Do you know who this is?
No, this is not Ferdinand Magellan. This is Miguel López de Legazpi, the Spanish conquistador who conquered the Philippines.
Over the last couple of days I've taken time to reflect on the past week spent training in Belgium. It was a great opportunity for me to meet new people, train with people I've never trained with before and make new friends. In all honesty, it felt just like I was at home hiking and training with my students. Which in my perspective means the experience was a great success.
First I owe a big thank you to David Moreels and his family, especially his wife for her amazing home cooked foods and support. It is no easy task organizing an event like this. It takes a great deal of dedication, commitment and support.
David and his son Jamie are excellence proof that our Inner Triangle distance training methods work. This was the first time we've met in person and trained together and everyone who attended could see how well they performed in Kali. David Moreels is Kali Center's official Belgium Chapter leader and is now listed for training in Belgium under the "school" menu tab.
All my life I have been told by peers that I go to far and too deep into things. I've been told by my own teachers not to split the atom, not to think too deeply but, this is my nature and I believe that if I can split the atom then I can go nuclear.
I'm well aware of the things said about me by my peers. Objections, complaints and slander all spoken in my shadow. I've been taking hits by my peers physically and verbally all my life that I've grown quite stoic to them. However, what I hope for is for the students all around the world not be influenced and turn themselves bias based on someone else's objections and complaints and that they themselves do their due diligence in the matters.
I have been accused of many things in my martial arts career. It has been said that I only care about the money by some of my local peers (peers being other FMA teachers), It's been said by some peers that I lack integrity, it has also been said that I'm too wild, aggressive and a maniac but out of all the complaints there is one fact that none of my peers can ever argue and that fact is that I study, research and train hard and more often than the vast majority of all my peers.
Do I go too far in my study? Perhaps. It is very possible that for my peers I go to far. It is very possible that my Kali goes too deep for your teacher.
There are different reasons and wants for every student in the study of martial arts and there are different reasons and wants for every teacher also. Most students want to study martial arts at a surface layer, they have other things in their lives that take on greater priority. A few students want something deeper within themselves. The esoteric students, the fewest students want something deeper than themselves. I believe that all reasons for learning and training are valid and should be respected. However, there is a difference when it comes to the different reasons for teaching. Other people are counting on teachers and trusting teachers to guide them on the right path for themselves.
Just as there are different depths for students I believe there are different depths for teachers. Some teachers want to teach the surface layers of their martial arts while others want to teacher to help their students research their deeper layers within themselves. There is a third type of teacher. The type that is to dig deeper and reach the depths of the esoteric. Each of these teachers are valid and correct. It's important that the student and the teacher find their match.
I am not a good teacher for all students around the world but that doesn't mean all students around the world cannot learn from me just as any other teacher. My teaching reflects my learning. I teach because I want to continue to dig deeper. I teach because I need the other minds of my students. I need their questions, I need them to present problems to me, I need them to challenge me.
I'm not training Kali for me. I'm not studying the blade for me and I'm not doping any of this for you or my students. All of this is for Kali. It is all for the greater system.
I go too deep because the blade cuts deep and life is deep. I dig deeper because it's truth I am after. I've grown tired of other people's interpretations who don't train and continue their studies or who have become bias to another person's ideals.
I go deep because I want to under stand true virtue, dedication and discipline. My life is devoted to the greater system and learn to speak its language through the blade. This is why I don't have time to object or complain about my peers. I have no interest or time to stand in their shadows.
So maybe I'm going too far. Perhaps I'm digging too deep for the majority but, that's okay. Like I've said from the beginning of Kali Center, this is not a popularity contents for me. Kali Center is about one thing and one thing only, TRAINING.
Kali Center is not a martial art alone. It is a martial art to the regular people who are not knowledgable of what the true nature of our study is. The study of Kali Center is The True Skill of the Blade at its Fullest potential and extraordinary standards.
To fully grasp the potential of Kali and the blade you must take a journey through the path of the blade's history. How far does this knowledge really go? Was it founded in the Philippines? Did the Spaniards bring this technology or is it even older than this?
Yes, there are documents of the Spaniards mentioning the islander natives fighting fiercely with fire-hardened sticks but, we're not talking about that here, I am talking about the blade education, the sword/bolo.
Even at the Battle of Mactan when Lapu-Lapu's warriors felled Magellan we must admit that for 49-60 Spaniards to engage offensively with no battle strategy in play with a siege that lasted for hours against hundreds, how few moved from beach to village, there must have been a tremendous amount of skill by the Spanish. Even though victory was the Chieftain's that day, upon the return of the Spanish with Juan Sebastián Elcano the Spanish proved victorious for 333 years over the Natives. The Spanish also fought many encounters with the invading Chinese from the North, the Japanese, the Moro Moros, etc. When we travel back in history this is no coincidence.
During the Greek rule over Iberia, the Turdetani tribes people of that land were educated by the Greeks in math, science and technologies. The Iberian people of the Turdetani and Bastetani tribes were referred as the most skilled and fierce fighters in all of Western Europe by the Greeks and the Romans, even by Julius Caesar himself. The Iberians eventually became what is known today as Spanish.
Iberia was a land of war for hundreds upon hundreds of years during the Roman Empire and fight for rule. The history of these people didn't just fight tribal wars, they fought against militaries. It is likely that over the hundreds of years after the Roman wars leading up to the Spanish global conquest that these fighting tactics and skills where not only preserved but perfected even further.
During the 333 years of Spanish occupation of the Philippines we know of high class Filipinos who trained in the strategy, tactics and techniques of Spanish warfare. Many even sailed to New Spain (Mexico) who trained to fight with the Spanish with some returning to the Philippines afterwards. Near the end of the Spanish Colonial Period there were high class Filipino men who traveled to Europe learning fencing arts by the Italians, Germans, French, Polish, Belgians, Bulgarians and Spanish and returning home.
When we see strategy, tactics and techniques today in Kali that reflect the clear influence of the Spanish and other European fencing arts in well known styles and systems such as Kalis Ilustrisimo and Pekiti Tirsia Kali, (Two of the most effective blade fighting Filipino Systems that influenced many of today's formed FMA) even down to the geometry and mathematics that are used, one cannot help but see the direct pattern in lineage of education.
This isn't to take anything away from Kali. In fact quite the contrary. If it wasn't for the Filipinos and living in a strong blade culture of today, then perhaps this knowledge would have been lost forever due to the invention of firearms and modern warfare.
Just as the Iberians preserved much of the fighting science of the Greeks, the Filipino's I believe have done so with the Iberians/Spanish.
We know that the Iberian Falcata (Short Sword pictured above in the Top Right) had influence over the short swords of both the Greeks and the Romans and have a remarkable resemblance to the blades being used today by the Philippine Force Recon Marines, the Talibung (Pinute) and Ginunting.
Coming back to Kali Center...
The basic training operations of Kali Center isn't necessarily to preserve this knowledge as a Filipino Martial Art but as a global human martial science of blade fighting, the true identification of Close-Quarters Combat.
We hold onto the term Kali simply because as the Iberians preserved the Greeks knowledge, and the Filipinos preserved the Iberian/Spanish knowledge, we believe we are now preserving the knowledge and with the term Kali (to Dig) we are continuing to dig deeper into this science of system and intelligence. Just as it is possible the Spanish had done with the Greek roots.
Since it was Kali that first brought me to this research, I feel the term Kali is only fitting to pay my respects to the roots of my path but, in all honesty, the correct term that seems to be most fitting is, Kali Destreza Alítheia, loosely translating to... "To Dig Deeper into the Skill of Truth."
One of the most frequent questions I get asked is, what exactly is Kali Center's Kali?
Is it Pekiti-Tirsia, is it a blend of two or three different styles and if so which ones?
The answer is here...
The style of Kali we train, study and practice at Kali Center is simply called, "KALI." I'm not interested in getting too caught up in a name.
Over the last twenty years of training and research in different FMA styles, systems and instructors I've come to see and believe that KALI is an in depth expression of the secret universal laws and variables, mathematics and physics.
By: Tom Zachwieja
From training Kali the past 10 years in many different terrains you will challenge mind and body more than you could ever imagine.
A plan for active recovery and injury prevention is critical when training Martial Arts.
I started training yoga for really one purpose, become more flexible in my body to increase my martial arts performance !
In Kali we use the rattan sticks to grow immense skill in coordination, agility, and flexibility. Why would that be any different for your active recovery strategy? It’s not .
Using the sticks to bring the ground closer to you allows you to focus more on:
I get asked most often,
How do I get good at Kali?
How long will it take me to get good at Kali?
The truth is I have no idea. It all comes down to what you as a student and practitioner is willing to give to the training. What I do know is that if you follow the three (3) tips I'm going to give you right now you will make tremendous progress and at a speed above average.
I've observed and learned these three tips over my lifetime of training as a student and teaching hundreds of people from all different backgrounds in person and now tens of thousands of people globally through our revolutionized long distance/online training and support methods. Meaning, I've seen what works, what doesn't and what is currently achieving the best results.
I've been getting a lot of questions regarding the Kali Center Inner Triangle. Like what exactly is included in the membership? How is this different from anything else out there in the world of Filipino Martial Arts?
Some of you have been a bit "sticker shocked" but...
Well, let me tell you everything you'll be getting!
The Inner Triangle membership is loaded with training and I'm giving A LOT!
Speed of implementation and acceleration of skill development.
One of the most common questions I get is, "How long will it take me to get good at Kali?"
It's a tricky questions to answer for a teacher but, I'm going to tackle it right now with the bare bone truth.
I DON'T KNOW!
Your skill development is 100% completely dependent on what you're willing to put into it but, here are a few things you can do that will speed up the process, A LOT!
I find it quite fascinating how many people actually think solo training is pointless and that no skill could be developed in this way. These people couldn't be further wrong.
It makes sense why so many people would think this. The vast majority of martial arts and even Kali enthusiasts don't solo train nor do they know how.
Let's face it, most instructors don't know how to solo train in the manner to grow and develop skill. Most people's solo training is to maintain a particular level of memory retention.