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Re-Creating American KunTao Silat
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Author Topic: Re-Creating American KunTao Silat  (Read 7704 times)
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« on: April 24, 2011, 02:43:29 PM »

Grin Greetings GentlePeople,

American KunTao Silat, as a martial LifeStyle, must evolve as the People who comprise it evolve.  We have been graced by the Creator with a gathering of very competent martial artists intent upon continuing their martial pursuits until it's time to go Home.

Separating Malabar and American KunTao Silat has been on my mind for a long time.  I just received a letter from a new DistanceLearning Practitioner voicing an issue that many have over the years.  The low stances.  Now, admittedly the low stances are part of what makes our systems uniquely effective; BUT, there are other methods to attain similar results, and I think now is a good time to investigate and build American KunTao Silat to be more compatible with the vast majority of its Practitioners.  Malabar KunTao Silat is what it is and that will not change. . . but American KTS?  We will discuss it.
My letter to Sonny:
Greetings Sonny and Welcome to the American KunTao Silat Family.

You bring up several key points, so I'm going to share your letter with the Gurus and Mudas since it re-states an issue that has been on my mind for quite a while and we have had some discussion on the matter.

I also want to share this letter with the People on the Forum, under the topic Making a martial art.  I think it is time that we codify the elements of American KunTao Silat and separate Malabar KunTao Silat as an art geared to the young, limber and un-scarred from Life's Experiences.  With that said, I'm enamored with the concept of a Republic of Free People working together for a common goal.  That's why I want to share this with the People in the DistanceLearning Program.  I believe that the best way to attain a common goal is to take advantage of all the resources everyone brings to the task.  Many of you know that there are People in the DLP who have spent a great deal of time training with many of the Founders or Senior Disciples of some of the kuntao and silat legends of our time.  I would invite and respect their opinions about the construction and evolution of American KunTao Silat.  I named my personal, by my choice, system American because of the unique value that a faith-based republic brings to a People wise enough to implement it.  I want each of you to succeed!  But not only to reach your goal; to exceed it!

Art, I'm copying several of the AKTS Family so this communique will go to at least these People.  If Sonny has no reservations about this being posted on the Forum, I'd appreciate it if you would post it under the Making a Martial Art board.  Thank you.

So here is Sonny's Letter to me, in quotes, and my reply. 

My name is Sonny O'Harrow. I am an old student of Keith Moffett and was introduced to Kuntao Silat by Uncle Bill (Grandpa Bill) when I worked with him at Western Truck Parts

You're a fortunate man Sonny, the kuntao and silat arts are hard to find.  Did you have any martial arts background when you met Grampa Bill?

"I was certified Muret Muda in 1997 by Uncle and Keith."
Keith doesn't use the original ranking model from before his time, so it would be helpful for me to know what the qualifications are for Muret Muda.  Keith is a very good teacher, so I'm confident that in your years with him you learned and internalized a lot of material.  I'd like to provide you with an equivalent rank in American KunTao Silat so that you can continue your martial quest from there. Communicate with Art and the Gurus, Aric and Derric about that and they will certify you at what ever Level corresponds with your experience.  I'd like to see this concept adopted for those with experience in the Kuntao and Silat family of Arts.

"In 2000 I moved to Arizona and was unable to attend classes. However, I have continued to practice and train on my own and am very dedicated to the art."

The beauty of kuntao and silat is that solo practice time is precious and quite valuable both for health and for combat training.  Naturally, having Folks to play with aids timing and application; but it is a fact of life that many People do not have access to a teacher and some don't have anyone to play with on a regular basis.  None-the-less everyone needs to have a personal protection system, and it is becoming more necessary as the world falls into economic chaos and lawlessness increases.

"When I discovered your Distance Training Course I thought this would be a great way of furthering my training and working toward my goal of becoming a Guru."

Well that has been the purpose of the Distance Learning Program from its inception back in the 1980s.  Originally I did not have any desire to teach, since I was a businessman and didn't really have the time to devote to teaching.  My original goal was to provide the basics in video format so that People could learn the rudiments without a hands-on teacher and thus be better prepared for learning advanced techniques and applications when a teacher became available.  You probably met many of my old students and DLP Practitioners at Keith's school.  Guru Level, like a black belt is really only the beginning of the martial quest. I have adopted the term, "martial lifestyle" because that is truly what it is.  Inculcating martial training into daily activities is the only way that I can conceive to build a proper foundation upon whence a true combat system can be built.  You can't train one way and fight another.

Since kuntao and silat have historically been taught by "follow-the-leader" these arts are perfect for the video training method.  Although it is difficult at first to re-train the way you stand and walk and move, the video provides the models in the form of Grampa Bill and his Senior Disciples actually performing the movements and explaining the applications. 

"From the time I received your DVDs I have practiced every morning."
Excellent!  I love to see such dedication; that's what is required for progress.

"Unfortunately, I am not a youngster anymore and have suffered injuries to my  left hip and left knee. Due to these past injuries I am finding it very hard to perform low stances. Do you have any suggestions?"
As a matter of fact, I've been talking about evolving the DistanceLearning Program into two distinct arts.  The Malabar KunTao Silat is primarily comprised of what Grampa Bill taught me in the 30 years that I was with him.  It incorporates all the unique elements of the ancient kuntao and silat and is based on the principle of low stances which builds leg strength and provides a lot of combat techniques that are exceptionally effective because of their unusual and esoteric nature.

American KunTao Silat is geared more to the American martial LifeStyle and although there is a lot of Grampa Bill's flavour, there is also a huge influence from Bill Chang's internal martial system.  It is therefore more erect and based on other elements that provide the same combat efficiency and produces greater health benefits.  Since Americans are plagued with "football" injuries and various debilitating conditions that prevent them from performing stances that Indonesians grew up practicing, it is on the verge of impossible for many Americans to ever learn the Indonesian silat arts.  However, it is not necessary to learn the Indonesian silat arts to have a highly effective fighting system.  It may even be a liability to endeavour to apply many of those arts to combat.

"I do not want anything to keep me from advancing and reaching that goal."
Well Sonny, I and the AKTS teachers are committed to aiding your progression toward your goal; and there are others in the DLP Program who have expressed the same concerns, so the time has arrived to address the issue. With your permission, I'd like to ask Guru Muda Art to post this communique on the AKTS Forum so that everyone can have a say in the decision to build the program for American KunTao Silat.  Malabar is a closed system, it is what it is and the requirements for advancement were agreed upon by Willem, Phillip, George, Randall and I decades ago.  American KTS needs to evolve; but it needs to do so in a manner that maintains the combat effectiveness necessary for the dire days approaching.  But I also want to maintain some of the primary elements that will enable AKTS People to easily join a local school, if the opportunity presents, and to have the signature elements that bind the various factions of kuntao and silat into a loose-knit Family.

"Thank you for your time and attention.


Thank you Sonny.  I appreciate your joining the American KunTao Silat Family and I look forward with anticipation to see your participation in the evolution of the Art.  I'd suggest that you join the Video Peer Review group like many of the PracticeLeaders so that I can view and comment on your progress.

May YHVH richly bless you in all your endeavours,

And Sonny's answer to me:
The message they sent you was:


Thank you for your prompt reply. I would have responded sooner, but, your email ended up in my spam file.

Please feel free to post our conversation, as I have no problem sharing it with other people in DLP.

In answer to your question, in the early seventies, I started training with my father, who was a Denver Police Officer and taught self defense tactics. Also, my uncle was a Aurora Police Detective and was an instructor in Koga (defense tactics using batons). Additionally, I have practiced Western Style Boxing, some Judo, and several styles of Karate. However, I feel none of those arts are as effective as KunTao Silat.

I am excited to have the opportunity to be a part of the DLP forum and appreciate your willingness to help me, and others, to continue our martial lifestyle. Thanks again.


Constant training is the key to success in the Martial LifeStyle of American KunTao Silat ~ may YHVH richly bless all who diligently pursue this journey.
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