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KunTao Silat

KunTao Silat is a term coined by Steve Gartin and Chas Clements in the early 1980s to describe the melding of the teachings of U. Un Surya and the de Thouars Brothers – which is why KunTao precedes Silat.

KunTao is the Chinese Shaolin and Taoist martial arts as practiced in Indonesia prior to WWII as taught by U. Un Surya and Willem de Thouars. Silat is the indigenous Indonesian warrior arts, in our case describing the various silat systems such as Serak, Kendang and CiMande as taught by the de Thouars Brothers – Paul, Willem and Victor.

Steve Gartin is the leader of KunTao Silat. He does not care for titles or honorifics so his students refer to him simply as Pak Steve, meaning roughly “dad” in some of the pertinent Indonesian dialects from which our silat arts originate.

KunTao Silat practitioners begin at Level One and progress through Level Seven before acknowledged as Guru Mudas, meaning young teacher. Upon fulfilling certain requirements a practitioner reaches Guru level (teacher) and finally, through merit, completes the program as Sigung (master teacher). From there the practitioner develops their own system based upon KunTao Silat principles, their prior training and personal proclivities.

KunTao Silat is an American Martial Life Style and a life-long pursuit, and there is always plenty of martial lore to study and perfect and the video archives Steve has accumulated provides a profuse body of information for the Guru Certification Course members to study in their quest for their own personal Martial LifeStyle.


Two rich martial heritages melded into a synergistic American Martial Lifestyle

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 peoples. 


Our GrandTeachers U.Un Surya & Willem de Thouars had the rare privilege of studying both arts in Indonesia. 

In the late 1970's and the early 1980's three of the four de Thouars brothers, Willem, Paul and Victor and a Chinese Indonesian I shing Ie grandmaster, U. Un Surya came to Colorado to live and teach.  A small group of dedicated practitioners had the honor of studying with these four world-class grandmasters of kuntao and silat.  Sigung Steve Gartin is among that small group and has meticulously documented, via video, the grand martial journey for posterity.

In 1981 KunLun Pai was introduced to the world in an event hosted by Pak Victor de Thouars in Southern California.  This was the first melding of the two diverse martial styles.

The brutally hard training and the extreme contact kept the student rolls very small during the first 20 years or so.  Until 1988, none of the de Thouars brothers cared to promote their arts publicly. 

In 1993 Steve Gartin introduced KunTao Silat to America.  Maintaining the heart and soul of the two great martial arts, Sigung Gartin adapted training methods geared for the American life-style to the tactical considerations and training required to actually apply silat and kun tao principles in combat. 

Seven levels of training take the novice to practitioner level.  We consider a "practitioner" or Guru Muda to be a very good black belt level martial artist. 

Practice Leaders conduct KunTao Silat classes all over the world.  It is possible to study at a distance with modern technology, so we do offer a DistanceTraining Program and a vast offering of video and DVD documentaries, seminars and training aids.  We also conduct seminars and workshops and are available by email

 KunTao Silat is designed for personal self defense, not military service.

Sigung Steve Gartin Who???

One of Three of Willem de Thouars' longest term disciples, reveals secrets and principles of Indonesian and Chinese martial arts and demonstrates methods and techniques for incorporating KunTao Silat martial art principles into the modern American lifestyle.

Malabar the short Story.  American Martial Art with Indonesian Silat and Chinese Kung Fu roots. From beginning to Disciple level, these Five Shaolin and Indonesian Forms define the basic Malabar KunTao Silat system.  

Martial Arts Links:

Friends and associates. Karate, Kung Fu, Kempo, Tae Kwon Do, Ju Juitsu, Boxing, Wrestling, Kickboxing, and a wide range of esoteric martial arts will ultimately be found on our links page.  It is now under construction, but worth a visit and a page you will want to add to your favorites in the Dutch Indo/Chinese martial arts we know as silat and kuntao..

Martial Arts for Citizens Only:

Self Defense for everyone enjoying good health.  The secrets of Indonesian and Chinese kuntao and silat martial arts applied to a modern American home self defense training program.  Suitable for all ages and all levels of physical conditioning.  KunTao and Silat, as Village-style martial arts, focus on the individual - rather than the agenda of the King.  The individual must be capable of joining in defense of the Village, and must be trained to live at peace with his kinsmen.

KunTao & Silat Teachers:

the "old timers"   who were there during the inception of Kun Lun Pai and its early growth, the first American gurus.

  • Elder Teachers and Senior Disciples. Video MPGs of forms and techniques, links to the Founders' WebSites and historic information about *Serak*, Imoa Shantung Chinese kun tao and pentjak pukulan petjut kilat silat in Indonesia and America

American KunTao Silat brings the most effective techniques and training methods of the Chinese Shaolin and Indonesian Silat arts together into an easily learned, highly effective, self defense program.  Even learning at a distance is possible now, with the vast library of training and documentary videos and DVDs available to the KunTao Silat student.  AKTS is comprised of forms, techniques and training methods of poekoelan pentjak silat systems of Pamur, Ci Calong, CiMande, Serak, Kendang, Si Kwetang, Bondo Waso and Pejut Kilat Silat.  The kuntao styles of Taih Keh, Po Qua Zen, I shing Po, Shantung, Quantung, Fukkien, Hokkien & Fuchin fist arts are also entertwined in the Indonesian Internal/External Chinese martial arts as practiced in Indonesia.