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.