Eskrima World Championships 2009 (Stick Fighting)
The Eskrima World Championships (Filipino Stick Fighting) were conducted during 24-25 April 2009 in Cebu City, the Phillipines. Graeme Membrey from Perth, WA was a member of the Indonesian team from the ‘Combined Martial Arts Academy’ of South Jakarta.
At his first championships, Graeme won a silver medal in the ‘Senior Division – Open weight’ and another silver in the ‘Senior Division – Kilata (no armour)’. Although recently turning 50 years of age, Graeme was described as displaying a level of fitness ‘to that of far younger men’ and intends to fight in younger age Divisions in future competitions if “the rules allow”. Currently Graeme is the United Nations ‘Chief Security Advisor’ in Indonesia and has been based in Jakarta since mid 2008 after a three year stint as the Chief of UN Security in Iraq. During this high risk and high tempo appointment in Baghdad, Graeme studied the Israeli martial art of Krav Marga under instructor Mika Manninen (Finland) which added to his previous fighting skills learnt in the Australian Army (Unarmed Combat) and through earlier Karate training.
Coached in the Filipino martial art of Stick Fighting (Eskrima – Arnis) by fellow Australian, Glen Gardiner, Graeme has developed into a competent and very aggressive fighter. Instructor Gardiner, himself a Master of Eskrima and Black Belt holder in various martial arts including Budokhan Karate, Brazilian Jujitsu and Japanese Samuri sword fighting, also won Gold and Silver in the 2009 World Championships and has indicated that Graeme Membrey has the potential to gain a Black Belt in Eskrima in the near future.
Photos from the 2009 World Championships in the Phillipines show Graeme fighting in single and double stick events, with the Indonesian team (Glen Gardiner in front row centre) and holding his medals.
Graeme’s family are based in Perth. At this time none share his passion for martial arts though daughter Jessica is an elite diver (10m and 3m boards), daughter Lucy is a swimmer and focussed on a future medical profession, whilst son Jack is in the school Rugby ‘A’ team and keen surf lifesaver. Wife Judy trains daily in general fitness and manages to keep the family together during Graeme’s absences abroad.
We wish them all well in the future!
Source: Australian media outlets.com