Guro Phillip Palmejar

Professor / Guro / Sifu Phillip Palmejar

Phillip Palmejar began his martial arts journey prior to his teenage years after moving to Calaveras County from the California Bay Area. There he obtained the rank of 1st Dan Black Belt in the art of Tae Kwon Do in an attempt to counter act what he saw as an apparent lack of size and strength and to gain confidence.

The next step in his martial arts career began in the dynamic art of Jeet Kune Do (JKD). Originally gravitating to the art through the influence of Bruce Lee and his philosophies, Phillip has continued to study and train in Jeet Kune Do for over 25 years eventually obtaining his instructor certifications in several lineages of Jeet Kune Do.

Through his familial influence and training in JKD, Guro Palmejar was exposed to the world of Filipino Martial Arts (FMA) and to many of the unique styles of combat that exist within the scope of FMA. Starting initially with the Inosanto blend of Kali, which is used as a foundation for many of the techniques and movements within JKD, Guro Palmejar has expanded his FMA training to include Jendo – Arnis and Kalis Ilustrisimo. As a FMA teacher and practitioner, Phillip has successfully won several expert division tournaments including an arnis World Championship Gold (New Delhi, India 2015), was inducted into the Universal Martial Arts Hall of Fame (Houston, TX 2015), and regularly trains in the Philippines under several instructors including GM Yuli Romo, GM Jonathan Abaya and GM Peachie Baron Saguin. Guro Palmejar is a certified instructor of Kalis Ilustrisimo and a 6th Degree Black Belt in Jendo – Arnis.

One day while training at a multi-use martial arts facility, Phillip caught a glimpse of a nearby BJJ class during a rolling session. He was invited on to the mat that day and has continued his grappling career ever since. Phillip has excelled in his more than 2 decades on the mat obtaining not only his 3rd Degree Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, but also receiving instructorship certifications from Master Roy Harris, GM Francisco Mansor and GM Joe Moreira. Professor Palmejar has represented and ranked under the Joe Moreira lineage of Jiu Jitsu from white up to the present day.

Phillip is an ever evolving martial artist in both learning and instruction, recently focusing on and obtaining his 2nd degree Black Belt in Greek Pankration Athlima under 8th Degree Black Belt Hanshi Roberto Serrano, Jr. Through Pankration, Phillip has been able to compete for the US National Team in 2007, 2010, 2011 and 2012 amassing a total of 7 World medals. He is also the 2012 California State Champion (145lbs) and National Champion (65KG) and was an official USA National Team Coach for the Palaismata and Polydama events in 2011, 2012 and 2024. His Pankration Black Belt is recognized through WPAF (World Pangration Athlima Federation), WAMAI (World Amateur Martial Arts International), FILA (Federation Internationale des Luttes Associates, aka International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles), USFL (United States Fight League) and the USAFPA (United States of America, Federation of Pankration Athlima).

Guro Palmejar is also a representative and certified instructor of Apache Knife Combat directly under the guidance of “Fight Like the Wind” founder, Robert Redfeather. With less than a handful of instructors worldwide, this makes Guro Palmejar a unique resource in the knife community and the only 2-time challenge coin winner in Apache knife history.

In his scholastic endeavors, Guro Palmejar holds an Associate’s Degree from Southwestern College in Chula Vista, a Bachelor’s Degree in Comparative Government from UCSD and is currently enrolled at the California Institute for Human Science in Encinitas in a Master’s program for Comparative Religion. He also volunteers at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) Federal Prison in downtown, San Diego, teaching Buddhist studies every week since 2010.