Two day Florida Combat Silat seminar. Get the details on facebook.
When we take up a practice like the martial arts, specifically those styles where you are at least somewhat serious about protecting yourself, we train hard. We put in long hours with a lot of sweat and soreness. We love it. Truly. Or like so many people we’d quit after just a short time.
Part of the reason we put in all that energy is we want the assurance that, if we need to protect ourselves, we’ll have the skills necessary to do so.
As a teacher, it is always my goal that you’ll leave with something you can apply after every practice. Because of that promise to myself and you, I do everything within my power to keep pencak silat Pertempuran simple. Effective. Personal.
To do that I strive to keep my teaching clear, organized, and my skills growing and I know that’s true of the teachers that have earned their titles working with me. They all strive for excellence and I will not promote someone who is not performing their best.
But here’s the thing…I can do everything within my power to prepare you and you can do everything I ask of you in my training and we can all still be unprepared.
Preparedness is not a moment in time. Being. Prepared. Is a current state of living. It requires attendance. It requires study. It requires training. It requires practice. And it requires testing. (See previous blog post.) It doesn’t just happen.
What do I mean? Here are a few questions I’ll ask to get you started down the path of preparedness.
What kind of pants are you wearing right now?
Are they tight? Could you kick in them? Perform Siloh? Perform sliwa? Could you kick? In other words, does your everyday clothing restrict the skills you’ve been developing? If so, you must figure out what the boundaries are and be comfortable with them or change them in order to BE Prepared.
What kind of shoes are you wearing?
Are they heavy? Slick soled? Gripping? Go through the same process as you did previously with the pants. And so on, with all of your clothing.
When you go to a public place do you scan the area as you arrive?
As you exit your car-noticing the people around you?
As you approach the building do you keep aware?
As you walk down the street are you aware of the people behind you? On side streets?
Or is your head down looking at your phone or thinking about some OTHER place you are supposed to be?
When you’re stopped at an intersection are you aware of the other cars?
Are you aware of people on the street? Are you watching traffic?
Or are you mentally checked out listening to the radio?
When you notice someone do you scan for weapons?
Lumps under jackets and shirts? Are you aware of pocket clips?
Or are you somewhere else mentally?
When you sit in a restaurant do you choose to face as many people as possible?
The doorway? The exits?
Or do you leave it all to chance?
Being. Prepared. Is a living state. If you leave it to chance, then you are squandering the hard work you’ve put into your training. It’s not about living in fear, it’s about acknowledging what makes your training effective and setting your environment up in ways to utilize your strengths and bolster your potential.
Set Points are references for recovery, but they are also launching points for our own techniques! Take that idea and begin to apply it in your environment to reduce the variability that will leave you unprepared to use your training.
It is a failing in the martial arts, and in particular, self defense focused systems to resign ourselves to simply not knowing what will happen. It has been my own experience that combat is a relationship and while it is true that we must be responsive to the antagonist, it is also true that the antagonist must be responsive to you as well!
This is the process to understanding anything. Of course, in this case I’m focusing on pencak silat.
Study. Train. Practice. Test. Repeat.
Listen, watch, and feel what your guide has to offer. If that guide is a hands on teacher. Great.
If that guide is a static teacher such as a video. Great. (You’ll be missing what can be taught through feel.)
Learn all you can. Watch closely. Listen to what’s being said. Learn to “feel” closely the energy.
Ask questions if possible. Again, listen with your ears, eyes, and body to the answers.
Take notes if that works for you. It has worked for many others.
Stand up. Get off the couch. Move with the material. Begin to push through what you have studied. This is the process of just putting what you’ve seen, felt, and listened to, into your own physical space.
Learn your body.
Feeling where your body binds up.
Feeling where your body is loose.
This can be solo or not. Typically you want both.
Once you feel where your body is bound or loose, clear or confused, begin to repeat movements, processes, techniques, etc. This is called practice.
Put your full intention of all the components of your study and training into your physical space over and over.
Don’t drop details out. It is a mental and physical process. (Jurus-jurus SHOULD be in this physical space.)
Perfect your practice. In that way you are practicing perfectly.
This can be solo or not. Typically you want both.
Begin to push your practice through speed, power, and external stressors. You don’t pass this test until you can keep your physical space, attention, and capability over and over.
Go back and study. Find the depth you missed the first time… or the second time.
Train that depth.
Practice that depth.
Test and test again.
This is the journey.
I will help you on the journey if you do the work of contacting me and seeking it.
This was written to a student a while back who was struggling in his exploration of his own abilities. There are no secrets here, just basic info, but if you’ve never put words to the basic info that you, or your teacher just do, perhaps this is a good starting point. It’s very unlikely this addresses everything but it is sufficiently broad enough to help with a bunch.
I have a question for you. A friend of mine is a black belt in TKD he’s pretty fast when he throws kicks, and [uses] different combinations [than I’m used to], always one kick immediately after another kick so he always catches me. How do you deal with that?
It depends on how you are fighting.
[None of my available materials right now address tactics or methods so much as just the body culture you need, and overall ideas. I’ve always preferred that people figure it out by experimenting rather than being told. It’s a more fruitful method to development of a personal methodology IMO. Anyway, it’s probably a missing component to what I have created over the years for people and I’ll have to look at doing some.]
In any case, I have fought TKD guys, Karate guys, Kung fu, Kuntao, Wing Chun guys, Kali guys, Hapkido guys, etc. It matters a great deal how you are fighting. Are you fighting to touch or to hit? Hit or to hurt? Hurt or to injure? Injure or kill? If the intent is not there to at least hurt it makes ANY fighting more difficult.
Also, when you “fight” anyone you must remember that there are several ways to deal with it. It doesn’t matter a great deal who they are or what style:
1. Close or open the gap. Closing reduces the required space for kicking attacks and opening makes their kicks irrelevant and gives you time to observe. Kicking requires a certain distance between you and the kicker. If you stand still or stay on line and he kicks, he gets to choose when and how often he kicks. Meaning HE/SHE gets to create the combinations and you’re left to defend yourself (reaction versus action). Move out of defense and into offense. (Gerak, Langkah, Ales, and Masukan)
[Kicking in this regard is really any type of attack but I was specifically addressing kicks.]
2. Use angles. Don’t just stand there or even back up. Those are the two least effective options for evasion. In a pinch you may do it, but it’s not preferred. If you back up against any type of attack, in a straight line, they will be able to continue to attack. In response to kicks specifically, remember that they are not very maneuverable. If you choose to back up for the initial attack, you should do so at an angle. In all cases, the attacker will be forced to change simple combinations into complex ones when the body has to re-orient. Additionally, if you do both, close the gap and change angle, it really messes with the combative relationship. (Gerak, Langkah, Ales, and if you close the gap, Masukan)
3. Every attack generates from or through one of four places – either shoulder or either hip. If you want to defend against any attack the best way is to go to the source. Attack the source of the attack directly. I normally just block kicks by kicking the kick as it starts, or by attacking the hip or upper thigh close to where it generates. The same can be done for strikes of any kind. This is best when combined with the previous two points. The key is to “block” in a way that is destructive to structure. Not just blocking or attacking the limb that as kicking or striking, but actually destroying structure by doing so. (Totokan and or Timbilan)
4. Close the gap, attack, change angle, destroy structure, and then monitor additional attacks by putting your hands or feet in ready positions to deal with additional attacks by monitoring the zones from which they generate. Additionally, by closing the gap and catching or locking the attacker you can nullify many follow up attacks. This is only a good option if you haven’t already and aren’t able to destroy the opponent. I don’t advocate this over hitting the attacker repeatedly or breaking down their structure, but it does work if you close the gap but are unable to effectively attack. (Pencegah Tangan, Tangkapan, and Kuncian)
5. Fight the way you fight best. If what you’re doing isn’t working for you, learn to control the relationship of the fight. Be able to break away, get up, and release when you want to, or close, grab, shove or strike and kick. By doing so, you’re allowing yourself to use the tools you want to use and are comfortable using. Do not fight the other persons fight. This is hard to remember sometimes, especially if you’re getting hit. You are still better to fight your best fight, than to fight their best fight.
6. Be ready to take it to the end. Be willing to close, over-run, take a hit, and get close. Do what is necessary to do. Be willing to move beyond injuring to killing. Intent to do harm as quickly as possible is necessary. To what level of course, needs to be determined responsibly. If there is a weapon involved on the part of the attacker, for example, it is not enough to injure in most cases, you need be willing to move to killing. Pembas.
Those are my suggestions. How they work for you will depend on your skill and understanding, and of course the attackers skill and understanding and the sweat you put into your study.
Pencak Silat Pertempuran
YOU could be teaching Combat Silat within two years.
Did you know that with a strategy, a little hope, and some sweat you can achieve your goals?
The majority of us do not think so out of the box crazy that we cannot achieve what we set our mind to. If you wanted to do the work, put in the time, and bust your ass, you could achieve the instructor level rank of Pelatih within 2 years!
I’ve already helped you more than you realize. I’ve provided materials that you can use as the basis of that study. I’ve provided the goal of Pelatih. I’ve provided the timeline of 2 years. The curriculum itself is attainable, organized, measurable, and relevant.
The only thing really left for you to do is take the lead on your own education and goals.
Here’s how you do that:
1. Set up a strategy.
2. Then follow it. Do the work. Find the path that gets you there.
3. Set milestones along the way for your goals.
4. Think of what if scenarios. What if I my knee craps out? What if my elbow, shoulder, back gives out? What if my job changes? What if….? Make some contingency plans. Measure your risk areas.
5. Then, in the face of setbacks adjust your course. Keep pursuing. Be consistent and diligent.
6. Review your progress and see if it aligns with your goal. If not, adjust.
100% of this is consistent time and energy.
There are no secrets.
There is nothing esoteric. It is all exoteric.
But let’s be honest, not all the people who travel through the doors of a training area want to teach or even should be teaching.
You should still have a goal. Do the work of giving yourself something measurable to work towards. Include a timeline for that progress. Part of that will be determining for yourself, what it is that you want from your attendance, from your sweat, from your effort.
It doesn’t need to be a particular rank. The point of martial arts training is not a fixed destination in my opinion, but the journey involved. Get your mind wrapped around what it is that you are looking for. Is it personal growth? Physical health? Spiritual change? Combat efficacy? Development of grace, balance, and flexibility? Cultural attachment?
Meditate on your personal pursuit regularly. Define what you are looking to obtain. Be open to changing that as life changes, or as you mature in the arts.
Silat can be a journey that provides different things to different people, meeting you where you’re at and giving you purpose or it can be as simple as something you do to develop one aspect of yourself. Do the work of figuring out what that is.
For example, you read through this and determine that you really have no interest in teaching but instead want to develop your combat efficacy. Great! Do you know why? Is it something you like because it seems cool to kick ass? Or do you live in an unsafe environment? Do you come from an abusive background?
You will benefit more from the act of meditating on your purpose of the pursuit than you can imagine. Burrow down and try to be specific. Truly meditate on it. Figure out what you are looking for in the pursuit. Only then can you make a sure target of your training and have a way to measure your journey, make adjustments, or completely flip.
Accidental learning is the slowest way to learn. Be intentional. It’s no different than trying to find something you’ve misplaced. You think. You draw conclusions based on your thinking. Then you act accordingly. Adjusting your journey as you go, until you find the thing misplaced. And, just like a thing misplaced, if you don’t know what you’re looking for, it’s pretty damned hard to find it!
Move with intention and as in an attack, have clarity of movement, clarity of target, and clarity of the results.
PS: Just to clarify. I don’t give any certification away. This is not a attend a seminar and get certified thing. I’m sorry, that it may sound like it in hindsight, but in the past 16 or 17 years of involvement in pencak silat. I’ve awarded a grand total of 3 people instructor level rank in Combat Silat. All have taken more than 3 years to earn the lower level instructor ranking. The majority around 4 actually. However, much of that has to do with life, the ebb and flow of desire, etc. It is doable in 2 years. IMO with the right combination, which is mostly dependent on you!
6. Years of training in Pencak Silat Pertempuran have taught me that I still have years of training ahead of me in Pencak Silat Pertempuran. So do you.
5. Practice the same material over and over and over. When you’re done, practice it again and again. This is the way to great depth of understanding.
4. There are pencak silat people and systems that do not follow the path of silaturahim (brotherhood and sisterhood). They should be avoided if possible—as though they do not exist—not because we fear them, but because they bring nothing of value to Pencak Silat Pertempuran. Do not even utter the names they fight so hard to protect.
When you must, treat those associated with negativity, in kindness and brevity.
This then is also one of the ways by which Pencak Silat Pertempuran was developed.
3. Train hard. Train consistently. Be forever a student so that you will not know when you have gained great skill. May it even surprise you! Besides, it would be a shame to rise up in ability and then stop training because you have assumed success. True success is the person who finishes the race!
2. Let’s not try to keep those who do not find the way of Pencak Silat Pertempuran to their liking. Instead let’s help them on their way to finding a path that’s suitable for them.
A student, a friend, an acquaintance, cannot be forced to be part of your life. It is better to help them find their way to the right place than to try and keep them.
How to know when to let go: laziness, complaining, contrary, turmoil in their life. They do not develop fruit. These people, if too close, will pull you into their life and pull you off the path of prosperity and growth. Misery truly does love company.