Ancient techniques from Southeast Asia Enhance Modern MMA
By Antonio Graceffo
When the opponent’s punch comes, Silat Tomoi tell us to block it aggressively with an elbow, hopefully breaking his hand. If he kicks, San Da teaches to catch the kick and take him to the ground. In close-in stand-up fighting, Muay Boran teaches us to use close in, spinning back elbow strikes. Chaiya says that if we spin one way, we are now setup to spin the other way, action, reaction, and always, move your head out of the path of attack. Kick the thigh with your shin, then spin back around and smash him in the head with your forearm.
South East Asian Kombatives (SEAK) is a new series of videos, seminars, and books, where Antonio Graceffo shares the experience he gained during his ten years of traveling throughSoutheast Asia, training with various masters.
SEAK combines techniques from a variety of regional martial arts, including: Cambodian Bokator and Bradal Serey,Thailand’s Muay Thai, Muay Boran, andMuay Chaiya,Malaysia’s Silat Kalam and Silat Tomoi, as well as other arts such as Chinese San Da, Philippine Yaw Yan, and even some modern MMA techniques.
At medium distance, Yaw Yan uses a one-two combination of spinning back-fists to knock the opponent out. If the opponent grabs you and wants to grapple Muay Thai style, Bokator encourages us to move in with a close elbow, striking the man in the center of the chest, just above the solar plexus, knocking him to the ground. If he doesn’t fall, Silat Kalam offers a variety of throws. MMA tells us to go to the ground and grapple with him. Bokator gives us some basic chokes and submissions to end the fight on the ground.
From standing to ground fighting, South East Asian martial arts offer a complete set of techniques to dominate at any distance. MMA may be a new concept in the west, but revisiting the ancient techniques could offer a new twist to the fight game.
Before going toAsia, Antonio had a background in western boxing and kick boxing. He fought numerous boxing smokers, challenge fights, amateur and professional boxing matches. InAsia, Antonio has fought in boxing matches, as well as MMA competitions. During his travels, in addition to months he spent inChina’sShaolinTemple, as well as a Muay Thai temple inThailand, Antonio was the first foreigner to earn a Black Krama in Cambodian Bokator. He was also the first non-Muslim to be permitted to study the Malaysian art of Silat Kalam.
During his years on the road, Antonio wrote seven books, which are all available on amazon.com The most recent ones are Khun Khmer: Cambodian Martial Arts Diary, which is one of the first books ever written exclusively about Cambodian martial arts, and Warrior Odyssey, a book which details the first seven years of his travels. His web TV show, Martial Arts Odyssey, with over 200 hundred episodes on youtube, follows his travels and martial arts studies.
“My first goal in traveling and studying the way I did was so that I could learn and grow as a martial artist. My second goal was to share the experience with people in theUSand elsewhere, who maybe didn’t have the same opportunities I had.” Explains Graceffo. “Many of the masters asked me to go back toAmericaand teach their system, to help preserve and promote the arts. But teaching a single system seemed oo restrictive. SEAK gives me the opportunity to share a variety of systems and to pick and chose, passing on the techniques that I like best.”
It’s not just fighting techniques that you will learn in the SEAK DVDs, seminars and books, it’s also culture and history. “I know people want to learn deadly techniques or techniques that might help them win a fight, but I think it’s important to share the culture and experience that I gained from this incredible opportunity that I’ve had.”
In the seminars, Antonio tries to add some history and cultural perspective to the techniques he teaches.
“Some of these arts are dying out in the countries where they were created.” Antonio explains. “Tae Kwan Do was the fastest growing art in most of these countries, now MMA is exploding inSoutheast Asia. SEAK is a way of reminding people how wonderful these ancient arts are, before they go away.”
Antonio just finished teaching a SEAK seminar in California. His next seminar series will be in March of 2012, when he is planning several dates in California, New York, and other USlocations. You can get information about SEAK seminars and find out about the DVD release on Antonio’s facebook page, Brooklyn Monk (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Brooklyn-Monk)
To arrange a seminar in your area contact Lee Lollio email: LeeL210@yahoo.com