WHY IS KALI MAJAPAHIT DIFFERENT ?
Kali Majapahit (KM) is a unified concept of Southeast Asian Martial Arts and traditional healing systems, where the martial art is not just about fighting, but also about healing and personal development.
Even though Kali Majapahit has its roots in the fighting arts of the Philippines, it also has elements of Indonesian Pencak Silat, Muay Thai, Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kune Do, Chinese Kung Fu, Western Boxing... and Parkour !
KM students learn to develop self-confidence and self-discipline, learn about respect for others and themselves, reinforce their health and energy level, while at the same time, enhancing fitness level and learning the deadly Filipino art of Kali.
Kali Majapahit’s founder, Guro Fred Evrard, has more than 30 years of experience in Martial Arts and owns 14 Black Belts and Instructor certificates. With such a background, no wonder our Kali system is so special. From weapons to empty hands, kickboxing to trapping range, all distances are covered : Largo (long), Medio (medium) and Corto (short).
It is a common misconception that Martial Arts training is only for men, when actually everyone, men and women, youth and adults, can enjoy the benefits of it. Our Kali Majapahit Schools have an average of 30-40% female practitioners.
Unlike many Martial Arts schools, Kali Majapahit combines the fighting art with the art of healing the body and the mind. The instructors themselves are dedicated full time professionals who truly live what they teach. Guro Fred has been practicing Martial Arts since the age of 6, and his wife, Katalungan Guro Lila, since the age of 5.
After years of studies and experiences in Filipino Hilot and Chinese medicine, several traditional massage schools (Thai, Vietnamese, Indonesian), and western osteopathy, Guro Fred has developed his own healing system : a synergy of Nutrition, Filipino Hilot, Tui Na (Chinese acupressure massage), Thai massage, osteopathy, Breathing exercises and Psychology.
The Health and personal development aspect should not make people think the practical and self-defense aspect of our art has been forgotten. On the contrary... Kali Majapahit CQC (Close Quarter Combat) program is now taught to several Law enforcement units all over the world, especially one of Singapore’s best : Police Security Command (VIP Protection Unit).
February 2008, a meeting between the Fullcon Council of Martial Arts Masters of Baguio and Guro Fred Evrard, took place, to introduce Kali Majapahit in the Philippines, and to help promoting the practice of FMA worldwide.
After 3 hours of talk and demo, the Masters reaction is very positive. They want Guro Fred to come back to teach a seminar.
That was the first step. Few months later, Guro Fred came back to the Philippines to meet the "Philippines Council of Kali Eskrima Arnis Masters" in Manila, and then went back to Baguio to give a seminar to the Martial Arts community and to several military and police officers.
It was a 12 hours seminar, divided in 7 parts :
• Double sticks
• Single stick
• Kadena de Mano
• Traditional weapons (Kampilan, Barong, Kris, Karambit and Sarong)
• Panloob na Lakas (energy work)
The seminar was a success. Guro Fred was interviewed by the national TV and Kali Majapahit students were on the news the same evening.
Finaly, in 2010, Guro Fred Evrard had the honor to train the Philippines Police "Special Reaction Unit" in Kali Majapahit CQC in Manila and the SWAT team in Baguio. Once again, the seminars were successful, and Guro Fred was awarded with a CQC Instructor certificate from the Philippines Governement.
To watch the videos of the Kali Majapahit Philippines seminar, click here :
I) Influences :
The fighting arts of the Philippines were influenced by many different cultures and migrants. There are at least 3 very clear martial influences to the Filipino fighting arts : Indonesian Pencak Silat, Malaysian Silat Melayu, and Chinese (Hakka) Kuntao.
Chinese martial arts were introduced during a trade era with the Tang Dynasty of China (AD 618-907), and also by the migration of the Hakka soldiers who brought with them their fighting art of Kuntao. Today, almost every Southern Asian country can find Kuntao influence in its local martial arts.
It is believed that Kali is the oldest Filipino martial art. The word Kali is an old expression of the Visayas and Mindanao for blade-oriented Martial Arts, which is almost not in use any more in the Philippines.
In Mindanao they say the name Kali comes from the Malay sword Keris, which became Kalis, then Kali in the Philippines. Many linguists think that Kali may be a mix of the words kamut (hand) and lihok (movement), which was contracted into to KALI : movements of the hands. On the islands of Pany, Negros and Samar they also call the art : Kaliradman, Kalirongan or Pankalikali. Some claim that Kali is not a real word and that the term is a modern creation. It’s actually the opposite ; an ancient term that was forgotten. It’s not because we don’t speak Latin in France anymore that it has never existed !
II) The Majapahit :
In the 5th and 6th centuries in Indonesia, an empire was formed due to the migration of the Buddhist tribes of India to Sumatra and Java. The Malay Srivijaya Empire, as it came to be known, eventually spread as far as the Philippines. Their martial arts skills, advanced weaponry and superior organization made it possible for them to conquer the earlier settlers. Some fled to distant islands, others stayed and the two cultures merged, creating varieties of Malayo-Polynesian cultures and languages (ancestors of the Tahitian and Hawaiian ones).
The Srivijayas brought the influence of Buddhism and Hinduism philosophies, arts, and combative forms to the Philippines. They introduced laws (the famous Code of Kalantaw), a calendar, written alphabet (Sanskrit, on which the future Alibata alphabet will later be developed), new religion, and a system of weights and measures. This new culture developed a social unit called the barangay.
The next major incursion of foreign ideas and culture occurred in the late 13th century. The Majapahit Empire of Java, which eclipsed the Srivijaya Empire, spread throughout Southeast Asia and into the Philippines. Those were the golden days of the Malay culture.
At its height, the Majapahit Empire included areas that are today Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Brunei and the Philippines. Deeply influenced by a Hindu-Buddhist culture, the Majapahits brought their styles of Pencak Silat to the Philippines where they settled most heavily in the South (Mindanao and Sulu). This was when the Bugis warriors of Sulawesi have introduced the Keris sword (Kris) to the Philippines. It is thought by many Filipinos that the islands of Mindanao and Sulu were the birthplaces of Kali (the “mother art” of Filipino Martial Arts) during the Majapahit Empire.
From the Majapahit Empire and its connected kingdoms, a very specific Southern-Asian martial art culture was born.
What we informally refer today as “Majapahit Martial Arts” include :
Filipino Martial Arts (Kali, Arnis, Eskrima, Silat Kuntao, etc.)
Indonesian Pencak Silat
Malaysian Seni Silat
Tomoi (traditional Malaysian boxing)
Muay Boran (traditional Thai boxing)
Krabi Krabong (Thai weapons system)
Myanma yuya louvi (traditional Myanmar boxing)
Bokador (traditional Cambodian boxing)
Long before the Spanish invasion, the Filipinos had developed their own systems of medicine (Hilot), astronomy, engineering, as well as written language and history. Most of these writings were destroyed during the Spanish conquest. Written and oral languages differed according to region so that today there are over 300 major dialects in addition to Tagalog, the national language.
III) The Spanish invasion :
In 1543 the Spaniards started colonizing the Maharlikas islands (ancient name of the Philippines), and named those the Philippines after Philippe the 2nd, king of Spain. When they arrived to the Philippines in the 16th century, the Spanish found a mixture of local, Chinese, Malaysian and Indonesian fighting methods. The first known Filipino hero, Lapu Lapu, was believed to be one of the foremost masters of Kali, a terrible fighting art inherited from the ancient Silat of the Madjapahit Empire. Lapu Lapu’s Kali subsystem was known as Kali Pangamut. Lapu Lapu and his Kalista warriors are famous for having given a hard time to the Spanish conquistadors.
Lapu Lapu had vigorously trained and prepared his men for "Showdown" fights against his enemies long before his historic battle with Ferdinand Magellan on April 27, 1521, in Mactan Island. When the first Spaniards tried to subdue the recalcitrant Lapu Lapu, they were met not with fire harms, but with wooden sticks, spears, Kampilan swords and bolos. It was ironic that when the smoke of that epic battle cleared, the Spanish conquistadors "modern" weapons were no match for the traditional weapons of Lapulapu and his warriors. In this battle, Magellan was slain by Lapu Lapu with a Kampilan sword by a blow to the leg and then a thrust to the neck.
When Miguel Lopez de Legaspi landed in the Philippines and established the first settlement in 1565, he and his men noted that the local warriors were a class by themselves in the art of stick fighting and swordsmanship. He had his first glimpse of the natives’ exceptional skill and ability during his landing in Leyte in 1564 when he was entertained with a Kali demonstration by the warriors of Raja Malitik. Similar demonstrations were made upon visits in Limasawa, Camiguin, Cebu and other places.
When bladed weapons were declared illegal by the Spaniards, Filipinos focused on wooden hardwood sticks. These sticks were said to be so hard that they could break a sword blade with one blow. Before long Filipino fighters had become so accomplished with their sticks, they centered entire fighting systems around stick fighting alone. Through time the Filipinos began to realize that because the stick had different handling qualities, certain lines of attack were open to them that were not available with the sword curved and snapping strikes. Once they began to appreciate the combat effectiveness of the stick the use of the knife also changed and began to be used more aggressively in terms of blocking, parrying, checking, scooping, thrusting and slashing.
As we said, Kali is believed to be the oldest name given to the Filipino martial art. The word Kali may be a contraction of the words Kamut Lihok which mean movements of the body. Some say it would rather come from the word Kalis (derived from the Malay Keris or Kris sword)
Following the Spanish invasion, the name Eskrima replaced the word Kali in several islands. The term Eskrima is derived from the Spanish term Esgrima (fencing). Spanish fencing had a strong influence on the fighting arts of the Philippines, with the introduction of angles of attack, and the use of Espada y daga (sword and dagger).
After WWII and the “stay” of the Japanese, Jujitsu techniques were included to certain Eskrima styles, especially in the northern islands. The term Arnis became more popular at this time.
IV) FMA systems and styles :
Nowadays, the names Kali, Arnis or Eskrima are all used to refer to the Martial Arts of the Philippines. Nevertheless, some masters claim that there is more than a simple name or geographic difference between those styles, and don’t tell a Kali or Eskrima master he is doing Arnis (or vice and versa…). Most schools of Filipino Martial Arts teach some or all of the following systems :
Sinawali (double sticks)
Solo baston (single stick)
Espada y Daga (stick [or sword} & knife)
Kadena de Mano (Empty hands)
Sikaran (High kicks & throws) / Pananjakman (Low kicks and leg destruction)
Dumog (Filipino wrestling)
Largo Mano (long range system)
Sibat / bangkow (spear / long staff)
Among the many FMA styles (ancient and modern), some of the most famous are :
De Querdas (Dizon Eskrima)
Cabales Serrada Eskrima
Tendencia Arnis - Hilot
Kali De Mano
Lapunti De Abanico
Kali / JKD
Kali De Leon
FCS (Filipino Combat System)
In a martial artist’s path, the most difficult part is to find a good instructor. Someone not only gifted technically, but with a great personality, pedagogy, sense of honor and humor as well. Personally, I believe I’ve always been blessed with great instructors, but 2 of them really changed my life. Punong Guro Jeff Espinous in 1994 and Mangisursuro Mike Inay in 1996.
Punong Guro Jeff Espinous was my very first FMA instructor. I will always remember the first time I saw him, and my first Kali class few hours later.
In the early 90’s, I was in the French Kung Fu National Team. I came back from Spain with the 1st place World Cup Trophee in my hands and an injured knee. It was time to switch from a jumping-around-martial-sports to a more traditional martial art. After my military service in the French Paratroopers, I went back to Paris where I start looking for a Wing Chun school. One day, I saw a guy in a gym doing what I thought was Wing Chun : trapping hands, economy of motion, low kicks ? even though it didn’t look Chinese, what else could it be ? I approached him, and we started to talk. I found out he was teaching Filipino Kali, and that his next class was in 3 hours, not far from here. His name was Jeff Espinous.
The same night, I tried his class. The variety of sub-systems (empty hands, weapons, kickboxing, ground-fight, etc.) was fascinating. I knew I was gonna learn under him after 5 minutes of class. After 1 hour, I knew I was going to practice Kali for the rest of my life. I found a 2nd family that night and I fell in love with FMA.
After a while, I started traveling with Punong Guro Jeff, being his partner during international seminars, and one day, in San Jose California, he introduced me to one of his own Instructor and friend : Mangisursuro Mike Inay.
Meeting with Suro was something. Training under him was magic. He was charismatic, impressive, but also funny and had an open heart. I remember living with him and his 2 disciples Emmanuel (Hart) and Jon (Ward) in their house in San Jose. That was one of the best experiences of my life. Suro had transformed his garage into a ?FMA-traveler-guest room ?, and "practice" was the main word in this house. Filipino weapons, sticks, books, photos were all around. Martial Arts Legends’ pictures like Angel Cabales or Max Sarmiento were "observing" me in my sleep ! I was only 24 years old at the time ? it was a like dream !
Practice was great, and Jon and Emmanuel were really there for me ; training me any free moment they had. When Suro came back from work, it was again more training, sometime 1 on 1 with me (what an honnor). Even when we were resting at the end of the day, there was always some kind of training going on : Suro showing us his antique Krises, Emmanuel playing drums in the backyard and the rest of us being irresistibly attracted for a Karenza, or the simple game of ?draw ?, trying to draw our Spiderco knifes the fastest. Of course, I was always last.
Those days were gold. In 1998, I moved to Tahiti, with a 100 dollars and a 1-way plane ticket in my pocket. I didn’t know anything about the place, just that I really, really liked the beaches’ pictures. I opened my first Kali school there, in the small island of Moorea ; the first Ni Tien Martial Arts school was born ; Kali Majapahit was being created. That was the beginning of my personal path, with all the time in the world to digest what my beloved Instructors taught me, and nothing else to do but practice, think and share. After 2 years of training on my own and learning how to teach others, I decided to go to California in late 2000 to train with Suro Mike. This trip never took place. In September 2000, Mangisursuro passed away, doing what he loved most, teaching Inayan Eskrima.
As for Punong Guro Jeff Espinous, I still see him regularly if I go to Europe or when he comes visit us in Singapore. He is still my Master, my Mentor... my Friend
Abanico : literally means fan. Use in the FMA jargon to describe a fanning motion stick technique.
Alibata : Pre-Hispanic writing form of the Maharlikas islands (Philippines), influenced by Sanskrit. Alibata simply means "alphabet".
Arnis : Modern version of the Filipino Martial Arts. Arnis as its roots in traditional martial arts of the Philippines, but has also been influenced by the Japanese Budo during WWII.
Bangkaw : Long staff
Chi Sao (or sticky hands) : Sensitive and energetic exercise from the Wing Chun system, where practitioners work forearms together, trying to redirect an attack instead of blocking it ; trying to feel an opening to hit instead of punching.
Daga : Knife.
Dumog : Filipino wrestling system.
Eskrima : One of the Filipino Martial Arts, dating from the Spanish invasion era. Very much influenced by Spanish fencing, especially with the famous angles of attack, Eskrima is still a traditional Filipino fighting art.
FMA : Filipino Martial Arts
Guro : In Filipino, Guro simply means Teacher or Instructor. In the FMA world, it often refers to the level of Master Instructor. In the Kali Majapahit system of ranking, Guro is the equivalent of 6th Dan Instructor.
Hilot : Filipino healing system. Massage, osteopathy, posture correction and dietetic, are just few applications of Hilot.
Kabka : Basic exercise with the Filipino double sticks. Kabka 1, 2, 3 and 4 are taught to the beginner before the Inayan Sinawali "2 to 9" drills.
Kali : The word Kali may be a contraction of the Filipino words Kabot Lihook which mean movements of the body. Some believe it comes from the word Kalis, Filipino version of the Malay Keris (or Kris) sword. This Filipino fighting art is the result of the warfare experiences of the Filipino tribes but has also been influenced by Chinese(Hakka) Kuntao, and Indonesian /Malay Pencak Silat. Kali is considered the oldest of all Filipino martial arts.
Kali Majapahit : is the name Guro Fred gave to his personal Kali system. The training concepts of Kali Majapahit are multiple but simple. They are based on Stick / sword fighting (Sinawali, Solo Baston & Espada y Daga), Daga (Knife training), Kadena de Mano (Close Quarter Range), Panantukan (Filipino Boxing), Sikaran (Filipino Kick Boxing) and Dumog (Grappling). In Kali Majapahit, these concepts are woven together into a complete and very effective fighting system. Any improvement in one aspect of the system will accelerate progression in the others.
Kampilan : Traditional Filipino long sword
Kris (aka Keris or Kalis) : Traditional Malay / Filipino sword
Panuntukan : Filipino boxing / kickboxing
Paniko : Elbow strike
Panloob na Lakas : Filipino word for "inner strength". We use it referring to our Energy work (Qi Gong).
Panuhud : Knee strike
Sibat : Spear
Sikaran : Filipino kicking system
Silat (or Pencak Silat) : Traditional martial art from the Malay people (Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, Southern Philippines) that had greatly influenced the art of Kali and all South-East Asian fighting arts, especially during the Majapahit Empire (13th century). The styles of Silat practiced in the Southern Philippines are often called Kali / Silat or Silat / Kuntaw.
Sinawali : Literally means to weave, the word sinawali often refers to the Filipino double sticks system.
Sipa : kick (The action of kicking is called Pansipa)
Solo Baston : Single stick.
Suntuk : Punch or fist. (The action of punching is called Panuntukan)
Tuloy tuloy : Flow or flowing
Silat (fighting) is a generic name for the South-East Asian martial arts of the Malay world.
This art is widely known in Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore and Southern Philippines but can also be found in varying degrees among the Malay communities in Southern Thailand. The art of Silat has also reached Europe and the United States. There are hundreds of aliran (styles) and thousands of schools.
In Indonesia, the term Pencak Silat is used. Pencak means "movements", and comes from the Sunda word : Penca.
In Malaysia and Singapore, the terms Seni Silat (the art of fighting) or just Silat are preferred.
There are a number of legends and stories on how Silat was created ; one of these legends tells of a Sumatran woman who witnessed a fight between a tiger and a very large bird. She supposedly has created her style being inspired by this fight. However true this story is, it is known that by the sixth century A.D., formalized combative systems were being practiced in the area of Sumatra and the Malay Peninsula. Archeological evidence shows that Silat was indeed created in Sumatra and flourished after it spread to Java.
Java was an important centre of education and religion, particularly in Hinduism and Buddhism. It attracted monks and educated men from various parts of South-East Asia. The influences of Silat on South-Eastern fighting arts can be seen in Silat’s similarity to Krabi Krabong and Muay Thai from Thailand, Banshay from Myanmar, and Kali from the Philippines. In addition to this, South-East Asia has always been an important area for traders from India and China. People from these two lands had long been settled in the region and provided the basis for local culture, including martial arts. Indian martial arts, especially Kalaripayat, and the Chinese Kuntao from the Hakka community had a tremendous impact on South-East Asian fighting arts.
In the 5th and 6th centuries in Indonesia, an empire was formed due to the migration of the Buddhist tribes of India to Sumatra and Java. The Srivijaya Empire, as it came to be known, eventually spread as far as the Philippines.
Their martial arts skills, advanced weaponry and superior organization made it possible for them to conquer the earlier settlers. The Srivijayas brought their influence in religion, philosophy, arts, and combative forms through South-East Asia.
The next major spread of arts and culture occurred in the 13th century. The Majapahit Empire of Java, which eclipsed the Srivijaya Empire spread throughout South-East Asia. These were the golden days of the Malay culture.
At its height, the Majapahit Empire included areas that are known today as Burma, Indonesia, Southern Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Southern Philippines and Madagascar. Deeply influenced by the Hindu-Buddhist culture, the Majapahit brought their styles of Pencak Silat almost everywhere in South-East Asia.
From the Majapahit Empire and its connected kingdoms, a very specific Southern-Asian culture was born, philosophically based on Hinduism and Buddhism. The dates for the end of the Majapahit Empire range from 1478 to 1520. A large number of courtiers, artisans, priests, warriors and members of the royalty moved east to the island of Bali at the end of Majapahit existence.
After the Majapahit, the influence of Islam in the practice, philosophy and ceremonial of Pencak Silat has been enormous ; to the point that some believe Silat is a Muslim Martial Art. Which, like we saw before, is absolutely not true. Although Muslim traders first traveled through South East Asia early in the Islamic era, the earliest evidence of Islamized populations in Indonesia dates to the 13th century in northern Sumatra. Although it is known that the spread of Islam began in the west of the archipelago, the fragmentary evidence does not suggest a rolling wave of conversion through adjacent areas ; rather, it suggests the process was complicated and slow. The spread of Islam was driven by increasing trade links outside of the archipelago ; in general, traders and the royalty of major kingdoms were the first to adopt the new religion.
Other Indonesia areas gradually adopted Islam, making it the dominant religion in Java and Sumatra by the end of the 16th century. For the most part, Islam overlaid and mixed with existing cultural and religious influences, which shaped the predominant form of Islam in Indonesia, particularly in Java. Only Bali retained a Hindu majority. In the eastern archipelago, both Christian and Islamic missionaries were active in the 16th and 17th centuries, and, currently, there are large communities of both religions on these islands.
The styles and schools of Silat differ from each other with regard to which aspects are emphasized. It is thanks to the sport aspects that this art has become popular in Europe and the USA. However, many believe (and I am one of them), the essence of Martial Arts is lost when converted to a sport. Fame can be fatal to the original fighting and spiritual art of Silat, and we have to be very careful when spreading martial arts through competition. Soulless modern Chinese Kung Fu Wushu or modern Tae Kwon Do, are just few examples of what can happen if the youth have no interest in the totality of the art.
Silat has a wide variety of defense and attacking techniques. Practitioners may use hands, elbows, arms, legs, knees, feet, head or any part of the body in attacks. Common techniques include kicking, punching, hitting, trapping, sweeps, locks, take-downs, throws, chokes, and joint breaking.
First, the pesilat, or Silat practitioner, practices with jurus. A juru is made of series of movements for the upper body used as a guide for beginners to learn the applications, or buah, when done with a partner. The use of langkah (steps) teaches the footwork. In Silat, jurus are not always used, and after reaching a certain level in the art, the pesilat will focus more in free flow drills with a partner and realistic self-defense exercises.
Most Silat styles have 4 specific parts :
Self-defense (Bela Diri)
Traditional art (Seni)
Spiritual training (Isis)
Sport (Olah Raga)
The basic forms (Jurus), taught at the beginning of practice, are at first performed by the Pesilat in straight line, and later in triangle. Pencak Silat focuses on speed and fluidity ; there is no “hard block” like in Karate, but rather interception, parry or deflection. Most of the time, like in Filipino Kali or Chinese Wing Chun, blocks and counter attacks are made simultaneously.
Mental / spiritual training is an important part of Silat. It is divided in two parts : physical (breathing techniques, focus techniques, meditation, prayers, etc.) and spiritual “Ilmu Kebatinan” (spiritual knowledge), Tenaga Dalam (internal dragon), Indera Keenam (6th sense), Kanuragan (esoteric self-defense), Ilmu Kontak (calling the spirits))... Ilmu is the internal energy, equivalent of Chinese Qi or Japanese Ki.
Here are just few of the many Pencak Silat styles :
· Tuanku Ulakan
· Setia Hati
Seni Silat Gayong
Seni Silat Titipinang
Silat Kuntao - or Silat Kuntaw
In year 2003, following a lifetime dedication to the Martial Arts, Katalungan Guro Lila Evrard and her husband Guro Fred Evrard, left their home in Tahiti for a Martial Arts & traditional medicines trip around the world. 4 years without going home, sleeping in dojos, in temples, or directly at their instructors’ place ; training all over the world with Masters of several Martial Arts, monks and healers. They have visited and trained in China, Vietnam, Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Tibet, Philippines, Lebanon, USA, Hawaii, Tahiti, France, Germany, Canada, etc. ; searching for knowledge and sharing it, teaching seminars all over the world. In 2006, the tour was over, and Life pointed Singapore as their new home. This is where the Evrard family settled down, and opened their 3rd FMA school, Kali Majapahit Singapore.
Katalungan Guro Lila is the co-founder of the KM school in Singapore
Even though she is Chinese Hakka, born and raised in Tahiti, she fell in love with Filipino Martial Arts in 1999. Tough boxer and kickboxer, comfortable with any kind of weapons (both hands), this ex-lawyer, petite, gentle and feminine lady is listened and respected by all her students (kids and adults). She is feared for her interminable series of crunches ; her excellent physical condition, positive attitude and energy make her a great role model for lots of students.
To see Katalungan Guro Lila’s Martial Arts Resume, click here
Hakka Kuntao or Hakka Kuen, is a generic term for all the martial arts systems created and developed by the Hakka people, mostly in the southern Chinese provinces of Fujian and Guangdong.
Put it simply, the Hakka are one of the ethnic Han groups in southern China (just like the Hokkienese and the Cantonese), who had migrated from central China ( Henan province) to the southern part of the country. In China, everybody knows the Hakka were soldiers and military in the past, and they’ve always been famous for their fighting skills. Lots of famous heroes, warriors and leaders were from Hakka origin like Guan Yu, Yao Fei, Lin Biao, but also Hong Xiuquan leader of the Taiping rebellion, Sun Yatsen, Deng Xiaoping, Li Peng or Lee Kwan yew, former prime minister of Singapore.
Lots of famous martial arts masters were Hakka as well. The most well-known is, with no doubt, Yip Man who was Bruce Lee’s instructor and the first Wing Chun master to teach the style to non-Hakka.
Hakka styles can be recognized by some typical characteristics, here are few of them : The elbows stay inside, the back is rounded, the chest is ?empty ?, and of course, the famous Hakka way forming the fist : Fong g’Nan Kun (phoenix eye fist). Most Hakka styles are close range fighting styles.
Here is a list of the main Hakka styles :
PAK HOK KUEN : White crane Kung Fu
PAK MEI : Kung Fu of the Taoist monk « White eyebrows »
WING CHUN : Eternal Spring Kung Fu
CHU KA : Chu family’s Kung Fu style
DI KA : Di family’s Kung Fu style
FONG G’NAN KUEN (FENG YAN QUAN) : Phoenix eye fist Kung Fu
LAU KA : Lau family’s Kung Fu style
LI KA : Li family’s Kung Fu style
LUNG YING : Dragon style of Kung Fu
MO KA : Mo family’s Kung Fu style
NAM TONG LONG : Southern praying mantis
In the martial arts world, most people have heard of the famous Hakka styles, but there is very few information about them. Some, who practice the most common of the Hakka Kuntao like Wing Chun or white crane, don’t even know they practice a Hakka style.
The fighting styles of the Hakka people have influenced (one could even say saved) the northern and southern Shaolin boxing, respectively in the 16 th and 18 th century, the martial arts of South-East Asian (like Silat, Kali, Mauy Thai, etc.), and of course, are at the origin of Japanese Karate via Fujian and Okinawa (most Karate styles come from Fujian Hakka White Crane Kung Fu : Bak Hok Kun).
Thanks to the tradition of the Hakka families to be so mysterious and secretive, Hakka Kung Fu were protected from modernization and from the destructive cultural revolution. Since Mao’s troops didn’t even know about the Hakka masters, therefore they couldn’t kill nor destroy them. Nowadays and unfortunately, almost all Kung Fu schools turned into sport (modern wushu), but the HAKKA KUN are probably the last authentic and traditional Chinese Martial Arts.
“I would use 3 words to describe my feelings, when I passed the exam for my black belt 1st dan.”
Achievement : this incredible feeling of satisfaction after a hard work. Since I’ve been started in 2006, I involved myself into Kali as I never been involved before in anything else. Kali Majapahit and Guro Fred especially awoke my will of walking the path of martial art, esoterism, heath consciousness and self-confidence...What does it means to be Kadua Guro to me ? Simply that I understood enough to be able to transmit a part of my knowledge to others, proudly and happily ! But as well that what I know today is the tip of the iceberg only.
Passion : When I had the tee-shirt on my back for the first time, it just revived again the whole passion I had for Kali. You have this amazing feeling that you belong to an extraordinary family of people that share the same dreams, the same objective and the same vocabulary than you too. Kali Majapahit, took my heart, my guts, my passion and a lot of time, but I had nothing more interesting to do those last years. Passion is the only way for each of us to realize himself, I believe this will be my way.
Humility : The day I received my black shirt, everyone came to congratulate me, and for a short while I felt like a Superman, my heart beating fast, wet palms...A few hours later, I took time to think of what just happened, and as I realized that I was black shirt, I realized, that I just started on the road of Martial arts, and that my ego was still going wild. I believed that I knew something, and being so proud made be forget...This night I forgot a virtue that I trained since I met Guro Fred : Humility.
If I can share something that I wasn’t informed about when I had my exam, is that speed is not important, what is important is the level of control and technique. I threw my all emotions in the exam and the moves from the beginning, and I forgot that on D-Day it was quite useless. Meanwhile, I was exhausted after 40mn, and the whole exam took me 1H30. Lesson taken for next dan, in 2 years time if everything goes well.
Kadua Guro Guillaume Foucaud
The culture of the Philippines reflects the complexity of its history.
Spanish colonization of the Philippines from Mexico, governed by Spain, lasted for over three centuries (1565-1898) ; thus, there is a significant amount of Spanish-Mexican influence in many facets of Filipino custom and tradition. Hispanic influences are most visible in Philippine folk music, folk dance, language, food, art, and religion.
Pre-Hispanic indigenous Filipino culture had many cultural influences from India, through the Indianized kingdoms of Southeast Asia, particularly the Srivijaya and Majapahit Empires, in what is now Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. Many customs and the Filipino psyche reflect these cultural influences. Philippine Mythology, like many Southeast Asian’s, has been influenced by Hinduism and Buddhism. The people of Mindanao and the Southern islands are mostly Islamic. Filipino martial arts, like Kali, Sikaran, etc., emerged from Mindanao.
The Philippines is a mixed society. The nation is divided between Christians, Muslims, and other religio-ethno-linguistic groups ; between urban and rural people ; between upland and lowland people. Although different in many ways, Filipinos in general are very hospitable and will give appropriate respect to anyone regardless of race, culture, or belief.
These traits are generally positive but these practices also have the tendency to be applied in the wrong context. Close familial ties can foster nepotism. Pakikisama (getting along with others) can lead to intolerance or even outright hostility of differences and of individual liberty. A debt of gratitude (utang na loob) is sometimes repaid by giving special favors to the other person regardless of the moral outcome.
The creation of alliances with neighbors and a helping attitude whenever one is in dire need is what Filipinos call bayanihan. This bayanihan spirit can be seen in action when a bus gets a flat tire. By standing or surrounding Filipinos will assist the bus driver in whatever is needed to get the bus back on its way. This can be contrasted with the individualistic attitude more prevalent in some other societies, especialy in the West.
Before the arrival of the Spaniards and the introduction of Roman Catholicism, the indigenous inhabitants of the Philippines (Maharlican Islands) were adherents of a mixture of Animism, Hinduism, and Vajrayana Buddhism ("Esoteric" or "Advenced" Buddhism). Bathala was the supreme God of the Filipinos, represented by the langit, or sky. Other Filipino spiritual Beings (manifestation of the Suprem God, like the Indian Devas) include araw (sun), buwan (the moon), tala (the stars), and natural objects (such as trees, shrubs, mountains, or rocks). As the Abrahamic religions began to sweep the islands, most Filipinos became Christians. Other Filipinos became Muslims, especially in the southern islands of the country such as Mindanao and Sulu.
The Filipinos are also well known for their Martial Arts (FMA). There are many styles of traditional Filipino Martial Arts known under various names over the years. Kali, also called Arnis or Eskrima, has varying sources of origin depending on the island and/or tribe of origin. It is difficult to ascertain a single originating or "pure" Filipino martial art due to the lack of written historical record. There is considerable controversy on this subject, but most researches indicate that there are 4 main influences in FMA : Local sword fighting styles, Malay Pencak Silat, Hakka Kuntao from Southern China and European fencing.
The distinguishing characteristic of martial arts originating from the Philippines is the emphasis in curriculum of teaching weapons before (or simultaneously) with the empty-hand techniques, as well as the famous concept of "angles of attack". FMA practionners are able to perform in any of the 3 distances of a fight : Long, medium or short (Largo, Medio, Corto), nevertheless, FMA are famous for being close range fighting arts.
This article was written based on a wikipedia text
By John Honeyman
The day I started Kali Majapahit training in Singapore in early 2008 everything changed.
Kali Majapahit gave me renewed energy and passion for the aspects of martial arts I had been missing : namely self-expression and personal growth. Guro Fred and Guro Lila showed me that our training was to allow us to lead richer, fuller, healthier lives and to use martial arts as a vehicle for exploring ourselves and developing ourselves deeper as human beings. I could never go back to systems of mindless repetition, or those that focused on destruction rather than preservation. I made many new family members there, and the training together gave me purpose that I had been missing. I had found my mission.
The hardest part of my training was learning in late 2009 that I had to go back to Japan for work. Kali, and other aspects of Filipino culture, hardly exist in Japan. Most of the Filipinos here are second-class citizens, doing factory work or acting as domestic helpers for expat families. In more than 15 years living here I had never seen or heard of anyone practicing FMA in Tokyo. Humbly, I asked Guro Fred for permission to set up a study group in Japan to continue working on the basics he taught me. I was surprised and glad when he agreed.
Initially my goal was selfish : I wanted to keep training.
To do that I needed to develop a group of training partners. We started slowly in a space in Roppongi that I sublet from my friends at Yoshinkan Aikido. As the group began to grow it took on a life of its own. I realized my goal was now to share my love of FMA and try as hard as possible to share the message that Kali Majapahit gave me --- a healthy mind, healthy body, healthy spirit of self-expression and exploration. We now have more than 10 full-time students and growing. We are blessed.