Joseph J. Truncale, Hachidan, International Instructor

Review found on:


SECRETS OF SILAT KNIFE FIGHTING: Techniques of Silat and Kuntao
with Steve Gartin. Paladin Press, P.O. box 1307, Boulder, CO 80306.
Phone: 303/443-7241.

One of the great things about being an official book and video reviewer for several publications is the opportunity to see the latest material on a particular topic. Paladin Press is a leader in its field and has more knife books and videos than any other company. Though I am familiar with numerous knife systems, I knew almost nothing about the Silat and Kuntao systems. This is a rare look at an Indonesian martial art that few people know anything about.

Steve Gartin is one of the few experts in the U.S. in Silat and Kuntao. Silat is a knife based system, though unarmed applications are also taught. Kuntao emphasizes moves from various animals such as the Tiger, the Crane, the Eagle, the Praying Mantis and the Monkey in their self defense system. I found it interesting that the beginning of the video showed some of the techniques that were going to be covered in the program. Low and behold, the "universal" knife techniques shown in this video were the same ones we teach in our Bushi Satori Ryu and Pro-systems knife programs. They use a lot of Reverse grip techniques, but they hide the knife in the palm of their hands in some unique ways.

The entire film was focused on various self defense moves against an assailant who either had a knife or was attempting to punch you. Mr. Gartin would first show how to counter attack with your own knife in your hand, and than how to perform the same defense when you are unarmed. They also employ numerous knife grips related to the animal systems. Mr. Gartin explained that "without the knife there is no Silat." However, Kuntao emphasizes that a knife is not needed to make self defense effective.

One of the many things I liked about this video is that it showed various knife drills you can do with a partner to improve your skills. They use a variation of Wing Chun's sticking hands drills, but with a unique Indonesian flavor. In Summary, if you are into the knife arts, this is a MUST SEE VIDEO. You will get a rare look at a system that is both effective and practical.
Review by Joseph J. Truncale
Bushi Satori Ryu
P.O. BOX 261, Glenview, IL 60025-0261
Phone/Fax: (847) 729-7681