basic silat info

Discussion in 'Silat' started by windtalker, Aug 11, 2007.

  1. windtalker

    windtalker Pleased to return to MAP

    right from the start i know practically nothing about silat. there are some other students in jkd class that practice material they call by that name. during the past several years my jkd practice has been spent primarily learning jun fan and muay thai along with how to apply jkd concepts. theres some bjj and fma material in there as well along with kickboxing. sadly no real silat knowledge.

    now that you are somewhat farmiliar with my level of ignorance could it be possible that someone could answer a few basic questions about silat? the efforts by a few others in jkd class have not been productive. more often than not i get more confused than enlightened. it seems like theres some confusion on the part of these students explaining things like is this silat or fma stuff. and who teaches silat and fma?

    first what is some of the similarities/differences between silat/fma? both use knives and sticks a great deal?

    second what are some of the basic concepts/tecniques of silat? not asking for lots of specifics becasue that could take a while and easily go over my head.

    third where are some good resources to learn about silat? including some pics or whatever that would give me a clearer idea about what silat is supposed to look like.

    fourth who offers good silat instruction? some names get thrown around yet i dont know if there silat instructors or fma ones. might/probably mispell the names.

    1. danny inosanto
    2. victor de thors
    3. kelly warden
    4. steve tarmani
    5. josh simonet

    hope you can make something of that mess. in the past learned a few things about savate and wing chun. even wrestling and sambo. feel something is missing with my lack of knowledge about silat. there seems to be a gap between what others know in comparison to myself.
  2. RAB

    RAB Valued Member

    silat/fma/kuntao/kuntaw/kungfu...whatever it's call is southeast asian martial arts.

    It's name implies origin. One person might call his art silat and it could look like karate.
  3. tellner

    tellner Valued Member

    Hey there, Windtalker!

    I took the Silat exit from the JKD highway some years back. It sounds like you've had a really good martial arts foundation. If you decide to give Silat a try it will help and hinder you. Help because you're used to doing martial arts. Hinder because there are always cross-training issues.

    I put a site together with some material on one particular style of Silat (Sera) as taught by one particular teacher (Stevan Plinck). The thing is, there are hundreds of islands and thousands of styles of Silat in a huge area that stretches from Malaysia and Southern Thailand through Indonesia and the Southern Phillipines. Obviously, there's an awful lot of variety in the same way that "Kung Fu" can mean anything from Mongolian wrestling to Taiji to high-kicking Tibetan Lama boxing. But it's one of those things that a Silat player will recognize when he or she sees it.

    There's definitely some overlap. The Philippines, especially the Southern Philippines, has a lot in common culturally with the Malay Archipelago. But most of the FMA you get in this country is from further North, from Luzon, Cebu and the Visayas. If you are lucky enough to see stuff from Mindanao or points around there you'll see more Silat-like footwork.

    Most Silat has a very strong weapons component. And bladed weapons of various sorts from small knives to machetes and swords are almost always part of it. All I can say without making a lot of generalizations that are true if you know what I'm talking about is that there's a lot of difference between FMA as taught in the West and most Silat.

    First, the weapons and empty-hand work is generally very closely integrated. Second, no matter how good your hands are, your feet have to be better. Third, the Silat I've done and the stuff that I've seen others do has a rather different attitude towards blades than most of the FMA I've been exposed to. There's a lot more emphasis on the simple and ugly business of sticking a knife into someone or cutting things off. There's less on "defanging the snake" and other more merciful techniques. Instead of locks the attitude is more along the lines of "break the joint, go onto whatever's next". There's also a great deal of groundwork in many Silat styles and a lot of stuff that requires strong, flexible legs. In fact, my teacher says "Your martial arts are only as good as your legs and hips". There's groundwork, but it's not so much ground wrestling in the BJJ mold. There's an explicit assumption that knives will come out; that changes everything.

    An awful lot of Filipino Masters didn't want to teach their children - let alone strangers - how to kill people. I've heard more than once "My father (or uncle or grandfather) does that but he said that we're in America now and don't need this. He said I'd only get into fights and hurt people." So what you get a lot of is training that develops excellent attributes and develops some good skills but which moves away from the more brutal parts. And that's not entirely a bad thing.

    My site hasn't been updated in a while, but it has a decent amount of stuff on just that.

    There's a lot of stuff good and bad on YouTube. You might search there for Bobbe Edmonds' clips. Some of them are FMA. Some are Silat. They're all good. The late Pendekar Herman Suwanda has a book which is quite good. Sean Stark isn't in his league, but his stuff isn't bad. For a historical and cultural view there's always Donn Draeger's Weapons and Fighting Arts of the Indonesian Archipelago.

    A lot of it depends on where you are. This is one of those things like wrestling or trapping which you have to feel to get. Of the people you've mentioned...

    1. Guru Inosanto is one of a kind. He's fantastic at whatever he puts his hand to which has been just about everything.
    2. Victor de Thouars Let's just say that there's a lot of bad Silat politics. I don't want to get into it right now.
    3. Kelly Worden Kelly has a lot of FMA and some other stuff. He's hung around a lot of Silat players. He isn't one no matter what he says or how good he is at other things.
    4. Steve Tarmani Don't know the man
    5. Joe Simonet He's got a lot of Kenpo, FMA, and Wing Chun. No matter how he tries to spin it his forte is not Silat. His tapes from Paladin Press are one of the biggest wastes of money I have ever seen.

    Where are you located? There are some good teachers around in Europe and the Americas.
  4. windtalker

    windtalker Pleased to return to MAP

    hey there tellner,
    to avoid my forgetting this latter did a little research on the names provided on my last post. and this is basically what i either read or was told. please bear in mind there could be some inaccurate details.
    1. danny inosanto-have actually seen him during a few seminars and left with a quite favorable impression of the knowlege and ability that inosanto has not to mention his teaching ability. would hardly be suprised if inosanto had some background in silat.
    2. victor de thouars-ran into some of the political mess you refered to. without being to specific it sounded much like all the fussing over material and leadership that i heard about in kenpo before and sadly exists closer to home in the jkd family.

    from what i gather de thouars does know his stuff and is a good source for authentic training reguarding indonesian silat. there were even suggestions made de thouars and inosanto have trained together? might look into the material offered by de thouars.
    3. kelly worden-supposed to be a very credible source for fma training and has somewhat a reputation for knife skills. never found any refrence to him being directly involved with silat.
    4. steve tarani-does have a background with indonesian silat. from what i read tarani replaced richard ryan as the lead edged weapon instructor at the gunsite center. from what i heard tarani helped make popular the karambit weapon. (which i really dislike btw.)
    5. joe simonet-kind of a jack of all trades. supposed to have backgrounds in kenpo and wing chun. might have some background in fma. currently released a video series about the silat of de thouars. hear more bad than good about his work.

    most of the information you provided was entirely new to me and greatly appreciated. will keep looking into silat and might find whatever benifits exist there. being carefull right now for the very reason you mentioned. just like karate or kung-fu there seems to be a general term which can mean any number of things. your description of silat does intrest me greatly and i would like to know more. right now am looking into what inosanto and de thouars teach. has anyone on map trained with inosanto or de thouars in silat? or learned material either teaches from thier instructor?
  5. Gajah Silat

    Gajah Silat Ayo berantam!

    Just out of interest why do you really dislike the kerambit? :confused:

    As tellner says silat is a generic term and there are at least 800 official styles in Indonesia but many more family or kampung(village) styles.

    As a general rule silat does not have fancy high kicking but some very advanced legwork.

    Also in general most silat will also contain at least some elements of striking, locking, sweeping, throwing, grappling and groundwork. Most styles are very comprehensive.

    However, I always find the 'silat is a weapons art' to be very misleading. Yes, indeed there is a lot of specialised weapons use, but this does not lessen the empty handed element of the art.

    Silat is also very culturally embedded with respect to Indo-Malay culture and this is sometimes difficult for a Western mindset that tends to compartmentalise. For instance, you may see clips on youtube of silat that is art, dance or expression rather than combat.

    Lastly, you may find that silat in the US is absolutely riddled with politics and bad feeling between some practioners and this sometimes detracts from the effectiveness of the art :cry:
  6. windtalker

    windtalker Pleased to return to MAP

    hey there gajah silat,

    about the karambit. this is not me claiming to be an authority on knife use or even claims that i know that much about any subject. my views here are just the product of obsevation. they could be entirely off the mark. now that we have placed a disclaimer.

    there are students in my jkd class that seem quite impressed with the karambit. some own karambit style knives of both the larger fixed blade variety and the shorter folding blade types. they even practice with various kinds of training knives that are shaped like karambits.

    my expereince with knives is largely of the field-dressing game variety. yet i have practiced a little knife use against human predators as well. sometimes that training does include sparring with other students that use no-lie blades or go through slow-motion excersizes with them.

    what i fail to understand is why the other students find the karambit to be such a functional knife. most often the knife is held blade down in the 'icepick' grip? that gives people like myself somewhat the advantage in reach by using a knife held blade up in a standard? grip.

    they are using a blade that has a sharp curved edge which also imo offers little in the way of distance. most of the cutting involves short arcs. where i use a straight blade and thrust straight if possible. the problem for them seems to exist even when holding a karambit differently.

    maybe getting into a functional discussion about the karambit is not the better of ideas on a silat forum if the knife is popular in those styles. then again someone might agree or at least explain why my perspective on this subject is wrong.
  7. tellner

    tellner Valued Member

    The kerambit is just the latest fad. It's a special purpose knife that goes pretty well as an adjunct to empty hand Silat. But it's not the Unholy Ichor of Cthulhu or anything. It's largely a criminal's weapon from what people with some knowledge tell me. But at least it's useful for general everyday packages and string applications. In terms of use against people they are employed close in which is where quite a few Silat systems prefer to operate. The point isn't to have a lot of reach but to mess someone up badly at the nearer ranges. It certainly makes ground grappling and the clinch a whole different thing.

    Mr. Inosanto has had extensive Silat as well as just about everything else. Anyone who can get his Black Belt in BJJ when he's over 60, still kick pads with the twenty year olds at Ajarn Chai's summer training camp and all the rest is worthy of the greatest respect. It's impossible to say too much good about him.

    As far as the de Thouars family goes, well, my teacher is probably Paul de Thouars' (the second of the brothers) most advanced Sera student. That's not bragging. It's just the way it is. Like all skilled practitioners he has his own flavor, but what he teaches is very much what he learned from his teacher.
  8. Monkey Paw

    Monkey Paw New Member

    I agree with most of the comments here (with a couple of exceptions). But when looking at that list and the question at hand I began to wonder who is the most capable unarmed fighter? Im interested in what others here think but i'd rate them as such:

    1. joe simonet
    2. kelly warden
    3. danny inosanto
    4. victor dethouras
    5. steve tarmani (to be fair he seems to focus on knife fighting/defense)

    In the fantasy fighting martial arts world (that I live in) if these guys were all 35 years old and with their current body of knowledge i'd probably rate them the same. The only difference is that Dan Inosanto would most likely have moved up to #1 or #2 of this list.
  9. windtalker

    windtalker Pleased to return to MAP

    from my research efforts my list would probably go...

    1. danny inosanto
    2. victor de thouars
    3. kelly warden
    4. steve tanarmi
    5. joe simonet.

    was not very impressed with simonets work. then again havent seen his material on silat. did see a few examples of what tanarmi teaches and was fairly impressed.

    honestly i think it comes down to credintials for me. and the fact ive seen inosanto not only keep up with students far younger while bettering most of them.
  10. tellner

    tellner Valued Member

    It's a fruitless and bootless argument.
  11. tellner

    tellner Valued Member

    windtalker, you might want to get in touch with Mike Casto in Louisville. He's a good guy with a solid Silat background.
  12. windtalker

    windtalker Pleased to return to MAP

    thank you tellner. will check that school out very soon. might be just what i have been looking for.
  13. tellner

    tellner Valued Member

    Glad to help. If there's anything from the website that doesn't make sense please let me know.
  14. windtalker

    windtalker Pleased to return to MAP

    hey tellner,

    the instructor at my jkd school is going up there in lousiville to check out silat firsthand. the subject had some appeal to him and while im busy chasing deer around the silat offering is being looked into. thanks for the info. will let you know what comes of this. hope to get eveything cleared up here soon and check out the school myself. just too many family crisis and now hunting season to have done so before.
  15. tellner

    tellner Valued Member

    Don't you just hate it when life gets in the way of your hobbies :)

    Mike is a good guy with some serious chops. I hope you and your teacher enjoy Silat and the way he teaches it.
  16. windtalker

    windtalker Pleased to return to MAP

    hey tellner,
    from my understanding the instructor that i take classes under has visited the school you mentioned. and what he saw there must have changed his perspective about how that he's practiced jeet kune do. from what i gather the idea of going from stand-up to ground in the prior manner is being reconsidered. theres a possibility more weapon use will be emphasised in our classes.

    when things settle here a bit ive got to see that school. and im seriously considering taking some classes there. even before you suggested that school id wanted to explore silat in more detail. what my instructor had to say has only made the effort more certain in the near future. have been hunting sice childhood. and never get in a hurry to drop the hunting season for any reason. hunting is just part of my life and who that i am today. it also represents family tradition.

    thank you again for the recommendation. when i get the chance what i learn there will be posted. looking forward to see what the silat is all about.
  17. Living_symbiote

    Living_symbiote Valued Member

  18. TalkwithThunder

    TalkwithThunder New Member

    Here are some of my observations and experience with the kerambit.
    1)Since it is held reverse grip, it is fairly easy to conceal (just in case you may want to sneak attack someone).
    2)The curvature of the blade enhances control and sensitivity of the limbs of your opponent. You can hook the attacking limb and "pass" it very easily.
    3)You can easily snag a person and "set" them for sweeps and throws. The hook of the blade makes it very easy to place someone at your center or shoulder line for these sweeps or throws.
    4)The kerambit has some similarities to an elbow at close range.
  19. windtalker

    windtalker Pleased to return to MAP

    Thank you for some ideas to experiment with. The main problem I saw with the Kerambit was reach in comparison with a straight-blade knife. And it seems to have more limitations in how the weapon can be used to strike. Never considered the points you mentioned.

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