Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Pencak silat Pertempuran Vol. 3

The third volume of Pencak Silat Pertempuran is nearly complete. I have ordered a proof copy and it should be waiting for me. Hopefully, there will be no major omissions, or issues and I can just publish it.

In any case, be looking for it in the near future. I tried making it by the end of the year but I fell just a little short.

Hormat saya,

Monday, November 19, 2007

Pencak Silat in Bali

UN Conference on Global Climate Change
Bali, Indonesia - December 3rd-14th 2007

just trying to get a little notice for this event. Visit their webpage to learn more about it.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Silat Pertempuran

Recently on a forum I was asked some questions regarding pencak silat Pertempuran. Below are the questions and the answers. Some of this has been posted before but bear with me...

I like your definitions of what silat should be and how to achieve that. To achieve good silat you must train while seeking to accomplish the involvement of Rasa? What about intention? Should one not concentrate on intention too, to get to the rasa?

An other question your response makes me ask is: are there any techniques that are difinitely silat, and not something else? I ask this as during the Japanese occupation here and after it, some karate moves, like the forward thrust kick, was adopted by many silat styles. An other interesting phenomena was when in the 1970s-80s Central Jawa tenaga dalam schools wanted to become silat schools, they had to invent and standardize jurus, and some took movement from other arts, including non Indonesian arts. And what about arts like Tarung Drajad / Boxer?

RE: pencak silat
Well, this topic comes up from time to time. The first time I brought it up was about three years ago. The point in bringing it up was simply to dialogue with people and try to get people talking about it but no one wanted to get involved. I personally thought it would be a fascinating discussion but instead I immediately got the “pencak silat is too varied and too big and too this and too that to define.” Yet, in my own experience, when I have met guru silat, they have asked me to “move” for them. Clearly they are looking for pencak silat. If I did Jiu Jitsu I don’t think they would have responded with the same enthusiasm as they did when I performed pencak silat. To that end then, I think they saw something manifested in the movement that made them think they had seen pencak silat. If that is the case, then it must be definable on some level.

Because of that, I have set out to define it as best as I am able, knowing that I:
A. Don’t know much about silat
B. Don’t know much about Indonesia
C. Don’t know much about the languages of Indonesia
D. Don’t know much about the culture and people

With all of that against me, here is my basic response to what I think pencak silat is:

Time and time again I have watched people who are studying pencak silat and yet they don't move well. They can apply the techniques, but they don’t seem to move like a pencak silat player. IMO this is an epidemic within pencak silat here in the U.S. (not that I’ve got it figured out either), but too much time seems to be spent trying to reduce pencak silat to formulas, principles, patterns, techniques, (science if you will) and not enough time is spent enjoying the movement, exploring the movement, feeling the movement, putting intention into your movement (art if you will). Rasa! Not just punching harder, intention is not about that.

Good pencak silat movement is filled with deception.
Good pencak silat movement is filled with variations in timing.
Good pencak silat movement is filled with a wave-like energy.
Good pencak silat movement is filled with balance.
Good pencak silat movement is filled with level changes.
Good pencak silat movement is filled with intention.
Good pencak silat movement is filled with explosiveness.
Good pencak silat movement is filled with application.
Good pencak silat movement is filled with awareness.
Good pencak silat movement is filled with fluidity.
Good pencak silat movement is filled with angles, circles, and lines.
Good pencak silat movement is filled with responsiveness.
Good pencak silat movement is filled with aesthetic beauty.


GREAT pencak silat movement is filled with all of these things at the same time. This is the Rahasia of great pencak silat movement.

As students of pencak silat we should seek to accomplish these things even when performing application, even when performing a jurus, even when doing a basic strike or kick.

The most difficult thing for students of PSP to learn is this combination of attributes. As a system we start with psuedo applications but in truth, they are not entirely valuable in and of themselves. It is within the context of the attributes above that real value, real skill, becomes known.

We tend to look at the application as the goal, but it is only one facet of the whole. A valuable piece to be sure, but to do pencak silat completely you must combine the attributes above. When you begin to do that your technique will naturally improve. Each piece feeds off of the other pieces. There is no pencak silat without the entire list. You can have either pencak or silat but not both.

For sure pencak silat has had many influences. Some from Indian, Chinese, Japanese, and Filipino sources. Each as left it’s mark. Combine that with religion and you’ve got an even wider variety, so I see the temptation to leave what is and what is not pencak silat undefined. In fact, out of the call to brotherhood it makes perfect sense. Yet, it doesn’t seem to be a good thing for pencak silat in the long run in my opinion. Quite the opposite in fact because if we cannot define what pencak silat is, how can we ever hope to inform the general populace about the true beauty of pencak silat. How can Indonesians claim that someone in America who has experience only in JKD and who now claims to be teaching silat, have any basis for saying that it doesn’t fully reflect the best of what pencak silat can be? How can any of us tell interested party’s that something is jiu jitsu and not Harimau for example?

I know very little about the whole of pencak silat. I am sure I don’t even fully understand what I currently teach. It is still teaching me regularly. So I am sure that I am not qualified to define pencak silat for the entire world but I will at least attempt to define it for my students so that they can at least start to realize that not all things are pencak silat and perhaps in the future we can work together to create something that is a bit more specific and targeted. In any case, it is my obligation as a teacher and practitioner.

Language acts as a good analogy. English is a language that has many influences and contributors to its foundation. They are wide ranging. Yet, today, we don’t say those other contributing languages are English. That is because English has sufficiently evolved to the point where it is unique and carries its own set of rules and words. It is no longer really what it came from but rather it is English. Of course, we can see that there are two forms of English. There is British English and American English. Both are similar, yet both are unique. Each has it’s own differences and obviously a good portion of similarities. They would be a family of related languages. To use this analogy with pencak silat, I would answer that the degree to which the influences from other cultures have been absorbed and probably modified to something that is uniquely identifiable as Indonesian (using Indonesian just to simplify) is the degree to which it would be considered to be pencak silat and not another form of martial art.

Just so we’re clear, I’m not really looking for debate on the topic, I’m more interested in what others have to say.

Regarding Christian beliefs and PSP.
I’m in the process of writing the third primary book on the topic of PSP and this particular book is all about that subject. I wish I could summarize it but honestly I wouldn’t even know where to begin. I will pull out some specific elements for you.

The berhormatan is a prayer. Each movement is tied to specific parts of the prayer.

The jurus-jurus are about potential. The point of Christianity is to find potential for a new life in Christ. It is about putting aside the old and adopting the new pattern of living. Jurus-jurus are about patterning your movements and building the potential attributes required for success in response to the moment. They are about potential. There is no specific correlation to the actual movements of the jurus-jurus.

Martial arts without faith are worthless. If you don’t trust your martial art to work when you need it, then at the first sign of trouble, you will abandon it and move to something else - anything else. This is a real spiritual issue for the believer of any faith. When you get struck or stabbed or slashed, how are you going to respond? Will you have that faith in your martial art to continue to use it? To that end, it is important to build faith by being continuously challenged over time to the boundaries of your skill so that you will increase the boundaries and thereby reduce what could cause you doubt. It is not “blind faith” as so many believe, but faith that is built up over time by continuous works in even the smallest areas of training (spiritual or martial).

Another example. I don’t really believe in the carrying of a weapon. Many of my silat brothers throughout the U.S. believe in carrying a knife it seems. It has been my own personal experience that carrying a knife can cause you to have a sense of safety that is not always appropriate and it can cause you to be bolder than you would otherwise. No different than walking around with six of your best saudara silat. You might be tempted to go places where you know it is not really safe but because you have this tool, or these friends, you have created a situation that could be potentially dangerous. Spiritually, you could equate this to putting yourself into a place of temptation or you could event take it to the area of ego and escalation. The best form of Ales or avoidance is not being around things that could cause problems to begin with.

Hopefully this is enough of an example because I’m going on 2.5 hours of writing a response and I’m getting tired….

To answer the question of “turning the other cheek” though, (since this one comes up quite frequently) I would respond that we must be careful not to take a single verse of Scripture outside of the intended context of the entire writing and audience it was intended for. (We can see this in many religions today.) Many people have seen this verse as referring to the physical aspect but in reality, it is much more about the idea of ego and humility. We are not to be pressed into combat because of some perceived wrong to our ego but instead we are to remain humble. Christ was certainly an advocate for those who could not help themselves and would readily step in to save someone if necessary. We must learn to love our neighbors as ourselves but that doesn’t mean that we are not to protect ourselves or be prepared, the issues at stake are more about self-discipline and self-control not passivity.

Hope this gives you some idea.

Hormat saya,

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Pencak Silat Pertempuran Striking Drill

Hello all;

Here is a simple drill for practicing some striking if you don't have a heavy bag but you have a kicking shield and a training partner. There are actually a few of these and I will share them over the next few days or so.

They are basic but may help you.


Thursday, October 25, 2007

Pencak Silat Pertempuran Training Video

Selamat All;
Here is another simple pencak silat training drill that incorporates some simple functions to get people moving, striking, and angling in a more offensive way, rather than defensive. The goal is to work to get behind the attacker. Shot at night so it's green.

Hope you enjoy.


Sunday, October 21, 2007

Pencak Silat Video

Pencak Silat Pertempuran Video clip showing how you might use the basic ales while sitting down. This was shot at night during our class time that's why it's green.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Of course, today is 9/11.

This is not a silat posting but it's relevant to my silat training. It is because of stupid people that silat and every other form of martial art exists.

We must remember that martial arts is much more about being a warrior than anything else we learn from it. In fact, everything else comes out of that one aspect alone. We can know that as true because if we took the combative, warrior applications and training out of it, what would be left? Philosophy, Spiritual Training, Art, Culture? Nothing that can't be found in some other venue. No similarities required.

Train then like you are a warrior. Stop dabbling in it and get yourself moving. You know, it's a fact that you can study the best martial system with the best teacher and still be a lazy undisciplined bum. Being a martial artist, at least in my organization requires discipline and perseverance. Oh sure, you can taste it without really doing it but you'll never really get it.

PSP is a simple system. Yet, few really understand that. Few have really put the energy out that it requires to learn that for themselves. I say that not to complain or chastise but to say that I wonder how many other systems of martial art suffer from the same issue?

How many of us, including myself, forget the simple truth that we are learning a warrior art and should be walking a warrior path. We just never know when we will be called on to use our skills. It could be tomorrow, it could be today, it could be in five minutes. Right now, one of you may be doing it instead of reading this!

Can you honestly say that when you practice that you have that in mind? If not, why?

You are my brothers and sisters. I care for you guys and I will do what I can to help you on this journey, but you must do your part. I have already provided the majority of the core materials for you and the world to see, but watching it on TV will not teach you how it all connects together, only doing it will. I am available to you guys for any help you need, but only asking me will get you the help you need - not my availability. Again, this is not to chastise or correct because many of you do quite well with this, it's just a reminder, that actions really do speak louder than words.

On this date, several years ago, people from all kinds of backgrounds, religious beliefs, and races were forced by things going on around them to temporarily assume the warrior spirit. Some rose to the surface and did it, and others did not. How we respond on a day to day basis is probably an indicator of how we might respond in a real situation. Do you act or do you sit and watch?

The lifestyle we have chosen is a lifestyle of OUR CHOOSING. Get off your "can" and do it! Stop riding the fence.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Pencak Silat Pertempuran

Sorry folks. I have been busy writing my third book and I don't have a lot of time to do both and train and work, blah blah blah. In any case, I will try to post out here again soon. Perhaps an excerpt from the Third Volume of Pencak Silat Pertempuran materials.

Hormat saya,

Friday, August 17, 2007

PENCAK SILAT L'efficacité absolue

Sudden Violence.

Demonstrasi Silat Minangkabau

Good Minang Silek.

Cecep Arif Rahman

Very good, precise movement.

Silat Lincah

Malay silat again.

Silat Cingkrik Goning

Silat pengantin

wedding silat.

Pencak Silat West Sumatra Singo Barantai

Look at the space these guys are working in... Low kicks only right?

Pencak Silat west Java

Silat Sarawak

Check out the sparks from the blades!

Kuciang Lia Pauh Pencak Silat Stick Fighting

Another cool vid.

Pertubuhan seni silat sukmorogo


Pencak Silat from West Sumatra Padang

Pencak Silat Barat Sumatra.


Two little guys having at it.

Penjak Silat

A good demonstrasi of Jawa Timur pencak silat. Pencak silat from east java.

Silat Kuntau Tekpi Training Form (Pelebat)

Another Malay form.

Kuciang Lia knife fight Pauh Pencak Silat

Good Sumatran silat system. This is obviously just training so it's a treat to be able to see it on the web.

Tari Piring Kubu Durian (Pencak Silat)

Plate dance for those who haven't seen it. There are different ones with different moves including walking on plates while manipulating plates in your hands.

Silat Ropers system

No non-sense. I believe the Guru Frank Ropers is from the Joussot line of Setia Hati Terate.

Otai Silat Pulut

Not a great video but still if you are watching the movement you can see things of interest, not to mention the general movement style.

Silat Macan Pasrah in action.

If you've never seen Olah Raga before...

Silat Gayong Kedah

Silat Seni Gayong kedah a Malay style.

Ganda Pencak Silat


Ganda Pencak Silat

Cool choreographed demonstrasi.

Silat Body Conditioning

The point is to move - not get beat up...

Asas silat pulut

Pendekar Bujang Lapuk (Silat Brawl at the Jetty)

Okay, just funny.

Silat Cekak Hanafi UiTM Shah Alam - Siri 2

A little Malay silat.

silat sunda

I love this vid.

gendang silat

Good Gendang Silat video.

Silat Harimau


Silat G5 Basic Fighting Techniques

This looks like an interesting style. It is Malaysian.

Harimau pencak silat

I had the pleasure of going to a seminar with MaHa Guru DeBordes a month or so ago and he was great. Mostly a very nice man, very intense, but a pleasure to be around. Not too hung up on formality of technique as much as spirit.

Silat Seligi Tunggal Kemuning

Awesome video of pencak silat that I thought you guys might like.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Keluarga - Pencak Silat Pertempuran 2007 Training Camp

So this years pencak silat training camp has come and gone. By far the best one to date. We covered most of the curriculum in three days sans the drills and a few other things. Literally.

On Friday we had a 12 hour day and this is what we did.

Power Ales
Sliwa Training
Rendah Tendangan Rusuk
Gunting Kaki
Tendangan Belakang
Langkah Monyet
Langkah Kura-kura
Langkah Buaya
Langkah Kalong
Langkah Dua
Beladiri Ales
Masukan Kaki
Masukan Sepak
Masukan Lutut
Timbilan Kaki
Pembasmian Pukul
Kaki Totok

Masukan Tangan
Masukan Siku
Tangkapan - Beladiri Style
Pertukaran - Beladiri Style
Pencegah Tangan - Beladiri Style
Timbilan Tangan
Totok Tangan
Gunting Horizontal
Gunting Vertical
Gunting Siku
Siku Perisai
Pukul Perisai
Leher Patah
Pukul Pembas

Of course, we finished at around 830pm and everyone was pretty tired but that's not too bad considering no one had eaten dinner yet. We all went to our respective abodes and showered up and a portion of us met for dinner. It was great fun and people got to see the similarities between the movements and also I showed how it could be fit together depending on the situation.

Saturday everyone was sore AND it was raining hard so we worked under a pavilion during the early part of the day.

We started with:
Sikap Pasang

Led by Pelatih Bill Dwyer.

Then we went into the Jurus-jurus Tangan, Jurus-jurus Harimau (for Pelatih Bill), and Jurus-jurus Kombinasi for those who were interested. It was great fun to show the movements of the jurus-jurus come alive from yesterday's training and to show a few pounds of applications from just a few movements.

Again we finished around 830p or so. Got cleaned up and went out for dinner. It was a great time with good conversations and lots of friendships being developed.

Sunday we continued on throwing on top of the jurus the basic movements of golok/stick, how the Ales and Masukan might work against an armed assailant, how we might use them with a weapon ourselves, and how to do the jurus-jurus with a weapon. Then I went on to do a few minor applications just to show the concept and build the jurus-jurus movements. Later in the day we added Ikat and explosive entries to the training.

Really, in three days, you can't ask for anything more than that, but be assured, that in years to come as people continue to develop and grow in their skills, Keluarga is going to be a great place for training with some of the best guru-silat in the U.S.

Hormat saya,

Monday, July 23, 2007

Harimau Pencak Silat

This past weekend I had the opportunity to take part in a Harimau/Minangkabau pencak silat seminar. The seminar was led by two very capable players Guru Eric Kruk and MaHa Guru Richard Crabbe de Bordes.

What a treat. It was great to be able to work with these to guys even if only for a day. The seminar lasted for two days but I could only attend one of those. It was great and well worth the 2 hour trip to meet Maha Guru De Bordes and Guru Kruk.

We were also treated to traditional Indonesian dance by Guru Kruk's wife Mia (sp?). Excellent!

Guru Eric Kruk's teaching was great. He was able to really break it down simply and focus on some key elements, working them over and over again and into many other applications. His skill is high and it was a pleasure to meet him and have the opportunity to train with him.

MaHa Guru Richard Crabbe de Bordes was a blessing to me. I could relate very well to his principles, mentality, and applications. His movement was great to watch and I really enjoyed just being there - the fact that I got to participate as well was an extra blessing. Of course, MH Guru De Bordes is very intense. If you ever get a chance to work with him do so. He is a man with great experience not only in martial arts but real world stuff so he "cuts to the chase" and brings it home. I appreciated the fact that he was able to get to the intensity of pencak silat without a day of prep. and you can tell that there is a phenomenal foundation of training under MaHa Guru's background.

What gentlemen both Guru Kruk and MaHa Guru DeBordes were and I hope that we can continue to connect and spread pencak silat to the world.

The seminar was sponsored by one of my Tampa students, current organizer of - The Association of Pencak Silat America.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Pencak Silat Training Camp


This is the 4th annual camp. Each year has been better than the last. Open to all pencak silat players, as well as those who are just curious. Personally, I'd love to see silat players and teachers come together and share and grow in this open environment.

Date: Aug 3rd-5th
Theme: No. I don't play nice!
Location: Des Moines, IA
Length: 3 Days of training
Cost for Training: $180

Hotel: Heartlands Inn - link:
Room Rate: $67.50 per room, per night, plus tax for a traditional
room with one king size bed or two queen size beds.
10 Rooms set aside (8 Doubles, 2 Singles)

Group name: Keluarga (ask for Keluarga Rate when you book a room to get the special rate. Also, please let Jay know if you book a room so if we need more we can add some AND you must book them at least 2 weeks before the event to get the special rate. You can't wait until the last minute.)
Complimentary Breakfast Daily 4:30-10am (hot and cold items)
Wireless Internet
Pillowtop Mattresses in Every Room
Indoor Swimming Pool and Fitness Center
Complimentary Evening Snacks
24 Hour Airport Shuttle Service

Midwest Connect,
US Airways

Car Rental:
Recommended by Jay - Enterprise (at the airport)
Event Information:
Plan on tuning up your pencak silat. We will work on:
PSP fundamentals
applications - bela diri,
understanding and doing pencak silat movement,
connectivity of fundamentals to create techniques,
training methods,
weapons work,
Explosive Entries,
Level Testing,
various adhoc discussions on strategy, psp, philosophy, spirituality, pencak silat, leadership, teaching, and growth.
bonfire at Jay's
It's going to be a great three days of training to introduce people to PSP and help those who are midway and nearing the end of the general curriculum. As always, it's a great time to test. Don't wait for Keluarga, but if you can push a little to test in person is a great opportunity.

We will probably work play harder this year than in past years.

Equipment to bring:
MMA style training gloves,
Full face headgear,
kicking shields,
focus mitts,
training and "sharps" (pisau - knives),
Looped sarong or full-size ikat
Pay for the event by sending payment to via paypal to reserve your spot. We are looking to have around 20 people this year so get in before it's full.

If you have questions about ammenities, training location, car rentals, or event resources, contact Jay at

Event particulars, equipment, and questions related around partiicipation in the event should be sent to Guru Stark at

Hormat saya,
Guru Stark

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Pencak Silat Pertempuran Structure

It often comes as a surprise to people that all pencak silat systems are not equal. Many people don't even consider the fact that there are several hundred different systems in existence today - perhaps even a thousand or more. In any case, there is great variety in the systems themselves as well as the method they are taught and what is deemed as valuable.

Pencak Silat Pertempuran offers a pencak silat program that is unique in it teaching structure and philosophy. What sets us apart can be summarized by three words - combat in relationship. Being familiar with the chaos of combat it is easy to understand why martial artists often have a difficult time applying the techniques they learn. To help clarify, I will list some of the problems encountered and some of the ways a curriculum could address these issues.

An issue not often addressed is the reality, that you cannot always apply a technique on an opponent, even after years of training. Have you ever wondered why? I did. Through the study of that one issue, I found that it could actually be broken up into two major categories, each with appropriate subcategories. These are the major categories that I've identified: 1.) Opponents are free-will beings and 2.) the system does not consider failure.

The first component - Your opponent being a free-will individual - means that you cannot control what the opponent does, how they act or don't act. The ramifications are that you are unable to control your opponents movement and responses to your movements, let alone their response to your counter-attacks. This means that you are left with an inability to apply all of those cool techniques that you've learned, simply because often you cannot get close enough, and when you do the attacker may not act as your training partner did or do the prescribed response you were given. Sometimes this issue can be understood as an inability to "enter." Pencak Silat Pertempuran has both offensive and "defensive" entries which are designed to limit the mobility of an attacker in some instances, as well as disrupt the attacker at their most vulnerable time - during their own attack. Consider it.

This ultimately leads into the second area that is not often addressed, the idea that your techniques may fail. In fact, the idea that your techniques will LIKELY fail. I have seen martial art after martial art - pencak silat included - that assumes that if the attacker does X, then I do Y, and then I can continue to do what I want until the technique is completed or the attacker is rendered harmless. This is simply not going to happen in most cases, so how have you planned for that? Pencak Silat Pertempuran attempts to build in failsafe methods within the system. That is to say, not that our methods never fail, but that they can and do fail but often when they fail, they lead to other alternative responses that are built into the system itself. It is trained adaptability versus accidental.

Both of the reasons listed above are the primary reason for the structure of Pencak Silat Pertempuran. The system is broken into small pieces that are designed to be put together in various combinations randomly to "create" an appropriate response to a given and ever changing situation. In addition, the pieces also allow us to be more accutely aware of the timing of combat. It is our belief that combat is a 1-to-1 ratio. That is, that for every move your opponent makes you must make a counter move AND only at that specific time is it appropriate. After that moment passes, any attempt to counter based on a previous beat will result in a failed technique. Your attacker is constantly changing and the relationship is constantly changing - you cannot freeze time.

BTW, If your martial art doesn't fail, then it has probably never been tried!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Thanks - Pencak Silat Pesilat

Selamat All;

Occasionally as I cross paths of various people on the internet I run into a "bad apple" or at least someone that I rub wrong or that rubs me wrong. I've tried not to let bad vibes exist between myself and any other pesilat but every once in a while it seems unavoidable - in fact, it seems that some desperately seek to have conflict.

Despite those few, limited times, I am very grateful for the students, teachers, and friends I've met in Pencak Silat over the years and I am especially thankful for those I've gotten to know on a deeper level as students and friends. I count the majority of you as some of my closest friends. Yes, indeed, as family in some cases and people I can turn to talk about life, share about my family, and seek advice. It is my hope, that many more of you will grow into the family of PSP and really share in it fully. For those on the outside looking in, it may seem weird, but for those of this family, and those of other silat families, it is not so weird.

I just wanted to take a minute of your time and thank you all for enriching my life. For sure, pencak silat has enriched my life, but without fellow pesilat it would mean very little. Pencak silat is not simply about the "beat down."

With that in mind, I want to be specific. Do not take the order as relevant, only the words that are spoken - someone has to be first and someone else has to be last. Also, don't whine if I don't list your name, I know a LOT of people.

"Hugo" - Thanks brother. I consider you one of the primary reasons PSP ever came to be. I have enjoyed the years that we've known each other and I only wish that we had greater opportunity to be in closer proximity.

Bill - Brother I appreciate your hard work and energy. You are the first instructor I've named in the 7 or so years I've been sharing silat and the first instructor I've ever named in any martial art. Your diligence is encouraging.

Doug - Brother, you are without a doubt a blessing in my life. You've helped here and there with little projects and your willingness to mix it up a bit is always energizing. I love it.

"Numbers" - Brother, you are a total crack-up. I suspect, that when you die, you will bring a knife hand and an elbow any where you go.

Michele - Sister, your energy for training is awesome. Your sense of humor is great and I hope that someday you'll be able to really move into the family of PSP.

Sahnya - Sister you've continued to work at the arts even when they seemed to be giving nothing back. That's what a Martial Artist does!!

Phil - Brother, He is risen... I hope that you'll be able to someday soon bring yourself back to the family. You are missed. You're theological knowledge is always a help to me.

Matthew D - I've only just begun to get to know you but your energy and excitement are contagious! I hope someday you'll get to meet the other pesilat.

Mattew L - This is a ditto. Hours and hours of yapping and roosters crowing is a heck of a way to get to know someone and I can't wait to train with you again.

Eric and Ryan - My Filipino brothers. Thanks for the food! It was a real pleasure watching Ryan look like a deer in headlights %0 and I appreciate your willingness to try to do things that your knees say you shouldn't Eric. Energy output is energy received.

Jay and Tony - I'm so excited that you guys have joined. I kept waiting for several years for that to happen and I am thrilled you guys have jumped on. Now it's time to work brothers!!!

Nick - Your pursuit of pencak silat is craziness. I'm glad you have the energy and time do some of the things I've wanted to but been unable to get rolling. THANKS!

Aaron - Little brother you just keep chipping away. Sometimes a little too small of chips, but none-the-less chipping away. Sharpen your chisel man. The guys around here are still talking about your Cekik skills.

Sterling, Brian B, Doug B, Steve A, John B, Christina T, Chad, Enrico, Bill F, Mike G, Henry I, Mikal K, Joel R, Todd L, Brian L, Alan L, Carl M, Manuel R, Chuck S, Mario T, James F, Brian G, Jeanette D, Kevin W, Andrew K, Chris S, and Mark V

I've not gotten to know you guys as well but I do care about your progress in PSP and the things going on in your life. Some of you have shared very personal struggles and issues with me and I appreciate your willingness to stick with training and PSP even when life seems to kick when you are down. Others of you are newer and we just haven't had much time to get to know each other but I am willing.

This doesn't even begin to mention those outside of our camp from many different systems and countries who have been a blessing. People like Steve Perry, Nadzrin, 1D, Bayu W., Bruno, Roedy W., Robby Maulana, Daniel Prasetya, Ben Haryo, Galih, Mushtaq, Bobbe, Jerry, Gene, Bernard, Alessandro, Bill R, Tim, Tom, My brother Jude, and many others too numerous to list.


Friday, May 25, 2007

Devious Level Changing in Pencak Silat

This is a re-publishing of an article from the Silat Now! webzine. It is copyrighted and not for distribution.

Written by: Ben Haryo Himawanto
Editor: Sean Stark
© 2006 Silat Now! e-zine, Combat Silat

The Devious Level Changing of Pencak Silat Paseban Mutakhir

When we observe the formal exercises (Kembangan) of Pencak Silat Paseban, we often see some sequences where the Pesilat suddenly and quickly changes his head position from a stand-up straight stance to a low, ground-hugging stance. This is called Level Changing in the west, (and often termed “tinggi ke rendah”, literally “high to low” in Indonesian). Some casual observers may think that these techniques look “beautiful” or “movie-like” and as such, consider them “only suitable for the movies” and “not very useful in deadly confrontations,” or even that the technique “does not really serve a purpose but is only a part of the dance” for entertaining the audience.

What the casual observer often overlooks is the fact that these techniques are used in real combat and often with surprising results too. The low stances often lead into dreadful leg-scissors, which could break an opponent’s leg, or to quick takedowns, which could cause injuries to those who don’t know how to break fall and even lead to the most-useful-of-all techniques, the groin kick.

It is often said that the secret weapon of Paseban is not their punches or kicks, but rather, on their ability to put together “Tricks” and “Traps” (tipuan dan jebakan in Indonesian) to lure their opponent into making a mistake, which will make them prone to a Paseban takedown or vital point attack technique.

To counter the low level leg grabs and low kicks, Pesilat Paseban often uses the “angkat kaki” technique (literally, “lifting the leg”), which looks like a “Crane standing on the rock” or “gankaku” position in karate, where the Pesilat simply lifts his leg to avoid being swept, struck or grabbed. Another technique to be used against the low attack is “tangkisan bawah” (literally, “low block”), where the Pesilat meets the attacker in a low stance and blocks his attempt to take him down. Since all techniques have a counter, just like a joint lock has its “key,” Pesilat Paseban mainly rely on timing to catch the opponent off guard and execute techniques.

In any case, Pencak Silat Paseban Mutakhir’s low attacks can be very useful in real situations because they often surprise the attacker. This is especially true against people who may not study pencak silat. Until next time!

Ben Haryo is a Pelatih Muda (Junior Instructor) in Pencak Silat Paseban Mutakhir under Bapak Saleh Jusuf Sungkar in Jakarta, Indonesia. He is also an instructor in Japanese Karate (Wado-ryu) and Japanese Jujutsu (of the Dentokan version/sub-branch of Hakko-ryu Jujutsu). He also learned American style of Jujutsu under Professor Harold Brosious (Ketsugo Jujutsu). Ben Haryo can be reached at

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Pencak Silat Pertempuran - Principle of the Thin Entering Wedge

A combat silat principle called the Thin Entering Wedge.

This principle is easy to understand if you think of it in terms of a wedge for splitting wood or a maul. If you’re not familiar with these items, they are essentially large (relatively speaking) pieces of metal that are thin on one end, usually having a sharp edge and the other end is quite thick and heavy. One, the maul, is essentially a very heavy axe and has a handle while the other, the wedge, is used with aid of a sledgehammer. They differ from an axe because they are much wider on one end (as a result typically much heavier) and an axe is typically rather thin by comparison and much lighter.

So what does the principle of the Thin Entering Wedge have to do with pencak silat? If you are a student of mine or have read some of the previous posts, you will have heard me talk of the most important aspect of any attack - the actual hitting of the target. Everything else is secondary to that single thing. Along that same discussion is the inclusion of this principle. It is an illustration and a continuation of that discussion.

The Thin Entering Wedge can be thought of like the wedge or the maul used for splitting wood by combining that with our previous discussion. The “Thin” aspect of it is that first hit – the most important part of any attack – the one that actually hits the target. That is developed through explosiveness or explosive entries or by drawing an attack utilizing Sikap Pasang or Welcoming Postures. Those are the two primary methods and from that point the options often begin to grow depending on our capabilities to capitalize on our first attack or the “Thin.”

Once we’ve entered, we must continue to attack and remain in control of our postures and positions, and just like the “Thin” follow it up with the heavier and wider or more destructive aspects of our attack, the “Wedge.”

The “Wedge” is only successful at splitting the wood once the “Thin” has begun the task already. If you were to flip the maul or wedge over and try to split the wood it wouldn’t work. It might smash it, dent it, damage it, but it wouldn’t split it.

To take this a bit further, even a wedge or a maul will not work well across the grain of the wood. That is, if the wedge or maul doesn’t split it along the grain of the wood it will not prove to be very successful. Eventually you would be able to work your way through the wood but it is not the intended use of the tools. In the same way, your Combat Silat or Pencak Silat Pertempuran should seek to exploit the vulnerabilities of your attacker by learning not to fight against the grain but to go with it. By doing so, you have a much greater chance of success with the least effort, risk, and time. That means, that if you have to “split” multiple pieces of wood, you will be able to move from one to the next much quicker.

The best pencak silat should become an art of assassination versus fighting at least as far as Combat Silat is concerned.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Perspectives, Potential, and MA (Pencak Silat)

This is a repost of an article I wrote a while back. It is copyrighted. Some disagree with my viewpoint of what Bruce Lee wrote, but in any case, the context of this article is really written with different intent. I will likely be adding to this starting point in the next post but time will tell for sure....

Written By Sean Stark
Editor: Sean Stark
© 2005 Silat Now! e-zine

Editors Note: Originally, my intent was to edit the article on Teaching Methodologies written by Bill Dwyer, but decided to take this in a slightly different direction altogether.

Perspectives, Potential, and Martial Arts

The study of jurus-jurus is often said to be a study of movement, and on an even lower level, upper body techniques. I have stated that jurus-jurus are movement studies myself, however, as I reflect more on the subject and other issues (read: root cause for thought) I would argue that the study of a jurus-jurus is more a study of perspectives than movement.

Bruce Lee once said: "When I started martial arts, a punch was just a punch. Then a punch became more than a punch. Now a punch is just a punch." (This is a paraphrase so don't get bothered if it doesn't match his words exactly.)

In any case, Bruce Lee's statement is an example of viewing movement from a given perspective, in fact, you can also see from his statement how perspectives change – time and influence of course being the necessary factors.

That said, though perspectives change – Truth does not. Our comfort with Truth may change or even our acceptance of something as truth may change, but Truth itself does not. Therefore, this statement by Bruce Lee is either true or it’s false – it is not both (in this context, Bruce was probably not even trying to elucidate Truth from his statement as much as share a perspective or the idea of perspective).

So what’s the point? From my perspective (sorry for the pun) as someone who studies silat, a punch is more than a punch. To reduce it to nothing more than a punch is to take away its mystery and to deny it’s potential and in fact its freedom. From my perspective, Bruce Lee took away the freedom of the Punch, much as religion or government can take away from the freedom of Truth. The punch can only be more than a punch when it is believed to be – then and only then will it produce the fruit that demonstrates it.

If you have children you may already understand this in a different context. For instance, generally, we tell our children that they can be astronauts and presidents and doctors – though we may not even believe this to be True (our perspective is already twisted by culture, society, religion, education, government, money, etc.). We want there to be freedom to pursue the potential. Yet, some parents including myself, will at times, deny their freedom by telling a child what they cannot do, in terms of potential. (Please don’t shift the context to discipline because that’s not what I am talking about here – though how we discipline could be the culprit that is shifting the perspective.) Through the process of time and influence our perspectives on potentiality shift. Rightly so, I might add since not all things with potential are true. As we all have discovered, not all of us are doctors, lawyers, presidents, and astronauts. As we grow up our perspectives change and perhaps our desires change as we discover Truth, yet what we are – is not necessarily an example or the fruit of our potential.

Many times we are directly and indirectly influenced to become less than our potential. This often happens within society, government, and religion as I have already pointed out, and if it is True in this context it is also true in other contexts as well. Sometimes it is our laziness that allows others (i.e., religion, society, peers, governments) to limit our potential and other times it is our lack of understanding or even the circumstances of our life. All can be overcome if we are introduced to our potential, whether it is again, or for the first time. Another way to say it might be, that life is either a matter of “training” or of “trying.” We can learn to view situations and the whole of life as though there is something to learn or we can view it as something we just sort of muddle through and don’t have any sort of ultimate purpose for other than getting through to the end with the least amount of wounds. One is a life full of potential and the other is a life where potential has boundaries and limitations that can be very restrictive. This can also be seen in the martial arts world. Throughout the course of my training I have had various instructors tell me what should never be done and yet I have had other teachers who do those very things with great success. How then do we understand these things?

It definitely requires a teacher, but not just any teacher, a teacher who is interested in helping you to find your potential and the Truth. Sometimes they are called guru, sometimes maestro, sometimes teacher, or even friend. You must be willing to accept their teaching and have faith in it fully. It must also be said that your teacher does not need to be alive or even a person for that matter. Authors from history are perfect examples and circumstances or nature might be another. This can be seen in the quantity of martial arts and religious practices that derive from the observation and knowledge of animals. It can also be demonstrated through our observation of our interactions with nature such as in the herbal medicines that have been developed throughout the ages.

In my spiritual beliefs, God is the creator of all Truth and He prepares us to receive that Truth in various ways. One method may be through the people we meet throughout life or even through circumstances not directly involving people. It certainly has happened to me in this way throughout my entire life. The difficulty or paradox with this type of learning is being able to sort through perspectives to find the potential for Truth. This is where having a perspective that is not developed or maintained strictly by self is necessary. For me personally, it is my belief in God that provides the perspective with which to “filter” these ideas, circumstances, and happenings.

Unfortunately, once our perspective is shifted and our potential is weakened or removed, we don’t need much more prodding or outside influence to continue to destroy our own potential. We do a pretty good job at it ourselves – in most cases for the rest of our lives. What can break the cycle of self-destructive behavior is awareness and the desire to change that part of us that continues to hold ourselves back. This is ultimately how the best teachers help us.

In this regard, as you probably know, a teacher can help but a teacher cannot force you to learn or understand. You must desire it – more than you believe yourself to be failed potential. This can be applied to any type of training, whether spiritual, martial, job skills, parenting, whatever! This can take place in many different ways some of which are outlined in today’s current teaching methodologies.

Unfortunately, many martial arts instructors utilize more negative methodologies for teaching. One such methodology is beating a potential student to see if they will return. Along those same lines, many instructors beat students regularly to “test” them (though I suspect that it is really more of an affirmation issue for the instructor themselves whose perspective has already been skewed). The idea being that you know you’re going to be beaten unless you defend yourself, you WILL desire to defend yourself. In that process, you can discover potential. Unfortunately, it is an unpleasant experience and you may ultimately decide that your desire to reach your potential is not high enough to withstand the negative reinforcement.

This same type of mentality or methodology can also be found within society, religion, family and friends of any background. The beatings aren’t necessarily physical in nature but emotional or psychological. It might be the attempt to use guilt to coerce, or a slanderous tongue to degrade, but it none-the-less exists outside of the martial arts. This method generally fails, because this is the very thing that has robbed all of us by changing our perspective and ultimately stealing our potential. Fortunately we have recognized this and formed institutions of various kinds to help us sort through all of it. This is one of the most basic values of most religions that I am familiar with. Christianity for example, invites you to start new by accepting your past, present, and future failures by making a concerted effort with the help of God Himself (your Teacher) to adjust your perspective and potential.

Ultimately we must be willing to accept something as True in order to adjust or align our perspective. This is true in all of life, even in simple things such as getting the wheels of your car aligned. There must first be a point of reference in which the mechanic must Trust to be true, then and only then can they adjust the wheels of the car appropriately. To varying degrees, this happens all areas of life including our spiritual and martial. The degree, to which they are True (or believed to be true) and can adjust your perspective, is the degree to which they will ultimately prove to be physically effective for you. That is if you study, but do not fully trust (rely on) the method or teacher whom you study with, you will fail more than succeed and stay trapped in your twisted perspective. Of course it is important that you have chosen a path that contains Truth to be your guidepost…

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Pencak Silat Pamur

This is a re-post of an article I wrote a few years back about Pamur. It is copyrighted.

Written by Guru Stark
Editor: Sean Stark
© 2003 Silat Now! e-zine

In Silat Pamur there are four levels of learning. The most basic is Dasar, which are the basic strikes and kicks of the system. My Pamur teacher didn't consider it to even be the first level per se. The next level is the Huruf level which apparantly means alphabet. On this level a person is introduced to the 12 Jurus Tangan, 12 Jurus Harimau, 12 Jurus Celurit/Pedang, 12 Jurus Tongkat, 12 Masukan and 12 Ales.

However, the 12 Ales are not really 12 but actually more. For instance, the 12 Ales are:
Sata A, B, Dua A, B,
Tiga A, B, C, Empat A, B, C,
Lima A, B, Enam A, B,
Tujuh, A, B, Delepan A, B,
Sembilan, A, B, Sepuluh A, B,
Sebelas, A, B and Dua Belas A, B

These 12 Ales are types of Ales, each having a specific function or method of evasion. Though it appears that there are many more than 12, in actuality there is really only 13 and they are mirrored. So for instance, Satu A, B are mirrored in Dua A, B.

The 12 Masukan are of the Kaki type and relate to specific Ales. The first 8 of the Masukan are really a method of understanding zones of the lower body and the last 4 are continuations. Additionally, these 12 are really only 6 that are mirrored.

Notice that there are no Langkah. I was surprised by that. The only Langkah that my Guru Pamur mentioned are part of the Jurus-jurus. They are not taken out and separately trained. Additionally, the Sikap Pasang are also extracted and extrapolated from the Jurus-jurus tangan as well.

There is also a set of 12 Jurus Pecut, but they are not taught until much later in the system because of the danger of the use of pecut.

Something else that is interesting, is that there are no jurus pisau. I asked a lot of questions of my guru concerning this because some have insisted that Pamur is a big blade art. My Guru Pamur suggests otherwise. He said many pesilat will layer the pisau over the tangan but it is not taught officially as part of Pamur.

The Third level is the Isi level. This is where you begin to learn the applications of the system. There are basically 4 categories: Sambut Pukul, Timbilan, Tangkapan, and Pembasmian. The Sambut Pukul are essentially a combination of jurus tangan pecahan and the Masukan and Ales. Every component from the jurus is applied (as possible) via the Masukan and/or Ales. Primarily the Masukan but you are expected to also go back and perform the pecahan with the Ales as well. There are 138 Sambut Pukul. There are actually many more, but there is a reason that there are only 138 taught. After the initial run through the sambuts the pesilat is expected to develop a certain number of counters to the Sambut Pukul and then eventually, the training partner develops counters to the counters. (I cannot remember what the formal name of that is at the moment...)

Timbilan are throws and takedowns. There are 13 total timbal.

Tangkapan are the locks. There are 12 types of locks, i.e., Neck locks, wrist locks, ankle locks, elbow locks, shoulder locks, etc. What is interesting to note though, is that guru Pamur have there own set of locks they teach. They are not necessarily universal amongst all Pamur teachers.

There are 24 Pembasmian dengan kaki. These are eradication methods. The purpose is to make the attackers initial attack their last. These are not necessarily killing blows but they do incapacitate on some level.

The third level is the Pelengkap level. This is predominately spiritual training. This contains such things as Coba Bunuh.

Of course there is much more to Pamur than even I have mentioned since I am really just a babe in this art.

I hope that you found this interesting.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Pencak Silat Pertempuran Seminar in San Diego

Selamat All;

Just wanted to take a minute of your time to announce a seminar that I will be doing in San Diego.

9a-1p at a local park.

Topics covered:
Pembasmian (just for fun)

This is my first time in San Diego so I will have to start with some foundation stuff and then work to doing some apps from there.

If you're interested write me and I'll get more specific details from the hosts.

Hormat saya,
Guru Stark

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Stealing pencak silat

Someone recently asked me if I was "worried about putting my material on DVD" because people would steal it?

Well, there was a time when I wouldn't have put the information out and certainly wouldn't have made it available to everyone but somewhere along the line, my thoughts on the subject changed...

First, people are typically, not very honorable. I know that is an aspersion against the whole rather than the few who are obviously dishonorable, but there are few of us that are without flaw. Those flaws manifest themselves in little things most of the time. This is just a principle of life. For it is within the little things that we can see the flaws of larger things. So for instance, would a person who cheats on their taxes today, when they have little, do so when they have much? Yes, and probably much more.

Well, this is also a reality concerning those who try to shortcut training. If you are trying to find a shortcut by "stealing" material and claiming it as your own, or trying to bypass real training for superficial training, the reality will show itself eventually IMO.

Second, I don't worry much about stealing my material since the majority isn't mine to begin with. I've added quite a bit, but within the martial arts, there are few "secret techniques" (which is about all someone not studying the system would get) therefore, there's not much to steal. The primary secret technique within MA is training and lots of it.

Third, for someone looking at the material as a quick fix to their martial dilemma, PSP won't help them much. I recently had someone contact me who was interested in PSP because he felt that he really needed more help in entering. He assured me that he had good hands, good trapping, good kicking, good grappling, blah, blah, blah. I in turn, assured him, that based on how he was communicating, I couldn't teach him. He was already set in what he knew for the most part, and I'm not interested in trying to fit my materials into his context. This is what the majority of people who steal from DVD's are trying to do. They will fall short, because PSP is a system of thought.

It isn't just about this piece or that piece, it is about the entirety. Furthermore, as those who have studied with me personally can attest to, what you might see on the DVD does not quite communicate the reality of the methods, principles, movements, etcetera. Be assured, I've tried to be very careful to communicate it all via the DVD's and books, but it is still yet again, seemingly quite different in person. This is because, words don't always have the same meanings for everyone and our brains don't process movement the same way, and we are all cognitively different in our make up. As such, once you have studied with me, and then you go back and view the materials again or read the material again, you will understand them differently. Same words, same movements - deeper and more meaningful.

When you train, context is everything. When you read this, context is everything.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Explosiveness in Pencak Silat - Part 4

This will probably be the final piece of the explosiveness topic for now. It's taken much longer to put out to you all than I had planned.

Being explosive with footwork is something that few arts seem to address as a whole. Yet, there are a few arts out there which do address footwork as being of importance. Often the methods outlined for teaching footwork though are devoid of any discussion of becoming explosive and focus more on patterns of movement. In pencak silat and escrima for instance, there is a focus on langkah.

In many styles, there are a plethora of langkah to learn and in other styles there are but a few. Still in other styles there may even be pancar or platforms for the pesilat to learn more about footwork. These are all good and necessary to learn and can truly help your pencak silat but they often still lack the element of understanding that leads to explosiveness.

One of the primary methods of explosive footwork within the context of Pencak Silat Pertempuran is to put energy into your feet to propel you. You can do this in a couple of primary ways. For instance, stomping your feet is a basic method which can get your body moving quickly and can be combined with the next method rather than using it in isolation. One aspect to this method that can also be used is the ability to fall or use gravity to add to the stomping. It can appear to be a quick leaning forward in which the foot is not all that apparantly involved, or it can clearly incorporate the movement of the foot. It is situational and depends on the distance that needs to be covered however, either version tend to set you in motion by the same basic principle of movement described in the following version.

A second method might be to imagine yourself a sprinter preparing to start a race. Most of us have seen how a sprinter does this and few sprinters vary from this method because it sets your body up to be explosive and to propel you forward. By simply moving your lead foot backward and keeping your heel raised you set your body in motion forward.

With a little practice you can learn to combine both the first and the second method in conjunction with each other to create a good explosive foot entry.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Pencak Silat Training Camp - 2007


Theme: No. I don't play nice!

Location: Des Moines, IA

Length: 3 Days of training

Date: Aug 3-5, 2007

Cost for Training: $180

Hotel: Heartlands Inn - link:

Room Rate: $67.50 per room, per night, plus tax for a traditional
room with one king size bed or two queen size beds.
10 Rooms set aside (8 Doubles, 2 Singles)

Group name: Keluarga (ask for Keluarga Rate when you book a room to get the special rate. Also, please let Jay know if you book a room so if we need more we can add some AND you must book them at least 2 weeks before the event to get the special rate. You can't wait until the last minute.)
Complimentary Breakfast Daily 4:30-10am (hot and cold items)
Wireless Internet
Pillowtop Mattresses in Every Room
Indoor Swimming Pool and Fitness Center
Complimentary Evening Snacks
24 Hour Airport Shuttle Service


Midwest Connect,
US Airways
Car Rental:

Recommended by Jay - Enterprise (at the airport)
Event Information:
Plan on tuning up your pencak silat. We will work on:
PSP fundamentals
applications - bela diri,
understanding and doing pencak silat movement,
connectivity of fundamentals to create techniques,
training methods,
weapons work,
Explosive Entries,
Level Testing,
various adhoc discussions on strategy, psp, philosophy, spirituality, pencak silat, leadership, teaching, and growth.
bonfire at Jay's
It's going to be a great three days of training to introduce people to PSP and help those who are midway and nearing the end of the general curriculum. As always, it's a great time to test. Don't wait for Keluarga, but if you can push a little to test in person is a great opportunity.

We will probably work play harder this year than in past years.

Equipment to bring:
MMA style training gloves,
Full face headgear,
kicking shields,
focus mitts,
training and "sharps" (pisau - knives),
Looped sarong
Pay for the event by sending payment to via paypal to reserve your spot. We are looking to have around 20 people this year so get in before it's full.

If you have questions about ammenities, training location, car rentals, or event resources, contact Jay at

Event particulars, equipment, and questions related around partiicipation in the event should be sent to Guru Stark at

Friday, March 30, 2007

On The Hunt...

I'm looking for help from anyone who can find these movies on VCD for me or DVD if possible. I'm not sure if I have the movie names right or not. I have found a few online but would like to know of people who have actually purchased items from places and got what they paid for.

Hang Tuah -
Hang Jebat -
Pendekar Bujang Lapuk -
Pendekar -
Sultan Mahmud Mangkat DiJulang -
Semutar Hitam -
Tiger of Jampa - (I know of a source Monash University, but it's a bit pricey...)

I found these clips on and I was just wondering if any of you knew a good source for these.


Thursday, March 29, 2007

Explosiveness in Pencak Silat - Part 3

The torso and waist are the most difficult to make explosive for most people. It seems to almost be a natural instinct to try and create power with our limbs. Unfortunately, there are many times when the limbs alone are not enough. For instance, in our body evasion and our entries (ales dan Masukan), our body must become explosive. We must learn to move in a way that generates enough power within our movement to successfully move ourselves out of the way of an attack and ultimately to enter in. This is most noticeable in Ales Badan or Body Evasion. These are primarily Ales-ales satu through empat (though certainly not exclusively).

The first and most basic method of developing explosive movement in your waist is to perform your Ales without the use of your hands for parrying and against a fast attack. Keep in mind, that what makes a movement explosive isn’t how fast you can go overall, but how quickly you get to your fastest speed. That requires a combination of elements that were written about previously.

A second method to practice, which relates to developing body explosiveness, is learning to Gelek quickly. This works to develop your turning, where the first method of using the Ales-ales tends to develop the arching and rounding of your back.

The third method to practice that will develop your body explosiveness body is performing sliwa kuda in the opposite direction of the ales you want to practice. By doing so, you can learn to improve your sliwa kuda, the gelek, and your ales as a single fluid method. Again, the best way to develop this is not relying on your hands to parry a fast attack. Some might think that you could step, but the reality is that you cannot rely on feet typically because the hands are faster than the feet, so you must utilize your body in a way that nullifies an attack until your feet can catch up. At least for close range attacks.

You’ll find that by doing these three training methods and simply forcing yourself to move explosively, you’ll really start to see how your ales can begin to disappear and become more a part of your entry movement. Of course, if your waist becomes explosive it can dramatically increase the power of your striking as well.

>>>More to follow

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

PSP Announcement

Selamat All;

Just wanted to announce quickly the promotion of Matthew Lesko to Murid 3. He came over from Louisana and tested for Levels 1 and 2 this past week. Also, it was great to meet Matthew and get to know him. He brings 23 years of martial arts experience with him, and God willing, we will have a lasting relationship and many more years to add to that foundation.

Please congratulate Matthew on his promotion(s)!

Hormat saya,
Guru Stark

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Explosiveness in Pencak Silat - Part 2

Sorry for the long delay in getting this part out... I was ill for a time and I've been swamped ever since and just trying to keep up....

Before I continue with the specifics of explosiveness amongst the three types discussed previously, it seems appropriate to expound further on the idea of explosiveness and the mechanics which make the individual appear explosive when, in fact, it goes beyond the actual movement itself and enters into other realms of ability and scope.

Some methods have already been discussed, albeit briefly and utilizing different words, such as:

1. Being non-telegraphic
2. Knowing the range of the tools you intend to use and the relationship to the target you intend to strike.
3. Masking your intent by first using another method to distract.
4. "Zone" the tool to be used, being sure to use the appropriate tool for the task and "assigning" each tool in your arsenal a general task. (Though this may not be directly useful in short encounters it does train you to be aware of your body in relationship to the opponent each time you engage one.)

This next idea could be viewed as number eight of the DO's list in the previous posting or part 1 on explosiveness, or number five of the list above - it's your choice.

In regards to explosiveness, there are more details that could be added, such as the need for movement. That is to say, that an object in motion tends to be able to generate more motion, easier, and therefore more quickly, than a static object. It is then, generally useful for a practitioner to keep their "objects", i.e., hands, feet, and waist moving, at least a little in order to best be able to take advantage of an opening when it occurs. The movement itself does not need to be large or, in my own experience, even noticeable as such. It does however, need to be intentional.

For years I used large and exaggerated movements when I trained. I could understand the need for movement and the difficulty that it posed for my attackers, ufortunately, for much of that time there was little, if any, particular purpose behind the movements. This sometimes (maybe often) led me to be caught off guard by attacks because my hand and feet had no particular purpose when I moved them. Oh, don't get me wrong, I moved them as though it looked like they had purpose, but in reality, it was not all that purposeful. Don't walk that path. It's mysterious and often frought with "accidents." Instead, train yourself to be aware of how you move, when you move, WHY you move. Be mindful of the purposes of your movement and learn to become aware of vulnerabilities in your movement patterns and start trying to understand them and ultimately remove those vulnerabilities.

So what does that have to do with explosiveness? Well, you cannot have directed explosiveness in your movement if you are uncertain of your own well-being. You will trapped into a reactive situation versus being active and being able to exploit the weaknesses of your attacker when they show themselves.

In addition, by studying yourself, you will start to learn about others more deeply with the ultimate hope or goal of being able to see openings before they occur, so that, by the time they actually do occur, you are moving to take advantage of them. This is typically called "reading your opponent" and refers to the ability to see things developing just slightly ahead of the time in which they actually develop. This is the same ability that makes the average stock broker rise above his or her counterparts and become great.

This is often called timing as well in the martial arts, and can help you to seem explosive or quick when in reality your explosiveness is combined with your ability to read an opponent. This is a critical component to successfuly utilizing explosiveness as you age. It is certain that as you age, your speed and response times will be reduced and having this ability will help you to remain more viable in any encounter you may face.


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Pencak Silat - Pisau and Kerambit

Just wanted to quickly announce that the second DVD for pisau is complete. The second DVD contains a demonstration of the Jurus-jurus pisau and some pisau bela-diri. This DVD is more about "ideas" for those moving into the weapons areas of Pencak Silat Pertempuran. It also contains a section on understanding Kerambit within the context of PSP working with Dasar and Penjebak or trapping primarily. Introductory content which should be enough Kerambit material for anyone wishing to pursue it further on their own.

Also, sorry for the lack of posts lately. I was layed up in bed for a week with bronchitis and sinusitis and just wasn't able to function. As a result, this week I'm playing catch-up with a bunch of things.

Part 2
Part 1

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Pencak Silat Pertempuran - Level 10a Pisau

The newest DVD for Pencak Silat Pertempuran is now available. The subject of this DVD is Pisau. This one is full of material, so full in fact, that we will have 2 DVD's on the subject. The first contains berhormat, evasion, entries, combination entries, trapping, catching and more. Obviously necessary if you are a PSP practitioner.

Hormat saya,
Guru Stark

Friday, March 02, 2007

Explosiveness in Pencak Silat - Part 1

Ask yourself this question. What is the secret to effective striking (kicking, slapping, pushing, whatever) within the martial arts or any combative endeavor? Think about this for a few minutes and then when you've come up with the best answer you've got, continue reading on.

-Insert jeopardy theme music here-

Okay, you're ready now right? You've got the answer you think is best? Of all the answers I've gotten from people, the one that is the most obvious, in my mind at least, has never been given.

Making contact. This is the single secret to effective striking. You can have all of the power, technique, relaxation, etcetera that you want but if you can't make contact then it's all wasted. There is no value in the prettiest, most powerful strike if it never contacts the target. Obvious right. So obvious it seems, that it is often neglected or overlooked entirely by practitioners. Hopefully, it is still understood that power and other elements are adjuncts to making contact and cannot be neglected either.

Now that we are talking on the subject, it seems that the next section of the discussion should probably center around HOW to hit the target, that is, how to make contact. In PSP, we do this through explosiveness in movement primarily. That is to say, that we hope to be non-telegraphic in our attacks. Of course, other elements enter into the mix too, such as our ability to create optimal angles in order for our explosiveness to be used, and additionally, becoming aware of those opportunities when they unveil themselves to us or taking that a step further by continuously moving in ways that "create" the angles and the opportunity with greater propensity.

That said, the idea of explosiveness can be broken up into three primary areas: The hands, the waist, and the feet. Within these primary categories there may be many different ways to accomplish explosive movement.

As it regards the hands it can often be difficult to attack explosively. It is normal for practitioners to want to utilize power when attacking with the hands which often leads us to an overemphasis on power. The over-emphasis on power typically manifests itself in a pre-strike drawing of the hand back or coiling. Sometimes it will even manifest itself in ways that are not directly relevant to power development such as a grimace or change in facial expression. Additionally, other elements such as weight shifting can also be visible when trying to strike.

Here are some methods that may improve the explosiveness of your hand attacks:

1. Put emphasis on knowing at what range you are capable of striking from.
2. Be patient. Strike when the target is in range and presents itself.
3. Spend time understanding angles and utilizing the hands in efficient and typically direct ways.
4. Utilize "masking" to hide your hand attacks. One way to mask, for instance, is to strike with one hand to draw a defense, but actually intend to strike with the second attack or follow-up attack.
5. Let your hands lead your body and then your feet.
6. Keep loose and relaxed, relying on "fast" twitch muscles to make your attacks explosive.
7. To add additional power to your attack, make whip-like energy through the use of the wrist.

1. Don't wind up to create power. Use your hands to "zone" areas of the attacker so they are ready to attack when openings become available. "Winding up" will just let the attacker know you're about to attack.
2. Don't grimace or make facial expressions.
3. Don't shift your weight to prepare for the attack. Try to move from good position to good position so you are ready more often.
4. If possible, don't utilize your feet as a means of propelling your hands. Let your hands be the first to leave and feet propel forward to keep your hands moving.
5. It's not the best method to put all of your hope in a single strike. Think "langkah dari batu ke batu."


Saturday, February 24, 2007

Once again...

The scourge of the earth. Spammers. Once again, these &^%*^%#@$&*& have posted on the blog so from this point on no anonymous posts will be allowed and comments are going to be moderated.


Friday, February 23, 2007

Pencak Silat Pertempuran - Celing

Last night we had boar private lessons again for Rocco and Doug. We worked on putting some pieces of explosive hand entries, zoning with the hands, and boar style kick entries, into one flow. Gives a bit more of a context to the training we've been doing and they can begin to see the pieces put together.

In one particular series, we started with an explosive hand entry that covered the opponent's lead hand (their left in this case - our right) as we performed sepak bulat to the outer thigh (right leg). Then, we set down with the right leg (the one kicking), on an angle to the right and struck the neck with the other forearm (our left one). This helped to cover us from a rear hand strike. As that movement finished we drove our left thigh into the left thigh of the opponent as we simultaneously pulled their head forward with our left hand. This caused them to fall forward. As they were still yet bent over, the left leg performed a Sepak Ayam to the face.

See if you can figure out what I'm talking about on this one. It's kind of fun and should be rather easy to do (not requiring a lot of strength that is).

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Nafas - Part 5

This method of breathing directly correlates to the basic premise of fighting within Pencak Silat Pertempuran, which is not to attack with a tool utilizing 100% of our power potential, but rather to rely on a structure based power that utilizes around 70-80% of our power potential. By doing so, you are naturally more in control of your body (and mind) and more likely to actually hit the person. In contrast to some arts, the goal is not to focus on relaxation as much as to focus on posture and alignment for the development of power and through that learn to relax.

By shifting the focus from relaxation, which is difficult to obtain in combat, to one of structure it is hoped that you will be able to build mechanics that do no require relaxation to be effective, and which therefore, can produce more power.

As with any aspect of the martial arts, it is about the totality of your training. There is no ONE THING that is going to be the SECRET to invincibility. Combat is a process, it’s a relationship, and every moment of it is going to be changing. We must change accordingly to have success. For some, learning to breathe in this way may just be the thing that helps them, for others, it may not make a bit of difference.

It is my personal recommendation that you consider breathing to be a small component to your martial arts training and rather than strictly adhere to any method, become aware of your body’s natural responses to fear and adrenaline and inclinations under stress. Through that, begin to develop your own understanding of the breath combined with rhythm of movement and power, then breathe accordingly.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Nafas - Part 4

As for the breathing itself, combat style breathing should be shallow and relatively quick.

This allows for a few advantages: First, it keeps your lungs relatively empty of large volumes of air, which could be expelled forcefully if struck hard. This is one of the areas that give rise to concern for those who utilize the Exhale Method primarily. The basic concern is that if your lungs are full of air when struck that you will be more likely to have the air forced from them painfully (have the “wind knocked out of you”). (I think this may be true, though I personally haven’t seen or felt any specific evidence to support this… but let’s assume it is true since the idea at least seems logical enough.) In this regard, you can address it by keeping your breathing relatively shallow.

Second, by keeping our breathing relatively shallow and quick, you are mimicking the body’s normal response to fear, rather than attempting to retrain your body’s instinctual behavior. This response is autonomic. We can’t control it. In this regard, the best course of action then is to train to use this type of instinctual behavior.

In so doing, when we are training, if we utilize this type of breathing and the contraction of our abdomen when striking, we will be focusing on a methodology that mimics our body’s normal behaviors when under stress and will increase our ability to fight under those circumstances. Additionally, by breathing in this manner even when training, you will train your body to work with an oxygen level that more closely mirrors this state.

To take that further, you can practice this type of breathing even during times of exercise and conditioning to further prepare you for it’s use in combat.

Be mindful that you do not hold your breath forever. You are only holding it as long as is necessary to transfer the energy of your strike. After that moment is passed you can exhale or inhale and either begin anew or adapt to what is happening in the conflict.

That said, with this relaxed tension in your abdomen and torso, your body has the ability to breath for you in essence. You will notice over time, that you will find a balance between being overly tense in the abdomen and being too loose. This should also lead you to ultimately notice that every time your waste shakes or turns forcibly you are inhaling and exhaling. This is perfectly acceptable. You will find that normally what happens at the end of this “forced breath,” in conjunction with your movement, is a slight holding of the breath. This is perfect. This “forced breathing” is the way to “hold your breath” during a long series of attacks (5 or 6 attacks in length let’s say).

Additionally, with longer series of attacks (those over 5 or 6) you will find that the opponent that is changing, moving, countering, and it is not easy to do “jack-hammer” style attacks, so there will typically be short intervals of time in between attacks to inhale or exhale briefly depending on your own cycle of breathing. You should definitely use those opportunities.

more to come....

Monday, February 19, 2007

Nafas - Part 3

In a method, which I will call the Hold Method, it doesn’t matter if you are inhaling or exhaling, you simply hold your breath, tightening your stomach muscles. This allows you a certain amount of freedom in your ability to attack in a timely manner. That said the idea is not to harden or tighten your stomach muscles unnaturally, but if you imagine pushing or pulling something with about 80% of your strength you will naturally tighten your stomach muscles to help.

It is the natural tightening of the muscles that is used to increase strength over short durations. This is opposed to the idea of an exhaling breath, which is designed (it seems) to keep your body tight and increase strength over slightly longer durations typically. (Unfortunately, this is unnatural and must be learned over a great deal of time, with ever increasing levels of stress to be even slightly productive. Of course, it’s no enough that a person have greater and greater planned stress because it must also involve the element of fear and the adrenaline dump that comes with it to be truly reminiscent of combat.)

In addition, it is not the type of stomach contraction that you might produce as if trying to push or pull something with all your might, but rather to have a sort of “relaxed tension.” That is, that your core is strong but not absolutely tightened. By holding your breath this way during your attack, it can be used to for continuous attacks rather than one single one.

More to come...

Friday, February 16, 2007

Nafas - Part 2

In addition, what most people don’t know is humans and some other organisms have the ability to “breath” in two different ways. The first, and most known is called aerobic breathing and consists of the lungs inflating to draw in air and deflating to push air out. However, in times of exercise when our oxygen intake is not “normal”, we begin to “breath” through our muscle tissue. Basically, we use the oxygen stores within our muscles to keep our blood oxygenated. This is called anaerobic breathing. Both forms of breathing have waste by-product. The aerobic form creates Carbon Dioxide, which is exchanged through the lungs. The anaerobic form creates lactic acid, which is temporarily stored in the muscle tissue until it can ultimately be flushed away.

With the basics of breathing and oxygen use out of the way, we can begin to address the method of holding our breath within Pencak Silat Pertempuran.

As stated, the basic method is to hold our breath on impact and release immediately after. From an Indonesian pernafasan perspective the idea is this, if I fill a ball full of air for energy, I do not want to release the air just before it hits the ground. To do so, would decrease the value of filling it with air to begin with. This is the basic argument as it was presented to me. Later, after additional discussions and much contemplation, this is what I have come to know about this method. The idea centers on tightening the muscles of the core and in doing so, we create a unified structure that transmits power more effectively. In this way, it is similar to the method of exhaling during a strike as most other martial arts do.

If that were the end, it would probably be sufficient, but there is more to it and this is the area that it most diverges from the more common method of exhaling as you strike. To expand upon it (pun intended), let’s first revisit the more commonly known method, which I will refer to as the Exhale Method.

In the Exhale Method, the basic premise is to exhale when attacking. Of course, to do this you must also be inhaling prior to the attack right? Because of this there is an aspect of timing that must take place. This can inhibit your freedom to attack when opportunity exists if taken to the extreme. That said most of us probably would forgo having the perfect breathing pattern in favor of getting a timely attack made. If we didn’t, as a fighter we would be stuck to using breathing patterns to determine our fighting rhythm. This means that we could be “timed” by an opponent simply because of our breathing. Likewise, if two people faced off and their breathing patterns were directly opposite, they would likewise have no recourse but to alternate between attacking and defending. Make sense so far? (It’s not rocket surgery but there is a path here.)

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Nafas - Part 1

Nafas is the term “to breath” in Indonesian. Sometimes specific breathing methods are termed Pernafasan. (The pre and post “nafas” letters are what convert the verb to a noun in Indonesian.)

Most breathing patterns found within the martial arts, focus around the idea of having the practitioner exhaling upon impact, sometimes accompanied by a short yell or scream often called a “kiai” in Japanese Martial Arts. However, this type of breathing is not exclusive to Japanese arts and can be found in many martial disciplines throughout the world.

The main purpose of the exhaling/yell approach, when performed explosively, is to tighten the abdomen of the person performing the strike, kick or other technique. When done well, this will coordinate the contraction of many of your body’s core muscles when striking and increase your power, however, unless you exhale/yell explosively, no contraction of the abdomen takes place and no power is developed.

As well, there are additional effects of this type of methodology that are also touted such as the ability to distract the attacker, weaken their resolve and even their strength, and provide courage to you and those who might be engaged in battle alongside of you.

In Pencak Silat Pertempuran we are not overly concerned with spending a lot of time training the specific topic of breathing, especially as it concerns our martial practice. The basic premise can be summed up in this: When striking, hold your breath, and upon contact, release your breath. This is sometimes confusing to people who have studied other arts prior to studying pencak silat Pertempuran.

As a result, it raises questions in the minds of the practitioner as to why we do it essentially the opposite of everyone else. It’s a good question and one that needs to be addressed in depth so here then is my attempt to do just that.

Let’s start with some fundamentals. Air is comprised of 78% Nitrogen, 21% Oxygen, and 1% of several other gases including Argon, Helium, Carbon Dioxide, etcetera, when it goes into our lungs and contains about 14-16% oxygen when it is exhaled. On average, every time we breathe we are using only about 1/3 of the oxygen that we inhale.