Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Ridiculousness in the Pencak Silat "community"

Over and over and over the pencak silat "community," perhaps the martial arts community at large, has been plagued with imposters, ego, politics, name-calling, and selling out. It's ridiculous and sad that a martial art, one that is supposedly based on honor and right acting would have these issues.

Yet, it is probably a given that anything that includes people in it will eventually be tainted by self-serving desires. Regardless though, it still frustrates me. Mostly because these things get aired-out in public, often through students, and followers. Where is the honor in that? Where is the right-acting in that?

I rarely speak out against the stupid actions of anyone in any community, okay, that's not exactly true, but indulge me for a minute. It is most often my choice to believe that most people mean to do the right thing but have a perspective that is skewed in one way or another, either through ignorance or through a differing perception.

This is my call to the pencak silat community to stop fighting each other and start helping each other. Be honorable and right-acting.

Pencak Silat Pertempuran


Priest said...

But Guru, where would all the fun be if people stopped engaging in petty flame wars and lineage feuds? How will other arts know Silat if this behavior is stopped?

I don't know the answer to either one of those questions, but I hope to God I find out some day.

Sam said...

Is there anywhere in the Tampa Bay area where Silat is being taught? All I find are old links and the business is long gone.

Matt said...

Pendekar Stark,

Yes, the relationships in many parts of the silat community are somewhat bizarre. I have friends in other martial arts communities. While there are certainly issues in other arts -- such as the kung fu crowd (can anyone say wing chun or southern praying mantis), the in-fighting and lack of respect shown by other silat practioners is quite astounding. As much as I love and respect their techniques and principles, we need to look no further than the Sera(k) crowd for a sad example.

Keep writing Sean. I always appreciate and follow what you write. You are truly one of the "good guys" and an example of what every silat practioner should aspire to be.

Sean Stark said...

Sam—I don't really know of any strict pencak silat types in Tampa. There are some kuntao things in the area. You could try googling Chris Derbaum for kuntao.

Sean Stark said...

LOL Priest—Yeah, you can always look out on the horizon and see the little dustball being kicked up in order to find your way to training. It's like, the more the adherents perceive themselves to be combatants, the more they tend to try and live it out in every way. Even amongst themselves. Look at CQC stuff for example... Kali...

Sean Stark said...

OMG Matt do not HOIST THAT title on me. Yikes!! That's a sure way to have drama. I would rather people call me Sean until I'm dead then to ever call me Pendekar.

Yes, there are certainly lineages that seem to have a share of interpersonal struggles.


From my perspective, when you start to call people out on their abilities, and experiences, it starts to become a bashing, and it's no longer honorable. We all come to this thing with issues, personal and otherwise. We are all broken and ALL have value—simultaneously. We just need to slow down, step back, let the naysayers do their thing—since their minds are already made up—and work hard to grow. Seeking knowledge, being right-Acting, and being honorable. If we do those things, then the naysayers won't matter to us.

I have my naysayers, but I refuse to get sucked into it. I long ago realized that everywhere you go, there will be people who are not honorable, not right acting, and will do their best to build themselves up on the backs of others. This happens corporately, in martial arts, in families, etc. However, the majority of people I know and deal with, while occasionally getting sucked in, are mostly trying to do what they think is right, or valuable. They just forget that their perspective might be skewed or that another persons might also be.

That said, I will help most anyone if they are willing to be helped, but I will also be slow to trust—as I said—watching, waiting, listening. A persons own actions, over time, will define who they are. Not the voices of others.

If a person is wrong-acting, lying, etc. they will be revealed. I don't have to publicly call them out, try to best them, or even humiliate them in order to validate myself. I just need to let them destroy themselves. Staying as far away as possible of course.

Yes, we do have the obligation to call it for what it is. But we also have the obligation to be honest about what we know it to be, give our sources, and to do it in a manner that is patient, honest, not degrading, not exaggerated, and not as a platform to boost ourselves or defend ourselves.

I will also warn others—but only of what I have personally seen—especially if many others have the same experience. That is right-acting, that is honorable. With few exceptions I will tell people what I know but always with the caveat that I may not have a complete understanding. Which is also likely.

In the same vane, if there is a need to value someone that I don't agree with, I will do that as well. I have teachers who I have learned from, that I do not care for how they treated me, or others, and they have a wake of destruction behind them, but I have to be honest and say, despite that, they have given me something of value.

Anyway. that was super long... sorry for the soapbox.

Matt said...


Yeah, Sean, you hit it on the head there. We have an absolutely amazingly talented group of escrimadors in a nearby town. Unfortunately, their Grandmaster has chosen to emphasize the "military" aspect of their art. As a result, they all now wear combat boots and fatigue pants (as opposed to just a pair of shorts and a t-shirt).

Not that I'm in a position to throw any stones. I was working with my 12-year old on sapus last night and ended up on my tail Nowhere do I claim to be a super fantastic silat player MYSELF. That's what I get for having lost my instructor to Indonesia. Perhaps I need to add "Special Forces Trainer" to my website, eh? That will give me some street cred! LMAO

Priest said...

Hey Sam, I'd be willing to practice with you. I'm in Tampa, send me a shout out, connor.O'Donnell(at)