The founding members of Tres Espadas had been practicing full contact Chinese, Japanese or Filipino martial arts off and on for nearly two decades before we decided to seriously pursue this club. Still the question remains, so here are the exact credentials of some of the founding members:
Most of Phil Gribbin's formal martial arts training has been under Vern Miller, primarily in Choy Lay Fut and Kickboxing, specializing in the single-ended staff and cane. He has studied Chi-Na directly under Doc Fai Wong. He has been mentioned on ESPN's website as a known sparring partner for Margaret McGreggor (a woman who beat a man in a sanctioned boxing match.) Though his credentials do not reflect this, much of his fighting skill has come through studying Tai Chi, Filipino and Western martial arts under local masters who do not hold formal classes. He also studies any material he can get his hands on from Cold Steel or The Dog Brothers.
BFGalbraith earned a yellow belt in Tae Sho (Arnis) in Dave Bird's system some time around 1989. In that same time period he got a 2nd place trophy at the Lakeside Invitational Karate tournament, for point-sparring. At the 2001 Tiger Balm Invitationals, he got at 3rd place metal in Tai Chi push-hands, and a 2nd place metal in Tai Chi forms. He learned Tai Chi, and Choy Lay Fut double-daggers and double-ended staff under Vern Miller as a member of his "Black Sash Club," and has studied Chi-Na directly under Doc Fai Wong. He has held a Judo membership card in two non-consecutive years in the between 2001 and 2010, and has never ranked in Judo. Though his credentials do not reflect this, he learned to fight mostly through a friend's dad who gave free Aikido and Bokenjitsu instruction, and through a failed attempt at becoming a pro kickboxer under Vern Miller.
Some of our best fighters have almost no martial arts credentials or other martial arts experience outside of Tres Espadas.
These credentials do not account for the level of skill you see on these videos for two reasons:
1) our formal credentials do not reflect the amount of full contact sparring we have done over the years in other systems.
2) the level of skill we seek isn't normally available to most martial arts students, because most instructors shy away from our level of full contact weapons sparring. We are providing the level of instruction that we want, which basically is not available elsewhere in our area.