When I was first introduced to the Filipino Eskrima and Indonesian Pentjak Silat, I was very impressed, not by what I saw, but what I felt. My soon to be teachers were able to counter my techniques effectively and time after time I found myself being helped up off of the floor. I continued to visit the school sporadically and I was invited to participate in the training being conducted. What I experienced was something astonishing. Whenever I practiced my own arts, Pentjak Silat would appear out of nowhere, it was as natural as walking. After some serious contemplating, I made a decision to empty my cup so that it could be filled. (Filled with Pentjak Silat). I went to Guru Ken Pannell and asked to join his school. He accepted me as a student and I began learning from him privately and then during group sessions. After a while, I thought that all of my previous training would disappear and I wondered if it was all a waste of time. It wasn’t until years of practice that I discovered that when I engaged in fighting or sparring, my previous martial art styles also emerged. I wondered to myself, what’s happening here? At a seminar with Pendekar Paul de Thouars (Pentjak Silat Bukti-negara), I remembered him asking a question, "All of the techniques and possibilities in Bukti-negara that you practice, in a fight, will you be able to reproduce them since there are so many?" The answer was yes because you don’t know what will happen in a fight, the situation dictates the reactions that you will decide. So not only did the right technique come from Pentjak Silat or Eskrima, but also it came from all of my past training.
The Right Tool for the Job
You have to use the right tool for the job. In other words, if you're working on your car, can you use a screwdriver to do every task? Can you remove your spark plugs or change your oil with just a screwdriver or just a wrench? If you can, you are the man… or woman. That’s why the philosophy that some instructors have that you can do it all with a spinning back fist or sidekick etc. is just the wrong concept. Maybe for sport/tournament purposes it is the case, but tournament or sport fighting is not real fighting. Grand Master Abner said, "in real fighting there are no rules, there are no judges or referees, in the end you have to survive." Surviving means that you need all of your techniques to be at your disposal so you can use them at the appropriate time.