Silat in the Malay archipelago is part of a wet-rice culture that was built thousands of years ago, alongside the sea-faring cultures of the coastal areas. Since the beginning silat looked towards nature in search of knowledge. In Padang language there is a saying that nature reveals itself as a teacher. One other popular saying directly connected to rice is the saying that silat is like rice, the more the grains of rice are full, the more the rice-plant bows low in front of other creation. Ilmu padi: makin merunduk makin berisi The knowledge of the riceplant: more bow more full. When a rice plant is young and it's roots are easily uprooted it stands straight and upright although it has no value more than any blade of young grass. However, when the rice begins to mature and the grains begin to fill the weight of the grains pull down the head of the plant and the rice-plant now bows down. Although the plant bows down in front of other creation it contains now hundreds of grains ready to germinate or become food for a higher creation, maybe an insect, maybe a bird, maybe a mouse or a rat, or even a hungry human being. The idea of ilmu padi is widely supported by the peoples of the Malay archipelago, especially in the silat or the academic world. Because of this I would guess that you can't find any silat school or practitioner in Malaysia or Indonesia claiming to teach the best silat. Obviousely anyone practising a silat will develop a relationship of love with what (s)he does so all silat are the best. It would be a very bad idea to have a contest to find who is the real-real-real best, because in a true silat contest there is no second best. The second best is down, dead. Di dalam ilmu silat tak ada pemenang kedua Di dalam ilmu surat tak ada pemenang pertama (In the knowledge of silat there is no second best In the knowledge of letters there is no best) Ilmu padi also warns the Malay/Indonesian pesilat against claiming to be a pendekar or a guru. That is why if you look at the list of Malay schools posted by Malaysian Amirul Tekpi there the term chief-instructor is often used instead of Guru with capital G. In the West, it appears that titles such as Pendekar, Guru Muda, Guru Baharu, Guru, Ustadz, even Maha Guru, are deemed to be needed as so many people seem to have/use them. I am guessing but feel sure that there are more Maha Guru in silat in the USA than in Indonesia and Malaysia together. Ilmu padi is not sexy addvertising but is an important part in silat. Or is it not? Should ilmu padi be forgotten (at least for a while) for the purpose of getting support in a media driven capitalistic society such is our global village these days? What is your take on ilmu padi here? Hormat, Kiai Carita.