Satria Arts co-directors
Our journey, since day one, has been an extra-ordinary one. Perhaps that was because of Steven's encounter with Guru Ma (or "Ma" as her close students call her). The journey from North-West London to Rotterdam in Holland would almost be like describing a journey from Earth to Venus. The world Steven knew of, was the complete opposite to the world Ma taught and lived. This journey into martial arts is no ordinary one, but one that would take Steven to the ends of the world and back. A journey that will enrich, challenge and propel you to your highest potential and remove the limitations you have placed upon yourself.
With a warm smile and prayers palms at the heart centre, we welcome you to a Warrior's journey....
Co-Founder & Chief Instructor
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Co-Founder & Chief Instructor
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Born and raised in NW London (one of the roughest areas of London in the 1980's), Steven Benitez trained martial arts for most of his life in order to save his life. He started his martial arts journey in Judo and then Wing Chun. But neither of these arts saved him on the streets. He later met Sifu Gerry Tann who taught him a deadly martial art called Kuntao. Steven trained with Gerry from the ages of 11 to 19 years old, won several tournaments and in-house competitions between schools, but it was after winning the Birmingham National Championship in 1989, after an experience on the mat, that his path in the martial arts was to take a different turn.
Shortly after, during a 7 days rice fast, Steven was visited by female warrior whilst in meditation. Not having an idea of where to go or what to do, he felt compelled to go to Holland. His vision of this female warrior would soon become a reality as he felt like someone hit him across the face while he slept on the train through Holland, at the stop Rotterdam Centrum station. He got out of the train and entered the first Indonesian restaurant he came across. On this particular day, they had received a flyer from Guru Ma (and this was the only ever time she'd sent out flyers of her school). From the moment he stepped into Guru Ma's school, he knew he was home. She had been expecting him. This is a true story.
The rest is history.
These are the five teachers (Guru Ma being my teacher of the SFA), with whom I have been fortunate to have met and trained with since 1982.
Chief Instructor of Satria Yoga
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Born in the Philippines, raised in London from the age of 7, Laarni has always loved movement, martial arts, creativity, travel and photography. Her introduction into martial arts came just before she met Steven in 1994. Highly influenced from the film The Karate Kid, Laarni was keen to find a martial art that had depth and meaning. But her interest in motion and movement overrides her interest in just learning self-defence techniques. When Steven introduced her to his martial arts practise a couple of years after their first date, she was instantly in love with it. The dance (Kembangan), the yoga aspect and the dynamism of the fighting side of the art made it complete for her and felt no need to invest any time and energy into anything else.
Shortly after their marriage in 1996, she became pregnant with their first child (Sara) and another two, soon followed (Nathaniel and Daniel). Raising the children meant being a busy mum, so training came second (or third) place to everything else.
In 2003, she helped set up a business and opened up a full-time academy of martial arts, dance and fitness in London, with Steven. This place (EWS) became known world-wide as the 'Home of the Satria Fighting Arts'. She took her place within the arts and helped teach Kembangan, Satria Yoga and started up children's martial art classes which she called 'Kids Kombat'.