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Martial Arts Video Columnist Antonio Graceffo Studies Silat Techniques and Learns Silat History in Malaysia

Martial Arts Video Columnist Antonio Graceffo Studies Silat Techniques and Learns Silat History in Malaysia

Travel to Malaysia with Antonio Graceffo, author of the book Warrior Odyssey: The Travels of a Martial Artist Through Asia, in this installment of his ongoing series of international martial arts training videos. As he learns muay Thai moves and discovers silat history, Graceffo meets and trains with two Malay martial arts masters: Kru Jak Othman and Mazlan Man. These martial artists teach him silat techniques from two of the styles found in Malaysia: silat kalam and silat tomoi.

SOUTHEAST ASIAN MARTIAL ARTS TRAINING VIDEO
Antonio Graceffo Studies Silat Techniques and Muay Thai Moves in Malaysia!

“Malaysia is one of the coolest countries in Southeast Asia,” Antonio Graceffo says. “It’s down below Thailand, and it’s a place where all the various kinds of martial arts meet because you’ve got Chinese, Indians [and] Malay all living together, bordering on Thailand with a sea border on Indonesia. You’ve got silat, you’ve got muay Thai, you’ve got tomoi, you’ve got silambam. In Malaysia, there are 430 registered types of silat. So even if you just study silat techniques, you could be busy for years upon years upon years.”

Graceffo’s encounter with Kru Jak Othman revealed a friendly but feisty man teaching silat techniques from a style called silat tomoi, which “comes from Kelan Tan, which is a border state between Malaysia and Thailand,” he says. “[Silat tomoi has] elements of muay Thai boran, but then it’s got elements of silat in it, as well. It’s a very, very cool martial art.”


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As Graceffo’s journey in Malaysia continued, he encountered another guru for his martial arts training who opened his eyes about silat history. “The second guru that I met was Mazlan Man,” Graceffo says. “Guru Mazlan Man teaches silat kalam. When I first landed in Malaysia, what I didn’t understand was that a lot of these arts are only for Muslims. It’s the predominant religion in the country, and if you want to learn the Malay martial arts — the Islamic martial arts — a lot of times they only accept Muslim students. And what I didn’t understand at the time was that kalam is actually the short form of the word kalamat, which means ‘to profess one’s faith.’”

Graceffo explains that Man’s style of silat was a strictly Muslim form of the martial art. However, the two men met and the guru agreed to teach Graceffo and to be filmed for the Warrior Odyssey author’s ongoing series of martial arts training videos — a double win, as Graceffo would reportedly be the first non-Muslim student of silat kalam.

“Most people believe that [silat kalam] comes from Persia,” Graceffo explains in the video’s section about silat history. “This is an ancient Persian martial art, a grappling art. The original art [has] all but disappeared in modern Iran, but in Malaysia, it lives on as silat kalam.”


About Antonio Graceffo:
Antonio Graceffo is a freelance writer currently based in Asia. In his book Warrior Odyssey: The Travels of a Martial Artist Through Asia, Graceffo details the cultures, languages, people and martial arts he has encountered during his decade-long travels through nine countries, including Taiwan, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and the Philippines.

Join Antonio Graceffo for a trip around the world in these exciting martial arts training videos:

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