Learning Culture Through Martial Arts
We continue our Filipino American History Series with a conversation with 818 local, and first generation Filipino American, Guro Janel Barlongo, Kali/Silat instructor as well as a perpetual student of the art.
Like many journeys, it begins with a quest for knowledge, for adventure, or for self-discovery. For Guro Janel, her journey was about learning her Filipino American culture, history, and heritage. As a first generation Filipino American, she joined the Filipino American Student Association (FASA) at California State University, Northridge (CSUN) during her college years. It was there she was introduced to Southeast Asian/Filipino martial arts at a Students for Pilipino American History Month (SPAM) workshop/demonstration led by Guro Dan Inosanto in October of 2020. From there, she was hooked. In 2004, she actively pursued studying the arts of Kali and Silat, learning and training under Sifu Cass Magda, Guro Ed Wong, Tuhon Apolo Ladra, and Guro Alvin Guinanoa. Not surprisingly, in 2011, she led a demonstration/workshop at CSUN for Filipino American History Month, sharing the art that started her journey with the then current members of CSUN FASA.
Today, she is an active practitioner of the arts, sharing and passing on her knowledge to her students. She is currently teaching Kali (Pekiti Tirsia)/Silat classes at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) as well as holding training sessions every Sunday at Evolution Martial Arts in Chatsworth.
Tune in as Guro Janel shares her story, her passion, and her own personal journey into the world of Kali/Silat.