Silat useless or misunderstood ?

Discussion in 'Silat' started by Kuntaoist, Jan 30, 2013.

  1. nasigoreng

    nasigoreng Valued Member

    in his book 'Pencak Silat in the Indonesian Archipelago', O'ong Maryono includes at least 3 different interpretations of the terms pencak and silat.

    one of the definitions i remember was that 'encak' (javanese 'mencak') referred to dodging and evading.

    I think it's better if instructors qualify their explanations with " According to my instructors, pencak means { } and silat means { } ."
  2. nasigoreng

    nasigoreng Valued Member

    the term "pencak silat" , if i recall correctly, did not come into use until the 1950s.

    I have always been a little curious about the timing of the appearance of the term "pencak silat" and it's similarity in sound to the nationalist creed of "panca sila" (five principles) which was propagated to create a sense of national unity in the new Indonesian state (ind. 1945).
  3. SoKKlab

    SoKKlab The Cwtch of Death!

    In his book "A Journey Through Time" Willem De Thouars states the following:

    The Terms 'Pencak' and 'Silat' comes from Hokkien Chinese into Javanese. Meaning Lighting Hands and Dodging and evading.

    He also states that the west Javanese systems such as Cimande (Bagua), Cikalong, Serak (Hsing-I) etc comes from Chinese Kuntao. Hence their penchant for forms (jurus).

    Whereas according to him, east Javanese systems (mostly no jurus) come from the Mataram (check sp?) Sultanate (9th century). And are 'indigenous' to that region.

    It's an excellent no bull book. If a little higgledy-piggledy...
  4. Ular Sawa

    Ular Sawa Valued Member

    Having done both of some of the Silat & Chinese systems mentioned independently, I'm not buying it.
  5. SoKKlab

    SoKKlab The Cwtch of Death!

    You should take it up with Wilem.

    I don't think he knows much...
  6. Ular Sawa

    Ular Sawa Valued Member

    and the brothers DeThours have always had a reputation for being straight up....
  7. taoizt

    taoizt Valued Member

    The link of cimande with Baguazhang and serak with Xingyiquan sounds like a farfetched one to me. Perhaps some influences but if a system has different power generation and footwork and curriculum, then that link is very small...

    no one called it pencak silat before the 1950's. It was a term used by the ipsi to bring all the styles under one name and to standardise the style, similar to wushu.
  8. SoKKlab

    SoKKlab The Cwtch of Death!

    You said it. Not me.
  9. Ular Sawa

    Ular Sawa Valued Member

    Yep. And if you want to believe that some of the major Silat systems came from Chinese boxing because you read it in Willem's book, go right ahead.....
  10. kunderemp

    kunderemp New Member

    Dear SoKKlab,

    with respect to Mr. DeThouars,
    Cikalong is not heavily influenced by Chinese Kuntao.

    Yes, Cikalong had influence from Betawi which the later had a lot of influence from Chinese Kuntao but the influence was superficial.

    In fact,
    I can guarantee that most of 'Cikalong' things can't hardly represented Cikalong. Most of them came from secondary or even tertiary source, stripped from the character of Cikalong itself.

    I know because,
    I learn it.

    trust me,
    it is more like Taiji yet different, Aiki*stuff yet different. :)
  11. SoKKlab

    SoKKlab The Cwtch of Death!

    Your post strikes me as being indicative of the 'problem' with Silat.

    Instead of at least considering De Thouar's ideas...You immediately began to cast aspersions against a highly experienced practitioner of 60 years plus. Who comes directly from that culture and training. And is an incredible source of knowledge.

    - I've not met Willem de Thouars. Nor am I his student. Or have anything to do with him. But! I certainly wouldn't presume to suggest to him that he was full of it. Or that he didn't know what he was talking about.

    And I most certainly wouldn't slag him and his brothers off.

    And I strongly suggest you refrain from talking trash (albeit relatively subtle) about other people's reputations.

    I'm not that much of an expert about Silat or indeed its origins. Are you?

    But I'm at least open-minded enough to listen when someone of De Thouars' obvious experience has something to say. Whether I agree with it or not.

    And the 'other' problem with Silat is:

    2) A LOT of Silat systems are full of people pretending to be warriors.

    Deluding themselves they can pull any of that stuff off under duress (most of them can't). And I'm NOT just talking about those who dwell on the flowery stuff. Or 'just' do the sport.

    Note: NOT all Silat Systems. And NOT all Silat Practitioners but most I've so far encountered.

    As I think I said in this thread most systems of Silat contain brilliant principles and concepts.

    They're generally the most principal-based systems I've so far encountered. And I understand why each system of Silat trains the way it does.

    BUT! The training is no way near as effective as something as simple as ring-rules Muay Thai.

    And most average 3 year muay thai practitioners could completely 'DO' the vast majority of Silat 'masters' I've so far met.

    I'm under no delusions as to the fact that me learning Silat as a martial art is one thing...Effectiveness is another.

    And that's why a lot of combat sports and more resistance-based martial artists slag off Silat as being almost in the realms of Dungeons and Dragons. Rightly, wrongly or unfairly without 'understanding'.
  12. SoKKlab

    SoKKlab The Cwtch of Death!

    Take it up with Willem De Thouars. Not me.

    You might learn Cikalong. But is it seriously likely that you know more about these things than someone of Willem De Thouar's experience? Seriously?

    Why don't you write to Willem. And ask him why he says what he does? In fact why not read his 'Journeys' book. And then take it up with him huh?
  13. Ular Sawa

    Ular Sawa Valued Member

    Dear SoKKlab,

    I have considered M. De Thours ideas. I have even read one of his books. I guess the problem I have is that I really have not heard that connect-the-dots argument between specific systems of Chinese Boxing and Silat from much of anyone else who is Indonesian or trained in Indonesia. I don't recall seeing it in the works of O'ong Maryono, Herman Suwanda, or Donn Draeger either. MAP's own taoizt is from Indonesia and it doesn't sound like he sees it either.

    The brothers are very skilled at what they do. I just don't think I want to take history lessons from them.
  14. kunderemp

    kunderemp New Member

    Haven't found Om Willem's book here yet and unwilling to use my credit card in internet. :)

    But trust me,
    when speak about Cikalong, most of them didn't know what Cikalong was actually about. Doesn't matter how old a practitioner of Silat is or how many style of silat the practitioner have learnt, if his experience of Cikalong came from secondary source (teacher of other style who taught Cikalong) or tertier source then he probably misunderstood of Cikalong is just as here. We've found a lot of 'Cikalong' videos practiced by non-Indonesia and it has stray far from Cikalong principle.

    The source of confusion came from Indonesian (Dutch East Indies native) themselves. Non-Cikalong person learned Cikalong for a week or a month and felt he already grasp what Cikalong was and taught other.

    Even those who learned from primary source could grasp false understanding and after one or two years he would be compelled revised his understanding. In fact, the misunderstanding happened a lot so that's why in Cikalong we didn't have grade system since we often back to basic to revise what we had learnt.

    One of the factor leads to misunderstanding was our experience. We came from different background, from different Silat styles and other martial arts style and we brought the concept from other martial arts to understand what Cikalong is. It seemed to work for a year of two years until one of the teachers increase the lesson and found we haven't really grasp the basic and we were instructed to go back to basic.

    I personally had gone through that confusion before and I can't guarantee that my current understanding is correct. But the one we all agreed are the real Cikalong involve energy manipulation, had a collection of principle to apply and maximize the energy manipulation.

    here is the thing with Cikalong.
    It was a closed style until recent decades.

    Closed, doesn't mean isolated. It meant the teacher was not easy to accept student.
    One of the characteristic of Cikalong student since earlier generation was, they loved to share knowledge with other school because it may brought 'silaturrahim'. This partial knowledge would eventually came to other school and they would call that partial 'jurus' as Cikalong to remember where it came from.

    I wrote this with respect to Suwanda's family, Panglipur family, Margaluyu family, Setia Hati family.
    I remember, there was a similar case yet in the name of different style, Sera(k).
    Kang Cecep of Panglipur, once in a FB group clarify that a 'jurus' being displayed by his student was the Sera jurus taught by the founder of his school and of course it will be different with the 'pure' Sera.

    It wasn't a big deal,
    until you mention deThouars theory that Kuntao influenced silat especially West Java including Cikalong.

    My question is, which kuntao in Dutch colonial era, widely spread in West Java, had the following characteristic which I found commonly shared in various old west java style:
    - only a few simple and very short jurus
    - emphasize in manipulation energy between full-strength (isi/tenaga satu) and relax (kosong/tenaga nol)
    - may have a set of rules or principle
    - had a lot of various play/restricted sparring to practice the the usage of energy manipulation
    - may have a stressed/pressure training
    - may have breathing technique, but for energy manipulation instead of training invicibility

    And yes,
    the characteristic mentioned above were rarely found in Betawi styles except some styles whose founder also learned West Javanese style.

    back in to the topic.

    The teacher didn't have a lot of case what should be done in this condition, what should be done in that condition. However, the student often brought that question based on their experience, based on their previous training and the teachers answer. I found this student-relation happened in a lot of different traditional silat school where the teacher and student were being informal.

    The restricted sparring was similar to drill yet different. For a beginner, it was similar with drill. But when the experience gained, the student often deviate from the plan, try to 'sneak attack'. It still have restriction for the sake of safety.

    Of course, in the outside, sometimes each student have informal 'share knowledge' session with other style for the sake of curiosity. Sometimes the session became harsh where the student got bruise, got the skeleton broken, got asphyxiated but we know the limit. It never escalate. The loser will know that he need a lot to learn.

    So the knowledge learnt in his style never useless in the sense that it doesn't work at all.
  15. taoizt

    taoizt Valued Member

    Good response Kunderemp. And more insightful for the way a traditional martial art like Cikalong tries to uphold their old ways of training. Some of the things you write appear similar in the way we train. Some people try to think of this way as an old fashioned way, and that the pad-up, mma type sparring is the only way to go forward. I'm happy some of the old-school training is still there.

    As far as mr. Willem de Thouars i'm also not too convinced on his insights. He has the habbit of changing stories from time to time, and no matter how experienced he might be in martial-arts, his actual training in Indonesia, is compared to some indonesian visitors on this forum, quite limited. I don't mean that to disrespect him, but just a simple calculation on his age and the time he moved back to Holland and later America. So as far as inside information on Cikalong, i think it is pretty fair to state that Kunderemp has more knowledge on this subject than mr. de Thouars.

    Most knowledge on Cikalong, is as Kunderemp hinted at, transferred to the west through styles like Mande Muda, Setia Hati or a perguruan like Panglipur.
    Having some jurus of cikalong is something very different to actually 'playing cikalong', some even have some jurus behaving like a bat, which is not what Cikalong is about.

    Sure chinese arts influenced indonesian arts. Indian martial arts probably also influenced chinese arts. There was exchange of knowledge of skill. But to see direct links from Bagua to Cimande to me sounds way to vague. You see some circle walking in Willem de Thouars his kuntao silat, but is that his cimande? Highly doubtful. His cimande jurus are very different to the cimande jurus from indonesia.
  16. Ben Gash CLF

    Ben Gash CLF Valued Member

    Seriously, you've not actually read anything anyone's written here have you?
  17. Ben Gash CLF

    Ben Gash CLF Valued Member

    For example, what prevents these sequences being drilled with gloves and space helmets? (if the ginger fist stuff is really important to you then maybe a bodyshield too)
    [ame=""]Sample of the DVD PAMACAN Volume 1 - YouTube[/ame]
    Then the drills could be performed with realistic intensity.
    You continue in the delusion that it's an either or deal.
  18. SoKKlab

    SoKKlab The Cwtch of Death!

    That's all fair enough. And is not what I was 'pulling you up about'.

    Please refrain from implying some kind of 'malpractice' or distrust about, or regarding people who surely deserve a bit more respect.

    Thank you.
  19. SoKKlab

    SoKKlab The Cwtch of Death!

    The problem with your post is that you'd rather spend most of it discussing lineage, heritage etc than discuss (mentioned fleetingly 'the old ways') 'meaningful' effectiveness of Silat.

    In fact this is one of the reasons I 'try' not to get involved in Silat discussions (note the word 'try').

    Now I know I mentioned De Thouar's. And I think he 'has' something when he mentions specific styles of modern (post 1700) Silat like Cimande, Serak being from or heavily influenced by the pre 1700 systems of Kuntao etc.

    I also think you are correct that Indonesian martial arts are a mix of all the influences on that culture - ongoing.

    The mention of W De Thouars has derailed thins a tad. So my apologies.

    Now do you have (and anyone else for that matter) anything to say on how you can make your Silat practice more effective?

    Without it turning into MMA-lite?

    And so that it doesn't fall apart under adrenalised stress?

    I'm genuinely interested as to how to make Silat drills that provide immediate feedback and resistance. Without necessarily stunting 'flow' etc.

    Wanting to maintain (as best you can under duress) is my main reason why I am refraining from doing any major practice of Thai Martial Arts with my Silat -

    As the rhythm is 'wrong' in most if not all.
  20. SoKKlab

    SoKKlab The Cwtch of Death!

    So the crux of your post is:


    "It's the Deadly

    Too Deadly

    You don't understand you don't got the Deadly!"

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