On July 11, 2008, many were saddened by the passing of Guro Amy Tucci. Guro Amy was a multi-dimensional person whose life was full of many talents and achievements. Her place in the history of Princeton Academy of Martial Arts and the martial arts community is a testament to her skill and devotion to the Martial Way. Her determination, energy, and array of skills allowed her to rise to amazing heights to which all of us should aspire.
Guro Amy's martial arts training began in 1977 under Sifu Rick Tucci. Guro Amy was one of the original "Basement Days" students of Sifu Rick. During those early years she continued to train several times a week with Sifu Rick as a student in the classes he professionally taught at the Philadelphia Exercise and Aquatic Center. In February of 1987, after nine years of martial arts training, Guro Amy became the co-founder and co-director of Princeton Academy of Martial Arts and took on the roles of businesswoman, martial arts instructor, computer graphic artist, bookkeeper and advertising coordinator. She managed all of these tasks while continuing to maintain her full time job with the government of the State of New Jersey, a position she held for over 20 years. This position provided Amy with editing skills to easily accomplish her role as the editor-in-chief of the PAMA Chronicle, the original PAMA newsletter.
Deeply committed to her personal growth as a martial artist, Guro Amy started her training as a direct student of Guro Dan Inosanto in 1988. That was a milestone year as she also began training in several other martial arts. She had become a direct student of Punong Guro Edgar Sulite in Lameco Eskrima. Her devotion to the Filipino Martial Arts resulted in her studying Doces Pares under Diony Canete. She further developed her JKD and Grappling skills by studying under Sifu Larry Hartsell. Guro Amy began her training in the French art of Savate as a student of Professor Salem Assli. Furthermore, 1988 was the year Guro Amy started training in Indonesian Pentjak Silat under Pendekar Paul DeThouars. She took to her studies with the energy and drive that were her signature approach to achieving her goals.
An eternal student of the totality of the martial arts, in 1989 she added to her roster the art of Muay Thai as a direct student of Ajarn Chai Sirisute. Later, after years of hard work and devoted study, Guro Amy was certified as an Apprentice Instructor and later an Associate Instructor in Muay Thai under Ajarn Chai.
During that time, Guro Amy's duties at PAMA continued to grow as PAMA was holding seminars with veritable "Who's Who" of martial arts luminaries almost every month. Guro Amy was instrumental as the seminar co-sponsor, and her skill at event organization made each seminar a great experience for all who attended. Guro Amy maintained her own training by traveling across the country to places like Wisconsin, Upstate New York and Atlanta, Georgia to attend various martial arts camps and instructor events. Guro Amy often traveled in the U.S. and Europe to train with Guro Inosanto at various events held during that time. She received invaluable personal instruction from Guro Dan Inosanto in late night sessions at numerous hotels while she and Sifu Rick attended seminars or other training events that Guro Inosanto instructed. Guro Amy accumulated hundreds of hours of instruction and training time by travelling to these events and kept up this fast pace from the late 1980's through the 1990's.
Guro Amy often traveled with Sifu Rick to assist him in his seminars in Europe held in Switzerland, Sweden, and France. Guro Amy was also a media presence making appearances in all three of the instructional video series produced and featuring Sifu Rick (Jeet Kune Do Concepts, Maphilindo Silat and Kali, the Filipino Martial Arts). Guro Amy also appeared on the television shows "Ultimate Ten Martial Arts" and "Martial Arts World" as well as several others.
In 1996, Guro Amy ended her job with the State of New Jersey and became full time at PAMA. While leaving her job with the State of New Jersey allowed her more time for the martial arts and career at PAMA, this also gave Guro Amy time to develop her skills as a painter and artist, a pursuit that had been a lifelong love of hers and blossomed further as she was able to devote more time to it. In 2001, Guro Amy took up horseback riding with her typical gusto and zeal. She became quite the equestrian during that time.
Clearly, the highlight of 2001 was when Guro Amy was awarded her full instructor rank in Jeet Kune Do and Filipino Martial Arts from Guro Dan Inosanto - this made her, at that time, one of the three women in the world to have achieved that rank. She was also awarded rank in Majahpahit Martial Arts under Guro Inosanto that same year.
For a period of three years in the early part of this century, Guro Amy, while addressing her health concerns, moved to California and continued her martial arts studies at the Inosanto Academy. During that time, her skills as an instructor shone through as Guro Amy instructed in classes at the Academy. Also during that period, there were many times that Amy had the honor of assisting Guro Inosanto in his classes.
Of particular note is the fact that Guro Amy pioneered the Women's Martial Arts class at PAMA. She founded the program in the mid-1990s and it continues to this day in her memory and guided by her spirit. Guro Amy empowered her students and helped them to become true warriors in their own right under her mentoring. Her students grew and developed strengths through their studies with her that will continue to serve them in all aspects of their lives.
Undaunted by the illness that she was diagnosed with in the late 1990s, Guro Amy went forth on her chosen journey and lived the Martial Way inspiring all who came to know her. She continued on the Martial Arts path teaching and learning throughout her years. After 2001, Guro Amy's devotion to teaching led to her becoming a requested national seminar instructor at other schools. She was an active instructor at PAMA up until September of 2007, when she sought further medical treatment overseas in Germany. During this time, Amy continued to learn and develop as a renaissance woman by developing her skills in both the drums and the cello. Her skill on both instruments impressed everyone who heard her play.
Guro Amy truly was one of those rare individuals one meets in life - and as this article shows, everyone who met her has had their life enriched as a result. She will be remembered for her warm smile and her dynamic personality. She will continue to inspire all who knew her, and her legacy at PAMA and in the martial arts community shall serve as a tribute to this most remarkable human being.