Thursday, November 22, 2012

Silat Learning Streams and Application Streams

Every technique has an outcome. Think of a technique as an event. Sometimes positive, sometimes negative, sometimes irrelevant—from both perspectives—attacker and “defender.” 

To explain from the attackers perspective, I may strike and hit the target as intended, or my strike may miss the target because of the defender’s response, or my strike could just miss.

From the defenders perspective, when you defend against an attack, for example, your defense may push/deflect the attack to the left or right or up or down depending on what defense feels appropriate for you. Or you could get smacked. 

No matter what, every outcome changes the relationship between the attacker and the defender. Personal perspective determines the value. From the perspective of either there are opportunities and pitfalls at each intersection.

The greater your ability versus that of your opponents, the more likely you are to recognize the opportunities and be able to capitalize on them. If you are correct in your recognition and capitalize well, you will be able to string together events and thereby create a seamless series. (A series as we refer to them in Pencak Silat Pertempuran is called a “Stream.”)

This is not what makes PSP unique. All arts have this interaction of outcomes. We refer to it as a Relationship.

However, Pencak Silat Pertempuran specifically pays attention to the space in between interactions. As a result PSP has an expectation of the interaction or interplay between the fighters. 


In certain relationships the response is MORE predictable than in others. By putting ourselves in those specific relationships whenever possible, we CAN have a reasonable understanding of the likely outcomes. We call this the CPS or Combat Positioning System. THIS is essential to PSP.

When in one of those positions/relationships with an antagonist, we can, with reasonable predictability determine a likely response based on the type of strike, trajectories, and angles that we are in. 

Since the majority of that is built into the Combat Positioning System, the only things that are really left to sort out are the trajectory/type of your attack, tool you are using to attack with, and the target chosen. 

Often the target and trajectory are inter-related. The tool may also have some obvious correlation to targeting. For example, if you attack the eyes, with the intention of blinding, then fingers are the most appropriate tool. Likewise, a blow to the ribs would be best with some kind of fist or elbow strike. 

In any case, the target, trajectory, and relationship WILL determine the most likely responses. By understanding those outcomes you can reasonably construct a system to respond appropriately and relatively consistently to them.

The learning methodology of PSP consists of various “Streams” for the sake of understanding / learning but they are NOT necessarily indicative of the intended relationship of the application. Many (most) people miss this piece. 

In this regard, the term Streams actually has two meanings and is more accurately defined as the Learning Stream and the Application Stream. 

The Learning Stream is intended to make the idea of Streams of movement and outcomes clear from a protagonists view. However, the Application Stream is the reality of combat—a jigsaw puzzle built in relationship with an antagonist.