This is a response to another question sent in by a student.
I just wanted to know if there was any drills I could do to make my body remember to keep my structure at all times?
Well, the best drills imo are the things you are going to use in real combat so I would recommend having someone feed you attacks slightly slower and with a lot of repetition in order to ingrain the movement more and to develop greater trust in it. The issue isn’t the body keeping structure - it’s the mind trusting the structure.
You cannot force trust, it must be built and that just takes time and the increase of stress over time. Too often we want to increase the stress we put ourselves under too fast instead of settling for graceful, smooth repetition of a thing until it becomes second nature. Once you do this long enough you’ll start to automatically be able to deal with greater and greater levels of stress without even thinking about it.
Trust and faith are inter-related and they both require a certain degree of relaxation or relaxed mental state. Not oblivious relaxation but alert and calm. Fear is easily bred by a lack of trust in something and that is when you will find your technique starts to waver.
Additionally, you will always have a startle response or reflex. That will never go away, however, your startle responses can become more refined and more directly pencak silat if you sufficiently train movements that are related to your bodies natural response or reflex mechanisms. For instance, about a month ago, a friend at work startled me slightly and before he or I knew it, I had grabbed him behind the head and lightly elbowed him in or near the eye. Just a reflex but it came about as a result of training, my body responding the way it did because of the response from the startled positions my hands were in. Other times I've instinctively kicked or hit. It depends on the position of your body relative to the attack when the startle takes place. Certain positions and certain relationships with the attack and attacker will draw certain startle responses based on my training.
Structure is no different. I find myself in many cases like that, utilizing a type of Ales that is sufficient enough to avoid but perhaps not perfect in the traditional sense.
To get to that stage you must continue to be challenged by unique and different attacks over time, sufficiently enough to build genuine responses to things that are unique or startling. The way to do it is often just to do the thing over and over until you get it right, with enough of a change of speed to accommodate your level of skill.