In 1982, Eduardo Sanoja met the master Mercedes Pérez Amaro (1917-2003), a man from La Piedad, a village in the Palavecino municipality of the state of Lara. The master Pérez was given a woman’s name because he was born on September 24th, the day of Las Mercedes according to the Catholic calendar. He believed he had inherited the Curarigüeño stick-fighting method because he learned it from a friend called Gualberto Castillo who was taught by the Curarigüeño Clarencio Flores who came from La Rinconada, near Curarigua, a village in the Torres municipality of the state of Lara.
From the first time Sanoja saw the stick fighting, he found it exciting. He came to practice various forms of fighting, Judo, Jujitsu, boxing, karate, wrestling and kunfu. He didn´t advance very far in them, but continued practice them. Furthermore, by the time he learned the Venezuelan stick fighting method, he already had the maturity to value the Venezuelan folklore and culture. When Sanoja began to learn it, he realized that the art was dying.
On November 6th, 1983, Don Mercedes Pérez and Eduardo Sanoja created in the city of Cabudare, Lara State, a movement to give new life into Venezuelan stick fighting. The movement was called: Movement for the Rescue of the Venezuelan Stick Fighting. Since then, older masters have been encouraged to remember their techniques and teach them to groups of youths and spreaded the word through press articles, exhibitions, radio and televisión interviews.
The Stick-Fighting Center “Clarencio Flores” was officially registered on March 12th, 1984 by the Master Eduardo Sanoja. Its current headquarters is in Sanoja’s house located in the Sector II, Las Tunas, in Agua Viva parish of the Palvecino municipality, Lara. Eduardo J. Sanoja Capriles was born in Caracas, Venezuela in 1937. He was declared a “Living Cultural Heritage” by the Palavecino municipality. He is recognized as an expert, promoter and caretaker of the Venezuelan stick fighting method, traditional practice carried out in various parts of the country. He has written articles and important books in which the research and the monitoring to its sources ensure its dissemination, knowledge and permit that its practice rises to the levels of respect that this cultural value deserves. He also worked for newpapers like Últimas Noticias and El Nacional, that were like a window to write about Venezuelan stick fighting. Also the newspaper El Imformador let him published articles about the art.
In 1994, the Movement for the rescue of the Venezuelan Stick Fighting became the Venezuelan Stick-fighters Association, a civil non-profitable association; which aims to preserve and spread the Venezuelan stick fighting tradition through the formation of stick-fighting centers that try to maintain its essence. Presenting it in exhibitions, lectures, conferences and by designing and delivering courses to people interested as well as developing informational material to serve the teaching and spreading of this noble art.
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