Spanish Pencak Silat Federation Official Site
Member of Right Plenary Session Of Persilat Since 1984
The first Silat class Jon Barrenetxea imparted in Spain took place in Madrid in May 1977, at Calasanz School in Gaztambide Street. At this School JB taught Karate Shotokan classes. The first pupils he had were two people from Galice, Luis Castiñeira and Teo Naya. Those were spot classes, complementary to the Karate courses attended by pupils from the school and universitarians.
Closing this School made all the activity move to La Salle deAravaca School in Madrid the very following year. This must indeed be considered as a pioneer, because JB created a full range of Martial Arts where Silat was already consistent. Inside those strong Karate groups, where the best thecnical experts -the elite- trained, a need for acquiring larger targets was born. Karate then was full of burocratical and political problems, and was far from being what one would expect. ALBERTO BETANZOS (alias THE MADMAN), TETE (from Melilla), and the Basque JUAN RAMÓN MENDIZABAL formed the first real Silat work team in Spain in Spain in 1978. There was an exhibition at Blanca de Castilla School in Madrid in 1978, in which some men in black caused big champions in white dive in a sea of doubts. Solid bricks were broken, and curiously we obtained La Salle´s Gold Brick, the maximum prize given by the pupils from the entire school.
In 1979, contacts with France -specially Lyon- and the appearance of many female pupils such as the Karate World subchampion SONIA SÁNCHEZ, consolidated the Karate groups keeping Silat as a closed elite group. In March 1979, JB asks ANDONI CABANILLAS to start a Karate combat course for his pupils in Madrid. That was the first contact with Silat of the biggest champion in this martial art's History in our country. In June 1979, a serious renal affection makes JB come back to Bilbao, and all his expectations in Madrid fall down into pieces.