Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pencak Silat is all about ratio...

One of the foundational components of what I teach, is that from start to finish, you need to have 'techniques" that are roughly the equivalent to one beat.

By "beat" I literally mean the time frame it takes for an attacker or opponent to complete what they are trying to complete. Normally, for example, a strike or a kick takes place in a single beat — though, depending on telegraphing it can actually be much longer.

Another way to say it is, that the ratio of your techniques, in response, need to be of an equivalent ratio, or at least equivalent enough. (If you're attacking, then the opponent/attacker needs to be figuring it out, and that's good for you.)

Any longer than a 1 to 1 ration and the effectiveness of your techniques diminish exponentially over time. As the saying goes, "strike while the iron's hot!"

Likewise, it's important to consider the relationship between what the opponent/attacker is doing and my response. This is all part of the same conversation. Why? Because the longer something lasts, either your attack or defense, or theirs, the greater the likelihood that the relationship will change.

If it changes (the relationship), what worked .25 seconds ago, may no longer work. As a result, you've got to put yourself out there, commit and hope that your commitment was appropriate.

That said (and hopefully in a way that people can understand it) one of the basic considerations of Pencak Silat Pertempuran was to make a system that worked as closely as possible at understanding and responding in the 1 to 1 timing ratio.

The basic idea was to understand that a technique was only as good as the timing with which it was delivered.

Look...creative techniques exist in every martial art in existence, HOWEVER, the probability of using those creative techniques can drop exponentially based on the single factor of timing alone. Let alone all of the other variables or attributes that could be involved, such as: environment, emotion, reach, speed, flexibility, strength, leverage, etcetera, etcetera. (A pretty exhaustive list can be found in my first book. Yes, that's a plug. :)

So, with that intentionality, a lot of material was removed before settling on the core materials. Furthermore, I tried to ensure that I could perform the materials as closely as possible to the 1 to 1 ratio OR sufficiently "make up for it" in some other way. You know, like smacking someone AND THEN doing it :)

As a result, a good portion of the system is reasonably simple to do. It's built on simple movements and ideas. They are not flawless.

In PSP you will definitely see that initially, but as you progress through the system the techniques get apparently longer in their timing ratio. In large part, the problem is that to teach more complex applications in a reasonable and replicable manner you have to break them down into smaller steps and thereby increasing the length of time to complete.

However, that is not meant to imply that the step-by-step is the manner they are meant to be applied IRL. It is up to the student to find ways to strip as much out as possible or shortcut aspects of the materials in order to find the 1-to-1 timing ratio again.

I hope that's clear... The goal is 1-to-1 timing ratio to make everything as applicable as possible. For teaching it clearly, it is rarely possible to perform any technique that way. The student was continually hone and refine their skills to until they can find the 1-to-1 again.

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