preserving a lineage vs. evolution

Discussion in 'Silat' started by Rogin, Apr 14, 2004.

  1. Rogin

    Rogin New Member

    I'm a beginner (well, pre-beginner) in Silat Serak. In my research I've found a lot of contention between the De Thouars brothers. I'd like to hear your opinions on the importance of preserving the authenticity of an art vs. allowing for an organic series of changes.
    It's important to know that you aren't being taught by some hack making up stuff as they go along, but with the right intention, isn't it possible for an artform to adjust to the conditions they thrive in. Aren't the martial arts derived experimentation and adaptation to one's environment in the first place?
  2. Wali

    Wali Valued Member

    Hi Ronin,

    This is a very contentious issue in this day and age. While it is important to adapt a system to the environment it is being practiced/used under, it is also important to keep the essence of the system intact, as to preserve the art itself.

    For example, some silat systems may be very ground oriented (Harimau), and taking away the ground aspects because the terrain in the west is different to that in Sumatra would effectively sstop it being Harimau. However, fighting EXACTLY like the people in Sumatra would is also unrealistic, as they didn't design the system with concrete floors in mind!

    I think a good teacher will strike a balance between preserving the essence and principles of the art, without compromising the authenticity. Silat has evolved over the years, as different invading forces attacked the country. It is only natural that as it gains popularity in the West, further natural evolution takes place. Sometimes the evolution is for the better, and at times for the worse!

    The one things Silat can do without is the anymosity between different teachers/styles.

  3. masterfinger

    masterfinger New Member

    Hello Rogin,
    I also study & teach Silat Serak, along with another system. I definitely agree with preserving the original doctrine of a system, but also have the ability to experiment and adapt to the needs of the individual (which my instructor Pak Vic has no qualms with). If I was to train with someone who offers eclectic training utilizing different systems, I would most definitely check to make sure that the instructor was fully qualified in all the systems utilized, not just a 1st deg. black in one style, and a few seminars in the other (i.e. your "hack").
    From what I've gathered, the animosity between the DeThouars brothers seems to be cooling off recently.
    A final opinion - regardless of which of the DeThouars bros you train with, they're all good.

    Regards, Franco.
  4. Andrew Green

    Andrew Green Member

    With each generation something will be lost. If nothing is ever added it won't be long before you are left with nothing.
  5. pug32

    pug32 Valued Member

    My personal take on it would be that all martial arts must progress to meet the needs of the time if they are to have the best self defense function.

    Unless your reason for taking martial arts is 100% self preservation or fighting then there is no harm and many benfits of learning what has been taught before as the principles still apply even if a particular technique does not
  6. Rogin

    Rogin New Member

    good points, all!

    I guess that's what makes silat (or any MA) martial and an art form.
    I've noticed that many silat forms have the sapu and beset sweeps. Do you think that all the forms can be traced back to an earlier form that originated sapu and beset? Kind of like how the bone structure for the primate hand can see its precursors in fish. Perhaps that's a bad analogy, but I wonder if there is a geneology of sorts for silat. Or even a MAs in general. Anybody know of such a "family tree"? I'd like to look at a diagram like that.
  7. masterfinger

    masterfinger New Member

    Hey Rogin,
    You said;
    "Anybody know of such a "family tree"? I'd like to look at a diagram like that."
    I'd like to see something like that too, but considering that there's hundreds upon hundreds of different Silat styles, it would probably be as vast as a chart of the human nervous system. In my understanding of Serak, the founder Pak Sera, studied nine different systems, and became highly proficient in three before developing Pentjak Silat Serak. I'm curious as to what where the nine systems he studied, the three he became highly proficient in, and who his instructors were. Just curious.
  8. Rogin

    Rogin New Member

    family tree

    found this on cliff stewart's web site,
    I'm sure every MA or instructor could have a chart made like this one.
    there's probably a bit of contention about the accuracy of the serak tree.
  9. tonymok125

    tonymok125 Valued Member

    I believe this statement, Paul De Thouars and Venji Vries (spelling?), I think they had the same teachers, however both have different views in their teaching. Where PDT still remains to keep the traditional and classical route, VV tends to be all out offence (bang, bang, bang!!) into his techniques.

    I'm currently studying Sera but also Buku Julan, which is Cass Magda's form. But I've heard from one of my instructor that Buku Julan is a small segment of Sera? Well that's what I heard one day!
    But I believe that things need to be adapted to the changing surroundings. Harimau, that was mentioned before, was based on soft ground, whereas it's all concrete over here!! :)
  10. amirul_tekpi79

    amirul_tekpi79 Valued Member

    preserve & evolve at the same time

    Peace to all,

    The silat that i train with does both, that is preserving the lineage of Panglima Taib while evolving to suit modern times.

  11. Jim

    Jim New Member

    I wish this thread and question were in the General Discussion section so we could all have a go at it... * hint hint *
  12. Rogin

    Rogin New Member

    Excellent suggestion, Jim! Will do...

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