My name is Ashleigh Silipo. I was born and raised in New York. I moved to Florida about three years ago. I currently attend Valencia State College for my criminal justice degree.
As well as working part time. I started my martial arts training at a young age of four. My first martial arts was Kempo with Sensei John Hayes. Unfortunately he passed away. When I was eight years old I started tae kwon do. It did not have the same affect as kempo, but I stayed until I reached my black belt.
After receiving my black belt, I found another Kempo school. Here is where I fell in love with martial arts. My Sensei Charile Hennings took me under his wing. He opened my eyes to a whole new way of martial arts. The more spiritual side. He also introduced me to kickboxing. The feeling was surreal. Being in the ring was something else.
Unfortunately, I had to move to Florida. But when one door closes another opens. That door lead to an ancient Japanese art called Shuri-te-ha. There I competed in regionals then to state to finally the JR Olympics. I made many friends along the way and felt a bit like home. However it was not what I was looking for in martial arts. I found myself to a Brazilian jui jitsu school. I fell in love all over again. Not just the art but the guys. It was a family. The instructors name was Rinaldo Santos but we called him Professor. Due to countless injurys I had to take a hiatus.
Looking through a Winter Garden pamphlet I found systema. Systema has impacted my life in both the classroom and outside. It has showed me how to breath and relax. But it also has shown me how to apply my training to everyday life. I am constantly finding similarities between kempo and systema. I have met some remarkable people along the way, and I am so grateful. Systema is not just a form of martial arts it’s also a way of life. I am so thankful to have found systema.
David Thoughts: The first words that come to mind when I see Ashleigh are talented, talented and very talented. She has a great history in martial arts as you can see, but more imporantly, possesses the most important characteristic – willingness to learn. The “cup is always empty,” so to speak, allowing new information to seep in. This is very impressive.
Aside from martial arts, Ashleigh is a very skilled artist. As you can see, she has a very bright future ahead. It is a pleasure having her as part of our circle.