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KBS System of Filipino Martial Arts

Interview with Tuhon Baltazar "Bo" Sayoc
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GT Baltazar Bo Sayoc has been teaching the Filipino Martial Arts for most of his life. His son, Tuhon Christopher Sayoc, is now the head of the Family System. Since his retirement, Tuhon Bo has been working very hard on one specific aspect of the Sayoc Family System. He now teaches exclusively the Finger Touch and Finger Control (Pigil Daliri) Systems.
This interview was conducted in August, 2001, in Cavite, Philippines. Tuhon Bo returned to his family home after his retirement, and now works to spread his Finger Touch System from there. He is available for seminars, and can be reached by contacting Tuhon Chris at the Sayoc Family System website (see links page) or through the following E-mail address:

1)Could you give us some background information about yourself?
   Well, I was 71 years old in August ('02). I have more than 50 years experience in the martial arts. I retired a few years ago from actively running a school in the US, and now live in Cavite, Philippines.
   I now work almost exclusively with the Finger Touch System which I have developed. Finger Touch, along with the sub-system called Pigil Daliri (Finger Control), work without punching, kicking or using violent force in any way. The System has been introduced to seven countries so far, and the response has been enthusiastic.

2)When did you open your first school in the US?
   We opened our first school in 1968 in Queens, new York. There has been a Sayoc Family school of martial arts somewhere in the US for over 35 continuous years. Not many can say that! At the moment, my son Christopher is running the Sayoc Kali-Silak System, based in the New York-Philadelphia area. My son Michael teaches the Sayoc Family System in Florida. All my sons and daughters learned the arts.

3)How did the Finger Touch System start?
   The Finger Touch System has been in development for over 30 years. Over the years, through experimentation and teaching, I began to see how certain places on the body had very specific effects on individuals when they were touched, or pressed. I worked in law enforcement in Naples, Florida for many years, and that was fertile ground for developing the System. I had many, many opportunities over the years to actually use the techniques, and was able to refine them. When you can't hit someone without getting in trouble, you need other ways to control these types of people. Finger Touch works without causing any visible or permanent damage. Whether you need to defend yourself without causing legal problems, as in law enforcement, or if you are just someone who doesn't want to, or is not willing to inflict serious damage on an attacker, the Finger Touch System is a good choice.

4)Isn't the Finger Touch System just using pressure points?
   No, definitely not. While some pressure points are used in the System, they are not used in the same way. They are not struck. Finger Touch relies instead on the friction created between muscle, connective tissue and bone. Unlike pressure points, the  Finger Touch System will work almost anywhere on the body, if the practitioner knows the proper way to apply it.

5)What weapons are used? How hard do you touch, or how deep to you dig in?
   The main weapon is the tip of the thumb. Other places which can be used include the knuckle of the thumb and the first knuckle of the forefinger, for use on larger muscles which might require deeper penetration. Penetration is required when dealing with large muscles, such as the quadriceps. For most other areas, such as the chest or shoulders, it is not the depth of penetration which matters, but the friction created and the re-direction of the force applied.

6)Does it take strong hands/fingers to be able to use the System?
   Not necessarily. Technique is more important than strength, though of course, the stronger your hands and fingers, the easier it becomes to apply a technique. There is no substitute for strength, but if you know what you are doing, even young girls can get the desired reaction.

7)What makes the Finger Touch System work? What are the physical reactions?
   Well, that is a tough question. We aren't exactly sure why or how it works. In fact, I gave a seminar a few years ago to a large group of doctors. We asked them to experience the Finger touch, then give us a medical opinion as to why it had the effects it had. None of the doctors was able to state definitively why or how it works.
    Guro Drape has a theory that seems to address this, and he has written an article about it. I suggest you look at that.

8)Are there limitations to the System?
   Yes. Like anything where you are dealing with individuals, there are limitations. Since we are dealing with basically pain avoidance, according to Guro Drape's theory, individuals vary greatly in their abilities to deal with pain. We have defined 5 areas where the Finger Touch either does not work or where it doesn't work well enough. The 5 areas are as follows:
1. vs. someone with very high tolerance for pain
2. vs. someone high on drugs, which allows them to ignore the pain
3. vs. someone drunk on alcohol, for the same reason
4.vs. someone who has had surgery near the touched area, which severs nerves and may have the effect of deadening the area
5.vs. someone who is double-jointed
9)Since grappling is so popular right now, how does it address that? Is  it suitable for rape defense, etc.?
   Grappling is very popular in martial arts right now. It can be very tough to deal with a trained grappler, because they tend to be very strong and also spend many more training hours actually fighting against a resisting opponent than do most other martial artists. The weakness of grappling that makes Finger Touch work well against it is that most grappling uses both hands to control the opponent, either through the use of chokes or through pressure against a joint. With one hand free, a Finger touch practitioner will have a good chance to cause the grappler to be unable to finish his hold or lock.
   For rape defense, the same truth applies. In order to get through all the clothing and complete the rape,  while still maintaining some amount of control over the woman, the rapist must at some point leave her with one had free. If she knows how to use the System and is willing to use it, she has a good chance to avoid the rape.

10)Has the System been used in real situations?
   As I stated before, the Finger Touch System was actually developed at least partially through my contact with prisoners at the prison. In addition, I was a Defensive Tactics instructor at the police academy and had many occasions to practice on the new cadets coming through, many of whom were large, strong and had what might be called cocky attitudes!

11)How is the System spreading?
   Right now, we are working on spreading the System here in the Philippines. It is a sad truth that most Filipino young people don't know anything about their martial art heritage. We are teaching the Filipino martial arts at some local schools and hope to expand around the county. Also, I do seminars once in a while in the US or other Western countries. Also, individuals come here to Cavite for personal training.

12)Are there school teaching the System right now?
   There are no specific schools teaching the Finger Touch System yet. There are individuals, like Guro Drape, who are teaching it within their own programs, but since learning the full System takes a while, this means that most of my instructors around the world are still in training themselves. There are 3 Phases- I, II and III- which need to be mastered.

13)What are your future plans for the System?
   I hope to have a core group of people who can spread the System. I feel that it is the next step in the martial arts. You don't need to punch, you don't need to kick and it will work at any age or level of fitness. We have a saying in the Finger Touch System:  If I can touch you, you belong to me!

14)Can you describe what it feels like to be the touchee?
   No, I can't. I have heard each person try to describe it afterwards, and it seems difficult to describe. I will say that it is an intense feeling. As an example, a few years ago a Taiwanese company came to Naples and were trying to interest the Department in their new stun gun. It was an 80,000 volt model. I participated in the test and was able to drop the test subjects faster than they were going down with the stun gun. Afterwards, the subjects all said they would rather be hit with the stun gun than feel the Finger Touch again. Perhaps that gives you an idea what it feels like.

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