Johnny Silmon was born in London, August 1971, to Spanish parents. He is the founder of The W.A.I – Warrior Arts of Indonesia & Pencak Silat Anyar Cimande Buhun & has been involved in martial arts for the last 34 years. His first serious martial art teacher Sifu Gerry Tann who he began training with as a thirteen-year-old in 1984 taught Kuntao Mantis. Sifu Gerry being Chinese-Indonesian and born in Medan, North Sumatra certainly sowed seeds in Johnny’s young mind that in years later would bear fruit as he began along the path of Silat.
His Silat specific journey began in London mid-1990! It was as though something was activated inside of him when he first got to hear about it and he sought to find out more about this exotic yet mysterious Indonesian art. His quest led him to Holland wherein the most remarkable set of circumstances he met his first Silat teacher, the now late Guru Ma Prem. Guru Ma’s style of teaching was less ‘hands on’ and far more esoteric in its nature. Self-reflection, meditations, visualisations and observing all of nature, as well as many long nights of discussion on Silat and life in general, formed the basis of her methodology.
It was not until 2002 that Johnny first stepped foot upon Indonesian soil. It was arranged for him to train in the West Javanese style of Cimande with the now late Guru Makmur Suradilaga. This initial two month training period really opened up his eyes to the style but also to the all-important cultural and traditional aspects of Silat. It was also during this trip that he first connected with Guru Edwardo Guci of Silek Tuo Pagu Pagu.
His next trip in 2005 saw him complete Usik Mahmud Jurus, a supremely effective yet little known close-range Sundanese original style (aliran) under the late Aki Mohammed Jumhi. This trip also marked the beginning of Johnny’s study of native Sundanese grappling called Benjang Gelut under the guidance of Pak Mohammed Gani, a former national wrestling champion.
Since then Johnny has travelled to Indonesia many more times where he has had the good fortune to either train with or sit and learn with many great teachers in arts such as Cikalong, Sera, Silat Betawi, numerous Silek Minang styles in addition to a number of other arts. He continues his studies in combined Cimande/Cikalong/Plered/Sabandar under Mang Eem in Purwakarta, Usik Mahmud under Mang Dedi, Sabandar under Mas Agus, Silek Tuo Pagu Pagu under Guru Edwardo Guci and Benjang Gelut under Pak Mohammed Gani.
Johnny, via The W.A.I – Warrior Arts of Indonesia and in association with Silek Tuo Pagu Pagu & Silek Tuo Aluang Bunian organised the 2013 & 2014 Minangkabau Silek Camps in West Sumatra which gained widespread recognition in local and national media. It was at the end of the 2013 event where Johnny was awarded the title of “Pendekar Dunia” or World Warrior, by the Minangkabau Elders, a title that he holds very dearly.
In 2017, once again in association with Silek Tuo Pagu Pagu, Padang Panjang local government and several other partners he was involved in organising the ‘Minangkabau Silek Retreat’ which saw attendees from twelve different nations.
Johnny was a feature writer and the Silat Technical Editor for the U.K premier martial arts publication, ‘Martial Arts Illustrated’ for ten years, having more than fifty published articles, a selection of which can be found here. He was inducted into the M.A.I Hall of Fame in 2011.