About Open Circle Academy

About Open Circle Academy

We’re a school of Indonesian martial arts

Primarily, we teach a style of Indonesian martial arts called Pencak Silat. We also include influences from some martial arts of Malaysia and the Philippines, including Kuntao—descended from Chinese immigrants to Southeast Asia—and Eskrima, for its stick and blade fighting techniques.

Our style of Pencak Silat is called Gerakan Suci (Grahk-ahn Soo-chi), which translates from Indonesian to “sacred movement.”

Our head teacher, Guru Rennie Saunders, developed Gerakan Suci in the late 1990’s after over 20 years studying the Suwanda family art of Pencak Silat Mande Muda, from West Java.

Guru Rennie’s aim in creating Gerakan Suci was to:

  1. Condense the Mande Muda system into its core essentials.
  2. Incorporate the tenants of Sufi chivalry and ethics he had adopted into his own life.

While training is intense and demanding, we also think it should be fun. We embrace a healthy spirit of play, encouraging an atmosphere of relaxed discipline.

Pencak Silat is well suited to the modern world

Like many traditional martial arts, most silat styles are village arts with long histories and rich traditions.

While we teach traditional martial arts—and honor the artistry and wisdom contained in our systems—we also aim to apply our skills to the practical aspect of self-defense in the modern world.

After all, why study martial arts if you can’t actually defend yourself?

Most Silat styles come from villages on the islands of Java and Sumatra. As such, they’re well adapted to environments with bad visibility and unstable footing. You may never find yourself getting attacked in a muddy jungle, but functionally, a dark alley or parking lot can be a very similar situation.

Most of all, if you commit yourself to learning the material, you’ll develop the ability to enter any situation and have an understanding of what is happening and how to respond appropriately.

We’re a community dedicated to personal growth

Students of Silat learn the step-by-step escalation of injury. This is a big responsibility, and we don’t treat it lightly.

As a result, we teach our students to read confrontations and respond with only the appropriate amount of force. Ideally, this will be a simple disabling technique. But for the very worst of scenarios, our training does include techniques that can maim or kill an opponent.

As you can imagine, we don’t want these skills in the hands of thugs and sociopaths. We want them in the hands of good people who will only ever use them if they’ve exhausted all other options.

For this reason, we work to build trust and solidarity as a community. By focusing on community and self-development, we can help to ensure that the art will never be misused.

It’s this practice of self-development and good manners that we call chivalry.

Where to find us

We have teachers in California, Oregon, and Washington.
Visit our Classes page to see a full list of our class times and locations.