All posts by Ron Kosakowski

The Knife Junkie Pod Cast

Check out Episode #56 on a Podcast called, The Knife Junkie.
I am interviewed there for my martial art styles. If by chance you are interested in what I do.

This is mostly about my Kuntao and Kali styles and for TFW. You will find it ––Recreation-Podcasts/The-Knife-Junkie-Podcast-p1176122/?topicId=134697869 Check it out if you are interested in how I got into FMA’s and into the knife, the sword and impact weapons business. These people are very into bladed weapons and are big fans of TFW.

The TFW Straight Kris used on the TV show, ARROW – by Ron Kosakowski

I think you folks will find this to be quite interesting.

The TFW Straight Kris was the sword used in the popular TV show called ARROW.  Yes, Oliver Queen, know as the “The Green Arrow,” a DC comic book based character was killed by the TFW straight Kris as found on –

Look at this scene in the video. below where Oliver Queen is killed with the TFW Straight Kris:

The TFW Straight Kris used on the TV show, ARROW.
The TFW Straight Kris used on the TV show, ARROW.

They called me when they were making the first season of Arrow to buy 8 of them. Then they called me during the making of the second season to buy 10 more. It looks like it was taken apart and cut in half a few times to do these various sword fighting scenes. The special effects guy did a beautiful job showing the sword going right through the body. It looked like it was the end of the Green Arrow. But like all superheros, he came back to get his revenge.

To do all those quick moving stunt-fight scenes, they must have done a lot of work to those Kris Swords to make them safe for stunt fighting. The TFW Kris, like all TFW swords and knives, all are solid and razor sharp. To do the crazy stunt fighting on ARROW that was done with the TFW Straight Kris,  I would imagine that took a lot of work. The swords looked like the real deal.

Here are some quick stunt fighting scenes from ARROW, the first season they used the TFW Straight Kris:

You have to admit, the Kris sword is quite interesting and one of the most unique swords in the world today. I can see why it would be a good choice for a big time action-based TV show. Kris history can be traced through the study of carvings and bas-relief panels found all over Southeast Asia. It is believed that the earliest Kris prototype can be traced to Dongson-bronze culture in Vietnam circa 300 BC that spread to other parts of Southeast Asia. Another theory is that the Kris was based on daggers from India. There are quite a few “serpant-looking” swords and even daggers found in India over the years, now belonging to collectors and museums. Some of the most famous renderings of a Kris appear on the bas-reliefs of Borobudur (825) and Prambanan temple (850). Prior to Islam, there was quite a Hindu and Buddhist influence in the Philippines as well as a lot of SE Asia so that theory tends to make sense, though it is still conjecture.

We have the largest Kris Sword Collection in the world. Look on to see it for yourself.
We have the largest Kris Sword Collection in the world. Look on to see it for yourself.

One thing for sure. If you are into collecting movie swords, or you are a sword collector, here is another option, a conversation piece in your collection.

An interview with Ron Kosakowski; an interview from the Ukraine…

If by chance you folks are interested, check out this interview from the Ukraine to the US – They caught me when i just woke up…no shower, no caffeine. Well, at least I know my subject, so the interview went well.

This is a different interview but it was fun. This girl from the Ukraine named Nadia Rybacova does these interviews with various martial artists that catches her interest. Like I said before, she caught me when I woke up on Skype to do this interview so forgive my slowness. I am not so much a morning person.




Why do we train the ways of the ancient warriors?

Why is it that we train in so hard in martial arts, whether it be sport or ancient warrior systems? Why do we take the time in our day to push ourselves in something most of us may not ever have to use in real everyday life? We break our bones, pull ligaments, tear tendons, pull muscles, put up with neck pains, and just mention a few things that happen after a hard day of training…that is for those of us who take it to the extreme of course. We are always in pain when we wake up from a good training session. Though to me, it’s what I call a good/bad feeling. Yet, we never stop, even when injured. Over the years I have personally lost a few teeth training, as well as other parts in various areas of my body. Even in a civilized world we do this to maintain youth and health. If injuries occur, it’s just recognized as part of the lifestyle we chose.
So, what is it that attracts us to put in all this effort into developing these “super powers” martial art gives us? Ever notice we look up to the person who can perform a martial style with the coolest looking moves that look like they can kill or maim a person? Those moves that look like the “secrets of the ancients” are very fascinating.


Here’s another example of the lust for the fighting arts; you bring in a real nice knife somewhere, everyone who sees it has to hold it, admire it, slash and thrust in the air with it. You know their imagination is running rampant while playing with that gorgeous looking tool of death. As a fan of a nice looking weapons myself, I do find that particular admiration to be quite amazing when I see how captivated people are in those circumstances. That admiration, or even the fear some people have when there is a knife around. Either emotion is now part of our natural instinct due to a bladed weapons being such a part of human nature in one way or another. I would think the reason we all have this admiration for the bladed weapons and feel attracted to them is because our ancestors have such a long history of utilizing the blade since the beginning of man-kind. Every culture adapted to the blade for survival in many different ways
The only logical answer that fits the majority of true fulltime martial artists is, the interest in practicing the fighting methods of ancient warriors is in your bloodline. It’s a good possibility you exist today because your ancestors won some sort of past battle in more than one era in your family history. I always say to exist today, your ancestors either fought and survived or your ancestors were royalty and there had to be someone defending them.
When you see the people that join a good martial art school and they do not stay that long.  Maybe they decided it is not a priority in their life. More than likely, those people are not of a warrior bloodline. A person fully committed, making their style(s) a personal lifestyle means you have inherited their ancestor’s genetics. It is in your genetics to be what you are as an individual so I am sure it has to do with a lust for martial art learning/teaching/training. Obviously all I am saying here is pure theory but what else could it be? As a full time martial artist, you are not out there committed to something like playing tennis or planting flowers or anything else. If you really think about it, can you imagine yourself as a true warrior? Can you visualize your self as a warrior ready to take on a battle with any extreme necessary to survive? You will never know until you are faced with the reality of a very dangerous situation to get out of. How you respond will determine what your bloodline truly is.

I will finish with a quote written by Guro Dan Inosanto:
“We are all climbing different paths through the mountain of life,
and we have all experienced much hardship and strife.
There are many paths through the mountain of life, and some climbs
can be felt like the point of a knife. Some paths are short and
others are long, who can say which path is right or wrong? The beauty
of truth is that each path has its own song, and if you listen
closely you will find where you belong. So climb your own path true
and strong, but respect all other truths for your way for them could
be wrong.”

Ron Kosakowski
Practical Self Defense Training Center
847 Hamilton Ave (Rt 69).
Waterbury, CT 06706

The History and Culture behind Filipino Weapons

Now this is based on knowledge I have acquired during my various Philippine trips over the years.
It is also based on my observations. At this point in my life, I have been there enough times to come to these conclusions.


A lot of the blades that I have on the TFW web site are very rare. We found some of them from some old men on whatever island in the Philippines, others were in my friends family tribe handed down through generations. Others were located in museums in the Philippines. I found some here in the Museum of Natural History as well.
The ones that I noticed that are common carry in the Philippines today is the. Those are common in the Visayan area. Though the Pinute is popular ALL over the Philippines it seems like. The Itak Tagalog is more popular in some parts of the north, from the Central Tagalog region actually…which is really a Pinute with a subtle design change.


I actually saw a few people in the south with Kris swords. That freaked me out to see people carrying these weapons in this day and age. It was not common to see…plus think about it, the Kris does not double as a tool. Made me wonder how much blood was on those Kris swords I saw being carried.


In the North, it was common to see the Golok The word Golok is common in Indonesia. But that makes sense since Bagiuo region are a result of the early Indonesian travelers who caught a wind that brought them to the north. I was told they were going to the Southern Philippines and caught a wind that brought them further north. My friends there look very Indonesian
which is subtly different than the looks of Filipinos in the mid regions.


I have seen a few Karambits,, but I think it is more the style in modern day that catches their eye. Again, that is an Indonesian influence. There is another type of Karambit called a Lihok. Its ugly, it does not have that ring at the end of it…it has just a common handle…but it is deadly. Definitely not just a tool. I will be having that one soon as part of the TFW collection. I am not sure of the history of it right now but its common in the northern region. My guess is that it is also an Indonesian influence due to the looks of it but I can be wrong.


The War Golok is actually another northern design…a design that is a result of the Spanish breaking the tips of the Sword of the Filipinos. The Filipinos were very good at thrust and slash action with their swords. The Spanish were intimidated by the slash and thrust fighting tactic of the Filipinos. Especially during a lot of the rebellion that was going on at the time so Spanish soldiers were
ordered to take all the swords of the Filipinos and break off the tips of their swords. If anyone was seen with a tip on their swords (mostly within the Manila/Luzon region), they were killed. Every one had to follow that law or suffer the consequences. All their blades had to be forged with a flat top, though a newer fighting method of making it a little heavier and gaining a new hacking style of fighting still made it a formidable weapon. I have a War Golok that is very old…it has killed 5 different people. The 5 people were burned and the ashes were put on the sheath to keep the spirits of the warrior power in that blade. It is a priceless
gift to me. You can literally smell the death on this sheath and blade. If any of you ever make it to my school in Waterbury, Connecticut, I will show it to you. I was told not to let anyone touch it so you will not be able to touch it. It disrupts the spiritual balance of the blade. And I may have to use it some day so I need the spirits in my favor. ***wink**.


The Espada Y Daga is not a common blade to see carried today but it is still VERY popular in the Philippines and to Filipino martial art (FMA) enthusiats. I think it is kept alive through Kali, Arnis and Eskrima practitioners and instructors. It is popular in San Miguel, Illustisimo and Pekiti Tirsia…I am sure many other FMA styles as


The Garab sword is another one you see that is still carried today. The Garab knife is a very popular design there. It is a good tool for coconuts and cutting of about everything that is done there in the Philippines. And it is definitely a formidable weapon. I like that knife. I have seen that all over the Visayan area and all over the south. I have seen many people on the side of the road using it as a tool in the job they were doing.


The Iron Wood sticks are still carried as a self defense weapon. In the more civilized areas, you can still get prison time for slicing up a person like anywhere else now a days (not that it does not happen there), so Iron wood seems to make a good self defense weapon. I have heard that some tribal arguments are settled with various types of Iron Wood sticks. One hit with one of them will break whatever it makes contact with or death occurs. It’s not like fighting with rattan where you can show off your bruises after a good fight or two. Those Iron Wood Sticks are real weapons created and designed to break bones and kill. They are not training tools like rattans sticks are.


The Pakal knives are a combat weapon made for exactly that, to be held in
pakal position (Known as ice-pick or earth position) comfortably. Those are pretty much
designs of my friends tribe. You can see those on,

You can feel a big difference from a knife designed for the icepick position in comparison to one that isn’t. Very practical and they feel great in the hand(s). I personally like to carry one knife in standard position and the other one in ice pick position. The fighting method in that position is great for close-range.


The Balisong (sometimes referred to as a butterfly knife) as seen on – is still a popular carry. All the Special Action Force Commandos and the Marines all had Balisongs. I know this because I had trained some of them in Kuntao and Pekiti Tirsia Kali over the years in my travels there to the Philippines. Many are my friends also. I found that they carry a Balisong to be quite amazing though. I feel it is
a good knife but there are simpler ones for the military to carry but with good practice, it’s a very lethal weapon. In Batangas, you can see many of the tourist versions of Balisongs all over the place for sale. To me they are cheap made by comparison to mine
but then again, I am spoiled by good quality.


Pretty much, all the others on the TFW site are considered extinct today. Like I said, we had to seek them out and bring them back to life again. We are working hard to revive these ancient swords due to the fact they are an important part of ancient Filipino history.


All cultures were once blade oriented cultures. They had to be or you would not exist today. All our ancestors had to fight with the blade at one time or another for whatever reason to survive and carry on our DNA. Today, the blade cultures are pretty well dead. That is due to the modern existence of firearms. You pull out a blade, you get blown away. So to keep up with the rest of the world, every one got a firearm. Especially the military that used to carry bladed weapons and shields. The reason the bladed weapons culture is still alive in the Philippines and other parts of SE Asia is because those people depend on them as tools for survival, much like we did in the ancient past. They use them for everything they make, including art, crafts, repairs, crops, etc. Many of them are poor people who cannot afford modern tools (or a gun for that matter), they were brought up with the blade as a tool so they are used to it. In turn, you will see an occasional hacking up of a body or two when a drunken argument is going on or someone wronged another and revenge takes place.

Bladed weapons will always give us a natural feeling of fascination. They have been weapons as well as tools in our ancestor’s life since the beginning of time and will continue to be part of us some how or another in the future. They are also works of beautiful art. The art work decorates the reason they exist. The fear we feel, is knowing in our minds what these bladed weapons can do and have done in the past to other human beings.

Ron Kosakowski
Practical Self Defense Training Center
847 Hamilton
Ave (Rt 69).
Waterbury, CT 06706

Misconceptions of the Moro Barong…

The Moro Barong is one of the weapons of certain Kuntao styles in the Philippines. This is NOT a weapon of Kali, Arnis or Eskrima as so many put as the symbol on their t-shirts, as in representing those styles. Thats a misunderstanding of true Filipino history.
You can find eye candy pictures and learn more about this beautiful blade on –

What is non-weapon oriented style called, Jeet Kune Do?

Jeet Kune Do is based on philosophically applied natural movements. Even the name of the “JKD style” with no style is philosophical…the name being a combination of mandarin, Cantonese and Japanese…Jeet Kune Do meaning, the way of the intercepting fist.

I see many in CT and elsewhere who do Jeet Kune Do, AKA – JKD looking like nothing more than Karate Kick-boxers depending on youth, strength, speed and power over their opponent rather than depending on tactical strategy of proper body mechanical movement, footwork and intercepting their opponent. JKD is all about tactical strategy and nothing else, hence the reason why it works so well in sport fighting and on the street utilizing little effort. Some get it and some do not get it and from my experience watching many others that claim to be JKD, that is blatantly obvious. Those who understand the intercepting, angling, body movements, along with the proper footwork all coordinated into one gives a student the attacking advantage over an opponent who is trying to attack. Its hard to explain, it has to be seen and compared to other styles to understand this fully.

The misconception of JKD taught at the PSDTC is, you have to be an MMA fighter to do it. That is not necessarily true. Yes, JKD gives one the ability to be a very good MMA fighter, and the ones to want to be an MMA fighter are able to take it to its fullest potential. I personally teach both sides….the self defense as well as the sport aspects. I show those who want to be fighters how to utilize it for the MMA games and over the years, we always did great with a 85% win rate wherever fighter went. Size strength, female or male…anyone can do JKD. JKD is very complete covering kicking, hand range, trapping range. Our very extensive grappling range is second to none and has been carried on by my teachers and myself with blends of Catch Wrestling, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Shooto, Judo, Dumog and some Silat…our grapplers have a very high winning rate wherever they go to compete. Come down to see what we do and try it out.

Schedule for JKD is:
Monday – 6:30 to 9:30
Wednesday – 6:30 to 9:30
Friday – 6:30 – 8:30

You can learn from the person who brought JKD here to CT back in the 80’s. Yes, that is yours truly. You go all the way to the various instructor levels in my personal JKD training along with the work it takes to get to those levels, no one will be able to get in on you guaranteed. Come try it out and sign up after the class tonight if you want to. You will love it, and you will be in the best fighting shape of your life. Female, or male, big or small…I can make you a very good martial artist/fighter. had a name change…

Just in case you did not notice, once called “Traditional Filipino Weapons” is now called TFW.

The reason for this change is because we have been adding so many different swords and knives from various cultures. When we started off, we were focused on just Filipino swords and knives Right from the start, it went very well  where collectors all over the world were happy to collect such high quality bladed weapon all combat ready and razor sharp. We are the only blade company right now to blend D2 and 5160 with a sodium nitrate heat treatment right now. That steel blend and heat treatment allows for a much longer lasting edge. Thats just one of the things that makes TFW swords and knives so appealing to customers.

So you know what made us go through the name change – it was due to popular demand where people started asking about different European bladed weapons and also many other swords and knives from other parts of Asia besides just the Philippines. We even have the well known American fighting knife called the Bowie Knife. At least the name we have now…TFW, is not an extreme change so I went with TFW for the name. Its fitting and popular now all over the world for all kinds of bladed weapons without confusion.

There has been a lot of research of museums, people that own old bladed weapons, and the web to find the ancient specs and designs. Now you know how we always find these old bladed weapons to bring them back to life again. On top of all that, we are even coming out with some more tactical modern day bladed weapons that I know you will all like.

If you are on Facebook, click LIKE on the TFW page – So now you will always know whats going on with TFW.

Does the word Kali actually exist?

Kali has been a controversial word for many years. i have heard this controversy that the word never existed since I think 1990 or so. It was found in Yambao’s book back in 1957, and thats as far as it has been traced. I was told by a historian in the Philippines, Felipe P. Jocano Jr. that language changes over time which is why it is missing from the mainstream language today, especially during an occupation…well we know about the occupation of the Philippines for 337 years. Now we hear the words, Eskrima and Arnis mostly.
Tuhon Guro Dan Inosanto has said it has been a term in the Louisiana area. That can be due to the fact that was one of the first places in the US where Filipinos landed in the US when they worked on Spanish ships. The Spanish owned many southern states starting back in the 1500’s The old term stayed while the new ones were appearing in the Philippines. And yes, that is my own conjecture. Tuhon Leo Gaje put it as prefix words of Kamut, and Lihok put together…translated as “hand” and “motion” put together. Now thats possible Dan Inosanto also has mentioned this possibility also. i think no one knows…its a lost word.
However, in this video, the word KALI is brought up a few times –
This video was taken in the 50’s. Did Yambao see this video then mention it in his book or was this the end of an era where the word Kali was actually still being used? It sure has been brought back nowadays very strong thats for sure. Many people use the word Kali. However, its mostly PTK and Inosanto people more than others who use the word Kali today…I am with both so I know.
Believe me, I have been to the Philippines (I lost count a while ago) many times and everywhere I went, every master i met, I asked about the word Kali…even to the Kuntao people I met and they did not know anything about it. I did meet a father and son family system teachers where they call their style, Crab Style Kali. It was ok, but in Mindoro they still used the word Kali or at least that family did. I have not yet been everywhere in the Philippines but I have been many places and I research blades and styles each trip. If i can find the history of it, I will be talking about it here, believe me.
Thoughts anyone?

Ron Kosakowski
203-802-8533 or 203-596-9073
M.A. School web site –

Hot New Product Release – The Minasbad Sword

Overall length: 27 Âľ inches
Blade length: 20 Âľ inches
Maximum blade thickness at the spine
a little over 3/16 inch
Balance point 4 ÂĽ inches from finger-guard
A little history lesson.
Minasbad Sword – The Minasbad is a very good example of a sword that you would see from Bicol due to the unique carvings on the sword and knife handles. You will see on the TFW Minasbad sword handle, something that looks like a carving of a head. So many people say it represents something different. Some say a bat, a dog or a horse. Maybe it is a unusual combination of all 3? There is really no clear answer that can be found thus far. The Minasbad Sword is one of the few Philippine swords still around that dates back to Philippine pre-history, which is way before the arrival of the Spanish. The Bicolanos’ goal was to manufacture a bladed weapon with a slight technological advantage against the Moro Swords. The Minasbad was manufactured in large numbers and was looked up to as a good match against the Moro Kris. It acquired a reputation as “one bad-ass-sword!”

Another fact that has been well known throughout ancient Philippines was the Bicol warriors had a long history of winning various battles. Bicolanos were also known to have the most number of words and terms within their ancient language relating to warfare. That gives us an obvious clue to what their ancestors have been through for so many generations. The Spaniards took note on how the Bicolanos were the ones possessing the best, most complete armor and weapons in the Philippines. It is thought by historians that centuries of Moro threat could have had a hand in the progression of the Bicolano martial spirit and weapons technology.

The popular curve in the belly of the blade is similar to that of a cross between the Pinute and the Dan Dao. The handle is made of Kamagong, an iron wood from the Philippines. The head carving is made of aluminum. This Minasbad is full tang where it goes right through the head so that handle is very solid. To make the full tang hold even better and that much stronger, not to mention, much nicer looking – a steel coupling with a very strong finger guard is added.

Our sword steel is the same as in all of the other TFW bladed collectables – steel blends of 5160 and D2 with a sodium nitrate heat treatment. It is light, right around a pound and a half but yet you can feel how this can hack anything that gets in the way. The Minasbad Sword is perfectly engineered to do the job for you. Once you feel it, you will back that claim up yourself and you will be amazed.

One of the ways we practice sword fighting

At the Practical Self Defense Training Center In Waterbury, Connecticut, you will see in the video below one of the ways we practice with razor sharp swords. This is NOT recommended for people who are not well trained in blade oriented martial art styles. This type of training is very dangerous where you can lose a limb or die from one little mistake made.

Our philosophy on this kind of training is, to understand the blade, one needs to work with real blades. most people use wood or rattan to imitate a real bladed weapon. If by chance you are confronted with a razor sharp bladed weapon and you had no scenario training with it, you will be afraid to use your self defense skills. Going up against a real bladed weapon  is hard enough to accomplish with or without a weapon as it is. Like I said above, do NOT try this without proper training. Its not worth the risk. Enjoy the video below:

In the video you will see a lot of subtle cuts, parries and slashes on various targets. this could not be done without adding the geometric footwork that has to be within sword fighting skills.