Each of us is moving steadily to our eternity, some much faster than others. GM Narrie Babao did just that! He suddenly left the narrow bonds of Earth last Friday, Oct. 11, and is now in the arms of God.
At around 3:00 p.m. while at Balboa Hospital where he was confined for two weeks, Narrie suffered a stroke closely followed by a massive heart attack. The team of doctors did everything but failed to revive him. Narrie never regained consciousness, and went on to his final journey to touch the face of God!
In the lyrics of one of his favorite songs "My Way" popularized by internationally well-loved singers Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra, Narrie "lived a life that's full and traveled each and every highway." A very passionate and talented man, he was truly the best at everything he did. He was an expert in almost all areas of his life.
As a martial artist, Narrie was known worldwide as a Grandmaster in Babao Arnis, the art he inherited from his father, and a Grand Master of Cacoy Doce Pares Eskrido/Eskrima. He was also a Guro in the Villabrille-Largusa System of Kali. In 1978, he became the "First Weapons Sparring Champion of the United States".
Here in San Diego, GM Narrie is known as the Father of Filipino Martial Arts, and to most of the world as Grandmaster Narrie Babao, the "Last of the Dying Breed."
Narrie served 23 years in the United States Navy and retired as a Master-at-Arms Chief. While serving in the Persian Gulf, he was assigned by his Commanding Officer to be the Chief Master at Arms in the Fleet Anti-Submarine Squadron Training Center and became the Command's Assistant Physical Security Officer. He trained the Navy's Top Gun's Security Force.
Following his retirement from the Navy, he worked with the San Diego Police Department for 14 years as a Police Service Officer. He trained a task force of law enforcement officers and detectives. He also became an Elvis Impersonator when his wife Zena, a feature writer for the Elvis International Magazine here in the U.S. and the online Elvis Tribute magazine "Lady Luck Music" in Montreal, Canada, lovingly dragged him to go with her to most of her writing assignments around the world.
Most of all, he was a loving husband, father, grandfather, mentor and an inspiration to many.
Paraphrasing again the song "My Way", Narrie had few regrets in life, if any. He did what he had to do and did it all without exception. He planned each chartered course, each careful step along the byway, and much more than that, he lived a full life, and he did it his way!