Sifu Adi (Edward Rey Baggott), was first introduced to the Filipino Martial Arts through folk dance as a young child.
The kris, kampilan, and other blades of the Filipino warrior heritage have always been a presence in his family home. He began studying martial arts formally at the age of 8.
As a brahmacari monk from 1995-2003, Sifu Adi traveled, studied and taught meditation and bhakti-yogathroughout the United States, India, Nepal, Israel and Greece. In 1996 he recieved diksha (spiritual initiation) into the ancient Brahma-Madhava-Gaudiya Sampradaya – a lineage of spiritual preceptors going back thousands of years -and along with his vows was given the Sanskrit name Adi Purusa das, meaning “servant of the original person”.
In 2003, Sifu Adi moved to the island of Mindanao in the Southern Philippines to more deeply explore his Filipino heritage. He studied history at a local university, taught at an elementary school and ran a small corner store (sari-sari) while continuing to explore various approaches at martial arts. He studied most diligently under Master Eddie Canlas Mugar, who at the time ran a gym in Koronadal City, South Cotabato. In March of 2008 He was presented a certificate of achievement in his studies of Kuntao and Eskrima along with the encouragement to teach.
In 2008, along with his wife and young daughter, Sifu Adi relocated to Asheville, in the mountains of western North Carolina. He began teaching private martial arts lessons in his spare time, making use of the old parking garage behind his apartment building.
Two years later he won the Original Toughman Middleweight Boxing Championship at the US Cellular Center in downtown Asheville. Not long after, he began teaching regular group classes for adults, under the name “Filipino Fighting Arts of Asheville”.
This core group has expanded to become Kuntao Martial Arts Society. We are proud to be able to share our martial arts and culture with you.