The Carolina Tjabang (branch) of the VDT Academy is led by Guru Muda Karl Westin Bolz, or 'Mas West' as he is informally addressed by his students. His martial arts training began in 1991 under Kenpo instructor, Steve Gresham in Athens, GA. He earned his blackbelt in the Parker Kenpo system in 1999 under Mr. Gresham (currently 4th degree, V.P. of USKKA) and Dr. Jim Tindall (6th degree, President of USKKA). Karl and Steve became close friends and went on to train under Sifu David Monroe in the arts of JKD, Wing Chun, and Kali. He also studied in the arts of Tai Chi, Kung Fu, Ju Jitsu, and Kashima Shin Ryu. It was during this time that they were first exposed to silat, thanks to Guru Cliff Stewart. In 1999, upon hearing that Maha Guru Pak Vic was living in South Carolina at the time, they began study Serak. Since then Guru Bolz has made a home in North Carolina and continues to teach and learn the intracacies of the system. He is a licensed teacher of the Serak System thru the International VDT Academy.
Sifu Steve Gresham (Athens, GA) -
I met Sifu Steve in 1991 while I attended The University of Georgia. He told me he taught Kenpo Karate, and as I had always wanted to study the arts, I enlisted in his class that week. The second week I was training, we had a visit from his instructor, Dr. James Tindall who was at that time I think 3rd or 4th Dan under Steve Snelson. I quickly got familiarized with their powerful Kenpo hands. Steve became a best friend, music collaborator, and ultimately best man at my wedding. I also have the honor of being godfather to his son, (Steven) Anthony. He and his wife, Maria, are lifelong friends and family to us.
Sifu Steve has great skill in assimilating and applying principles, leverage and devastating strikes. His speed and focus are outstanding. He always has valuable insight on improving my structures. I owe my martial education to him. He was always eager to explore other arts. From his friend Chris Revels, we trained in Ladrit Thai Boxing, a rare elite style that I have not experienced anywhere else. We also had the honor of training with Sifu David Monroe in Gainesville, which ultimately led us to begin our journeys in silat. www.karatefire.com
Respect and honor to you, Sifu Steve.
David Monroe (Gainesville, GA) -
Sifu David Monroe teaches Wing Chun, Kali, Tai Chi and Silat, from the lineage of Sifu Francis Fong and Guro Dan Inosanto. Sifu David is tough as nails and studied martial arts since the 70s in Shotokan with Funakoshi, I believe (Southern California). From David I learned the flow of the stick, blade and empty hand. He was an excellent teacher that was an inspiration to me. Sifu Monroe manufactures Sof Stx training weapons. www.sof-stx.com
Respect and honor to you, Sifu David.
Guru Cliff Stewart (Beverly Hills, CA)
I only had the pleasure of training with Guru Cliff a few times, but wanted to include him here. He likely does not remember me as I was a newbie in silat then, approximately 1994. However, we met Guru Cliff at a seminar at Francis Fong's school in Atlanta and attended a couple other of his seminars in Atlanta and Charleston. Guru Cliff is an amazing teacher who is very generous sharing his vast knowledge in the arts.
Selamat hormat, Guru Cliff
Pendekar Paul de Thouars (deceased)
I attended only one seminar in Atlanta with Pendekar Paul. The finesse of leverage in his Bukti Negara was spellbinding. Pendekar Paul was a master practioner of Bukti and Serak.
Selemat hormat, Pendekar Paul
Pendekar Victor I.C. de Thouars (Riverside, CA)
One of the greatest honors of my life has been to be a 'murid' (pupil) of Pak Vic. I think it was late 1998 when Steve and I found out that Pak was living only a couple hours away from us in South Carolina. We quickly requested to begin training under him. I remember going to his house and being greeted by a gruff Pak Vic and his trusty 1911 .45 cal. :) He, and the kind Ibu Jane, graciously admitted us to their home for the weekend. After my first full day of initiation into Serak, my mind was blown. Although I had become a competent Kenpo player, and fluent in the other styles, I had never seen anything as sophistcated and efficient as Serak. It has proved to be an enduring source of fascination in my life. Pak Vic's lifelong dedication to preserving, cataloguing, and detailing the curriculum of the art is a world-class scholarly feat. Every time I thought I had a handle on what Serak was, Pak would open up a new side of the art to me which was even more potent and condensed. He has always been generous with his time and instruction to me. He is like an uncle to me, and has broadened my horizons in many ways. After discovering Serak, I decided to forego my pursuit in other arts and focus on it, as I consider it so vast and comprehensive that I prefer to spend all my training time learning its intricacies. There really is nothing like it in the world, it is truly a combat science. Words cannot express my gratitude to my Guru, Pak Vic.
Selamat Hormat, Pendekar Victor
Maha Guru Horacio Rodriguez (Los Angeles)
Guru Horacio, I believe, started training under Pak Vic in 1999 upon Pak's return to Southern California. Although I was sad to have my Guru leave the Carolinas, I am glad he found such an ideal protege there to pass on the whole of the system. He has become the lineage holder of the VDT Serak system. His skill and knowledge of Serak is extraordinary. He has been an amazing teacher and Serak brother to me. Horacio's skill is only matched by his kindness and generosity in sharing the art. He will share the art with the world as a shining example of Pak Vic's legacy.
Selamat Hormat, Maha Guru Horacio
Guru Bernard Langan (Bay Area)
I have had the great pleasure of training with Guru Bern several times at Serak camps. He is an incredible practitioner and instructor in the art of Serak. Guru Bern was always generous with his time and knowledge, sharing many structures of the art with me.
Selemat Hormat, Guru Bernard
My Serak lineage
Pak Sera (Ilyeah Haboen Asin)
Mas Djut, Mas Roen
Pak Tisari Mardjuki
Pak Victor de Thouars
Mas Karl West Bolz
"What's an expert? A drip under pressure." - Pak Vic