Similarities & differences of Bukti Negara & Serak?

Discussion in 'Silat' started by masterchimp, Aug 18, 2007.

  1. masterchimp

    masterchimp New Member

    With all arguments aside.I have studied Bukti Negara for a short time and know it is effective and therefore know Serak must also be effective seeing as Bukti came from Serak.And I have seen on here and other sites posts about how there are major differences between the two of them and was hoping someone with experence in both arts could give a quick run down of what those differences are.Thanks alot to all those who respond and also to those who don't turn this tread into an internet "My dad can beat up your dad"match as I've seen so much of.
  2. Steve Perry

    Steve Perry Valued Member


    You've opened a can of worms here, so expect a lot of dirty, wiggly stuff to pop up ...

    I studied Bukti Negara when I started in silat, but only a year and a half or so, and that was eleven or twelve years back. I made it about three-quarters of the way through what was then the system.

    At the time, we were told that one could learn the system in two to three years.

    After my teacher and his had a falling out, my teacher stopped teaching Bukti and moved on to teaching Sera to his classes.

    Bukti has reportedly evolved since and isn't the same. It was, at the time, a daughter art developed so that Pendekar Paul de Thouars could teach Americans -- he limited his Sera teaching, a closed-door art shown only to Indonesians or Dutch-Indonesians, or those who could demonstrate the proper adat and hormat. No women, and few non-Indo Americans.

    My teacher, Guru Stevan Plinck, born in Holland of Dutch-Indo parents, was already a senior Sera student, and helped develop Bukti, whereupon he became one its first and senior-most teachers.

    The old joke was that Bukti was designed for old people, cripples, and Americans ...

    At the time, Bukti was used as a filter. It was a fine and useful system by itself, but abbreviated -- kind of like a Reader's Digest Condensed Book.
    Its roots were in Sera, and once you learned Bukti and thus demonstrated a commitment to training, you might be allowed to progress into the mother art. There were eight Bukti djurus and sambuts, and no weapon-work to speak of. Contrast that to Sera's eighteen djurus, dozens of sambuts in different categories -- defensive, offensive, positional -- and extensive weapon-work, knives, goloks, etc.

    Nowadays, the Bukti people say that the art has evolved, added material, and is much superior to what it was. (They also say, some of them, that it is superior to the parent of Sera, but there is more than a little argument about that.)

    Of the people I know who have studied both arts, not that many, the consensus is that the child has not grown to the point where she is superior to the parent. Of the people who study Bukti exclusively, the belief seems to be that she has.

    You pay your money and take your choice ...

    Bukti, as it was taught when I studied it, was stiffer, more upright, and required less athletic ability. If it has gotten lower and requires more legwork, I suspect it is borrowing more from its mother ...

  3. tellner

    tellner Valued Member

    As usual Steve has said the important things much better than I could hope to. I'd like to add a couple points for consideration, though.

    Developing one's own style is inevitable after a certain point unless one is a mindless drone. Every experience, everything one sees, one's body and physical capabilities, personal preferences, training partners and all the times one gets knocked on one's butt, gets up and says "I need to do something about that" contribute. My Sera is different than my fellow students' even though we've had the same teacher. If we continue to grow in and develop our Silat others will be able to say look at us and say "They both trained with Plinck". Beyond that Perry, at 6' and a bit, weighed down by nigh on sixty trips around that mean old Sun and the Okinawan Karate base will do it differently than twenty-something ambulance driver Aisha who might top five feet in her sneakers.

    The curriculum? It all comes from the same good Silat base. All of us have more technique than we'll ever use. What's really important is the skill and understanding. That comes down to the quality of the individual teacher and one's own dedication and ability to internalize the material. Given the huge possible variations there minor differences in the quality of the class material probably fade into the statistical noise. A wise person would certainly choose Sera or PSBN over Billy Bob's Academy of San Baka Bujutsu Ryu Ninja Fu Kwon Do. But it's really hard to say how much difference there'd be between Sera and Bukti Negara as taught by teachers of equal quality to the same class.

    I certainly prefer the Sera I'm doing now to the Bukti I was doing *cough* *cough* years ago. But that was a much less experienced martial arts student learning from a teacher who was always more comfortable teaching Sera. It's not a completely fair comparison. I'd have to spend some serious time with Pendekar de Thouars or one of his senior students, try it out and get a good feel for the differences to give an accurate assessment. That's not likely to happen any time soon.
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2007
  4. masterchimp

    masterchimp New Member

    Ya,I thought it might but was curious anyways and really want to hear everyones opinion educated or not.I've been at the PDT acadamy for a while and it's like nothing I've ever studied before in terms of effectiveness.It does have alot of low leg work and I've been told that it has changed alot and has been improved on to be much more like its parent.Thank you Steve and Tellner for your reponses.Any other opinions would be much appreciated.
  5. fire cobra

    fire cobra Valued Member

    Great post Tellner :)
  6. tellner

    tellner Valued Member

    I was going to write some more thoughts here. But they could irritate people and cause dissension on the board. So I have put them in my blog . Some of it isn't pleasant, but it represents my honest analysis of the divisive state of Silat in North America. This isn't just the de Thouars/de Vries family. It's endemic. The Sera/Serak/PSBN/Tongkat/Anak Serak/Whatever quarrels are just one example.
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2007
  7. Silatyogi

    Silatyogi Valued Member

    sera is like learning all the modes in music with the appropriate theory and understanding of their usage. where bukti is more like just learning one scale that is comprised of pieces of the original modes not the entire thing.

    Personally I saw myself get much better once I learned Sera. Bukti is a very good art but i can't understand why learn it if you have the access to Sera.

    Santiago Dobles
  8. pukulan student

    pukulan student Valued Member

    Steve, who ever is saying this is wrong .Its antagonistic ignorance .Its saying the student knows more than the teacher . rest assured there will be no feedback here
    from any bukti student, if I say the order is as you say it is .the son has not out
    grown the father.nor will he ever Peace out.
  9. Silatyogi

    Silatyogi Valued Member

    A real Guru Hopes and gives the tools so that his students get better than him.

    A real master empowers the student to surpass the master's ability. That in itself makes the master even better cause he or she is karmically selfless and truly sincere about his or her teaching. A real Master learns from his or her students aswell.


  10. pukulan student

    pukulan student Valued Member

    The point is its absurd to reverse the order of those arts it speaks ignorance or dis respect .There can be no dispute here.
  11. Silatyogi

    Silatyogi Valued Member

    It always comes down to the same nonesense and false sense of elitism you want to have with the "Serak" and "Bukti" community as if you are the only ones that have the answers and also the one and only art. As if PDT (Although he is truly a genious at what he does) is the ONLY SOURCE of Silat particularly SERAK.

    If that was they case then why is there Sera in Indonesia?

    Why is there similarties in Malaysia?

    Bukti Negara is a good art and nothing is to be taken away from it. But it still comes from Serak. And truthfully if you are really doing Serak Bukti is there.

    So again why not just learn Serak fully? Why not explore its roots? (Cimande? Silek Tuo?)

    Bukti is just the expression of serak that Paul manifested.

    The same questions I have asked along with the many other Silat PLayers that practice Serak have asked to the PDT community seem to never get answered by you folks instead you want to try to pose as judge and execusioner to a holygrail that truly runs free like water to those that truly seek. Eventually as time moves on there will be enough competent Silat players in Serak, sera, whatever you want to call it that can hold there own and also pass it down appropriately. The sooner the indonesians generation begins to show and share more I am sure will find more reliable sources for other family styles of Sera.

    I suspect that someone in Indonesia somewhere has the answers. And I suspect that with enough pieces and "reverse" engineering one will achieve mastery at such an art.

    I don't believe that the way Paul taught it was complete cause when you take it to the indonesians they say it looks chinese. Also if you look at how Paul moves and how Danny H moves its not like how the rest of the PDT bunch moves...

    so somehings are not being transmitted fully.

    Also if he was a Pendekar in the true sense of the word he would also emphasize healing and protection spiritually to his students and those that have also left his circle. A real pendekar is a warrior for his tribe and his Earth. Something which I do not see him nor his group studying or doing. I see William Dethouars more involved in energy work and also internal healing than PDT.

    In my humble opinion the answer lies even beyond some one as great as a practitoner as Paul Dethouars.

    The arts reflect the practitioners. If its balanced and whole the practictioner will be balanced and whole. If there is bad health...something is not balanced or addressed in the training.


    Santiago Dobles
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2007
  12. Steve Perry

    Steve Perry Valued Member

    Not Sure What You Are Saying, But ...

    I am apparently misunderstanding what it is you are saying. If you are trying to agree with me that Sera is more developed an art than Bukti, then, no problem.

    If you are trying to say the opposite, then I am here to tell you that there can indeed be a dispute.

    One man's interpretation of an art, no matter how adept he might be, does not by itself make that interpretation intrinsically superior to the system that spawned him.

    You cannot judge an entire art by one practitioner.

    Pendekar Paul was a Sera expert before he developed Bukti, and what he stripped out to produce his personal art was nothing but Sera. Modifications might have made it more accessible to Americans, but any claims that accessibility equals superiority aren't based in logic.

    Nobody I train with disputes the Pendekar's ability as a fighter. But claims from his Bukti students that this art is superior to the art that produced Paul have yet to be demonstrated. From those Bukti gurus that I have had occasion to play with, and given my own lack of ability as a Sera player, the evidence suggests otherwise.

    Talk is cheap.

    Taking a .357 Magnum revolver and removing three or four of the bullets doesn't make it a better weapon.
  13. pukulan student

    pukulan student Valued Member

    Steve, thats what inspired my reply you are right in what you said no gray area
    Santiago .My questions are your questions
  14. pukulan student

    pukulan student Valued Member

    Exactly how much did Pendekar Paul get from his Uncle Jon its un knowable .how much traditional is in Bukti its unknowable .It is said that the priciples of the two arts are the same.These principles are anoyingly complex and they are what gnaw away at me day and night.
  15. Silatyogi

    Silatyogi Valued Member

    Well it seems that the real secret lies in the langkahs. It seems that to really know this art you have to really see whats going on in the Langkah.
    I am not an expert but the little I have understood and figured out on my own has almost 100% come from the Langkahs and also inspired from my teacher's understandings of the Langkahs. I suspect that Paul really immersed himself in understandning the platforms.
    What is interesting is the Dutch Indo approach is Juru 1st and Langkah later. In Indonesia its Ground work, Langkah then Juru.

    Again if you want to know you have to dig at the roots.
  16. Silatyogi

    Silatyogi Valued Member

    Rumor had it folks in holland say Paul only trained 4 years in Serak.

    There was no passing of a "pendekar" Title.
  17. pukulan student

    pukulan student Valued Member

    yeah theres alot of material in those langkahs
  18. pukulan student

    pukulan student Valued Member

    imagine if he had eight
  19. serakmurid

    serakmurid Valued Member

    Please explain what you mean by langkah first then jurus? I always understood the process as learning the 18 jurus first along with latihan for walking on the pantjar, then combining the footwork and jurus in a langkah. We would do Mas Djut Langkah Tiga first then Pantjar Satu, Sekurum Satu, etc. Later you would learn to combine other motions with the jurus in Jurusan Sepak for example. But perhaps you are defining Langkah differently than I am? :)
    Mas Andrew
  20. Steve Perry

    Steve Perry Valued Member


    Well, three things about that. First, "rumor had it" is exceeding vague, isn't it?

    Saying "I know somebody whose brother has a buddy who said he heard ..." doesn't come close to being something you can pin down. Rumor isn't anywhere close to established truth.

    Unless you have something more concrete, why bring this up? It's non-information, and you usually are a lot more rigorous in your presentations.

    Anybody can say, "I heard there used to be fire-breathing, flying dragons." too. Doesn't make it so.

    Second: So what? Four years of concentrated, every-day practice is apt to give you a lot more than material to work out on your own than a class or two a week for ten years. Sera isn't a complicated art; it's more about principles. A sword isn't a complex tool, but you can do a lot with it, if you understand how it works.

    It's like learning the alphabet in English. Only twenty-six letters, a child can do it in a short time, but there are hundreds of thousands of words that can be made from those letters, and the words arranged in millions of ways.

    As to the passing of the pendekar-ship, how is it you know this didn't happen? Were you privy to the conversations among the de Thouars/ de Vries famliy at the time?

    It's unfortunate that the primary messenger on this subject is Victor de Thouars, who isn't known for his consistency in reportage. Victor lays out in great detail exactly how Paul came to be the lineage holder, the location, year, month, day, and hour -- only to later say that such an event never happened.

    You gotta do better than this if you want to have a debate ... :)

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