Pencak Silat is a grouping of martial arts found within the countries of Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, Thailand, and the Southern Philippines. The term Pencak Silat is a blanket term for the indigenous martial arts of those areas, each with its own unique emphasis.
Pencak silat is typically considered a “complete martial art” having an emphasis on weapons, but includes the more common aspects of evasion, striking, kicking, locking, throwing, ground fighting, spiritual development, and societal training—but each system to it’s own degree. Some of the most common factors being landscape or geography, urban v. rural, cultural lineage, religious lineage—essentially adaptation to the immediate cultural context.
But despite it’s similarity in general structure to other martial arts, Pencak Silat has some characteristics that are not found to the same degree in other martial arts. One of those characteristics is the consistent use of “baiting” or Welcoming Postures (Sikap Pasang). Pencak Silat also has an aspect of beauty within it’s movements, which are sometimes mistaken to lack combative value.
The art itself (in it’s thousands of variations) contains training in both circular and direct motion as well as muscularly soft and strong motions. An emphasis on efficiency, fluidity, and adaptability are found within Pencak Silat, though not often explicitly stated. This brings a very critical component of organic flexibility to Pencak Silat that does not seem to exist to the same extent within other arts.
Pencak Silat Pertempuran is a simplified, self-protection framework utilizing aspects of pencak silat contextualized to life in the “west.” We utilize “dirty boxing,” ground fighting, traditional & improvised weapons, including EDC and basic firearms awareness. In addition, PSP will also increase your overall fitness, conditioning, mobility, & flexibility.
Pencak Silat Pertempuran is built on the idea that less is more. By focusing on development of movement and allowing modification for the needs and context of the individual, practitioners learn application from defensive methods to advanced application of weapons to include concealed carry.
Pencak Silat Pertempuran is organized and systematic. The system design provides organic study and expression within the framework. This is unique because it allows a clear method for growth while also being combative and useful for today.
Pencak Silat Pertempuran is obviously not a traditional martial arts approach. Both contemporary western combat methodologies and south east asian methodologies are used. This creates a balance between needing a system that is easy to learn but also street effective, even for those who deal with violence professionally.
The instructors of pencak Silat Pertempuran are focused on creating a “village or tribal style.” Meaning, that our intent is to treat each practitioner and instructor of PSP as part of our family. If you’re into deep study, hard work, some bruises, and enjoying the journey then you’ll probably fit in.
In pencak silat Pertempuran we recognize that we all have weaknesses and we all have strengths. It’s our job to help you find them and shore up what needs it and capitalize on your strengths. It’ll be organic enough to be combative but systematic enough to develop attributes that are critical to high-level pencak silat movement, adaptability, and spontaneity.
Pencak Silat Pertempuran is focused on principles, positions, and movement mechanics that best exemplify the most common aspects of self-protection, but that are enhanced through your own personal expression, exploration, and adaptation to the culture you live in.
My journey started in Tae Kwon Do as a teen. I didn’t do much in it because my parents couldn’t afford it. Actually, I’m not sure if that’s true or not. I didn’t even ask because it always seemed like money was “tight.” My Mother and father were divorced when I was young. My mother had re-married to someone who was diabetic, used dialysis, and eventually had a kidney transplant. Lots of medications to keep him tickin’. All that to say, that things were always financially difficult it seemed so I didn’t even ask about MA training. However, I had a friend who studied and was a Black belt who used to teach me. It was informal of course, but I knew I liked it.
From this start I had the opportunity to study a little here and there while I served in the Army as an M.P. Nothing crazy, but of course your standard military style combatives and then in Germany I got exposure to some Judo and Aikido. Very small exposure but it helped me see that this is what I wanted to do someday…
After a brief stint into the working class blue collar life I decided I wanted something else and I decided on going to school. Through that process I was introduced to the first person who I was able to really study martial arts from. It was a kung fu style. Essentially a “cotton fist” style that relied heavily on relaxation. With that I also began studying Wu and Yang Tai Chi. I did these for about 8 years and taught for 4 or 5 of those. I was also introduced to some Judo and Aikido again in an art called Budo Aikido. Most of this studying was done with Sifu Ron O. Skipper and a little with his Sifu, Jim Bregenzer.
Around ’92, when I got married, we moved back to Wisconsin and I began studying Wing Chun off and on with a few different people, JKD, Kali, Arnis, Hok Kuntao and smatterings of Maphilindo and Mande Muda starting around ’94. I was still teaching Kung fu and Tai Chi more so that I could keep learning and growing. In college I also did a few semesters of Judo and began a short stint into Bak Shaolin Ji Ying Jow Pai.
In ’94 I got introduced to Sifu-Guro Dan Molash. He really turned me on to the Kali, JKD, Silat, and Hok Kuntao. His primary art was the Hok Kuen which is very similar to Ngo Cho Kuen – though a smaller system overall. It seems that many of the forms that we share in common are similar in structure and style – not identical by any means, but similar. It’s a good system and one that I have enjoyed. My sights began shifting from the Kung fu I was doing to the Hok Kuen (Hok Kuntao), Kali & Arnis, as well as Silat. At this stage silat was interesting but I didn’t have enough information. However, the Kali, Arnis, and the Hok Kuen were being hotley pursued (just to clarify, when I say Kali AND Arnis it’s because I was practicing with a few different instructors in different systems that went by different names).
By ’98 I had shifted through 4 years of Arnis, Hok Kuen, and Silat and I decided that I needed to just drop the kung fu and tai chi. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. In ’97 I began studying Silat as a primary art in Raja Sterlak Silat with Guru Cruicchi. I also began studying Garrote Larense (a Venezuelan Machete art).
During this stage my Kali and Arnis training began to decline. I was still actively pursuing Hok Kuen but I was devoting as much or more energy to my pursuit of Raja Sterlak Silat as taught to me by Guru Cruicchi, and to him by Guru Muthalief. In ’98 I began studying Pamur Silat and got introduced to Jati Wisesa Silat and Serak Silat. I quickly dropped Serak Silat because of the enormity of extra baggage that comes with studying that system here in America. I pursued Pamur silat regularly for the next 4 years as well as Raja Sterlak and Garrote. To this day I still practice portions of Pamur. Less of Raja Sterlak and little Garrote. It’s just a matter of available time in life… recognizing that the best I can ever be will happen by focused pursuit of a single thing.
By ’96, “Hugo” ( a close martial arts friend) and I, were on the same path with similar questions concerning martial arts and possibilities, etc. It was always amazing to me how we would get together after a 6 month hiatus from “killing” each other and we would find ourselves asking similar questions and pursuing similar topics. Almost always in differing ways 🙂 Often appearing as polar extremes.
In ’97 when I began pursuing pencak silat fully, a transformation began to take place in my martial arts and by ’98 when I began really studying Pamur some interesting questions were in my head. By mid to late ’98 those questions had been given answers. I can still remember that it was fall of that year and where it happened. I remember walking home from a class or something and having the beginnings of an epiphany that would last around 2 weeks! One insight after another. Within that two week time period the majority of PSP (Silat Dirty Boxing) was laid out and born.
Of course, it was the product of many, many, different experiences, teachers, training’s, thrashings, etc. that I received. All were strategically provided as though the timing was planned in all cases. (This is a much longer story but I would be willing to try and explain what I can at another time.)
In any case, With the base from my previous years of training, the combination of questions in my head that I had been searching for answers on for years, the teachers I had met, the losses I had dealt with, and the introduction of me to Pamur, PSP seemed to magically appear. No really, it still feels (literally) like magic to me how it all came to be.
When I think of the art as it stands today and its history, I still get butterflies in my stomach and feel the adrenaline and excitement that I had when the first moment of insight came and others immediately followed. It was outside of me–as though I was looking in on it all from another place. It sounds weird… probably hokey but that’s exactly how it felt. (Just to be clear, I recognize that the epiphany that led to PSP was the product of a lot of experiences, introspection, struggle, and learning opportunities that all converged at the same time.)
In any case, I haven’t looked back since. It was clear that something unique had happened, and the material that came from it made more sense than I’ve ever seen another martial art make. To me, it felt like I had finally found what I had been searching for.
Some of the material came directly from the various silat systems I was studying but some of the materials were the obvious next steps in that original material and were developed as a core to answer those questions that had been bouncing around in my head.
The really cool part to me, is that I’m still learning and growing from the system. I’m still challenged by it. I still pursue it’s understanding. I’m still very much a student. Each passing year, now going on 19 years of focused learning of PSP and I’m still stunned by how much I have learned and how much I will probably keep learning.
I hope you will join me on this journey! It’s been a helluva journey.
Look, I’ll be honest, I mostly came to what I am presenting to you as Pencak Silat Pertempuran through years of fighting, getting hit, hitting, years of struggle, and the constant search to understand those failings.
In Pencak Silat Pertempuran, I have tried to keep in my mind some guidelines as it develops. Many of them overlap in value and consideration but all of these questions, though redundant, have been questions I’ve asked of the material I use and teach. They are the lens by which I view the material, training, and development as well as the way I view other systems of training.
They are as follows:
- After class TODAY can it be applied on the street?
- Does it address probability over possibility?
- Does it account for unknowns?
- Can YOU use it spontaneously?
- Could YOU employ it in an elevator, bathroom, or small space?
- Is it dynamic and adaptable?
- Is it really simple and attainable for most anyone?
- Is it systematic, learnable, and teachable?
- Does it value relationship over technique?
- Does it develop, strengthen, and highlight YOUR personal attributes?
- Does it improve the overall quality of YOUR life?
- Does it challenge YOU to personal growth?
- Is it cohesive AND explorative?
- Is the material relatively universal to the martial arts or to common ways people react or move?
- Could you learn the core of it in 1-2 years meeting once or twice a week?
- OR Could you learn the core of it in two weeks of solid training?
With those questions as my guideline, the system of was developed, and iterated. It is an iterative process. Having taught hundreds of students I’ve learned what works for more people and what the majority need to learn.
The lineage of Pencak Silat Pertempuran is as follows:
- Pamur – Bayu Aji Wicaksono – Tulus – Hassan Habudin – ?
- Raja Sterlak – Bruno Cruicchi – Abdul Muthalief – ?
- Raja Monyet – Brandt Smith – Jafa’ – ?
- Silat Sunda – Roedy Wiranatakasumah, Robby Maulana, Abek – ?
- Hok Kuen – Dan Molash – Yao Ka Ho – Vincente Goh – ?
Pencak Silat Pertempuran utilizes materials from Pamur, Raja Sterlak, Silat Sunda, Hok Kuen, and Raja Monyet primarily but is focused on useful and practical application and has been tried, tested, and adapted as necessary and needed to that end.
Below is a list of additional systems and teachers who have taught me along the way and that have contributed to my understanding and development. (There are several other systems that I have been exposed to that are not listed.)
- Madura Keluarga – Daniel Prasetya – ?
- Paseban Mutakhir – Saleh – Cacang – ?
- Serak – Victor deThoaurs – Paul deThouars – Maurice deThouars – Ventje deThoaurs – ?
- Zulfikari – Mushtaq Ali Shah – ?