How is kembangan actually used?

Discussion in 'Silat' started by RedBagani, Mar 13, 2005.

  1. RedBagani

    RedBagani Valued Member

    This convention is much used in Indonesia and other places that are steeped in Silat/Kuntao traditions. However, if a pesilat tried doing that to , say a kickboxer, in Manila, where the great majority don't know what Silat is, the pesilat will probably be laughed at and his intentions misunderstood. I think this is one reason why the kembangan is not so elaborately performed in the Philippines. Even among the muslim communities in Manila, the pesilat is rare.
    I have trained with Indonesians and Malays and I find the kembangan fascinating. I am still learning more about it.

    By the way Jang Bong, I also have high regards for the martial culture and traitions of your country. I learned how to use a short stick called Dan Bong from a Korean master.
  2. serakmurid

    serakmurid Valued Member

    Hi Jang Bong,
    Would you please tell me which Net Force book this is in? I 've read a couple of them because I was interested in seeing how the art I study, Pencak Silat Serak, is portrayed.
    Thank you, sir.
  3. Jang Bong

    Jang Bong Speak softly....big stick

    Having my working base in a library, I keep flicking through odd books and it is amazing the things that show up - like this particular series.

    I'm not sure where 'Steve Perry' comes into things, as the series is called "Tom Clancy's Net Force" and the created by (and I presumed written by) Tom Clancy and Steve Pieczenik. [Steve P - coincidence? His bio says he is a Harvard-treained psyciatrist has been Deputy Assistant Secretary of State]

    The 3 books in the series (as far as I've found) are entitled Net Force, Hidden Agendas, and Night Moves - the quotation I typed was from the 3rd one.

    I tend to read 'rubbish', so I like it when I can spot the interesting and useful facts tucked away inside a darn good story. ;)

    Thanks for the regards - it is only my country by way of the 1st martial art I've learned (but the sentiment is appreciated :)). I am enjoying my learning, and have worked more with weapons than without (due to circumstances of time). I suppose that in MAP terms 'Dan Bong' must be my little brother :D
  4. Sgt_Major

    Sgt_Major Ex Global Mod Supporter

    I look forward to meeting you more now mate :D
  5. Monyet Nakal

    Monyet Nakal Valued Member

    Yes, I see you caught that it says "Created By" and not "Written By." As I understand it, (and I could be totally off the mark. I mean I haven't even actually read any of the books) the stories are based on an idea by Tom Clancy and Steve Pieczenik but were actually (ghost) written by Steve Perry. Perry doesn't become the credited author until I believe the fourth book in the series (Pretty sure there are at least 9 books in the series, although, again, I'm not sure)

    (Pretty much all the products put out by Clancy's company credit him with their creation but that doesn't mean they're his babies part and parcel. I mean how much actual devolpment work do you think he's done on the video games that bear his name?)

    Again, I'm not claiming to be an expert on this, just trying to share my understanding of it as I only have a slight interest in the books because Mr. Perry is a moderate celebrity who practices the same art as I do (albeit he studies Guru Stevan Plinck's line whereas I study with Maha Guru Victor De Thouars) and I'm glad that he presents it to the public through his work.

    (My apologies for going so far off topic)
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2005
  6. Silatyogi

    Silatyogi Valued Member



    Just from a attribute development point of view, practice of kembangan helps you gain stability, fluidity, percision, in your motions, deceptiveness, evasion, attack by drawing, timing, depending on the speed at which you practice (although you should do them slow and smooth like a tai chi) you can also develop breath control, one pointedness of mind, physical strength, balance etc. I am sure there are many many more things that can be developed. Its deffinetly a thing all my teachers recommended me to practice. Also its a lot of fun to do

  7. serakmurid

    serakmurid Valued Member

    Thank you

    Thank you Jang Bong for your reply. If you think about it, "Pieczenik" sounds an awful lot like "Peace nik"! An interesting pen name, don't you think?
    Monyet Nakal, so you study with Pak Vic, too? If you get the chance/desire can you tell me who you are?
  8. soulguru

    soulguru New Member

    very good- doing kembangan ala taichi gives one the chance to evaluate movements, plus the understanding of why the pesilat will do certain maneuvers...
  9. Kiai Carita

    Kiai Carita Banned Banned

    Live Gamelan Kembangan

    Salam silat to all,

    I noticed that there are no mentions of the live music in these discussions on the use of kembangan. You all might have noticed too that I have posted an invitation to London pesilat to come to the Stables Market in camden, Sunday evenings, to practise kembangan with my gamelan group called Sekar Gedhogan Community Gamelan Orchestra (Sekar= Flower, Gedhogan= Stables). This is not advertising just a plain honest invitation for the love of silat. I do hope some of you London players will turn up and we can practise enough to advertise a public demo for Londoners for free (the Stables Market closes around 7 PM and after that there is more or less free open space there)

    The practise of kembangan within a community allows players to learn moves from other members of the community who might be students from other schools. It also gives the community a chance to see silat in flow and to understand the world of silat better. The live music that accompanies the players also give the player an outside tempo to deal with just like a real battle would. The several instruments in the kembangan troupe all create a multi-complex atmosphere with many beats for the pesilat to react to. In public kembangan with live music, the competition that arrises between the pesilat is given the outlet of beauty so that hard feelings are replaced by brotherhood.

    So once again, if any London players are interested I would like to hear from you!

    Kiai Carita.
  10. tellner

    tellner Valued Member

    Steve Perry - who sometimes hangs out on this board - wrote the Netforce books. You'll notice that in the acknowledgments for the first few they thanked him "for helping bring the manuscript together". His name ended up on the covers after someone filed a lawsuit against the publishers of the V.C. Andrews books ("Flowers in the Attic" and similar tripe). The plaintiffs wanted to be sure they were getting the authentic V.C. Andrews experience and not a mere imitation.

    They won. Ghost writers started getting cover credit.

    Steve has been a student of Guru Stevan Plinck for about eight years. He's very dedicated, and it shows up in what he writes.

    The Sci-Fi geeks in the room are probably aware of his Matador books starting with The Man Who Never Missed and continuing on for about half a dozen more. No Silat, but lots of martial arts. The prequel to the series, The Musashi Flex, should be out around the end of 2005. It will have lots and lots of Silat.
  11. izamryan

    izamryan New Member

    Kembangan - some thoughts on its use


    I am a Wing Chun novice (Yip Man/Leung Ting lineage), although I hope to get some family members to teach me Silat. The style is "Silat Gerak Empat Satu" which means, silat movement four-one, i.e. it is the combination of four predecessor silat styles. I am not sure what the 4 styles are just yet, but I think 3 of them are: Silat Cekak, Silat Melayu/Brunei, Silat Cimande. The syllabus is

    The original question that started this thread was: "What are the combative uses of Kembangan in pencak silat?". So far, we've had the following discussions:

    1. It has other positive side benefits, not directly affecting combat - increased awareness, peripheral sensitivity and a deeper spiritual connection. (Wali)

    2. Kembangan used in combat to show fake openings, over-telegraphing a movement, attacking by drawing, making fake moves to distract the opponent while you attack elsewhere,etc (Crucible, SilatPupil)

    3. Kembangan used in combat as a "business card", to create openings and to commence combat, particularly in multiple opponent situations (tauhid_87, rizal,silek).

    Consistent with the second point made by Crucible. I think the "create openings" is similar in concept to what is called "seeking the bridge" in Wing Chun, although it is achieved in a different way - the thigh slapping and fake moves generate tension and cause the opponent to over-react, vs. Wing Chun movement to generate contact and allow the contact reflex to operate.

    4. Kembangan is not useful directly in combat but is used to appreciate the "soul" or the "flow" of the forms, techniques, etc. This can enhance the practitioner's ability to get creative in a fight, and easily flow from technique to technique or opponent to opponent in the heat of battle. (Kiai Carita)

    This would make kembangan similar to the drills performed in other martial arts to train the mind's reflexes and helps us pull an appropriate technique under stress. Think Chi Sao and other energy drills in Wing Chun.

    5. Kembangan is used in combat for evasion, retrieving something from the ground (e.g. sand), to trick "tipu" the opponent, get leverage fo a "gunting" scissors kick, attack / counterattack (amirul_tekpi79)

    6. Practice of kembangan helps you, depending on the speed at which you practice (although you should do them slow and smooth like a tai chi) develop breath control, one pointedness of mind, physical strength, balance etc. (Silatyogi)

    7. To create a festive atmosphere to trade techniques and learn from the best students, sort of like public demonstrations of silat skill (Kiai Carita)

    8. Good material for writing books - Tom Clancy's Net Force !!!

    Okay - my contributions to the thread are:

    9. I agree with Silatyogi in point 6. above, and I would like to expand on this slightly.

    Have you ever seen Tai Chi people practicing their forms? Or Wing Chun practitioners practicing the first form Siu Lim Tau? They perform the motions slowly but with focused intent, in doing so they help train their "muscle memory" and learn the appropriate positions and body mechanics of the movements. This is so that in the heat of combat, correct form can be "remembered" and pulled out when it matters most.

    I practice Siu Lim Tao a couple of times a day at least, up to 4-5 times when I have enough time. After a while - I really feel that it has improved the form of my techniques, and I can pull out the moves nice & smoothly.

    On Steven Benitez's Reelcombat DVD on his Wali sogo silat art he says that "People ask how we move so fast, it's like a semi-automatic machine gun" and he says something like "It's because we train slow to move fast". I think that Practicing the kembangan at a fair pace with a partner - it trains muscle memory, then in pouncing into fast action - it trains the twitch muscles to react fast to an opponent's movement.

    10. I agree with 2,3,4 and 5 above. I would like to expand on this:

    Kembangan is also an energy efficient means to prepare for combat. In sport karate, TKD, boxing and Tomoi, opponents sparring in the ring tend to shuffle from front stance to back stance. In kembangan however, the opponents are grounded (most of the time) and constantly shifting, while training their peripheral vision (not looking directly at their opponent). This puts them in a ready state to respond to multiple opponents.

    11. The myth of creation.

    Have you ever seen house cats fight? First they move in slowly, evaluating the other cat, sizing up the opponent, using peripheral vision only (they don't look each other in the eye) because animals may fight in packs then burst into ferocious action.

    I think because silat came from the jungles, the old silat masters watched how animals fight. This is just like the creation myth of wing chun kung fu - where the nun Ng Mui was watching a crane fight with a snake, and these animal movements generated ideas which were then incorporated into her martial art. Praying mantis style kung fu looks like praying mantis fighting as well.

    So I think part of kembangan is to emulate how animals fight in the wild - because of peripheral vision, strategies in evaluating opponents and to conserve strength for actual fighting.

    I apologise in advance - I am not a persilat yet, my observations may be a little more than wrong.
  12. pete_e

    pete_e New Member

    Just a quick question - is there any difference between kembangan and tari?

  13. Garuda

    Garuda Valued Member


    Tari is not the same as kembangan. Tari means dancing, the movements displayed do not (need to) have to be related to MA techniques.

    In kembangan all the movements are related to MA techniques.

  14. pakehraja

    pakehraja Valued Member

    Salam to all,
    I had just posted my experience in Kembangan on another thread, and just realized it should be here as well. Anyway in the article I mentioned the actual word we use is 'tari'. ALthough the literal meaning is 'dance', as Garuda rightly stated. BUt it does not go that way. In Malaysia, the word kembangan is rarely used, if at all. I just used the word 'kembangan' in the article since it seems to be the term widely known on the internet. In Malaysia, kembangan is widely known as, tari(dance), bunga(flower) or sembah (worship). This might differ between different perguruans. (Notice the relationship between bunga(flower) and kembangan(blossom)) Maybe other Malaysians can correct or add on this. The art of dancing, void of martial art, we call 'tarian' or 'joget'. e.g. tarian zapin, tarian inang, joget pahang, etc.
    I hope this help
    Thank you
  15. pete_e

    pete_e New Member

    Well I guess that explains why what I know as Tari fits perfectly with the description of Kembangan in this thread!

  16. Wali

    Wali Valued Member

    Hi pakehraja,

    While this may be the case in Malaysia, the term Kembangan is widely used in Indonesia. I know some Malay silat players that refer to it as Bunga, and such, but Kembangan is widely associated with the Martial dance of Pencak Silat,

  17. pakehraja

    pakehraja Valued Member

    Thanks Wali,
    agreed, we are refering to the same thing, just different names between Malaysia and indonesia. And I also understand, it have been accepted among international MA community that the word kembangan is the term to refer to the martial art phenomenon, that was why I used it myself. I thought It might just be of help for visitors to Malaysia to know this. For they might be surprise if they mention kembangan, and nobody seems to know it.
  18. Wali

    Wali Valued Member

    hehe.. good point. I guess that sometimes the lack of knowing the local language can raise some eyebrows from the locals, and maybe even a chuckle or two... :p
  19. hottdogg

    hottdogg Valued Member

    Just put my opinion here...sorry if a little bit OOT.

    Do you know what "pencak" means in pencak silat?
    The literal mean is war dancing . Well from that you can say: fighting with graceful move, dancing while fighting, fighting while dancing, whatever. Someting like that..hope you get the point.
    So, kembangan is an applied pencak.
    One more thing.. some people say "pentjak". It is an old term. Use "pencak" instead. And spell that 'c' like in chat,chin,etc.
    Indonesia has something called "Ejaan Yang Disempurnakan" or Revised Spelling. This mean that the old language structure (especially the alphabet thing) has been deprecated since early 70's, I guess.
    Sorry, for my poor english :)

    note:I'm Indonesian, is there any Indonesian here?
  20. Kiai Carita

    Kiai Carita Banned Banned

    The term kembangan is widely used in Jawa (East, Central and West), and because Jawa has the most silat styles, it is correct to say that kembangan is most widely used in Indonesia. However if you go to Sumatra, the word silat bunga or silat seni might be more common, as it is in the Bugis silat as well. As the silat that has gone global is mostly from Jawa, the word kembangan has become part of the global silat glossary.

    Some find this rather amusing as rarely have you meet a westerner able to pronounce the word kembangan. Recently I have spoken to a Bugis pendekar and was told that kembangan does not exist in Bugis silat. For the same thing they call it silat seni, art-silat, and often use music from the lesung and alu rice husking mortar and pestle.

    Kiai Carita

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