What PSP Is – II

As the founder of Pencak Silat Pertempuran I chose to deliberately look at the things I was taught through a different lens. My views were formed through testing and fighting primarily and against many different martial arts stylists, opponents, and sizes. Those experiences taught me a lot.

For example, having earned a few different instructors certificates over the years for various martial arts I remember being taught stances by all of them and being told, “that we only use this to strengthen legs.” Or a series of blocks which ultimately became, “in reality this is only to teach the new people to defend themselves.”

And similarly for many things that didn’t seem particularly useful. Basically, we’ll teach them this wrong thing and then later teach them something better. As if people were incapable of just jumping in to what was valuable. I chose to believe that people could do the useful stuff from the start and the problem I often saw is that many people never really took to the later modifications because the early stuff was so ingrained.

Even for myself, I tried many of the things I was taught and realized that much of it was not very useful or practical for me at least. (Later, as my skills grew deeper some of those things were found to be useful—but it took a Long Time.) It was during this refining process and the burning off of the dross that the core of Pencak Silat Pertempuran was developed.

It has been revised and refined over the years to what it is now. Essentially the act of reduction and redundancy. Almost exclusively.

When you look at the curriculum you’ll notice, for example, that I don’t specifically teach stances, or blocks, or even parry’s per se. It was a deliberate choice to start people in the learning process by only teaching them things that they could actually use. No training wheels. Most people don’t need to learn how to stand longer, they need to learn how to move better—why teach them to stand then? You don’t need to learn how to block, you need to learn how to move and counter. That’s a much better use of your time than conditioning bad habits of being stationary and trying to block attacks.

I’d rather people walk away from every class learning how to actually be better at defending themselves rather than teach things that aren’t particularly useful or that I have to unteach them later.

And if we’re honest with ourselves, those things like stances, blocks, etc. are not even useful for keeping someone safe. To be in defense means that you are specifically and deliberately putting yourself at a timing disadvantage and I have no damn idea why you would do that…. particularly when you’re already not very good. It makes no sense—it only makes dollars.

Sean Stark
Founder of Pencak Silat Pertempuran. In looking for a martial art that was practical and artistic I found Pencak Silat. In silat I found an art that's organic nature allowed me to change it to make it culturally realistic and still allowed me to have the benefit of art and body culture.


  • Olivier
    September 27, 2022

    Hi Sean
    I’ve got the three volumes you wrote about Penchak Silat. I really love them.
    I’d like to meet you and practice with you if you organise workshops.
    Where do you live in US ?
    Could I call you to chat with each other ?
    I’m looking forward to reading from you very soon.
    Sincerely yours
    Olivier cartoux

    • User Avatar
      Sean Stark
      September 30, 2022

      Thank you, Olivier! Firstly, I am located in NC, US. Secondly, I notice that you have a .fr email…?

      • Olivier
        October 1, 2022

        Hi Sean,
        Absolutely, because, I’m localed in France where I was born.
        Please, let me know about all the informations to practice with you.
        In fact, I plan to travel often and to train again in Pencak Silat. I’d really like to start again to practice with you.

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“My first thought was, who am I to teach?”