August 25, 2000

Thai Kick-Boxing Tangsodo Takes A Mexican American Cultural Twist

By: D.L. Muñoz

"For generations the martial arts have instilled a value system built on self esteem, self control and respect for others. The time honored oriental traditions are exemplified in their uniforms, techniques, culture and tradition," explained Eddie Mapula.

Eddie Mapula

"Their traditions hold respect for allowing the individual to stand on his own feet and take charge of his life. As I developed my understanding of the traditions of the martial arts, I witnessed a change in our own society. In this country our lives operate at a quicker pace than in the Orient. We are forced to learn and educate ourselves at a much faster pace. As the American culture developed, incorporating science, business, and the other sciences, we developed our minds and became more enlightened. Unfortunately, our physical bodies have been neglected" said Mapula.


Who is Eddie Mapula?

Eddie was born Jan. 19, 1957 in the State of Chihuahua, Mexico. His family were members of the Taraumara indigenous tribe that is now mostly found living in the Canyon de Cobre. As a child, he was taken to Tijuana were he was raised. His elementary schooling took place there. His family migrated to San Ysidro where he attended Southwest Jr. High and Montgomery High. Later he would attend Southwestern College earning his A.A. degree. He went on to San Diego State where he earned his B.A. He attempted to earn his Masters in Psychology but didn't complete the required courses.

Mapula married, Martha Lourdes Barajas. They have two children, Vanessa 17, who will soon attend The University of San Diego, and Eddie Jr. 15.


The Road to A 10th Degree Black Belt

Mapula began his career as a teacher of the Martial Arts in 1975 after extensive training with Chuck Norris, the star of `Walker Scott, Texas Ranger' television series. Mapula recalled that he was trained in Tangsodo, which is based on the Korean style of the martial arts. "I studied and learned from Chuck Norris for over 23 years. Eventually he entrusted me to work with him as a teacher and a regional director of his studios in California and Mexico.

"I became one of his top 10 students and competitor in the Tangsodo. Eventually becoming one of the top 10 Masters in Tangsodo, the Karate World Champion and two time World Champion in Kick Boxing! In 1987 I became a 10th Degree Black Belt holder."


The Changing From Oriental to Mexican Cultural Tangsodo

Mapula began evolving his own philosophy about the martial arts and began the process of including elements of his Mexican and American culture into the rituals. The Korean culture was strange to the Mexican-American youth and much of its relevance was lost. In the process, he moved away from the Norris emphasis on the Oriental culture.

Eddie with the legendary Chuck Norris.

"The goals I set were to create an art that fit the needs of the twentieth century. I formed the United Kick Boxing Arts Federation. My system incorporates my own style that would lead them to a higher level of experience for their personal development and growth for the betterment of their lives in contemporary America. I moved away from the Korean culture that underpins Tangsodo and adjusted our training to be more in line with the culture as we live in this day and age in our country.

"As an example, in the Korean tradition, you greet each other by bowing your head, and doing traditional dance moves that are from the Korean Culture. In my system, I immediately teach them to move in a defensive posture without having to salute each other or having to do any traditional dances. My students immediately go into a defensive posture and commence boxing. In our culture, we understand that the character of the man is within him and not in the rituals of the dance," pointed out Mapula.

"Some of my students have become World Champions. Others have achieved the rank of 5th degree Black Belt," he stated. "Our students must learn boxing, Karate and Thailand kick Boxing."


Where to Learn The Mapula System

The Mapula Kick Boxing Studios' are located in Imperial Beach and in Jamul. Class and private lesson are offered in the studios or in your home. Training is offered to students, middle age, seniors, and to the physically challenged. Training is given that will bring them to the physical level that they can sustain.

Courses are offered for 1 month, 3-months, or from 6 to 9 months to a year. It depends on the student's needs. Fees are on a sliding scale. In Imperial Beach classes are given on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 3pm 88 pm. In Jamul classes are given on Tuesday, Thursdays and Saturdays from 3-8 pm. Private lessons every day at 10AM. by arrangement. Typical Korean uniform is not required. Students can wear shorts or pants and T-shirts with emblems of our studios. They can go barefooted or with boxing shoes.

Eddie Mapula's Credentials include: Thirty-three years in the Martial Arts and twenty-three years working with Chuck Norris. Mapula holds a 10th degree Black belt since 1987. He is a one-time Karate world Champion and a two times Kick Boxer World Champion. For further information call: (619) 423-6443 or (619) 507-2060.Email :

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