Syncing Up & Moving Forward

•July 25, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Sama Sama 2014 was the first time that Pamana Tuhon and the Sayoc Family hosted the annual gathering on the West Coast. It was an amazing time of training, camaraderie and more training. Even weeks later, we are all still unpacking the lessons we learned and refining the formulas we were exposed to.

Current members of Sayoc SGV have been working to integrate the lessons of Sama Sama into our practice, syncing up with Sayoc practitioners around the world.

Our heartfelt thanks goes out to Pamana Tuhon, The Council of Tuhons, Guros, and our growing Sayoc Tribe for their guidance, support, and friendship.

The adventure continues.


New training schedule for the Fall!

•August 15, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Class is moving to Sunday mornings from 9:00-10:30. See you then!

Sayoc Kali featured in NCIS: LA Tonight!

•February 5, 2013 • 1 Comment

I strongly encourage you to watch the episode of NCIS: LA tonight. It will feature not only techniques from Sayoc Kali, but a lot about our mindset and methodology. A lot of input from members of the tribe went into the episode airing tonight: Dave Kalstein, Tuhon Rafael Kayanan, Tuhon Carl Atienza, Guro Brian Calaustro, Guro Harley Elmore, Guro John Perrings, Guro Nick Saglibene, Guro Travis Downing, Guro Joe Pena and his son Nick Pena, and Guro Zee Alhusaini. Current and former students, let’s start a discussion about what we see and recognize from our training. Prospective students: come experience it for yourself!

I’ll be posting my comments about the episode later tonight. I look forward to seeing what you all come up with!


Guro Steve

Class next week and moving forward!

•January 18, 2013 • 3 Comments

Starting next week, we are moving to our original training time and location: 10:00-11:30 in the foothills of Monrovia! Current members, I’ll see you at class tonight. If you’re interested in joining the group, drop me a line for the location specifics!

Train Hard!

Welcome to 2013!

•January 10, 2013 • 3 Comments

2013 has already seen some big changes for our group. Currently, we are training at a historic facility in Fontana on Friday nights.

Recently, our focus has been on Atienza Kali Knife Evolution #1. We will be diving back into the short blade Sayoc curriculum and working some other wrinkles into our training as well.

With the recent events that have been in the news, let’s take a moment to recognize the importance of the Feeder mindset, situational awareness, and the reasons why we train. Ultimately, one way of approaching the issue can be boiled down to these three simple questions.
1. Are you aware?
2. Are you prepared?
3. Are you willing?

See you at class.

Every Day Carry

•June 26, 2012 • Leave a Comment

“What kind of blade is the best?”
“What kind of blade do you carry?”
“Do you always have a blade on you?”

These are pretty common questions in martial arts and preparedness circles. For Sayoc practitioners, these common questions (and the concomitant answers) reveal a lot of information, much of it meaningless outside a given context. For the moment, let’s look at the most likely and practical scenario: EDC (Every Day Carry).

Sayoc Kali defines a blade as anything that can puncture or separate. From a sharp rock to a thousand dollar custom folder made of exotic steel, a blade is defined by its utility more than anything else. Once that is taken into consideration, the questions can really begin. For the moment, let us assume that we are discussing a blade as commonly defined: rigid, metallic, sharp, edged, with a handle.

When discussing EDC, several very important factors should be taken into consideration. Two are:
1. mission
2. environment

By its very definition, an EDC blade is one that is carried all the time. A blade has diminished utility if it’s left in a drawer at home because it’s too big or heavy to carry comfortably. Other factors such a legality, security concerns and practicality also have a likewise effect.

1. The question of mission is simply the tasks that a person must complete. Depending on the mission, blades may need to have certain characteristics. In an EDC context, we should assume that there are multiple missions for a single blade. This usually results in people picking a blade that may be a compromise between different modes of utility and what can practically be carried. Of course another solution is to carry multiple blades that are suitable for different tasks. We have to evaluate two main points: what is likely and what is possible. What are the likely situations in which a blade will be needed? An individual who works in a citrus grove will have some definite needs in terms of blade performance (hence design and size). A police officer’s needs would be drastically different (backup weapon or weapon retention). Of course there is also the question of what possible situations an individual could find themselves in. For our purposes, let us presume that one of the primary missions of the blade is self protection.

2. When evaluating environment, we need to evaluate from two perspectives at the very least: physical conditions and permissiveness. WRT physical environment, what is the climate and prevailing weather going to be? what will we be wearing? How much exposure to the elements will we be experiencing? In terms of permissiveness, will we be in an environment (like a courtroom or campus) that restricts the carry of blades? Do we have the authority to carry blades, and do others have the authority to carry weapons? Will our carry be open or concealed? For our purposes, let us presume an urban/suburban environment in a civilian context. Let us also assume that all people carry blades (“All Blade, All the Time”).

The previous factors go a long way towards helping us evaluate the size of an EDC. An Ingorot warrior’s EDC would look very different from an accountant’s. Taking into consideration that the vast majority of humans live in cities, we can safely assume that open carry of swords, machetes, axes and spears is frowned upon by the authorities. Moreover, they can lead to unwanted attention. Weight and size are also affected by whether the blade will be carried openly or concealed. If concealability is a primary factor, then mode of dress and mode of carry will go a long way towards dictating the appropriate size.

As we consider EDC blades, we should begin looking at desirable traits and undesirable traits in blade design.
1. The EDC blade should have a secure handle. Slippery materials should be avoided. Likewise, very extreme texturing should be avoided as well, since it can hinder blade manipulation and cause issues with printing (visibility of a concealed blade) and smooth deployment. the handle should also be conducive towards preventing self-injury. This can be accomplished with sound ergonomic design or the use of a “stopper” like a finger guard.
2. The carry system is incredibly important. Whether the blade is a quick draw or deep carry is also an important consideration. A carry system doesn’t just protect us from the blade and the blade from us, but it is also the point from which we deploy our blade. Concerns about speed of deployment, concealment and retention have to be balanced against each other to find the best solution.
3. The blade’s length must be long enough to fulfill its primary missions. It should be made of a sturdy material that will not break when thrust into something hard like wood, sheet rock or bone. While all of our targets are soft tissue, we must allow for the eventuality that the blade will encounter something more substantial.
4. The blade should not have a choil. Choils on smaller blades seem to serve no purpose other than to catch lint, dust, and fabric. Ideally the transition from edge to hilt/handle should be smooth and without interruption.

A major question also arises when deciding on the format of an EDC blade: fixed or folder? Tuhon Tom Kier has said that a folder is just a broken fixed blade that someone tried to repair. Small fixed blades have been a part of EDC since the first neolithic tribes discovered flint knapping. If possible, carry blades should fixed. No matter what the claims or technology might be, a folder’s pivot and/or locking mechanism will fail under enough force, often unexpectedly.

Is there any one solution to this question? There may be; experience shows that asking the question is often far more important than any specific answers. It should also be noted that while blades are a part of EDC, there are by no means the only element. We’ll explore other factors in future articles.

Classes in May

•May 3, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Class schedule is back to normal after a couple family and professional commitments last month. Please come ready to train!

We’ll be focusing on short-blade stuff in the next couple days, working our way to another look at bolo evo 1.

See you there!

A quick review of AK Tactical Pen Seminar and a look forward to the rest of March

•March 8, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Guro Josh Votaw was out here on the West Coast and presented the AK Tactical Pen Seminar at the end of February. Sayoc SGV members, we need to compare notes! It was a great day of training that covered everything from philosophy to template to application and isolation.

For the month of March, the class schedule is as follows:

March 10 from 10:00-11:30

March 17 from 10:00-11:30

There will be no class on March 24th.

In April, we are back on track. AK members, we’ll be getting geared up for Tuhon Carl’s upcoming visit.

An update of happening recent and not so!

•December 7, 2011 • Leave a Comment

This summer and fall have been a very exciting time for us here at Sayoc SGV.

We had the opportunity to attend a Sayoc Tactical Pistol 1.0 class. A lot of information was downloaded and we have taken some of the lessons to the range. Several important lessons were learned, namely that I need to practice a lot and weapon maintenance is essential.

Tuhon Carl’s instruction during the Atienza Kali workshop was also invaluable. Sayoc SGV members had an opportunity to train mass attack as well as some AK long blade work. There was also a cutting portion that I was unable to attend, but I’m sure everyone there learned a lot about the dynamics of the blade.

More recently, our focus at Sayoc SGV has been on mastery of the fundamentals: 3 of 9, 4 of 12, Transition Drills, and other drills in the curriculum. Our current class schedule remains unchanged. Please keep in touch!

Sama Sama 2011

•July 10, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Last weekend Paul Sanchez and I had the great opportunity of attending Sayoc Sama Sama 2011 in the Poconos. Paul attended the Hidden Agenda and had an opportunity to receive instruction from Guro Kevin Estela on primitive projectiles and other wood craft.  Sama Sama began with a lineup and greeting from Pamana Tuhon. This year’s theme was on approaching what is often considered basic curriculum with a different goal in mind.

In Sayoc Kali, Transition Drills and Templates are used to communicate information. Each drill and template is introduced to help install a series of techniques in flow. Once this level of information is learned, it’s natural for most people to begin to look for the next drill or template. The emphasis this year was on applying the Sayoc learning methodology to foundational aspects of the curriculum to build on attributes and practice techniques. The emphasis of this year’s Sama Sama was on building mastery vs. coverage of techniques and drills.

Each instructional session gave participants an opportunity to practice something that they had probably seen before and trained many times. However, the emphasis of the Guros and Tuhons who taught was on how to dig deeper into the curriculum to reveal more than what is revealed initially by the drills and templates.

One major element in this changing perspective is intent. When many of us first learn 3 of 9 or Transition Drill 1, our intentional action is limited by our familiarity with the data at hand. Once that data becomes familiar, approaching it with the notion of “learning it better” with changing the level of our intentional action can lead to mindless drilling. While there is a nominal value in getting repetitions, past a certain point it becomes empty of value. The adjustments that were made on what the intentional actions were made perfect sense and opened up yet another level of how to approach the information we have in Sayoc Kali.

We will probably be unpacking the lessons we learned at Sama Sama for months (if not YEARS). Be sure to stop by class in the next couple weeks to feel the energy!