Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Silat Forest

Sometimes in the martial arts it's easy to lose site of the forest for the trees. The big picture. The one that attracted us to the martial arts to begin with. Here are some example trees which you have no doubt caught yourself or still might be looking at:

As a Student:

As a teacher:
Student Numbers
Raising Instructors
Spreading The Art
Being Respected/ Revered/ Feared, etc.

There are probably more but those are the things that popped into my head. Not all of them are bad. In fact, most are not bad at all—depending on how you are looking at them.

As I have begun looking back at the last decade of teaching, learning, and Silat Pertempuran respectively (actually closer to 14 years now), I noticed some "creep." It's easy to do. It only takes a little persistent external force to move something already in motion or to have been slightly off target to begin with and the further your arrow travels the further off target it gets.

Now, I'm looking at it and saying, it's time for change, I've stuck with some of it for a while now and other parts have slowly migrated. It's time to re-orient and look objectively at what I'm teaching and what my goals are for those teachings and push it back on track, cutting away chafe, and pushing and prodding it closer to what it was intended to be—Combat Silat. That ball is rolling. It means change, but not change for the sake—I'm not a fan of that.

PSP is moving forward, addressing struggles and miscues, pushing along. Our new videos on youtube.com show the direction but not the destination.

It means redefining the primary emphasis or actually defining one.
It means refocusing the work or actually focusing the work.
It means letting go of what could be and embracing what actually is.


Friday, June 10, 2011

Solutions Now!

I've been involved in martial arts for 18 years now and pencak silat for a good portion of those and it's interesting to me that people still look for the "one size fits all" solution to martial arts. Over and over and over I see new iterations of the same old idea that somehow by studying this super secret special martial art you'll get what you need. Furthermore, you can learn whatever the "magic" system is in 20 or 30 hours or whatever and you'll be able to do it...Umm....sorry folks but I'm not buying.

I do believe that most good teachers have something to offer and can teach you a lot. You should respect what they offer and study it wholeheartedly but don't expect to become invincible. It's not going to happen. The best anybody can hope to do is bring their training to the fight. It's not easy in diverse situations where your life or your welfare is at stake.

In my opinion, and that's all it is, invest in the long-term training of skills and attributes that will show up when you need them and in ways that you don't necessarily train. You need adaptability and versatility in your training over techniques and methods.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Cultural Attributes

In my limited experience as a silat teacher I have noticed one or two things that impact attribute and skill development. I have been training two separate age groups, an adult group and a middle/high school group. An attribute that I see needing development, in both groups, is what a colleague/student calls, "the third world squat". For the purposes of this discussion, I would highlight that PSP does not work in static pieces, but is a fluid, dynamic system. Please excuse my indiscretion referring to "the third world squat" as a stance, as stance would suggest static or stuck movement. PSP is neither.

This colleague of mine is a former Navy SEAL, from SEAL Team 5. We were working through any of the various meta movements inherent in PSP. I noticed that PSP works more effectively when the pesilat develops a close quarter approach and a low stance/squat. I mentioned this to my colleague to improve his training. The close quarter attitude was not an issue. The low stance or "Um Bah Wah" was in need of increased development. When I articulated this low stance, my colleague said,"Oh, you mean the third world squat". My initial response was a weird look and a "what"? My colleague informed me that in most developing countries a similar stance is affected by the populace as a means of relaxation, comfort or the beginning of a long, desired and sometimes heated conversation. In short, they can stay low from childhood.

This truly got me thinking. I do not consider Malaysia, Indonesia or any South East Asian county lacking in culture or development. However the strong traditional ties contained in these countries would suggest that this type of posture or stance is still continued from generation to generation. I questioned my personal training as well as the American approach to silat. My conclusion I was at a deficit.

The next day I began watching TV, showering, playing with my kids in the "third world squat". Every opportunity I had I was in a flat footed, toes forward, knees over toes squat. My hip flexors, my periformis muscles all of these hip and lower back muscles that felt fused months before began to loosen. My Silat has improved immensely. I believe it has a lot to do with continued practice, attention to details and the connection to a cultural attribute that I was quick to look over.

I suggest we all squat.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Announcement!! Pencak Silat Seminar!

PSP is coming to USF!

DATE: February 27th
TIME: 1230-430 ish
COST: $25
    USF Rec Center
    Room 101
    4202 East Fowler Ave.
    Tampa, Fl 33620

Spend an afternoon exploring the devastating and brutally effective art of Pencak Silat.

Any level of ability can do this stuff—from no prior training in martial arts to experts.

Learn to think differently about the martial arts.

This seminar will explore how to take one simple movement as the core of a multitude of applications, applying it through a range of combat and self-defense applications. Taking you from the foundations to more dramatic and lethal applications in an afternoon.

The seminar will include such things as:
• One Meta Movement
• Checking Hands
• Checking Kicks
• Evasion
• Counter Striking
• Counter Elbowing
• Destroying Structure
• Destroying Base
• Catching an Attack
• Locking
• Sweeping
• Takedowns
• Destructions
• Striking for maximum effect
• Neck breaks
• Strangles 
To make payment and reserve your spot paypal $25 to info@combat-silat.net as soon as you can and put a note that it's for the USF Seminar Feb. 27th.

I will be driving over from Orlando area early on the 27th so if you want to ride with me, let me know.

Looking forward to another great seminar with these guys!