Polk Street community gathered at the First Congregational Church of Christ to see the recognition bestowed upon Filipino American martial arts school, Eskabo Daan, by the City and County of San Francisco.

Eskabo Daan’s Grandmaster Robert Castro and Professor Harold Soriano accepted the Certificate of Honor from Board of Supervisor member David Chiu.

The recognition was for the gallantry and bravery the two men have consistently shown to protect and promote peace in the community, beginning with an incident just eight months after Eskabo Daan moved its studio.

A clerk of Star Bagel, located below the studio, needed help during an assault attempt, and Castro promptly stepped in to drive away the would-be assailant.

More recently, Soriano, a student of Castro, stopped a robbery at Golden Veggie Market also located below the studio.

He chased down the the suspect and pinned him down, but not before being stabbed in the chest with a pair of scissors.

In attendance during the recognition ceremony were Castro’s students. “When everyone showed up, I thought it was amazing.

I really felt I had a lot of support from my students. It was a really an honor they all came out,” he beamed.

Asked about their thoughts, both men said they were humbled by the honors from the city.

“I don’t know how to take it really, it’s something that just happened,” said Castro. “It’s a real honor.”

Soriano, on the other hand, said, “It was a nice gesture. People do these sort of things everyday with no thanks or gratitude in return. Getting appreciation from the heads of the city…this is more than anyone can ask for.”

“I think this is more of an opportunity for the public to recognize what we’re about at Eskabo, ” Castro added. “Service to the community is what we teach here.

We teach students to be straight-up warriors, and they have to stand up once they learn the system. They have to use what they have learned in a positive way, by way of helping people.”

Castro explained that part of a student’s training at Eskabo is spiritual and mental growth.

Aside from weapons use and empty-hand techniques, students gain a moral understanding of when and how to use them.

Castro and Soriano’s stories are examples that are in essence Filipino martial arts in its purest form.

What began over a thousand years ago as a means to protect one’s family and land from invaders is now an art that protects the community from harm.

More than just a system of self-defense, Filipino martial arts strives for the preservation of life.