“Kali Self Defence is your Jeet Kune Do,” said Richard Bustillo to me during one of our deep discussions about martial arts, life, and philosophy.
How does a style come about?
Historically, the birth of this style is no different from any other style or idea that came before it. The way new styles are created is that one or more individuals, usually after extensive study and experience, have an idea or philosophy about how they envision martial arts should be. If it does not quite fit into an existing box, or if one desires their own creative freedom, someone puts a name on what they are doing.
To be legitimate, the style must be approved by one or more already recognized authorities within the martial arts community. The next step is for the name to become a brand name, often accompanied by a logo. If you are good at marketing and selling the product, and you get enough followers who continue the content and brand name, then you have a style or martial art. Richard S Bustillo approved the curriculum and legitimated the style, and Jeff Espinous drew the logo.
Kali Self Defence
Kali Self Defence (KSD) started as a learning arena where I could experiment, develop, and express myself through martial arts, without frames, rules, or limitations set by others. Based on Filipino and South Asian martial arts disciplines such as Kali, Arnis, Eskrima, and Silat, fused with ideas, aspects, and influences from Karate, Muay Thai Boran, Krav Maga, and Jiu Jitsu, the framework for Kali Self Defence was outlined.
The goal of KSD is to be a versatile self-defense system that works in a modern society. Developing a functional self-defense system that works under pressure requires investing a lot of training and repetition. I think it is important to preserve and pass on the knowledge of previous masters, but not to be so tied up in the old that you hinder new thinking and development. Kali Self Defence should be a living martial art where there should be room for change and improvement. We will seek methods to develop the next generation faster than ourselves so that they can go further than those who came before.
There are many myths about martial arts, and for me, one of the biggest is that martial arts develops you as a person. Martial arts should make you a better, kinder, and mentally stronger person. This is something I believed in for many years until I started to think and ask questions.
Feed your Mind
Most of the martial arts training I had done had been focused on the technical aspects. Some had many great slogans such as politeness, effort, patience, self-confidence, loyalty, etc. But when I started to think about it, I couldn’t remember these themes being taught in any of the many hundreds of classes and seminars I attended.
I t occurred to me that many of the high-ranking black belts were not always polite or patient. Some even appeared to be people with low self-esteem and poor self-confidence who used their position in the hierarchy to exert power over others. Overall, I found little evidence to suggest that martial arts training alone necessarily equates to personal development.
I presented the question to my mentor, Richard S. Bustillo, to hear his views on the hypothesis. He explained that Hansei (“self-reflection”) is a central idea in Japanese culture. It means acknowledging your own mistakes and working towards improvement. Hansei was part of Bushido (the way of the warrior), but in many martial arts environments, this had been neglected. Simply put, to develop as a person, you must focus on self-development and strive to become a better human being. It must be taught and focused on, no matter how good you become at striking and kicking or how many black belts you have, you will not become a better person if you do not dedicate time and focus on this.
This was something I wanted to do something about.
I have always been interested in self-development and how to help others. In addition to martial arts, I studied pedagogy and coaching at the university. This is where much of the inspiration comes from.
Feed your Mind, Protect your Body should not just be a cool slogan. The vision and goal was that the mental and psychological aspects should be a central aspect in Kali Self Defence and at the Kristiansand Martial Arts Center. We will learn about focus, how to set goals, sub-goals and how to achieve them. The goal is to work towards increasing self-confidence, self-image, and personal development both on and off the mat.
This versatility makes KSD a fun, exciting, and effective form of training where one develops good coordination, stress management, balance, and strength. Not just in the arms and legs, but also in the mind.
Defend Yourself Against Your Own Actions:
The Art of Self-Defense and Self-Improvement
Many people believe that self-defense is solely about defending oneself against verbal or physical attacks from others. While training in physical self-defense can be important in case you find yourself in a situation where you need to defend yourself, the truth is that most of us can go through our entire lives without ever having to use violence against another person.
In our daily lives, what we need most is self-defense, not self-defense. Self-defense is not a misspelling, but rather a symbol for something else. Who is your biggest critic? Who do you speak to the most during the day, month, or even your lifetime? Yourself, right? If you don’t have a kind way of communicating with yourself, you will be the one breaking yourself down. You will be the one holding yourself back from becoming the best version of yourself.
Self-defense is about defending ourselves against ourselves and our own actions. This involves both our inner communication and our ability to think before we act. We cannot blame others for our problems; to create change, we must work from within. Studies show that the quality of your life is dependent on how you treat yourself. If you can treat yourself well by having a positive and uplifting inner dialogue, you will be better equipped to live a happy life. Moreover, you will be pleasant to be around, which will make those around you feel better as well. If you can teach this to your loved ones, more people will be able to live better lives.
Research has shown that positive self-talk can have numerous benefits, including reducing stress and anxiety, improving athletic performance, and boosting self-confidence. Additionally, studies have found that individuals who practice self-compassion have better mental health outcomes and are more resilient in the face of challenges. By learning to defend ourselves against negative self-talk and building a foundation of self-compassion, we can improve our overall well-being and lead happier lives.
Kali Self Defence is just my Jeet Kune Do
Kali Self Defence was born out of my desire to have a personal channel to express my Martial Arts and principles. As a martial artist, I believe in the importance of adaptability and fluidity in combat, and that one should never be limited to a specific style or technique.
The first time I encountered this idea in practice was through the founder of Kali Sikaran, Jeff Espinous from our first meeting in 1995. Jeff’s teaching and philosophy heavily emphasize the importance of adapting martial arts techniques and strategies to one’s own unique abilities and situations. He believes that the ultimate goal of martial arts is not to create a cookie-cutter fighter, but to develop each student’s individual strengths and qualities. This approach aligns perfectly with my own philosophy and was a major influence in the development of Kali Self Defence.
Jeet Kune Do, created by the legendary Bruce Lee, emphasizes the concept of “using no way as way, and having no limitation as limitation.”
Similarly, Kali Self Defence is rooted in this philosophy, providing a dynamic and adaptable approach to self defense.
Through Kali Self Defence, I have been able to integrate my knowledge and training in various martial arts, including many styles of Filipino Martial Arts like Kali Sikran under Jeff Espinous, Cacoy Doce Pares under Richard Bustillo and the Canete Family, Kombatan Arnis under Ernesto Presas, Muay Thai under Vicharn Krumkratok, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Roy Dean and Karate under Gunnar Nordahl, into a comprehensive system that emphasizes practicality, efficiency, and adaptability.
Just as Jeet Kune Do is not a “style” but a philosophy, Kali Self Defence is not just a set of techniques, but a way of thinking and approaching combat. It is my personal expression of Jeet Kune Do, and a system that I am proud to share and develop with others.
As a student of the Martial Arts, I follow in the footsteps of my mentor Richard S. Bustillo, who himself learned from the legendary Bruce Lee. One of the key principles that Bruce Lee emphasized was the importance of being adaptable and taking what is useful while discarding what is not. This principle has been ingrained in the martial arts community for decades, and it continues to be a fundamental part of Kali Self Defence.
As a teacher, I encourage my students to adopt this principle as well. I believe that every individual has unique strengths and weaknesses, and it is essential to tailor one’s training to suit their individual needs. By taking what is useful and discarding what is not, my students are empowered to create a style that is uniquely their own. This approach not only helps them become better martial artists, but it also encourages them to be more creative and innovative in their training.
I believe that the key to success in my martial arts journey is not simply mastering a specific style or technique. Instead, it is about cultivating a mindset of adaptability, creativity, and innovation. By embracing the principle of taking what is useful and discarding what is not, I strive to develop this mindset and become well-rounded, effective martial artists. This is my truth, what is yours?
– Richard Haye 2023