Most people who have heard of and or attended “THE INDY KALI-SILAT ASSOC. INTERNATIONAL school facility, do not realize that it is actually one of the oldest remaining martial art facilities in Indianapolis and the Midwest, having it’s beginning way back in the late 1960s to early 1970s.
In the early beginning, it did not really even have a name, as it was located at my home and I mainly taught private lessons to individuals that wanted additional learning time, who were attending Felix Wong’s Gung Fu school, the Beech Grove Orthodox Shorin Ryu Karate school, or the branch school just south of Manual High School, among others.
THE INDY KALI-SILAT ASSOC. INTERNATIONAL, is not your “NORMAL” everyday glitzy storefront martial art school, as I mentioned it is located at my home and still is, so the external physical appearance is not really what most people have come to expect and accept as a legitimate learning facility, plus being located on Indy’s southwest side, in a flood plain, very low income district, most people who enquire about classes and eventually DRIVE BY the location, take one external look and keep right on going and honestly, that really is understandable.
However, the few brave souls that actually ventured to come to the door, were very surprised, once they were admitted, seeing that it really was a very nice legitimate, authentic martial art learning facility and once they experienced a class or two, they were pretty much hooked, as I have students that have been building blocks for the school for 5, 10, 15, 20 and 30 years, dedicating their lives to learning, understanding, preserving and perpetuating the martial art.
In the early days, combat Judo was the foundation art that was actually a composition of many combative styles, then combined with Karate and Gung Fu and shortly after Bruce Lee’s untimely passing, I hooked up for a lifetime journey with one of the most knowledgeable, still developing martial artists in the entire world, DAN INOSANTO, who introduced me
to so many incredible martial art styles, including Filipino Kali and the amazing Indonesian martial art of Silat.
In 1982, with Dan’s urging, I spent my last dime on a two week camp fee and Greyhound Bus ticket to “BIG SPRINGS” Texas, where I attended Master Leo Gaje Jr.s first instructor candidate certification two week camp, where I was introduced to “THE BLADE MASTER” Leo Gaje, who was teaching the ancient Filipino blade art of ARNIS DE MANO.
After the camp, with Leo’s urging my humble school got its first real name, “THE INDIANA ARNIS ASSOCIATION” and as time passed and Leo started calling the art KALI, our school name change to “THE INDIANA KALI ASSOCIATION.
Dan Inosanto, gave me my first TASTE of the incredible Indonesian martial art of Silat and also at Leo’s first two week rigorous camp, I met Indonesian silat master PENDEKAR EDDIE JAFRI, from BOGOR Indonesia, teaching his incredible PENCAK SILAT.
Then after compiling so many diversified martial art styles from around the world, in 1992, I met GURU BESAR HERMAN SUWANDA, who shared his incredible “MANDE MUDA” Silat with me, eventually talking me into traveling to Indonesia’s west Java island in 1994, for my first TASTE of Indonesian culture and one of his first incredible two week training and excursion camps, where I was exposed to so many diversified Silat styles and totally amazing Silat Masters, graciously sharing their knowledge.
Obviously, I was so thoroughly impressed with the Indonesian arts that my school’s name was changed once more, this time to “INDY KALI-SILAT ASSOC. INTERNATIONAL.”