Tae Kwon Do Times©3

Tae Kwon Do Times© March 1997

KUN TAO Philipino Fist Art
by Eric Breuer

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Grand Master Joe Rossi

empty hand martial arts flourished. They were practiced under the guise of dance and stick games. It was not for centuries that the martial arts began to emerge from underground.

Just as the Philippine arts began to resurface, Japanese occupation of the islands banned the practice of the native arts. Once again the fighting arts went underground. During this time the art of Kun Tao was on a collision course with the West, in the name of Joe Rossi.

Most of the martial arts of the Philippines were weapon arts. Kun Tao, however, is an empty hand art. Kun Tao is an art based on Chinese Monkey Kung Fu. In many ways the fighting tactics resemble a mixture of Kenpo and Aiki Jujitsu. Kun Tao places a strong emphasis on pressure points and flesh tearing techniques.

Although masters of the past have tried to keep Kun Tao a secret they have not been successful. Prior to Japan’s involvement in W.W. II the U.S. Armed Forces sent their best men to the strategic Philippine Islands for training in jungle warfare. This was the first exposure of Kun Tao to U.S. Servicemen.

Grand Master Joe Rossi

Grandmaster Joe Rossi was one of these elite fighting men. Born in Waterbury, Connecticut, in 1919. Grandmaster Rossi grew up in a predominately Italian section of town. At age 15, he joined the Boy’s Club and took up boxing. Fighting under the name Joe Dundee, he became the middleweight champion of Waterbury. Mr. Rossi was also involved in gymnastics, dance and semi-pro football as a youth.

In 1937, Mr. Rossi joined the Army and was promoted to the rank of Sergeant. Mr. Rossi continued his boxing career winning his camp’s championship. In 1940, Mr. Rossi decided not to re-enlist in the Army, continued . . .

(1) Black belt Bob Fernandes grabs Grandmaster Rossi by the throat. (2) The Grandmaster grabs Fernandes’ left wrist with his left hand. (3) Securing the left hond, Grand Master Rossie circles his right arm over the left to grab his opponent’s right wrist. (4) Circling the right arm clockwise over Fernandes’ left arm… (5) breaking the hyper-extended right elbow against his own left forearm. (6) Grandmaster Rossie then drives his right knee into Fernandes’ head and … (7) prepares for a downward chop… (8) to the back of Fernandes’ neck. (9) Even as Fernandes falls, the Grandmaster’s right foot is already in motion… (10) delivering a front kick to Fernandes’ face.

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