Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Pencak Silat - "organic" martial arts

Pencak: A way of movement.
Silat: A way of applying that movement in self-defense.

Pencak silat systems have an uphill battle when it comes to acceptance. Of course, there will be those charismatic, highly skilled people who have larger acceptance over all, but the truth of the matter is that pencak silat has a way of finding the people who study it. You can try to choose pencak silat but in the end pencak silat chooses you. You can try to learn pencak silat but in the end pencak silat learns you. You can try to move like pencak silat but in the end pencak silat must move you.

Of course to some that are not involved or not deeply involved this is a hard thing to understand. Maybe even sounds fruity and disconnected. Though that may be, I find that it is still true.

Time and time again I have watched people who are studying pencak silat and yet they don't move well. Oh, they can apply the techniques, but they cannot move like a pencak silat player. IMO this is an epidemic within pencak silat - at least here in the U.S. Too much time is spent trying to reduce pencak silat to formulas, principles, patterns, techniques, and not enough time is spent enjoying the movement, exploring the movement, feeling the movement, putting intention into your movement. 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, makes itself known.

We tend to look at the application as the goal, but it is only one facet of the whole. A valuable piece 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 not pencak silat without the entire list. You can have either pencak or silat but not both.

Keep training!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Pencak Silat Promotions

Selamat All;

Rocco and Doug have both passed level 3 and moved on to Level 4. They tested Saturday and did pretty well. They do have to do some more review on Level 2 things because it wasn't quite at the level I wanted to see it but they did well enough that they are moving on.

Level 3 is probably the hump for most people and probably the place where I lose the most students - that and level 1 that is.

Once you get through Level 3 and if you are making the effort to train with me personally, you will start to see how the material comes together, how connected it is, how fluid it is, how complete it is. Each successive level only adds to it BUT until you get there, it is hard to see. Rocco and Doug are starting to see it which is cool

Please congratulate them.

Hormat saya,
Guru Stark

Pencak Silat Pertempuran

Just wanted to let everyone know that I've launched the Pencak Silat Pertempuran site with an updated look, nav, and hopefully a lot less clutter. There's some new information and some old. Keep an eye on it as I will continue to add stuff and functionality back to it.

Some functionality will go away.

Look for an updated store soon too.

Hormat saya,
Guru Stark

Monday, January 29, 2007

Purposes and background of pencak silat

I posted this on the Dragon List Forum.

A note to those still interested.

I am a pencak silat practitioner and I just wanted to address a few things.

1. No one really knows the origins of pencak silat. It seems to have been influenced by Indian MA, Thai MA, Chinese MA, and anything else that has come along.

2. There are MANY MANY different styles probably in the thousands. Pencak silat is typically very syncretic (as is the Indonesian culture) in nature and individualistic. I have seen teachers of the same style who have performed the material so differently that they would appear to be different arts - yet in principle they are the same.

3. Much of pencak silat is weapons oriented but not all of it. Indonesia is still a weapons culture today.

4. In self-defense you do not need to be attacked before you can respond if you can show/prove imminent danger. This probably varies from state to state but every state I have lived in agrees with this.

5. In ALL MA including MMA there are those who aren't very skilled and those who are very skilled. The art is only one part of the total equation.

6. It is probable that not all pencak silat started from animal fighting and not specifically the monkey. There are animal styles and there are non-animal styles.

7. Pencak silat has had much influence historically with various religions. It is largely the product of the spiritual nature of Indonesia. For instance, many Indonesians are Pantheists, many are also Muslim, some or Christian, some are Hindi. If you look at history, Indonesia has had several stages of cultural change. Each of these have left it's mark on the culture. Few have been abandoned. Therefore, you have silat with lots of mysticism, no mysticism, religion, no religion, and just about every conceivable mix including tenaga dalam, which is akin to Chi or Ki. Some of these practitioners are into the whole no contact self-defense belief (I find this funny normally but it’s out there).

7. Most pencak silat includes some form of spiritual practice or philosophical study. This is what separates bullies from the rest of us. It serves little purpose if you're only good at killing or self-defense in a culture because you WILL tend towards what you are good it. Therefore you must have balance IMO.

8. I know pesilat who can and have used their pencak silat for "self-defense" in the streets, against weapons without having their own weapons. Pencak silat is as capable as any other art. Likewise, it is as incapable as other arts too. There just isn't any magic bullet martial art out there or combination. Anyone can suck on any given day lest you think that you are all that.

9. Some of pencak silat was purposed for combat against many people simultaneously, so though they may go to the ground you will probably not see many submission holds. Of course, this is changing because Indonesians want to do what the rest of the world is doing.

10. This brings me to another point, what is on the video is not combative. It is demonstrasi. It is meant as demonstration. Pencak Silat leaders (not all by any means) have been trying to produce a sporting method for this art. They have been working since the early 70's to come up with a good blend that is indicative of the wide variety of pencak silat that is out there while still making it appealing to youth who want to participate and not losing sight of their history and function. No small task and largely they have not really had success. What you see in this clip is an attempt. Unlike MMA or Boxing or Thai Fighting, there are three aspects to every competition. One is termed as self-defense (loosely), the other is forms - Kembangan/Jurus Wajib, the other is fighting - Ohla Raga.

11. Culture plays a big role in pencak silat, even regionally. It is not uncommon that Sumatran arts have a lot of groundwork. Most other arts do as well. However, when you go to Java you'll typically see a lot more handwork, and more upright stances. In Madura there are more high kicks and wider, lower stances. In Malay silat I have typically seen pretty high stances and a good mix of Sumatran and Chinese influence as well as some Thai influence. All of that to say, that IMO, we should be considering our own culture when we perform silat. Some do and some don't. The ones that do are more in keeping with true pencak silat principles IMO.

12. Pencak Silat is a principle-based art largely. That is, that while there are specific things to learn they typically point to larger or broader principles which is why you can have people who study the same art with different movement interpretations, different applications, etc. That's what makes this art so exciting and interesting. It offers a lifetime of study within a very limited set of materials.

There’s more to say but probably few people would read it.

I do have a blog, website, etcetera if anyone of you are interested. I also have a couple of books on the market – they are mostly for students but anyone could get the gist of what we do by looking at them.


Guru Pencak Silat Pertempuran

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Pencak Silat Training Camp - Keluarga 2007


Date: August 3rd-5th, 2007
Theme: No. I don't play nice!
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


  • American,
  • Comair,
  • Continental,
  • Midwest Connect,
  • Northwest,
  • Skywest,
  • United,
  • 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
  • jurus-jurus,
  • harimau-monyet,
  • 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),
  • Golok,
  • 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 .

Hormat saya,
Guru Stark

Friday, January 26, 2007

Pencak Silat Observations

Rocco and I had a private class last night. It was really good. Mostly because I got to see Rocco put some things together, which as a teacher, is always cool.

We were working on explosive entries last night. This isn't really new, Rocco has been working on explosive entries for many months now. He's come a LONG way in being able to put his martial arts background into use.

Through this process of teaching Rocco and having to communicate the same things in many, many different ways, I've had the pleasure of learning myself and it's been real rewarding to see Rocco spring board off of what he's learned and be able to draw other conclusions about it. Most of them are not necessarily new conclusions but they are, for the first time, HIS conclusions and that makes all the difference when you are trying to understand something.

Last night the practice and the discussion ranged quite wide. It started with the hierarchy of combat that I've spoken about before, at least with some of you.

The hierarchy of combat is the recognition of the various possibilities that the initial combat relationship can start with and the various paths it can travel. There are at least seven major starting points for the hierarchy of combat within Pencak Silat Pertempuran.

1. Run Away - Able to see the escalation and avoid it altogether
2. Attack - Able to see the escalation and interupt it
3. Evade and simultaneous counter - Able to read an opponent and counter
4. Evasion with no counter - Able to read an opponent but not counter
5. Block with counter - Slightly behind in timing but able to counter
6. Block with no counter - Further behind in timing but able to stop attack
7. Get hit - Completely behind in timing unable to stop attack

To people outside of PSP some of these may not make sense or the order may seem out of whack, but for us, that is not the case. Within the context of operable combat, there are primarily 5 possibilities. You can see them by taking away the first and the last from the list.

From the perspective of training, PSP is primarily working at the level of option #3 - Evade and simultaneous counter. This is where the majority of what I teach is started at. Why start here? Because in reality, it is the highest form of defensive engagement you can be in. To move to #2 is to move to aggressor. That is not to say that #3 is passive and non-aggressive. To say that would confuse people - make no mistake you must be willing to take control in order to effectively work within the context of #3. However, it is still defensive in the sense that the attacker has initiated the attack - even though we are moving to take over the timing of the encounter immediately.

This can be confusing to people and the balance of intensity in training can be difficult to keep. On the one hand, someone is attacking you in a way that makes you defensive and you must react, however, if it is to fully have the effect it should, you need be agressive and moving in to the opponent in most cases and have the mindset of the agressor rather than the victim. This is often hard to simulate in training. One way to simulate is to put on headgear (full face cage) and gloves and do the drills with the intention of "clocking" each other. Doesn't need to be full power, but enough power to cause that little bit of adjustment necessary to bring the training up a level. I've seen it make a BIG difference in Rocco and Doug's training and it's really good for me too.

Now on with the rest...

You might be wondering why #4 is evasion but without a counter? Evasion is kind of whimpy and defensive isn't it? Very passive and risky. Well, it can be BUT imo, evasion doesn't have to be defensive, it can be offensive if you evade with purpose and if that purpose is to create the proper angle for a follow-up attack or to nullify further attacks by the agressor. In PSP we have one over laying principle for the system. Langkah dari batu ke batu or Stepping from stone to stone. So it's not always relevant that we get the thing we're after on the first go. Sometimes we have to be patient and play until it becomes available which can be 3,4, 10 moves later. (So what is it that we are after? Domination of the timing and the agressor - essentially the win - not the fight.)

So how does evasion do that? To answer, in my experience it is sometimes easier to evade an attack than it is to evade and counter. It is the matter of reading your opponents movements and having only enough time to evade but not enough time to do so well enough to counter in the most relevant way. It's the matter of hunredths of a second probably as it regards recognition of the relationship between yourself and the attacker. Yet, it is enough difference to make countering too slow. In these cases, you are best to evade in such a way as to cause the opponent to become unbalanced or over-extended. By doing this, you by yourself time to develop your counter. It may just be the thing that makes up that few hundredths of a second that you need. In that regard, it is a better situation than any block if done well.

This will need to be continued at a later time....

Hormat saya
Guru Stark

Pencak Silat Desa Forum

Well, if you're a visitor of the Desa forum on my website you'll probably be unhappy to know that spammers have forced me to update the forum.

The past few days I've had to remove spam from the forum and the last time this happened it didn't stop and I was forced to remove a link builder for pesilat.

I didn't wait to find out. I've got a new forum posted but there's no content yet. I'm going to try and port over some of the content or post it on the blog here so it's available some place.

For everyone else, it's time to create a new account. It's a great forum and will more than serve the needs of our little group but has some wonderful new features. Check it out by clicking the title of the blog here or go to the website and follow the links to the desa.

I haven't had a chance to change the looks yet so it's out of the box fresh.

hormat saya,
guru stark

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Pencak Silat Class Tuesday 1/23/07

The Tuesday class was mostly a private lesson for Doug. He and I got to work out together which was nice for me. I don't get to workout as often as I'd like with a training partner so that was reall good.

We started out with more Harimau Monyet work trying to get the legs going, hips going, knees going, whatever... We did about 30 minutes of this type of work, but rather than just do a single thing or two with lots of repititions, we worked a bunch of variations of things with sets of 10 or 15 each. Enough to get the feel of it but not enough to get bored with it and not really burn out on it either. It was good to be able to do it this way because we flowed various harimau monyet things together in little min-series. I like doing that and we'll probably do a lot more of that.

After that we went right into Level 3 work which is where Rocco and Doug are. Doug and I worked pretty good at the Exchanges, Trapping, and catching. About this time Rocco showed up. It was probably almost 8 or even later. (Shame Shame). Of course I had to stop showing Doug all the secret stuff then because Rocco came...

Then we caught Rocco up on most of the Level 3 stuff of course Rocco strategically misses the conditioning portion and he probably thinks that's a good thing but in reality, the little bit of workout he could get by doing it would probably do his knees a ton of good over time and build a lot of strength and flexibility... but what do I know...

Anyway, then we finished off with checks and worked Jurus Tiga. For a moment these guys were actually looking like silat pesilat. It was startling. A few tweaks here and there and Doug was "striking a pose." Rocco followed and with a little work they could meet the deadline of testing this Saturday. It's up to them, but just about 1/2 hour a day of jurus tiga would probably do it for each of them.

Hormat saya,
Guru Stark

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Pencak Silat mealtime

Saturday after class and videoing I went home and started preparing a shopping list for the Saturday evening meal. I invited Rocco and Doug over for a, primarily, Thai meal. We had shrimp Pad Thai, Tom Ka Gai, Lumpia (Filippino spring rolls), Pisang Goreng (Indonesian Fried Bananas), and some wafer thingies with Ube in them for dessert.

Everything came off pretty good. Rocco and Doug talked a little silat while I finished off preparing the meal. I thought it was good. Rocco apparantly likes Sambal (I think that's how you spell it...) which is Red Chili paste. He kept putting it on heavy enough that it caused him to have mild coughing fits. Pretty funny.

This is a meal that my family has enjoyed over the years but my girls have grown weary of the soup at least. We've had it for the past 6 or 7 years and they just aren't interested in it that much anymore. It was delicious imo. The pisang goreng and the lumpia are new additions and the girls pretty much like them. I am surprised that some people don't like pisang goreng.... it's wonderful to me. I had A LOT of it when I was in Indonesia a few years back.

So what does this post have to do with pencak silat? Well not much if you're looking for technique or training tips, but lots if you consider your brothers in silat to actually be brothers, friends... family.

Having meals with students was a thing I did many years ago and then stopped, largely because of financial issues, but I see a need for students and teachers to do it. It helps us to understand each other more, appreciate each other more, care about each other more and, dare I say, invest in each other more.

FYI - It would be wonderful to try and do something like this at Keluarga, but even if that is not possible, to be able to regularly share a meal together is a great thing.

Pencak silat is not like every other martial art. Oh, of course it can be, and some seem to be pushing it in that direction but that was not the original intention imo. The original intention of pencak silat was to protect first your family, then your village, and then your region, and then your country. It was never meant to be a place of selfish intent but of community.

Family is more important than commercialization - even if the art dies out IMO. Even if THIS art dies out. Of course, I don't want it to and I believe that when people really understand this art, it won't because it will become THEIR art. In order for that to happen, it must be family and it must be real.

When you are leading a group do you act like the untouchable master on the mountain or do you lay your cards down in front of your students to be examined as is? My vote is for the cards...

hormat saya,
Guru Stark

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Saturday 1/20/2007 Pencak Silat Class

Saturday we had class with Rocco, Todd, and Doug there. We warmed up with some Monyet and Harimau, stretching, crocodile falling push-ups, and Ales Lima or Lutut Jatuh depending on your perspective.

We went on to practice catches, exchanges, trapping, and checking. After that we went through jurus tiga.

After class we did some more filming of pisau material and a few pisau bela diri. The pisau bela diri included the knife along side the neck, in the stomach, in front of the throat, and point on the side of the neck. There are more I will be doing - though I might just make a bela diri dvd that has all types of different bela diri on it - not just pisau bela diri. Maybe gun, empty hand, kicks, tackles, etcetera. This is stuff that needs to be addressed.

Anyway, it was a good class. I'm a few posts behind so expect several within a few days.

Hormat saya,
Guru Stark

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Pencak Silat Grading

Selamat All;

Jay Carstensen has passed the Level 1 testing. Great job Jay! Keep moving!!!

Hormat saya,
Guru Stark

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Pencak Silat Pertempuran Class -Tuesday 1/16/07

Tuesday night we had a pretty good class. At least a good workout. Doug and I started with squats, Ales Lima, push-ups, wall sits, and then about an hour of kicking. We did Tendangan Depan, Sepak Ayam, Double Sepak Ayam, and Sepak Bulat. Then we did a little stretching. I need to do much more of that...

After that, we went through tangkapan, penjebakan, pencegah tangan, and pertukaran. After that we went through Jurus Tiga several times. We still ended by around 9:45p so that wasn't too bad. Sometimes we go later and accomplish less it seems...

We also did some more stretching after the kicking portion. It felt good because my back was getting stiff by then. I'm getting old.................

Anyway, it was a good workout, and though it was a pretty simply structured class, it was good. I fully expect that Rocco and Doug will be through Level 3 by the end of the month (if Level 2 looks good) and we can put some time into the material.

Saturday we should be filming most of the rest of the material for the Pisau - I hope - and I'll get that edited and posted soon after. My freelance work has slowed a bit so I should have some time to get it done. Woo Hoo!

Hormat saya,
Guru Stark

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Pencak Silat class 1/13/07 and Future Works

Selamat Readers, Students, Friends;

Saturday's class was good. We did a lot of pisau filming. (Thanks Rocco and Doug!) We filmed the jurus2 Pisau, dasar, Ales, masukan pisau, masukan pisau monyet, masukan pisau pendek, masukan pisau kombinasi, and it seems like we may have filmed more but I can't remember.

Doug and Rocco worked on Beladiri Pisau Satu and dua. We put beladiri pisau satu on film with more to come. Hopefully next weekend we'll get the rest of the pisau material on film and I'll get it edited shortly after that. We already had some of it on film that we shot a few months back so for some of it, unfortunately I have duplicate material, but that's okay because I can pick and choose what material I want to use that will communicate the material better.

There's a lot to put on this DVD so it may end up being 2 DVD's. I'm not sure at this point. I will abbreviate the material as much as I think I can considering that a person will be viewing this material after they have already completed 9 other levels. In any case, I am excite to be at this point in the material because I am finally on the downside of filming - at least the raw material for the levels.

I will probably make a few specialty books or videos or both to accentuate certain elements that don't initially make themselves apparant. For instance, all of the monyet that is found in the system, all of the boar, and all of the ular. These are things that you'll recognize when you see the movements but may not have seen isolated with the principles that they utilize.

I would also like to make a linking video for those who are studying primarily from dvd. This would be a dvd that might clearly show how things might link together. The main issue I need to overcome on that DVD is figuring out a way to teach it so the principle is passed and not techniques...

There is also a strong possibility that an explosive entries DVD will be made. This is something that I didn't recognize was necessary but working with Rocco and Doug, they have helped me to understand the necessity for such material. This is a "rubber meets the road" type of DVD that will elevate your skill if you don't know how, or you don't know what you do - when it works.

Somewhere in all of this there is the possibility of producing a series of DVD's on the jurus2 like I have with jurus satu.

Lastly, there is the possibilty of redoing some of the earlier dvd's. There are small elements here and there that have evolved and the presentation might be clearer and more concise. I would also like to make another attempt at them to share some of the passion I have for the material. I certainly don't have the same effect with people on video as I do in person and I am working on it.

From the standpoint of writing I have already begun the third book. It was my intention to add more of the physical material in it, but I may forgoe that and make the book a strictly spiritual - phsychological/emotional book. It probably will not be as large as the latest book but it may take longer to write... I'll just have to see as it goes along. That's one of the joys have self-publishing --- I can change my mind! :)

All of the current materials can be found here: Lulu

Hormat saya,
Guru Stark

Friday, January 12, 2007

Pencak Silat Pertempuran Level 9 Monyet 2

I just wanted to quickly announce that the Level 9 video for PSP is now available. It is the second of the two ground-fighting Monyet/Harimau dvd's of the basic system that is why it is called Monyet 2.

This video is the complete Level 9 curriculum of pencak silat Pertempuran. Monyet or monkey and Harimau combined to create an effective ground system for combat. Includes many takedowns, destructions, jurus, langkah, and more. A must have for the serious PSP student.

This is a link to the site you can purchase it from.

Here are some photos from Volume 2 which also deal with this portion of the PSP material.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The Passion of Pencak Silat Pertempuran

Why do I write books?
Why do I make videos?
Why do I offer seminars cheap and even free sometimes?
Why do I train a small group of people?
Why do I offer distance learning?

Let me say, it's not the money - I'm basically broke.
It's not the fame - nobody knows who I am.
It's not a power trip - nobody has to listen to me and even those who probably should - don't necessarily.

No really. I make all this stuff, spend hundreds of hours writing, doing videos, teaching, training, etc. because I want to give others the opportunity to get involved with a martial art that I think is phenomenal. Something that has benefited me enormously. Not just in the realm of fighting but also in the realm of mental and spiritual growth. Yes, there are other good martial arts out there to be sure, but not many that are great and that have the potential to make great martial artists. Pencak silat does have great potential, and specifically Pencak Silat Pertempuran, to make great martial artists.

I keep teaching, sharing, writing, recording, editing, training, and studying because I believe it's true. I've seen people develop over the course of time - into silat players. There may be better arts out there at specific facets of fighting, but as an overall system that allows it's practitioners the widest opportunity to pursue what works for them within a context or system that is widely functional, I don't know of a better art. Believe me - I've looked around. I've tested things.

My journey started in Tae Kwon Do as a teen. I didn't do much in it because my parents couldn't afford it. Actually, I'm not sure if that's true or not. I didn't even ask because it always seemed like money was "tight" to be sure. My Mother and father were divorced when I was young. My mother re-married to someone who was sickly - diabetic, dialysis, and eventually had kidney transplants. Lots of medications to keep him tickin'. In any case, this always seemed to have a dampening affect on our finances. My stepfather was basically unable to work (or at least played the part) and so we lived on my mothers income. All that to say, that things were always financially difficult it seemed so I didn't even ask about MA training. However, I had a friend who studied and was a Black belt who used to teach me. It was informal of course, but I knew I liked it.

From this humble start I had the opportunity to study a little here and there while I served in the Army as an M.P. Nothing crazy, but of course your standard military style combatives and then in Germany I got exposure to some Judo and Aikido. Very small exposure but it helped me see that this is what I wanted to do someday...

After a brief stint into the working class blue collar life I decided I wanted something else and I decided on going to school. Through that process I was introduced to the first person who I was able to really study martial arts from. It was a kung fu style. Essentially a "cotton fist" style that relied heavily on relaxation. With that I also began studying Wu and Yang Tai Chi. I did these for about 8 years and taught for 4 or 5 of those. I was also introduced to some Judo and Aikido again in an art called Budo Aikido. Most of this studying was done with Sifu Ron O. Skipper and a little with his Sifu.

Around '92, when I got married, we moved back to Wisconsin and I began studying Wing Chun off and on with a few different people, JKD, Kali, Arnis, Hok Kuntao and smatterings of Maphilindo and Mande Muda starting around '94. I was still teaching Kung fu and Tai Chi more so that I could keep learning and growing. In college I also did a few semesters of Judo.

In '94 I got introduced to Sifu-Guro Dan Molash. He really turned me on to the Kali, JKD, Silat, and Hok Kuntao. His primary art was the Hok Kuen which is very similar to Ngo Cho Kuen - though a smaller system overall. It seems that many of the forms that we share in common are similar in structure and style - not identical by any means, but similar. It's a good system and one that I have enjoyed. My sights began shifting from the Kung fu I was doing to the Hok Kuen (Hok Kuntao), Kali & Arnis, as well as Silat. At this stage silat was interesting but I didn't have enough information but Kali and Arnis and the Hok Kuen were being hotley pursued (just to clarify, when I say Kali AND Arnis it's because I was practicing with a few different instructors in different systems that went by different names).

By '98 I had shifted through 4 years of Arnis, Hok Kuen, and Silat and I decided that I needed to just drop the kung fu and tai chi. It was one of the best decisions I've ever made. In '98 I began studying Silat as a primary art in Raja Sterlak Silat with Guru Cruicchi. I also began studying Garrote Larense (a Venezuelan Machete art).

During this stage my Kali and Arnis training began to decline. I was still actively pursuing Hok Kuen but I was devoting as much or more energy to my pursuit of Raja Sterlak Silat as taught to me by Guru Cruicchi, and to him by Guru Muthalief. In '99 I began studying Pamur Silat and got introduced to Jati Wisesa Silat and Serak Silat. I quickly dropped Serak Silat because of the enormity of extra baggage that comes with studying that system here in America. I pursued Pamur silat regularly for the next 4 years as well as Raja Sterlak and Garrote. To this day I still practice portions of Pamur. Less of Raja Sterlak and little or no Garrote. It's just a matter of available time in life... recognizing that the best I can ever be will happen by focused pursuit of a single thing.

By '96 or '97 Hugo and I were on the same path, with similar questions concerning martial arts and possibilities, etc. It was always amazing to me how we would get together after a 6 month hiatus from killing each other and we would find ourselves asking similar questions and pursuing similar topics. Almost always in differing ways :) Often appearing as polar extremes.

In '98 when I began pursuing pencak silat fully, a transformation began to take place in my martial arts and by '99 when I began really studying Pamur some interesting questions were in my head. By mid to late '99 those questions had been given answers. I can still remember that it was fall of that year and where it happened. I remember walking home from a class or something and having the beginnings of an epihpany that would last around 2 weeks in length. Within that two week time, the majority of PSP was laid out and born.

I attribute it to God. Of course, it was the product of many, many, different experiences, teachers, trainings, thrashings, etc. that I received. All were strategically provided as though the timing was planned in all cases. (This is a much longer story but I would be willing to try and explain what I can at another time.)

In any case, With the base from my previous years of training, the combination of questions in my head that I had been mulling over for years, the teachers I had met, the losses I had dealt with, and the introduction of me to Pamur, PSP seemed to magically appear. No really, it still feels (literally) like magic to me how it all came to be. When I think of the art as it stands today and its history, I still get butterflies in my stomach and feel the adrenaline and excitement that I had when the first moment of insight came and others immediately followed. It was outside of me - as though I was looking in on it all. I know it sounds weird and hokey probably but that's exactly how it felt.

I haven't looked back since. It became clear almost immediately that something unique had happened and the material that came from it made more sense than I've ever seen another martial art make. I'm not bragging - just saying that to me, I felt like I finally had found THE ART. Some of the material came directly from the silat systems I was studying but some of the materials were the obvious next steps in that original material and were developed as a core to answer those questions that had been bouncing around in my head.

The really cool part to me, is that I'm still studying the system. I founded it --- I still study it --- is anyone else getting that? It is not MY system. It is a system that was given to me. I still learn and grow from it. I'm still challenged by it. I still pursue it's understanding. I've tried to explain that to people but most don't get it. THey figure that because I founded it, that I have thought through every conceivable question and answered them already. That I'm a master of the system. Sorry guys, that hasn't happened. I'm still very much a student of my own art. Each passing year, now going on 8 years of focused learning on PSP and I'm still stunned by how much I learn, how much I am challenged, how much there is.

Along the way, a few silat players that I respect deeply have given me acknowledgement on my skill as a pencak silat player. They've also recognized a student or two, who I've had the priveledge of helping raise up and influence their movement. Some of these are Indonesians who have been my teachers at one time or another, some have been Americans. All have been pencak silat players and for me that says something. A few have even said that my skill and movement as a pesilat is some of the highest found in the U.S. While that is embarassing to me to even say, it should be encouraging for you as students to hear.

So why do I write, make videos, teach, train? Well it should be obvious by now, but if not... It continually deepens my understanding and re-invigorates me to share with passion this art that I love. I hope that someday a few others will come along that love it to. That can help bring this art into view. It is after all, YOUR art. The material I create, the time I give to it, the devotion I have is for YOUR benefit, to help YOU become a recognized, highly skilled, pencak silat player. Not someone who disguises their Kali, Arnis, kung fu, or blends a little silat with it and tries to sell it as pencak silat.

If YOU are disciplined I can help you achieve your absolute best in pencak silat Pertempuran.

I have so much more to share with you but for the time, this will have to be enough. Starting a new year, I wanted to share with many of you who've not heard the story of PSP. Hopefully it will inspire you to pursue this art passionately.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Pencak Silat Pertempuran: Vol. 2 Book Release


The Pencak Silat Pertempuran: Volume 2 is now available!

If I seem excited it's because I am!
Check it out.

Hardcover or Softcover
Nearly 500 pages
Monyet and Harimau
Neck Breaks
Knife (pisau)
Machete (Golok)
a special section on kerambit
and a special section on gun

Hopefully there is something for everyone. HOWEVER if you haven't picked up the first book yet, you should, this book will expand on Volume One but it won't replace it.

Check out the new cover:

Thanks for your attention!

Hormat saya,
Sean Stark
Pencak Silat Pertempuran

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Pencak Silat Class 1/2/07

Tuesday's pencak silat pertempuran class was a pretty good class. We mostly worked on levels 2 and 3 but of course included the use of a knife in that as well to give a slightly different perspective. It was a pretty good turnout. Nick and Aaron came over from Tampa and of course Rocco and Doug were there as well. That was good because it gave Doug and Rocco other people to train with.

For a little while Nick and I did Main Terus or Permainan while Rocco, Doug, and Aaron did explosive entries with the pisau. I'm not sure who lost over on the pisau side...

For the most part we worked all of the various entries to include: Masukan Tangan, Masukan Sepak, Masukan Lutu, Masukan Siku, and Masukan Kaki. We also did Jurus2. On the level 3 stuff we went through checks, trapping, catching, and exchanging as well as jurus 3.

Nick demonstrated the Jurus-jurus Kombinasi of PSP for Jurus Satu and Tiga. I also had an opportunity to teach him Jurus Tangan Lima, and Jurus Monyet Lima. I showed him how the Jurus Kombinasi Lima works but I don't think his mind was absorbing too much by that point.

One time I went over how to apply pisau to the jurus-jurus tangan and I demonstrated Jurus Pisau Satu and Lima for Nick. Aaron and Nick also got a bit of training in the Pisau Grip Switching and Hand Switching. It was brief but felt good to share it with people eager to learn.

One theme of the night was headbutts.... I gave a few headbutts to Nick and Aaron and I smacked heads at one point. I ended up with a walnut sized knot above my eye which is since growing darker and darker. My glasses caused me to get a nice blood blister next to my eye too. It's been a few days and it still feels pretty good (sarcasm people, sarcasm).

Hormat saya,