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Mr. Pancipanci's Umbrella Pattern

One of the nice things about writing a blog is that it makes you remember things. It is sort of like writing down your dreams. The more you write, the more you remember.

I practiced Kenpo Karate under Florentino S. Pancipanci at the Adult Recreation Center at Hickam Air Force Base. I also practiced in the separate Tai Chi Chuan and Ying Tung Gung Fu class that he taught. I was a high school student at this time.

Mr. Pancipanci had learned Kenpo Karate under Prof. Marino Tiwanak, the head of the CHA-3 Kenpo organization. For some reason, we used to say that CHA-3 taught "hard" Kenpo while Mr. Pancipanci taught "soft" Kenpo. I am not sure why there was a difference, if there was one. Mr. Pancipanci had his own organization when I learned from him.

I later trained under Edward Wallace of the CHA-3 organization at the old quonset hut in Moanalua. His daughter, Julie, was also an instructor. My good friend Garrick Saito also trained with me at this time. Garrick and I both trained under the same teachers (Mr. Pancipanci and Mr. Wallace).

Garrick and I would go up to Schofield Barracks to train with Mr. Pancipanci's advanced group and even to Barber's Point. You have to remember that we were in high school at the time. We were teenagers training with the adults.

Anyway, thinking about Mr. Pancipanci made me remember that at one point he taught us an umbrella pattern. He was also an Escrima teacher, but I do not know who he learned from. I never learned Esrima from Mr. Pancipanci, but looking back I can see how it influenced the way he taught Kenpo and empty hand techniques.

With the umbrella, we learned a pattern that I have long forgotten. But I remember that we used all parts of the umbrella, the point, the shaft, the curved handle --- we even opened the umbrella and spun it so that the pointed ends would scrape or cut the opponent. The opened umbrella was also used to hide our attack.

I will never forget that Mr. Pancipanci could seemingly block any attack with the umbrella. Not just that, he could hook the attacker's hand or foot with the curved end and apply locks. He made it look so effortless.

Looking back, I realize that he was actually teaching us Escrima using the umbrella. I have since learned that the cane and other everyday items are used in Escrima (and other Filipino martial arts).

Years later I began to learn Aikido from Sensei Sadao Yoshioka. He sometimes taught the use of the jo. When I started to learn the first jo kata, I was again reminded of the umbrella pattern. Many aspects of the poking and blocking were the same.

I eventually started to teach Kenpo Karate on my own and lost touch with Mr. Pancipanci. I understand that he passed away.

On rainy days here in Hawaii, when I open an umbrella, I always think of him twirling the open umbrella and hopping into an attack (we learned how to hop too).

Maraming pung salamat, Mr. Pancipanci.


Charles C. Goodin