Nick “Pappy Dog” Papadakis

I began my martial arts career at age nine, when I joined my local Karate/Kung Fu school in order to receive a free pair of rubber-chucks. The instructor was Al Solomon. He introduced me to Karate, Kung Fu and Ju Jitsu. He always had an open mind toward different styles and passed that on to me.

It was not until age ten when I rented a martial arts documentary that had Kali in it and from then on I was sold on FMA. I immediately cut one of my mom’s brooms in half and began swinging. Coincidentally, it was at this time when Tuhon Leo Gaje began teaching FMA to students in Texas.

You see before that, in Texas, Kung Fu was considered an exotic art. It was there I was exposed to the Filipino martial arts by William McGrath, Rikki Rillera and Curt Doyle.

I continued my training under the guidance of Curt Doyle and received the rank of second degree black belt at his school, North American Self Defense Institute.

It was then I moved to Austin and reestablished contact with Rick Rillera and continued to learn Pekiti Tirsia and Silat. It was in Austin, I met and began to train with Mataas Na Guro, Erwin Ballarta. Erwin impressed me with his understanding of Pekiti Tirsia, his footwork and his abilities with the knife. I still train with Guro Ballarta when I return to Austin.

Upon moving to LA, I asked around for someone could teach FMA with lots of sparring. Marc Denny was suggested. Little did I know, Sparring took on whole new meaning with Guro Crafty. In 1994, I began fighting at the Gatherings. Marc introduced me to Machado Ju Jitsu, Dr. Gyi and the Bando System, Eric Knaus and Arlan Sanford. All of this has had a positive and profound effect on my martial arts training. Guro Crafty has shown me the importance of longevity in the martial arts. He has also helped me become not only a better martial artist but, was also instrumental in showing me the way to becoming a fighter.

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