How is kembangan actually used?

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

  1. tellner

    tellner Valued Member

    Whatever words we use for it I think we all know what we're talking about, Kiai.

    There are functions of what-we'll-call-kembangan-for-convenience which I don't think anyone has mentioned yet.

    1) It prevents combat. If you watch animals you'll see that there are lots of behaviors which are designed to prevent fights. When lions show up wildebeest start stotting. They jump and caper around which shows the lions that these are fast, fit wildebeest. Go hunt somewhere else. Really dangerous animals have all sorts of displays to warn off others. Bears rear up. Elephants flap their ears. Snakes open their mounts. Rattlesnakes rattle. Dogs bristle and bark. Cats lay back their ears and hiss.

    These all say "This is how dangerous I am. You don't want to mess with me." Usually it's enough.

    In the kembangan you can display your skill. If it's real, not rhythmic gymnastics routines with compulsory floor exercises in a sarong, people can tell who's better. Everyone can bow out with honor. Nobody gets hurt. It's all good.

    2) If the players are evenly enough matched they can engage in the inner game - showing false weaknesses, holding back a little, appearing to be a slightly different style than they actually fight with, that sort of good stuff. The encounter starts before the hands cross for the first time.

    3) It gives the spectators a chance to size up the talent and place bets :)
  2. Kiai Carita

    Kiai Carita Banned Banned

    Dear Tell, what-we-call-kembangan-for-convinience is now an even longer word but lets use it anyway...although bunga is shorter, means the same as kembangan and still has that exotic ng for to tangle toungues.

    I agree that your observation of animals is relevant in the discussion of what-we-call-kembangan-for-convinience, in fact it might be one of the important functions of kembangan. I suppose here youre talking about what-we-call-kembangan-for-convinience as the early stages of an aggresive encounter that might break into a life-or-death fight, rather than an exercise done while training.

    It is interesting that although everyone from lager-louts to Muhammad Ali does these posturing and gesturing motions designed to warn away the enemy, some pesilat study this phase of confrontation and develop it artfully. Agression and fear is chanelled and transformed into readiness.

    Kiai Carita.
  3. tellner

    tellner Valued Member

    That's right, during an encounter rather than during training. A display before an encounter reaches the point of no return can prevent violence while letting the participants save face.

    According to my teacher's teacher that sort of thing used to happen at more-or-less friendly get togethers. People would show their bunga. A lot of times people would decide to fight or not based on what they saw. And again, it let the onlookers make better guesses about whom to bet on :)
  4. SilatSeeker

    SilatSeeker Valued Member

    Funny story on "deceiving" with kembangan...

    After graduating highschool, my teacher and some of his friends learned of a Setia Hati player and decided to take lessons from him. They showed up to his house and were not impressed. He was in his 70's.

    They were all wrestlers and boxers. Pretty strong. The first thing he did was come up and pushes on their chest and says, "Why do you need a martial art, you are very strong - you don't need me to teach you."

    They insist they really want to learn, so he tells them to follow along and do what he does. The first thing he does is start moving in these beautiful, flowing movements - very tai chi like. They all mumble amoung themselves that they've been had... a waste of their money.

    One of them ask for a more convincing demonstration. The guru looks at him, takes a puff on his cigaratte, the pushes on his chest again. He says, "You are young and strong, I'm an old man. Will it be okay with you if I don't hold back."

    Of course, like a lamb to the slaughter, the young buck says, "hit as hard as you want."

    The Setia man placed his cigaratte behind his ear and had the guy attack. My teacher said attacking him was like trying to grab a shadow. He dropped the guy hard. Then the guru invited the others to take their turn. My teacher said he tried to grapple the guy - when he went for him, he'd vanished, the guy had dropped the ground and then kicked upwards into his plexes- he said it was like getting kicked by a mule. The kick dropped him to his knees and took his breath.

    Thus, my teacher was introduced to his first Silat teacher.
  5. Kiai Carita

    Kiai Carita Banned Banned

    Silatseeker, is this story funny because the pendekar burnt the back of his ear with his cigarrette?

    Kiai Carita.
  6. SilatSeeker

    SilatSeeker Valued Member


    It's funny because the instructor burnt the arrogant student.
  7. Narrue

    Narrue Valued Member

    Is it possible that kembangan actually was not native to Indonesia but was developed from Indian dance?
  8. Gajah Silat

    Gajah Silat Ayo berantam!

    I think we actually underestimate the amount of trade and difusionalism that took place in Asia, or the rest of the Old world while we on about it!

    I've seen Langkah-ish steps in almost all Asian traditional dance.

    That area of India is very interesting, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Mizoram etc, although you need a special govt. permit to get into some states. There is a lot of cultural mixing in the area, many of the peoples being of Burmo-Tibetan or Mon-Khmer descent.

    I remember getting very drunk with 4 Mizo girls in Cherapunjee, the wettest place on the planet :) Very attractive are Mizo girls :love:

    Anyway, I digress. You've got me all nostalgic now :rolleyes:

    I think it was Narayan, though I could be wrong, who said of Indonesia, "India is everywhere but I do not see it"!

    Point being, there are always Langkah type steps in depictions of the Ramayana.

    I would rather say 'influenced by' than 'developed from' Indian dance.
  9. Narrue

    Narrue Valued Member

    "Manipuri dance is purely religious and its aim is a spiritual experience"

    Is this not also the goal of kembangan?

    When one does kembangan with a partner before a fight I think the kembangan is used more to tune in or lock on to your opponent and to display your martial arts knowlage.

    When one does kembangan for religious reasons would I be correct in thinking that it should not be done with a partner and that there would not be an emphasis on martial display?
  10. asli

    asli New Member


    kembangan/bunga/seni or equivalent to it are there for a purpose..maybe depends on the aliran. some think it's useless, some think it's so so, some take it very seriously..every moves in kembangan/bunga/seni should be applicable in real combat situations..those tari silat/bunga sembah/seni/kembangan may seems enjoyable to watch, but those are also the same movements that are used in real fight..maybe some will disagree, but like i stated before, it all depends on the aliran/teacher that we are devoted to.. :cool:

    there are those who fights using seni/bunga sembah/kembangan (of course, not every pesilat can do this) sure some of us(either those who are just reading or the one who contributes in this forum) have seen or used it(kembangan/seni in a real fight).

    and those on a higher level, also use the same moves of kembangan/seni/bunga sembah when dueling/competing against each other using tenaga dalam..

    ah, me and my supertition again..
  11. Garuda

    Garuda Valued Member

    In our style the kembangan are not useless. For us the kembangan comprises all the techniques, that you can use in a real fight. And we therefore do not see the kembangan as a dance, but more as a series of movements in which the techniques are hidden. Some techniques are very obvious, but others are much less obvious.

  12. fire cobra

    fire cobra Valued Member

    can anyone describe any experiences they may have had when practicing their kembangan?,how about the length of time you practise your kembangan for,breathing paterns etc,thank you in anticipation :)
  13. Narrue

    Narrue Valued Member

    Does anyone know if there is a practice in silat which involves doing a type of movement/dance over a circular geometric pattern marked on the ground, a type of moving meditation involving breathing exercise and stepping in a peculiar manner? I dont think it would be classed as kembangan but it is a type of a dance I guess.
  14. Orang Jawa

    Orang Jawa The Padi Tribe-Guardian

    Selamat Wali,
    The Kembagang is CRUCIAL for anyone learning silat. The problem is that many schools don't have a proper understanding of this aspect of the art.
    I respectfully disagree, Kembangan or bunga-bunga are artistics movements that some have offensive/defensive value, some just borrow the silat techniques to make it looks artisticts or gymnastic show. With gendang of course..:) Wayan Orang or Ketoprak for example.

    >At it's essence, the Kembagang is the place where you bring all your silat together. A good silat man will be able to determine what another really knows by observing their kembangan.
    Disagree on the first one and agree the later.

    >The Kembangan also raises a persons awareness, and if properly trained, greatly enhances peripheral perception, inreasing the effectiveness of fighting multiple opponents. It also helps with the alignment of the body, ensuring that correct posture and movement are perfected.
    Kembangan or bunga-bunga is just it, bunches of flowery moves..:)
    Think about an apple trees, they start with pulp (basic), flower (movements) and Apple (technique). Is not all flowers to became apple, right?

    >On a more spiritual level, it enables us to develop a deeper connection with the Creator, fellow man and Mother Earth. It enhances our perception of everything around us, and allows us to discern things better.
    I don't know about spiritual level, but you can impress audiences with that moves, and you may have a date after ;)

    >There is a lot more to the Kembagang than just flowery, dancy movements, but you need to go to a teacher that really knows it.
    Finally Wally, we both agree on this one! :)

    >I have given you an extremelly basic explanation, as there is a lot more to it, but it's something that you are better of experiencing rather than reading about.
    Again, I'm agree with you! Silat is about doing and NOT about talking!
    And I can be wrong too,

Share This Page