The two martial art systems that make up Kali-Silat are Filipino Kali and Indonesian Silat. These two countries share a border, and the two arts blend together naturally. Kali is also known as escrima or arnis. It is direct from the Philippine Islands, and has been proven in battle numerous times against the Spanish, the Japanese and even against the United States.
Indonesian Silat appears to be a dance, but concealed within that dance are many secrets. The Dutch colonists revealed many of these as they modified the stance to a more upright position. It is the footwork, upright grappling and the take-downs of Silat that are incorporated in the art. Rather than the usual Aikido takedowns that swing the opponent, or throwing like Judo, or Jujitsu that wrestles the opponent down, Silat leads the opponent down by controling his head.
There is nothing new in the world of martial arts. Yet ones approach to the arts can indeed be unique. Progressive Kali Silat (PKS) is an expression of the art developed by PKS founder, Guru Mike Tabor.
PKS trains in weapons and empty hand. We have three weapon ranges, largo (long range), medio (med range) and corto (close range). Empty hands include the grappling range. The attack patterns used to fight with these weapons are identical to the patterns we apply to empty hand, only the patterns get smaller as we move from the 28 inch stick, to a knife, and finally to empty hand. Our targets also remain the same.
All of our attacks have the same goal, whether armed with a weapon or not, and that is to destroy the opponents limbs, and then to take them down to the ground hard, where they are no longer a threat. From the upright grappling range, we apply switches, moving from inside to left outside, to right outside and back. All the while, damaging the opponents limbs. Our weapon at this range is most likely empty hands. We make sure that when we take the opponent down, he will not want to get back up. One unique characteristic is the fist/elbow/fist combination that has a shotgun effect on the opponents arms. In addition, as we transition from side to side, we are applying locks, retaining control of the opponent at all times. We consider this to be merciful, because we are not causing life threatening damage to the head or body. His life might be spared by our destruction of his limbs. It is this concept that allows us as Christians to be so aggressive in our attacks.
Our use of foot trapping is also worthy of note. The Lankah patterns allow us to keep shin pressure against our opponents lower leg, preventing him from gaining a strong foundation. It is a great equalizer, allowing a small person to keep a large muscular opponent off balance. In fact, the taller your opponent is, the longer his lower leg, which gives us a larger area to work with. In this case, it is true that the bigger they are, the harder they fall.
PKS is primarily learned through 2 man patterns. These drills are practiced over and over, constantly becoming more advanced and burned into your muscle memory. As you progress, the various drills are blended together, until the day when there is no more drill, it is just action. We spend the first few years learning drills, and the rest of our life trying to forget them.
This is a style that is very effective for women as well as men. It is not strength that wins the fight, but flow and training your body to react instinctively.