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AMOK! - Knife Fighting Goodness or Cult?

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    AMOK! - Knife Fighting Goodness or Cult?

    Following up on a thread in Newbietown (where I know some of you don't venture), I offer up for consideration the deadly knife fighting arts of AMOK! (the exclamation point is part of the name - don't leave it out).

    Points to consider:

    1. Its called the AMOK! brotherhood.
    AMOK! is a multi-cultural brotherhood indifferent to gender, race, creed, wealth, fame, education, social status, or any similar social convention. While no experience of any kind is required to join, we are, nonetheless, largely comprised of persons who cross-train between firearms, military combatives, law enforcement tactics, executive protection, martial arts, and extreme sports enthusiasts.
    2. Individual AMOK! schools or groups are called "Tribes" and they describe themselves as AMOKs.

    3. Apparently you can "gain sufficient knifing skill" to start a Tribe by hosting a seminar or by taking the one day set up course.
    Who can start a Tribe?
    A Tribal Leader can be any individual who has the initiative and motivation to organize a practice group on their own, or any group may designate a leader from amongst themselves.

    How does a person gain knifing skill sufficient enough to start a tribe? There are four ways:

    1) A person can first attend tribal workouts, seminars, and/or camps.

    2) A person can train privately with an AMOK! Instructor.

    3) The Tribal Leader can initiate group training immediately by hosting a seminar.

    4) A person can take an intensive One Day Tribal Start-Up Training Course.
    5. They have a tribal oath:
    AMOK! Tribal Oath
    Under penalty of knifers law
    I swear to my AMOK! family
    To always protect our practices
    And uphold the AMOK! Knifer's Code
    Okay, so there is some LARP-like stuff there. What about the technique?

    Well, I'd like to talk about it, but there is not much to go on. They seem to be pretty secretive (ooooo, don't teach t3h d34dly secrets to people outside AMOK!).

    Some of the background starts off okay (based on FMA for example) but then it goes off into RBSD-land.

    Forged in the crucible of conflict, today AMOK! continues to validate its reputation in some of the world's most dangerous places and war zones. In South Africa , the stabbing and murder capitol of the world for instance, AMOK! is the choice of combatives for professionals in harm's way. This is no accident or coincidence- it is a result of design. In an effort to elucidate how and why this is so, this article will trace the evolution of AMOK! from its early martial stages to its present combative methodology.
    Oh, and AMOK! is not a weak dojo art. It is designed for WAR you motherfuckers!

    Martial arts, intended for dojo/street circumstances, are rarely aimed with lethal intent (defensive in nature) and enjoy the luxury of unlimited preparation time (years). Conversely, combatives intended for street/war circumstances, are almost always aimed with lethal intent (offensive in nature) with very limited time to prepare (weeks or months).
    On the plus side, they do encourage non-cooperative/aggressive training.
    Non-Cooperative Scenarios

    Though AMOK! is still infused with Malay/Filipino principles, it has replaced its practice of developing and discarding pattern flow drills in favor of improvising non-cooperative scenarios to maintain the no-pattern rule and still control the training engagement enough to foster development.

    True combatives demand that practice accurately replicates the conditions and situations most likely to occur . Because of the transient and fluid nature of combat, Amoks do not practice by rehearsing tactical scenarios, but rather by improvising them, and so random-exchange/progressive-resistance practices are used to replicate those conditions.
    So who are the instructors? Are they legit?

    Professor Tom Sotis is the founder and "North American Regional Leader"

    Doesn't actually provide much useful info, but google turns up a wiki entry:

    Tom Sotis is an edged-weapons instructor and the founder of the modern mixed martial art known as AMOK!. Sotis has had an active martial career spanning three decades. Between 1970 and 1984, Sotis trained mainly in Kenpo, Tae Kwon Do, Jiu Jitsu, Boxing, and Kickboxing. In July of 1980, Sotis was coached to win the World Professional Karate Organization's Light Middleweight Kickboxing Championship.

    During his only break from formal training, Sotis gained extensive streetwise experience working as a criminal investigator, bounty hunter, and bodyguard in Los Angeles, California. After more than 100 encounters, the reality of edged-weapons convinced him to research both blunt and edged-weapon methodologies. After returning to New England, and while pursuing martial arts, he continued with law enforcement activities for another 15 years.

    Filipino/Malay Experience
    Returning to the East Coast in 1983, he continued Kenpo-Kobudo training under the tutelage of Soke Eugene Coutu and was introduced to Kuntao by Frank Masiello. In 1996, Sotis was invited to train exclusively, in indigenous Filipino bladework by the legendary Leo T Gaje Jnr in Philippine mountain camps. He became the first person to ever learn all three of Gaje's knife systems: Pekiti Tirsia Daga, Dagaso, and Qol Demama. Present at the graduation was Lt Col Ecarma III of the Philippine Presidential Security Command, who presented Professor Sotis with the Order of Sikatuna, the highest award ever given to a martial artist by the Philippine Armed Forces.

    AMOK! Combatives and the International Blade Fighters Guild
    In early 1992, Sotis founded the International Blade Fighters Guild. While promoting the IBFG in Russia and Bashkortostan in 1994, he was challenged by military instructors at the Spetsnaz Training Compound in Ufa. Consequently, he was appointed Special Advisor to the Special Forces (Spetsnaz) and to date, he remains the only American ever to receive the unit's coveted honorary Ruby Beret

    I am not familiar enough with FMA to pass judgement on the names mentioned. I yawn with disinterest at the whole d34dly Spetznatz stuff though. Other google hits are mostly RBSD type sites ( - groan).

    Finally, what does it cost?
    Well, the one day tribal start-up course involves you flying to New England and paying Prof Sotis $1000.
    At least you get to stay at a reputable hotel.

    So, what do you think? A system of deadly brothers and sisters of the blade, or people who drank the coolaid?
    Jesus loves you. I think you're an asshole.

    Who knew Freddy Mercury was teh d34dly?
    Sumus extra manum tuam.


      There are a lot of google hits for this group, lots of pics, but I dont find anyone complaining about the training they received.
      "Sifu, I"m niether - I'm a fire dragon so don't fuck with me!"


        Couple points (no pun intended) --

        - Tom Sotis's instruction - if whats written there is true, then its really good. Gaje is considered to be one of the top (if not the top) knife instructor in the FMA.

        - As far as the use of Tribal tropes - That doesn't necessarily mean Bullshido, especially for arts emerging out of different cultures. I've seen a lot of writing come out of Gaje, especially during the late 90's, that would have immediate been dismissed as Bullshido by most people on this board. Discussions of the Manila Pitbulls group, metaphysics, and tribal warrior ideals. However, taken in the context of a Filipino writing in the Phillipines, they all fall into a broader cultural context (and knowing the fact he and his can do grevious knife damage). What we as westerners think as LARPing often has deep culutral connections. Martial arts are cultural products and as such reflect the culture around them.

        Does that let all LARPing tendencies off the hook? No. It's more to say that often there is more going on than people "playing X."

        - Matt
        Student of Wan Yi Chuan Kung Fu,
        Kali, & what ever works
        Renaissance Martial Arts
        Rochester, NY


          I certainly don't know if the instruction is good or not (as I mentioned, I don't pretend to be an expert on the FMA instructors he names) but there certainly is a lot about the website that sounds like a LARPing/RBSD deal.

          Has anyone attended a seminar or met anyone who has studied with an AMOK!?

          Sadly, there are so many people out there claiming to be "one of the world's leading (insert d34dly art here)" that it is hard to tell who really is the real deal.

          The whole brotherhood, singing kumbaya-singing thing makes it seem more suspicious than perhaps it would otherwise appear.
          Jesus loves you. I think you're an asshole.


            Vietnam most have been hell for Tom


              Originally posted by Grashnak
              The whole brotherhood, singing kumbaya-singing thing makes it seem more suspicious than perhaps it would otherwise appear.
              I really can't weigh in on this as a whole, but the "brotherhood" thing is, in my opinion, just a way to reach out to an older male audince (28-45 yrs). I would suspect that they are trying to foster an enviroment where law enforcement (older male demographic) would be a prime consumer of their product.


                book fame?

                Well if this counts for anything I own a book that has him fetrued in it. Many pages of it are pics of combos ....looks tight. The name of it is Masters of the Blade ,it has 20 or so of the leading world experts in the blade field .

                Masters of the Blade (457 pages). by Reynalodo S. Galang published by bakbakan International cpyright 2005


                  These guys may be completely legit but I have a hard time with a group that calls someone using a knife a "knifer" ... and talks about getting together for some " knifing " .

                  I seriously wonder what you could learn in one day to become to a Tribe Leader .

                  nice Kukris ...


                    Originally posted by mrblackmagic
                    Who knew Freddy Mercury was teh d34dly?
                    LARPerstr33tflashlight all over the place

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                    The street argument is retarded. BJJ is so much overkill for the street that its ridiculous. Unless you're the idiot that picks a fight with the high school wrestling team, barring knife or gun play, the opponent shouldn't make it past double leg + ground and pound - Osiris


                      Seems like these guys really really really want to be Dog Brothers.


                        I may or may not soon be instituting a law for myself that decrees I am not to join any martial art that has an exclamation point as part of its name.

                        Especially if it is required to be written in call capital letters.


                          I get the feeling AMOK! is an acronymn. But what for?

                          Also, why the farkin' exclamation mark?

                          If you ask me anywhere that wqualifies an instructor or 'leader;' in one day is bs


                            English translation of various african dialects will make frequent use of the exclamation point in spelling. AMOK, if i recall, originates in south africa.

                            I may be recalling this wrongly


                              holy cow

                              Read somewhere that South Africa was designated as a research centre being the stabbing city of the world

                              points to consider from their site

                              [ Who can start a Tribe?
                              A Tribal Leader can be any individual who has the initiative and motivation to organize a practice group on their own, or any group may designate a leader from amongst themselves.]
                              [A Tribal Leader may be among the best in their field (which is often the case) and perhaps not as yet accomplished in amok. This is sometimes true where a TL may be a top firearms trainer or martial arts instructor in their own right and still at one of the various levels of amok.]

                              meaning a Tribal Leader can be anywhere from just an organizer with
                              No competencies et all to a qualified instructor would be the conclusion ...

                              One day tribal leader training ?

                              do u actually need knife or blade training to be a threat ? - put some blades/knives into a non-trained teenager or kids hands, still a danger to reckon with ?

                              Disagree otherwise, then those who are confident of their empty hands skill please put into test - give ur kids some marker pens and try beating them and see how many marks on u - i wont go unarm against one with blades

                              this is like saying an untrained fire-arm wielder pose no danger ? what if a one day trained fire-arm wielder ? i wont take my chance - same points apply



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