(Kuntao Silat, Taiwanese Boxing)
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Photos by Gregory Brophy (hand wraps), Gerville Hall (TaeKwonDo girl and mixed martial artist kicking), Lucian (Karate fight).
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Kuntao Silat or Kuntao is an umbrella term for various styles of hybrid martial art systems from China ad Idonesia. Some Kuntao style also include elements of Pencak Silat.
The purest forms of kuntao are found in China and Taiwan, reason why the art is sometimes referred to as Taiwanese boxing or Chinese boxing. Further Kuntao styles emerged in Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia (particularly Borneo) and the Philippines (where it is often called Kuntaw) as the result of trade exchanges between these countries and China. Some kuntao styles remained virtually unchanged, but most of them evolved to adapt to their new environment and under influence of local fighting styles and indiginous weapons.
Kuntao is a Hokkien term referring to martial arts practiced by the Chinese community of Southeast Asia, which have usually been influenced by silat. The word kuntao means way of the fist (similar to Chuan Fa, or Fist Technique). Translating Kuntao as 'Way of the Fist' is too literal, it really means 'fighting art' or 'martial art'. Silat is an umbrella term used to describe the martial art forms practiced throughout the Malay Archipelago.
History and Origin
According to the legend it was the Shaolin monk Lama Darmon who brought the art from China to Indonesia at the time of the Mongolian Yuan-Dynastie (1280-1368).
Historically, kuntao and silat have been practiced by ethnic groups divided by language and cultural diversities. Kuntao was the term describing the ethnic Chinese martial arts and silat was the generic term for the warrior arts practiced by the indigenous Indonesian an Malay peoples.
Rather then trying to block, grab or redirect a punch or a kick that one will have to deal with anyway, the philosophy of kuntao is to strike to a vulnerable part of the attacker's body as quickly and with as much power that one can generate. The idea is that if you are alert enough to see an attack coming you can just as well attack first instead of dealing with your opponent's attack in a defensive way.
Kuntao Silat deThouars: is the martial art created by Willem deThouars and is a combination of several Silat and Chinese/Indonesian Kuntao (Kung Fu) styles.
Malabar Kuntao Silat or American Kuntao Silat: was created by Steve Gartin, a student of Willem deThouars. He formulated a new, more structured, learning approach of Kuntao Silat deThouars.
Kuntao Angin, also known as Silat Angin, was founded by Yap Mat in 1977 based on older forms of Chuan Fa and Malay Silat. It is an old form of Kuntao practiced in the Kedah region of Malaysia, known for its' deceiving circular attacks, and nerve point manipulations. This system
Talio American Kuntao was created by Roberto Torres based on his martial arts studies in Visitacion Kuntao-Arnis, Wu Kung Tao and several Silat styles.
Liu Seong Kuntao was created by Willem Reeders based on his studies in Indonesia.
Kuntao Silat Today
Kuntao is relatively little known in the United States, because it is traditionally practiced in an aura of secrecy. It is considered by some to be a "true" form of Kung Fu (pre temple destruction). It is often called "Chinese Boxing" or "Taiwanese Boxing" by its practitioners. Until very recently, few martial artists were familiar with the style (early 21st century).
American KunTao Silat