What to look for?

Discussion in 'Silat' started by Orang Jawa, Apr 12, 2006.

  1. Orang Jawa

    Orang Jawa The Padi Tribe-Guardian

    I have a question for all of you...If I may
    In learning silat or martial arts in general. How do you train your students and yourself to look for opponent's sign in a fight/sparr. Lets assume you and your opponent face to face with your left leg and his left leg in front.
    Please tell me what to look for and why?
  2. tim_stl

    tim_stl Valued Member

    i look for a weapon. :)

    seriously, though, i don't much look at how they're standing. a malaysian pesilat i know gave me a nice piece of advice: however your opponent stands, mimic it. he'll make a whole lot of wrong assumptions.

  3. Orang Jawa

    Orang Jawa The Padi Tribe-Guardian

    Thanks Tim, a good point, but that was not what I'm looking for.
    C'mon guys :) especially for the guys that sparr alots. What kind of sign/move are you looking for/detect in your opponent to determine what he going to do.
    This is not a trick question
  4. Wali

    Wali Valued Member

    Knowing how the body moves is a good start. If you know that from a certain position, the body will only be able to move in a certain way or side, you are better prepared for what might possibly come your way.

    We also develop our Rasa to attain a level of 'feeling', but this isn't for everyone.
  5. Orang Jawa

    Orang Jawa The Padi Tribe-Guardian

    Aha..Can you be more specific?
    Wali, you have said that you practiced sparring frequently. In the scenario that I gave you, which part of the opponent's body are you looking for to determine what would be his next move?
    I knew a little about Tapal and Rasa.
  6. Gajah Silat

    Gajah Silat Ayo berantam!

    Are you talking about signs prior to attack?

    Spotting a feigned hit, or an obvious giveaway?
  7. Orang Jawa

    Orang Jawa The Padi Tribe-Guardian

    Yes, indeed!
    After the attack would be to late :)
    The purpose of sambut is to familiarized and to detect how your opponent move or act. With that we would be able to determine what kind of strikes he would use.
  8. Gajah Silat

    Gajah Silat Ayo berantam!

    Hahaha...ask a stupid question :D

    Well, if we are starting from sambuts, physical giveaways can be given by the direction of pressure by both parties. This can not only giveaway the intent of an attack but can also prompt a response.

    For instance if I am in a situation of gripping the attackers wrist and he pulls back he has just handed me some 'free' momentum for a hammer fist to his face. If he pushes in response to this, I go with it, twist the hips and bring my other forearm across, above his elbow.

    Is this the stuff you mean, or are we talking a 'square off' situation on the street?
  9. Steve Perry

    Steve Perry Valued Member


    How far away are you and your opponent, Brother Tristan? At a step-and-a-half, it's going to take him a little time to get to you, and at that range, we soft-focus -- look at everything and nothing in particular. He's got to move his feet to get to you, and at that range, it doesn't matter what he does with his tools.

    A good player can fake his intent, so if you lock your vision onto his shoulders or chest, he might sucker you with a stutter-step and shift on his way in.

    If he is outside his range, he can wave his hands all over the place and they aren't a threat, so no point in watching those. Nor his eyes or shoulders. It's what happens when he gets within range that matter, at which point, we figure we had better be doing something of our own to short-circuit whatever he has in mind.

    If he is closer than a step-and-a-half, we should already be attacking, and if we are head of the speed/power curve, again, it doesn't much matter what he does -- he should be too late.

    In theory, anyhow. Big difference between theory and practice.

    Closer, once contact is made, it's going to be more about feel than vision, though I'm not up to that level of function yet ...
  10. Orang Jawa

    Orang Jawa The Padi Tribe-Guardian

    Thanks Bro Steve and Gajah!
    Lets assume your opponent is about two feet, a close range, that's the distance we always practice in sambut or sparr.
    It does not matter of how good silat player he was, his human body will not able to cover his intent, "if" you can look or detect his "blank"
  11. tellner

    tellner Valued Member

    Two feet away? That's well within arm's reach. You should be hitting him by then. If you aren't, he's hitting you and you need to react appropriately to get yourself out of the hole you're in and dig one for him. At that range feel becomes more and more important and vision less and less.
  12. Bobster

    Bobster Valued Member

    I look for the presentation of several things, although they won't always manifest at once:

    Before attack/engagement:

    1: Sharp inhalation of breath
    2: Shoulders raise slightly
    3: body tenses slightly
    4: opponent tries to jockey his position to a certian point (i.e. manuver for a better positional advantage)

    These are major indicators of an incoming attack, and I look for them all. I have seen some peole who have to have things "just so" before they will attack; right leg leading, manuvering the body to the left, trap th eopponent's foot before entry, etc. So I look for these signs as indicators that the S is about to hit the F.

    During an attack:

    1:Shoulders/body continually raises elevation as opponent starts to stand on his toes.

    This is what you see when two people clash and instead of using footwork to manuver around each other, they try to climb over the technique of each other. If one person catches on to this early, he can dupe the other into over-commiting his attack & putting his extremities too far out to save them before he realizes it. I see this most frequently with people who haven't learned to relax in combat yet.

    2: Eyes close

    BELIEVE IT OR NOT! I know of skilled players who, upon entry, actually close their eyes and launch from where they are, just praying to God something gets through. It's rare, but it DOES happen.

    3: Holding their breath.

    I didn't realize breathing was an advanced skill. As it turns out, I had very good teachers who taught me to breath all the way through the attack. Lots of people actually hold their breath during the exchange, and this sucks energy out of them more than anything else.

    There are lots more, but these are the major things I look for, & teach my students to do as well.
  13. Narrue

    Narrue Valued Member

    Well the time to attack would be when there is a gap in your opponent’s concentration. When someone is about to make a move there is usually a “gap” just before they do it, a split second (window). Detecting that gap though? Well that’s not so easy firstly but trying to not only detect the gap but understand exactly what they are about to do is even harder.
    The full answer should involve both reading body language and using your instinct.
  14. Gajah Silat

    Gajah Silat Ayo berantam!

    Yes Bobster, absolutely right, learning to relax in combat can be a difficult hurdle. This was always one of my biggest problems...I've since learnt to go with the flow :)

    Anyway, picking up on the non verbal cues is something that happens instinctively in a real situation. We sub-conciously pick up on lots of stuff that we don't actually think about.

    Changes in the opponents breathing, skin tone, muscle tension.....

    Now I don't know if some people have a more finely tuned 'spider sense' naturally or if this is something that develops with experience. Probably a bit of both!

    I'm sure most of us have felt our spider sense tingling in that dodgy club just before a fight breaks out. I'm also sure most of us have had friends who were blissfully unaware of the tension & would have strolled right into it...

    However, I'm still not quite sure what brother Tristan is actually getting at.

    Intent to attack, or intent to attack in a specific manner?
  15. Narrue

    Narrue Valued Member

    Knowing when something is about to kick off is not something everyone has got.

    I think that lack of self awareness is a modern disease, im not joking I really believe it. I think it’s caused by people living in densely populated environments (they are used to someone invading their private space like in a crowed bus, train, club etc) and feeling too safe all the time. How many times when you’re in a pub, club or on the streets will someone walk out in front of you or bump into you, they can’t see you or feel you. Also you’re walking behind someone and they have no idea you are there. So what’s happened to the human sensitivity?

    If a person does not even have that basic level of sensitivity how will they be able to know if or how they are going to be attacked?
  16. realitychecker

    realitychecker New Member

    Soft Focus

    I have to go with Mr. Perry on that one. When the "S" is flying through the fan @ 200 mph/kph (?) I have never really noticed ( or had time to ) the subtlties that Bobbe and you guys mentioned. But, I may not be to that level yet. Peripheraly picking up moving objects without 'fixing' on them seems the way to go. I'm not really to experienced in Kali, but isn't that a focus in drills from most of those systems? Understanding distance and the space you yourself encompass allows you to "be the director" or "the bull fighter" as Guru Plinck says. Otherwise, you are "one beat off :confused: "!

    Try not fixing on a partner while doing sambuts and turn yourself to 45deg (or have the opponent come from that angle or greater) and notice how your jurus (training) automaticly takes over. If you focus on the oppontent (in sparring) you will be to busy trying to anticipate 'subtle movements' instead of being ready to react?
    But I, too, "might be wrong" (???)
    Thanks for the advice though!
  17. tellner

    tellner Valued Member

    The difference is that Steve is talking about what to do when it's time to do. Bobbe is talking about how to recognize when something is about to happen. Or as they say "The most important part of fighting is knowing when the fight has started." The subtle pre-attack cues are important because they let you know to be ready for the attack and deal with it, preferably by attacking in your timing. After it starts, well, you've learned everything you were going to from them.
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2006
  18. Steve Perry

    Steve Perry Valued Member


    Our teacher has started teaching to how to read an opponent -- marking the way he stands, how he shifts his weight, whether he is in position for a kick, what kind it might be, like that.

    It is a most useful skill, but not one at which I am adept. In some cases, now and again, I can figure out an incoming attack by the set, but so far, only when they are fairly straight-forward. Somebody good at drawing a response, or offering a deception, or advancing or retarding his timing -- can screw my perception up, even when I know that's what he's doing.

    We have some attack sambuts that change the line, so that, in one case, what starts as a punch to the head ends up as one to the belly or groin, and it is very deceptive. All of the senior students know the technique and we can still sneak it past each other a fair amount of the time. There is an additional elbow once you are in, and if the defender doesn't confound the attack by moving, either in or aslant, if he just stands there and tries to block, he will get tagged by at least one of the strikes. Because we do half-beat timing with these, trying to bat them down once they get moving is unwise. I can't do it, and neither can anybody else in our class.

    Unless he is the Flash, a defender can't react fast enough to block all three. He's going to be a half-beat behind.

    So far, what I've learned works best is, rather than try to anticipate which tool an attacker chooses to use against me, not to concern myself with that. If I can control the distance and get to my set before he can arrive and do what I want to do, it doesn't matter what he has in mind -- he isn't going to get there.

    I realize this is very basic silat, but I'm not trained enough to do the really advanced stuff, and I don't know that I'll live long enough to learn it ...
  19. taoizt

    taoizt Valued Member

    I was always told 'react at the blink of an eye' and 'never place yourself in a certain stance (pasang) at the start'. No matter if the opponent is feinting! The hard part is cultivating that trigger so that you can react fast enough, thats why sparring and creating this instant reaction are very hard to combine.

  20. Orang Jawa

    Orang Jawa The Padi Tribe-Guardian

    Brother Steve said: Our teacher has started teaching to how to read an opponent -- marking the way he stands, how he shifts his weight, whether he is in position for a kick, what kind it might be, like that.
    That's excellent! That is Sambut 101.
    IMHO. the most important thing is to learn to detect your opponent intention. In the scenario I gave you, your opponenent standing with his left foot in front. Pay serious attention to his LEFT SHOULDER. Why? Because he can only throw a jab without moving his left shoulder.
    And I could be wrong too,

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