Albo Kali Silat

Albo Kali Silat is a Filipino martial art. As is often the case in the Philippines, the art was taught “in the clan” and the responsibility for teaching the art was generally passed from father to son. The current head of the system is Tuhan Jon Holloway. Tuhan Holloway was taught the art by Apohan Tuhan (Head of System) Hasting Albo. Apohan Tuhan Albo learned the art from his grandfather, who brought the art from the Philippines to Hawaii. Apohan Tuhan Albo studied the art in Hawaii, while studying multiple other martial arts. In the tradition of the Filipino martial arts, which are characterized by their adaptability and willingness to grow through absorbing new ideas and techniques, Apohan Tuhan Albo, as headmaster of the system, furthered the art by adding insights he obtained during his studies of various martial arts. Subsequent to Apohan Tuhan Albo's tragic death in an automobile accident, Tuhan Holloway assumed the leadership of the Albo Kali Silat system.

Albo Kali Silat is not a hybrid or bastard art made up of a mishmash of techniques taken from other arts to “create” a “new” art, as is often seen in America today. Filipino Kali or Escrima has customarily adapted and grown over time, as seen in the assimilation of many attributes of Spanish fencing and Western boxing found in many of the Filipino systems today. Many systems of Kali or Escrima are very similar to Silat, as it is practiced in Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. Apohan Tuhan Albo added some elements of Vietnamese and Indonesian Silat to his grandfather’s system, elements which flowed with and enhanced the basic combat system as taught to him by his grandfather.

Albo Kali Silat is both a weapon and empty hand art. It is not a sport, but an “old style” art. The emphasis is on combat, and the ability to end a confrontation quickly and decisively is prized above all others. As is prevalent in the arts of the Philippines, the belief is that stick (rattan garote or baston) trains knife (bolo, or any other knife to include a large fixed blade or small folding pocket knife), which trains empty hand techniques. Students learn single stick, double stick, single knife, double knife, long and short stick or knife used in combination (espada y daga) and empty hand techniques which include grappling, kicking, and striking with fists, elbows, and other of the human body’s natural weapons. Key aspects of this art, as compared to other Kali or Escrima systems are the facts that there is no emphasis with regard to range, as all practitioners are to be adept at flowing from long range, into medium range, and close range combat and back, with ease. Similarly, the use of both the forward and reverse grips on weapons is taught. This includes the use of double weapons, where all combinations from double forward grip to double reverse are taught and practiced. Grappling and groundwork with weapons is also taught. A key component of the art is the ability to work in the vertical plane. Thus, a practitioner of the art is expected to be able to flow from very low level attacks and low stances to high line attacks on an opponent’s head with ease and grace. Leg attacks, immobilizations, and joint locks and breaks are components of the art.

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