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!