Use & Learning of Pentjak Silat

Discussion in 'Silat' started by khafra, Feb 22, 2002.

  1. krys

    krys Valued Member

    While no extensive research has been done it seems that our filipino silat is close to some systems of silat found in Brunei, Sabah and Sulawesi. I heard there are Javanese related forms silat and others, also heard Silat form Majapahit showed strong similarities with Kung Fu....

    In filipino silat and javanese Setia Hati Terare there are ways to get energy at once.... In both cases it invoves breathing and meditation techniques....
    Some of these energies are used only in times of great danger because there are some backlashs as you may hurt unintentionaly peoples around you...
    Anyway this shouldn't be learned without the supervision of a good guro ro you may loose your mind.
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2003
  2. pesilat

    pesilat Active Member

    Many people claim that Silat (as we know it today) originated with the Majapahit empire - which was a Hindu empire.

    Does that mean that there wasn't an indigenous art that was influenced by the Majapahit and evolved into Silat? No. But I think most people would allow that Indian MA definitely had some impact on Silat.

  3. butterfly_knf

    butterfly_knf New Member

    I agree with that.
    It's obvious that Hinduism and Buddhism affected Javanese culture since before and after The Majapahit Empire. And then uniting Kejawen in Islam --> Kebatinan.

    I wonder, since 'everyone' is directly & indirectly attracts back to the Indian philosophy- it is possibly true that the first core of the world's wisdom rooted from there.

    I used to discuss this with my supervisor.. and in my growth, I was taught to live with every positive aspect of religious form of the world. Even as I, a moslem, I perceive the Christian teachings, the bible, and even asked for the truth of our originated belief....

    And I found no difference. Unfortunately, this kind of perception was not allowed in my school at that time, and I was quite--well, anarchist to them.

    Every beliefs is good and useful. And if we trace back to our past history, our 'separate form' caused only by our various characteristic, but the last destination is always same.

    So as MA, you should learn whatever you wanted to, to accepted it as one.

    hey, we have the all same ancestors, far way back there... I'm pretty sure the real meaning of Martial Arts is One Way of reaching Godliness, through the basic need as a human, physicly and spiritually... to survive, and relatively understand others.
  4. krys

    krys Valued Member

    It is difficult to trace the origin of aparticular martial arts style in the Philippines due to a lack of written records. The term "Silat" may not even have been used as a label by every group that was practicing native combat arts during the early period. The concern then was in developing fighting efficiency, rather than in preserving lineage, which is common in Chinese, Japanese and Korean tradition. Any researcher who attempts to study the organizational structure of Silat using the East Asian framework can be easily mislead.
    Each generation of Moro fighters may have constantly changed "labels" or may not even bother to attach a name to an art that simply kept evolving and improving with the passage of time.
    I don't believe Silat originated from one single place.... my opinion is that silat is just a label for different martial arts that developped in the Malay world.
  5. pesilat

    pesilat Active Member

    I agree completely. In fact, I would say that this is actually true of every martial art. If you trace it back far enough, you run out of written records - but you know that's not the start of it. Even if you find the start of a particular system (i.e.: Aikido can be traced back to its start), there's almost always going to be another system that was its root (i.e.: as Daito Ryu Aikijutsu was to Aikido) and if you trace it back, you'll find the same - another root or a deadend on the records.

    This is my problem with the people who claim that all martial arts started in [name a place]. Martial arts develop through a need for survival. One person lives long enough, they figure some things out. Then they pass those things on to their friends/family to help ensure their survival. And they pass it on - ad nauseum. And, given human nature, I'd bet that this didn't happen in a single place. It happened many places throughout the world and throughout history. Over time, the process of "passing it on" became more formalized and we wound up with the prehistoric roots of martial arts systems. But I think the actual roots of all martial arts predate any kind of record keeping simply because survival always comes before paperwork ;)

  6. butterfly_knf

    butterfly_knf New Member

    Good point, that makes alot of sense.:rolleyes:
    That's why we had many similarities. Because it is a metamorfosis process of our survival needs.
  7. pesilat

    pesilat Active Member

    Yup. I've heard the following phrased in many ways over the years. This is my phrasing of it and the longer I train, the more truth I see in it.

    There are only a certain number of ways that the human body can move, be moved, or be affected. When you limit those methods only to those intended to bring harm to another or preserve yourself (as we do in MA), the number becomes even smaller.

    That means that there is a pool of concepts and principles that work. It's a big pool, but relatively finite.

    That means that any martial art that is effective will draw from that same pool of concepts and principles to develop its techniques.

    That means that any two arts that grapple will be drawing from the same part of the pool and will share many concepts and principles. Any two arts that strike will share many concepts and principles.

    What makes each system unique is how it approaches the pool, what it draws from the pool, and what emphasis it places on what it draws.

    If you learn to look for the underlying concepts and principles you start seeing all the similarities between various systems which, in turn, helps you understand and appreciate the difference in "flavors" between the systems. And when you see a difference in flavor, you usually only have to look as far as the environment/culture in which the system was developed to find out why that system approaches the concept/principle in that specific way.

    So, personally, when I'm cross training, I don't worry so much about the differences between systems. Differences are easy to spot and that's where most people stop looking. I try to look deeper and find the similarities. By doing that, I can gain a deeper understanding of the underlying concepts and principles and, in turn, a deeper understanding of the systems which use those concepts and principles.

  8. SteveJKDUK

    SteveJKDUK New Member

    I attended Cass Magda seminar a few weeks ago (which was amazing to say the least), and one of the questions raised was the origins of Silat. I don't think it's an easy task attempting to trace the art back to day one, or the original source, but he did mention that the Indian and Chinese martial arts both influenced Silat.

    There are only a certain number of ways of doing things, which leads to similarities between all the different systems.

    I find the whole thing really fascinating. When I have time, I might look into the history of Silat in more detail. Mind you, there aren't really many books out there on the art.
  9. butterfly_knf

    butterfly_knf New Member

    To be honest, Silat was not as famous as any other MA. :cry:

    :D oh well, my Guru once told me, perhaps it's true that in the past- Silat practitioners don't do much on promotioning their art...?!?!?!

    Or maybe it was too much of a tradition, until group like the KPS Nusantara made a progress in 1973 (I've read about them).

    To be honest, Silat was not as famous as any other MA. :cry:

    :D oh well, my Guru once told me, perhaps it's true that in the past- Silat practitioners don't do much on promotioning their art.

    Or maybe it was too much of a tradition, until group like the KPS Nusantara made a progress in 1973 (I've read about them).

    Btw I'm pretty shocked when I heard many Westerners do actually practice it (And feel grateful also). And it is always true that MA is based on what your anatomy can do to act and react.

    A very good point indeed...
    maybe that's why my Guru never taught me any names in Silat. I was confused at first, but now I understand.
  10. pesilat

    pesilat Active Member

    Pak Herman Suwanda used to talk about when he was young. His father was teaching him Silat and he kept it a secret. Some days, he couldn't hold a pen at school because his hands/arms were too sore. But when asked, he'd make up something rather than tell his teachers or classmates that he studied Silat. He said that, in those days, Silat was considered something that only criminals studied. He said other arts like Karate and Judo were much more popular in Indonesia because "which would mom rather see: her son wearing a nice white uniform or a dirty and torn sarong?"

    Here in America, Silat is still pretty rare. There are more people training in it than you might expect but, comparatively, it's still not very widely studied or available. For every one Silat practitioner, there are probably 300 Kung Fu practitioners, 500 Karate practitioners and 1000 TKD practitioners.

    And while I just pulled those numbers out of thin air, I wouldn't be surprised if they're relatively accurate. Though Silat is gaining popoularity slowly - which may or may not be a good thing. The more popular something gets the more people try to cash in on its popularity and you often end up with people pawning off garbage as gold. And it's already started happening with some of the Silat I've seen here in America. Same with the Filipino arts and others.

  11. krys

    krys Valued Member

    Silat in the Philippimes has always been kept a familly secret. Even inside the familly/clan usually only two children who were talented or needed it got instruction in the art, other children usually learned escrima &or kuntao.
    People would never admit they practice it.....
    today filipino muslims often say they practice kickboxing, karate or tae kwon do when they actually practice silat or kuntao in secret.

    There is a tendency to water down silat.... this is mostly because of competition, other reason are that e many peoples in the west have a poor understanding of Malay culture and don't know what real silat is. Students get too easily conned by fake guros who teach them showy killing techniques (who won't work on a moving opponent) or preach the mystical side of silat when they have no understanding of it....
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2003
  12. SteveJKDUK

    SteveJKDUK New Member

    Another reason is that there aren't really any films that use Silat. People prefer to see fancy kicks and stuff. Kali/Escrima seems to crop up now and then, but then they are not promoted as FMAs. People still assume this is kung fu or another well known martial art.

    Personally, I'd hate the art to be watered down and filtered to the masses like that. I'm just a beginner to Silat, but I do love it for some reason! Mind you, I love most things to do with martial arts!
  13. ICT

    ICT Shaolin Malay Silat

  14. ICT

    ICT Shaolin Malay Silat

  15. krys

    krys Valued Member

    Actually there remain native fighting styles in the malay archipellago that are not called silat.
    In the southern Philippines the word kuntao is sometimes used for some systems that are in fact silat......
  16. ICT

    ICT Shaolin Malay Silat


    Good point!

    Yea the Silat & Kuntao naming even makes it more difficult to figure out what a style is or where it came from.

    Here are 5 factors that can mess up the study of a styles history:

    1) Named Kuntao but really Silat.
    2) Named Silat but really Kuntao.
    3) Has a Silat and a Kuntao name.
    4) Silat mixed with Kuntao.
    5) Kuntao mixed with Silat.

    This is why there is so much confusion when people from other arts view Silat. They have no idea if they’re seeing a pure Pencak Silat style, a Silat/Kuntao mixed style or a Kuntao style being called Silat.

    I have had Kung Fu stylist argue with me that they have seen Silat and it's no different than what they do. When my investigation was over, what they actually saw was a Kuntao style, which would look almost exactly like what they do.

    Now try telling one of them about the 5 factors from above after they viewed a demonstration first hand from an Asian who said it was Silat! ( Oh Damn, you can forget about it cause they saw "Silat" )

    So now when people tell me they have seen Silat and they weren't impressed or their style does that also I don't freak out because I know that they don't no if they saw Silat or not.

    Teacher: Eddie Ivester
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2003
  17. pesilat

    pesilat Active Member

    And don't forget all the linguistic issues with various spellings and pronunciations.

    From Indonesians, I've usually seen "Kuntao" and from Pilipinos, I've usually seen, "Kuntaw."

    Depending on the region/influences, I've seen:





    Etc. - and each grouping is of the same words just spelled differently. If someone trying to research a system's history, for instance, is unaware of all of this, then they will easily get confused.

    And I'm sure there are other issues.

    And pronunciation can be tricky. I once said, "Bukti Negara" to a Dutch Indonesian woman. I was talking about a specific system of martial arts that is one of the more common ones here in the U.S. She asked me to pronounce it again, slowly. I did. Then she said, "You should be more careful with your pronunciation. I first thought you said, 'Putih Negara.' 'Bukti Negara' would mean 'evidence of a continent' [or something similar - there are several possible shadings of meaning] but 'Putih Negara' would mean 'white continent' - which would have entirely different connotations."

    Of course, this type of linguistic problem is encountered when researching any martial art. Chinese words can have totally different meanings just based on the syllabic inflections. And the written characters often convey (to a Chinese) many different shadings of meanings that are inseparable. When we try to translate to another language, those shadings are often lost and, in turn, our perspective becomes limited. And, really, the same is true of any language.

  18. butterfly_knf

    butterfly_knf New Member

    :( I'll take it widely, ICT.
    I don't think human should divine God based on our definitions.
    How do you present a God as a higher being/essence?
    There are many beliefs in this world, but the creator are one and only.

    Like I said, there are no white & black magic- all is same.
    If we exist in our physics/conscience world, so as our metaphysics/sub-conscience.

    Or you never felt such strangeness before? connecting through dreams or seeing an 'unsual'?
    Then how of spirit of energy? How of the 'spark' that the Bible, Koran---were talking about?

    I'm saying such because it is from God, and God only, since it is the only first existence of 'everythingness'.

    Many people would not agree to my thought, that's ok. But I have the courage saying it, because I came from that culture. My surrounds became the witness. And it's not about right or wrong, it's about living your life they way you truly believe it.

    IF one religion WAS made as a perfect one, then why'd bother with varieties? It's a process oc, a necessity to reach completeness. Yes, I know how to define Satan and God, you should not doubt me for that, I've been through my adolescens and I am pretty much alive:D

    So please understand the others pesilat who might have a slight difference way in their practice, but yes, if you sees more to it, I am sure many people would changes their perception towards myticism and reality.

    It's a hard wonder, (did you notice, our logic is now beginning to reach the understanding of God-and-superhuman?)
    We, Human changes the world, but we're no God, and I'm fully aware of it.
  19. ICT

    ICT Shaolin Malay Silat


    Well my thing is this; if you want to get theoretical then everything is from God even Satan!

    But what I am talking about is your quote "spirits, genies, whateer you called it" being from God.

    In fact these things are from Satan, not God and should not be messed with at all.

    I do concur that Magic is neither black Or white but the people who use it are. We have to define the actions of a person so if you use magic to heal then white and if you use magic to harm then black.

    Bottom line is that the 3 major religions Christianity, Judaism and Muslimism all talk about demons, spirits, possessions and etc. and they warn against them!

    Teacher: Eddie Ivester
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2003
  20. butterfly_knf

    butterfly_knf New Member

    truly, you are breaking my mood now

    How do you expect me to such answer--?
    Funny, how there are lots of thing that our 'holyness' did not put altogether in the book- those which we need to learn ourself.

    Since the very first history of man,
    The all we ever learned as a connector of human to God is 'magic'. And I don't mean magic, but spiritual path.
    And if it's so spiritual of what we comprehend for, then we would until nowadays called it magic, since we always assume 'mystical' lays fingers on every thing that we cannot accept to understand.

    But come to face of it, our present time mostly knows nothing about our ancient wisdom.

    So, there are possesions, but in what term?
    Yes, there are black & white magic, but in what kind of use?

    What is the truth of our rationality based on?
    Now that we are seeing a world that is inconstanly changing, calling for morality to grow?

    I can't live- holding with only one 'book' in my hand.
    I have to seek out the others. There are no perfection in our world.. no, it onlt exist within spirits.
    And in those learnings, I found no restrictions of such pace to the other side.

    Rules are made, so as us won't go over the line. But it's not such taboo as many people talked of.

    Yes, religions warns about our counterfering with the non-human side. But the Koran itself, teach us to make peace with nature and Djin(or any other mystical life form), and I'm sure there are many who does. In Silat we do not 'use' them, we treat them as a life form, a being. And we do not summoned them- and if there are, I assure you.. they are misled.

    Please, it is not made the same as the profanity culture. And the last thing I need to discuss is probably the sources of religious preach. I very much dislike differences, since we all came from one God. Why do we need to raze our 'body' apart so many times..?

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