Guro Mike Wise

Perhaps one of the greatest men I have ever known was my Instructor, my friend and my confidant Guro Mike Wise. I met Mike at the Inosanto Academy and quickly fell in love with the no frills approach he had to the way he taught martial arts. I trained with Guro Mike in Kali, Jeet Kun Do and Muay Thai Boxing – he would always challenge you to exceed your perceived skill level. Everything was stripped down and had absolute purpose. Anytime Mike would show or explain anything it was like a lightbulb would go on, there would instantly be meaning behind the form. Every hour spent with Mike was opening another chapter to a new book you never even knew existed.  Listening to him tell stories about excerpts from his past and how they always seemed to pertain and clarify some skill you were trying to learn kept me wanting to learn more about him and who he was. Now that is all gone. I will never forget the impact he made on my life and I will never be able to repay the debt I owe him for sharing his time, knowledge and friendship.

Here he is with his signature sleeveless Inosanto Academy T shirt and bandanna. In all the years I knew him I only remember seeing him a handful of times with out a bandanna or hat on his head. In the picture is Guro Suzanne Luna and Guro Mike is teaching knife technique. Guro’s technique was based in the traditional methods but yet he always had a twist which grounded it and applied it to real world applications.  When Guro Mike suggested you do a move differently you somehow knew he was speaking from real world experience.

 

 

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Here is Guro Mike with Marty Zaninovich and Guro John Spezzano.

 

 

 

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Here is his biography from the Inosanto Academy website.

Michael Wise began his training in the martial arts 36 years ago as a 12 year old student of his father. Mike’s dad had served with the Flying Tigers in China during World War II; he was a light weight boxer in the military and started to teach his young son Michael. As Mike grew into adolescence he met a young man that was a brown belt in Kenpo Karate, he was fascinated by the art and asked his friend to teach him some of the movements that he had seen him practicing. He trained with this friend for one year and then joined the Ed Parker Santa Monica Dojo where he trained and competed for the next 6 years. 

At about this same time Mike was introduced to an Indonesian man that had taught Pentjak Silat back in his native home in Bali . The movements were foreign page1image28696at first, coming from a Karate background but very quickly and painfully Mike learned how efficient this art truly was. He was also cross training in the Choy Lay page1image33152Fut Kung Fu system as well. Mike was always fortunate to find backyard page1image35328instructors that were willing to share their knowledge with serious students. Some page1image36416years later Mike trained in Tae Kwon Do and several other styles that strictly page1image42736pertained to military or law enforcement applications
Around 1991 Mike was introduced to the Inosanto Academy of Martial Arts, he came to watch one class that happened to be Muay Thai and he stayed to watch the Kali and Silat classes as well. At the end he concluded that this was the school he had been looking for all of his life. After 6 months at the Academy Damon Caro took an interest in him, as did Chad Stahelski. Mike trained in as many classes as possible and Damon worked with him one on one several times each week in Kali, Silat, Jun Fan and Thai Boxing. Chad also worked with Mike– or worked him over depending on the day and his mood! Erik Paulson trained Mike as well once or twice a week in Shoot Wrestling and grappling. It was the best training of his life. Training like that can’t be purchased, it is a true blessing, one that Mike has treasured all of his life. He was blessed as well to come to know Guro Inosanto and Paula not only as instructors but as close friends. In the advanced classes and in numerous demonstrations for the public Mike worked with his closest workout partner and friend John Spezzano. 

In addition Mike was a special weapons instructor for the LAPD Tactics Division as a Police Reserve Specialist. He was an Associate Instructor in Jun Fan Gung Fu/Jeet Kun Do Concepts, the Fillipino Martial Arts and an Instructor under Master Chai in Thai Boxing.

This vast experience and history was what he drew on during every one of my lessons and I am thankful for every minute I ever spent with this man. He will truly be missed. The world and the Martial Arts community has incurred a great loss.

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