What Is Unique About Your Silat?

Discussion in 'Silat' started by Saiful Azraq, Jun 17, 2008.

  1. Rebo Paing

    Rebo Paing Pigs and fishes ...

    Rahayu Dimas Mohammad, before I begin, I acknowledge that different aliran might have a different interpretation and understanding of what the concepts of kosong, isi and timbangan are. The following is how I understand and practice it.
    Kosong literally means empty or no substance, isi means that there is substance and titimbangan means the point or fulcrum of balance or leverage. The centre of mass in the human body exists approximately 2 to 5 centimetres bellow the navel and inside the body cavity, and forms the fulcrum as a first point of reference. In some respects, kosong and isi on a mechanical level perform like the scales on either side of the fulcrum. We already embody these concepts as we walk, play, sit and go about our daily business. Silat is all about efficient balance management while manoeuvring to disrupting the opponent's balance (I'm only talking about the physical aspect here, not the psychological). For a pesilat the concept of kosimbang rests upon the body intelligence we have about our own body's fulcrum of balance, it's titik timbangan and the influence of gravity (daya tarik bumi) within this relationship. It begins with the awareness of gravity.
    As we know, gravity pulls everything down to the earth surface. Our musculo-skeletal system works continuously to keep the body structure in response to the pull of gravity. It's in the interest of any movement art to minimise the physical effort involved in opposing gravity. Less effort generally means less energy expenditure, which has the circular benefit, less muscular strain in maintaining integrated structure. Latihan ngadeg or standing practice (zhang-zhuan) is the best way to begin to explore timbangan or body balance to a refined level.
    Best way to illustrate kosong is to get a friend to punch (like a boxer) your open palm as hard as they can. You will relax and move your palm (the target) like a shock absorber to accommodate the incoming energy ... most people will do this automatically and the person doing the punch will feel that their punch feels ineffective ... kurang mantep. In taiji this is described as Yin accommodating Yang. If you held your hand rigid however, the kinetic energy would transfer through your body and you would really feel it. Another example is standing and move balance slowly from one leg to another observing the sliding scale of effort to support the body on one leg in relation to the "emptying" of the other.Because kosong and isi are directional, mastery requires sensitivity to adjust while moving at speed, which is why the interplay hinges on the fulcrum of balance of our bodies within 6 degrees of freedom in space.

    ... to be continued

    Den Rahmat, walang in Jawanese means cricket ... walang kadung is praying mantis. Anak terlupa kembali masuk keluarga. The Internet makes it easier you know, to reinforce your heritage as I imagine that the culture becomes richer because of experience through the decades away from the origin. In the end it is one world and we are one humanity.

    Last edited: Jun 22, 2008
  2. Rebo Paing

    Rebo Paing Pigs and fishes ...

    ... so to finish off kosimbang is about controlling the balance of ratio and substance, of ourselves and the objects within our circumference of influence. It is the management of energy and mass.
    It is true that in the physiological development of silat there are no secrets. The body core needs to be strong and resilient. The legs and arms need to be strong and resilient. Understand the meaning of dynamic relaxation. There must be good reflex and a perfection of timing. The organs need to be healthy. You need to be able to experience and manage pain. The neurology needs to be healthy and the mind needs to be calm, measured and focused.
    Different cultures and different time periods have various ways to achieve these outcomes, some with better results than others.
    The biggest hurdle for a pesilat is to view their process with honesty and to trust their body intuition, because in my personal experience so much (but not all!) that is peddled as ilmu is nothing less than snake oil. Understand the role of superstition within the cultural context with compassion and intuition. There is no need for ridicule, but there is the opportunity for personal understanding based on empirical evidence and clear thinking ... where we each draw the line is dependant on our own choices and conclusions.
    Baik2 kalau kita mampu mendengar bisikan dari jaman leluhur, tetapi jangan lupa untuk menterjemahkan dan mengungkap menurut pemahaman kenyataan jaman kita sendiri - It is good if we are able to hear the whispering from the times of our ancestors, but don't forget to translate and express according to the reality of our own times.

    Last edited: Jun 22, 2008
  3. Kertas

    Kertas Valued Member

    Slamat datang evryone.. I can definitely see more similarities than uniqueness in our silat coming from this discussion. Maybe the question should be, what is unique in silat compared to other martial arts? This would probably be a different discussion. Like i said, im finding more similarities than differences,though slight difference in interpretation. One technique i learnt about rasa, soft, hard, balance and timing in setia hati is like this.. Stand face to face with ur partner and facing both your palms to him while he does the same. Now you grasp each others hands so that your palms are together. Then u turn your bodies in a full circle without losing grip of each others hands. The 1st one to return to the starting position must breath out with force simultaneously jerking his hands forward to try and throw the other off balance. If you are the unlucky one, you have to be relaxed,in the same time control balance and get to the starting position before the other partners turns into the other direction. I dont know if you guys get what i mean Lol.. Maybe trying it would make you understand. Happy trying :)
  4. Saiful Azraq

    Saiful Azraq Valued Member

    7 Petua Gerak

    Salam hormat Pak Krisno,

    Thank you for that enlightening explanation on kosong, isi and titimbangan. This is the core of what guides silat. Someone in whose mind these petua play, is destined to discover silat in himself.

    In return for your favour, I shall describe the 7 Petua Gerak as best I can.

    The 7 Petua are mental maxims that are meditated upon and applied in any situation where there is a relativity and relationship. Gerak, or movement is intrinsic and happens at the micro and macro level, seen and unseen, fine and overt.

    They are assumed to be universal principles and describes a traditional theory of the generation, intensification, overload, direction, collision and dissipation of energy. It exists and can be applied in many dimensions including physics, biology, chemistry, sociology, psychology, etc.

    In silat, I have narrowed the scope to kinetic energy and physical contact in combat to avoid straying too far in discussions.

    1. Ruang (Hampa Gerak - lack of motion) is emptiness, emptying, void, space and means a lack of energy. Dissipation leads to Ruang.

    2. Titik (Diam Gerak - domicile of motion) is a static point, where energy dissipates to a stop and hovers before being redirected into another direction. Titik is the objective of a lock (kuncian), the midway of a throw (buangan) and the beginning of a strike (pukulan). It is the moment the glottis locks in the breath to keep the mind sharp.

    3. Alif (Punca Gerak - source of motion) is the initial explosive release of energy as it speeds away from the Titik in a straight line (as progressive Titiks) and dissipates into another Titik. It is the Lingam of Indian arts.

    4. Lam Alif (Asas Gerak - foundation of motion) is the generator of energy, moving in continuous spirals before being released in an Alif. It is bound by centrifugal and centripedal force. It is not a perfect circle, for man is not perfect, only Allah is.

    Energy has a initial point and 'end'ing point, thus a perpetual circle would not describe the energy well, but keeps trying to form a perfect circle. Lam Alif is seen in the orbits of the planets, the rotation of the wrists, the spring on the foot, the gelek of the hips. It is the Yoni of Indian arts.

    5. Jantan Betina (Aras Gerak - levels of motion) is relativity, not opposites. Fast is slower than faster. Hard is softer than harder. It is not balance, for man cannot be in balance. It is equilibrium, because it constantly seeks balance. One will always lead and the other follows, one will always be heavy while the other lighter, one outside the other inside.

    Jantan (male) is the fist, the elbow, the knees, the shoulders, the back of the head. It is the lead hand and the lead leg. Betina (female) is the palm, armpits, the groin, the jugular, the soles of the feet.

    6. Mata Angin (Arah Gerak - directions of motion) is an aim, an objective, knowing where you come from and where you're going. It's agility, the ability to move quickly from one to another by moving through the Titik.

    7. Jengkal (Ukur Gerak - measure of motion) is knowing when and how much to push, to rush, to move. It is the final sprint in the race, the last rush to the Titik in a lock, the sudden sweep in a buangan, the jet of breath as you launch a punch.

    And yet, when you look at these 7 Petua together, it's difficult to decide, which comes first, because in reality, there are one and the same. Indivisible.

    Salam persilatan,
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2008
  5. Kertas

    Kertas Valued Member

    Salam Hormat Encik Walang and Encik Saiful.. I would like to ask whether the explanations you both have demonstrated are confined to your silatology (if i may say so) of your homelands? Malaysia or Indonesia?
  6. Saiful Azraq

    Saiful Azraq Valued Member

    Salam hormat Tuan Kertas,

    I believe that in essence, what Pak Krisno and I wrote about is exactly the same thing, only the terminology, pedagogy and framing is different. What I described originated from Silat Melayu Keris Lok 9. However, the concept of Alif and Lam Alif is famous within most traditional Silat in the peninsula and Sumatera.

    (Just to show that it's not unique, Alif and Lam Alif correspond perfectly to the concept of Lingam and Yoni in Kalaripayat.) The Jengkal is the concept of a measurement and is embedded in Melayu culture in the words Jangkau (reach), Jangka (expect), Jentik/ Jengkal (snap hit), Jengket (tip toe), etc.

    Many Silat masters I spoke to agree to the presence of these Petua within their arts. Some call it Sifir (calculation), some call it Kaedah (method). Others don't even use it, but recognise its relevance.

    It is held to be secret in silat, and several masters called up the SENI BELADIRI magazine when several of these petua (which can be diagrammed) were published in its pages a few years ago.

    Resurgence in interest in silat as an art deeper than just dancing and fancy dress has been slow, but people generally marvel at the compactness of these Petua in summarising and explaining away, not only silat but Melayu culture and behaviour.

    Salam persilatan,
  7. Rebo Paing

    Rebo Paing Pigs and fishes ...

    Rahayu DiMas Mohammad,
    You have a deep understanding of silat wisdom, with a wonderful skill at communicating for a western audience.
    As for myself, I thank you for sharing your very insightful and valuable elucidation of the 7 Petuah.
    I also thank you for Silat Melayu: The Blog, as it is without a doubt a high value resource for people to understand more about silat from a Melayu (including Nusantara) cultural perspective. I too am learning more that directly impacts my own practice, because knowledge gained will always impact on personal habit.
    I urge anyone who is interested in Silat to browse through your pages. With friendship in Silat,

    Jabat erat,

    Bang Kertas, my limited perspective is a combination of what I have grown up with and what I have learned till now.
  8. Saiful Azraq

    Saiful Azraq Valued Member


    Salam hormat Pak Krisno,

    From the deepest corners of my soul, I thank you for your kind words. I humbly invite you to grace my blog with an article of your own, if you would.

    Salam persilatan daripada adikmu,
  9. Kertas

    Kertas Valued Member

    Whaow.. The Crouching Walang and the Hidden Saif - has formed an alliance
  10. Rebo Paing

    Rebo Paing Pigs and fishes ...

    Wah bang Kertas! Watching too many movies :D.

    Rahayu DiMas Mohammad, thank you for your kind offer. I am most honoured, though I am most surely not a writer of the required calibre :).

  11. Raden-Rahmat

    Raden-Rahmat Valued Member

    Saiful Walangan hehe

    salam and hormat ofcors. there you go, ive just solved your communion.
    as for the axis and petua and all...I remember Haji Mokhtar...my Cikgu referring to them as Kaedah as i saw in the syllabus. basically these things arent as technical in our Silat but im well sure that it is of lesser technical importance and much more practical...as is all else in Silat in the ...end??? not actually...in the beginning rather id say...
  12. Rebo Paing

    Rebo Paing Pigs and fishes ...

    Rahayu Den-Rahmat,
    petua, petuah, kaedah, nasihat, moral advice, fatwa
    etc. all basically convey the same idea. The underlying idea is that it is sage advice that can be applied into our lives as moral human beings, and it comes from one who is alim, wise and spiritually moral.

  13. Raden-Rahmat

    Raden-Rahmat Valued Member

    we have a match

    ill just say that we concur in various forms lol. sometimes i feel i must meet up with you guys...not only will it be a good training experience but i will have met ppl with the same background...also in various degrees of difference but in essence, like this topic, we have more similarity than uniqueness...though id say the appearance when displayed will show the difference

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