Joel Rodriguez Remembered
Like Yin & Yang, this past week held a significant holiday of happiness and a day to mourn; we lost a great martial artist, a great teacher, a great man.
Atlanta’s martial arts scene isn’t the same without him.
Eagle Claw Master, Joel Rodriguez Passes Away
It is with a heavy heart that we announce this to our readers. Master Joel Rodriguez of the 鷹 爪 派 Ying Jow Pai (Eagle Claw style of Kung Fu) has passed away.
Sifu Rodriguez trained under Leung Shum in NYC for over 25 years, training Eagle Claw kung fu and Wu Taiji; he was also honored to receive “Master” level certification.
In 1999, Joel opened an Eagle Claw Kung Fu school in Atlanta, GA, and trained many students over time.
Sifu Joel was an inspiration to many and a much-valued member of the local Kung Fu community, which we call “Wulin,” meaning Martial Forest. As the Shum Ying Jow Pai International Headquarters states, “Joel was a devoted teacher, role model, friend, and brother to many. Passionate in everything he pursued, he was an inspiration to his students and fellow training brothers.”
Sifu Craig Kiessling can personally attest to this. “I trained, sparred, and hung out with him,” he says. “He’s judged me at tournaments. I’ve seen his demos, and he’s seen some of mine. We’ve talked about Jazz clubs, Stevie Wonder, Eagle Claw, Taiji, Qigong, and Personal Fitness, among other topics. I remember him training like mad before going up for his certification. I remember seeing him train in his school and outside at the Park.”
“I remember much about Joel Rodriguez, and I miss him.”
“He was one of the good ones,” Sifu Craig’s father would say.
Sifu Joel carried the torch for the Ying Jow Pai system of Kung Fu. He was a well-respected member of Atlanta’s Traditional Chinese Martial Arts community. He was a brother to us all here, and this news hits us hard.
It’s an unfortunate blessing of the blade when one passes on; people come together, refreshing old friendships and making new ones. Look at Joel’s Facebook page and see how so many say so much. Let’s take this opportunity to join together.
Our heavy & heartfelt condolences go out to the family & friends of Master Sifu Joel Rodriguez, the Ying Jow Pai, his students, and all the other people he touched and inspired.
Thank you, Joel, for all you’ve done. Your memory, inspiration, and achievements shall live on!
Please share your stories. Give condolences and support to the Ying Jow Pai family. And give of yourself – train hard & train well – honor the legacy – and be inspired by our departed brother.