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.