Reservist shares path to enlightenment through martial arts

 James Eke shows off his martial arts skills for his self-published book Warriors Way: A Guide to Lifelong Learning in Martial Arts.

James Eke shows off his martial arts skills for his self-published book Warriors Way: A Guide to Lifelong Learning in Martial Arts.

Peter Mallett, Staff Writer ~

Captain James Eke’s studies with acclaimed martial arts legend Dan Inosanto has led him to impart that wisdom to a larger audience.  

The Captain at 5th Field B.C. Regiment recently penned Warriors Way: A Guide to Lifelong Learning in Martial Arts, in which Eke traces his three decades of study under the world-famous Filipino-American martial arts instructor. That relationship helped him develop this literary expression of Inosanto’s teachings.

“It’s my effort not only to help people through the hills and valleys of martial arts training, but also living a fuller life,” says Eke.

Warrior’s Way isn’t the 46-year-old reservist, businessman, and former journalist’s attempt at an instructional how-to book. Eke insists his self-published work is all about self-help and a blueprint to living a healthier way of life. He pledges the book will pass on a deeper understanding of what is truly required to master disciplines such as stick-fighting, grappling, kickboxing, Malaysian Silat and Jeet Kune Do.

“The completion of this writing project is not about selling copies or making money. I’m truly trying to spread the word, like my instructor did for me,” says Eke. “If only a few people read it and are able to get something out of it that would be the greatest windfall for me.”

Inosanto is best known to martial arts fans for his close relationship with the legendary martial artist and actor Bruce Lee. The California-based Inosanto was both a teacher and instructor for Master Lee and once introduced the late martial-arts icon to the nanchuku  (nunchuks).

Eke first met Inosanto in 1988 during a weekend seminar in Ottawa, just at a point in his life when Eke was embarking on a 13-year career as a newspaper reporter. He says the two hit it off instantly, and that meeting inspired him to start writing martial arts articles for magazines and newspapers.

Eke grew up in Hamilton, Ont., and was first introduced to martial arts and the sport of Judo at age of 12. He says that while many of his friends and classmates in his blue-collar steel town neighbourhood went down the wrong path and became heavily involved with drugs, drinking and criminal activity, through Inosanto’s teachings Eke found a way to stay on “the straight and narrow” for the past 35 years.

“If I could go back and tell that little kid in Hamilton that he would eventually be an instructor under Inosanto, I wouldn’t have believed it,” he said. “This is a guy who changed my life and I am now an instructor under him. I am so grateful I had the chance to train under him.”

With job opportunities in the newspaper industry dwindling, Eke joined the military in 2004. He served as a regular force artillery captain for 11 years, and then a five-year term as a land operations officer with Joint Task Force Pacific.

“I loved serving in the regular force and I’m happy to continue serving as a reservist here in Victoria, the city I love,” he said.

Three years ago he decided to stop teaching martial arts classes at the Naden Athletic Centre and opened the Eke Academy of Martial Arts (EAMA), located in Esquimalt. Owning his own academy, says Eke, helped him understand the importance of “growing the community” around him. His academy has not only been a big supporter of Mustard Seed Food Bank, but Eke also developed the EAMA Angel Bag program that distributes knapsacks full off essential items to the homeless.  

“In the martial arts we learn that it is really easy to hurt people, but what is harder and more important is how to build people up,” says Eke. “At the end of the day, the book isn’t about punching, kicking and grappling; it’s about reaching your full potential in life.”

The 150-page paperback is available through Amazon in print ($12) or through Kobo as an e-book ($8).

For more information contact the Eke Academy of Martial Arts at or 250-216-2801

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