Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Mike Martello Has Passed Away
Mike Martello, center
For those of you that haven't heard, our friend and instructor Mike Martello has passed away. Mike died suddenly from a congenital heart condition, he had been living and teaching in Belgium. Mike leaves behind a legacy of hundreds of students.
I met Mike through Jake Burroughs of Seattle's "Three Harmonies Martial Arts Center", who had recently relocated to the Seattle-area from New Mexico. I had seen videos of this guy half Jakes size tossing him and other students around. That guy was Mike Martello. I got in touch with Jake and shortly after attended my first grueling two-day seminar with Mike and witnessed first-hand what he was capable of.
Mike Martello in chin na applications
As you see in the above video, Mike was five-foot-two, and I doubt he cleared 120 pounds. He was wirey and strong, and could switch from a very yin-yielding aspect to a punishing-pounding finish in the same technique. Obviously, Mike could not out-muscle the big guys, so he had to become a master of body mechanics, and find ways to make his size work for him. Like taking down a big tree, Mike could get his center under you to throw or sweep a leg to bring an opponent down to his size. He was very much a "people person", and had a wonderful time just hanging out for burgers and beers after seminars. It was those conversations where we learned a little about him, and he about us. Mike would write me lengthy e-mails from Belgium, with comments about the training videos, or the other crazy crap we post on Dojo Rat. He wrote about his growing up, and his family history, and he was very welcoming and pleased to see us at the seminars we attended.
Mike was very close with my friend and Xingyi instructor Jake Burroughs. For the last several days, Jake has posted updates and rememberences regarding the untimely passing of Mike. Jake has also posted some of the pictures and video's from various seminars Mike taught, please go to Jakes Blog "The Ground Never Misses" for more information.
The loss of Mike Martello, a friend and Master-level instructor is a huge blow to students, instructors and friends on three continents.
I'd like to close with an instructional video of a Bagua form that Mike taught us, "Xaio Kai Men", or "Small Opening Form". This is an example of Mikes teaching process, and his depth of knowledge. We will miss him terribly.
-- Thank you so much Mike, your spirit will live on in the friends you crossed hands with.
Mike Martello's Wikipedia page
Jake Burroughs The Ground Never Misses
Wu Tan Belgium