Honoring the memory of a true legend & pioneer

Discussion in 'Pekiti-Tirsia Kali' started by kaliman1978, Jan 12, 2011.

  1. kaliman1978

    kaliman1978 New Member

    It is with great saddness to share the bad news that Guro Ricky Rillera aka "Crazy Ricky" / "Flying Punyo man" passed away this morning. Ricky was an extaordinary man and a very skilled and talented martial artist with a great and giving heart. Ricky is a treasure and legend in some Pekiti Tirsia circles and a true fma pioneer here in Texas. Please pray for Ricky and his family during this sad time.
  2. TuhonBill

    TuhonBill New Member


    I just got the news from my FB page. Does anyone have the details. I haven't seen Ricky in many years, but he was a great guy who will be missed.

    Bill McGrath
  3. PG Michael B

    PG Michael B Oso Grande

    All day I have been thinking of the many the life lessons my old friend and Guro Ricky taught me. He taught me more than the blade, more than the stick, more than system. To him that was a given. He loved it, yes but Ricky could always get to the deeper roots of people. He taught me about being honest with myself, about not letting the arts consume you. He would discuss issues of finding balance and harmony with life, even when you were down. Some of the fondest lessons I had with him were over a cup of coffee. We could sit and discuss things for hours, the arts, weaponry, philosophy etc. But usually we discussed boxing. Ricky loved the fights and we had many a discussion and disagreements on who was better. One thing for sure, we were both Pacquiao fans. Ricky's skills were top notch, but to him it wasn't about that, it was about being who you were and being happy with whatever it is you did. Ricky was always looking out for people. A kind soul if there ever was one. He always had a pat on the back for you when you needed it most.

    Sadly, life made us strangers over the years as it does to most. Times change, people change, as does the circumstances of life. Responsibilities and obligations guide us down different paths allowing us to fall out of contact which often times turns into years. The fond memories remain and at times like this they are warm reminders of good times had.

    With his passing today came his final lesson..now that is a true Master.

    R.I.P. Ricky "The Flying Punyo Rillera

    R.I.P. Ricky "The Flying Punyo Rillera
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2011
  4. TuhonBill

    TuhonBill New Member

    Ricky Rillera

    Hi Folks,

    I spoke to Peter Rillera, Ricky's brother tonight. Ricky was 52 at the time of his passing.
    Ricky was divorced and had no children, but I am sure his brother and the rest of his family, friends and students would appreciate any condolences you can send their way via cards, email or personal visit.

    The Funeral, Viewing and Memorial Service for Ricky will be held this Sunday Jan. 16, 2011 at 10 am. at:
    Belton Funeral Home
    5431 W. Hwy 190
    Belton, Tx 76513

    Ph (254) 933-0900

    Erwin Ballarta will be attending the funeral and said he is willing to convey a message to the family if you cannot attend.
    You can contact Erwin at: Erwin@tacticalkali.com

    Bill McGrath

  5. TuhonBill

    TuhonBill New Member

    Ricky Rillera

    The way I'll remember him.

    I first met Ricky when I moved to Big Spring, Texas in the summer of 1982 to continue my study of Pekiti-Tirsia under Grandmaster Leo Gaje. Leo had moved there a few months before from New York and Ricky was one of the first of his students in Texas. When I flew down, Leo told me he was sending a Filipino named Ricky to pick me up at the airport. Well, when I arrived, here comes this young Filipino about my age, with a big cowboy hat and even bigger grin, welcoming me to Texas with a Texas accent that any cowboy would be proud of. Ricky soon became a close friend. Ricky was the one who would accompany me to martial arts tournaments where we would demonstrate Pekiti-Tirsia techniques (and it was Ricky who volunteered to be on the more dangerous end of the live blade demos we did).

    Ricky told me an interesting story about his introduction to Filipino martial arts. Prior to Grandmaster Gaje's arrival in Big Spring, there was no Filipino martial arts training available near him. Ricky had read of Filipino martial arts in magazines and asked his father, who knew most of the older Filipinos in his area, if he knew of anyone who taught the art. His father said he didn't and suggested Ricky try karate, the only martial art taught in his town at the time. So Ricky began training and, after a few years, earned his first degree black belt. Ricky was very proud of this accomplishment, but his father didn't seem to be as impressed as Ricky expected when he told him of his promotion.

    “Well, why don't you try and punch me and we'll see how much you have learned,” said his father. Ricky was worried about hurting his dad, but he threw a punch as instructed. His father easily parried the punch and countered with two nerve strikes that paralyzed Ricky's arm. His father had to massage the arm for several minutes to get it functioning again.
    “Wow dad, where did you learn that?” asked Ricky.
    “Oh, it's just a trick I picked up,” replied his father. “Maybe you should go back to class and study more.”

    Several years later (during which Ricky was always on the lookout for Filipino martial arts instruction), his father passed away. At the funeral, two of his father's friends came forward and placed an icepick and a length of pipe into the coffin.
    “What are you putting in my father's coffin?” asked Ricky, a bit surprised by this.
    “Oh, these were your father's favorite weapons,” said one of the men. “He was a famous Eskrimador back home. Didn't you know?”

    Whenever Ricky would tell this story, he would always shake his head and say “It was right in front of me, but I didn't know it,” a bit frustrated by this. But if anything, this only made Ricky more determined to train in the martial art of his ancestors. Ricky was always one of the hardest working people in the class in the days I knew him. Ricky was also good at basketball and was known to be a good jumper for his height. While not the tallest guy in the our Pekiti-Tirsia group, he was the one most likely to hit even the biggest guys on the top of the head with his jumping attack, the “flying punyo”. This became something of his trademark during sparring and this is the way I will always remember him; jumping up higher than you thought possible, having a great time while he fought guys twice his size, practicing the art he loved.

    Rest in peace my friend,
    Bill McGrath
    Pekiti-Tirsia International
  6. LeeN

    LeeN New Member

    I do believe I am a very lucky person to have met a man like Ricky Rillera. Ricky dearly wanted to re-visit Romania this year for a seminar and not only for a seminar... We've set up many plans together... Unfortunately our plans will never be fulfilled. We held a moment of silence during our last training session (on 13 january) and we all prayed for Ricky. This was a training based on Ricky's know-how and we've dwelled upon stories about Ricky. Ricky, you will always be a part of my life! Here is my tribute to him:
  7. TuhonBill

    TuhonBill New Member

    Ricky in Romania

    Hi Catalin,

    Can you tell us the story of how Ricky came to teach in Romania. It's a long way from Texas!

    Tuhon Bill McGrath
  8. LeeN

    LeeN New Member

    It is an amazing story and not so simple... many persons asked me this question.
    Some guys from Germany called me a "fraud" they cannot beleive that Ricky really visit me.
    Ricky wasnt only a great fighter & teacher, but also a person with a high level of spiritual evolution.
    He beleive that it was a "karma" conection between him and Romania and also between us and the rest is... history.

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