The Magda Institute

The Magda Institute, located in Reseda, California, is home to the headquarters of the Magda Institute Association.

It is unique amongst most martial arts schools as it teaches far more than martial arts techniques. 

What makes it unique?

Many things!

Like what?

The 1st Uniquity

Upon entering the warm-up area, I noticed that the walls were adorned with pictures and writing.

On one wall, there were pictures of Silat teachers that either taught at the Institute or connect to the history of the Institute. It’s a “Who’s Who” of the Silat world.

On another wall, there were written passages signed by their authors. These individuals have taught at the Institute and are part of its history. It’s a “Who’s Who” of the Jeet Kune Do world.

On yet another wall, there were pictures of Arnis-Escrima-Kali teachers that either taught at the Institute or connect to the history of the Institute. It’s a “Who’s Who” of the Kali world.

The Next Uniquity ...

… a mirror on the wall.

What’s so unique about a mirror on a wall?

Nothing, by itself!

It is the combination of the mirror and what is above it.

Are you curious as to what is above the mirror?

It's a question.

The question reads, “What is Jeet Kune Do?”

Do you now understand the power of the combination?

The most likely place for you to stand to read the question …

You guessed it …

In front of the mirror.

The 3rd Uniquity

Geometric shapes all over the floor in the class training area.

There were big circles, small circles, and multiple triangles.

I recall wondering what that was all about.

I would later discover that all were exceptionally useful to the Institute’s teachings.

While there were many others, I’ll give you just one more.

Yet Another Uniquity


Not just music.


The drums were used for a variety of purposes that all enhanced the training.

All of these uniquities and others are part of the culture of transformation that Sifu Cass Magda has created at his Institute.

The Magda Factor

During my first visit - a week-long training stint in 2002 - I was determined to find the essence of the Magda Institute’s uniqueness. 

Through personal observations and conversations with Magda students, I discovered what was truly unique about the Magda Institute.  

Sure, the geometric figures on the floor were different, but what was it that brought students from Europe, Germany, Italy, and all over the United States?  

By the end of the week, the answer was pretty clear.  

It was Sifu / Guro Cass Magda and his systems.

Cass Magda?

Who is he?

An Exceptionally Gifted Teacher

Cass Magda has led a life dedicated to training, teaching, and researching martial arts. 

His teachers are literally a “Who’s Who” of masters in their respective arts of Jeet Kune Do, Kali and Pentjak Silat.  

While these teachers taught Magda plenty, it was his analytical mind that allowed him to ask the right questions and get the answers that he needed. 

His prowess as a student is what allows him to excel as a teacher.

The Success Is In The System

Cass Magda’s ability to apply his prowess has enabled him to create a highly effective system of martial arts that consistently produces high-quality martial artists and even higher-quality human beings.  

His system is primarily built on the arts of Jeet Kune Do, Kali and Pentjak Silat.  

Magda’s martial arts system will certainly re-define your practice of martial arts.

And, if you’re like most of his students …

His teachings will change your life!

Principles Rule At The Magda Institute

All martial arts contain various techniques.  As a result, all martial arts teach techniques.  

Few teachers, however, teach solid principles.  

Sifu Cass teaches principles that can be applied to one’s own art or to other arts.

Magda continually stresses the importance of principles over techniques.  These principles allow his students to evaluate their own techniques, as well as the techniques of other systems.  

For instance, when disarming he teaches four to five principles.  

This can be applied to your system’s knife disarms and in your evaluation of other system’s knife disarms.

Philosophy In Action

The martial arts are Magda’s vehicle for growth and development.  

Fortunately, he chooses to share his vehicle with us.  

Magda often discusses what he calls the principle of accumulation. 

In a nutshell, this deals with creating positive habits.  

In martial arts, it could be doing your jurus (forms) every day of the month for 5 minutes. This would be 150 minutes worth of jurus.  

Waiting until the end of the month and doing your jurus for 150 minutes does not accomplish the same thing despite the total time being equal.

Doing it daily is what makes it a habit and is also what fosters discipline.  

Both good habits and discipline will serve you well in life!

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