Testosterone is a crucial hormone for men and plays an important role throughout the male lifespan. Most of a male's testosterone is produced through the testicles. Also called the male sex hormone, testosterone starts playing its part during puberty.
When a male goes through puberty, testosterone helps males develop:
As boys turn to men and men grow older, testosterone levels deplete naturally. Sometimes, events like injuries and chronic health conditions like diabetes can lower testosterone levels. Unfortunately, when a man loses too much T, it results in hypogonadism. When this happens, the testosterone must be replaced, or the male will suffer from symptoms like muscle loss, low libido, and even depression.
TRT is exactly what it sounds like: a treatment option for men that replaces testosterone so that your body regulates hormones properly and restores balance to your life. Also called androgen replacement therapy, TRT alleviates the symptoms that men experience with low T.
Originally lab-synthesized in 1935, testosterone has grown in popularity since it was produced. Today, TRT and other testosterone treatments are among the most popular prescriptions in the U.S.
Without getting too deep into the science, TRT works by giving your body the essential testosterone it needs to function correctly. As the primary androgen for both males and females, testosterone impacts many of the body's natural processes â especially those needed for overall health. For example, men with low T are more prone to serious problems like cardiovascular disease and even type-2 diabetes.
When your body quits making enough testosterone, it causes your health to suffer until a solution is presented. That's where TRT and anti-aging medicine for men can help. TRT helps balance your hormones and replenish your depleted testosterone. With time, your body will begin to heal, and many symptoms like low libido and irritability begin to diminish.
For men, aging is the biggest contributor to lower testosterone levels, though there are other causes like obesity, drug abuse, testicular injuries, and certain prescribed medications. Sometimes, long-term health conditions like AIDS, cirrhosis of the liver, and kidney disease can lower testosterone levels.
When a man's testosterone levels drop significantly, it alters his body's ratio of estrogen and testosterone. Lower testosterone levels cause more abdominal fat, which in turn results in increased aromatase, which converts even more testosterone into estrogen.
If you're concerned that you might have low T, you're not alone. Millions of men in the U.S. feel the same way. The best way to find out if your testosterone is low is to get your levels tested.
For sustainable testosterone replacement therapy benefits, you must consult with hormone doctors and experts like those you can find at Global Life Rejuvenation. That way, you can find the root cause of your hormone problems, and our team can craft a personalized HRT plan tailored to your needs.
One of the most common reasons that men choose TRT is because they have lost that "spark" with their partner. It's not easy for a man to hear that they're not performing like they used to. Intimacy is a powerful part of any relationship. When a once-healthy sex life dwindles, it can cause serious relationship issues.
The good news is that low libido doesn't have to be a permanent problem. TRT and anti-aging medicines help revert hormone levels back into their normal range. When this happens, many men have a more enjoyable life full of intimacy and sex drive.
Weak erections â it's an uncomfortable subject for many men in the U.S. to talk about. It's even worse to experience first-hand. You're in the midst of an intimate moment, and you can't do your part. Despite being perfectly normal, many men put blame and shame upon themselves when they can't achieve an erection. And while the inability to perform sexually can be caused by poor diet, obesity, and chronic health conditions, low testosterone is often a contributing factor.
Fortunately, weak erections are a treatable condition. The best way to regain your confidence and ability in bed is to speak with your doctor. Once any underlying conditions are discovered, options like TRT may be the best course of treatment.
Do you find it harder and harder to work out and lift weights in the gym? Are you having problems lifting heavy items that you once had no problem lifting?
Recent studies show that when men are inactive, they lose .5% of muscle strength every year, from ages 25 to 60. After 60, muscle loss doubles every decade. While some muscle loss is common as men age, a significant portion can be tied to low testosterone levels. When a man's T levels drop, so does his muscle mass.
Testosterone is a much-needed component used in gaining and retaining muscle mass. That's why many doctors prescribe TRT Bergenfield, NJ, for men having problems with strength. One recent study found that men who increased their testosterone levels using TRT gained as much as 2.5 pounds of muscle mass.
Whether your gym performance is lacking, or you can't lift heavy items like you used to, don't blame it all on age. You could be suffering from hypogonadism.
If you're like millions of other men in their late 20s and 30s, dealing with hair loss is a reality you don't want to face. Closely related to testosterone decline and hormone imbalances, hair loss is distressing for many men. This common symptom is often related to a derivative of testosterone called DHT. Excess amounts of DHT cause hair follicles to halt their production, causing follicles to die.
Because hair located at the front and crown is more sensitive to DHT, it grows slower than other follicles and eventually stops growing permanently. Thankfully, TRT and anti-aging treatments for men in Bergenfield, NJ, is now available to address hair loss for good.
While it's true that you can't change your genes, you can change the effects of low testosterone on your body. Whether you're suffering from thinning hair or hair loss across your entire head, TRT and other hormone therapies can stop hair loss and even reverse the process.
Also called "man boobs," gynecomastia is essentially the enlargement of male breast tissue. This increase in fatty tissue is often caused by hormonal imbalances and an increase in estrogen. For men, estrogen levels are elevated during andropause. Also called male menopause, andropause usually happens because of a lack of testosterone.
If you're a man between the ages of 40 and 55, and you're embarrassed by having large breasts, don't lose hope. TRT is a safe, effective way to eliminate the underlying cause of gynecomastia without invasive surgery. With a custom HRT and fitness program, you can bring your testosterone and estrogen levels back to normal before you know it.
Decreased energy was once considered a normal part of aging. Today, many doctors know better. Advances in technology and our understanding of testosterone show that low T and lack of energy often go hand-in-hand.
If you're struggling to enjoy activities like playing with your kids or hiking in a park due to lack of energy, it could be a sign of low T. Of course, getting tired is perfectly normal for any man. But if you're suffering from continual fatigue, a lack of enjoyment, or a decrease in energy, it might be time to speak with a doctor.
Whether you're having a tough time getting through your day or can't finish activities you used to love, TRT could help.
A study from 2011 showed that men who lose a week's worth of sleep can experience lowered testosterone levels â as much as 15%, according to experts. Additional research into the topic found almost 15% of workers only get five hours of sleep (or less) per night. These findings suggest that sleep loss negatively impacts T levels and wellbeing.
The bottom line is that men who have trouble sleeping often suffer from lower testosterone levels as a result. If you find yourself exhausted at the end of the day but toss and turn all night long, you might have low T.
TRT and anti-aging medicines can restore your T levels back to normal, which can help you sleep better with proper diet and exercise.
You're feeling down about everything, and there's no solid explanation for why you're in such a crummy mood. Your daily life is great and full of success, but you can't help but feel unexcited and unmotivated. If you're experiencing symptoms like these, you may be depressed â and it may stem from low testosterone.
A research study from Munich found that men with depression also commonly had low testosterone levels. This same study also found that depressed men had cortisol levels that were 67% higher than other men. Because higher cortisol levels lead to lower levels of testosterone, the chances of severe depression increase.
Depression is a very real disorder and should always be diagnosed and treated by your doctor. One treatment option gaining in popularity is TRT for depression. Studies show that when TRT is used to restore hormone levels, men enjoy a lighter, more improved mood. That's great news for men who are depressed and have not had success with other treatments like anti-depression medicines, which alter the brain's chemistry.
Ask anyone over the age of 50 how their memory is, and they'll tell you it wasn't what it used to be. Memory loss and lack of concentration occur naturally as we age â these aren't always signs of dementia or Alzheimer's.
However, what many men consider a symptom of age may be caused by low testosterone. A 2006 study found that males with low T levels performed poorly on cognitive skill tests. These results suggest that low testosterone may play a part in reducing cognitive ability. If you're having trouble staying on task or remembering what your schedule is for the day, it might not be due to your age. It might be because your testosterone levels are too low. If you're having trouble concentrating or remembering daily tasks, it could be time to talk to your doctor.
Why? The aforementioned study found that participating men experienced improved cognitive skills when using TRT.
Even though today's society is more inclusive of large people, few adults enjoy gaining weight as they age. Despite their best efforts, many men just can't shed the extra pounds around their midsections, increasing their risk of heart disease and cancer.
Often, male weight gain is caused by hormone imbalances that slow the metabolism and cause weight to pile on. This phase of life is called andropause and happens when there is a lack of testosterone in the body. Couple that with high cortisol levels, and you've got a recipe for flabby guts and double chins.
Fortunately, TRT treatments and physician-led weight loss programs can correct hormone imbalances and lead to healthy weight loss for men.
Sermorelin is a synthetic hormone peptide, like GHRH, which triggers the release of growth hormones. When used under the care of a qualified physician, Sermorelin can help you lose weight, increase your energy levels, and help you feel much younger.
Human growth hormone (HGH) therapy has been used for years to treat hormone deficiencies. Unlike HGH, which directly replaces declining human growth hormone levels, Sermorelin addresses the underlying cause of decreased HGH, stimulating the pituitary gland naturally. This approach keeps the mechanisms of growth hormone production active.
Benefits of Sermorelin include:
Ipamorelin helps to release growth hormones in a person's body by mimicking a peptide called ghrelin. Ghrelin is one of three hormones which work together to regulate the growth hormone levels released by the pituitary gland. Because Ipamorelin stimulates the body to produce growth hormone, your body won't stop its natural growth hormone production, which occurs with synthetic HGH.
Ipamorelin causes growth hormone secretion that resembles natural release patterns rather than being constantly elevated from HGH. Because ipamorelin stimulates the natural production of growth hormone, our patients can use this treatment long-term with fewer health risks.
One of the biggest benefits of Ipamorelin is that it is suitable for both men and women. It provides significant short and long-term benefits in age management therapies, boosting patients' overall health, wellbeing, and outlook on life. When growth hormone is produced by the pituitary gland using Ipamorelin, clients report amazing benefits.
Some of those benefits include:
Whether you are considering our TRT services, HRT for women, or our growth hormone peptide services, we are here to help. The first step to turning back the hand of time starts by contacting Global Life Rejuvenation.
Our friendly, knowledgeable TRT and HRT experts can help answer your questions and walk you through our procedures. From there, we'll figure out which treatments are right for you. Before you know it, you'll be well on your way to looking and feeling better than you have in years!973-587-8638
It was the day after Father Matthew Gonzalez's ordination, and the newly minted priest was jittery as he stood at the altar, preparing to celebrate Mass in the Bergenfield church where he was raised.Fortunately for Gonzalez, he had a familiar presence at his side. The deacon that day in May was the man who'd been walking him up the aisles of ...
It was the day after Father Matthew Gonzalez's ordination, and the newly minted priest was jittery as he stood at the altar, preparing to celebrate Mass in the Bergenfield church where he was raised.
Fortunately for Gonzalez, he had a familiar presence at his side. The deacon that day in May was the man who'd been walking him up the aisles of St. John the Evangelist since he was a child.
"Not a lot of priests can say they are at the same altar as their own father," Gonzalez recalled in a recent interview.
A day earlier, the 28-year-old had been welcomed into the priesthood in the Archdiocese of Newark with his father, German Gonzalez, looking on. Two weeks earlier, it had been German's turn, as Matthew helped in the ordination his 59-year-old dad as a deacon in the Metuchen Diocese. They came together on May 29 in St. John's for a historic Mass. According to Newark Archdiocese spokesman Sean Quinn, it was the first time that an archdiocese priest had celebrated his first Mass with his father serving beside him.
"Walking down the aisle of St. John's and seeing all of the people who we knew for so many years was very special," said German Gonzalez, who, like his son, had lived for years in New Milford. "I got very emotional up there helping my son. It was a very spiritual experience."
Deacons deliver the Gospel during Mass, preach the homily and assist the priest in a variety of duties. They can perform some Catholic sacraments, but there are others, such as hearing confessions, or anointing the sick, that they cannot perform as priests do. Deacons are also permitted to marry, while priests must remain celibate.
The men credited mother and wife Maria Gonzalez for launching their spiritual journeys. She was on Matthew's mind as he strode through the church where he and two siblings had worshipped every Sunday for more than 15 years.
"She was the religious pillar of our family," the son recalled. "Her faith was what inspired everyone. I don't know if we would be here today if it wasn't for her keeping us grounded the way that she did."
Maria Gonzalez, who grew up in the Dominican Republic and came to America at age 11, started the church youth group at the church and made sure the family attended services every week. Praying the rosary at home was non-negotiable. "She always asked, `Are you sure you are doing the right thing? Are these the right friends you want to be with? Make sure that God is number one in your life,' " Matthew said. "That was huge for me. To have that mantra in my life. It helped me stay on track."
Watching her husband and son officiate together brought a deep "sense of fulfillment," Maria said. "Our lives have always been about service." she said. "This was just a new level."
German Gonzalez, a Colombian immigrant and long-haul truck driver, was a frequent presence at the parish, said Monsignor Richard Arnhols, the pastor at St. John's. German would accompany his son when Matthew performed as part of the church band that played for children with disabilities. "He would be in the body of the church, listening to make sure the sound was just right, making sure they had everything they needed," Arnhols said.
Arnhols knew the elder Gonzalez as a "quiet and unassuming" member of the church, but the father seemed "transformed" by his journey to the diaconate, he added, judging by the speech he gave after his son's first Mass.
"It was clear how proud each was of the other."
German now serves as a deacon at St. John Paul II Parish in Perth Amboy, part of the Metuchen Diocese. Matthew is parochial vicar at St. Bartholomew Parish in Scotch Plains, in the Newark Archdiocese.
The path wasn't a straight one for either man.
Matthew Gonzalez grew up attending St. Joseph, a Catholic school in Oradell. He first considered the priesthood at age 8, he said. "The teacher was discussing various professions, and she said, 'Does anyone think they'd want to be a priest?' "
Without thinking about it, he raised his hand. His friends were shocked, Matthew recalled.
In high school, he served as a youth minister and played piano and guitar for the church. The priesthood was tugging at his heart, but he also yearned for a conventional life with a family and career. He entered seminary at Seton Hall University in 2015, thinking he could try it out for a year.
He soon realized that becoming a priest was "what made me feel most fulfilled in life." Now, as an ordained priest, he added, "I have never been happier in my life."
His father was raised by religious parents in Colombia and was deeply influenced by his mother's teachings. German came to America at age 22 and married. He became an independent truck driver for FedEx. He still drives an 18-wheeler on interstate trips, a job he's held for more than 20 years. At his wife's urging, he became deeply involved in church activities.
He first thought of becoming a deacon a decade ago, but finally made the push after the family moved to Perth Amboy and the local priest encouraged him. He worried that his English wasn't strong enough but entered a diocese program launched to help Spanish-speaking deacons.
"A deacon is the bridge between the people and church," he said.
Every night, German would finish his eight-hour FedEx shift and head to class or study on his own to complete the four-year deacon's program. "My family believed in me," he said.
Since their ordinations, the deacon said, other priests have asked what he would call his son.
"For me, Matthew is my biological son," he said. "But now he's also my spiritual father."
Correction: A prior version of this story included incorrect information on the sacraments that priests and deacons can perform.
Deena Yellin covers religion for NorthJersey.com. For unlimited access to her work covering how the spiritual intersects with our daily lives, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.
Email: [email protected]
Temperatures in much of North Jersey reached well into the upper 90s Saturday as the longest heat wave of the year continues.“This is serious heat we are dealing with,” National Weather Service meteorologist Dominic Ramunni said. “This is about as hot as it gets.”Though no daily record temperatures were set Saturday, temperatures were in the 90s across the region for most of the day with some areas, including Hillsborough and Elizabeth, hitting 100, as the heat wave continued for a sixth d...
Temperatures in much of North Jersey reached well into the upper 90s Saturday as the longest heat wave of the year continues.
“This is serious heat we are dealing with,” National Weather Service meteorologist Dominic Ramunni said. “This is about as hot as it gets.”
Though no daily record temperatures were set Saturday, temperatures were in the 90s across the region for most of the day with some areas, including Hillsborough and Elizabeth, hitting 100, as the heat wave continued for a sixth day. The humidity made the air feel even hotter.
Temperatures are forecast to be even higher on Sunday, and a heat advisory is still in effect for all of Northeast New Jersey and New York until Sunday evening.
“It’s impressive and shows how unusual, sustained heat is in the tri-state,” Ramunni said.
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection declared an ozone alert for both days this weekend. Sensitive individuals, including very young, elderly and persons with respiratory diseases such as asthma, should avoid strenuous activities during the afternoon and evening hours.
Some experts have equated the effect of breathing ozone to sunburn on the lungs. Ozone is created when nitrogen oxide and volatile organic compounds react with each other in warmer air. Prevailing winds bring nitrogen oxide into New Jersey from Pennsylvania and the Midwest, which have many large power plants that burn coal. Volatile organic compounds, meanwhile, are released by cars and trucks, and New Jersey is a major transportation corridor.
To beat the heat, many area residents descended on municipal pools and state and county parks on Saturday. Wawayanda State Park in Hewitt, where swimming and other water activities are available, reached capacity and closed before 10 a.m.
All Millburn and Short Hills residents could cool down at the Millburn municipal pool — the recreation department announced the pool would be open to all residents, even those without membership, due to the excessive heat.
Of course, hot days aren’t unusual for this time of year, said North Jersey Weather Observers spokesman Bob Ziff.
During this week in 2011, Bergenfield had record high temperatures hitting 104 degrees. So far this week in Bergenfield the highest temperature was 97 on Wednesday and again Saturday, Ziff said. Bergenfield just missed matching its record high for July 23, which was 98 set in 2011.
Overall Bergenfield's temperatures have put this month on pace to be the hottest July on record.
Bergenfield typically averages nine days over 90 degrees in July, which has already happened this month, he said.
The temperature peaked in most areas by 4:30 p.m. with the North Jersey Weather Observers recording these daily highs:
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If you have to be outdoors, dress appropriately with loose-fitting, light colored clothes, Ramunni said. Take breaks in the shade or inside and stay hydrated. Ramunni also reminded people not to leave any pets or children in the car, which will “turn deadly quickly.”
“Since it’s the weekend, with folks out and about, it adds to the danger with more people outside,” Ramunni said.
Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco extended cooling center hours through the weekend in an effort help residents during the current heat wave.
These locations will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.
On Sunday, temperatures could be slightly hotter than Saturday, but relief will come Monday.
A cold front is expected to come from the Great Lakes on Monday with showers and thunderstorms later in the day bringing in cooler air. The heavy downpours could lead to minor flooding.
“It will be marginally cooler early next week going from upper 90s to mid-upper 80s,” Ramunni said. “It’s not a substantial cool-off, but it will return to where we normally are for late in July.”
Bergenfield Launches Mayor’s Wellness Campaign 2022 With Kick-off Event at Conlon HallMayor Amatorio on hand to help register and weigh-in participantsBERGENFIELD, NJ — Mayor Arvin Amatorio was in high spirits Sunday at Conlon Hall as he was joined by residents, volunteers, and sponsors to kick-off his Mayor’s Wellness Campaign 2022, a free statewide initiative that encourages active lifestyles and healthy living through education, fun activities, and community engagement.“Thank you to all the ama...
Bergenfield Launches Mayor’s Wellness Campaign 2022 With Kick-off Event at Conlon Hall
Mayor Amatorio on hand to help register and weigh-in participants
BERGENFIELD, NJ — Mayor Arvin Amatorio was in high spirits Sunday at Conlon Hall as he was joined by residents, volunteers, and sponsors to kick-off his Mayor’s Wellness Campaign 2022, a free statewide initiative that encourages active lifestyles and healthy living through education, fun activities, and community engagement.
“Thank you to all the amazing people who joined me at the kick off event this past weekend and I want to extend a special thank you to the vendors, volunteers, and sponsors who are helping make this incredible program possible,” said Mayor Amatorio. “There’s no better time than Spring to begin making a commitment to improving our health, and together as a community we will live up to the motto that ‘It’s more fun and healthier in Bergenfield!’”
The Mayor’s Wellness Campaign is a statewide community health initiative that provides evidence-based tools and strategies for mayors and community leaders to help their residents achieve healthier lifestyles and improve overall health and wellness in their communities. The New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute (NJHCQI) has been leading the Mayors Wellness Campaign in partnership with the New Jersey State League of Municipalities since 2006.
Through this partnership, Bergenfield will receive regularly updated tools and strategies to promote health and active living, connections to local partners and volunteer networks to share best practices, information about grants and funding for programs, as well as an opportunity to be designated as a “Healthy Town” by the NJHCQI.
Sponsors of the Mayor’s Wellness Campaign include the Bergen NewBridge Medical Center, United Martial Arts UMA Taekwondo, H&R Enriquez Accounting Firm, Bergenfield Sariling Atin Asian Grill, World Financial Group, New York Life Insurance, Medicare, Tupperware, the Philippine Nurses Association – New Jersey Bergen Passaic SubChaper, the Jesus Lamb of God Church, the Filipino Apostolate of the Archdiocese of Newark, St. Mary’s Line Dancers Group, Headliners Salon, Glacy’s Salon, Nova Salon, Bergen County BagUpNJ.com, DeLa Russo Eyecare, the Jersey College School of Nursing, the Bergenfield Stigma-Free Committee, as well as the Bergenfield Recreation Department, Health Department, and Department of Public Works.
Some of the highlights of the campaign include Zumba on Mondays at Veteran’s Memorial Park from 6:30 – 7:30 PM, Yoga on Wednesdays from 6:00 – 7:00 PM at Conlon Hall, Walks with the Mayor on Thursdays at 6:00 PM at Cooper’s Pond, and Line Dancing on Fridays from 7:00 – 9:00 PM at Conlon Hall.
For a complete list of events/activities, please visit www.bergenfield.com. If you have any questions or need more information about the campaign or specific events, please do not hesitate to contact the Boro at (201) 387-4055 ext. 6, the Health Department at (201) 387-4055 ext. 5, or Councilman Marc Pascual at (201) 328-7516.
BERGENFIELD — On the Sunday before the celebration of Jesus Christ's birth, parishioners at St. John the Evangelist Church gathered for song and prayers led by Father Oliver Nilo to honor the Virgin Mary and the Son of God.As Nilo recounted the story of Elizabeth greeting a pregnant Mary, a large wooden cross stood to his left, a new arrival in the church that connected the congregation to a long history of Filipino forebears.The cross, which has been touring the local Catholic diocese, is a replica of Mage...
BERGENFIELD — On the Sunday before the celebration of Jesus Christ's birth, parishioners at St. John the Evangelist Church gathered for song and prayers led by Father Oliver Nilo to honor the Virgin Mary and the Son of God.
As Nilo recounted the story of Elizabeth greeting a pregnant Mary, a large wooden cross stood to his left, a new arrival in the church that connected the congregation to a long history of Filipino forebears.
The cross, which has been touring the local Catholic diocese, is a replica of Magellan's Cross in Cebu City, the Philippines, which is believed to have been planted by Spanish explorer Ferdinand Magellan in April 1521, introducing the religion to the Pacific islands.
To mark the 500th year of Christianity in the Philippines, the so-called Pilgrim Cross has been traveling around churches in the Catholic Archdiocese of Newark, as Filipino Americans honor their history as the largest Christian nation in Asia.
The cross arrived in Bergenfield on Dec. 5, with Nilo officiating the Mass that enshrined it. About 45% of the more than 10,000 parishioners at the church are Filipino American.
"I'm very thankful Christianity was implanted in the Philippines," said Bergenfield resident Norma Norona, 78, a Filipino immigrant. "I don't know what would have happened without Christianity."
Filipino-run businesses line the diverse neighborhood along Washington Avenue in Bergenfield. The area has come to be known as Little Manila, in a town where more than 18% of the population is Filipino, according to U.S. Census figures. The Philippines, a collection of more than 7,600 islands off the South China Sea, have a major presence in Bergenfield and at St. John the Evangelist.
Built in 1905, the Roman Catholic church sits in an area that was once a white working-class neighborhood but is now multicultural and multilingual.
As demographics shifted in Bergenfield, the church has changed along with them, said Monsignor Richard Arnhols. There are Masses conducted in Tagalog, the national language of the Philippines. During Christmas season, a "Rooster Mass" is held at 5 a.m., similar to the Mass Filipino field workers would celebrate before setting off on a day's work, Arnhols explained.
St. John's parishioners include 55 different nationalities, a change from the church's initial membership of mostly Irish and German immigrants.
"It's a pretty good representation of the community as a whole," Arnhols said.
The Filipino community came to the church about three decades ago and has grown throughout the years, he said.
"The Pilgrim Cross goes from church to church during the 12 months of this year," Arnhols said. "It is modeled on the original cross. What they've done to engage people this whole year is to travel."
Before St. John the Evangelist, the cross was at St. Joseph Church, which serves New Milford and Oradell. It will travel next to the Church of St. Michael the Archangel in Union City. The yearlong celebration is due to end in March.
Seeing the Pilgrim Cross was emotional for Matthew Travilla, a Bergenfield resident who is a parishioner at St. John the Evangelist.
"It's raw compassion for me," said Travilla, 28. "We're going through some very challenging times right now."
Religion was not always a big part of Travilla's life. Growing up in Manhattan, he said, he didn't fully appreciate Catholicism.
"I didn't understand it," he said. "As I grew older, I started to read the teachings."
Through reading the Bible, Travilla gained a new perspective on the faith his family instilled in him. Now, he not only attends Mass weekly, he also volunteers at the church helping with collections.
"It connects the Filipino community," Travilla said. "We have that shared interest."
Mary Chao ? ? ? covers the Asian community and real estate for NorthJersey.com. To get unlimited access to the latest news out of North Jersey, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.
Growing up in Bergenfield, Ace Ramirez recalls being picked on due to his small stature and his Filipino roots.As a latchkey kid — his immigrant parents worked multiple jobs — Ramirez would watch ...
Growing up in Bergenfield, Ace Ramirez recalls being picked on due to his small stature and his Filipino roots.
As a latchkey kid — his immigrant parents worked multiple jobs — Ramirez would watch martial arts movies at home. He wanted desperately to learn the skills to defend himself.
When his mother made her famous Filipino pancit noodles, Ramirez had an idea. The 10-year-old took the dish to S.J. Kim's taekwondo studio in town and bowed, offering the bowl to Master Kim. Please teach me, he pleaded.
That was 40 years ago and started Ramirez down a path of passion for martial arts. Now, as director of his own studio, the Filipino Kali Academy of Bergenfield and Norwood, Ramirez shares his knowledge with others who want to learn about the unique Filipino way of self-defense.
The fighting style to which he dedicated his life has won new attention in recent years, from Hollywood movies and national sporting organizations.
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"We need to be teachers in every aspect, not just the fighting aspect," said Ramirez, 50, who still lives in Bergenfield.
When he was a child, Ramirez's first challenge at the dojo was finding a way to pay Master Kim. His mother just did not have the extra money, so Ramirez struck a deal, offering to clean the mats and do chores in exchange for lessons.
Martial arts was "all I wanted to do when I was 10," Ramirez recalled recently. It was "a first step in my youth to find myself."
A dedicated student, Ramirez would go on to learn Chinese kung fu, Japanese karate and muay thai. But as a Filipino American, he was drawn to the fighting discipline of his own homeland, which was not well-known in America some 30 years ago.
Filipino martial arts are known as kali, escrima and arnis, three interchangeable terms to describe the indigenous combat style. The form teaches the use of sticks as blades, before moving on to empty-hand techniques. It is street fighting, Ramirez explained. Most Filipino hand-to-hand techniques come from the historical stick-and-sword movements.
Hollywood loves the rapid-fire, close-quarters style of kali. Watch the intense fights in the "Bourne" movies or "Mission: Impossible III" or Bruce Lee's stick-wielding warrior in "Enter the Dragon," and you're watching Filipino martial arts.
"Filipino martial arts has been an influence, a part of choreography, in movies you see," Ramirez said.
The Philippines consist of more than 7,000 islands in the Pacific that declared independence from Spanish rule over 120 years ago. Native Filipinos used their own martial arts techniques to fight the Spaniards, Ramirez said. The art form dates back to the 1500s.
The Filipino flag was flown for the first time on June 12,1898, which is now celebrated as Independence Day.
In addition to his country's independence, Ramirez has a lot to celebrate this June. It's the 25th anniversary of the academy that he launched in Bergenfield, before opening a second location in Norwood. The original studio shut down during the pandemic but recently reopened at 321 S. Washington St.
Ramirez is also thrilled that the Filipino martial arts form has been officially accepted by the Amateur Athletic Union, included with other sports such as tennis, swimming and weightlifting. Ramirez was in San Jose, California, in May for the induction.
Filipino martial arts are concerned with practical fighting skills and how to fend off attackers. The style covers all distances in which combat could happen: long-range kicking, middle-range boxing and elbowing, and short-range grabbing and poking. It's a pragmatic art form that doesn't focus on complicated moves.
At a Monday night class in Bergenfield this month, students learned self-defense using sticks. They could mimic those moves with a flashlight to thwart an attack, Ramirez told the class. Students stayed grounded on their feet while pivoting.
Ridgewood resident Grace Balajadia, 37, joined the Kali Academy to learn self-defense as well as her cultural roots. She takes classes with her 10-year-old daughter, Isabel, and 8-year-old son, Manny. The children are Filipino and Korean American.
"I wanted my children to be proud of who they are," she said.
There are 137,000 Filipino Americans in New Jersey, according to a 2019 report by the advocacy group Jersey Promise. Bergenfield is one of the centers of the community, known as Bergen County’s Little Manila for the Filipino businesses and eateries along Washington Avenue.
People travel from around the country to Bergen County to learn about kali, Ramirez said. There are few instructors of the Filipino art, he added, noting that half his business involves teaching others to be professional trainers. (His Norwood studio is at 55 Walnut St.)
He and one of his teachers, Tuhon Apolo Ladra, who is the founder of the World Kali Association, spread the art form to other teachers who will pass on those skills to a new generation. It was Ladra who developed a curriculum for Filipino martial arts students.
"My intention is to be an ambassador to bring awareness of Filipino martial arts," Ramirez said.
Mary Chao ? ? ? covers the Asian community and real estate for NorthJersey.com. To get unlimited access to the latest news out of North Jersey, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.