EL PASO, TEXAS – Tuhon Gaudiousa Sarno Ruby, known as Mama Linda to many, began her interest in martial arts at a very young age in the Philippines. After enduring hardships and surviving violent assaults, she vowed not to become a victim again.
“[It started] in Philippines, when I was raped 3 times,” Ruby shared. “I studied in the convent in 1950, got out, and I was raped back in 1959. What happened to me… I don’t want it to happen to any women. Even a man can get raped too. I developed these things – you have to learn to defend yourself, because our bodies belong to the Lord.”
Ruby earned a PhD in martial arts, and has been recognized by the World Martial Arts Hall of Fame as a living legend. In the U.S Hall of Fame, she was named as the most distinguished grandmaster in 2007.
“I studied all kinds. In martial arts, it doesn’t make any difference if you’re Korean, Japanese, Filipino, German – we are all the same. It depends how you use and how you teach it.”
“For 45 years, I’ve been going where she goes, helping her teach, and I’ve been to all the Hall of Fame she’s been to,” said Ruby’s husband, Gary.
Mama Linda’s garage serves as a hall of fame. The combat judo kali system, or comjukali for short, is a self defense system she created and teaches. The numerous awards in her garage is a testament that Filipino American combat arts is world-class.
The majority of Ruby’s students are from the United States Armed Forces; CIA agents, millionaires, Hollywood celebrities, and several SWAT teams in the US and in Europe.
“I just have to prove to some men that i as a woman can fight like a man,” Ruby said. “I can stab you as fast as I can pull the bullet, as far i can shoot you. Because I’m a knife fighter and a stick fighter. I travel all over the U.S. to train.”
“90 percent… is the fact she is a knife fighter, more than she is a stick fighter,” said her husband Gary. “Most Filipino masters that I meet are concentrated more on the rattan stick-fighting technique. Her signature thing is knife.”
Even at the age of 73, Ruby is one person you don’t want to pick a fight with. Her body target of choice is always the groin.