My Arnis: URVIL JAMES ARNIS
Starting out with gymnastics at the age of 3, Urvil James later transitioned to the martial arts by the age of 8; only to leave two years later due to a lack of interest and discipline. Unconventionally continuing to train under the tutelage of his father and take part in 'backyard wresting' until the age of 22, he later returned to his original academy with a newfound respect for the martial arts and mind.
Fuelled by an undivided devotion and passion for learning, Urvil James quickly achieved his black belt by the age of 25, making him the second-fastest student at the academy to ever receive their black belt in such a record amount of time; preceded only by his primary training partner and childhood friend, Adrian Sanchez.
After achieving his black belt in 2013, Urvil James went on to pursue the path of yoga and eventually embarked on a world-trip in 2016, inclusive of various martial arts and spiritual epicentres around the world like Hong Kong, Thailand, and the Philippines. During his stay in the Philippines, Urvil James tasked himself with finding a master who would teach him the indigenous art of Arnis, ancestral to his heritage. Eventually stumbling upon Master Jose “Pempe” Repiedad—one of the few remaining masters still left cultivating the art of Arnis for themselves and a select few—he began undergoing private tutelage and received his black belt by the end of his stay.
Returning back to Canada, Urvil James began teaching the art of Arnis; ultimately, opening up his own yoga-martial arts studio, Persistence Academy*, alongside two fellow black belts—an idea he had formalized during his stay and training in Thailand.
Combining principles learned from various other styles that he has studied, both domestically and abroad, Urvil James formulated his own version of Arnis which focuses primarily on simplicity, functionality, and a fluidity of movement. The primary teaching of his style is centred around the application of realism, adaptability, and an ability to achieve a total state of 'Presence', or ‘Meditative Flow’.
In 2017, he was awarded his 4th Degree black belt Mastery in Black Scorpion Arnis* by his teacher, Master Jose “Pempe” Repiedad, due to his extra-ordinary achievement of spreading the teachings of the art of Arnis beyond the Philippines and into his home country of Canada.
In 2018, he was awarded his 5th Degree black belt mastery under the World Sikaran Brotherhood of The Philippines* by Grandmaster Arthur C. Teodosio and his 6th Degree black belt Mastery in Arnis De Mano/Balintawak and Black Scorpion Arnis by his teacher, Master Jose "Pempe" Repiedad.
• 6th Degree black belt, Arnis De Mano/Balintawak, under Master Jose “Pempe” Repiedad
• 6th Degree black belt, Black Scorpion Arnis International, under Master Jose “Pempe” Repiedad
• 5th Degree black belt, World Sikaran Brotherhood Of The Philippines, under Grandmaster Arthur Cuadrante Teodosio
• Black belt, Nerkin Ouj, under Grandmaster Saki & Grandmaster Nevasartian
F . A . Q . _________________
WHICH STYLE OF ARNIS DO YOU PRACTICE?
Arnis De Mano/Balintawak. However, as each family in the Philippines derives their own unique application of Arnis, one could essentially say that I learned the 'Repiedad' style of Arnis.
WHAT OTHER STYLES OF MARTIAL ARTS HAVE YOU STUDIED?
Beyond what I am recognized in, I have also explored: Karate, Capoeira, Aikido, Tae Kwon Do, Wrestling, Western Boxing, Kickboxing, Wing Chun, Muay Thai, Gracie Jiu Jitsu, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Japanese Jiu Jitsu, Judo, Jeet Kune Do, Krav Maga, Tai Chi and Combat Sambo.
WHY DO YOU FOCUS ON ARNIS IF YOU'VE EXPLORED SO MANY OTHER STYLES?
Fighting is always better with a weapon in your hand…
WHICH APPLICATION OF ARNIS DO YOU FOCUS ON THE MOST?
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN TEACHING MARTIAL ARTS?
Since 2011 (first kids classes, then adults).
ARE FORMS USEFUL?
Forms are great for understanding all of the potential strikes that may be thrown your way, alongside understanding how your body moves in various situations. Beyond that, I believe forms are best used for achieving a state of ‘Presence’ or ‘Meditative Flow’.
WHY DO YOU EXPLORE/CONTINUE TO EXPLORE SO MANY DIFFERENT STYLES?
No ‘one-style’ can ever be truly complete. Thus, it is best to become a well rounded practitioner. When fighting, always try to start out with a weapon in your hand. If you lose that, you better know how to strike. If you get taken down; well, you better know how to grapple.
CAN I SEE SOME OF YOUR FORMS?