IFF Title

General Synopsis from Waterstones Marketplace http://www.waterstonesmarketplace.com - no longer active.

About this title:The fighting arts of Indonesia, a mix of pentjak silat and Chinese kuntao, were never meant for sport: they are brutal, unrelenting and designed to take the enemy out and punish him every step of the way.  This unprecedented book by a long-time student of Dutch-Indonesian Master Willem de Thouars shows you why.

Note: This is a general synopsis.

For myself (Bob Orlando),  the following  is the best review I could ever receive  for this book.
That is why it is here, at the top  Reviews that follow it are listed chronologically from most recent to oldest.

Amazon.com, Customer Reviews:
Reviewer: Bharata Satria (Jakarta, Indonesia)
March 30, 2005  5 out of 5 stars

Oh.. so that what it actually means

I only learned Pencak Silat for two months in high school, simply because it was part of the curriculum.  Some Sundanese style I don't even know the name.  Like many other Indonesians I know, I considered pencak silat as silly, ineffective, traditional, etc. ... in short, learn karate, jujitsu, tae kwon do, or any other martial art... but not silat... (shame on us, but it is the popular perception).  Reading this book I looked back at the only two jurus I know, and realized that there was more in there than some silly dance...  Now I am a proud Indonesian.  However, I doubt that many Indonesian masters really understand the materials they are teaching... this is really a remarkable work of Indonesian art from Western perspective.

A great thank you to Mr. Orlando.

Amazon.com, Customer Reviews:
Reviewer: Thomas Monte
November 16, 2015 5 out of 5 stars

Bob made complicated Silat topics easy to understand

I have studied a variety of martial arts over the past twenty years.  While I have had limited exposure to Silat, I find it fascinating.  A few years ago, I read Indonesian Fighting Fundamentals by Bob Orlando.  Bob made complicated Silat topics easy to understand.  I have reread the book several times now and I always find something I missed.  Even if you don't practice Silat, this book will probably show you something you didn't understand in another art.  The deeper your knowledge in the martial arts, the more they all start to blend together.

I recently took a business trip to Colorado and asked Bob if I could come train at his school.  I was surprised when Bob agreed.  Bob spent the class working with me one on one sharing his ideas, philosophy, techniques, and humor.  Bob is a great martial artist, teacher, and human being.  I don't give out my recommendations lightly, but this book deserves a spot in every martial artists library.

Thank you, Bob!

Amazon.com, Customer Reviews:
Reviewer: Victor
July 14, 2015 4 out of 5 stars

Must Buy

Easy to read and understand, yet has technical information.  Will add to anyone's knowledge of martial arts!

Amazon.com, Customer Reviews:
Reviewer: Amazon Customer
Aug. 7, 2014 5 out of 5 stars

I recommend this book to students of other arts
I recommend this book to students of other arts to infuse it with theirs and to open your minds to other movements of the martial art body!

Amazon.com, Customer Reviews:
Reviewer: S. Pierce "RealTexan" (Texas)
July 12, 2012 5 out of 5 stars

Nothing Exciting

Really basic book, nothing of real interest.  Maybe this book would be ok for a rank novice.  No depth, really skims over important concepts.  You could easily read this information on the internet for free.  The book does go deep into how dangerous and great Indonesian martial arts are.  Don't waste your time.

Amazon.com, Customer Reviews:
Reviewer: Lui
June 8, 2012 5 out of 5 stars

Indonesian Fighting Book

This book is an outstanding book.  Well developed and full of valuable information for those with interest in history as well as basic fundamental techniques.  Guru Orlando did a great job with his main objective, providing the fundamentals of the Indonesian fighting arts.

Amazon.com, Customer Reviews:
Reviewer: Jim Gustafson
April 30, 2009  5 out of 5 stars

Excellent book.  It definitely gave me more insight to the Indonesian fighting arts.  I would recommend to anyone interested in this system.

eBay My World, Member Review:
Reviewer: gnostik9 (Canada)
October 26, 2008  5 out of 5 stars

One of the BEST!

Indonesian Fighting Fundamentals by Bob Orlando is truly one of the best books to date to tackle the some what esoteric systems of Kuntao and Silat.  As well as giving an excellent education to all martial artists about universal principles that can be applied directly to any fighting style.  This book is a most for all serious students of the Warrior Way.

Amazon.com, Customer Reviews:
Reviewer: Daruma XIV (Planet Earth)
April 29, 2008  4 out of 5 stars

An Excellent Book

This is the best book I've ever seen on the principles and application of "Indonesian" arts.  You can't learn to fight from a book, of course, but you can get some good ideas.

If these arts interest you, or you are training in Kali or Silat (or any fighting art, for that matter), this is a fun book to read.

Amazon.com, Customer Reviews:
Reviewer: David Laufnick "bibliophilicious" (Colorado)
January 21, 2008  5 out of 5 stars

Excellent book on principles in Kuntao and Silat

I have to agree with the review of Joseph Burtner.  This is an OUTSTANDING book on some of the principles used in Kuntao and Silat.  Very well written, clear and understandable.  This book immediately took a place on the "top shelf" of my martial arts library.

There is a companion DVD to this book that meshes very well with it and gives a visual demonstration of the principles.  It's called "Fighting Arts of Indonesia - Combat Secrets of Silat and Kuntao" and you can find it on Amazon.

Amazon.com, Customer Reviews:
Reviewer: Chris Carney
January 12, 2008  3 out of 5 stars

Not Worth The Price

I bought this book hoping I would pick up on some new techniques, principles or concepts I could integrate into my style. Which is based on Karate, Jeet kune do, akido, and kung fu. I did pick up on some things I could combine with my system. However, I don't think the book or the system is worth all the hype that has been given to it. I guess its just because the system is so limited from my point of view.  . . .

Some may say this is a grown up book for black belts.  That may be.  I'm a black belt and I don't think  . . .  Sure I picked up a few new concepts and principles that I may be able to apply to my style but I don't think those few concepts were worth the money I paid for the book.  If it covered all possible types of attacks from other styles, and combined leg tactics the book would be worth the money but, I feel the "style" falls short of "Real" combat situations you may find yourself in.

Amazon.com, Customer Reviews:
Reviewer: William Ortiz (New Jersey, USA)
January 8, 2008  5 out of 5 stars

Great alternative reference for traditional karate kata students

The ideas presented in this book are thought provoking for all martial artists, especially practioners of traditonal karate.  Once put into actual practice, these ideas open a new path to the interpretation of kata.  A must have for everyone.

Journal of Asian Martial Arts
Volume 16, Number 2, June, 2007

Media Review -- by Kirstin Pauka, Ph.D.,
University of Hawaii.

This book is a valuable handbook for practitioners of Indonesian pencak silat.  The stated purpose of the book is to present fighting principles found in various styles of silat and kuntao as taught by Dutch-Indonesian masters.  It provides a much needed description and analysis of techniques, methods, and tactics, as well as underlying principles.
  ... full review

Amazon.com, Customer Reviews:
Reviewer: John Carlos Johnson "roniyu151" (Louisville, KY)
June 16, 2007  5 out of 5 stars

No Matter Your Level, You'll Like This!

Here we have a decent depiction of how the various arts of the Archipelago may be practiced. It is more of a tactics and principles book than a mere techniques catalog, so it will appeal to those who have been in the arts for some years, as well as those who are simply striving for deeper understanding of the basics.

Amazon.com, Customer Reviews:
Reviewer: Wei Yin Hou
May 13, 2007  4 out of 5 stars

Another great book, but .....

I really liked the book but was disappointed by the fact that the author left out lots of history and info on the "mystical" side of Pentjak [emphasis added].  His reason though for doing this is that he is a Christian and doesn't believe in chi or the mystical stuff.  I do understand and respect his decision in doing so.  The book does show not really techniques but rather drills to understand body movement from which all techniques come form.  Overall it's very recommended for simplicity in explaining the flow and feel of Pentjak Silat.  Again no disrespect for the author or his choice of worship.

A fair criticism.  Perhaps the following paragraphs (the first from the book's Introduction, and the second from Magic and Mysticism chapter) from will explain why I omitted history and the "mystical" side of Pentjak.
   This book is not an academic dissertation detailing the history, culture, or many fighting systems of Indonesia.  One would be hard pressed to create a work that exceeds the late Donn Draeger's, Weapons and Fighting Arts of Indonesia.  His is the definitive Western work on Indonesian fighting arts, and is "must" reading for anyone interested in Indonesia's martial history and culture (p. 1).
   Setting aside religious incompatibility, there is another reason why Dutch and Dutch-Indonesian practitioners [those from whom I studied] remained on the physical side of the fence: Practicality.  To the Dutch, studying magic as a means of self-defense made little sense.  Magic for self-defense was a waste of time because its effectiveness is, at best, questionable; at its worst, nonexistent.  Few Western minds are willing to accept claims of physical prowess without physical contact, and the Dutch are no exception.  From both religious and secular perspectives then, Dutch students were inclined to seek out teachers who, like themselves, also had little time for the magical/mystical side of the art (p. 158).

Amazon.com, Customer Reviews:
Reviewer: L. A. Kane (Seattle, WA USA)
March 15, 2005  5 out of 5 stars

Outstanding; well worth the price

This well-written, easy to read tome is a thinking martial artist's book.  It is filled with sound principles and great explanations of why they work so effectively in actual combat.  There's some techniques too, but that's not really the heart of this tome.  Pentjak silat and kuntao are, at their core, functional fighting arts and Sifu Orlando is master of these brutal styles.  He places rarely divulged applications in context, artfully explaining why and how they work.  I wasn't too keen on his work Martial Arts America so I held off on buying this one for quite some time.  Having finally gotten around to reading it I really wish I'd bought this one sooner.  I am thoroughly impressed with this outstanding volume even at its rather steep price.  Very highly recommended!

BarnesAndNoble.com, Customer Reviews:
Reviewer: John, reader in Texas
Nov. 1 2004  5 out of 5 stars

Best Silat Book

This is an excellent book on silat.  The pictures are very clear, as is the writing, and the explanation of concepts. I love the fact that the author is pragmatic and not dogmatic in his approach to martial arts.  This is an 'exotic' martial art, but is extremely practical, especially because most fights are at extreme close range, and silat is very good in the grappling range.

Amazon.com, Customer Reviews:
Reviewer: Dennis Servaes from Stockton, California
March 7, 2004  5 out of 5 stars

One Of The Best Self Defense Books Available

Bob Orlando did a great job on this book.  The contents of the book is primarily a blend of Kun Tao-Silat.  I trained in the Indonesian martial arts some, by way of Hanshi Bruce Juchnik, who like Bob Orlando, studied the Indonesian Martial Arts from Willem de Thouars.  Bob has also trained in many other martial arts.

Guro Dennis Servaes

Amazon.com, Customer Reviews:
Reviewer: Joseph M. Burtner (Kennesaw, Georgia)
October 20, 2003  5 out of 5 stars

The principles are essential

The title is a little deceiving.  This book doesn't really profile silat or kuntao.  Rather, it is one of the best books on concepts that I've ever read.  I'd place it up there with "Tao of Jeet Kune Do".  The concepts of gyroscopic rotation, shearing, adhesion, etc. can be applied to any art, given a little imagination.  While the reader will learn something on the history of Indonesian martial arts, it is really the underlying principle that receive the most attention.  One won't really learn HOW to do silat or kuntao, but will gain an understanding of WHY the practitioners of such arts do the things they do.  There is nothing on weapons, which I thought was strange, and nothing on Kali, which I thought was Indonesian, but that doesn't take away from the fact that this is one of the best books on martial arts principles out there.  No matter whether one is looking for aesthetics, self-defense, understanding the "arts", or sporting aspects of martial arts, there is something in this book for everyone.  I'd recommend it to anyone serious about the martial arts, but those with a more casual attitude towards the arts may not find anything useful here.  If I could only have five martial arts books, this would be one of them.

Amazon.com, Customer Reviews:
Reviewer: Jack Dempsey from Heidelberg, Germany
February 15, 2003  5 out of 5 stars

One of The All Time Best

Yes a bit pricey, but worth every cent.  I have been through the tape that goes with the book, and the tapes on Reflex training drills.  Mr. Orlando is on the cutting edge with only a handful of other martial artists.  I teach Aikido.  After 911, I was not happy anymore with what and how I was teaching, so I am trying to integrate some of the principles and techniques (yes you can see several if you watch the tapes long enough — oh, and read the book) into what and how I teach.  GREAT STUFF!!!!  Larry Hartsell's books (have 4 of them) are very very good also, but in a different context.

Amazon.com, Customer Reviews:
Reviewer: Randy Strausbaugh [randmeister] from Chillicothe, Ohio, United States
August 17, 2002  5 out of 5 stars

An Excellent Overview of Fighting/Movement Concepts

Author Bob Orlando has written something which is sadly rare these days: a martial arts book for people who think.  If like many, you scan through a book and just look at the pictures, you will probably be unimpressed with the volume of techniques.  If,on the other hand, you actually READ this book, you will be presented with material which cannot help but enhance the martial art which you practice.   . . .   I held off on buying this book for years (primarily because of the price), but now I could kick myself for procrastinating.  This book is written in a straightforward and reader-friendly style, and the photos are large enough and show enough contrast to clearly demonstrate the ideas represented.  I'm kind of stingy with five star ratings, but this book is clearly deserving. ... full review

Amazon.com, Customer Reviews:
Reviewer: Andrew Baye from Altamonte Springs, FL, United States
May 25, 2002  5 out of 5 stars

One of the best martial arts books I've ever read

The book does an excellent job of teaching several important fundamental principles of Silat and Kuntao and using techniques to demonstrate how they work. Regardless of what style you study, an understanding of these principles and how to apply them will make you a more effective martial artist.

I also highly recommend Bob Orlando's video, "Fighting Arts of Indonesia - Combat Secrets of Silat and Kuntao" which makes a great companion to the book.

Amazon.com, Customer Reviews:
Reviewer: Tyrone Turner from Arverne, NY United States
April 23, 2002 1 out of 5 stars

Great Book

This is an excellent book on concepts of how to become a more proficient fighter.  If you're looking for a book full of techniques, this in not the book for you.  This book instead gives you the "ABC's of fighting."  What I mean by the "ABC's of fighting" is that there are 26 letters in the alphabet, but the words that can be created from those 26 characters are endless.  That is what this does by giving you a solid foundation to build upon.

Also, I bought this book because it was recommended by two other authors that I respect a great deal -- Marc MacYoung and Alain Burrese.

From Belgium:  Wim Demeere
June 7, 2001

This book is an excellent example of what authors should more often do: Instead of just rehashing the same material (the principles), Bob gives you much more information on several topics that aren't included in the video.  As a result, both the book and video are excellent companions for each other.  You can read the book and then see the principles come to life in the video.  However, once you've seen all this, there is even more to ponder when reading. ... full Review

Amazon.com, Customer Reviews:
Reviewer: A reader from Northern, CA, USA
March 8, 2001 1 out of 5 stars

The techniques are good, but there are only a few in this book.  A person would be better off to buy Larry Hartsell's 2 books on Jeet Kune Do.  They contain the information in this book and about 10 times more and you'll have some change left over!

Despite the 387 photographs and drawings used to illustrate this work, this anonymous reviewer is correct, "there are only a few [techniques] in this book."  The book is, as repeatedly stated in its introduction, about principles.  Learn and understand the principles of fighting, and the number of techniques you can create on your own will fill volumes.

Amazon.com, Customer Reviews:
Reviewer: Steve Holtz from New York, New York, USA
December 31, 2000 5 out of 5 stars

Principles of Effective Self-Defense

Bob Orlando is that rarest of commodities: a teacher who has the analytical skills and intelligence to distil his martial art(s) into a handful of principles from which effective martial techniques may be generated.  This book, and the companion video, Fighting Arts of Indonesia, are masterful communications of this material.  Buy them and learn.

Journal of Asian Martial Arts
Volume 9, Number 2, August, 2000

Media Review — by Aurther C. Andersen,
Ashland University.

Bob Orlando has organized a very concise package of physical principles indicative of martial movement as imparted from his instructor, Willem de Thouars.  He has not tried to offer a comprehensive history of Indonesian martial arts, but instead, gives colorfully detailed representations of the techniques which comprise the basic repertoire of his interpretation of Indonesian fighting fundamentals. ... full review

Review Page: Indonesian Fighting Fundamentals
By Jon Broster, Nottinghamshire, UK,
February, 2000

If you train in any South East asian martial art then this book is an essential read.  It covers the art of Willem de Thouars ... The book is almost totally devoid of any specialist terminology, I think that there are only two Indonesian words used throughout the entire text, this makes it very accessible to almost any reader.  ...

Verdict: highly recommended. ... full review

Amazon.com, Customer Reviews:
Reviewer: A reader from London, Ontario
September 17, 1999 5 out of 5 stars

A Rare Martial Arts Book That You Can Actually Learn From

It's rare indeed that a martial arts book can teach a reader much that they can incorporate into their own practice: usually the techniques that they teach are too difficult to learn from a book, or so simple that any student knows them already.  But by focusing on principles and logic of combat rather than on specific techniques, Bob Orlando gives the student of martial arts not only insight into Indonesian styles but methods of practice and training which a student of virtually any art can incorporate into their own.

In addition, this book is an excellent companion to Orlando's video "Fighting Arts of Indonesia".  They cover much of the same ground and reinforce each other.  It had an immediate and transformative impact on my martial arts training.

Without a doubt, this is the most useful martial arts book I have ever purchased.

Amazon.com, Customer Reviews:
animalmac@aol.com [now marcmacyoung@earthlink.net] from USA
February 23, 1999 5 out of 5 stars

My copy is dog-eared.

This is not a book that you read just once.  It is a well of information that you will continue to return to again and again.  Everytime I read it I come away with new understanding of the depths of martial arts.  No matter what style you study, the principles here will help you better understand your own art.

—Marc "Animal" MacYoung    
Marc MacYoung is an ex-streetfighter turned prolific author with several books and videos on violence, self-defense, and survival to his credit.

Amazon.UK, Customer Reviews:
Reviewer: A Customer from United Kingdom
February 21, 1999  5 out of 5 stars

It's about time, this stuff is held back from most Westerners

The other reviews I have read are obviously from those unfamiliar with kun tao/silat.  Infighting is what these arts are known for, and as far as entering techniques are concerned, if you need to ask then this book went way over your head.

Amazon.com, Customer Reviews:
A reader from New Jersey,
January 19, 1999 5 out of 5 stars

Physical principles for effective infighting

Indonesian Fighting Fundamentals (IFF for short) is a different from your average martial arts book.  You won't find a collection of techniques or "moves" that will make you a better fighter.  Rather you will find a collection of physical principles that are the foundation of many of the techniques of Silat and Kuntao which are the major systems covered in this book. ... full review

Review Page: Indonesian Fighting Fundamentals
By Kevin Curtis, Cleveland, Ohio 5 out of 5 stars

This book was written by Bob Orlando, who is a long time student of Master Willem de Thouars.  This book addresses just what the title implies.  ...  the fundamentals of the Indonesian Arts.  I love the fact that he concentrates on the concepts of these arts, and doesn't get hung up on just giving us techniques.  With the concepts, you can make up your own combinations!  "Give a man a fish, and feed him for a day: teach him to fish, feed him for a lifetime."   Five out of five stars.

Journal of Asian Martial Arts
Volume 6, Number 2, June, 1997

Media Review — by James Wilson, L.Ac.,
New England School of Acupuncture.

Orlando writes that his intent is not "a detailing [of] the history, culture, or many fighting systems of Indonesia ..., [but] is intended primarily for the martial art student of any rank whose main reason for training and study is effective self-defense" to this end he has succeeded marvelously.  The author accurately portrays the use of a wide variety of Indonesian strikes and stances, effectively demonstrating their differences with other fighting styles, the principles behind their actions, and their use in combat situations.  His own sometimes creative terminology — my personal favorite being "gyroscopic rotation" — actually enhances the student's understanding than if the author had attempted to translate those actions described directly from the Indonesian.  Similarly, Indonesian Fighting Fundamentals is clearly illustrated, with just the right number of photographs and graphics accompanied by clear, concise captions.  In this respect, many martial arts authors should consider Orlando's work exemplary.  ...  full review

Triumph Magazine
Volume V, Issue 5, September, 1996
Review by Bob McKenna, Denver, Colorado

Indonesian Fighting Fundamentals: The Brutal Arts of the Archipelago, undertakes to explain to readers something about the martial arts of the Indonesian archipelago.  I approached the book with some apprehension, as I wondered just what benefit someone whose martial art background included no training in Indonesian arts at all, could really obtain from a "how to" book about an unfamiliar martial art.  Fortunately for me, and for all others lucky enough to spend some time with Orlando's Indonesian Fighting Fundamentals, the book is decidedly anything but another book on how to perform martial techniques.  Quite the contrary, ...  full review

Our  emphasis  is  on  the  practical.
©Copyright Bob Orlando, 1999-2016
All rights reserved.
E-mail: Ron@OrlandoKuntao.com
Last update:  Aug. 6, 2016
by Bob Orlando
Web Site of Bob Orlando: Instructor in Kuntao-Silat (Chinese kuntao and Dutch-Indonesian pukulan pentjak silat), author of two popular martial art books: "Indonesian Fighting Fundamentals" and "Martial Arts America: A Western Approach to Eastern Arts"; and producer of four martial art videos: Fighting Arts of Indonesia, Reflex Action, Fighting Footwork of Kuntao and Silat, Fighting Forms of Kuntao-Silat. Offering practical martial arts instruction to adults living in and throughout the Denver metropolitan area including, Lakewood, Littleton, Morrison, and Golden Colorado.