry, that is what makes me appreciate Edgar so much. I will always miss him.
Marc "Crafty Dog" Denny, thank you for turning me on to Edgar. I have never forgotten that.
Marc "Crafty Dog" Denny:
I first met PG Edgar in 1989 in Tennessee at a Pekiti Tirsia summer camp hosted by Grand Tuhon Leo Gaje. My teacher, Guro Dan Inosanto was there and spoke to me very highly of his interaction with PG Edgar and told me that he was going to train with him and suggested I do the same—which I of course did.
Training with PG was always a very focused matter. There was no fooling around. On the first day PG and I sparred hand shots. Even through his hand gear, his sharp, crisp shots left my hand swollen. He was totally non-telegraphic and effortlessly tore me up. Duly impressed, I was ready to listen.
We began with great emphasis on stroking drills and cleaning up my movement. With PG, footwork was combined with the stroking patterns from day one. Although I found this irritatingly frustrating at first (because I couldn't believe how bad I was) this soon became one of my favorite parts of training. Many, many practitioners of FMA are lazy when it comes to this part of training, but if you want to be able to use your skills, this type of training really pays off. From there we went into the Laban Laro (playfight) drills.
Soon thereafter, a day of Dog Brother stickfighting approached and I showed PG a video of a fighter with whom I had always had trouble. In an instant, he had dialed in a simple practical solution and on fight day it worked very well. He had an outstanding analytical eye and his teaching with me adapted to my limitations and strengths as a fighter. Although I am a senior apprentice in Lameco, I must confess that there is a lot of the system that I do not know—our training together was focused on improving me as a stickfighter. Nevertheless, as Head Instructor of Dog Brothers Inc. Martial Arts I wish to proudly point out that Lameco is one of the three primary Filipino systems upon which we draw for our stickfighting.
PG was a very private person, and I find it hard to talk about his personal side. Sometimes he would speak about how much he missed his wife and children, and how happy he was when he arranged for her to come, and then for his children to come. He was a very good man, and a very good teacher to me and I miss him.