Comparison of Inosanto Kali to other FMA styles and other questions

Discussion in 'JKD-Kali' started by jwinch2, Oct 28, 2009.

  1. jwinch2

    jwinch2 Member


    Due to a situation where our instructor has taken a new job, my opportunities to train have changed somewhat recently. I really enjoy the training but since the person in question is a Law Enforcement Officer his schedule is hectic to say the least and thus no consistent training schedule is able to be offered at this time. I have full intent to continue training in my current location when classes are offered as I really enjoy the content and have a ton of respect for my instructor. However since I have no way of knowing when that might be, I have decided to explore other opportunities in addition to our training group.

    There is a person not to far away from me who is a Full Instructor under Guro Inosanto who teaches few days a week. I talked to him on the phone yesterday and he seemed very excited about the possibility of bringing in someone new and offered to have me come in and try a few classes to see whether or not I was interested in continuing on.

    So, that being said. Can someone fill me in on what to expect from the style in general? I have read virtually every thread on Inosanto Kali here on FMAtalk as well as other places and I am left not having all that good of an understanding of how it might be similar and different from what I have seen in the past. Specifically, I have questions in three areas. Area one is that of depth. Many times I have seen styles that try to blend many systems together end up a mile wide and an inch deep. Can someone describe the depth of study in Inosanto Kali in comparison to other FMA styles? My second area of question is that of focus. Some FMA styles are far more stick, mano mano, or blade focused. And finally, I am curious about the mindset. Some places I have seen are quite focused on combative intent and some are not. I recognize that some of these things like focus and mindset can vary from place to place depending on who is doing teaching but there still ought to be an overarching philosophy that is able to be understood by an outsider like me.

    I have had previous experiences in FMA which primarily have focused on Modern Arnis but have also included training in Sayoc Kali and some small amount of training with a not too distant Pekiti Tirsia group. Any information on those things would be helpful and appreciated.

    Thanks in advance. I look forward to any thoughts and answers to the my posed questions that you might have...
  2. ap Oweyn

    ap Oweyn Member

    Hey, I know this doesn't directly answer your question--and I'll try when I have more time (having done some Inosanto Kali, lots of Doce Pares, and some Modern Arnis). That said, there's still a Modern Arnis group in Alexandria, if you're interested. I think we may have talked about it before, but just thought I'd mention it. Link to the group is in my signature line.

  3. jwinch2

    jwinch2 Member

    Yep but thanks for the reminder. Alexandria is a B of a drive from Manassas especially with traffic. Depending on when training was happening it might be possible.

  4. ap Oweyn

    ap Oweyn Member

    Ah, you're in Manassas. Gotcha. You talking about heading out to One Spirit then?
  5. jwinch2

    jwinch2 Member

    Trident down in Woodbridge. Pat Tray runs it but I don't know how often he actually teaches. Tonight it was one of his assistants. His rates are three times what I have been paying and it appears that there are contracts involved so I am not sure if it is going to work or not. I enjoyed the class though...
  6. ap Oweyn

    ap Oweyn Member

    Right, Trident. Sorry. I always get those two confused. One Spirit is out in Herndon. They have a kali class as well, these days.

    One of our guys used to train with Pat Tray. I haven't been round there myself. But I know that one of his instructors was named Inchon. He used to train in the same JKD/kali group I did (Guro Pat Finley in Columbia, MD). Inchon was hell on wheels with the kickboxing, but I don't remember his kali specifically. But I'm guessing he wasn't the teacher anyway.

    To answer your original question, here's my take: When you're dealing with FMA through the JKD crowd, it's going to run the gamut. And you really need to pay attention to the individual teachers' background specifically in FMA (if FMA, specifically, is your focus). I've seen teachers who incorporate flow drills and a few sinawalis for "attribute building." And I've seen teachers for whom the Filipino material is paramount (e.g., Guro Dan obviously, Guro Richard Bustillo, Guro Ted Lucaylucay, Guro Cass Magda, etc.).

    I wouldn't say that Guro Dan's understanding of FMA is broad but shallow. Not for a moment. But the degree to which any given teacher focuses on kali is another matter. In my club, it was broken down on different days, so the class I attended was half kickboxing (drawn from muay thai, bando, panantukan, etc.) and half kali. The focus on kali there, consequently, was good (though I actually went for the kickboxing, having just spent six years dedicated to a Doce Pares curriculum).

    My gut feeling, though, is that--if you've determined that FMA is specifically what you want--you should seek out a dedicated class. Either a curriculum that's specifically FMA or a JKD group that specifies one class time as their FMA night. Otherwise, you tend to get a disjointed series of sinawali drills for a little while, then a disarming drill, then some sarong takedowns, etc. I think the continuum is important.

    As I said, I haven't got any direct experience with Guro Pat Tray's class. His FMA could well be really terrific.

  7. lhommedieu

    lhommedieu Senior Member

    I've seen some fine JKD teachers whose take on FMA is excellent, and some whose take merely meets the mininum requirements for teaching their curriculum. One thing that I have noticed however is that those who teach FMa's extremely well have generally decided to spend some time within a particular system, e.g. Doce Pares (Rick Tucci) or Pekiti Tirsia (Dan Inosanto), etc. And of course to say that Dan Inosanto "decided to spend some time within a particular system (s!) is an understatement.


  8. ap Oweyn

    ap Oweyn Member

    Yeah, exactly. On both counts.
  9. jwinch2

    jwinch2 Member

    Thanks for the comments both of you. The class is a specific FMA class and they have separate classes for JKD, MT, BJJ, etc... Guro Tray and two instructors teach the FMA class and all are graded under Inosanto. Guro Tray and his one other student are full instructors under Guro Dan and the other one is an Associate instructor. Having a dedicated FMA class should keep things focused though I do like the JKD material as well. Unfortunately, the JKD class is combined with MT otherwise I would probably consider that one as well. I find that the trapping in JKD works very well with the mano mano work and the daga work we do in Modern Arnis and I imagine the Inosanto Kali would be a good fit as well.

    As for the "mile wide and inch deep" comment. I was not suggesting that the Inosanto Kali was that way, merely that I have seen other systems which "blend" various styles together become that way. Just in case there was any sort of misunderstanding for anyone who might come across this thread...

    I am going to try to get a couple of other guys from the training group down there with me this weekend and get their thoughts as well.

    Thanks again. If you or anyone else have more thoughts I would be very interested in hearing them...

  10. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise Senior Member Supporting Member

    It is hard to add more than what is above as everyone is right in that is does vary according to the instructor. Good luck!
  11. Epa

    Epa Member

    Good points by ap Oweyn and lhommedieu. I have heard good things about Pat Tray, but never had the chance to train with him.

    With regard to focus of the system, Guro Dan has never really emphasized one category of the system over the other since I have been training with him (late-90s). It is a pretty balanced blend of empty hand, blade, stick, double weapon, long weapon and flexible weapon (never seen him teach firearms though).

    When he lectures, I've heard him emphasize adaptability over anything else. He wants his students to be competent with different weapons in different ranges as opposed to focusing on a particular weapon or range. Personally, I like the system for that broad approach, but I found that cross training in other FMA systems really tightens up specific areas.

    Since you already have FMA experience, you might try to see where one system is stronger and the other is weaker. In my experience with Modern Arnis, there was a lot of close range and I did not really understand the long range as well until I trained in Guro Dan's system. However, I found that I had good flow from training in Modern Arnis. You might find areas where one system balances the other.
  12. jwinch2

    jwinch2 Member

    Interesting observation. I found that my footwork and flow seemed quite natural in my trial class last night even though I was learning most new material.

    Thanks for the comments...
  13. ap Oweyn

    ap Oweyn Member

    As an aside, if you ever feel like revisiting Modern Arnis, this club trains on Tuesday and Thursday nights, from 8:30 to 9:30pm in Alexandria. The teacher is a former student of Bambit Dulay in the PI.

    If that's too advertisey, my apologies. I'm just happy to see other NoVA FMA proponents on the board.

  14. jwinch2

    jwinch2 Member

    I am happy to know about the school and I appreciate any information you might have to share. As for being too much of anything, I don't see it at all.

    Depending on what happens with our training group and what I feel after taking a second course at Trident and hopefully getting some answers to my questions from Guro Tray, I will let you know. Is there a chance of arranging some longer private sessions a couple of times a month on the weekends do you think? If so, that may be an option. Otherwise, Alexandria is a heck of a long way to drive in traffic during the week.
  15. ap Oweyn

    ap Oweyn Member

    I'm not the primary teacher at the club. I teach when I get the chance, but I'm not around much these days. That said, I'd wager that the teacher would absolutely be willing to do something like that. And on the odd occassion that I get to come out, I would too.

  16. jwinch2

    jwinch2 Member

    What organization is the group under? I just applied for the google group also.

  17. ap Oweyn

    ap Oweyn Member

    Yeah, I saw that. Good deal.

    Guro Roman (Picardo) is associated with IMAF - Philippines. I'm unclear on their relationship to the other IMAF. I haven't gotten too tied up in the style itself. Thankfully, FMA styles are similar enough that we train side by side pretty seamlessly.

    As for me, my Doce Pares school is associated with Cacoy Doce Pares.
  18. jwinch2

    jwinch2 Member

    You teach Doce Pares in Alexandria? I was entirely unaware that there was Doce Pares in NoVA
  19. ap Oweyn

    ap Oweyn Member

    I don't get time to teach very often these days. And when I do, I tend not to bill it specifically as Doce Pares. I'm kind of a mutt, after all. But yeah. Actually, one of my longtime classmates with the Patalinghug family also lives in this area now. And I'm hoping that, in the future, there's a proper Doce Pares school running in the area.

    EDIT: When I said "my Doce Pares school," I meant the one I trained at. The Patalinghug family's school, the Kick Connection. But that's up near Baltimore. I don't operate my own school or anything. On those occassions when I run a practice session, they're generally in the park near my house. Sorry for any confusion.
  20. jwinch2

    jwinch2 Member

    No problem. Thanks for the clarification. It just makes me wonder how many places that might be good to train are around but not widely known...

    Off to my second trial class here shortly. More later...


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