Bring Back Johnny Chiuten's Art
(Kung-Fu Karate Klan, A Fraternity Tradition)
By Jopet Laraya ’63


[Repost from UPBSI website Archives, early 2000's]



From as early as 1960 (maybe even earlier - we may have to ask the older brods) Brod Johnny Chiuten has supervised and taken over the helm of leadership of the U.P. Beta Sigma Kung-Fu Karate Klan. Throughout the university circles, the fraternity has always been identified with kung fu and karate, hence our reputation as being good fighters. Certainly, every brod had the chance of being directly taught by Brod Johnny or had the privilege of attending the classes at Area 11 and Area 5. Brod Johnny’s name has basically been synonymous with the kung-fu Karate Klan of the frat.

When I left for Canada in 1970, I took with me everything Johnny had given me, including my biggest pride and joy -- the training I was privileged to have undergone under Master Lao Kim, Johnny’s legendary master from Ongpin. Over the succeeding years that I managed to make a trip back home, I took advantage of the chance of training with Johnny again. Hence, the arnis competency I was lucky enough to attain would not have been possible without Brod Johnny’s guidance.

I have since dabbled in several other forms of martial arts, but always with the guidance and suggestion of Johnny, for he was, still is, and will always be my mentor.

It may sound one-sided if I suggested that the art introduced by Johnny to the fraternity would be traditionally and culturally worthwhile reviving. I believe that Johnny represents a big facet in the history of the Beta Sigma fraternity. I doubt if there is any Betan around who wouldn’t recognize the name of Johnny Chiuten. I know it was a painful privilege having been literally manhandled by the man himself during initiations.

In any martial arts circle in the Philippines and even in Hong Kong, the name of Johnny rings a bell. He is a highly respected and feared fighter. And the best part of it all - he is a BETAN!!!

It has taken me, and certainly with the help of another martial arts colleague to be able to bring to North America the art of Johnny. Modesty aside, I have had my taste of several "friendly matches" with other stylists and I have never been on the receiving end. Rather, I have come out with the winning technique. All this thanks to Johnny.

Having been associated with Johnny and his art since becoming a Betan in 1963, it is but normal for me to feel sad that the art I learned is starting to fade and die out from the ranks of the Brods. I’m not sure how the Brods back home are managing to get their training but it would be great to revive this Betan tradition.

I know this is easier said than done. My role in all? Well, after all has been said and done, I can only guarantee that I can provide whatever assistance I can give to whatever group would be starting to reintroduce Johnny’s art to the Brods, to the fraternity. We could double-check with the brods in the Philippines re: using the name MALMON KARATE - KUNG FU ASSOCIATION or something like that. Anyway, the point is, I personally believe that in our youth, our fraternity was closely identified with martial arts - Johnny style - and I would like to live to see the day when this fraternity tradition is back where it belongs - in the hearts, hands and minds of the UP BETA SIGMA.



Pictures from UPBSI website, Memory Lane





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