A history professor’s job is to make sure their students learn important events, the dates of those events and the people involved. With the instructors usually giving vivid and passionate descriptions to help students better understand the curriculum, history professor Edgar Pacas does one better and shows his students.
“With the early medieval history class I bring in swords and armor replicas,” said Pacas. “I always let campus police know ahead of time of course.”
Even more impressive than his sword collection is the fact that a majority of the swords were made by Pacas himself in a forge that he built in his backyard. And if that’s not enough to scare off potential burglars, Pacas has been practicing martial arts since the age of 10 and is currently teaching it.
“I can’t recollect what drew me to the arts,” said Pacas. “I was born in the wrong century I guess.”
Starting off with Shotokan Karate, Pacas also practices and teaches Kung Fu Sanoo, Wing Tsun, Aikido and combat and weapons training.
“I always joke with my class that I’m a Buddhist in progress,” he said.
Pacas, who currently teaches courses in medieval history and the history of European, Asian and World Civilizations, says although he always loved history he didn’t plan on becoming a teacher.
“I always knew I wanted to do something with it and I had an affinity with medieval history, but I was not sure what I’d do with it,” he said.
Thinking of possibly becoming a museum curator, it wasn’t until he attended Cal State LA that he knew he wanted to become a teacher. It was the influence of his passionate history professor Dr. Stanley Burstein that helped him make the decision.
“I remember visiting him in his office one day and I was mesmerized not only by the large book collection he had but also how knew what information each one contained and where they were located,” Pacas said.
Pacas said that what separates his classes from others is that he not only talks about the major civilizations but he puts a focus on those in the surrounding areas as well.
“[In my class we] deal with people on the fringes, what we call barbarians,” he said.
Fernando Lodevico, psychology, took Pacas’s History of European Civilization class and said Pacas is the most invigorating professor he has encountered at PCC.
“He’d bring in replica items of the era’s he was teaching and would lecture on them as he’d tie in their significance to the daily lesson plan,” Lodevico said.
While Pacas does bring the martial arts philosophies into the classroom, he said that it is something he always carries with him.
“The martial arts philosophy is one you take into everyday life,” he said. “If you have a discipline orientated outlook on life, it improves your standard of living.”