Ernie Reyes was honored as, Century
"One of the Greatest Martial
Arts Masters of the 20th", on national
Television (TNT) produced by Wesley Snipes.
Kick Illustrated Magazine bestowed the title
of "Master of Creative Karate",
upon Ernie Reyes for his mastery of unique martial
arts instruction and creative choreography of
martial art performances. Due to his reputation
as a pioneer of progressive martial arts training
in America, Master Reyes has been featured in
every national karate magazine in the world. His
record of martial arts accomplishments speaks
of the West Coast World Martial Arts Association
with Master Tony Thompson.
into the Black Hall of Fame, Black Belt Magazine,
Instructor of the Year.
Professional Karate Association, Instructor of
State Tae Kwon Do Grand Champion, UC Berkeley,
National Tae Kwon Do Champion (Fighting and Forms)
medal winner at the 3rd World Tae Kwon Do Championships
in top 10 in Open Forms Competition in the USA.
State Lightweight Champion, (Open Tournament Point
of Champions", accomplished the incredible
feat of producing (7) Black Belt National Champions
in one year from his West Coast team.
National Champion Ernie Reyes Jr. the first youngest
child in the history of martial arts to be rated
in the adults professional forms division.
and coached the internationally famous West Coast
World Action Team. Bushido Magazine in Europe
called his team the #1 Martial Arts Demo Team
in the World. The team has been performing for
more than 25 years nationally and
Reyes' creative martial arts genius had led him
to Hollywood as a martial art actor, choreographer,
and entertainer. He also managed his son Ernie
Reyes Jr. in developing his own television series
called Sidekicks, a Motown, Disney, Production,
for (ABC). Master Reyes also starred in, "Surf
Ninjas", with Ernie Reyes Jr. Leslie Nielsen,
Rob Schneider, and Tone Loc, a New Line Production.
into the Black Belt Hall of Fame, (EFC) Educational
Funding Company as, Professional Martial Arts
Business Man, of the year. Page 2 Ernie Sr. Resume
Reyes has been featured on every national martial
arts magazine in the United States and Europe
for his unique, dynamic and creative teaching
Reyes is in high demand as a world martial art
motivational speaker. He is also a graduate of
San Jose State University.
June 22, 2003 Master Reyes was awarded a "Life
Time Achievement Award" by the National Association
of Professional Martial Artist, for 25 years of
is also an co-author of the book, "Little
Dragons", children curriculum for martial
arts training, produced by Century Martial Arts.
the community services arena Master Reyes has
received, "Proclamation Certificates from
the State of California", presented to him
by the Lt. Governor himself, Cruz Bustamante.
He has been presented certificates by many mayors
in the Santa Clara Valley as well as across the
United States, Hawaii, Ohio, Reno, for his contribution
toward a positive influence to their cities. He
has also been given, "The Key To City",
by the mayor of Forest Park in Ohio.
ERNIE REYES' PHILOSOPHY
"I am first and foremost a martial
artist, striving to reach the highest level of
living, through the martial arts process. The
Way - The Do!"
"I am committed to learning,
to free my spirit, so I can become the best I
can possible be. Only then can I help stimulate,
inspire, share powerful ideas and lead others
to become the best they can possible be. Giving
this unconditional love to my students brings
me an overwhelming feeling of selffullfillment.
It taps into my - Spirituality!"
"I believe martial arts is one
of the greatest gifts and treasures of life to
create positive change in peoples lives. I am
totally certain it is my noble calling in life."
ERNIE REYES SR. LIFE TIME ACHIEVEMENT
Parents story to birth to Ernie Sr. grade school:
Ernesto and Valentina Reyes were some of the
first Filipino’s to migrate to the USA,
from the Philippine Islands in 1929. They worked
in fish canaries of Monterey and the agricultural
fields of Salinas California, known as the, Lettuce
Bowl of the World.
Ernesto and Valentina were determined to survive
in America and worked slave hours that paid 30
cents and hour. Working two jobs at a time, 16
hour days was the regular routine to feed a family
of 12 children. A pair of twins and an older brother
passed away at a young age, that left 7 sisters
and 1 brother, plus the youngest of the family
Ernie Reyes Sr, born Feb. 12, l947. Ernie Sr.
was the brat of the family always causing trouble
then constantly running away behind his mom from
his sisters and especially from his older brother.
At the age of 10-12 years old Ernie Sr. was
already taught to get up at 5:30 a.m. in the morning
to help his parents run their Labor Camp of 150
Mexican Bracerros from Mexico, who worked in the
labor fields. Ernie Sr.'s parents also made Ernie
Sr. help wash dishes, all (150 plates), or sent
out to do the back breaking manual labor, along
side the Mexican laborers out in the fields.
It was this old school discipline, taught by
his parents that would develop the foundation
of a strong work ethic, that would help him pursue
future success in his life. But in the mean time
Ernie Sr hated every moment of this life lesson
Mr. and Mrs. Reyes found a way financially to
make sure all of their children were sent to private
catholic school including the last of the Mohicans
Ernie Sr. Mama Reyes felt if she didn't full fill
this obligation her family would go to hell for
etertinity. She was on a quest! But for Ernie
Sr. grammar school was living hell.
Ernie Sr. had a major problem of adjusting to
early years of schooling, he ended up flunking
kindergarten, and first grade because he was a
constant (DNS) ,did not show. He didn’t
want his mother to leave the classroom. He remembers
sweating profusely in the reading circles because
when his turn came to read, he didn't know how
to, and would try to elbow the kid next to him
to help him out.
Ernie Sr. was in constant trouble up to the
sixth grade, he would consistently get konked
on the head, by his teachers, (called nuns), who
carried this little wood clicker. This resulted
for talking or not paying attention in class.
He would always be going to the principals office
for fighting with the other kids.
Mama Reyes tried her best to keep her son in
check, making him become an alter boy and learning
the entire mass in Latin, not knowing what the
words meant. She even turned one of the bedrooms
of the house into a mini-church statues, candles
and all, and would make him pray with her for
Many times with his eyes closed Ernie Sr. would
just fall asleep instead of praying. Then mama
Reyes would have to finally break out the arnis
stick as the last resort to get her message across.
That would help for a moment but not for long,
because Ernie Sr.'s uncontrollable energy would
be all over the place once again. His mom would
just look at him, then walk away, making the sign
of the cross to herself. Papa Reyes would just
laugh and say, "that’s my boy".
One thing that Ernie Sr. did love about school
was recess where they played kick ball or dodge
ball and he excelled at that early on. Then came
all the sports football, basketball, baseball,
and track he couldn't wait to go to school just
for that. Now all that wild energy had some means
of focus. Maybe he didn’t listen to the
teachers in class, but he listened very acutely
and attentively to his atheletic coaches.
During junior high school he went to a private
parochial school for boys only. Every day there
would be a paddle session during the last period.
If at anytime of the day you talked, ran down
the corridors, threw down trash on the ground,
chewed gum, or fell asleep in class, you paid
the price, breaking these rules.
Ernie Sr. seemed to always be on the hit list
especially for falling asleep in class since he
would stay up until 12:00 midnight shooting baskets
under a moon lit court. Then wake up early in
the morning to play some kind of sport before
classes. Right after lunch he would be falling
asleep in classes.
So the teachers known as brothers, would bring
out this paddle with holes in it and for each
rule broken you were awarded a hit to the butt.
They called it the board of education. And the
macho thing to do at the time was when you got
hit to not flinch, yell, or scream, even though
internally you wanted to give the wildest yell
of your life because of the excruciating pain.
This would be a way to get back at the teachers,
this really pissed them off.
In high school Ernie Sr. made all stars in football
and basketball, but was still out of control by
getting expelled from catholic high school. Ernie
Sr. transferred to public school Salinas High,
that was cultural shock because of the lack of
discipline he experienced there. Even though he
had his challenges at private school, these students
were at another level.
This was a major turning point in Ernie Sr’s
life for some reason during the 11th grade in
high school. Ernie Sr. did a 360 degree turn around,
a transformation for the better and good side,
started to evolve. Commitment to do the right
things all of a sudden started to become his way
It was during this time that he decided with
a group of his friends to start studying and no
longer be thought of as the jocks of the schools
with no brains. They started to get on the honor
roll but still didn’t have the confidence
to think they could graduate from Hartnell Jr.
Martial Art Classes:
In 1967 Ernie Sr’s.primary goal in Jr.
college was to get a
scholarship in basketball, so he took martial
art lessons only once a week at a health club
were he worked out weight training. But he vowed
that one day martial arts would be a big part
of his life.
Ernie Sr. was an underdog in making the Jr. College
basketball team since many of the all stars from
all of the local high schools had the bigger reputations.
Eventually with his hard work ethic he beat them
all out and became a starter and all conference
selection, that no one would ever had expected.
His dream was cut short of getting a scholarship
when he severely sprained his ankle and was finished
for the rest of the season. But maybe that was
a blessing in disguise for him to realize his
real calling in life, martial arts.
His first instructor was Moises Arizmendi an
old school Tang Soo Do Korean stylist, in Salinas
California. He drilled the traditional basics
up and down the floor for 3 hour workouts. He
then learned how to sweep and mop the training
floor every night after workouts. This was part
of the studio respect and tradition.
Days / Master Choi, Tony Thompson:
Ernie Sr. amazed himself by finally graduating
from Jr. College. Now it was time to move away
from home and transferred to San Jose State University,
where he met his Korean Grand Master Instructor
Dan Choi by joining the Tae Kwon Do Club at the
college. At the same time he met his training
partner and friend for life Tony Thompson. They
have been together for 34 years sharing their
extraordinary martial art journey filled with
a lot of sweat, blood, tears, and happiness.
According to Ernie Sr. he has yet to meet an
instructor like Grand Master Dan Choi who really
instilled the values of honor, loyalty, family,
and bravery, based upon respect and discipline
through traditional martial arts training. He
not only taught it he lived it. Master Choi transformed
Ernie Sr.’s life to become more compassionate
for others and taught him to give value to other
Many times Ernie Sr. would sit in Grand Master
Dan Choi’s office for hours not saying one
word because there was a language barrier and
extreme respect to even try to start a conversation
with his instructor. But those were the spiritual
training days and moments where Ernie Sr. developed
a lot of sensory perception to see, hear clearly
and to develop an acute sense for peoples feelings.
Now Ernie Sr. and Tony Thompson trained 6 days
a week at night doing double sessions, getting
up 5:30 a.m. in the morning for special training.
Ernie Sr. and Tony Thompson both graduated and
earned their degrees at San Jose State University.
Nobody would ever think that these two individuals
would ever make it, coming from the poor side
of town, literally from the other side of the
Ernie Sr. and Tony Thompson both lived on food
stamps, welfare, and student loans, to survive
during these college days.. At times Ernie Sr.
had to ride a 10- speed bike as only means of
transportation, to part time jobs across town.
And this was on top of having Ernie Jr. being
born. Ernie Sr. also had to full fill his military
obligation during this time by being in the national
guard for 6 years. This allowed Ernie Sr. time
to finish his college courses instead of Viet
Ernie Sr. taught for Master Choi ever night
for free for five years straight. When Master
Choi offered to pay him he felt guilty taking
the money from his instructor.
Team / Competition:
Being very competitive in organized sports all
his life, Ernie Sr. got into martial arts for
the competition aspects and wanting to win those
6’ Trophies. He started competing as a white
belt but really started to win when he was a green
belt. After winning that first trophy in point
fighting there was no stopping the competitive
juices from flowing.
Even though competition was Ernie Sr.'s first
motivation, teaching became his real love for
the martial arts. If at all possible he would
love to just teach for free, which he still does,
just for the passion of spreading the arts.
Ernie Sr. fought competitively in point fighting
, then Tae Kwon Do full contact, where he became
lightweight USA national champion. He won the
bronze medal at the 3rd World Tae Kwon Do Championships.
Ernie Sr. eventually revolutionized creative musical
forms in America and the world with his 7 national
champions he developed in one year. Ernie Jr.
became the youngest child in the history of martial
arts to be rated in the adults professional division.
Ernie Sr.. then developed and spearhead his dynamic
West Coast Demo Team.
They would all pile into the 1977 yellow dodge
van that he still has and go to every rinky dink
tournament to national tournaments in California,
every weekend. Eventually they flew to national
tournaments across the USA, doing car washes to
raise funds to travel. Many times their would
be 6 to 8 team members jammed into one hotel room.
At one tournament when the team was all asleep
a burglar snuck into their hotel room, team members
fast asleep all over the floor. Suddenly Cynthia
Rothrock screams the thief screams and grabs their
boom box and starts running, Ernie Sr. jumps up
and starts running after him with only his underwear
but lost him. That night all of the national champions
John Chung, Helen Chung, Nasty Anderson, Alvin
Prouder, Flash Newman, and many more went hunting
for the boom box to help out the team.
It was never found until the next morning when
Dayton Pang happened to walk by a car and saw
the boom box. He told the thief that it was ours
and he said no way, until Dayton found the demo
team tape in it, titled, "Staying Alive."
He finally surrendered the boom box. What would
the West Coast Demo Team do without generations
One day Grand Master Choi gave his school 1,400
sq. foot location to Ernie Sr. The rent was $315
a month. Ernie Sr. only had 75 students some he
just let train for free, because they didn't have
money, but they were awesome. Master Choi gave
permission and his blessing to Ernie Sr. and Tony
Thompson to form their own West Coast Association,
because he knew they had a modern day approach
to their teaching martial arts compared to his
old school ways. Up to this day Grand Master Dan
Choi is still their teacher and father like image.
In the 1970's and 80's Ernie Sr. had already
started to teach mixed martial arts to his students
and team incorporating Filipino Arts of Arnis
from Remy Presas and Escrima from Mike Inay. They
worked out in Wu Shu with Anthony Chan and John
Chuck. Ernie Sr. and his training partners went
to the local boxing club to learn boxing techniques.
And Benny Uriquidez did seminars for them, teaching
them how to incorporate kick boxing techniques
to their system.
One day during a demo in Las Vegas a manager
producer from Hollywood approached Ernie Sr. and
said she was interested in managing Ernie Sr.
and his son. But Ernie Sr. didn't want to leave
his students to live in Hollywood, George Chung,
Cynthia Rothrock, Scott Coker, Margie Betke, Belinda
Davis, Dayton Pang, Darren Pang, Gary Nakahama,
Soo Gin Lee additions to the team Chucky Currie,
Donna Bernardi, Diane Murray, Tom Callos and all
the rest of his loyal students. Teaching was now
integrated as Ernie Sr.'s true love for martial
arts. So ,he said no to the Hollywood manager.
But knew it was their destiny.
Six months later he decided that he would call
the producer in Hollywood. But the team Coordinator
Donna Bernardi lost the card. Then one day Donna
happened to be cleaning out an old purse and,
"wa-la", the producers card appeared.
Ernie Sr. phoned the producer Sally Baker and
she said, I don't know your son was young and
that's what they were looking for. Ernie Sr.pushed
for an audition they did a demo in her small office,
Ernie Jr. did a acting monologue she was amazed
and destiny took it's course of action.
But times were hard living in Hollywood at first
wasn't easy. Ernie Sr. and Jr. lived in the garage
of their aunts house in one of the roughest areas
of Los Angeles police helicopter flying over head
every night. Ernie Jr. slept on the floor on a
fold out futon. Trying to make rent back in San
Jose for the school, $315 wasn't easy.
During special events when the producers would
send the Reyes' a limo, they were so embarrassed
when the limo's would come and pick them up, because
of living in the garage. They would pretend they
lived in the front house, by walking out the front
What kept them sane and happy really was working
out daily in the martial arts, weight training,
and having a phenomenal family relationship. Ernie
Sr. Ernie Jr., Lee Reyes, with the help of Margie
Betke all piled into that one bed room garage.
They were not just a family they were best of
friends, enjoying the process and learning many
powerful life skills overcoming barriers, rejection
and limiting beliefs on the way to success. Ernie
Sr. and Jr. did fight scenes in the smallest producers
offices always mesmerizing the big wigs, with
help from Ernie Sr.'s first Black Belts, Kelly
Walker. Ernie Sr. was amazed that at 8 years old
Ernie Jr. was already suggesting and coming up
with phenominal martial arts choreography.
Ernie Sr. and Jr. did a demo for Motown's Berry
Gordy and his executives and wrote Ernie Jr. into
the, "Last Dragon", which they were
wrapping up. Then came Red Sonja, Side Kicks the
television series, Ninja Turtles I & II, Surf
Ninjas, The Process, and Secret of the Horse.
Ernie Sr. remembers when Ernie Jr. got his first
big break in Hollywood, in their little garage
room they both got down on their knees and thanked
their creator with a prayer on being fortunate
to have martial arts as their way of life.
Ernie Reyes' West Coast World Martial Arts Association
has grown to 35 schools that started with Master
Reyes school and Master Tony Thompson the other
founder of the association. The schools these
days focus in on not only developing Black in
Martial Arts but Black Belts in Life. There is
greater emphasis on balancing traditional martial
arts, combative martial arts, and performing arts.
Life skills like the Black Belt Success System
are articulated more clearly.
Ernie Reyes' Demo Team for the New Millennium
is now called Ernie Reyes' World Action Team.
They have now traveled all over the world doing
martial art performances and still receiving standing
ovations after 24 years of demo's. Now with the
new Reyes kids' being born at least 20 more years
of demos into the future. Ernie Sr. is now being
amazed by his 6 years old daughter Destiny, because
she doesn’t suggest choreography like Ernie
Jr., did. She just straight out tells her dad,
Ernie Sr., what's more dynamic for her and the
Spiritually my mom and dad Valentina and Ernesto
Reyes, ingrained that indomitable spirit to never
quit. Martial Arts Grand Master Dan Choi and Moises
Arizmendi taught him the meaning of respect and
discipline. Master Steve LaVallee and Hubbard
College set foundation for running professional
martial art school and business. Old School Years:
Byong Yu, Tadashi Yamashita, Benny Urquidez, Bill
Wallace, Joe Lewis, Eric Lee, Hidi Ochi, Fumio
Demura, Jhoon Rhee, Remy Presas, Mike Inay, Danny
Inosanto, Ed Parker, Ralph Castro, Joe Corley,
John and Pat Worley, Jeff Smith.
From: 1999 to 2002 Billy Blanks Tae Bo, Frank
Cucci, Frank Shamrock, Bob Cook, Javier Mendez,Grappling
and NHB, Peyton Quinn RAMCAT system, CDT,LRT,
Tom Patire, Mike Swain Judo, Fairtex Alex Gong,
Saxon Sanjir Thai Kick Boxing, Jimmy Tacosa Escrima,
Leon Jay Jujitsu, George Dillman pressure point.
Celebrities: Chuck Norris., Bruce Lee, Jackie
Chan, Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Swartzenegger,
Tony Robbins, Dan Millman, Tolly Burkan, Yoda
Soul Mate Margie Betke and (3) children New
Generation: Destiny Reyes 6 years, Espirit 3 years,
and KI -2 years old. First Generation: Ernie Jr.
and Lee Reyes.
I believe martial arts is one of the greatest
treasures of life. When taught will dignity and
reverence, their aren't many organization, systems,
or other forces that have the power to bring all
kinds of races, colors, creeds, religions, together
into an environment that creates peace and harmony.
Just take a moment and think about it, I've witnessed
it here in San Jose California at each Black Belt
test. We have multi cultural nationalities with
all levels of income brackets, education, and
professions all getting along because of the commonality
of the way of martial arts.
Goals / Message:
Many people go through life searching for happiness.
I am absolutely certain that martial arts is a
key to that success. All we have to do is turn
the key and unlock the door. In other words, unlock
your mind, unlock your heart and discover martial
arts vast treasures of unlimited potential to
create positive change.
Martial Arts is my way of life! Martial Arts is
a way of life for my entire family we live, breathe,
eat and sleep martial arts. I will continue to
impact and empower as many peoples lives as I
can during my lifetime. Hopefully to enlighten
the mainstream, general public and society to
have martial arts as their way of life. As martial
artist, I know we can make a difference during
these challenging times in our society and world.
Ernie Reyes' World Action Team has been fortunate
to have traveled to different parts of the world.
And the greatest satisfaction comes when we have
brought joy, happiness, and a smile to different
faces of people around the world. We know we have
touched their hearts because of the power to blend
traditional and modern day martial arts. This
brings out the true power of martial arts creating,
"Peace and Harmony", for all mankind.
The power of martial arts is only as good as it's
Isn't it amazing to know that we can learn the
philosophy of true martial artist from an insect
and a creature:
First the insect, like Spider Man's mentor said,
: "With Power Comes Responsibility."
So we must all first and foremost get in shape
and stay in shape ourselves, it is our responsibility
as martial artist, to carry its power.
If great role models like Jack Lalane or Jhoon
Rhee, can do it why not you. Way into the golden
years of being a healthy and happy 70, 80, &
100 year older.
Self first before we can teach others. You are
the living message.
And like, Yoda, the
creature said, "May the Force Be With You