Way Of A Modern Fencing Master
Grandmaster Bill Newman
Bill Newman's interest in the martial arts began in the early
1960s. At that time the only Asian martial arts familiar in the
West were Judo and Ju-Jitsu. By chance he got to know the martial
arts pioneer Brian Jones and became his personal student, learning
a mixture of Wado Ryu Karate and Wing Chun and training with him
enthusiastically every day for seven years. One day Bill Newman
heard from his training partner Dick Morris that the Escrima instructor
R. Latosa lived not far from his house and was giving lessons
in Philippine armed combat. Naturally Bill Newman immediately
became curious about this exotic martial art and started training
with Latosa, who also introduced him to several of the great old
escrimadores such as Angel Cabales, Leo Giron and John Latosa.
For some years Bill Newman and R. Latosa trained together, travelled
throughout Europe and introduced this still completely unknown
style to the martial arts world.
Bill Newman was one of the first
Europeans to learn the art of Philippine
Chu in Hong Kong
Zulu warriors of
the world for decades, GM Bill Newman is
spreading the knowlege of Escrima.
In November 1977 Bill Newman and Latosa were invited to Kiel
by Dr. Keith R. Kernspecht to hold an Escrima seminar there. Grand
Master Keith R. Kernspecht had read about them in various martial
arts magazines and wanted to see Escrima for himself. Fortunately
he was also an author and the owner of a publishing company, and
decided on the spot to write a book about Escrima. The first and
only book about this Philippine martial art was published by Wu
Shu Verlag Kernspecht in 1979, with many subsequent editions over
the next twenty years owing to the large demand.
Having completed his tour of military duty in Europe, R. Latosa returned
to the USA and Bill Newman continued to teach Escrima in Europe under
the aegis of the European WingTsun Organisation (EWTO). He travelled
to the USA regularly to learn from the best teachers of Escrima and
in order to teach his European students to the highest possible standard.
Philippine Escrima also gave Bill Newman access to the great tradition
of European weapons skills. In decades of research he rediscovered numerous
occidental weapons and combat concepts which were now familiar to only
a few specialists. He examined the possible application of Escrima principles
to these "exotic" weapons and built up a new "medieval
and ancient weapons" section for the escrimadores in the EWTO.
Grand Master Bill Newman has travelled the world tirelessly for almost fourty years now to teach a constantly growing number of enthusiastic
escrimadores the traditional armed combat skills of South-East Asia
and Europe. In recognition of his achievements as a teacher of Escrima
the State University of Plovdiv has made him a visiting Professor.
The present popularity of Escrima in Europe is in large measure due
to the commitment, enthusiasm and not least the outstanding knowledge
and skill of Grand Master Bill Newman. He has determined and guided
the development of Escrima to an unparalleled extent.