Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Pencak Silat Christmas

The pencak silat seminar in Milwaukee hasn't happened and shows no signs of happening.
As I role into this new year, I am looking at the past year of teaching and the development of PSP. It has been slow as far as growth is concerned. Perhaps even stagnant. We've had new people join. Some in Spain, and others around the country, California, Georgia, and Iowa to name a few. Yet, there is something that needs to happen to bring up the training and interest. I'm not sure what it is and I am open to new ideas...

I continue to work on new training materials, and new approaches to the same material. For instance, the addition of headgear in our current classes has added a much needed realistic aspect to the training. It has caused us to work harder at understanding and applying the material and doesn't allow our silat to be just "bunga" or flower.

Nick came to class last Tuesday, as did Todd, Rocco, and Doug. It was a pretty good class. We went over Level 3 primarily, focusing on catches, checking, trapping and counter-trapping, as well as exchanges. A few put headgear on and were able to let loose a little. Even with headgear and gloves, you still can't let it fly because of the structure and power generation that PSP provides.

Well, Nick is getting some interest in his Pencak Silat Association. That's exciting! I've wanted that for a long time and I'm glad he has the energy, influence and time to get it going. Those are three things that seem to wane back and forth in my life with all of the other things going on and the other aspects of teaching and producing materials for students.

Look for another post soon as I reflect more...

Hormat saya,

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Pencak Silat class 12/16

Silat class was good today. We worked on explosive entries with a knife. As well, we worked on countering the entry. The goal was to limit the countering to a single counter and the attack to a single attack and we used a fixed distance for the entries. Probably about 3.5 feet but I don't know for sure what the distance is.

The basic premise was for one person to be explosive and try to cover the distance in a way that cause the other person to get cut or stabbed. Thought it might seem obvious, the goal of the other person was to Ales and counter. It was a good exercise and the guys (Rocco and Doug) got a good sense of the necessity for strategy and a bit better sense of the danger that can accompany a knife attack (though i doubt anyone in my classes really didn't think knife was dangerous...). They also got a better sense of when they telegraph and how to read another persons attack through the concept of zoning. Zoning is a concept that is hard to explain but good fighters use quite a bit and from what I've been taught, silat is based on zoning in one way or another. I also taught them a few "cheats" for dealing with a good deal of knife attacks.

After we did these drills for awhile, we went back to trapping with pisau. We only had time to work the first four penjebakan with pisau but it was good for them to see how it might come together and how you could use the idea of penjebakan to develop offensive strategy for pisau explosive entries. We only just touched on the idea but it will grow because it is a healthy seed of thought and ideas...

Hormat saya,

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Saturday 12/9 Pencak Silat Class

Today it was just Doug and I. We worked levels 2 and 3. We put some thigh pads on for the knee entries. I found them at the martial arts store in downtown Orlando. They work good for the hitting but the suck as far as staying on. The design is pretty worthless that way. So doug and I have come up with a good idea that would be worth pursuing to make them better and perhaps someday I'll get a chance to make a pro-type.

We also put on some headgear and some open-finger gloves and threw some punches like we meant it. We started off pretty normal, but we worked the checks (pencegah Tangan) pretty good, firing combinations to check the check so-to-speak. Doug found out that when you trust them they work pretty good, but when you don't... all kinds of things start going wrong.

After that we also worked exchanges against multiple attacks. It felt good to be responding to real-time, real-power attacks again. It's been awhile since I've been able to train that way and of course, for Doug and Rocco it's really just doing it for nearly the first time. (Rocco wasn't there today, but that's okay because I got to play :-)

Anyway, we went through all of the Masukan and all of the level 3 stuff except for Penjebak or trapping. I started to film but then all this noise started arising like a chorus around us so I stopped. Of course within about 10 minutes so did all the noise... happens every time. I did get jurus satu pisau filmed at least and I'll do it one at a time if necessary until I get them done.

I haven't made any progress on Level 9 but it should be all filmed...

Hormat saya,

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Pencak Silat Book Volume 2

I haven't been writing much lately... at least not on the blog. I've been really working hard to try and finish the second volume of pencak silat pertempuran books. Well, it's done!!! I'm frickin' thrilled because this book is huge and has lots and lots of good quality photos. The book is almost 500 pages long and I don't know how many photos it has, but it has a lot.

The book will have photos and explanations of pencak silat pertempuran jurus-jurus Tangan, Monyet-Harimau, and Pisau. As well, it will have more Masukan, more Tangkapan, more Timbilan, more Penjebakan, Latihan Berpasangan, and Pembasmian, etc.

The book is broken up into three sections: Tinggi, Monyet-Harimau, and Senjata.

Section 1: Gives the rest of the tinggi portion of psp is also included, like the jurus-jurus and the eradication methods, neck breaks, bone breaking, strangles, etc. I don't detail everything because who knows who is reading it, but I do give enough for someone who is actually studying to figure the things out and for those with some knowledge of silat already.

Section 2: covers the entire Monyet and Harimau curriculum of pencak silat pertempuran from a basic level, which includes Ales, Masukan Tangan, Masukan Kaki, Masukan Siku, Tangkapan, Timbilan, Totokan, and Latihan Berpasangan.

Section 3: covers some of the Senjata material. It shows all of the pisau material for training, and re-publishes an article I wrote for silatnow! of the kerambit (yes, Hugo you are finally in one of my books). Additionally, I cover some ideas about gun Defense. I really like this section of the book. Hopefully it will spur people on to seriously consider the best methods for gun defense. I know from my own experience, that sometimes the thing that seems the obvious does not always work the best. In addition, I also start to touch on the subject of Golok, Clurit, and Pedang, showing basic Masukan Golok. There's also a brief section on the use of two weapons and various other things.

Of course, I have a small Glossary in the back of about 6 or 8 pages of key terms for this book. There could be some that are missing but I tried to give the readers a break on the heavy terminology by using it in conjunction with English explanations whenever I felt it was necessary.

I've ordered my proofing/editing copies already and I'll get to that soon....

To be honest, there were other things I wanted to put into the book that I've shot photos for and intended to use, but the book was just getting too big. I even thought about breaking this one up into to but decided to just run with it as is and when I do volume 3 I'll put in the rest hopefully.... It would be nice to say that I'm done and not do any more books, but I really want to create a good resource for those interested in pencak silat within the U.S., and I suppose internationally as well but that's less of a concern because there are others already doing that elsewhere.

When you start a project like this you have high hopes. As the project evolves, you realize the difficulty of putting an art that is so simple and yet so complex in words. Even the use of photos does not really capture the essence of pencak silat, since that essence is really about movement. Just getting the basic elements on paper or on DVD is a challenge. Those who study with me aside, you can only hope that one in 100 people who read and watch are able to put it together and see the potential of the material using both sources. In fact, you can have times of serious reflection about your own input and output too...

For those who have already purchased the first volume, you can expect to see a new version of that on shelves sometime after the first of the year. There will be nothing new in it. It's basically just a new cover but I'm going to republish it because of some changes with the company I work with. It will give me greater control over my book for the future. So, you don't need to buy it UNLESS you just want to collect the new cover for it :-) because they are going to be different looking. The title of the book will be officially changed but that's about it.

I'm Out,

Friday, December 01, 2006

Unfettered Mind of Pencak Silat

Last night Rocco and I were having a private class and he was working on explosive entries. Making his entries less telegraphed, more direct, and quicker.

One way to do this is to focus on putting your "pushing" foot backward quickly, rather than to try and move forward fast. Usually, by trying to move forward fast you start leaning your body forward before you actually move. On the other hand, when you push your foot backward quickly, it propels your body forward because it creates the lean that you need to move forward quickly. If you think of a runner in blocks, you'll get the idea. You don't see a sprinter standing upright at the start of the race. Rather, the work hard at getting very low so that their body weight and angle helps them to generate explosive footwork. This is the concept of developing explosive footwork.

Key points include:

  • pushing backwards

  • lowering your weight

  • pushing off the balls of your feet

  • run, don't spend your time preparing - just go!

  • your hands are independent

These will get you started in exploring your explosive footwork.


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Pencak Silat - www.combat-silat.net

Selamat All

I am thinking about moving the ezine over to a blog. What does everyone think about that? I'm thinking that it would be easier to maintain. I've been working at figuring out ways of making other systems that are in place do the work for me rather than create work for myself. This is another one of those thoughts on that train...

Ultimately I would like for the forum to move totally over to a blog and cut that out of the website too. Especially since there is no primary difference between the two. Of course, it seems that having it be an open blog would have some limitations and issues but it could be more collaborative if people were interested.

US Silat Association:
Nick, one of my silat students from Tampa is trying to start a US silat organization. He's already hot into it. It basically looks like the organization I tried creating, that everyone gave lip service to but no one actually took part in. The Silat Union has ended up being more of a connection amongst people but nothing formal. Largely because people didn't seem to see the value in community.

Nick is pumped and idealistic about this however, and since he's in college he's got the time, so I think his energy will be good. I'm glad there is someone out there willing and interested to do it. Nick hopes to be able to get IPSI to sponsor silat masters from Indonesia to come over and teach, etc. and to get them to recognize silat in the U.S.

I like the idea and I hope it works since it might really help get some much needed exposure for silat in the U.S. and it might finally change some perspectives about the pencak silat that has been here since the beginning. There is definately a need since the thing most entrenched isn't necessarily the best or even good - though it has been a start.

More to follow...


Rumor has it that next year a few high level Sumatran stylists will be touring the U.S. and that would be good.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Holy Crap! Cold Silat class

Well, I'm just about frozen... It's like 48 degrees right now but there's around a 20 mph wind and class was flippin' cold tonight. Everyone was wearing their sweatshirts and other clothes to try and keep warm.

We worked on evasions against a stick. It was interesting to see Rocco and Todd work through it. Todd has a lot of Kali to sort through but Rocco did quite well actually. Rocco made a pretty good run at it and for the most part did okay.

They worked the Ales as well as Masukan Tangan and Masukan Kaki. We also did some "what if's" scenario stuff and that was interesting. Baseball swings, etc.

Anyway, glad it's over. It'll take about an hour to warm up I think... I know it's colder in other parts of the country (like Wisconsin) but dang, I'm used to Florida weather - at least a little - and it's cold tonight.

Hormat saya,

New Pencak Silat Domain Names

Hi all

Just wanted to let you know that you can now get to the site via a few different URL's


Nothing too big, but maybe a little bit easier for some.

Hormat saya,

Pencak Silat Seminar - December

Just a quick note to say that I will be holding a seminar in Milwaukee, WI with the Alive and Kicking group. It will be around Christmas some time, I am thinking that the best time would be the 23rd but I'll have to find out from Sahnya what she thinks.

We'll probably do a little bit of curriculum out of level 4 and then I may introduce pisau. It will depend on the people and what intrests they have.

Worked a little on the book, but quite frankly, I've been doing so much freelance work that I haven't been able to spend any extended time on it. Only little bits and pieces here and there. It's not looking good for the end of the year unless I can do some over Christmas vacation...

Hormat saya,

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Saturday Pencak Silat class 11/18

Hi All

Another good pencak silat class. Well... at least I think so. We worked on explosive entries and developing feet as well as hands and things to consider when making something explosive. It's more about approaching the entry with no intent of power as much as trying to be "empty" and quick, letting your mass transfer power as it moves forward. It's a bit different than just trying to hit hard because the point is to get to the target without telegraphing primarily and letting your body follow in such a way as to continue the attack. It doesn't matter how much power you have if you can't get to the target so explosiveness is essential! With that speed will come power... eventually.

We also worked Ales, Entries and entries against knife, as well as Sepak Naga against a front kick, attacking the supporting leg. We have been using a kicking shield lately and it's fun to be able to let some power go. It's also helpful to see where people still are weak in structure or understanding because power doesn't require strength, though strength can sometimes add to it. Power is a result of good mechanics, being relaxed (which really equates to speed), timing, and whole body intent.

Doug got his head split open by my wedding ring... Sorry Doug. We were working on focus mitts and Doug's head dropped into a place to near the focus mitt and got a nice cut on his forehead. If I had been thinking, I would have taken a picture because that baby is really leaking. :-) So, just a reminder, take your jewelry off when you train and don't put your head by the focus mitt. :-)

We did do some filming and photography. We filmed trapping with a knife in hand, the bow with a knife, and how to use knife grip switching and the various grips to counter someone holding onto your wrist. Of course, it's not without it's risk, but it does offer another way to add variability into the fray. Also, we did photos of that material and came that much closer to having the first weapons level completed. It's still a long way off I think just because of the quantity of material and now we are hitting the holidays which makes filming somewhat sporadic. I'll keep at it though.

The Vol.2 book may end up later than I had hoped just because of all the freelance work I've been doing and the need for more photos, and writing that needs to be done yet. I've tried to keep it a little higher quality with the photos and to use more photos rather than less in an effort to communicate more efficiently to people in the know already. Hopefully that will work well. I'm also trying not to recreate the wheel with material, etc. that should already be known, at least to a certain degree and that's already been made available somewhere else while trying to keep a balance with those that might start with this Volume rather than Volume One.

Take care,

Pendiri Pencak Silat Pertempuran

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Pencak Silat Pisau and Penjabakan

Saturday 11/11 - At our pencak silat class we primarily worked on trapping and counter trapping. Doug and Rocco are working on it. Mario was also there so he and I did a bit together but he primarily worked on his hand entries. Rocco and Doug got through Traps 1-5 primarily and then I showed them 6-8. We discussed how the trapping that I teach combines exchanging, re-parrying, grabbing, etc.

The primary purpose is to get people flowing from one hit to another and that should happen regardless of the success or failure of your initial attack. The basic premise is to try and use one hand to immobilize the two hands of your attacker, freeing your other hand for a counter attack. The point of trapping isn't to trap your opponents limbs as much as to free you to strike them.

Additionally, we discussed the need to press into your opponent and ultimately to try and immobilize them somehow because trapping typically requires a way to pin the attackers arms to themselves. Another component or another way that can sometimes be accomplished is by continually moving forward into your opponent, crowding them.

We'll probably spend a month on trapping. There is a lot of material and value in trapping and while the primary issue is using one hand to immobilize two of the attackers, it does mix with exchanging, checking, and catching to a degree. So understanding all of those methods from level 3 is valuable and necessary. Of course, evading and entering is also vital because without those aspects you won't be able to employ the rest of it.

Another aspect to trapping that needs more exploration by Doug and Rocco is the sensitivity to the opponents energy. There is always a spring-like energy in the defense against any attack where contact happens. We need to be able to be sensitive to it and use it appropriately to make our trapping effective, smooth, and explotative.

We also filmed a bit of pisau today and did some photography for Vol. 2. We videod Jurus Pisau Satu and a very brief buah. Grip changing, and grip use, as well as hand exchanging. I think the last thing we filmed was the Tangkapan of pisau or using the knife to perform catching. There's so much that translates into knife directly that the Level 10 of the system could be quite large. Levels 11 and 12 will not be quite so large I think.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Pencak Silat Monyet

Saturday 11/4 - At class we went over Pencak Silat Monyet material. Not groundwork as I often associate it, but nasty elbow flows and combinations to destroy the attacker by overwhelming them. It was the combination of elbows in various ways to keep a constantly changing elbow shield that was extremely dynamic, and simultaneously offensive as a method of attack. Very destructive and very painful. It's really the combination of some drills I've done in the past, static elbow methods, elbow shielding, and an epiphany of the similarities in combination with the general study of movement, flow, and combativeness. Hard to summarize but very intruiging. I am working through it's presentation to formulate methods for training, etc. It is very monkey silat in style and brings together some of that from my history and training (all the way from the beginning of my training), into the current context of PSP.

We discussed it's value with langkah and pencak silat celing or boar silat manifestations which is essentially the same type of thing. The Silat Celing is the combination of drills, langkah, shielding, destructions, explosive entries, and kicking into an approach, that while simple, could take years of training. The Silat Monyet is the same type of thing for the upperbody.

In the near future I will try to lay out more of each of these, but I thought I would just give you an overview. I would hasten to say that I am very excited about the potential of each of these and though you don't know it yet, you will be too.

We also got to finish filming the Monyet-Harimau (I think) for Level 9 and the beginning of Level 10. I am still formulating how best to teach Levels 10-12 without making them too repetitive in nature. I don't want to give material that a person who is not part of the system could figure out, without participating in the earlier materials. In other words, I don't want the materials to be redundant which is a bit of a challenge because when working with a tool such as a knife, golok, sarong, you must be able to switch between principle, application, and movement based manifestations. I am looking at just filming exceptions to the core but working at ways to communicate that best. More thought will need to be given to it...

Hormat saya,

Guru Pencak Silat Pertempuran

Friday, November 03, 2006

Pencak Silat in Maryland

Hello all; Pelatih Bill Dwyer has set up a new website for Pencak Silat called Pencak Silat Pertempuran Maryland. Here is the web address: http://wmdsilat.com

Of course, I will be updating the links on the side to reflect the new site.

Tomorrow is pencak silat class and I hope to do some blade filming and some photos. I doubt it will all get done but I want to get started on it. I think I'm done with Harimau finally. I'll address some issues in the 2nd volume which will fill it out a bit so Tingkat Sembilan or Level 9 should be complete soon.

Hormat saya

Monday, October 30, 2006

Keluarga 2007-pencak silat

The training camp called Keluarga 2007 is scheduled for August 3-5 already. It will be in Des Moines and will only be three days of pencak silat training this coming year. I'm trying a shorter format since most people basically only stay 3 days anyway and even if they are there for 4 days, they've checked out mentally and physically by day 3. So I'm going to try a different format and see if we can keep the energy up.

The Keluarga will be at brother Jay Carstensen's in Des Moines and he is already looking into a shelter to rent, etc. so if it's hot or rainy we'll have some where to go.

Hopefully energy will stay high and we'll finally be able to get some traditional night training in around the circle. Depending on the quantity of new people, of course we'll go over the foundations and then we may move to weapons and other studies. I'm not really sure just yet because it will depend on who attends since I want to help people progress in the system where they are at but I also want to give them some material that shows them where they are going.

It's always a difficult mix to find. Eventually, I want to do several Keluarga's a year so that they can be a bit more focused and then people can attend the one that will most meet their needs.

Hormat saya,

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Pencak Silat Class

Well, it didn't rain so we had class today. We started out with push-ups, then jump squats, to knee drops or Ales Lima depending on your viewpoint and then we kept rolling right into Sepak Bulat or roundhouse kicks.

We followed that up with Tendangan Depan or front Heel kicks.

Then we combined the two into a short series, followed by an elbow or pukul to the head or body.

Then we combined the two sepak or kicks into a positioning technique that allowed us to perform the Pembasmian Pukul or Pembasmian Lehir Patah.

Then we added to that, a switch to another pembasmian or a kinjit siku. Though by this time people were getting a little tired.

Doug and I went off a bit and worked the Statue Drill, which is where one person attacks with whatever they want to and you respond naturally and follow up until the person is finished or the threat would be removed. It's a way to test your skills and to see what you know under a bit more pressure but in a way that still allows you to experiment because you don't know exactly what the attack is going to be or how you will end up. The person feeding the attack should not be countering you at all. It is really there job just to let you do your stuff. Obviously the thing to consider is safety when you are applying your techniques since this trainer is not fighting back at all.

Then Mario and Rocco did this as well.

Shaun (a new guy) went home after the workout. He wasn't feeling well.

Doug was not able to stay late so we didn't get to film or do photos. That's too bad, but what can you do? Maybe next Saturday....

Pencak Silat Saturday.

It's raining this morning. We need it. It's very dry here. It kind of sucks though because I was planning to start filming this morning for senjata. Specifically knife or pisau. It may stop yet since it's only about 830 am.

I've been trying to get through the basic material on video. Harimau is done I think... though I've put off actually making the last video until I get some more time to look at one or two more aspects of it. So, in order to keep moving and since it's a bit cooler now here in Florida, I've decided to start making the other levels.

Thursday, Rocco and I were talking about Spirituality and I was saying that the third book I write I want to reflect spirituality in pencak silat and specifically my own understanding but without being too specific. I want it to include specific spiritual exercises and methods as well as philosophy, principle, strategy, etc. It's going to be a tough book to write because it's such a large subject and I don't want it to be an exclusive book, but rather, more of a discussion about spirituality with the book as the basis or starting point. I can't wait to tackle it but it's still going to be tough. I don't imagine it will be the length of the other books just because that would take several years of work and I don't want the discussion to take that long to get started and I don't want people to wait that long to learn the specific exercises, principles, etc.
We've been working more on explosiveness and entering an opponent. Rocco has spent several months just working on this and has made tremendous improvement.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Press Release

Tried my first press release. Wanted to let the world know about these funny new shirts I created about pencak silat. Most people seem to like them so they might be a big hit. They are available on http://www.cafepress.com/silatshop and of course through my main Silat Shop http://www.combat-silat.net/edges_store/default.asp . I've added new products like mugs, boxers, etc. It's my hope that making some commercial items that can be worn around without affiliation will help pencak silat grow through awareness.

As for the press release, I'm not sure it did any good but it was worth a shot. I learned some things and I will probably do it again when my second book is released later this year or early next year (2007).

Why do a press release for t-shirts? Well, I wanted to try it and quite frankly, what I'm doing isn't working so I'm experimenting with new things that are "out of my box" at least. Even the shirts and gifts are a bit of a stretch for me. I wanted to do something fun that might raise some eyebrows and something that other people could wear without it being an advertisement for me.

We'll see how they are received.