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