Matt Thornton's comments on Silat

Discussion in 'Silat' started by TomFurman, Nov 29, 2006.

  1. tellner

    tellner Valued Member

    What Matt and others like him fail to acknowledge is the nature of learning difficult things.

    If music training was all jamming in a group in front of a live audience we would have very few competent musicians. The really good ones spend a lot of time practicing by themselves and getting the little things right before going live. If you have any ear for music you can tell the difference immediately.

    Boxers don't just spar and condition. They spend a lot of time doing bag work, shadow boxing and working combinations on focus mitts. Massad Ayoob tells people at the end of LFI-1 never to shoot in practice unless there's something riding on it. But he also has excellent advice on how to work on the draw, grip, trigger squeeze, follow through and malfunction-clearing as drills.

    Sports practice is more than just mock games. There's a lot of drill and skills practice. When the team's getting a new play down they don't start by trying it full speed in a high-pressure practice. They learn the components, put them together and gradually ramp it up until it's ready for competition. And they will go over and polish the individual parts from time to time.

    The snotty, heavy-handed semantic games are a little too transparent. "Live" is better than "dead". The parts I like are "live". The ones I don't are "dead". So what I like is good, and nothing else is, by definition. Choose different terms like "Learning" and "Application" or "Component skills practice" and "Putting it all together" and the picture changes. Suddenly you have to think about balancing the parts of your training to get the best result.
  2. kerambit

    kerambit New Member

    Pesistratos: To a large extent I agree with Thornton about live training. Yeah, I said it.

    However, he also has to recognize that we do things that are difficult to train live. Hell, a lot of them you have to be careful to not hurt a compliant training partner. I used to worry that I'd fall on my partner and break his joints.

    So how do you spar that?

    There are a number of things you can do, like spar the entries repetitively, spar kicking, spar what chunks you can. Sambuts and trapping are something you can spar.

    You can also do MMA sparring in addition to silat. Personally, that's what I do.

    Finally, as to the other question, this will have to suffice: most of the people I "interface" with in training, communication and personal acquaintance are cops, soldiers and prison guards.

    They're not arguing whether silat is effective. They're not arguing whether silat is unnecessary. They're not arguing whether it's overkill-- if you knew anything about it, you'd know that that's not an argument against it but a selling point of the style, something they're rather proud of.

    What you appear to be saying is that "Well, it may be effective, but how often are you going to need it?"

    That kind of depends on a lot of things. If you ever need it and you don't have it, once is enough.

    I'll say another thing: if you're an MMA person and you want to go from being formidable to deadly, take silat classes and add it to the arsenal. You already have prodigious leg strength, grappling skills, speed and leverage. Silat is a package that can add on to anything. I don't understand why the resistance. It's not an either-or thing.
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2006
  3. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    I must say that some of the Silat guys come across as ONLY being able to win a fight by whipping out a blade and gutting some bloke.
    That seems to be your default fallback position.
    Surely Silat offers more than that?
    If it doesn't it must be very limited.
    I've heard it said that it offers striking and takedowns and what not?
    Why can't THOSE bits be used in a ring so as to shut up all of the MMA critiques?
    Walk into the ring and say "Normally I'd knife this dude in a fight but tonight I'm just going to use the elements of Silat that are allowed by the rules".
    I don't see what the problem would be for that.
    If Silat teaches credible striking, takedowns and ground finishes then it should be readily applied in an MMA setting.
    Surely a Silat fighter is not powerless without a knife?

    Either Silat offers a wide curriculem of material (in which case it could hold its own in a MMA style match) or it ONLY offers knife fighting.
    I'd like to know which it is.
    To me this is the underlying point when people say "we can't compete with this stuff". They're basically admitting that what they do is VERY limited or the bits that can be used in competitions are rubbish when compared with how competition arts do those things.
  4. Sgt_Major

    Sgt_Major Ex Global Mod Supporter

    Not so with silat PAsmith ...

    I personally am good at silat stikes and takedowns, but the training mentality is different, from day 1 a takedown is not just a takedown, but a joint destruction. For example an 'arm takedown' will result in either a dislocated shoulder, or a bust elbow...

    When this is the day 1 mental attitude, it is very hard to step back on that to a simple takedown. Personally I am intending to compete in the mma circles, and my training is/will be heavily Silat influenced, so here's hoping we get a shot at it.
  5. Cuchulain4

    Cuchulain4 Valued Member

    well if thats the case, why aren't more people using it in mma? sounds like a great way to win a fight,and it's within the rules.

    not trying to be a smartass just playing devil's advocate.
  6. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    Exactly. An arm break takedown would be fine in MMA.
    Sakuraba did something similar against Renzo when he took him down with a Kimura grip that resulted in a dislocated elbow for Renzo.
    Sak won...Renzo lost. No one complained and no one got knifed.
  7. Sgt_Major

    Sgt_Major Ex Global Mod Supporter

    I dont know seany - I just dont know .... Maybe I'll be an advocate for its use?

    One can dream cant one? :p
  8. Cuchulain4

    Cuchulain4 Valued Member

    perhaps, more likely imho is that you will realise that there are more effecient ways to deal with an opponent. I think that most good MMA fighters fight in a fairly similar fashion for a reason. I see the octagon/ring as a testing ground to see what works and what doesnt, and although some techniques may technically work, they may turn out to be high risk, hard to apply, or there may be an alternative which just deems it redundant. But occasionly new techniques are introduced and used (spinning back kicks and spinning back fists becoming fairly common place), so you may be right.
  9. Sgt_Major

    Sgt_Major Ex Global Mod Supporter

    again, not meaning to be rude, but I think its the artist, not the art ... if matt thinks silat is crap, then matt is simply crap at silat....
  10. Cuchulain4

    Cuchulain4 Valued Member

    No you missed the point of what i was saying.
  11. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    AND the point of what Matt was saying.
    It's not about specific techniques.
    It's about training methods.
    Matt is against set-patterns, repeated patterns, unrealistic energy when "feeding", rigid movements and compliant attackers.
    If your silat doesn't have those things then he's probably talking about other sorts of silat.
  12. Jaae

    Jaae Valued Member

    Hi Bela Diri,
    I'm not a gazillion miles from you and would be interested in possibly training with you / your system. As a seasoned practitioner of MA, myself who also teaches a small group, we may be kindred spirits. You can e - mail me through my website:

    Best wishes Jaae.
  13. Gajah Silat

    Gajah Silat Ayo berantam!

    PASmith. Firstly there are a good 2000 types of Silat. Some focus on striking & locking, some on groundfighting, some purely on bladework.

    It seems throughout the thread Silat is being used a term for a specific or individual art. It is not, it's a blanket term rather like 'Kung fu'.

    So it's pretty pointless for anyone to come out with a Silat is this or that statement!

    We have 'live' training too. However there are limitations. If I take someone down and drop them with back of their neck onto my knee, I cannot do that with full speed or power. Obviously. I'm sure in MMA there are also techniques which can be learnt but not executed full on? Or is it all ring based?

    Personally, my only issue with MMA is when people start spouting 'if it doesn't work in the ring.....blah blah...'

    Where is the proof?

    Am I to assume that no-one could effectively defend themselves before the advent of MMA?

    Of course, there is also the small issue of where MMAists obtained many of their techniques in the first place :eek:
  14. firecoins

    firecoins Armchair General

    wow this thread grew quickly.

    Thorton's remarks on Silat seem oversimplified. But that seems to be covered.
  15. Gajah Silat

    Gajah Silat Ayo berantam!

    Excuse my ignorance, but how then do you learn techniques? Are you saying all initial techniques are learnt live?

    Let's say a simple jab-cross?

    Do you use focus pads, bags etc.? I don't see how hitting those is 'live' training :confused:

    Or am I to summise only a portion of training is actually live?
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2006
  16. fire cobra

    fire cobra Valued Member

    To the best of my knowledge gajah the straight blast gym guys learn a technique(ie a jab) which basically can be learnt in a session,then they go about using it in sparring against various opponents or should i say partners,with varying deegrees of resistance and as mr thornton puts it"with timing energy and motion" i am not one of the straight blast people by the way,just a keen open minded martial arts practitioner. :)
  17. Gajah Silat

    Gajah Silat Ayo berantam!

    Jeez, how do they fit a whole club in one octagon, must get cramped :confused: :D

    I must say I have reservations about anyone's ability to learn any technique in one session.

    Also, is the 'sparring' always done at the same pace as competition?
  18. Steve Perry

    Steve Perry Valued Member


    Yeah, we get this all the time, and it is part of the basic contention that MMA rules! Your stuff doesn't work, or you'd be using it in the ring.

    No. We wouldn't.

    Nobody here is saying that MMA players can't use what they know outside the ring, that they aren't tough, that they aren't in good shape, that they aren't well-trained, good fighters. These are all advantages.

    But the idea is intent. If you go into a dust-up to win a match and get paid, that's different motivation than if you are fighting to keep from being put into the hospital or the morgue.

    You can see that, right?

    If you must defend yourself against what you deem a serious attack, that is, one in which you think the other guy wants to cripple or kill you, not just make you say, "I give up!" then what you do is aimed at stopping him as quickly and efficiently as possible. You don't particulary want to maim or kill him, but if the choice is between you walking and away or not, you go into the fight with the attitude of making him cease and desist being a threat, whatever it takes.

    Police in the U.S. are not trained to shoot to kill, they are trained to shoot to stop the threat. If the attacker dies, that's terrible, but if he'd stopped, he wouldn't have gotten shot in the first place. (That's the theory, when it works, and what the law says is permissable.)

    Unless you are terrifically skilled, against somebody trying to break your neck or stomp your head flat, that means you will probably have to a) hurt a determined attacker badly enough so you aren't worth his trouble, or b) enough that he literally cannot continue to attack you. So you go into it knowing that if you have to break something or tear something, that's not what is important -- stopping him is.

    And sometimes, the fastest way to save yourself or your family is to break or tear something. Especially if there are more than one of him coming at you.

    That's not a very sportsman-like attitude to take into a ring. And when you are taught that in the face of serious attack, all bets are off, then throttling down your intent to stay within the rules isn't just like dialing down the sound on your TV. If you have been trained to go for broke when the feces mates with the fan, that's what you'll do, and making sure that one attacker doesn't get up to thump you from behind while you deal with his buddy over there is part of the philosophy.

    Yeah, we spar for fun, but for serious business, we bring a different mindset. It's not about being ruled the winner, it's about going home to your family and having dinner, and being able to eat supper using your own teeth. We aren't talking about a duel, a matter of honor, to see who is best at fisticuffs, we are talking about survival.

    As I understand it, people don't step into the MMA ring expecting to get maimed or killed by their opponent -- in a streetfight, you have to keep it in mind that such could happen to you if you don't stop it.
  19. Gajah Silat

    Gajah Silat Ayo berantam!

    I was involved in a similar thread about winning a knife fight and simply could not get the point across. Not winning, surviving!

    I think the two mindsets cannot be reconciled. We are from opposite ends of the spectrum regarding purpose and attitude.
  20. Slindsay

    Slindsay All violence is necessary

    Thorntons system is that you get shown the technique in context once or twice first (i.e. if its a jab cross you get shown it in a set piece of sparring, dead trainning by his own definition but it's being used to show the technique).

    You then drill the technique on a pad about 20 times, again completely dead trainning.

    After this the pad holder starts to move around a bit flashing the pad at you so you have to move your feet and follow him around, you get an element of timing from his flashing the pads at you, repeat this about a 20 times I think.

    After this you get to move on to add resistance to the drill by having the pad holder throw shots with the pads at you, you get a light blow as a new guy if I understand it right, just enough to draw youre awareness to the fact your guard is down, it gets harder as you get better.

    By the end of your first session you'll be doing some light sparring throwing the jab and cross against a more experienced student and he'll be throwing it back at you.

    After you've been shown a technique once, you will never drill it at anything less than about the third level of aliveness (i.e. with the pad holder always trying to hit you if you have your guard down).

    I understand that its a source of considerable annoyance to Thornton that people will point to the first 20 dead repetitions as justification for spending half a class deveoted to traditional patterns... :D He admits himself there is this small component of dead trainning present but that its less than 1% of the trainning that someone will receive in their first year, and after that they wont receive it again.

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