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.

BUT

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!

7 comments:

Jay said...

Thank you, Guru! The timing of your post is excellent! I will forward this post to my guys so they can absorb it as well.
Thanks as well for this statement.
Take care,
Jay

SilatBlogger said...

Cool. If they have other specific questions I'd be happy to answer them. Of course, there is a facet to it all that is very difficult to put into any meaningful words. It is one of my hopes to begin to communicate in Keluarga. That is really the goal this year and through that also communicate the "curriculum." I want to flip it around.

You mentioned having bonfire capabilities? Did I get that right?

Jay said...

yep. interested in jumping? I could check the lunar cycles and have some balur at the halfway mark so we can burn that. Or we could just make S'Mores and chat.
;-)

SilatBlogger said...

Not interested in jumping but some traditional evening stuff might be fun 'pendin' on the -squito's.

Kembangan anyone?

Jay said...

I'm game!

Steve Perry said...

"You can have either pencak or silat but not both."

Am I misreading this? Seems to me you must have both.

SilatBlogger said...

Hi Steve

Well, in the context of the preceding sentence. If you don't have ALL of the attributes that I listed then you will NOT have pencak silat you - will have only pencak OR silat.