By Dean Franco
My Journey with Abenir Kalis started with watching videos of Master Bong Abenir on Face Book. I was first exposed to Master Bong videos through his old student Fabrizio . I was enamored by his feet, more specifically his footwork. I knew before checking his background that he had trained in Illustrisimo Kalis. This was apparent by seeing his fore mentioned footwork and later observation of his defensive movements. Being a Tatang fanatic I was even further curious to the system in which he created. Sure enough my hunch was correct; he had spent on 19 years with Master Tony Diego, Tatang’s heir.
I emailed him stating my admiration for his ability and skill and queried whether he had plans to ever come to the states. He answered not as of yet and this is the kicker, he responded humbly with “I am sure there are qualified instructors in the US.” Shortly thereafter I contacted his old student Fabrizio who informed me he was coming to the states. He offered me private training, I suggested going out to California to meet him. He suggested in coming to me, well schedules didn’t work out but that set the path to Ka Marvin Mendoza.
I found about Ka Marvin Mendoza via Master Bong’s Abenir Kalis Blog site. I diligently tried to get contact information through searches. I then messaged Master Bong again who shared with me that Ka Marvin was on face book; to this day I can’t believe I didn’t check that first. Well I reached out to Ka Marvin Mendoza and shared my interest based on my observations of Master Bong and his system which at this point I had researched more. This is where the quote “the rest is history” is very applicable.
Spoke to Ka Marvin on the phone a few times and I could tell he was making sure I was a good fit lol. Something we joke about to this day. However it’s a testament to how serious he takes sharing this system and his respect and loyalty to Master Bong. He was finally convinced when I commented on the Master’s quick and economical feet. I then went to Chicago to train with him which was such a wonderful experience. My first trip I was exhausted and got to literally feel Ka Marvin’s number 4 strike which despite adjustments on my part he was still so efficient. First time ever I experienced extreme quickness in foot movement and striking delivery. His instruction was so organized and he gave plenty of time for practice. Ka Marvin even took the time to video our sessions for me to have for reference. Ka Marvin and his family were so kind and hospitable. His wonderful wife on both visits went out her way to cook 3-4 course lunches just incredible!!!
In conclusion I am so happy I was persistent in finding an Abenir Kalis rep. My patience paid off with Ka Marvin accepting me as a student and to this day I still so grateful. He has been nothing but wonderful to me as well as the other instructors. I believe this is due to Master Bong’s humility and grace and that has been instilled in all of us. Lastly, I am so proud to be the first American promoted in this system. Thank you Ka Marvin, all the other instructors and most of all Master Bong in what you have created for all of us. Pugay!!!
Ka Dean Franco