Difference between Silat, Kali, Arnis, Eskrima??

Discussion in 'Silat' started by balut, Nov 20, 2003.

  1. krys

    krys Valued Member

    Harimaw is not only sumatran. There are many Harimaw styles in the archipelago, some are based on groundfighting other on standup. In the southern Philippines and Sabah crocodile systems are well known for their groundfighting ability.
  2. moe389

    moe389 Valued Member


    Thanx for the info!! It make's sense cause alot of what i saw was ground work sort of ? It was alot of realy low stances and crawling motions. Alot of take downs from the knee and ankle using your feet in opposite levers or hands and even your body to take an opponet down. They always went from a stand up silat stance like from their tiga. I had a chance to talk to my sifu/guro he had some basic info on the subject for me too. Ilook forward to learning the style one day to expand be a better martial artist.

    thanx moe389
  3. ptkali778

    ptkali778 Valued Member

    First off Kali is a Silat style! The word Kali is not Filipino but Indonesian. It's the Bahasia language for river. Your suppose to think of the stick as a river continuously flowing no matter what. Throw a boulder in a river and the water will go under, over, through or around it but it will continue to flow. Hence, what your suppose to do in Kali is always flow like water & never stop.

    cool! i've never heard of these before. i like it, flow your stick/weapon like a river. thus using water principle like other arts do.
    anyways, i think kali/escrima/arnis and silat go hand in hand, they compliment each other. kali is my weapon and silat is my empty hand type a thing...anyways that's just my opinion.
  4. moe389

    moe389 Valued Member

    unanswered question

    when do all angles become one angle?????
  5. Saiful Azraq

    Saiful Azraq Valued Member

    Salam hormat,

    I've only studied Pekiti Tirsia Kali but presently, I don't seem to see the similarities between Silat and that FMA. I wonder if anybody out there who's studied any Silat that does resemble any particular FMA?

    Salam persilatan
  6. moe389

    moe389 Valued Member

    I believe empty handed kali is very similar to silat. At least from what I have seen it maybe not true for all styles of kali and silat.

    thanx moe389
  7. pesilat

    pesilat Active Member

    In what I've seen, there are quite a few similarities in techniques. But the mindset is a little different. I can't think how to really explain the difference between mindsets right now. Maybe someone else can chime in or I'll try to come back to it later when I've thought about a good explanation of the difference.

  8. dennisservaes

    dennisservaes New Member

    I want to thank everyone for their intrest in Serrada. I have trained at the academy longer than ayone outside the Cabales family. Serrada is a complete system. It was a secretive art in the Philippines, until in 1966 the Great Grandmaster Angel Cabales the Father of Escrima in America began teaching a corriculum to anyone willing to practice in Stockton, California. Very few have completed that corriculum. I trained with the Cabales family and the way we train is more detailed than the corriculum. The Grandmaster Vincent Cabales Sr. teaches his father's art the same way he was himself taught.

    Serrada begins training using an arm length stick. Later the same techniques can often be translated to blade use and empty hand fighting. Much of the joint manipulation also is from the stick. We have grappling and Kickboxing that is unique to Serrada. We are able to counter attacks that would overwhelm most any other martial art system, because our blocks are preparations for our own attacks, so we don't have to block and then attack- we simply counter counter counter.

    Serrada is perfect for women and children. However, few instructors are willing to teach children for liabilitiy reasons.

    The history of the knife has changed the weapon very little. It has existed as a dangerous weapon in all cultures and times. Learn effective methods for surviving real knife attacks in today‘s dangerous times. DOD, military and law enforcement officers have all sought this training for dealing with an assailant using edged weapons in the event that they are unarmed when attacked.



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    Stockton, California 95213




  9. dennisservaes

    dennisservaes New Member

    Serrada translates from sticks to blades and emptyhand

    Serrada translates from stick to blade to empty hand use.

    De Thouars Kun Tao Silat, that I learned from Bruce Juchnik has some similarities to Serrada. Wing Chun Kung Fu has trapping hands similar to Serrada. Small Circle Jujitsu has some joint manipulation with similarities to Serrada. And there are nerve strikes and killing techniques similar to San Soo Kung Fu and some military combatives. I've also noticed some Military Sambo techniques that are the same.

    The arm length stick that we start training with later translates to bladed weapons and empty hand fighting. This means more techniques are not neccessary as most systems require separate techniques for weapons and punching and grappling, so we have three systems in one, making Serrada much more complete than many other martial art systems. Also, our blocks are preparations for our own attacks so that we don't have to be in a defensive mode blocking, because when we are blocking we are in reality preparing our own attack so that we counter counter counter. Whereas most any other martial art systems can simply be overwhelmed using the element of surprise and relentless attacks. We will not only see it coming but we we counter it.

    You are right the stick and blade techniques can be used somewhat interchangeably. This makes our cuts deeper, rather than superficial cuts over the surface, as some blade arts may teach. Thrusts and deep cuts are much more destructive than surface cuts. The tip of the stick furthest from your hand hits harder than the middle area of the stick. Continous training to hit with the tip of the stick imprints indelibly into the subconscious mind so that when translating to blades the blade tip continues deeper on hits.

    Serrada is more than a stickfighting art. Serrada is more than a weapon art, and the empty hands techniques were developed to fight against an armed opponent.

    The best to you in Serrada!
    Train hard and have fun!
    Guro Dennis Servaes
  10. RubyMoon

    RubyMoon New Member

    Thank you for your prompt, informative and courteous reply!

    (Well...two out of three ain't bad!) :D
  11. Crucible

    Crucible Valued Member

    Just curious Dennis when did you begin your serrada training? When you do your blade applications whats your prefered weapon? What's your opinion on the other Serrada masters out there?
  12. dennisservaes

    dennisservaes New Member

    When did it start?

    Crucible, - I started FMA and Serrada at a Community College in the Fall of 1979. Then years later I trained with Bruce Juchnik and got a Black Belt in Modern Arnis- Remy Presas Style September 14, 1988. While training with Bruce I was also introduced to Silat- Kuntao and Serrada. October 22, 1992 I met Grandmaster Vincent Angel Cabales and have trained from him until now. This is my 13th year of training in Serrada.

    When I train in knife training I prefer training with an old oak wood knife. In demos we use an aluminum training-demo knife. I have been cut in knife fights and my own blood made the knife slippery as a fish, but I prevailed. I think it is good to become familiar with the feel of your own weapon, and your training knife should resemble your favorite weapon, because we fight the away we train.

    Different masters are different. Most Serrada people are a good group of people and able to fight and defend themselves effectively, and then there are some that claim to be Serrada, that may or may not be good, regardless who they trained from. To instruct at Guro level requires authorization from whoever the current Grandmaster is. Right now that is Grandmaster Vincent Cabales Sr. He is absolutely the best of the Masters.

    What a person is willing to do as far as their training, and with their training is up to each individual. Some of the masters have continued to complete the system and others didn't want to, but true self defense isn't about hurting others or competition or rank. It isn't a sport. You may hurt the other person, you may be required to kill an attacker, but your own safety should be top priority. You may have to just go bezerk! and unwind for all you are worth in a forced situation. Before that happens if you are aware leave if possible. No one wins in a challenge knife to knife confrontation. If you kill someone you owe a life. Trouble is we only know how to take lives, and only God can give life.

    Train hard and have fun!
    Guro Dennis Servaes
  13. Crucible

    Crucible Valued Member

    Do you see a large difference between the FMA you learned from Bruce Juchnik and how your currently learning it at the Cables school? Or looked at a diffrent way was there a difference between how Bruce Juchnik presented and taught serrada and how its currently being taught to you?
    Do you know Angels favorite blade was? Or the current head? Do you have a favorite blade from the Philippines?
    DO you see a distinct difference in the skill or knowledge of the techniques in students from the 60s', 70s' and 80s'?

    Out of ignorance and my own curiosity, do you know there was a document or ceremony proclaiming Vincent Cabales as grandmaster? Asking simply because I'm uninformed.
  14. dennisservaes

    dennisservaes New Member

    In response to your questions, below are my answers.

    Do I see a large difference between the FMA I learned from Bruce Juchnik and how I am currently learning it at the Cables Academy? Absolutely! There are a lot of differences. The students progress slow with the Grandmaster and are closely coached in minute details, and more techniques and what mistakes to look for and not make. Bruce teaches 13 systems so you get what you get when you train with Bruce. I think I got a broader look at various martial arts from Bruce, but not the depth I wanted. Bruce had black belts that were supposed to help teach and one was Lyle Herman. Although I hold no ranking in Chi Ling Pai Kung Fu, I studied it from Lyle Herman for a couple of years while at Bruce's school. I also studied Kempo and was to the Nihanshi Forms. I also trained in Taekwondo from Lyle Herman. Lyle and I had both previously trained from Jong H. Lee in Taekwondo. My main interests were FMA, and Silat.

    Two of Bruce's mentors were James Mitose and Robert Trias. I think both of them were strong influences on Bruce's thinking. Bruce has a yearly gathering where hundreds of black belts attend from all around the world from various systems and styles. Bruce appointed Grandmaster Vincent Cabales as a Senior Advisor in the Martial Arts Collective Society.

    Incedently, Grandmaster Vincent Cabales Sr. an inductee into the SOKE, and many SOKE Grandmaster have attended these gatherings.

    Do I know what Angels favorite blade was? I know which dagger Angel used in challenge matches, and Grandmaster Vincent Cabales Sr. now has it.

    It is my understanding that Angel did not prefer an opening type knife such as a balisong, but preferred instead a knife already opened. The handle should slant downwards or the front of the blade low so that on a backwards draw the blade digs deeper. Nothing real complicated.

    DO I see a distinct difference in the skill or knowledge of the techniques in students from the 60s', 70s' and 80s'? For myself, I just keep practicing and improving, and the same with most of the other Serrada people. The earlier students of Angel spent more time training and are some of the best. It depends upon the individual. Some of the last of Angels students didn't learn that much and didn't put in the time, because of misunderstanding and bickering etc. FMA is a blend of effective fighting techniques, so most American FMA has some Serrada in it now. SSSS

    Do I know if there was a document or ceremony proclaiming Vincent Cabales as grandmaster? Great Grandmaster Angel retained his title until he died, even though he had turned the school over to his son Grandmaster Vincent Cabales Sr. a year earlier, and I don't think there was a ceremony, because Angel didn't give up. He was dieing of cancer but hoped to beat it. Unfortunately he didn't.

    When, Master Jimmy Tacosa got his Master Degree in 1983 or 1984, several people from the martial arts magazines were there. Jimmy's girlfriend had a fancy diploma made up that said Jimmy would take over the school when Angel retired or died. Angel was very upset and said that his son Vincent was the one who is going to take over, and when he refused to sign it the girlfriend said, "Who is better Vincent or Jimmy? Fight and then we will know." She was also cussing. I spoke to Tony Teixeria about this, and then listened to a tape he had recorded. Angel and Tony Teixeira and Tony's wife Gwen were sitting on Jimmy's couch while Jimmy and his girlfriend went upstairs to argue. After a half hour or so Angel was ready to leave, because Jimmy didn't come back down. I understand Jimmy apologized later.

    I wish I were more diplomatic, but I think your questions deserve true answers.
    Guro Dennis Servaes
  15. Crucible

    Crucible Valued Member

    Wow, Thanks.
    Can you post a picture?
    Sorry should have been more specific. Do you have a favorite sword from the Philippines, and do you know what Angel's sword of preference was, or Vincent's?
  16. Esgrimador

    Esgrimador New Member

    Can you provide solid evidence for the above?

    I ask this because, time and again, different serious researchers have found that "Kali" is not an historically valid term for FMA. Mark Wiley covered it in detail in his excellent book, Filipino Martial Culture. Romy Macapagal, the archivist for the Kalis Ilustrisimo system, also commented on it, in this article from Realfighting.com:

    About the term "Kali"
    The word "kali" did not come about until about 20 years or so ago and seems to have been coined somewhere, sometime by Filipinos living in the USA. I have personally conducted a search for the word "kali" amongst old people of the major tribes and, except for "kalis" which means sword and "kali" in Ilocano, which means "a hole in the ground"; there is no other word or cognate of "kali".

    Ilustrisimo used "kali" on the insistence of Mr. Leo Gaje who had visited with Tatang and also by an American anthropologist specializing in hoplology (which is a study of handheld, non-missile weapons), who seemed to have picked it up from Dan Inosanto's book. When I joined Tatang, "Kali Ilustrisimo" had been registered for about two or three years. Tony Diego (the present head of the Ilustrisimo system) and I, after the research mentioned, decided that "Kalis" is the more appropriate word because it means "sword" and would then mean the "Sword of Ilustrisimo." The name has not been formally registered except on a website but we had decided on this even when Tatang was still active and alive.

    The entire article can be found here:


    The following articles by Dr. Ned Nepangue and Celestino Macachor also show the problems with the whole "Kali" deal:


    Arnis and eskrima are not "Spanish words"--they are, in fact, Spanish-derived Tagalog terms. Arnis is derived from the Spanish term arnes, which means "harness" (and "harness", in this case, specifically means "armor"). Hence, Arnis de mano literally means "armor of the hands". Eskrima, on the other hand, is derived from the Spanish word esgrima, which simply means "fencing". The term for fencing is naturally similar in all of the Romance languages--esgrima (Spanish), escrime (French), scherma (Italian), and so on.
  17. Bayani

    Bayani Valued Member

    Dennis please check your pm.
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2004
  18. starrider7777

    starrider7777 New Member

    I find this discussion very informative. My general understanding of the differences in these styles has long been a little blurry.
    I trained in a place where they all simply flowed together. My general understanding was that the terms kali, escrima, arnis and silat were nearly synonymous. One could nail down specific differences within the forms, but, the general concepts were alike. I asked my instructor one time what the differences were and he basically smiled and shrugged and just said that mostly there were different words from different regions and different innovations from different regions and different teachers...the arts were diverse like language itself in some ways. He himself was a product of the Doce Pares "style" of Espada Y Daga that came out of Cebu City. He went on to say he didn't spend a whole lot of time trying to differentiate between the origins of the moves...he just adopted what worked. He was a two time world champion in Knife and stick sport fighting (Espada Y Daga). I really liked his stripped down approach to teaching. He focused on the blending of concepts rather than adherence to one particular stylized expression of the craft. I expressed wanting to learn silat which tickled him...not many asked him about it. He seemed to enjoy teaching me empty hands techniques out of silat concepts. it was a JKD school and at the time he was putiing us thu Muay Thai conditioning work outs and then breaking off into smaller groups to help us with whatever we desired. at the time most people were interested in BJJ and groundfighting. I was one of the few that was trying to pick up Kali, Escrima and the only one interested in Silat. In the end it all kind of flowed together and I have developed good lateralization with concepts from all these "styles."
  19. Wali

    Wali Valued Member

    I must add that Kali/Arnis/Escrima and Silat are very different arts. In the US, it is often labelled together as 'Kali-Silat', however, traditional Silat bears little resemblance in it's concepts to Arnis/Kali.

    Students begin their training on the ground, and only come upright after they have become familiar and comfortable there, building body strength and mobility. They then come upright, and learn basic body movement and hand drills. Weapons aren't introduced until later on, and even then, they comply with the principles of movement the student has been learning to that point, so the use of the weapon (the 1st weapon is usually the 'pisau' - a knife).

    I don't want to sound padantic, but reading some of the comments, it is assumed that Silat and Kali are basically the same art with slight variations. This is not the case.

    While SOME movements MAY seem similar, this is because of the close geographical locations between the Phillipines and Indonesia, and some elemets are organically incorporated by different travellers. The principles of the systems, however, are very different.

  20. krys

    krys Valued Member

    That depends on the system.....There are lots of silat systems with differents tactics and curiculums. In the system I practice stand up comes first, then ground and after showing good mastery of empty hands and proper moral attitude, weapons.

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