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Student Testimonials

First posted March 22, 2007


"Thorough, thoughtful teacher, committed to his art and effective in communicating his knowledge."


- D. Tucker, Berkeley


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Guru Jeff has the unique ability to be incredibly detail-oriented and yet synthesize his knowledge and skill into a spontaneous, organic teaching style.


- J. Winter, Lafayette


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Guro Jeff is a master-instructor who has helped me "fine tune" my practice of Serrada Escrima. I had the good fortune to train with his San Francisco group for almost two years and I really felt like my understanding of the Serrada method of escrima came into clarity.  As a martial artist of over 40 years  experience, I appreciate a teacher who can show me the details of how and why a technique works when the stress is on.  Anyone who has a chance to train with Guro Jeff and his students should do it.  You will appreciate the experience.

†††††††† - Professor Michael Belzer

7th Dan  Danzan Ryu Jujutsu


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Guro Jeff was my first formal instructor in the martial arts.  His teaching methods in Escrima are simple and effective; often sharing his vast knowledge in other arts to supplement training.  Having an atrophied right arm, he showed me how to utilize the rest of my body to compensate for my weakness.  He played a large role in boosting my confidence and showing me what I am capable of.  Thanks Guro Jeff!


- A. San Diego, Pinole


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Jeff Finder is a painstaking teacher and coach. You should expect a teacher to have a thorough understanding of a subject. Jeff has more, though: he knows how to teach, and he constantly offers ways to break down each movement into its fundamentals and "groove" each one, so that eventually they become instinctive and flow together without pause or thought. I can't count the times he has shown me some tiny detail -- repositioning my foot just an inch or two, for example -- that has made a dramatic improvement in my ability to move smoothly and comfortably.


- J. Newman, Pleasant Hill


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I trained with Jeff for only a short time but wish I was still training.  He was always patient, knowledgeable and flexible as far as curriculum.  At times, he would modify the training to address particular questions I had.  I found his martial arts skills to be excellent but his teaching skills to be even better!  He was never really concerned about time but more with the quality of the training and how much knowledge he was able to impart on his student.  I learned quite a lot from him in the short time he trained me.  When my schedule loosens up a bit I have no doubt I will return for more training!


- H. Metzler, Pleasanton


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Jeff is a wise and skillful teacher.At the elder phase of his career, he is no longer competing in competitions; rather, he brings to his teaching decades of training with the great masters of FMA (especially Angel Cabales). It takes a lifetime to learn what Guro Jeff has garnered from his studies, so it is very efficient for the aspiring student of FMA to learn with him.Jeff has done the heavy lifting required to refine his art with the best proponents of the FMA lineages, thus he offers to his students a refined perspective and big picture understanding.Best of all, he takes great pleasure in teaching and has very clear pedagogic skills.


- M. Ziegler, Berkeley


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Iíve only been training with Jeff for a few months now but in that time my skills have risen dramatically. I bounce for a living and already I feel much more confident against weapons or just dragging out a drunk.Iíve studied many different martial arts and am very glad to have the opportunity to learn from Jeff.†† The personality of your instructor is very important, not just for learning but you're going to have to spend a lot of time with this person.Jeff makes the class fun.He jokes around and then back to business.I find myself not so much physically tired after two hours but mentally, just from absorbing all the information and focusing on technique.He constantly pushes us for perfection.His vast knowledge of other martial arts and having trained with other escrima styles gives him a great perspective on fighting and violence in general.Every week he teaches us just enough so that if we didn't train at home we wouldn't keep up, and somehow he always keeps us craving for more.For me, after I had a good foundation in boxing and grappling, the big gaping hole in my fighting repertoire was weapons.Now Jeff is helping me become a more well rounded fighter.


-         Trevor, president East Bay Rats M.C.


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The paper in the mouth reads:


ďMen had made those masks and other objects for a sacred purpose, a magic purpose, as a kind of mediation between themselves and the unknown hostile forces that surrounded them, in order to overcome their fear and horror by giving it a form and an image.


At that moment I realized that this was what painting was all about.Painting isnít an aesthetic operation, itís a form of magic designed as mediation between this strange hostile world and us, a way of seizing power by giving form to our terrors as well as our desires.


When I came to that realization, I knew I had found my way.Ē


Pablo Picasso, upon discovering African art for the first time at the Trocadero Museum, Paris, Spring, 1907