The Knowledge of the Rice Plant

Discussion in 'Silat' started by Kiai Carita, Aug 8, 2005.

  1. Kiai Carita

    Kiai Carita Banned Banned

    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?

    Kiai Carita.
  2. tellner

    tellner Valued Member

    Once is an accident.
    Twice is a coincidence.
    Three times, Someone is trying to tell you Something.
    After a dozen times it's enough of a pattern to be worth speaking up about.

    Brother Kiai, most of your posts have included at least a dig or two at the foolishness of the benighted Westerners who pronounce things badly, have inflated egos and don't understand the first thing about Silat. There is certainly some truth in what you say, but the constant harping is beginning to get on some nerves, mine included.

    Some people here have been working away at what they do and learning as best they can for longer than you've been alive. They may well have picked up a trick or two, maybe even a crumb of understanding here and there. Yes, even the stupid kaffirs. I seem to recall an ayat from the Quran about dividing you up into tribes that you might know Me better.

    Egotism and a love for titles are a common human problem. Mirabile dictu it even extends to Indonesians. I can think of about a dozen authentic Indonesian systems (without wracking my brains) which use all sorts of titles, Pendekar this, Guru level X that, maybe even Maha Lingam of Nasi Goreng.
  3. Narrue

    Narrue Valued Member

    I was not familiar with this term and there are many Indonesian terms/words I do not understand as I am not Indonesian. However since you explained the term in English I feel I understand what you are getting at, Nature as a teacher.

    If you think of how people lived back then it will be of no surprise that people were more observant of nature as it played a much more prominent part of everyone’s lives. This is true of all cultures, not just Indonesians. Today we are surrounded with technology and if you live in a modern city then the chances are that there is more concrete and steel structures than natural ones for you to observe. It all depends on the environment you are placed in, If you are surrounded by natural forms then you will naturally observe what is happening in that environment and possibly adapt what you have observed to benefit yourself.

    The modern city worker has very little knowledge of nature simply because he/she is removed from a natural environment and placed in a UN-natural one of concrete, glass & steel. How many of you modern city workers take time to observe what little nature exists in a modern concrete city? Simply put if you do not observe then you cannot gain knowledge of something that is alien to you.

    Students should not be handed this knowledge on a silver plate either or like hungry chicks in a nest, mouth wide open ready to receive what they can from mother, that is the path of devolution and stagnation. Students should observe nature and be forced to ponder on what they have observed. I am not talking about going to the book shop or getting a DVD, you must observe with all your senses. Any knowledge gained can then be added to what the teacher gives at a LATER stage, this is the path of evolution, development.

    The true observer of nature is a humble person because he/she sees the work of the creator in everything from the greatest tree to a blade of grass. Much or what occurs in nature is unseen so put away your microscope and trust in your instincts.
    It all starts with a love or empathy for nature and for this reason some will gain no knowledge whilst others will gain much. It is not something you can fake or force on yourself, you are either like that or not.

    If you are sincere then nature will reveal many things to you that the masses have no knowledge of. You will not find it in your books or DVDs.

    Much of this relates or manifests as internal, mystical & spiritual knowledge of which there are two types of people, the hand fed chick who sits with mouth wide open waiting for Guru to reveal all and the true student of nature who has gained what he/she has through hard work and a connection with nature, which are you?
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2005
  4. Silatyogi

    Silatyogi Valued Member

    <<Students should not be handed this knowledge on a silver plate either or like hungry chicks in a nest, mouth wide open ready to receive what they can from mother, that is the path of devolution and stagnation. Students should observe nature and be forced to ponder on what they have observed. I am not talking about going to the book shop or getting a DVD, you must observe with all your senses. Any knowledge gained can then be added to what the teacher gives at a LATER stage, this is the path of evolution, development.>>

    A djuru motion or a sapu practiced a 1,000 times is going to be good regardless of whether it's done in Malay/Indonesian areas or in the USA.

    A lot of us who train silat in the USA have had to travel all over the US to study and learn little pieces of "SILAT" some are fortunate enough to make it to Malayasia & Indonesia. It is not handed on a silver plate here and it really is not as accessable as many believe. It costs money, time, energy, dedication, sacrifice, etc. It's not any different here than learning Silat somewhere else in the world. It doesn't matter where you are you still have to do the personal work and practice and training that is required to be great. So truthfully you can be in ALASKA and still be a royal Bad A## at SILAT and an exceptional martial artist.

    Its very valuable to have video footage or DVDS of your Gurus, Pendekars and to actually train Silat on a daily basis.

    Times are changing, at this point in 2005 it is in some ways easier to do things because there are truthfully no more secrets. There are a lot of masters who openly teach and also are willing to pass their art on simply because times are changing. If they keep everything "Secret" in this day and age it will die out.

    Have you noticed that now you can get DVD's of Internal masters in China?

    That would have been unheard of 10 to 20 years ago. Why? Cause its dying out if others do not continue the traditions and the practices related.

    The same thing will happen with Silat at somepoint. Silat does not belong to anyone it really does choose its practitioners. Eventually you will find footage of a real master or you will find a "westerner" who is really as good as any Indonesian or Malayasian. A Human is a Human regardless.....we all **** the same, eat laugh , train, sleep etc.

    It is still important to have an actual teacher you can talk to, recieve instruction from, feel how something is supposed to be executed but most DVD's and some books have a piece of the puzzle. Infact some of the DVD's out there today are from actual masters. You can learn a lot from a video. If you watch closely you can also learn a lot about the "Hidden" and the internal aspects of how a master moves or manipulates energy and intent. Its Balony to believe you can not recieve or understand the "energy" or the intent of a master from a video. Infact if you are aware you will also notice the integrity of a teacher if you watch him teach on video, and also watch him move and demonstrate.
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2005
  5. pakehraja

    pakehraja Valued Member


    I am a malaysian. I am passionate about my culture. But I have to say, I am excited to see the way silat being propagated by the western people. The dedication, the openness is something new, something fresh. I had the chance to briefly train with these people. And I would say, comparing it to the training I get from my school curriculum silat allocation in Malaysia (not a good example perhaps), these people definitely can do justice to the art. Of course there are bad apples, but it is the same in Malaysia, as is in Indonesia I believe.

    I hope this issue would not affect the brotherhood of silat people. I admit, we have differences, but i believe the differences would only enrich the experience of pesilats of the world, if we take it positively. YEah, like the Quranic verses mentioned by Tellner, the meaning is somewhat " I created you into various nations, so you may get to know each other".

    Salam hormat
  6. Kiai Carita

    Kiai Carita Banned Banned

    Dear Tellner, I have never said that Westerners are foolish and have nothing against their pronunciation. I never thought or said that these silat Westerners 'don't understand the first thing about silat'. Neither have I ever said anything involving the words 'stupid kaffirs'...All these deragotary addjectives are your additions to my words.

    Quite to the contrary to what you judge me as saying, I know that most Westerners are much more educated than the average Indonesian. I also know that everyone pronounces a foreign language diferently, and that in itself is not a fault. As for those who choose to be 'kaffir', I know from my ustadz and from experience that they are and were often very clever even since ancient Sumeria and Egypt, as being 'kaffir' or being in faith is not a matter of cognition, rather it is a matter of the heart.

    Maybe it is because I get on your nerves that you put words into my mouth? Maybe it is because you preceive me as 'digging at Westerners' I get on your nerves?

    My question was about 'ilmu padi'.

    I know many Westerners have spent lifetimes studying silat, but looking at websites I have begun to ask (myself and members of this forum) whether or not the philosophy and the kebatinan is still Malay / Indonesian. I ask this, because of the many 'cultural discrepancies'. One of these 'discrepancies' relating to 'ilmu padi' is schools advertising as 'the best' 'the most devastating' and 'the real one' and so on.

    I ask these questions to gain knowledge, so that I may understand silat better. I am interested to know whether there is a new silat based on Indonesian moves but a Western kebatinan, or an USA kebatinan. But my question for this thread is about 'ilmu padi'

    Kiai Carita.
  7. pete_e

    pete_e New Member

    Welcome to the wonderful, commercial world of martial arts Kiai. It is an unfortunate reality that some schools feel that, in order to successfully market themselves, they have to portray themselves as the best and the only real version of their system. This isn't just a Silat thing, however, it happens throughout the martial arts world (and probably the whole of the capitalist system too). Personally I don't agree with it - but that's easy for me to say as it's not my liveliehood that's at stake. I am, however, slightly surprised that you suggest that this is a purely Western phenomena. Are you saying that within the Malay / Indonesian Silat world no-one ever claims that their system is more effective or authentic than another?

    In terms of the cultural discrepancies, I understand your point, but I do have a question about it... It is my understanding / experience that Silat prides itself on being an art that is alive and that grows with each generation and with the evolution of the local culture. It has Hindu and Muslim cultural influences and has learnt from the Thai and Chinese martial arts to name just a couple of examples.

    If this is the case isn't it natural and right that, as Silat spreads throughout the world, it will grow and evolve as a result of this? Should a British or American Silat practitioner turn their back on their own culture and attempt to become completely Malay / Indonesian in their Silat practise or should they allow their personal cultural background and experiences to influence / be reflected in their Silat? (Isn't part of the Silat culture that each practitioner ultimately aims to make the art their own?)

    Just to clarify - I am not saying that the cultural history and flavour of Silat should be ignored. That is clearly an essential part of the art. Equally, in terms of 'making the art your own', I firmly believe that you have to learn the rules of the game before you can start to bend them. But the bottom line is that if Silat is an art that learns and adapts to the world around it, maybe it is right that cultural discrepancies start to creep in?
  8. Silatyogi

    Silatyogi Valued Member

    unfortunately in the west we have to market ourselves if we want to keep our small silat studios open. It may seem we do it for the money but the truth is many of us do it because we love to do it. I myself don't have more than 7 students. But I have to keep my small space open so that no matter what rain, storm, hell freezes, hurricane blasts through us, my students still have a place they can go train almost everyday and when ever they want. Its not a fancy place nor is it more than we need but unfortunately it costs $$$. So we have to use words such as we are the best we do this and that etc , etc, etc.

  9. pakehraja

    pakehraja Valued Member


    I have to say, this question interest me. This is definitely the way it is in Malaysia. Silat is thought as a weapon, its secrecy is highly guarded. IT was not that long ago when survival depends a lot on fighting ability. Silat would only be taught for those whom they taught would be an ally or something. However I would have to say, in my opinion, this is the very reason silat is dissappearing in our world.

    Those days when teachers will ask for nothing more than a chicken, or a token money for accepting or student, is not viable anymore. Those days they trained barefooted on earth, in the darkness of nights, with mosquitoes and what not. But ideally, who would want to do that now? For a martial art to survive in the modern world, there need to be proper propagation of it. In order to train, there need to be a proper place to train, proper equipments, dedicated teachers, and in the modern world, all these means money. And this also mean, a critical mass of student numbers is needed for a silat school to start making economic sense. And to get this critical mass, massive publicity is needed. And to get this publicity, a dose of 'bragging' is needed.

    Probably the difference is the degree of 'bragging' acceptable in different cultures. Here in Malaysia and Indonesia, I believe the sentiment against 'bragging' has more to do with the Islamic injunction against 'takbur', (the feeling of oneself as bigger than others). But in cultures where this sentiment is not predominant or not worth an issue, perhaps it should not be a problem.

    I believe, in the American mentality of instilling enormous believe in oneself in order to create a reservoir of self confidence and determination needed to succeed, this notion is a must. The mantra, 'I am the best', is like a daily prayer, which I believe has proved effective in so many things American these days. And perhaps, we, the eastern people could learn a thing or two from them. (However, not to upset the asian, the notion 'I am not the best', as being held by most of us, has also some use in fighting philosophy, and perhaps the west can also learn from us, fair?)

    But I suppose, the differences will remain for the other reason I mentioned. For those who love silat for its sake, the modern approach is needed so that this beautiful art will survive, a little publicity stunt is a must. For those who regarded silat as nothing more than as a means of their survival, understandably, they will guard it with their life, or if it needs be, they will take the knowledge to their grave and the art will die with them. They don't need publicity, fine.

    Personally, I love silat for what it is. And I would really like it to see it flourish internationally. I dont mind if different cultures creep in silat, for I believe, the greatest strength of silat is its open ended approach to the world, take what is best, adopt it as your own, use it to your advantage.

    Just my opinion, take care.

  10. Kiai Carita

    Kiai Carita Banned Banned

    Pete and Silat Yogi, thank you for responding to my question.

    In posts about kembangan I believe I have written about an exercise in Jawa arts which amongst other names is called 'gerak nurani' ...which is basic to probably all Indonesian arts from finding meteorite for keris making, herbs for healing, moves for dancing, and places to build a house. When gerak nurani is used it is inevitable that all the practioner's wholeness will express itself. If you have a grandmother who was a flamenco dancer maybe some flamenco will creep into your silat through cell memory. So as silat practitioners spread across the globe there might be Spanish silat, Californian Silat, Dutch Silat and so on. This would be the natural way of things.

    Naturally the value systems of the rice paddies or sea-trade will evolve and adapt to the new environment of concrete and steel and banks and bills. And your answers have also pointed that the kebatinan of silat has also changed in the West. I am not judging here guys please don't get offended over an observation. There are commercial silat schools in Indonesia too! However as far as I know I have never come across a silat school in Indonesia advertising publicly as the best. It is even hard to find a silat school that advertises at all. Ilmu padi, which bows down with humility to other creation as it gains more knowledge seems not to be part of some Western silat websites but I am not judging that this is a bad thing. Survival is important in silat.

    In my understanding there has always been diversity in the kebatinan of silat as well, even before it left the archipelago. In Central and East Jawa people's kebatinan are different from West Jawa's knowledge of 'karuhun'. In the lands of Minangkabau, in the Riau archipelago, in Malaysia, and amongst the Bugis the kebatinan is different again. This is apparent in many things, one, for example, is the use of the keris. In Jawa the keris is not used for fighting, but it is not so in Sumatra, in Malaysia, in the Philippines or in Thailand.

    Salam hormat,

    Kiai Carita.
  11. silatliam

    silatliam Valued Member

    Titles not used in Malaysia/Indonesia????

    Hi Kiai Carita (My distant cousin of Glencoe)
    Titles are not only related to Silat, but nearly every form of Tradition Martial Art in not only the Western World but also the Eastern World. For example its common place to use the word "Sensei" in Karate or "Sifu" in Chinese arts these have become link to the word teacher the same way now in the western world "Guru" is link to a teacher of Silat. I'm very sure in a class if a student used the word teacher instead of guru no disrespect would be shown.
    Personally I rather have the word guru, as to most people who live in the western world this conjured up a teacher who is more of a guide than a teacher who instructs. As Silat is a more a way of life.

    However I do agree with Teller that in alot of your letters you take digs at us in the western world as being arrogant or unkownledgeable, which is kinda silly as you living in the western world and enjoying the benefits of it. Maybe you unintentionally doing it but the way you make statements it does come accross.

    Now you menetion the following in your opening letter

    >>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. <<

    It comes accross by you that these terms are not really used in Malay/Indonesian silat. Which is very strange when you actually think that one of the great teacher who has help developed silat into the western world was Herman Suwandai who not only use the titles you say, that are not really used by Indonesian, but now his sister who now one of the leading teachers of mande muda uses these title and so does her husband

    Here is a quote from their website
    "A Brief History of Mande Muda:
    Indonesia is the world's largest archipelago, comprised of over 13,000 islands. Today, Indonesia has the largest Muslim population in the world, but it has seen many cultural and religious influences over the years, ranging from Hindu and Buddhist settlers from India and China, to the Christian Portuguese and Dutch colonists. All of these things have left their mark on the martial arts of Indonesia.
    The Dutch maintained control of much of Indonesia from the 17th century, until 1942, when Japan invaded. The Dutch continued to struggle for control, until 1949, when Indonesia finally gained independence. During the war for independence, there were many developments in the fighting styles of Indonesia. It was from this time of rapid growth that Mande Muda was born.
    Comprised of techniques from many Indonesian Silat styles, Pencak Silat Mande Muda was established in 1951, by Guru Besar Uyuh Suwanda. With the help of his wife, Ibu Mimi Suwanda (a skilled martial artist in her own right), Bapak Uyuh thoroughly developed the style, earning recognition and respect from the major governing Silat bodies. After Bapak Uyuh Suwanda's death, the art was spread, throughout the United States and Europe, by his son, Guru Besar Herman Suwanda. Tragically, Herman Suwanda and his wife, Shannon, died in a car crash in March of 2000. Shortly after this loss, Herman Suwanda's sister, Ibu Rita Suwanda, was named Guru Besar of Pencak Silat Mande Muda. She continues to travel throughout the world, furthering the family tradition of openly sharing the secrets of Pencak Silat. For more information on Pencak Silat Mande Muda and the Suwanda Family,"

    2) Master Guru Suryadi Jafri who sometimes used the title Pendekar, who was another great Cimande teacher.

    3) My first teacher went by the name of Guru Razak Othman and I learnt from him in my earlier years.

    4) My Tari Kolot Cimande Knowledge is from Pendekar Mama

    5) I also thought I would add the following which is the list of the Pendekars of Perisai Diri and there location in Indonesia again as you can see titles are used in Indonesia as much as they are used in the Western World, if you need more proof I can easily get it for you, this was a 5 min search on the web.

    "The Pendekars are the highest rank in Kelatnas Indonesia Perisai Diri. To reach this rank is not easy. One should practice for many years and step-by-step earn every rank by certain tests. There are 36 pendekars of Kelatnas Indonesia Perisai Diri, most of them reside in Surabaya (East Java, Indonesia) which is the main headquarter's homecity. "

    Those Pendekars are:

    Ir. Nanang Soemindarto (Chairperson of Perisai Diri, Surabaya)
    Soeparjono, SH, MBA (Surabaya)
    Drs. Noer Hasdijanto, SH (Surabaya)
    Mondo Satrijo Hadiprakoso (deceased, Surabaya)
    Dr. Hari K. Lasmono, PhD (Surabaya)
    Ruddy J. Kapojos, BA (Surabaya)
    Mat Kusen, BA (Surabaya)
    Hari Soejanto (Surabaya)
    F.X. Hr. Supi'i, Sk (Surabaya)
    I Gusti Ngurah Dilla (Dewan Pendekar, Surabaya)
    Drs. I Gusti Bagus Danendra (Denpasar and Tabanan)
    Drs. I Made Swetja, MBA (Denpasar)
    Oetomo Soerodjo (Surabaya)
    Tonny S. Kohartono (Surabaya)
    Gatut Moedjono, BA (Surabaya)
    Moelyono Budi Pitoyo (Surabaya)
    Soenarjo (Surabaya)
    Dr. Mochamad Hidayat (Malang)
    Yahya Buari (Lamongan)
    Djang Kastam (Surabaya)
    Drs. Siaman (Surabaya)
    Moelyono (deceased, Nganjuk)
    Imam Ramelan (deceased, Surabaya)
    Arnowo Adji HKP (Dewan Pendekar, Tangerang, Cikampek and Cipanas)
    Bambang Soekotjo Maxnol (Dewan Pendekar, Cimahi)
    Warjiono, BA (Jakarta)
    Gunawan Parikesit (Chairperson of Dewan Pendekar, Semarang)
    Totok Soemantoro, BSc. (Klaten)
    Kol. (Purn) Soegiarto Mertoprawiro (Jakarta)
    Koesmanhadji (Jakarta)
    Ir. Both Sudargo (Tokyo-Japan)
    Bambang Mudjono (Bandung)
    RM Hartono Soerjopratiknjo, SH (Yogyakarta)
    Brigjen. Subagyo Rahmad (Jakarta)
    Han Song Ling/Ling Hananto (deceased, Jakarta)
    Drs. Sambiyono (Jakarta)
    The Junior Pendekars are:
    Anton Kurniawan (Denpasar); Aris Budihardjo (Boyolali); Arya Penida, MBA (Denpasar); Bambang Rachman Soegiharto (Surabaya); Bambang S. Widagdokusumo, SH (Surabaya and Mojokerto); Boedijono (Yogyakarta); Buniran (Lombok); Ir. Gatot Subandhy (Malang); Gundono (Malang); Hanry Molomoe (Jakarta); Ir. Drs. Heru Pramono (Malang); I Wayan Tantra (Denpasar); Iskandar, SM (Bandung); Drs. Kartono (Lawang); Kasiyan Hadipurnomo (Balikpapan); Kemal (Garut); Kimin Sardjo (Cimahi), Limonu Katili (Jakarta); Drs. Made Rai Suartana, MBA (Denpasar); Drs. Madyo Wratsongko (Jakarta); Drs. Mardijanto (Jakarta); Margono (Pasuruan); Nyoman Suburadi; Drs. Pardi N. (Malang); Saptadi Jayadi (Denpasar); Ir. Sigit Prakoso (Jakarta and Bandung); Soesilo Soedarmadji (Tokyo-Japan); Ir. Sunardi Sindumintono (Yogyakarta and Tangerang); Supardi Harjono, SM (Malang); Slamet Priadi (Malang); Suep/Syuaib (Riau); Drs. Tamtama Rahardja (Malang); Tirtana Jayadi (Denpasar); Ucup Supriyadi (Cimahi)

    Kiai I will give a example of what I see is happening to silat. In Ireland Irish Dancing has been a long tradition. In the 90's an Irish American Dancer by the name of Michael Flatery took Irish danceing and added his own unique blend of dance and personal expression to it. The puriest at the time ridicule him, saying things like "How dare an American take our dance and change parts of it" etc.. now 10 years later the two biggest selling shows in the world are "Riverdance" and "Lord of the dance" and he has took Irish Dancing to a whole new level and has made it more popular throughout the world. Not only for his version of Irish Dance but the traditional school are also fill to the doors now. I feel the same is happening now to silat. There are going to be different takes on what aspects of silat will be taught by different teachers, and this can only be a good thing as long as these teachers are out there are been honest with there students and have silat in there hearts. But groups like ourselves and Richard de Bordes and Steven Benitez are out there now publicising and bringing Silat to the wider audience , which in the end is this not a good thing and at the end of the day this will help everyone in the silat world.
  12. pete_e

    pete_e New Member

    Nice comparison to River Dance! I just hope you aren't going to incorporate it into your Tari? :D
  13. Kiai Carita

    Kiai Carita Banned Banned

    Dear Cousin Silatliam and pesilat in this forum,

    I am not saying that titles are not used in Indonesia. Just that they are used in a different way. Usually, a Guru (Besar, Muda) in the silat community means a head of a school, like Ibu Suwanda. Your cut-paste of Perisai Diri illustrates exactly what I was trying to say: usually a pendekar is under a Guru, so in PD as far as I know from outside the Guru Besar is now resting in peace in an other world. Setia Hati Terate have the term Kadhang, meaning relative, brother, sister, uncles, and so on and don't use the terms like Guru Besar and so on.

    Usually in Indonesia people don't call themselves Guru or Pendekar (they let other people do that), but if you introduce two pesilat from the same school to an Indonesian audience and say that A is Guru A and B is Pendekar B, most people would think that A is B's teacher and superior to B in the organisation of the school. Out side schools it is different again. When society 'awards' the tittle Pendekar, this means that the so called pesilat is seen as an upholder of justice and champion of the weak so it is not just an acknowledgement of fighting ability, nor is it associated with a school or the teaching of silat. However if you say Ustadz it is always and never not associated with the teaching of Islam, particularly the reading of the Al Qur'an.

    Your example of Riverdance is very appropriate. In what ways do you (and pesilat in this forum) think (your)silat has gone through this process?

    Cousin Silatliam, I sincerely thankyou for correcting my language. I hope there are no digs in this post. Feel free to correct me further if you percieve me of making mistakes in my statements. For me, a verbal slap or two between cousins in search of truth and brotherhood should be taken as an expression of concern and goodwill. I look forward to reading your thoughts.

    Kiai Carita.
  14. Sekaralas

    Sekaralas New Member

    Hi Kiai Carita, your post on ilmu padi is good.
    As for the rest of the discussion, I think that when people learn to love something, they try to identify as closely to it as they can. In the west there is a tendency for some degree of 'orientalism' I think ... in the end a good teacher is what people should be looking for, and it's not necessarily one who styles him or herself "Guru Besar" or "Maha Guru" ... hehe. I would be wary of the over importance of dressup ... wearing destar, sarongs and iket's are fine if you want to play dress-up, unless of course there is a mystical significance by being so attired ;o) ... people used to wear iket because that was a common head-dress ... why not just wear a track-suit? ... it makes more sense. There is no problem wearing clothes of cultural significance if that is your culture otherwise it does smack of dress-up.
    Wearing Gi etc is from Dai Nippon. Black Gi's are still Gi's. In itself its not significant. The guage of silat ... of any type, is that it works for the individual. My personal guage is that it must give me health, and be effective in fighting.

    Similarly on the topic of honorifics, why not call your teacher by his/her name with the appropriate cultural honorific. What is wrong with Pak Suradji or Mr. Bob or just Bob? Maha Guru encourages Guru Maha Kepala Besar .. hehe. Would I tust a teacher who calls himself Maha Guru? No way Guru Ndas Gede, no way. If Sifu or Sensei of Guru is not part of your language, why use it? What's wrong with Teacher in English?

    The argument can be extended to include the meaning of silat. It's a word common across the Indonesian archipelago and in Malaysia. I remember whenever we talked of silat, it meant a martial art ... it was only later that Karate of Kuntao or Bagua etc was used to differentiate from the local forms of martial art which was silat.
    To my mind silat is synonymous with any martial art, and I will continue to use the term that way, e.g. silate wong Jepang, silat Cina, silat Jawa ... all silat all with some similar and some different principles.
  15. bunkeye

    bunkeye New Member

    I like to approach this from a linguistic and political points of view. Whereas the easterners pride themselves in the word Guru, the origins of the word needs to be researched. This goes for Mahaguru, pendekar etc. Sometime the politics (or understanding) of any particular association gives different words to different level. What's the difference with the terms Shihan and Sensei? Is it similar to Guru Besar and Guru? Is the term Guru similar to Ajarn?
    I don't know... Perhaps maybe we just take it as it is being told to us.

    As for the best Silat and what not, I am of the opinion that whatever works for me would be the best. Sometimes it is not that the martial arts is suited for you, but are you suited to that particular martial arts, Silat or otherwise. Over the years, the techniques and the ability of the practitioner will develop into a refined technique which will be passed down to the next practitioner. Even in some demos only techniques which are impressive to be looked at are being shown but some techniques which are deadly are kept secret (until a period of time).

    Two cents worth of thoughts
  16. sulaiman

    sulaiman Valued Member

  17. Kiai Carita

    Kiai Carita Banned Banned

    Did the Malaysians wear shoes in the gelanggang? I have yet to see pesilat in Indonesia practising in shoes. In wayang kulit shoes are only worn by some Gods and never by humans. Pramoedya Ananta Toer in his Buru tetralogy tells about how a young man in Bandung was beaten up by Cimande fighters under orders from local nobility for wearing shoes, and this happened in the early 20th century.

    Usually a silat school like Gayong or MP or PD will have a uniform which the students must wear when training, but in family silat and back-yard silat people wear anything they want. The dress can be a bridge for the students to learn deeper meanings of adab and hormat. When you travell around Indonesia and Malaysia you will finds that the same items of clothing will be worn differently.

    It is not all dressing up for dressing up's sake. The destar for instance, is a good flexible weapon and a symbol of self-respect, also it is the sunnah of Rasulullah peace be upon him bind a cloth around your head to protect your head and hair.

    Currently in most areas in Indonesia the traditional clothes of a Pendekar are black trousers and a black shirt not unlike the uniforms worn by the soldiers that beat the USA military machine: Uncle Ho's liberation forces of Vietnam. As you say, Sekaralas, these clothes were not actually only worn by pendekars. All peasants wore them as well.

  18. Kiai Carita

    Kiai Carita Banned Banned

    In Jawa the royalty can be even more demanding as even the dead kings in pesarean Imogori demand everyone wear Jawa dress and kain and be barefoot if they want to enter the cemetery of the Mataram kings, South east of Yogyakarta.

    Sulaiman, I suppose you mean that you must wear your baju silat when you train formally. When you train alone at home do you still have to wear your baju silat? That would be rather unusual.

    It is interesting reading some comments on clothing on clear silat's webpage of one touch knock out silat. Someone said that the uniform was Chinese. Actually what we now call silat costume is also Chinese. Difference is the pendekar wears Chinese peasant's clothing while the Hongkong film star wears a mandarin's silk suit. Before the Chinese Walisongo and the traders in Lao Sam (now Lasem, north coast Jawa) introduced katok and klambi (trousers and shirt) the Jawa people, gods, royalty and peasants alike were bare chested and wore a sarong made of a single peice of woven cloth (for the rich) or beaten bark cloth for the poor.

    Till this day the lowest word for the kain is in Jawa is tapeh, from the tapa cloth of the tapa mulberry plant, textile of the Pacific islanders. It was worn long in normal activities and in silat it was worn exactly like the way the Indian kalapariyat players wear their loincloths in the photos available on the web. In Jawa that way of wearing your sarung is called cancut tali wanda, brought up tight and tied secure.

    Enough of me boring you for now.


    Kiai Carita.
  19. sulaiman

    sulaiman Valued Member

    salaams, actually I do wear my silat baju to train at home ¿ Thats just from personal choice though -helps me focus and sustain the effort - plus I just love to wear my baju silat.
    back to previous post - the Malaysians I was referring to ( they shall remain nameless ) were not actually training in shoes , they just came in and walked around a bit - but across the area we were training in.
    As I understand it once the gelanggang is opened its a sacred space so shoes are off - its the same for archery , there is one hadith that the space between the 2 targets is a garden of paradise so we also train that without shoes.

    Back to uniforms -all that I have seen ( except PD ) are black - I know theres more to this than hiding those hard to wash stains - what have you & the other forum members discovered about this ?

  20. amirul_tekpi79

    amirul_tekpi79 Valued Member

    so very sad

    Peace to all,

    Dear Sulaiman,

    If i read your posts correctly, then there's no mistaking that you are Che'gu Sulaiman from Gayong Spain (please refer the 'Silat Kuntau Tekpi' thread).

    In my opinion, the adab in Malaysian culture and silat is slowly fading away. Even in the gelanggang that i'm training/teaching in, i have to remind the kids to 'salam tangan' or handshake the teachers in the most respectful way i.e. with two hands and a little bowing motion. Why? cause they tend to just handshake the teachers with just one hand!! How disgraceful is that! They do that as if the teachers are nothing more than their peers! (sorry if this sounds too much for western pesilat).

    I respect you Cikgu Sulaiman for wearing your uniform during personal training. I've only done that once or twice in my previous training. :eek:

    Dear Kiai,

    I agree with your clothing statements. In northern Peninsula Malaysia, most of the silat schools/styles there are still wearing plain and simple clothing even during practice or ceremonies. For example, they tend to wear short sleeved white t-shirts with black pants. The destar/tengkolok/tanjak is usually a plain black cloth or batik and finally they wear the sampin which is either a plain waist cloth or batik tied down by a bengkung (waist band) of similar material.


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