Rolando Quiroz A.K.A “Budda” Sifu Goran Ceric A.K.A. “Serbian”
by Goran Ceric A.K.A. “Serbian”(4 Year Student)
Martial arts was always on my mind ever since I was a kid, but I never had an opportunity to learn real martial arts. I grew up in a country with very limited resources and almost no martial art schools in the area. I was willing to learn anything but when I visited schools, there was a very noticeable pattern among instructors and students. In a nutshell, I didn’t feel like I would be able to learn effectively with a lot of instructors that I saw. I’m not saying they’re bad instructors, I’m just saying that it wasn’t a good fit for me. I always felt intimidated when I entered a new school, but when I saw Sifu Sean for the first time, he did not have an intimidating aura around him. I remember walking in the room and not seeing an obvious teacher looking figure with chest pumped up, flashy clothes, and an air of arrogance surrounding anybody. Sifu Sean looked like one of the students. He approached me, introduced himself and asked if I want to try out a couple of classes right on the spot. I was so taken back that I actually denied to take a class that day and that I would be coming back to train on the following day. I was always so used to being asked to sign paper work or to just watch a class in session but never to participate in one. Obviously I came back on the following day, and an adventure began.
Fast forward to 4 years later, and a lot of fun, hard work, and non-stop learning. Sifu Sean makes every class interesting and engaging. I learn something new in every class. Something new about a technique that we did a year ago or three years ago or something new about spirituality and myself. Sifu Sean motivates and pushes you to do your best every time, also to learn about yourself and what you’re capable of doing. When I look back to the time when I started training with Sifu Sean, I never thought that I would be capable of doing things that I’m capable of doing now. I almost surprise myself every day, even when I’m not in class. Sifu Sean’s way of training gets imbedded in your bones over time and your body starts to automatically react all on it’s own to certain circumstances. At times, you’ll catch yourself doing amazing stuff even outside of classroom. You may be typing on your keyboard at work and automatically be catching a flying paper ball that’s coming towards your face when you don’t even see it, or grabbing a piece of paper that’s falling down while you’re engaged in a conversation with another person and holding a laptop in one hand. There are numerous examples I can make, but the point is, over time your mind, body, and spirit begin to evolve and start to reach new plateaus.
Three years ago I held a lot of fear. Mostly fear of the unknown. By learning from Sifu Sean, the layers of fear started stripping away, sort of like an onion. I came in wanting to learn self-defense in order to curb those fears but ended up finding out that self-offense is the key. If you want to learn more about that, please take a couple of Sifu Sean’s classes, I’m sure you will be impressed. Elders Academy is a real martial arts school where you find out what you’re truly capable of. Sifu Sean knows so many martial art styles, I can’t even name them all. If you’re willing to learn, work hard, laugh, and have fun, then give Sifu Sean a call.
I want to give thanks to Sifu Sean, his teachers, his teacher’s teachers and so on, for passing on the knowledge to all the students. It truly is an honor and a pleasure to be training with such an amazing person. Truly one of a kind in this universe, and I look forward to a lifetime of learning, evolving, and to reaching new plateaus of mind, body, and spirit.
Goran P.S. “Shut up, and Train!”
by Rolando Quiroz A.K.A. “Budda” (4 Year Student)
What can I say about this school…… Its not like a school at all, more like a 2nd family. We learn so much about ourselves everyday that we train. Pushing each other just like family would wanting nothing but the best for Each other. At the Head of this family is Sifu Sean Elders. He is a real person, for those of you who don’t know what that is, it is a person who will tell you the truth even if the truth is something that you don’t want to hear. He ask for nothing in return, but for you to have heart and dedication. To be a real person as well, one who can take criticism and not have your ego get in the way. To peel yourself down to your true self.
I have been honored to be a member of this school for 3 years. Thinking I knew something about Martial Arts, when I wasn’t even at the tip of the Iceberg. I feel more confident with myself and the skills that have been taught to me. I feel there is no situation I can’t get out of due to my training with Sifu Sean. I feel that I can protect myself and my family without question. So if you are looking for something to better yourself physically, mentally, and spiritually. Look no further. This is not your run of the mill Martial Arts school, where all they do is say “your not able to learn that until you get that belt”. This is a reality based school. Where you learn what is valuable for you, and we focus on making you adaptable.
Thank you Sifu Sean Elders for the wonderful years and I look forward to more and remember……….Shut UP & TRAIN!!!!
by David Ginn (3 Year Student)
My interest in the martial arts began in 1993. As an Asian-American wanting to become an actor, I took an interest in Brandon and Bruce Lee’s lives, even including something I always hated previously: martial arts. But somehow, watching their films, spilling with fists, feet and flying bodies, felt empowering, and confidence and success in life were things I sadly lacked at the time. It was then I realized the need to learn to defend one’s self. True self defense. With jeet kune do, I believed I found that. Not so much a martial art to take to the ring or octagon, but one well rounded enough to perhaps save my life. So I spent heavily (for myself) on Bruce Lee’s books and learned from them, practicing each and every technique that filled the pages. To me, this was the closest I would ever get to learning from the master. For a number of years, I was right. It seemed no one taught his martial art, his philosophy regarding self discovery, perfection, and preservation. So I visited a school here and there in the hopes of finding something comparable. I didn’t and after a few years, with little to no money, I gave up.
Fast forward to a few years ago and, with some cash to burn, I decided I needed to learn how to defend myself. Seriously. Once again I was disheartened to find no one teaching jeet kune do, but by that time it no longer mattered. Martial arts have evolved in the past ten years, and I felt confident I could find something I could use to protect myself and those I care about in serious situations if necessary, when the “art of fighting without fighting” just wasn’t possible. I sought the best and found a great school. The instructors there knew there thing and the establishment was was one of the best schools I’d ever come across. But I went in too hard, taking in too many classes and felt burned out after half a year, so I left. Actually, I failed to mention one thing, ultimately I left because I didn’t feel like I belonged. What they offered, just wasn’t what I truly wanted… or felt I needed. I desired the confidence, based on acquired knowledge and experience, that I could survive on the street. Funny thing is, that’s kind of how I came across the Elders Academy.
While walking around a park, looking for a place for friends and I to hang out for a day, I simply happened upon a sign that stopped me dead in my tracks. I couldn’t believe it, someone here in the Tampa Bay area was teaching jeet kune do! I hurried inside the recreational center where the sign was posted, asked to borrow a pen and paper to jot down the website address, went home, went online, and quickly checked it out. I read every word on every webpage in complete surprise, disbelief, and joy. Not simply had I found someone who taught jeet kune do — you’ll probably find quite a few who claim to — but one who honestly seemed a master in the art. My first day I was welcomed as a brother among the students, with no false machismo thrown around by the elder students or the sifu himself, Sifu Sean Elders. Make no mistake, his unwillingness to show off comes from a place of confidence, stemming obviously from decades of study and mastery that shows in his form and technique. Clearly he didn’t just learn from a book as I had, but under the direct instruction from the greatest martial artists around, including Sifu Paul Vunak, protege of Guro Dan Inosanto, the only person Bruce Lee gave instructorship to in jeet kune do in it’s later, most complete yet ever-changing form.
Not only is Sifu Sean an excellent martial artist, he’s a great teacher, one who ensures that no single student is ever overlooked as you would expect at MCDojos everywhere. Classes are kept small for this reason. At the Elders Academy, you aren’t treated like an ATM, but like a human being. This brings me to add, classes are fun! Again, egos aren’t welcome at the school. This creates an inviting atmosphere, especially for new students, for which to learn. There will be moments of camaraderie, but Sifu Sean values each student such as myself enough to ensure that we are learning as much as possible, at the proper pace so that time isn’t wasted, only spent.
I am now a student under Sifu Sean for 3 years. This isn’t by necessity, but by choice. You will not find another martial artist in the Tampa Bay area that can teach you to truly, truly defend yourself the way he can. It’s not simply jeet kune do that he teaches, nor kali as the two really do go hand-in-hand, nor PFS or grappling. He teaches you how to overcome fears, obstacles, defeat. He teaches you how to survive. He also teaches and pushes you to become a better you then you were yesterday. So what are you waiting for?
Thank you Sifu Sean for a great two years, and the more to come.
– David Ginn
By Lenin Isabel (3 Year Student)
“Ever since I was a teenager, I’ve been into martial arts. I started with Tae Kwon Do and stuck to that for a while until I started getting a little bored with it and realizing that it just wasn’t for me. I didn’t feel like it would actually work in a real situation. For a couple of years, I didn’t do anything else and just did my research here and there on different styles. Then I came across something called “Jeet Kune Do” started by Bruce Lee, it wasn’t like any of the other martial arts I had researched so I began looking for a school.
A couple of years later I found a Jeet Kune Do school in Tampa and learned a few things during my time there. I was getting REALLY into it until they had close down. I was so upset about it so I had to start my search once again. After endlessly looking, I came up short and took a capoeira (afro-brazilian martial art) workshop. From there I was enticed by it because I was doing something that had more of a complete feeling to it. I stuck with that for about 11 years and then something just sparked in me. I started to see that there was alot of ego and politics involved in it. I had also come to the realization that it just wasn’t for me, it wasn’t what I was truly looking for; something that would really work and help me in a street situation.
I began searching again for that martial art that was for me and something that can help me in a street situation. By this point, all I kept finding was MMA schools, which I believe wouldn’t help me against a knife, mass attack or any other dangerous scenario. After almost two years, I was about to give up looking since I couldn’t find what I wanted in tampa, everything was basically out of state. Then one day I found a website called authenticjkd.net and stayed on the site a while.
From what I read, it was everything I had been looking for. Completely different from other schools in its focus on martial arts so I called and emailed the instructor (Sifu) relentlessly until he gave me a call and we talked. The first time I talked to Sifu, it was like I was talking to another human being, not some grand master that’s trying to be a salesman to be get me in. After a brief conversation we had decided that I would try out a beginners class. When I arrived I was skeptical because of the many disappointments I had been through. He greeted me outside and invited me in, then I experienced something rarely found in some schools. Students introducing themselves to me and helping me out every step of the way like I had been there for years. Not in a “I know more than you” kind of way, but more of a genuine “let me help you” kind of way. That first class was amazing to me. We had only done a few movements and yet I felt like I was learning soooo much. When the class was done, he asked if I’d like to come regularly. I remember saying something to the gist of “Where do sign?!”
From that moment on, I gave my full attention to it. In every class I learned something new and different. It wasn’t just movements I was learning either. I was learning about the martial arts use in the street and in everyday life. I learned (still am learning) about the mind, body and spirit. I also learned that the only “secret” is hard work.
The biggest thing for me is the fact that there are no egos involved in the school. We’re a martial arts family and that unity is something unique to come across. There’s no talk of “I’m a higher level student so I know better” or “I’m our teacher so you have to do what I say”. We’re constantly learning new things from one another which is the way it should be and the way that Sifu has it.
After so much searching, I had finally found what I was looking for, something that would work in a street situation and so much more. I’m learning things that I would’ve never thought I could do both physically and mentally. One of the many things I learned is what Sifu says. He says that the body has to build up muscle memory through constant repetition which was something I had never heard of. I took this to heart and put that into my training regime. Come to my surprise, I find myself LITERALLY reacting to things like its second nature without even thinking about it.
If you’re looking for something different in your martial arts journey, I would definitely recommend coming to the school. But don’t take my word for it, see for yourself and you will be surprised at what you find.”
– Lenin Isabel
By Taylor Brown (Started October of 2011)
My experience at the Elders Acadamy has been nothing short of amazing. Sifu Sean Elders has an incredible amount of knowledge about the martial arts. Not only does he strive for his students to learn the curriculum, but also to be able to utilize it in live motion. I feel this is a very important aspect in martial arts that is often overlooked in other schools. All of the students are humble and respectful, making it an ideal atmosphere to train. This school is helping me realize what I am truly capable of, and guiding me to be able to express myself honestly. Not only as a martial artist, but as a human being.
By Mike Orfanakis
Having been a student at Elders Academy under Sifu Sean Elders for only under a year now, I’ve already learned & acquired skills that will last a lifetime. Sifu has a vast knowledge of many different systems, and blends them wonderfully into a curriculum that takes a methodical, hard-working and through approach to developing and cultivating body & mind. I was lucky enough to begin training in martial arts at a young age & I would certainly not be the person I am today without it. Its a wonderful & honest way to explore, express & grow yourself, and Sifu Sean is one of the few instructors out there that can deliver all of the above in one package.