Martial Arts/Expert Profile

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My primary area of "expertise" (for lack of a better term) is in Filipino and Indonesian martial arts. However, I've been involved in the martial arts since 1978, trained in several systems and been exposed to many, many others. I've also done a fair amount of reading about martial arts in general and about various systems. I can answer questions about Filipino and Indonesian martial arts and I can often answer questions about martial arts in general. Feel free to ask me any question about martial arts. Even if I don`t have an answer I can often point you in the right direction to find the answer.

Experience in the area

I've been involved in martial arts since 1978. I started in Tae Kwon Do and, when my instructor quit teaching, I began training in Okinawan Goju-Ryu. In 1995 I was introduced to Filipino Kali/Arnis/Eskrima and Indonesian Pentjak Silat. I've been training primarily in them since 1995. I've taught private lessons, classes, seminars and workshops all over the United States, in Europe and in China. I have also trained with a wide variety of martial artists in different disciplines. Between hands-on exposure to various martial arts and reading about many others I have a very well-rounded knowledge of martial arts in general.


  • A Pondering of Principles available on and other online book stores.
  • November 2008 cover article for Tae Kwon Do Times


  • Sikal: Lakan Dalawa/Guru Dua (2nd Level Instructor)
  • Shen Chuan: 2nd Degree Black Belt and Certified Instructor
  • Cacoy Doce Pares Eskrima/Eskrido: 7th Degree Black Belt
  • Anjing Gembala Pencak Silat: Utama Guru (Chief Instructor)

Awards and Honors

  • 2008 Doce Pares Hall of Fame Inductee for Exemplary Dedication to Doce Pares
  • 2010 Doce Pares Hall of Fame Inductee for Outstanding Law Enforcement Instructor

What do you like about this subject?

I don't remember a time when I wasn't interested in martial arts. I started training at 6 years old and have enjoyed every minute of training and, later, teaching. Pretty much everything that's been good in my life can be traced directly or indirectly to the martial arts. I strive to help others find similar benefits in their own martial arts life.

What do you still hope to achieve/learn in this field?

Each day I seek to improve something about myself and my practice. Most days, I achieve this goal ... but it's always waiting to be achieved on the next day. It's a goal both attainable and unreachable and it keeps me motivated all the time to learn more about the material and about teaching it.

Something interesting about this subject that others may not know:

Most of the 350+ systems of Filipino and Indonesian martial arts systems are weapon based (and often blade based). Many that are blade based use the stick as a training tool for the blade. Some are specifically stick (or other blunt weapon) based. *All* have solid empty hand methods that a lot of people aren't aware of but that are on par with any other martial arts system I've been exposed to.

Something controversial or provocative about this subject

The Southeast Asian arts tend to have a very aggressive mindset and can be pretty brutal - both in mindset and in physical training. People sometimes view this aspect as being somewhat barbaric. But it's inherent in the nature of these arts because, in many instances (here in America), they are only 1 or 2 generations from having been used in life or death combat.

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    K = Knowledgeability    C = Clarity of Response    P = Politeness
Austin05/17/16101010Mike did a very nice job of .....
Jon08/30/13101010Great answer, Mike. Thanks!
Debbie07/24/13101010Thank you Mike for the help!

Recent Answers from Mike Casto

2016-05-06 The moves:

Sorry for the delayed response. I have had a busy week attending a friend's wedding and a lot of travel.    Most systems of martial arts have at least a handful of methods to remove the gun from its user's

2013-07-22 identify staff or stick?:

Sorry, I can only read English. You might be better off seeking a language expert. I'd recommend contacting an expert here on AllExperts for Chinese or Japanese language. They will likely be able to read

2013-06-23 Krav Maga:

Well, in general, anyone who says that anything is the "best" or "most" or whatever is definitely trying to sell you something. Regardless of what they're touting. Doesn't mean it's not good. It just means

2013-06-08 Which martial art to choose ?:

Hi Ray,    My default answer for this type of question is that the most important aspect of training is whether you enjoy it or not. You might have the best instructor in the world in your back yard teaching

2012-08-22 Ignorance:

I think there's a language hurdle here. I'm not quite sure what you're asking but I'll start by answering the question I *think* you're asking.    The question I think you're asking is "how might you respond


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