Kim Camacho Turlock California USA

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Kim Camacho Turlock California USA

Postby Riposa » Thu Dec 17, 2009 8:29 am

Hi all,

Is this forum dead, or is anyone there? I see I am the only one online. Last post seems to be a year ago. Not good.

I was black belt under Kim Camacho for many years during the 70's, 80's. I was probably his best student ever. We were close, very close.

Anyone know or heard from Camacho? I had moved away from the central valley during the late 80's.

Thanks,
Bruce

ps-I saw Otto for the first time on this website. Very cool. Camacho always bragged on Otto, but I never saw his photo until now. Great website!
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Re: Kim Camacho Turlock California USA

Postby Sifu » Thu Dec 17, 2009 2:09 pm

Hello, yes!!
Well, the forum is coming back to life, we just resurrected it a couple of weeks ago and we have not done anything with it since.
Sifu (SiJo) John Camacho (Kim)! I met and trained with him in 1976 (?) and got my blue belt from him. He was really an amazing practitioner. I actually learned his version of Lai Chi and HuanChao and his long salute. I designed a school emblem for him... Kam Pai KunTao Do in the 1980's, I think I still have the original art work.

Well, it is a pleasure to hear from you! Do you still have contact with him?
"Forward with Spirit" / "True at all costs"
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Re: Kim Camacho Turlock California USA

Postby Riposa » Thu Dec 17, 2009 8:46 pm

I first met Sifu Camacho through a guy named Bill Viaggis, or something like that. Last name spelling is not correct, but it sounds like that. He was a Latin Mexican guy that seems to have oriental eyes. I think he was from a mixed family or such. He was very tall and had long legs, kicked like a mule. Camacho and him started a school together and that is I believe the first time I met Camacho. After a time, they had a falling out, and Kim opened a rival school across town.

There was some bad blood between them over collectiong money from students to pay the bills. I left Bill and went with Kim, which I think he didn't stay in that building long. He moved to a small town near a Nestles factory Called Keyes and I used to go over his house to practice. Another one his students named Steve, a black guy still works at Longs Drugs in Merced California. After that time, I think he moved to Turlock and I started to practice at his home there for a few years. His videos are still in the Turlock library. At the same time, he opened a small school in Atwater where I lived at the time, and we had good times there.

I had brought in many of my friends and one of my buddies from the Marines I was teaching who could also kick like a mule. Once a Skotokan school bunch of bullies came over to challenge Camacho but he took care of them without fighting. He wasn't very nice either, he was angry and I think they backed down, just incredible as I wasn't there at the time, but i heard about it. They were after me too, but Camacho took care of them. Camacho closed the school after a few years and returned to Turlock to teach. He had opened a small school after I moved away, but I came back to Turlock one day and drove by a small school he was using at the time, and sure enough I saw him name on the sign.

I think this was very close to the end of his days for Camacho as far as teaching. That was in the 90's I think and today he would be at least in his 60's. I think he was at least ten years older then me. I don't even know if he lives in Turlock anymore. He married a gal that had a son and a daughter named Tanna. The son souried on Marital Arts, but the daughter did it for a while, not sure if she continued. I'm pretty sure I was probably Camacho's best and most prolific student.

I was getting really good, because i also took Wing Chun, Tae Kwon Do, and various other martial arts. I once Met Micheal Staples, the guy who taught White Crane. I picked him up hitchhiking on his way to Yosemite. Didn't even reconize him, but I had his White Crane book sitting on my front seat, and he saw it. He picked it up and showed it to his friend in the back seat, and then proceeded to tell me it was his book, it was him. Well, I was schocked, and I took him all the way to Yosemite and we had a great discussion about the arts. I don't even know if Camacho is still alive, but all things considered, he should be.

He would be at the most in his 70's, but I don't think he is quite that old. I had read in another post that he was getting really tired when he quit. He didn't have an easy life, as he was a professional welder when he taught at night, working by day. That's an incredibly stressful job. Comacho was very impressive. I learned a lot of forms from him. The first 10 sets, and then Tiger, Monkey and Crane form. I also did the hard style and Wing Chun, but i never learned the third set, although I met a master of Wing Chun who was taking classics at University in Fresno. Of course, he wouldn't teach me but he showed me the 3rd set, and punched a hole in the wall with his one inch punch!

You can email me to discuss further if you want.

Bruce
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Re: Kim Camacho Turlock California USA

Postby Sifu » Fri Dec 18, 2009 4:38 pm

This is really interesting history...
Yes, the name of the guy you met was Bill Villegas (z), I heard of him but never met him. The line that comes from Tai Sifu Otto is long and varied. I am sure you have seen the forms in the multimedia section, these are the root forms. We are trying to recover all the original material from Tai Sifu Otto. There is that, and the valuable material developed by his students. Interesting to see also Kemscrima Doh, which is a system developed by another of Tai Sifu Otto's, Menoy (Sifu) Glenn Abrescy.

However it is, however it is done, whatever is behind it, this is all precious to me. I live my life for this, and my family follows this way. My kids train without having the freedom to choose not to. My daughter will test for black belt tomorrow, she has been training for now 12 years. That is how strong the impact of KunTao, through the line coming from Tai Sifu Otto. It must be interesting for you to see the very young Sifu Kamacho in those pictures on our historical pictures section.

These pictures where taken in Germany. Mr. Mike Anderson knew both Tai Sifu Otto and Sifu Camacho at that time, he was responsible for some of the pictures taken. There, Tai Sifu holds a 4th Degree rank. Sifu Camacho was beating all their black belts and he was only a brown belt!!

I would love to meet with Sijo Camacho again one day. Sure would love to hear the anecdotes of their time in Germany.

Interestingly enough, this last week I had the pleasure of one of our brothers in KunTao. He comes from the line of Sgt O'hara through Mr. Carl Brown (who also holds an 8th degree in Judo). This is just fantastic.

I would love for us to keep corresponding. This is very necessary.
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Re: Kim Camacho Turlock California USA

Postby Riposa » Fri Dec 18, 2009 10:00 pm

I don't Know Anderson, but Camacho often mentioned Glenn Abrescy. I never had a chance to see Otto's photo. While Camacho often talked about his teacher Otto, I don't remember him sharing any photos with us. We once had a party or two, but there was no history or photos, more just sort like a get together fellowship.

Yes, I saw his photos, but first as John Camacho I did not realize it was him. I thought maybe it was his father until I read your post. I did one photo and i knew it was him in a group photo. The photos are quite remarkable. I had never seen Otto before until I reached your site. As you can imagine, it was quite fascinating to see for the first time. There was no email contact on the site, so I used the forum in hopes of contact. I believe I did sent an email via a Who-is lookup whichs provides an email of the owner of the site.

Interesting after 12 years, you daughter reaches black. That is a long time. I also reached this in 10 years, but I also went much quicker, and took short cuts with many other styles. I think when Camacho was with Bill, this was probably around the time he came to America. I think it was mid 70's. During the day, Camacho taught a girl he hooked up with, his girlfriend, and he taught her a lot during that time. They had shacked up not far away in an apartment. She left him after a year or so. This was about the time that Kim and Bill split up as well.

I stayed with Camacho, as even Bill said he was really good, and Bill was learning from Kim. However the school belonged to Bill, and this eventually led to problems. When they split Kim was pretty down about the breakup of their friendship and I think also losing his girlfriend. When he opened the school across town, some friends and I had went over to his school during the day. The door was open, but no one was in the building. It was an amazing huge building, we were amazed at how big that building was. I guess Kim had big plans.

After time, we heard someone enter through the back door. It was Kim, he came in and greeted us, but he was smoking a cigarette. I said, what is this? He said don't worry guys, its only temporary. He was right, I never saw him smoke again in all the years I have known him. We all have our vices I guess in our times of need, but after Camacho got married, he was good provider for his family. However I don't think he ever had any children of his own, as he was stepfather to those kids when he got married.

It was not long after that he met his wife and got married. I know Camacho was naturally versed in eastern way of life and religons, but his wife was Christian and not long after he converted to Christianity. He become a devote family man, and practicing Christian going always to Church on Sunday. He never pushed his new conversion and new beliefs on his students, but he did from time to time confess his new family life and religion, which is ok, cause he only told people briefly his beliefs, but he never preached to people to convert them.

He kept Kuntao as a business and a art to be taught according to the old ways. While he had Christian beliefs, he had no problems sharing the old system of beliefs from other religions that compliment the arts in harmony and spiritiality. I believe on occasions he connected things like Zen, Hinduism, Buddism, Taoism, or even Confusiacism, when he thought he wanted to connect something in his teachings and methods to compliment that. He also believed in Chi, and often talked about it. He said he had it, but never in a way like Tai Chi masters, although he said he knew some forms from that. I think he had something special, but not to a huge degree like you see on those few masters that have it shown on some rare Youtube videos.

He didn't talk about Bruce Lee much and I think I heard Otto's name more in his teachings. He was a vertical puncher all the way. He loved that stuff, but his tradional Karate punch like the hard styles use was also very impressive. His short punch methods were very interesting, fighting extremely close up, and his use of rolling and learning how to fall and get back on your feet were very interesting. He was big on sweeps, and butterfly kicks, but probably his best were those single and multiple vertical punching he used. He had a classic side kick, and also used Yoga stretches in his warmups.

Camacho was also good with short swords. When I met him, he was a handsome vibrant looking man, who liked to cultivate somewhat thick bushy hair styles which were part of that time and generation. He was a pretty hip guy and the girls loved him. He was quite a character to say the least. The last time I saw him was when he attended the wedding of a friend of mine. At the time I had already moved away to the mountains, but I saw him at the wedding.

Camacho fought in a few matches, but he really didn't need to prove anything. One match, he fought this guy who was well known, a real killer type guy from Tae Kwon Do. A big solid heavy white man with legs that kick like a horse. That guy was known to really hurt people. Well, when Camacho fought him, the guy came at him as usual with that cross over side kick that he was so famous for hurting even some really big men.

Camacho just got down real low, and that kick just went over the top of him and missed, but while he was going over the top, Camacho punched him in the groin at the same time and scored the point. Someone took a photo of this and I saw that photo. Well, that guy got so angry that he told Camacho if he tried that again, that he would kill him. That guy was just a really nasty mean guy, but he never pursued Camacho outside. At the same match, when it was over, I saw one guy who tried to call out another guy outside and the other guy pulled out a gun. Some of those tournaments were really nasty places as far as what kinds of spirits were in the air. Lot of bad karma at those places sometimes.

Kieth Linderman was also there and Joe Franco I think. Actually I think it was Joe Franco who brought Camacho to my attention. Joe Franco trains navy seals, and we were like best friends. He lived down the street and was also one of Camacho best students. Joe is on this page below with his guns and horse photo.
http://tinyurl.com/yksafsc

Joe started me on Wing Chun, and also taught me a lot before he went into the Navy. Joe and Keith were good friends. Both had attained black belts. My room mate also obtained black with Camacho and fought full contact under Camacho training using the short punch system. He once fought a thai kick boxer which he did quite well inside, until the thai managed to push him away and land a solid kick to the solor plexus. However the point was proven about fighting inside.

Another guy I used to train also knocked out guys in full contact matches, so I could say I had some good years there, where I could say I had a pretty good zenith which I was happy with my abilities. I could beat both of these guys, so I knew my skills were good. However, Camacho left Atwater and went back to Turlock, and I moved to the mountains and took up cycling, which was much needed after I had dislocated my knees many times. I spent several years building my knees back as cycling is known as a good rehad sport for runners and skiing injuries and such. The mountain lifestyle lends itself, at least for me, more to the outdoors, but I still do Yoga execises, various aspects of what I learned with him as well as calistinics and weight training, cycling. I work at the bike races as a photographer, so life changes. However, I still remember some good times we had together.

Perhaps more later, I need to go work now, and I can't think of much more right now.

Bruce
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Re: Kim Camacho Turlock California USA

Postby Riposa » Fri Dec 18, 2009 10:06 pm

This guy died last year of cancer. I used to train some with him, and he was well known in Fresno for his hard style. We struck up good friendship but I didn't stay with him. I just never liked Fresno. It was a smoggy, not very fun place for me. That big city with all its crime brought me down, and I never liked being there. However, this guy was really good for a hard style and he also kicked like a horse. He had an extremely powerful punch as well. He was once world champion many years ago. I liked him, because he was very kind and generous with his time, and his interest to share and discuss many things.

Robert Halliburton...
http://www.americasmemorials.com/albums/88
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Re: Kim Camacho Turlock California USA

Postby Sifu » Tue Dec 22, 2009 2:33 pm

Looks like he was a true practitioner. We are fortunate when we meet such people. Was he also an KunTao student?
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Re: Kim Camacho Turlock California USA

Postby Riposa » Wed Dec 23, 2009 3:43 am

Sensai Halliburtion as called in Hard Styles was a big tall man. Soft style didn't fit him. However, he was already very much set in the old ways of the Hard Japanese styles like Shotokan. He was a big tall charismatic texan man weighing I am guessing near 200 pounds or more and all muscle, no fat. His was all tone though, hard tone, but no bulk muscle. He was real wirey so to speak and extremely powerful in both punches and kicks. He could make a 200 pound bag go flying with seemingly little effort. He had Kai, and favored only the hard style. He didn't really believe in the soft styles, although he had met Bruce Lee and knew that those styles had something to offer for the few who really had the right stuff. His view was much more toward short term gains that hard styles had to offer. Spending 30 years to obtain Chi was something he thought was not practical and the stuff of legends, but he favored the much faster obtainable aspects of Kai in the hard styles.

I think what you said sums it up very well though, he was the real deal, a life long practicioner who spend his whole life fully for Martial Arts. When he came out of the special forces, he started a Karate school and never looked back. For the rest of his life, he ran a very popular school with many students for at least 30 years. For him, it was the only way of life.

Bruce
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Re: Kim Camacho Turlock California USA

Postby Sifu » Wed Dec 23, 2009 10:28 am

About S.Camacho.

Since Tai Sifu Otto was born in 1939 and S.Camacho was younger, we can assume his age to be below 60. When I last met him, in the mid 80's, he lent me some photographs of his last days in Imua (mid 70's). I never met him again. I so much would love to have long conversations with him regarding the period in Germany etc.

There is another gentleman, Mr. Mike Anderson, who knew both of them well. He also has picturesque stories about the time in Germany. There are a lot of important "histories" we should not let die.
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Re: Kim Camacho Turlock California USA

Postby Riposa » Wed Dec 23, 2009 7:09 pm

Well,

I am 54, and I am quite sure Kim is at least more then five years older then me. I would of guessed 10 years easily. I would definately say Tai Sifu Camacho is over 60 years old today. Someday, I should go to Turlock and find him. Its not that far away, but I have no idea where he lives, and he would be retired from welding, as that job is too hard for older people, although its possible some people still weld into their late years, but probably not full time.

I don't know Anderson, but I stopped training with Camacho around 1980, and then I think the mid 80's, I saw him at my friends wedding. He still looked fantastic in the mid 80's. My friends has photos of Camacho from the old school days. I should look him up someday, he also lives not far away.

Bruce
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Re: Kim Camacho Turlock California USA

Postby Sifu » Fri Dec 25, 2009 1:07 am

Well, this is getting more interesting by the minute... If all goes well, I will be receiving materials from the Germany period, hopefully including more pictures of the group, which of course included S.Camacho.
Hope you have a great Xmas, and the best New Year also.
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Re: Kim Camacho Turlock California USA

Postby Riposa » Fri Dec 25, 2009 4:58 am

Sometime soon perhaps I can call him and see if he saved any negatives or photos from the old school. If so, maybe I can get those photos and scan them to the Internet. However, perhaps Steve has photos and even Camacho himself has many photos, but might be unwilling to lend them to me. After all, I have not seen him in so many years and I am not even that sure if he would really be happy to see me for any long visits, although I am sure he would greet me with a smile. However also, I know at least a few other people who might have photos of Camacho, if I could only find the time to visit them. Its very odd that i don't have photos, but I did not have a camera during that period, although later I did have a video camera in which I used to film my workouts and bike races.

Yes, enjoy the holidays!

Best,
Bruce
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Re: Kim Camacho Turlock California USA

Postby Sifu » Sat Dec 26, 2009 12:45 am

I wonder, what ever happened to Kam Pai? Are there many who follow the system and teach it?
The history of S.Camacho is still important. I will make an effort to include it in this pages if you have the chance of helping me with it. I have a picture with him and Mr. Lie Gai from the mid 1980's. I will place it in the site once we have decided which way we are going to go with it. At the moment, we actually have 3 sites! Ridiculous, but we aim to get our ducks all lined up in a row......and cook them.
Best wishes again.
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Re: Kim Camacho Turlock California USA

Postby Sifu » Sat Dec 26, 2009 1:07 pm

My math... of course... Tai Sifu Otto would be now 70, S.Camacho could be in his late 60's
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Re: Kim Camacho Turlock California USA

Postby Riposa » Sat Dec 26, 2009 7:56 pm

I have never heard of Kam Pai system. Shows us that we can't even know the names of all the systems, let alone even a little about them. The one system that I thought was actually very practical and the one that benifted me the most besides Kun Tao was Wing Chun. That was one straight forward no nonsense short punching and blocking system I was really achieved good results with when I used it with Kun Tao. While I studied White Crane, Tiger, Monkey and even some Preying Mantis, I rarely achieved anything meaninful out of those I could use in real fighting skills, although they were great for forms and conditioning. I did steel sweeps from Crane style which are effective, and also the Monkey style did a lot to make me aware of how to function when a fighter is down on the ground. Used to be going down or getting up was a big panic until I learned how to fall and roll back up in other defensive or offensive postures. I did however admire the short arm strength and abilities that come from the Tiger styles with the palm strikes and such.
The one inch punch is something I practiced a lot which also came from Wing Chun, and I at least got good enough with it to understand its quite real and effective if one works hard at achieving it. I had fair results with it after a few years of practice, but nothing on the level that is the stuff of legends.

On the photos, I will just have to make a note to myself that when I travel down from the mountains into the central valley, to look up some of these people and see if they still have photos. I will let you know if I find any.

Best,
Bruce
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