|Adv. White Belt|
Book Title: My Story: Memories of a Martial Art Grandmaster, by Master Teacher Al Garza
Review by Prof. Carl Totton
This book is available on Amazon in both English and Spanish
Note: Here is my recent review on Amazon of Al Garza's new bio of Lima Lama founder Tino Tuiolosega. Tino, a well known and respected first generation black belt under Ed Parker, studied with noted kung fu masters like Ark Wong to become the first non-Chinese to be ranked master and then grandmaster in kung fu! Additionally, to my knowledge, Tino was the only person actually given a 10th degree black belt ranking which was jointly signed by Ed Parker and Ark Wong. I know that because at a luau Tino hosted in 1970, he took me aside and proudly put the signed document in my hands and let me read it!
Review: It's finally here! After four long years Al Garza has finished his moving tribute to one of the most significant martial arts grandmasters who ever lived, Tino Tuiolosega. The book chronicles Tino's early life in America Samoa where he was exposed to Samoan style street fighting and weapons from an early age. Later, in the US Marine Corps, Tino perfected his fighting skills in boxing to become the Pacific Champion. Back on the US Mainland, Tino's teachers were international legends like kung fu Grandmaster Ark Yuey Wong and Edmund K.Parker, the grandmaster and head of American kenpo. Through talent and hardwork, Tino rose to levels of skill rarely seen and in 1965 began his own integrated form of a new martial art, Lima Lama meaning, "the Hand of Wisdom". Tino made history as the first non-Chinese in the world to be promoted to master and grandmaster ranks in Chinese kung fu! Accompanying GM Tino throughout his adventures was a young Al Garza already training in boxing, judo, and kenpo karate. As Garza continued his training with Master Ralph Shun, Ark Wong's senior student, and Haumea "Tiny" Lefiti", Tino's giant Samoan "cousin" and student, he was exposed to both kung fu and the deadly new art of Lima Lama at it's original source. Garza became the first black belt student at Tiny and Ralph's studio in Huntington Park CA, and later received a black belt directly from Mr. Tino, eventually rising to his current 8th degree black level.
This started a long standing relationship where Al would train and film Tino on his travels all over the world, preserving and documenting this devastatingly effective new art, and bearing witness to Mr.Tino's almost unbelievable levels of skill, speed, and power. As the only person ever allowed to film Tino regularly, Garza was able to get to know Tino and his art at a level never reached by others. This book is a journal of that collaboration from California to Mexico, from Samoa to Spain,and many points in between. Garza gives first hand accounts of Tino's family, his encounters with many prominent martial artists, including Tino's friendship with the legendary "King of Kung Fu" Bruce Lee, and Tino's mastery of a still secret form of kung fu called Dim Mok or the "Death Touch!" His descriptions of witnessing the results of Tino's strikes on the bodies of some very tough men will leave the reader flabbergasted!
Garza documents the development of Lima Lama from its inception to the present day, where in Mexico there are over 50,000 practitioners, making it one of the most popular martial arts in that country. He also describes how through his careful study of the training methods inherent in Tino's way of movement, he was eventually able to formulate his own unique art, the Matrix System, as a new and multidimensional martial art. Most affecting are those tender moments when Mr. Tino, this internationally renown and feared fighter, reveals his vulnerable and sensitive sides to Garza as just another human being. The book is richly illustrated with photographs taken by Garza since the 1960's.
Garza's book has interesting stories about Tino's famous original black belt students including Tiny Lefiti, Richard Nunez, Sal Esquivel, Solomon Kaihewalu, and John Louis, and how they and Tino helped to spread this new fighting art. On March 22, 2011, Great Grandmaster Tino Tuiolosega passed away after having had a series of heart attacks and strokes. He was 79 years of age and is survived by his wife Adele, his son and successor Rudy, and a large family of children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. He left a legacy of martial arts perfection achieved by very few, and in 2013 he was posthumously inducted into the prestigious Martial Arts Hall of Fame by the Martial Arts History Museum in Burbank CA. This book is highly recommended to martial artists everywhere and is must reading for students of Lima Lama and its associated arts like kung fu and kenpo karate.
By Prof. Carl Totton
Last edited by lonewolf; 06-30-2015 at 10:40 PM.
"I didn't say it was possible. I only said it was true"
Charles Richet, M.D., Nobel Prize in Medicine
I am intrigued by the book, and will pick up a copy once time and finance allow. In the meantime, I will secretly lust after the film footage in Mr. Garzas collection.
Clear mind, clear movement. Mastery of the Arts is mastery over the Self. That in this moment, this motion, the thoughts, memories, impulses and passions that cloud the mind must yield to the clarity of purpose, and purity of motion.
Nice review and I agree with Dave.
Sounds interesting. Thanks for passing that along.
"For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer."
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