Silat is a weapons art first...

Discussion in 'Silat' started by pakarilusi, Aug 3, 2011.

  1. LCC

    LCC Valued Member

    First off I don't consider myself an authority on ALL Silat styles. As others have posited, Silat can be viewed as a catch all term much like Kung Fu or Karate of which there are hundreds if not thousands of systems. I'm just making a statement based on what I have personally seen and what others have told me. I have seen and been told of dozens of Silat systems from regions as diverse as SE Asia to NW Europe (though considering colonial history those regions do share a long history). Many of these systems have within them dozens of sub systems. Yes I have generalized. Kun Tao influenced Silat is different from Ksatria derived systems which have differences to those of Muslim origin. There are literally hundreds of variances from viallage to village and ofcourse new lineages are starting up all the time.

    Again I admit I was making generalizations but once more my experiences have shown that even empty hand training makes more sense when one realizes the weapons application. Thus to me, Silat's armed techniques are more sophisticated and advanced than it's unarmed techniques (also why they are often viewed as higher level techniques). As for being inferior to MMA, I'm discoursing within the framework set up by the OP. That is, Silat's unarmed techniques did not make it into the UFC (except that one time in the very early years) because there are better systems for unarmed sports combatives.

    Training without a weapon in hand does not equate to training an empty hand system. Understand the application and you'll realize just how integral weapons are to Silat. Furthermore, Kali and many FMA systems train knife or stick first just as readily as empty hand. These FMA systems have time and again shown their validity. So the belief that one must train hand before knife is due to your personal choice. You are not an authority on how to best train knife combatives any more than I am an authority on ALL Silat (but hey, few people on Forums actually claim to be an Authority so it doesn't really matter). Also never make the mistake that unarmed moves are directly transferable to all aspects of armed combatives, there are numerous nuances, some more obvious than others whereby armed and unarmed combat differ. As for the basics... well I agree with you on that. I have trained the basic jabs, hooks, straights and upper cuts (both unarmed and armed) more than anything else.

    On a personal note, I understand why you feel slighted. You are obviously enamored of your system and view my comments as an attack. For that I apologize. Silat, like any other system has it's pros and cons. The reason I have stopped bothering with Silat is the fact that so many schools (at least here in Australia) spend an inordinate amount of time training empty handed without pointing out the weapons application. It's frustrating because it clashes with everything I was taught as I beginner. Knife combatives within the first three months... not anymore there isn't. However, this same focus on unarmed combat no doubt not only fits better with culturally acceptable norms in Australia but also draws in those who want to focus on an empty handed syllabus. All systems evolve and what I may see as cons to Silat's evolution are no doubt seen as pros by other practitioners.
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2011
  2. taoizt

    taoizt Valued Member

    Hi LCC,

    Thanks for the nuances. I can get a bit tired of the 'MMA' is 'da ultimatez' in unarmed combat. Sure compare a serious MMA students with a Silat hobbyist and the MMA guy would probably win. Don't forget that MMA school train often with a lot more intensity and frequency than the average Silat hobbyist. So apart from being another system they often just put a lot more time into it. I have respect for MMA!

    In the contrary to what you are saying, for me there is also a lot of high level stuff in the unarmed stuff of silat. Refinement in punch, in kicking in positioning yourself towards your opponent etc. In attack strategy. There is so much to learn.

    It's sad you didn't get to learn this stuff with silat, because it's there, you just have to dig a little deeper. Then again if you're happy with MMA that could work for you as well.

    It's also about the goals you have (ringsports, art, combat on the street, military etc.)

    Good luck with your endeavours.
  3. Ben Gash CLF

    Ben Gash CLF Valued Member

    I'm not discussing the whole system, I'm discussing the satements made by some people in the first 2 pages which I don't see the point of, as addressed in post 41. It's not the system I'm addressing, it's this somewhat dogmatic viewpoint.
  4. LCC

    LCC Valued Member

    To taosist, thanks for the good will. I trained Silat for 7+ years and totally enjoyed the majority of my training (I wouldn't have spent 20 to 40 hrs a week training if I hadn't thought it of value). I still consider it a valid system and am more than willing to explain what I consider its pros and cons to those who are interested. Though with the systems and schools I have access to, I do not feel Silat is the style for me, at least as a sole-system (and the Silat I studied is now pretty much against training other styles).

    To Sifu Ben, in that context I begin to understand your statements. Though I would ask you to consider that a number of posters may not be particularly proficient with expressing themselves in English and/or the internet. I myself am at times a poor internet communicator (I tend to communicate with my hands and other nuances). I hope that my explanations were understandable and if not please ask me to clarify.
  5. Rebo Paing

    Rebo Paing Pigs and fishes ...

    The original post wasn't any more misguided than to posit that silat is taught empty hands first.
    With over 800 different types and styles of silat in Indonesia alone (not counting Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand etc, it would be mistaken to assume that there is a rule with regard to how training commences. There is NO standard.
    It is equally remiss to generalise about silat being only a weapons art. Again, that is NOT a standard.
    Training in the old way was usually specific to a perception of the student's needs and might not even look like what westerners would call 'silat'.
    For example, an aspiring student might be cutting grass for the guru's buffalo's and horses for a few years before being shown any jurus using the arit. But he's been training with the arit for those years cutting grass. He also learnt humility and meditative attention and focus ... and he's becoming very familiar with a weapon.
    Silat is not easy to categorise because essentially silat just means martial arts. Categorisation was never important in the sense that it was localised. It is the influence of Japanese that categorisation became an issue I think. And this continues in western application.

    Yohan, the original poster is Malaysian, so any reference to the ways of Indonesian silat has little bearing on his point of view. However, in my opinion as well, I see my silat as a warisan leluhur, a ksatria's heirloom from my ancestors, while I see UFC or fighting for money as crass and tacky, pandering to a public's desire for instant gratification and not in the same ball park. Sure they have their own code of honour, and so too do any grouping, but I rarely compare them in public (except now .. because of this discussion).
    I happily accept that mine is an elitist perspective, I'm positive similar practice happens in the west.

    N.B. Not to diminish any westerner's experience of learning in Indonesia, but I doubt that any westerners wanting to study silat in the traditional ways would actually experience these ways. Sing nduwe ora nduweni ... 'those who have it don't speak about it'. There are plenty of "guru's", who will provide what is sought ... opportunistic as long as they are paid (no different than UFC!) ... in money if not in ego coin. And there is the popular modern movements that pattern after what they see as modernisation. I think they are misguided (my personal opinion).
    It takes a lifetime for an outsider to become truly Javanese ... yes, this is elitist too lol.
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2011
  6. taoizt

    taoizt Valued Member

    I totally agree with you Rebo Paing, silat is not 'one way of doing things'. So the personal experiences of people practicing a fom of silat, including me, is not valid for ALL of the silat styles.

    The stuff of silat I have been in contact with is mainly focussed on unarmed combat and still I would never exchange it for a more modern MMA class. It's not to everyones taste but it sure as hell is effective. And yes the basics can be used with weapons as well as stated before.

    I've seen silat practitioners making pretzels out of MMA practitioners, but offcourse the same could be said the other way around. It's just a different ball game. Some Silat styles remain traditional, some evolved and incorporated a lot of modern influences and some styles just look for all the answers to modern styles in their old knowledge.
  7. nasigoreng

    nasigoreng Valued Member

    I agree. They have two different mindsets; you can't take one and put it in the others format without something essential being 'lost in translation'.
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2011
  8. windtalker

    windtalker Pleased to return to MAP

    Umm...Because you can't hit somebody with a stick or stab them with a knife? Also my cousin Jester did a lot of that U.S. military h2h and it was a lot of strikes aimed for the neck and throat, not to mention eye gouges. Except for a few punches and kicks, nothing in the army stuff he learned appears legit for sportfighting.
  9. pakarilusi

    pakarilusi Valued Member

    Wow, this is STILL going on... Thanks. :)

    I'll add something to clarify my position...

    Silat IS a weapons art first not because YOU get to attack people with weapons.

    On the contrary, it is because it is assumed that people will attack YOU with weapons.

    Check your beginners techniques (in any form of Silat style*), it will be effective for both weapon attacks and maybe similar unarmed attacks. I am sure we can agree that it is more important to be effective in weapons defense. Now, if you think that the weapons defense mindset (and techniques) is the same as for unarmed defense, well I would ask you to test it out in sparring against a fully resisting opponent in safety gear (ala Tony Blauer's SPEAR System). It is not the same mindset from my experience.

    *A caveat... I am speaking of Traditional Styles from the Malay Archipelago, not the more Modern Silat styles.

    Well, that's how I see it. Feel free to disagree. :)

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