Interview with Bob Orlando, Part Two

Here’s part 2 of the interview I did with Bob Orlando on his latest DVD, “The Fighting Forms of Kuntao-Silat.”

Q: Why did you choose these particular forms for the DVD over other ones?
A: The reason we chose those two was primarily because they are our school’s favorites–yes, our school’s favorites. Across the board, everyone loves them the best.

Elbow Exercise is a short pentjak silat form developed by George Morin, a dear friend and fellow student of Willem de Thouars. We use it to introduce the student to movement-based training and study. Much like learning the alphabet and grammar, the movements and motion in the form are much more important than the techniques we use to demonstrate them. Techniques are necessary to teach this form, but only as tools to help the student understand the underlying principles of movement.

As its name clearly implies, the form’s focus is elbows, and although it is only half as long as the first form we teach (Chow Kuen, a Chinese kenpo form) in terms of the student’s learning, it is much more sophisticated.

As I said, Elbow Exercise and Enam Matjan are our school’s favorites because we’ve learned (and continue to learn) soooooo much from them. Enam Matjan was developed as a collaborative effort taking the first form/jurus I received from Willem de Thouars, Juru Satu, and combining that with detailed and thorough analysis with the knowledge received from other respected Indonesian players. The end result is a form that is both combatively potent and esthetically pleasing.

Enam Matjan is well-suited for competition at even the highest levels. However, since few judges recognize the action taking place, we feel it is best performed as a two-man set–hence the two-man demonstration of it in the video. With each player facing off and fighting their imaginary opponents as a team, the form is dynamite (and, again, without compromising the form’s effectiveness simply for entertainment and public consumption).

I guess it boils down to being human. Given a number of forms (or anything else in life for that matter), favorites emerge. The other forms we have are very good too, but if one is going to share something that is generally frowned upon by many in the martial arts community, you want to put forth your best foot first. :-)

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