• What is Tumabak Kali?
Tumbak Kali is a northern NJ group dedicated to training in two family systems of Filipino martial arts (FMA): Sayoc Kali and Atienza Kali.  “Tumabak” is a Tagalog word meaning “to cut off with a war bolo” — we focus on practical and effective edged weapons training.  “Kali” is the word used by the Sayoc and Atienza families to name their blade-centered FMA systems — we are grateful and proud to be part of these organizations.


  • What is the significance of your logo?
The characters (Alibata script) are for “Tumabak.”  And the two blades represent the two systems of Sayoc and Atienza Kali, which are like two paths up the same mountain.  Our training enables us to “Be the Feeder” – in other words, to control the flow of events in tactical/survival situations including interpersonal violence.  Note that we don’t use the term “self-defense” to describe our training, because “defense” is a victim mentality.


  • What is the difference between Sayoc Kali and Atienza Kali?
Sayoc Kali and Atienza Kali are closely related systems.  They share the same values, Feeder mindset, and attention to the blade.  Sayoc Kali is best known for its knife drills and Atienza Kali is renowned for its long blade and mass attack training.  Each system has its own curriculum across a wide spectrum of weaponry, and we train both.


  • Why do you focus on edged weapons?
We consider the blade to be a teaching tool: we sharpen our minds through our physical training.  Edged weapons training, more so than empty hand or impact weapon training, puts the practitioner face-to-face with life-and-death.  It is this constant confrontation of mortality that shapes our training, mindset, and decision-making.


  • How do you train safely?
We primarily use aluminum training equipment.  These trainers have the look, feel, rigidity, and weight of real blades, but lack points and edges.  We also use padded rubber trainers, and/or wear protective equipment when sparring.  Sparring, or “freeflow,” as we call it, is optional, but recommended.  We also have medical kits on our training rigs, so that we can treat any minor injuries that occur during training.  Most importantly, we all take responsibility for our actions and our training partners.  We train in an environment of mutual respect and progress, not competition.  Sayoc and Atienza Kali are energy-based systems, which means we need training partners to improve, so taking care of each other pays dividends in everyone’s skill progression.


  • What are the requirements for training?
The most important thing is an open mind.  All students are required to sign a liability waiver and join at least one of our two parent organizations.  Our uniform consists of any Sayoc or Atienza shirt.  When you’re ready to begin training, you’ll want to get your own training equipment, which is available at the Sayoc Kali store and Atienza Kali store.  We also recommend that you bring a notebook to class.


  • How can I learn more?
You can start by visiting the main webpages for Sayoc Kali (www.sayoc.com) and Atienza Kali (www.atienzakali.com).  And check out these YouTube videos/channels:



Contact us to schedule a free trial class and take your training to the next level…