EAST COAST MARTIAL ART SUPPLIES
(ORIGINALLY – SHODAN MARTIAL ART SUPPLIES)
Bob Elder began East Coast Martial Art Supplies in the back of a warehouse in 1979 before opening the first store at 1809 East Colonial Drive, Orlando. East Coast Martial Art Supplies became the Mecca of Florida Martial Arts. I began working for Bob by selling supplies at weekend tournaments around 1981/82. In 1985 I worked a new store he opened in Altamonte Springs FL. I would teach Wing Chun in the back parking lot after work. By 1990, I was working full time at his main Orlando store. Bob had one rule, ( with maybe two parts), everyone is welcome and no style is better than another. His rules and his store gave me the opportunity to appreciate every martial art and experience every lineage of Wing Chun. Any one from any family of Wing Chun going to the number one tourist destination of the World, Orlando, (Disney, Epcot, Sea World, Universal etc.) would inevitably find ECMAS for supplies, books or martial art connections. If Wing Chun was mentioned in passing conversations would soon lead to Chi Sao in the back parking lot or an invitation to the school in Sanford. A majority of students of Seminole Wing Chun are directly or indirectly in class because of East Coast Martial Art Supplies.
Everyone remembers Bob for his interest in the Samurai sword. He was the go to person for appraisal and buying of Japanese antiques in Central Florida. This passion naturally led to learning the art Samurai swordsmanship. In 1992, Bob and I began learning the Toyama Ryu style under Mitsuyo Hataya Sensei. Toyama Ryu emphasizes simplicity with a battlefield approach. Cutting tatami mats is a regular practice.