Discussion in 'Silat' started by ap Oweyn, Feb 9, 2012.
My first exposure was through the classic by Draeger - well worth searching out if you can!
Yes indeed, I think I got that shortly after the above mentioned seminar. It is a great book. I remember being amazed by a lot of the bladed weapons in there.
Eventhough I come from where Silat originates, I'd still love to study under Guru Dan...
A living legend that man is.
I remember doing several weekend seminars in the very early to mid 1980s with Dan Inosanto,we covered that much stuff I retained around 5% of what he taught,I gave up going to them in the end and kept on with Muay Thai and from 1987 Harimau Pentjak Silat (and small ammounts of Escrima practice).
The Pentjak Silat method I learnt was very hard work but rewarding in many different ways and the lessons stay with me many years later,Its a great art
There is also Bukti Negara silat and several variations of Serak in the states. Actually Dan Inosanto was pretty much impressed with it and learned from several teachers of this style and uses it in his own Maphilindo Silat style.
The Inosanto Academy has a 4 day Silat camp in May 2012. It's an annual event in honor of Herman Suwanda. I attended the camp in 2010 and had a blast; I learned so much and I'm sure I was only retaining 50% of the material... at best.
Isnt Bukti Negara a sub style of Serak that Paul De Thours created?
MAP isn't here to advertise other forums, sorry
If i get one piece of knowledge or technique per seminar, of any type, i feel it is time well spent.
Our Silat group's in Chi-town. Silat Seni Gayong in the western burbs.
I think silat is considered "exotic" and doesn't mesh well with MMA. Some people think it's too traditional. I've seen a lot of Hybrid Silat styles out there, which is fine, but I think if you water Silat down too much you lose the essence of what Silat really is. We get students who come and try out our style, think it's too rough and never come back.
just my 2 cents.
Not saying that Dan Inosanto is an example of this... but it's a topic that's come up a fair bit in Hong Kong over the last year or so. So many trainers/coaches/sifu's with every move under the sun. Just a running roster of what can be done. All the bells and whistles. (this applies to the personal trainer world as well sadly enough)
But the more I started to look at a lot of these types... who have every technique under the sun... I noticed that their overall structure was lacking. Now that's quite a statement I understand. But what I'm getting at is that all the bells and whistles aren't going to help you if you don't have a rock solid structure to hang them on.
In my own tiny corner of Muay Thai... I see guys who can do every variation on an elbow and all the more exotic type kicks... yet they have trouble to hold their ground and simply counterpunch. So thus.. in sparring they get steamrolled by the nak muay who's held his ground... has good structure and isn't chasing the bells and whistles.
My old boxing coach who I respect a lot and who's been studying martial arts his whole life (boxing in the ABA in London as a kid and teen... through Shotokan - during the time of and very much in the spirit of Elwyn Hall - up to the rank of black belt and then after many years of living and training in Thailand... finally settled on Kung Fu (Sun Style Tai Chi and CLF)... he's very observant and it's routinely his biggest criticism of KF - in particular here in HK... so many guys with sooooo many techniques they could trot them out and have a boot sale... yet... they lack the structure that enables them to employ those techniques. Lack good entry skills... lack good defensive structure and lack good footwork.
Ahem... not saying Dan Inosanto is that. That'd be mighty rich... but what I do wonder is if at times arts like Silat, Kung Fu etc. don't lose site of the overarching structure and get so caught up in having 1000 deadly techniques that structure suffers.
A bit of a tangent... and probably best suited to another thread. But several of the comments here really caught my eye.
Guru Dan touched on this at one of his seminars: he said that of his entire silat curriculum , there is a small amount he could pull off in a fight. However, he teaches the whole curriculum b/c other techniques could suit other individuals.
I think that's something useful martial artists should take to heart: grow and expand. but, for practical use, focus on a few core techniques. There's a parable about a cat talking to a squirrel. The cat boasts that it has 1000 ways to climb a tree and the squirrel says it only has one technique. Along comes a dog and the squirrel uses its one technique and escapes. The cat stops to consider which technique it will use and gets caught.
STJ has a good point; that the "traditional" MA guys (silat, kung fu especially) sometimes do not train with realism. I think this is b/c these arts rely on groin kicks/eye jabs to stun their opponents. All it takes is a little creativity and experimentation to adjust these techniques to other paradigms... I would recommend, for example the Kali Tudo video by the Dog Brothers.
Here are my thoughts. And, believe me, I'm aware that these are going to sound like a bit of a rationalization. Guro Dan was, and continues to be, my biggest inspiration in martial arts. Despite the fact that I've only ever met the man perhaps three times in the span of more than 20 years. The only real claims I have to Guro Dan are 1) a significant background in FMA and 2) some of that background being with a teacher in Guro Dan's lineage. Aside from that, it's most just the odd snapshot at seminars, etc.
That disclaimer out of the way, I think there are different kinds of teachers. And one person can be several different kinds. Most of my exposure to Guro Dan (and most of many people's exposure) has been through seminars. And I relied on those seminars more to make me aware of possibilities and excited about exploring them more than actual hardcore training.
If I'm training, I really want to focus in on one or two important things and work them from various angles. I don't want a wide range of disparate subjects (e.g., 20 minutes of double stick, 20 minutes if disarms, 20 minutes of empty hand, etc.). If I'm in a seminar, I feel differently. I'm up for having a ton of stuff thrown at me and seeing what sticks.
I anticipate that Guro Dan is also capable of a more trainer-like model, but I just haven't been there for it. But I also think that one of Guro Dan's primary strengths has been to use his high profile to make people aware of what's out there and then refer them to the real authorities. In other words, if Guro Dan highlights muay thai, it's not so much about claiming to be a muay thai trainer as it is about saying "look what muay thai has to offer, and then check out Ajarn Chai Sirisute's material."
For me, he's been very much a clearinghouse of information. Through Guro Dan and teachers in his lineage, I got interested in subject areas I might not have otherwise. That I didn't go on to learn the nuts and bolts of those styles through him is fine. Though I'd obviously like to have trained with him more than I have.
I think that many here are confused about what silat is. Silat is not a 'style'.
Even among the US silat groups there is a large variance in styles and fight strategy.
The origins of each style within the group of martial arts commonly referred to as silat also has many different origins.
During WWII there was even a new combination style that had elements of Karate in it ... which wasn't to populer because of the Japanese influence I guess. I can't remember what it was called.
Indonesia has a large Chinese community and no one disputes its contribution to silat. Usually the Chinese influence is acknowledged along with a story how the chinese master combines his art with a local master's along ... often with the story of conversion to Islam etc. etc ... e.g. Mustika Kwitang ... a popular Betawi style (Betawi comes from the word Batavia which was the name the Dutch gave to what is now known as Jakarta).
So ... saying that someone plays silat is as devoid of meaning as saying that someone does kung-fu or someone does quan. To a chinese, a masterful Kali player has kung-fu, and we view Kali as a form of silat too. Saying that Dan Inosanto does silat leaves me non the wiser. Saying that he includes elements of kali narrows it down a little for me.
In the final analysis I think that silat is the cultural container that unifies martial arts that have become acculturated, the many styles become 'owned' by the culture of place. Seen this way, any art that is good enough and popular enough will merge into the culture given enough time ... but still it would be 'unforgivable' to mistake Mustika Kwitang for Setia Hati or with Kera Sakti.
The culture of silat, with it's plethora of styles will survive not being populerised in the West. Certainly I don't mind one way or the other. It will survive as it has for centuries, mainly within the environments of close knit families ... and it will even absorb aspects of Western culture ... my children are all part caucasian and an amalgamation of east and west. They inherit my silat and will most likely marry and produce off-spring in their country of birth ... Australia!
A few generations from now I can just imagine my 'western' progeny pointing to a photo of me and saying 'who is that funny looking brown man mum, is that great grandpa?'. Of course, they will all be well versed in the way of Silat Kembang Alas too! ;o)
I think this is a bit disingenuous though. Regardless of how broadly people within silat use the term silat, it still holds meaning to say that Guro Dan does silat. In common usage, I think it's pretty clear that people are saying "Guro Dan practices one of many arts indigenous to Indonesia." Just as it would still be informative to say that someone practices kung fu. It might not tell the whole story, but it certainly suggests that they practice a martial art tracing its origins back to China, with all that implies.
I get that silat is a generic term, just as kali, karate, kung fu, and a host of other terms are. But "silat" still means something more specific than "martial art" in the minds of most readers. Don't you think?
it's true, some types of Silat might seem more similar something like karate or kung fu than to other types of Silat.
But b/c silat is not widely taught, there are few methods to study it. If there is no good instructor in your area, then you are forced to travel to Indonesia, go to Silat seminars, or study through videos/online.
I, personally, feel that Guru Dan Inosanto's expression and teaching of silat is very good b/c ... in my opinion... he does a good job of synthesizing silat knowledge from different sources to show the underlying principles while not confining himself to any one style.
Great, another 4 day camp in North America that I want to attend. Going to 3 a year might be a bit much though
I'm not trying to be disingenuous or muddy the waters. Also would like to point out that many see silat as indigenous to much of SE Asia. E.g. Malaysia, Thailand and Philipines are considered.
Historically the styles come from many sources. Is silat from China kung-fu or silat? It depends on your cultural outlook. I think the same holds true in some sense in reverse, which is what I think you're saying .. in your perception everything that comes from the region (e.g. Indonesia) is silat. However, what you refer to as 'common usage' is a new (westernised) way of looking at it. To my mind in the original sense it does mean just that ... a martial art ... ilmu bela diri, ilmu manggolo ing yudha, ilmu perang ... pencak silat.
I also think that my response in part comes from occasional observations that something is 'not silat' ... says who?
So the use of 'silat' has a new expanded meaning. It is not the original meaning. Even IPSI wants to spread that new meaning, but IPSI has its own agenda.
So do you feel like the term is being used too broadly or too narrowly?
I heard an old silat teacher refer to Tae Kwon Do as silat. My impression is that this an influence of Islamic theology/culture: the "greater Jihad" or pursuit of self-mastery and self-development that is applicable to practically any kind of martial art training.
maybe this forum is so quiet b/c we can't even agree what silat means???? :dunno:
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