The alphabet of movement

Discussion in 'Silat' started by Narrue, Jan 17, 2008.

  1. Narrue

    Narrue Valued Member

    If you think about the alphabet of any language you will realise the letters which compose the alphabet are the elementary components from which any word or sentence can be formed.

    What about movement in Silat though? Could you make an alphabet of basic movements from which any jurus/ action could be formed and if you could how many letters would it have?

    11 Directions:
    There are four cardinal points North (N), South (S), East (E) and West (W), This forms a cross on the ground. Add to this NW, SW, NE ,SE and you have an eight sided shape (octagon). There are three further movements which need to be added to this to make it complete, up, down and twist (gelek) 8 + 3 = 11 directions

    Four Ranges:
    In a fighting situation the human body can act at four ranges. At the first range you can head butt, bite, use your shoulders and hips. At the second range you can use your elbows and knees. At the third range you can use your forearms and shins. At the forth range you can use your hands and feet.
    Some may like to combine the last two ranges together making three ranges in total though I prefer to think of it as four.

    You can symbolize these ranges by adding three or four concentric circles to the octagon of eight directions and now you have a shape like a spiders web which has 32 or 24 segments depending on how many ranges you added (3 or 4).

    Three elevations:
    There are three elevations from which a person can fight. 1 on the ground, 2 mid height and 3 completely upright.

    Add this to the above and you have the basic alphabet of movement, 11 directions, 4 ranges and 3 elevations.

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  2. Gajah Silat

    Gajah Silat Ayo berantam!


    Of course when you start to think about how all those parameters can be combined, interchanged etc. you have an almost limitless potential for combining techniques and movement. That is the concept of pecahan.

    You don't have to learn a thousand techniques when you can combine all those elevations, ranges, directions with a useful amount of good techniques.
  3. Narrue

    Narrue Valued Member


    if you implement this basic knowledge and insure you can cover all directions, ranges and elevations then you need not have a very complicated martial art.
    It would however be efficient. An efficient martial art is one which is simple, having few moves yet it is capable of covering the directions, ranges and elevations. Such martial arts usually don’t look pretty or fancy but they are efficient.

    There are many ways you can utilise the web diagram for different purposes however in the above context the web moves with you ie it is not a static diagram on the ground which you walk over. It will become obvious then that you will always be in the center of the web. To be more precise the exact center of the web represents your spine.

    Weapons in each range:
    Range one would represent the innermost circle at this level the attacker is very close to you. You have access to all your weapons at this range but some are obviously more effective then others. At range one the human body has 17 weapons, head, shoulders, hips, elbows, knees, shins, forearms, hands and feet .
    At range two (the second circle) the attacker is now out of range of head, shoulders and hips so at this range you have 12 weapons. At range three you have 8 weapons and finally at range four you have 4 weapons.

    It will become obvious that by moving towards your opponent you also move your web and therefore weapons can be brought back into striking range.

    It should also be obvious that a taller person will naturally have a larger web as their limbs are longer.

    Four ways of moving the web:
    Moving the web obviously translates to moving your body since your web follows you everywhere you move. The human body can move in four ways, spiral, curved, straight and zigzag. These four methods to transverse a distance is how you can move your web so that it is either in range or out of range.

    Previously I stated that there are 3 elevations however jumping can be seen as a momentary forth elevation, unless you can levitate that is :D
  4. Kertas

    Kertas Valued Member

    this is interesting hey..

    i would say it could be useful to the individual... i would assume most silats would teach you these concepts when you learn lankah..

    our school derives movement from basic lankah "lankah Ibu". which is basically front, right, left, and back. from there, buah pukulan (8 techniques)empty handed, and 8 techniques against kicks. then you'll have to master those techniques, and fight against four people using your lankah, and the techniques you learnt.

    this takes you to the end of the first level.

    i think that the simplistic structure of this type of silat is very efficient, and doing just the basics of silat could give you a very good footing in any martial art.
  5. Raden-Rahmat

    Raden-Rahmat Valued Member

    the lankah of silat...always a topic

    well that diagram really shows the complexity of simplicity...oops hehe
    Kertas just mentioned "lankah ibu"....truly il say something since we both are students.
    i used to translate it as the Foundation Steps...but i think that ive come to a renewed understanding which might not be good but its just what ive felt it to be after pondering.
    "Mother of Movement" is very suitable especially since ive seen the diagram it really looks the part...simple enough it is and it looks like the key to that diagram. almost as if i could say ive learnt the "Mother if Movement" and the diagram displays the "Buah of Movement" what un-pendekar-ish terminology but that just discloses my experience base

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