Testimonials What Others Say about Gulf Coast FCS Kali

William Whiting

I started lessons just a handful of months ago. I have a background in Chinese/Indo/Malay/Filipino martial arts. The background is rudimentary, but I’d like to think I have some fairly good skill sets. Nonetheless, within sort order, Ray challenged my abilities. He has been able to consistently teach in a fashion that is always a few steps above my ability, which keeps me growing at leaps and bounds. This isn’t just for me, but for every student who walks through the doors. Classes are small, intimate, and feel like private lessons. Ray is an inexhaustible source of information. So, if you are seeking true martial knowledge and sick of the typical school that goes through the same drills over and over, typically based upon the newest student who signed up, then Ray is a teacher that you should not ignore.

Adrien Broody

I’ve come to realize most martial arts are just infomercial realities that don’t offer any real practical application to a dangerous situation. 
Kali is the first self defense system I’ve undertaken where I feel every class contributes to my overall growth as a practitioner.
The experiences I’ve gained and the people I have met over the last 6 months have become invaluable to me. 
Learning FCS is akin to using your mind and body in tandem, for the first time. 
It teaches you not to just see with your eyes nor feel with your hands, but to sense everything totally, all the while sharpening the skills that contribute to superior hand-eye coordination and close quarters self defense combat. 
Ray is a phenomenal instructor with unlimited patience, humility, and an extremely deep commitment to teach.
Whether using a stick, a knife, or even your own hands, FCS Kali is truly a transformative artform.

Seth Macaluso

Fun, challenging and relentlessly addictive. Gulf Coast FCS Kali offers a truly one of a kind martial arts experience that anyone can participate in. Whether you’re a master of the arts or have never stepped foot in a dojo, Gulf Coast FCS has something for everyone.

Edgardo Villalta

Ray is a great instructor, very patient, and passionate about the art. Great atmosphere

Chris Sowell

A rewarding experience to train with Ray Norton, Gulf Coast provides a really friendly environment for the experienced or the beginner like me. I always feel welcome and learn from everyone in the room. Professional instruction while having fun and gaining experience, top notch!

Chris Leventis

Ive been involved in the martial arts for over 30 years and it’s seldom that you come across a group of people that know what it means to be a true martial artist and embody that spirit. I came into contact with Ray Norton through Tuhon Ray Dionaldo and consider myself very lucky to have stumbled upon the collective tribe that is FCS Kali. Ray Norton is a true student of the art and does not hesitate to pass on all of his knowledge to whoever is willing to truly learn which in my book makes him a true martial arts instructor. Highly recommend training at Gulf Coast Kali!

John Mitchell

Hands down best martial arts teacher I have ever had. From Tae Kwon Do to training in special operations I have yet to learn as quickly and easily as I have from FCS. Ray is an awesome instructor that makes this art a fun and enjoying time. You will get a work out and be challenged the whole time but you will leave feeling accomplished.

Ashley Moss

Ray was one of the most professional martial arts instructors that I have ever seen. Gulf Cost FCS Kali has gone way above my expectations and demonstrated a solid fighting system in a selfless manner that is making a difference for veterans and soldiers alike. If you have the ability, I recommend taking the time to go to Gulf Coast FCS Kali. RLTW

Clay Allred

I have been told that overcoming PTSD takes time. I’m told that I need to overcome guilt, and that by embracing forgiveness, I can also embrace peace, hope, gratitude, and joy. The only thing that has been made easily apparent to me in my treatment is that the path to physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being is not as simple as I’d like it to be. The other thing I know for certain is that I have to do something; sitting and aimlessly stewing in it, for me, leads some place terrible.

Getting out of the house and outside of myself have become symbolic to me of actively taking the next steps towards balance. A physical exercise routine has been absolutely paramount in my treatment thus far, but I had still desired something that embodied more of an air of camaraderie and ‘espirit de corps’ than my daily jog or headphoned gym session. My introduction to Kali could not have come at a better time.

I had some prior, limited training in a few different martial arts programs. I had taken basic Karate and I had completed L.I.N.E. and MACP level 1 combative training programs while in the Army. I only know enough to understand that anything that I’ve learned thus far is by no means inclusive. The blade, stick, and empty-handed techniques of Kali appealed to me in a way different than that of other martial arts. The flow drills and counter drills reminded me of the most effective training I had received while in the military, in that they build muscle memory and condition effective, immediate response. Moreover, Kali is incredibly exciting to me because I have realized that I am conditioning my brain just as much (if not more) than I am conditioning my body. When training in Kali, I feel as is my mind and my body are working towards union and efficiency on a higher level than I have experienced while training in other arts. I also feel that Kali has great synergy with my prior training. In fact, I feel as if it opens new neural pathways. This is to say that training in Kali provides great ‘flow’ and contingency, whereas my mind previously may have hit a wall and left me without a defence when confronted with certain situations.

There are lots of PSTD treatment plans that might seem ‘holistic’ to the civilian psychologist, but in nearly all of these cases there is a lack of any ‘warrior’ consciousness. This is something I’ve built my life around and something I still desire. How much of my life have I based on an ethos of never giving up? How much of my life have I dedicated to preparing for battle and promises of never leaving a fallen comrade? I have learned a lot in PTSD classes, but those words are the milk of my recovery. I am a warrior and I need real food. I am the one responsible for putting the information I am given into good use. For me, this meant seeking training in a martial art. Kali provides a laid-back teaching style coupled with a training environment that effectively delivers that aforementioned sense of comradeship I had while in the service. I feel beyond grateful to have happened upon it.

Yani Knapp

Ray Norton is an amazing instructor. I highly recommend Gulf Coast FCS Kali for anyone looking to train in this particular art. The knowledge and skills you will gain will be priceless. I have personally met and connected with some incredible people here. Plus, it is always a blast.

Jay Stratton

My name is Jay Stratton. I have been training FCS Kali and working with Ray for little over 2 years now. Ray has shown me many different techniques and concept for blade fighting through the art of FCS. I was a US Army Paratrooper and Special Operations Medic for over 8 years with multiple combat deployments. I have trained with a large variety of people with different styles and concepts. FCS is the first system I have ever seen that takes ancient martial arts of many different styles and combines them to fit modern combat. Ray has shown me concepts that I have never seen before nor have I ever thought of. The system that Ray teaches works well for gaining awareness of your body and surroundings as well as modern day operational combative tactics. I highly recommend the FCS system to anyone who wants to learn a well rounded combat system. I can say that from my little time training with Ray and FCS that i have become more diverse and lethal on combat techniques as well as self defense.



Brant Singletary

I have served in the Air Force and been around the world. I have been exposed to many martial arts and fighting styles. I did a lot of research before I picked Gulf Coast FCS Kali and Suncoast MMA… Ray Norton is extremely professional and accommodating, I thoroughly enjoy the time I spend training with the staff and students. I highly recommend Gulf Coast FCS Kali and Suncoast MMA…

Adam Kerr

My name is Adam Kerr and I am a sergeant in the United States Marine Corps.  I have made one combat tour to Iraq and am responsible for training and conditioning my younger Marines.  I am also the co-owner of Valkyrie Protection Agency and hold a bachelors degree in criminology. I have been in pursuit of a gym that combines fighting techniques that are adaptable to everyday scenarios, and pertain to my occupation in the Marine corps and the security field.  I have been too many different gyms ranging from boxing to mixed martial arts and still felt something was missing.  I finally found Ray Norton’s gym which teaches Filipino Combat Systems (FCS).  This style of fighting revolutionized the way I started to think and fight, and I quickly became hooked.  FCS utilizes many different weapons such as blades, kali sticks, swords, and many more.  The best part of FCS is that the techniques you learn can be applied to any weapon or with your bare hands.  So for example, if Ray Norton teaches me a technique with a kali stick (which is similar to an asp or police baton), that same technique can be used if I am empty handed or holding a blade.  FCS not only teaches you how to fight,  it ingrains muscle memory that can save your life if you are in a stressful situation.  I always wanted to find a gym that would teach techniques that I could not only use in the Marine corps but also would help me in real life situations at home, such as getting mugged.  I was relieved to find Ray Norton’s gym after years of searching for something that would evolve my skills in the Marine corps and my security company.  FCS is invaluable to my training regime and has no question helped me in my military experiences.  I encourage everyone, from military to people who are looking for self defense, to attend at least one session of FCS.  Ray Norton’s gym has a relaxed atmosphere where everyone learns from each other and we are all able to work at our own pace.  I was impressed with the large selection of training equipment at my disposal and how Ray would modify his classes to fit mine, and everyone else’s personal needs, while maintaining the cohesion of the group.  I could not be happier now that I have found this gym.  Having trained in the Marine corps, boxing, Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and wrestling I have never come across concepts like the ones taught in FCS.  I cannot stress enough what a difference it has made in my life and there is no question it will make a difference in yours as well.  Ray makes you feel like you are part of a community and class is like your training with all of your friends.  His knowledge is vast and I have yet to offer him a scenario that he could not immediately offer valuable insight on.  The classes are not rushed and I feel I always walk away with something completely new that I had not learned yet.  Ray Norton’s gym will speak for itself all you have to do is show up and get started.

Jeremiah McAuliffe

When I arrived at training I was surprised to find that the “dojo” was outdoors and that the atmosphere was unlike anything I had ever been exposed to in the martial arts.

Filipino Combat Systems, or FCS, is a style of Kali which is a fighting system that just makes sense to me. What I mean by making sense is that when learning this art form, every move/counter move has a reason or purpose that is functional in a real street fight. In Kali you will train in knife fighting, stick fighting and firearm disarm from day one. One of the many reasons I love Kali is that while training, you also learn about the Filipino culture and history. When I was barely three months into training I was invited to participate in an upcoming Cruzada.  A Cruzada is where the various schools around the area come together for a day of training and fellowship. Each school, under FCS, will teach a certain form or style and everybody trains together, or touches hands. After the day long training session we all ate together and that is when I really learned what these events are really about.  The Cruzada is not about who has the best school or style, it is about friends and family. I was actually nervous about training there because I had not been with FCS very long but I was welcomed like family and I came away from the event knowing I had been a part of something very special.

Fast forward a few years and I am now training with Ray Norton at Gulf Coast FCS Kali. I have known Ray for over twenty years and consider him a close friend. Ray recently opened a dojo and I was not surprised to see the large turnout or how well the dojo was created. The dojo and school is well thought out as to curriculum, training, and the right equipment to support the students. Ray is a very detailed instructor, who I find it easy to learn from. A few weeks ago I was having a particular hard time getting through a template, Ray came up with a plan and 45 minutes later I had improved dramatically. Ray approaches the martial arts like he approaches life, head on with an unquenchable thirst for knowledge.

If you have the opportunity to train with Ray Norton at Gulf Coast FCS Kali, you will quickly understand why other people drive from all over to work with him in the dojo.


Jeremiah McAuliffe                                                                                                         jmac4242@tampabay.rr.com

Christopher Jaramillo

My name is Christopher Jaramillo.  I have been studying martial arts for about twelve years now.  For awhile now I have been interested in Filipino martial arts and wanted to learn more.  While researching various arts I came across FCS Fillipino Combat Systems created by Tuhon Ray Dionaldo.  I met Tuhon Ray and his crew at there last training camp and have nothing but good things to say about them all.  After the camp I asked Tuhon Ray if there was anyone in the area that I could study under and he sent me to instructor Ray Norton.  Instructor Ray has been a great teacher and I feel fortunate to have found him.  Not only is he a great instructor but you can tell he has a passion for teaching and for the martial arts themselves.   It has been great learning FCS.  The system is very diverse with its use of weapons as well as empty hand tactics.  The great thing about this system is that it’s teachings all relate to one another so wether you have a stick, a knife, a long blade or nothing at all you are given the skills needed to defend yourself.  Having studied many martial arts over the years I believe FCS can be added into anyone’s existing skill set to make them an over all better martial artist.

Jason Edwards

This place is awesome. I’ve been taking FCS Kali classes with Instructor Ray Norton. He is very patient and goes above and beyond to make sure everyone is learning the techniques! The hours of training fly by because of how much fun we’re all having! There are no egos, no competition just quality people with common goals learning a valuable art and having a Blast doing it.
Enough said!!


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