Archive for the ‘Motivational’ Category

Doing Something is Better than Doing Nothing

In Motivational on September 14, 2008 at 1:36 pm


By Antonio Graceffo


Since earliest childhood I had the dream of being a movie star. I wanted to be rich and famous. When I read that Elvis had to rent out an amusement park, just so he wouldn’t get mobbed by his fans, I said, “that is exactly how famous I want to be.”


I am still not there. Occasionally my family recognizes me, and I do get fan mail from people I owe money to, but I am more famous this year than last year. Since leaving the world of finance behind me in New York, I have published five books. I do get fan mail every single day, but usually only one or two pieces. I earn book royalties and magazine story fees, but not even enough to afford the concrete bunker I was living in the Philippines.


I got a few spots on TV shows on the History Channel and wrote a show for Discovery.


I didn’t get my own TV show, but I did manage to get my own web TV show, “Martial Arts Odyssey.” I also starred in a series of videos shot inside the war zone in Burma. Even with spelling errors and doing a low budget production, we were able to bring a lot of attention, and help to the people of Shanland Burma, while raising awareness of their plight. It also gave me one more credit as a journalist and film guy.  Would it have been better to do a big production for television? Yes. But if I had waited for that to happen, it might never have got done. Also, now, I can show my flawed videos to production companies and say, “If you back my financially I can do a better version of this.” They can see the concept, and make a more informed decision.


It’s not Hollywood. After seven years of traveling and writing, I am not rich or famous yet. But this year was better than last year. And hopefully next year will be better again.


The point is, if you have a dream, follow it. You may not get the exact success that you want, or it may take a long time to get there, but you will Never reach your goal if you don’t try.


Because of my decision to leave the normal career path, I have had the opportunity to do and see things that most people can’t even dream of. Sometimes I don’t have food or a place to sleep. And of course, a lot of people tell me I would be better off quitting. It gets tough sometimes to stick to my dreams, but I have learned to live by two very important axioms:


Incremental success is better than no success at all.


Doing something is better than doing nothing.  



My friend Shlomo is a would-be film maker, who helped me with a lot of my youtube videos, which related to Burma and my work with the Shan refugees and rebels. He wrote me, while I was at school in the Philippines and said that, although he had spent almost as many years in Asia as me, and although he had shot hundreds of hours of raw footage, the only videos he ever managed to finish and publish were mine. And, he didn’t know why.


I told him that when I worked on Wall Street we learned that there are a lot of people who never even begin working on their dreams. In fact, probably 80% of businesses dissolve before they sell their first widget. The person, or people, who conceived a particular business plan made it seem like it was their life’s dream, an all consuming desire. Then it evaporated for one reason or another.


Back in the States, a friend of mine wanted to start a wine importing business on the internet. He talked about it non-stop for weeks, drawing up plans, designing logos. He saw the wine business as a ticket out of restaurants where he worked as a waiter. And best of all, he could work on his business at night, when he got off work, so he wouldn’t need to quit his day job. He didn’t even have to buy the wines. He would just find them, take orders, then purchase them. The plan sounded good. In my opinion, even if he didn’t make millions, he would earn something, more than what he had now. And once you get started in business other opportunities and problems arise that you never planned on. But you can’t know until you get there.


The guy who started Wrigleys gum, gave the gum away as a premium for people who bought his soap powder. After several months, he realized the gum was more popular, so he did it the other way around, selling the gum and giving away the soap. He made millions. In fact, most people don’t know this, but Wrigleys gum is the only American product which is sold in every single country in the world. Even Coke doesn’t have the penetration of Wrigleys. Nearly every stick of gum, made by every company, is owned, in some way, by Wrigleys.


But Wrigley couldn’t have anticipated that. He couldn’t have known it until he got out there and gave it a try. I think you are always better off doing something than doing nothing.


My friend with the wine business applied for a small business loan to buy a computer. The bank turned him down and he went into a violent deep depression. “Now, I will never be a business owner. I will be stuck as a waiter forever.”


“Why don’t you just work from an internet café until you earn enough to buy a computer?” I asked.


I don’t remember his exact objection, but my friend gave up on his dream. He liked to believe he was a victim of fate and this experience confirmed his belief. People like to be right, not successful.


Reasons are always given when people give up their dreams, but the fact is, people sabotage themselves. And I don’t know why they do it. And I have done it to myself. Just be aware of it and ask yourself why you didn’t do this or that, which you have always wanted to do.


On my last visit to Cambodia, my master needed my help with several things. We had been working together, over a period of years, to preserve the Cambodian martial art of Bokator, which had nearly died out.


1. He needed a free basic website

2. He needed me to write the English text for his book.

3. He needed us to do some youtube movies together.

4. He wanted to build a massive Bokator temple, and he needed $30,000,000 to build it.


I looked at his list and I told him, “I will interview you every day over the next few days, and then transcribe the interviews. We can use that text for your book, and your website. I can set up a basic, free, website for you, but someone with more skill will need to refine it afterwards. I can write the Bokator videos and arrange for my friend Alfred to film them for us.


We made an appointment for me to come and start the interview process. When I showed up, he told me, “I am sorry. I am too busy designing the temple. And I just can’t get any of these other projects done till I know the temple is complete.”


Obviously he didn’t have thirty million dollars. He would never have thirty million dollars, which meant the temple would never be done. Which meant, he would never do the other things on the list.


This is how 99% of people live. They are incapable of completing anything.


Another master I train with told me, “I received phone calls and email from around the world because of the youtube videos you did of me. And many journalists found me and did stories on me. And the association gave me an award for helping to promote the art.”


I thought this all sounded positive. Then he said to me. “But I looked at the video, and I wished we hadn’t made it because it is not perfect. I wish we could take it down till I make a perfect one.”


Once again, he had no capacity to make a better video. He reaped so many positive benefits from our faulty one, and yet he wanted to go back to when he had nothing.


Go figure.


People who read “Monk from Brooklyn,” and my first several books complained that there were a lot of misspelled words and typos. And I agree. They also say that there was no marketing and sales were low. Also true. But, because of those early books, I am a published author, which now is opening other doors for me. I am infinitely better off for having published faulty books than I would have been had I waited to publish perfect ones.  I don’t care about the problems with my books. The rights to Monk revert back to me in 2008. I can rewrite it and released it with better editing. The same is true of the other books.


So many people send me email to tell me that my website, is far from perfect. I always say, “ok can you fix it for me?” The answer of course is always “no” and that I should take it down till I can afford to do a good website. Screw them! I have no money for a better website and don’t anticipate having money for a better website. Right now, at least I have a website. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t get any work at all. Later, hopefully I can hire someone to build a better one. But take away my books and take away my website, and I am not a working author, I am back at square one. And no one gives you anything when you are at square one.


People are hung up on stupid details that prevent them from moving forward. I don’t know why, but seems to be the natural way of man.


The first step to achieving your goals is to start. The second step is failure. You will fail along the way. You will meet problems, and successes, that you never could have imagined till you started on the path. Most people don’t fail to achieve their dreams, they QUIT. So, the obvious two rules are, “Start working on your dream.” and “Don’t quit.”


And one more rule, tell everyone about your dreams and ask for help.


So, taking my own advice: My dream is still to get my own TV show and be wildly successful, rich, and famous. So, if you liked this article, and you can help me with that dream, please contact me.



Antonio Graceffo is a former investment banker. He left the world of finance to pursue his dream of being an adventure and martial arts author in Asia. For seven years he has traveled around Asia, living and studying in temples, learning languages and martial arts. He has published five books, available on and several hundred magazine articles. He is the host of the web TV show, “Martial Arts Odyssey.”

See his website: Join him on

Write him:


Antonio is a professional, motivational speaker, available to tell his inspirational story of rags-to-riches-and back to rags.

Where I am now and what I am doing

In Motivational on September 14, 2008 at 1:35 pm

By Antonio Graceffo


Just wanted to touch base and let you know where I am and what i am doing.
I was in and out of
with the Shane State Army rebels for about five
months, doing a serties of short films and articles.

here is a link to my youtube films.

I left Thailand and headed to Philippines, where I completed a course for
EMT emergency medical technician. I also complete swim rescue training and
another black belt in traditional martial arts. I stayed in
volunteering on an ambulance crew in a pretty rough neighborhood, till my
money ran out. I had been living in a ten by ten, concrete room with no
windows, no air conditioning and only a wooden bed, with no mattress. It
was brutaly hot and terribly uncomfortable. Eventually, I couldnt even
afford this luxurious accomodation.

My plan was to return to Burma as a medic or medic trainer, but I ran out
of money completely. So, I went to
, my current location, where i am
teaching school. I taught English, wrestling, and Tae Kwan Do for the
summer and will be teaching English, writing, and public speaking for the

I have spoken to a couple of NGOs about going back to Burma, and maybe
cambodia, as a medic trainer and have talked to some film crews about
going back into Burma to do a higher quality documentary. It seems that I
will most likely be going back to Burma in December.

We are looking for markets for the film. I am looking for markets for the
stories. I am still looking to get my own TV series, and I am looking for
a publicher for the book about Burma.

If you have any connections or anyone who could help me out with any of
this, that would be huge.



Antonio Graceffo is a former investment banker. He left the world of finance to pursue his dream of being an adventure and martial arts author in Asia. For seven years he has traveled around Asia, living and studying in temples, learning languages and martial arts. He has published five books, available on and several hundred magazine articles. He is the host of the web TV show, “Martial Arts Odyssey.”

See his website: Join him on

Write him:


Antonio is a professional, motivational speaker, available to tell his inspirational story of rags-to-riches-and back to rags.



Be the Hero of your Life Story

In Motivational on August 30, 2008 at 2:07 am

Around the World and Back to Your Beginnings

In Motivational on August 30, 2008 at 2:01 am

Inspirational Speaking on Youtube

In Motivational on November 4, 2007 at 6:43 am

Perception and Reputation: You are who you are.

New inspirational message from motivational speaker Antonio Graceffo.

By Dante Scott

“The monks taught me, you are who you are. You are fine the way you are. Don’t let anyone bully you into changing.”

More than six years ago, Antonio Graceffo, left his position as a financial consultant in New York City to pursue his dream of being an adventure and martial arts author traveling around Asia. He lived with monks and hill tribes, practiced martial arts, climbed mountains, kayaked on the ocean, trekked into dense jungle, learned four new languages, and canoed down rivers. Along the way, he published four books and several hundred articles in magazines.

Now, he has incorporated all of those experiences into his professional motivational speaking. 

“The whole time I was traveling I was constantly writing and taking pictures because I wanted to share the stories and images with people who were like I used to be, chained to a desk, unable to go out and see for themselves.” Says Garceffo.

A turning point came for Graceffo when he reported on an entire village of families living in a garbage dump outside of Phnom Penh.

“The smell was horrific. Most families only earned about a dollar and a half per day, scavenging garbage. They couldn’t afford to buy bottled water, so they were drinking the fetid ground water, which I didn’t even want to get on my skin. It was no wonder they were all living in a constant state of illness.” Said Antonio.

“That story, as well as several stories about Burmese Refugee Hill Tribes being slaughtered made me realize I wasn’t just watching more TV. I was experiencing, even if as a tourist, other people’s real lives and emotions. But the editors didn’t want anything but cold facts.”

Journalists are expected to be neutral, sending back bland reports about other people’s suffering, with no hint of emotion or personal experience.

“Some of the magazines wouldn’t even let me write the word I in my stories. They said first person perspective was unprofessional. But I was there. I felt. And I was learning life lessons that I wanted to share with others.”

The lessons Antonio learned from experiencing foreign cultures, as well as his frequent periods of consulting with Buddhists monks, have created a rich inventory of stories and anecdotes which Antonio now imparts as part of his motivational speaking.

“I have friends in these countries who earn less than $30 a month. Suddenly, this puts your own money troubles in perspective. There are Burmese and Laotian refugees in camps through out Asia who can’t go home because their government will kill them. What are my troubles compared to theirs? I know monks who spend every waking minute in meditation, prayer, and study. How much time do most of us dedicate to any of these? My martial arts masters and friends spend countless hours, over a period of years trying to reach physical perfection, for no reason other than they feel led to do so.”

“Speaking gives me an opportunity to tell people about my experiences, but at the same time to help them to draw conclusions about their own life and hopefully help them to find a way of living which works for them.”

 Antonio Graceffo speaks professionally as often as possible. For people who he can’t reach face to face, he has produced a CD, entitled “Around the World and Back to Your beginnings.” Working together with independent film maker, Soso Whaley, he has managed to put several of his inspirational videos on youtube, which people can watch and enjoy for free.

“Your dreams are right. Follow them. Live the life that suits you best. If you try to live the way someone else forces you to be, you will be miserable. Live the best way that you can. Use your time to learn and experience, and grow. Help people along the way. You are fine the way you are. Don’t ever let anyone bully you into feeling bad about yourself.”

You can see Antonio’s recent videos at youtube

 An brief version of the full length CD, “Around the World and Back to Your Beginnings” “Perception and Reputation” Antonio’s speech for the semi-finals of the World Championships of Public Speaking.” See Antonio Graceffo’s website,    

Finding the Balance Between Body and Spirit

In Motivational on April 20, 2007 at 5:01 pm

Many people describe martial arts as a kind of moving meditation, bringing body and soul in alignment. Many fighters and athletes have perfected their bodies but ignored their spirits. This story is about a former monk now a professional trainer, named Kru Pedro, who helps his students to find a balance. I hope it will lift your spirits.  Antonio  


What you Practice is What You Master

By Antonio Graceffo


“We are hard on the outside and soft on the inside.” Says Kru Pedro, who was once a professional fighter and a Buddhist monk.


Some professional fighters have trained their bodies to perfection, Kru Pedro helps them fill their spirit.


Kru Pedro Villalobos came to
Thailand and fought as a champion Muay Thai fighter. Later, he realized that his spirit wasn’t fulfilled by his ring success. So, he became a monk, and learned the precepts of Buddhism. He adopted the practices of chanting, meditation, and prayer. Later, he left the monastery so that he could return to fighting, but this time, as a teacher and trainer. He teaches his students the deadly arts of Muay Boran (ancient Muay Thai) and Krabi Krabong (Thai double-sword and stick fighting). Unlike other practitioners of obscure arts, Pedro takes a direct, no-nonsense approach teaching his students the skills they need to win fights in the professional ring. Along the way, he hopes they will learn from his example of how to bring health and growth to their spirit as well as their body.


Pedro calls his art Muay Thai Sangha. “The grappling in Muay Thai is limited. So, I added in grappling taken from other arts.” Pedro includes teachings taken from Brazilian Ju Jitsu and Filipino Arnis. This complete system is one of the most effective ring combinations I have ever seen. His school is located behind Wat Lanka, in
Chiang Mai, Thailand, where students train eight hours per day.


Pedro chooses his students very carefully. “I don’t want students who just want to win fights. I want students who want to grow. But, if my students want to go fight in the ring to test their skills, it is ok, they can go.”


Many of Pedro’s students have fought professionally, under his tutelage. The training and sparing is bare-knuckles. “I want the students to get the feel of hitting. Also, the pain is just part of the training. They must learn to absorb it and train past the pain.”


“Back in my home country,
Spain, I started training in fighting when I was 14. My mother died when I was 16. She had been a spirit medium who helped a lot of people. As a result, I was very spiritual. I tried a lot of religions, Catholic, Jehovah’s Witness…but nothing satisfied me.”


“At 17 I began training full time.” Eventually Pedro went to
America to continue his training and his professional fighting career. “In
America, it was hard at first. I was working illegally. I did many different jobs. I washed dishes in a restaurant. I had a Mexican friend who helped me get a job in security.” All the while he continued training and fighting. In the states at that time there wasn’t as much of a pro-fighting circuit as there is today. So, Pedro fought in all sorts of competitions including boxing, kick boxing, Muay Thai, and full contact martial arts.


“My English was zero. I never went to school. I had to just learn it on the streets. Eventually I became successful. I had a martial arts school, which was doing well. My fighting career was good. I had nice friends and people helping me, but I was still not happy inside.”


As he dedicated himself more to Muay Thai, Pedro went to
Thailand for training. “When I first came to
Thailand, I only learned fighting. There was no spiritual training. It was the same in the States.  I only looked for the big gyms, famous for training fighters, so I could prepare for the next fight.”


Pedro won a championship in
Thailand and was even slotted to fight my hero, Nong Toom (Beautiful Boxer). The fight had to be cancelled, however, because Nong Toom was over the weight limit. He had bulked up to 85 Kgs of muscle.

“Martial arts only filled me 50%. It was time to step forward and find what I was looking for. So I came back to
Thailand and became monk.”


“When I was a monk I couldn’t train. The Mahayana Buddhism, practiced in China, Korea, and
Japan allows monks to practice martial arts. But, the Theravada Buddhism, practiced in Thailand,
Cambodia, and Lao, prevents monks form training. Instead, monks here have to keep 227 precepts (vows) and do meditation and chanting.”


Kru Pedro had always had a special interest in the very ancient and somewhat secretive art of White Magic. “I had to study about the Khom (old word for Khmer) script from
Cambodia.” Like Latin in Europe, Khom and also Pali (from India) are the basis for the religious writings in all of
Indochina. (Only
Vietnam is an exception, because they follow the Chinese, rather than the Indian religion.)


Kru Pedro believes that you can’t find white magic or the true spirituality in the big cities. “You have to go to the small temples in the jungle, or near the border where cultures overlap.”


Kru Pedro spent years seeking out and studying with special teachers all over
Thailand. He found teachers for obscure martial arts, sword and stick fighting techniques long lost to the modern world. He learned religion and healing. His primary Krabi Krabong teacher, who he still follows, only has one student, Pedro. The teacher felt that with the condition of the world today, he didn’t want to give his art away. Sadly all of his knowledge would have died with him if Kru Pedro hadn’t become his student. “But I must always ask his permission before I demonstrate or before I teach anyone. And at any time, he could order me to stop.”


Of all of his many teachers, Pedro had a particular respect for cave monks, monks who have completely retreated from the world and cloistered themselves away, dedicated to a life of meditation and prayer.


“Religion has helped me tremendously in Muay


“Actually fighting and religion are not related, but you can learn fighting and use it in a good way. I don’t believe in religion. I believe in good morals, good actions, and good thoughts. Religion is something on paper. For me, it is a philosophy of how to do things. Buddhism comes from the Buddha’s teachings of how we can grow.”


“Muay Thai is related to this philosophy. We use the skills to promote self control and self defense. People who study martial arts should study the spirituality too because they have to learn the philosophy as a way of living.”


Can someone make it as a fighter if he doesn’t study the religion?


“Yes, if he fights, of course he can get good at fighting. If you do something often, you get good at it. It depends on the person, what interest he has. If he wants to fight, he gets better at fighting.”


Why would someone chose to train in both the religion and fighting?


“Before, I only trained for fighting. I changed because I was empty inside. When I practiced inside…I don’t want to use the word religion, but if you practice inside as well; chanting, praying, making offerings, and keeping the precepts, if you dedicate yourself to one philosophy, you can see more clearly, the whole cycle of life. If you can see things clearly, perhaps you can change. One who practices the religion is not better or worse, only he can see.”


“It is up to you. You do according to what you are ready to do, every one on his own level. If I see another person, with different actions, I know this person has a different wisdom. No one is wrong, only they are at different levels.”


A great teacher once told me, you cannot teach anyone anything. The teacher can guide, lead and show, but the student must learn on his own.


“I do what I can to help people.  I show what I do. If people want to follow, I give advice, or I explain. But, it is up to them if they want to change or not. If they change instantly, then they wouldn’t be learning they would be obeying. It is better if I show and they think, I want to do it, or, I don’t want to do it. The change has to come from inside.”


In Theravada Buddhism, monks are taught to have compassion and patience with all people, and not to impose rules on the general public. That changes, however, in the relationship of teacher and student.


“The only people who have to do what I say are my students, because they affect me as a teacher. If the person comes in the gym, I show them how to do and how to behave and how to help each other and make a good clean environment. I discourage drinking, drugs, and prostitution. I cannot eradicate everything, but I say, please put more effort into the training and stay in at night so you will be rested. According to what they do, if the person does not want to change, then I don’t put effort into teaching them.”


Students sometimes ask about the Buddhist concept of rebirth.


“We are in a cycle. The only thing we know is when we are born till when we die. And, in that period of time we should do the best we can. Some people say there is something after death. Some say no. But, it doesn’t matter. Whether you believe in after life or not, you need to concentrate on this life and do the right thing. My personal belief is that our rebirth depends 50%, on the merit we accumulate in this life. Ok, you don’t believe? No problem, then just concentrate on this life.”


“We don’t have the power to change anyone, only the power to show, and they will decide. I like people who walk, not people who talk.”


The Martial Art 

The basis of teaching of Muay Thai Sangha comes from sport Muay Thai but the grappling comes from many style outside of
Thailand. “Thai grappling is very limited.” Explains Kru Pedro.  


In North East Asia; Japan, Korea, and even
Mongolia, grappling is very popular. For the most part,
South East Asia, however, doesn’t have grappling on the ground.


Pedro’s had two theories on why the Theravada countries don’t have grappling. The first was based on the religion. “In Buddhism, the feet are considered dirty and the head is considered pure.” Because it is closest to God. “Thai people don’t like to be touched on the head, because it is a sacred chakra.”


His second theory was more closely related to fighting. Martial art in Thailand developed through centuries of experience in wars with Burma and
Cambodia. “In combat you don’t have time to go to the ground. If you go to the ground with one opponent, you will be stabbed in the back by the others.” So, the Thais developed an art that reflected their needs.


Why are there so many fighting arts in China but essentially only one main art, with a few subtle branches, in Thailand,
Cambodia, and Lao?


“This is just my opinion.” began Kru Pedro, who was always quick to point out that he was not an expert. “In
China, the martial arts practitioners were monks, who were not permitted to fight in combat or to fight in a ring for sport. So, they have many teachings but they lack pure practice in application.
Thailand is the opposite, few teachings but real applications in fighting. In
China, a lot of the movements don’t apply in a real fight. Many things are just talk but not walk. In
Thailand they were constantly fighting, and improving on the art’s effectiveness. Kung Fu developed many branches. In
Thailand, the development was in a direct line.”


Thailand is still in the trunk. In
China, many people have moved into the branches.”


Arguably, there is no country in the world with such a developed fighting circuit as
Thailand. Muay Thai is the official national sport. When I was training and fighting in
Thailand in 2003, there were 65,000 registered professional Muay Thai fighters. Today, Kru Pedro believes the number to be much higher.


“On every street, there is a school with 15 or 20 fighters, fighting pro every month.”


 The number of pro fights in
Thailand is huge. Outside of
Thailand, the UFC, K-1, Pride, and MMA competitions have increased the popularity of Muay Thai in the world. But, in many ways, this is why the old Muay Thai philosophy and religion is being lost.


“My teachers taught me that when you grow, the old cycle breaks. You have to give it up and start a new cycle. When you are developing the fighting art, you loose many things. Also, they try to be popular, to get more people to participate. They change the rules so less people get hurt, and so people can fight more often. This is where sport Tae Kwan Do, for example, comes from.”


Always finding the good side of things, Pedro went on to say what he thought of Tae Kwan Do and strip mall variety martial arts.


“It is very, very good. It makes martial arts available to many people.”


A few years ago, a man named Billy Blank, made a fortune from a Muay Thai based exercise form and video series he invented, called Taibo. Shortly afterwards, fitness boxing and cardio Muay Thai became standard exercise classes at gyms around the world. Today, when you say Muay Thai in the States, every one thinks you are talking about some form of aerobics.  


“At least now people have heard of
Thailand and they don’t think all Asians are Chinese.” laughed Kru Pedro. “When I first moved to the States and said I was from Spain, they asked what part of
Mexico was that?”


“Billy Blank is good because he makes people exercise. Everything that makes people exercise is good, as long as the schools don’t teach people the wrong way. When we use the word Muay Thai, though, we should be careful because sometimes we use it for commercialism. It is not bad if we are teaching Muay Thai, but we shouldn’t use the word without teaching it.”


Billy Blank made up his own name, Taibo, so he is not misusing the word Muay


“It is good that people like Bruce Lee and Billy Blank made martial arts available to everyone, but for me, I only want a few students. I only chose students who want to grow. I don’t want to train pro fighters. If my students want to fight pro to test themselves, ok, no problem. They can go, and I will help them. But I don’t want people who are trying to make a lot of money from fighting. We all need to make money to live but not more than that. My teachers taught me not to take a lot of students because you don’t want the skills going to the wrong people. I look before I teach. If a student does bad, the teacher gets some of the bad karma.”


“People think they can buy the teachings, but they cannot. I will, however, give opportunity to anyone.”


Pedro follows the Brahman Biharas. “Mehta means love and kindness. I give an opportunity to every person who comes.”


“Karuna, compassion, if a person is willing to follow the teachings I follow, I have compassion and I teach him. If not, I give them their money back immediately, and I can give them a recommendation to another school.”


“I am not a teacher-master. I am a teacher-student, who can help you a little. When you come to my level, we can wok together.”


In nearly thirty years of martial arts practice I don’t hold a single belt. And in articles circulated around the world, I have stated publicly how much I hate belts. Pedro was more forgiving.


“Belts are ok if people want to have them. The black belt is the white belt who didn’t quit. It doesn’t matter the color, only hat people learn. It is ok to reward their achievement. People feel good when they earn a belt. But, if the teachers give belts as part of a business, I don’t support this. Before, I did it because before, I didn’t know better. But then I learned better, and I didn’t do it anymore. I cannot say they are bad. I will say only they don’t know yet. They are not bad. They may change later, but we should give them opportunity. Give opportunity to every person to change. If after they learn, but refuse to change, that is one thing. But, if they decide to change that is good. That is very good.”


“I walk. If you want to come with me, ok, we will go together. If you don’t want to come with me, ok, I cut you out, even if you are my family, my friend, or my student.”


“Once, I kicked out a student, who refused to change. I gave him his money and sent him away. He complained, what about the customer policy. I told him, there is no customer policy. There are no customers, only students, and I am a student too.”


Kru Pedro had a single piece of advice for people around the world.


“According to your actions you will have your consequences.”


“I don’t need to say more. That says everything. If you do good, you will have good. If you do bad, you will have bad.”


If you practice fighting, you will be good at fighting. If you practice fighting and neglect the spirit, the spirit will be empty. If you train spirit and body you will be filled.


Antonio Graceffo is an adventure and martial arts author living in
Asia. He is a professional fighter and the author of four books available on Contact him see his website


You can reach Kruu Pedro through his website,