at 73 Years Old
In the Pacific Northwest,
Master Isidro Archibeque is a figure larger than life.
He has been actively teaching in Western Washington for
as long as anyone can remember, and today, though in his
sunset years, he remains a figure larger than life.
"Archie", as he prefers to be called is best know for
his mastery of the Iron Hand. His feats have included
driving nails through boards, breaking countless bricks,
carrying a refrigerator up three flights of steps,
penetrating sealed plastic soda bottles with his
fingers, breaking rocks, bricks, boulders,...you get the
picture! Once, to commemorate one of my promotions, he
brought a 12"x12" piece of plywood, 1" inch thick
(that's 9 layers of veneer!). It took two hits for him
to do the break. I have never seen anyone else even
If that were not enough,
"Archie" is equally well known for his mastery of
pressure points, joint locks, and fighting strategy. His
art is a philosophy, requiring that each student return
to nature, and develop a personal understanding and
awareness of his or her integral package of instincts.
His teaching is modeled on the psychology, behavior, and
movement of animals...a return to the original
inspirations for Martial Arts, as he would say. The name
he has given to this philosophy is Gun-Fu, Animal
"Archie's" greatest fame
came as a teacher to "teachers." Starting in the late
1970's, ranking Black Belts, and senior students from
other styles began to seek "Archie" out, many choosing
to stay and undergo an apprenticeship with this force of
nature. Some of those persons are now recognized masters
in their own styles, and freely acknowledge their debt
to Master Archibeque.
After his retirement from
active teaching in 2002, Master Archibeque continued his
regular visits to schools and tournaments throughout the
Pacific Northwest. In short, he went where welcomed, and
freely shared all his knowledge and experience.
These clips were filmed
at the Iron Crane Dojo on May 27, 2006. Archie had just
turned 73 years old. The visit was unplanned, and it
just so happened that a portable video camera was
available. Adding to the aura of serendipity was the
presence of Sifu's Russ Kauffroath; Luis Cruz-Vega; Roy
Kauffroath and Bill Mc Cabe ... and some passing
visitors from other classes. In short, it was a grand
Because nothing was
expected, and there were no time constraints, Master
Archibeque patiently shared the nuances of his
philosophy, while responding to all questions. We have
taken the original video, and preserved the highlights
of the event in the form of groupings by topic, allowing
for your personal research into and understanding of
this singular art of Gun-Fu.
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