Sayoc Kali

Hello Everyone,

Thank you Stickgrappler, for the opportunity to answer anyone's questions regarding Sayoc Kali.

So fire away!

Train Hard it is the Way!
Guro Steve L.

Guro Steve,

thank you in advance from taking time out to answer any questions on Sayoc Kali!

one to start off: although the style is advertised as "knife all the time", i've heard that there was a stick component to it. can you give some background to that? does the stick material also have vital templates, etc?


Does Sayoc Kali emphasis any techniques on how to disarm a knife wielding opponent while bare handed or does it concentrate mainly on knife related techniques.

It would be useful for those that choose not carry a knife or cannot for legal reasons to understand the techniques used for defense against one.

Respectfully submitted.

Hello Everyone,
First: to answer Stickgrappler's question.

The Sayoc Fighting System that was taught from 1972-1982(and sometime later) did teach the stick as part of it's curriculum. It included the following in the curriculum:
1. single stick (28"-32")

2. empty hands (foot works, body mechanics)

3. double stick (24"-32")

4. stick and dagger

5. dagger (single blade-multiple blades)

6. tabak-toyok (single/double)

7. pana (projectile in assorted sizes)

8. long stick (36"-50")

9. whip (4'-12') (single/double)

10. staff/spear

11. short stick (18"-24")/tabak-maliit (single/double)

12. shield and stick

The current curriculum of Sayoc Kali does not include this material. The Vital templates though, can be used as a method for employing the stick, and at a recent seminar with Tuhon Sayoc, I was able to use the various combinations on some of the attendees. It worked very, very well!!

I have only seen some of the older Sayoc Fighting System material, so I can't really judge the material as it was vs as it is today. I can tell you that, I have seen Tuhon Sayoc, and Tuhon Cortez, whip a stick around and it was awesome. (Tuhon Cortez can be seenon the short video clip on the Sayoc website about the Maryland seminar)


Guro Steve

Hello Sharp21,

Sayoc Kali does contain methods for close quarters blade disarms. One of the drills (7 count passing) is a series of counters against various attacks, once you are familiar with the basic understanding of the capture and potential disarm positions, you are then taught a variety of methods in which to counter each disarm. Of, course the feeder then learns to counter each of these as well.
These are practiced as a drill, then in free flow sparring, and added into the various transition drills and Vital templates.


Guro Steve L.

Guro Steve,

This may be a dumb question.....but what is a "template".

Is it a series of combinations????


Hello Raymond,

I am enjoying all the information on Kalis Ilustrisimo!
I have been a big fan of Tatang Ilustrisimo, since I saw him on the Datu video tape in the 90's!

Anyway, a Vital Template is a map work of targets inside of the opponent. Practitioners utilize the templates to become familiar with targeting, opponent's conditioned or reflexive response, entry methods and footwork, medical management, blade positioning and manipulation, sheathing, drawing etc.


Guro Steve

Guro Steve,

Thanks for the kind words........

With your system - does that mean that you place an emphasis on the targets, and then have ways to get to them............

Also, how many "templates" are the entire system based on "templates".

The reason I'm asking all these question is that I'm always on a quest to find a better way to teach things.
With the Ilustrisimo system there is no real structure; progression yes, uniformed structure, none.

Thanks your your assistance


Hello Raymond,

The "template" drills are but one piece(although a very important one)of the training methodology. They are done in a flow fashion, which allows a practitioner to ingrain the motions/targets/counters, in a fairly quick amount of time. There are 36 template drills. There are also other "drills", 10 basic transition drills as well as various other drills taught to a Sayoc Kali practitioner. Don't mistake the number of drills for a system that is not practical. All drills are just that, a teaching tool that allow a Sayoc Kali practitioner to sharpen his skills, and fighting attributes. Aspects of the drills are honed through sparring, isolated movements, and in the drill itself, through many hours of practice.

The targets are chosen for the response that occurs when they are hit. Mostly for lethal entry, not for wounding an opponent,(ala gunting) and allowing him the opportunity to attack you again.

I hope this helps. If ever the opportunity arrises we should get together, and cross train, it would be great!

Keep up the great questions!!


Guro Steve

Guro Steve,

I DO look forward to learning from you.........and swapping ideas


Guro Steve, can you explain what justifies the high cost regarding Sayoc lessons. Is $50-75 AN HOUR a "normal" price compared to other instructors/schools? I am currently enrolled in a BJJ school which costs $60 A MONTH and am loving every minute of it.

I have been very interested in Sayoc for a while (not because of The Hunted) but have never had the chance to have formal instruction. One night I went to an instructor (2 hours from my home)and was very excited about getting started. When the price was given to me, I had to hold my jaw from hitting the floor. Well, I left very disappointed.

I know the phrases, "you get what you pay for", or, "anything easily obtained is not worth having", but the price quoted, to me, was pretty steep.

I have heard that the first lesson is more of a rap session in which the instructor and the potential student sit and talk......(i.e. the instructor evaluates/judges whether or not the potential student will use the art for good or for evil [in a nutshell]). If this actually happens I believe it is commendable and shows that the instructor, as well as the Sayocs, care where the student is going to go with the art. Is any of this true?

Do you have any advice for someone whom is not able to afford $50 an hour lessons?

For now I just try to learn from ten second snipits on the computer (which are very impressive by the way).

Maybe I am being a cheapskate. I don't know. Please enlighten me!!!!!!!!


-I see no virtue where I smell no sweat-


First, I don't know about your first lesson being a "rap" session? Any student who comes into one of my classes always gets a hands on lesson. I always, interview my potential students and continually follow up on their behavior, as best I can, inside and outside the school. I have been teaching martial arts for over 16 years, so judging students is always difficult but at times necessary, depending on what we are teaching them.

As for cost, when I do a private lesson my normal one on one fee is $50.0/hr. My regular class fees are between $65 - 75/month. This includes training up to 3 times per week.

Training in any art, at times can be expensive. If you cannot afford the classes, try to attend seminar events for hands on time, and then start training with several interested people, which can lead you into starting a training group.

Where are you located? I will try to find an appropriate training group or Instructor to continue your training

Guro Steve L.

Do you know of any instruction or training groups in the Oklahoma City area?


Guro Steve,

I live in Arlington, Texas and would love to find a training group near me. Heck, I just wish I could find someone interested in knife or weapons training on the most basic/realistic level (i.e. knives and guns).

Kendo, fencing, and Wu Shu are available to me and I am sure they all have something to offer but my interest remains in realistic, one on one or several on one, training.

I am originally from Wichita Falls and I know of Guro Elmores' school. I kick myself regularly for not attending his school while I lived there and went to college........but that is another story.


hey -

wait a minute - when i took my privates from tuhon chris, i pay 100 p/hr,

what gives............................BTW it was worth the price

Hello Everyone,

1) Paingut - contact Guro Harley and set up some training time with him. Then try to establish a training group under his guidance. This would probably be the easiest way to get your training moving.

2)JockDoc - There are several people practicing in Tulsa. I also suggest you contact Guro Elmore, as he is the closest Certified Instructor to you. His contact information is on the website. He will do his best to help you out.

3)Privates with Tuhon Sayoc are well worth the price we pay!! My private rate is still $50.0/hr for a 1 on 1(I'm cheap(LOL)), seminars range from $750.0 which includes free private with the host prior to the seminar.

Keep the questions rolling!!!


Guro Steve L.

I understand as the feeder is learning to use the knife the receiver is learning to defend against it. How would you describe Sayoc kali's empty hand vs. knife? Striking the nerves in the arm? Joint breaks? Something else?

Hello Membrane,

Actually, your reference to "Feeder and Receiver" is not exactly how it works. Think of the feeder as the person with the knife, the receiver may also have a blade as well. We train to get a "response" from the receiver, either a conditioned response (potentially trained reaction) or a reflexive response(typical untrained reaction). By exploring both of these actions we learn to deal with many "opportunities" for direct entering on the opponent, with the least amount of potential damage to oneself.
The exploration of the 2 response methodologies also leads a Sayoc Kali practitioner to the correct response, which is the most effective conditioned response to a given number of reflexive responses. The Correct Response is the result of the best choices from a given number of conditioned responses.

We always think that the opponent is weapon weilding, so there heightened sensitivity that is always inherent in this. Also, empty hand can just mean you do not see the blade.


Guro Steve L.

Guro Steve,

my friend showed me the 3 of 9 once. at first he was like: do this, do this, do this (i was the feeder, he was the feeder). we did it with him standing still and he showing me the targets. so i did that a few times and i got the targets down. then he added the incorrect response and then all the correct responses and it was so cool how one attack flowed to the next.

he also showed me one of the smoking sentry - it's been awhile since i've trained with him and i forgot the one he showed me. can you go a little into the smoking sentry material?


Hello Stickgrappler!

The sentry removal template you are speaking of, is #3 of 10 Smoking knife. This material stems from Tuhon Sayoc's relatives who in WWII, would be drinking and smoking, while practicing to remove the Japanese sentry.(Therefore the term "Smoking" knife)

Most military styles of sentry removal are commonly done from the rear (also contained in the Sayoc Kali system)but in this one the target is approached from the front, grasped (so he cannot fall away, and alert others) then dispatched. The final move is very similar to "Kengit" or "Irimi nage" with a femoral slash added in. The attacker has now assumed the position of the sentry.

In the # 3 of 9 template, the first move is an entry off the reflexive response. Most people are familiar with this response as putting up your hand to keep something from your face, the flinch response, crash positions, triangle etc. If I throw my right hand up to the right side of your face, you respond with your right hand. In the drill this is tapped down and the Internal jugular is attacked, this leads the receiver to "cross checking" the attack, or the conditioned response. This move is cleared or wiped away and the drill continues. Another interesting piece of this drill is the physical/medical responses that occur when a specific target is struck. Each action also causes an opening for the next action etc, etc.

Great questions!!


Guro Steve L.