your perception of Ilmu in Silat

Discussion in 'Silat' started by Raden-Rahmat, Jun 12, 2008.

  1. Kertas

    Kertas Valued Member

    Oh ok... i thought that much. i just wanted to note that my coments are typed with my previous Quote box.
  2. Rebo Paing

    Rebo Paing Pigs and fishes ...

    Ilmu in Indonesian and Jawanese means knowledge.
    However "knowledge" can have many levels depending upon the person or how a group contextualises it. Ilmu batin is knowledge of a spiritual level and is also found in various aliran and perguruan. Sometimes even in families there are aspects of old style ilmu that becomes redundant ... and families move on to new understandings ... from an anthropological perspective this is sad maybe ... I know this on a personal level, but silat is about passing on the skills of survival, among other things ... and I will teach my sons to be practical first rather than teach them something I don't have faith in such as ilmu welut putih for example which is supposed to allow one to escape bondage. The basis of the ilmu that I know of in my family is beyond Islam, yet it did in my Eyang's time encapsulate the flavour of Islam as well. It was very Jawanese in any case :).
    Ngelmu or the path we follow to knowledge is always practical, but the problem is ... how do you define practical? Each generation is different.

    Last edited: Jun 17, 2008
  3. Rebo Paing

    Rebo Paing Pigs and fishes ...

    What happened to my caps? Is there some sinister ilmu at work here? :)
  4. Rebo Paing

    Rebo Paing Pigs and fishes ...

    On your blog Bang Saiful, you expound the motto "Alam Terkembang Menjadi Guru" ... the result is real lessons from each of our own specific universe's have to impart on us if we can listen and learn. Ilmu thus gained means very different things to different people.
    For some it might be learning how to handle a person with too much liquor, or how to perform in close combat etc ... to others it might be more esoteric, but the meaning is clear that we are each our own adventure, we think for ourselves and not be lemmings ... so true ilmu is personal ... not what someone else has said is knowledge.

    Nice blog BTW :).
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2008
  5. Narrue

    Narrue Valued Member

    It is true that at different stages of our lives we have different levels of understanding and something’s which we thought useless may at a later date become useful with new knowledge. On the other hand some techniques will always be impractical in a fight situation (Silat). An example, a fight brakes out and you open your palms and start to whisper a verse out of a holy book into your palms to give you strength, before you are even finished someone has already kicked you in the head.

    Fights are not battles and they are not planned, you don’t have time to recite your favorite verse of the Quran or do some complex magical performance designed to give you strength. Those types of techniques will always be impractical regardless of a higher level of understanding because time dose not permit it.

    Having a piece of meteorite pushed under your skin or wearing various gem stones will also not give you any extra power. I met someone who thought wearing an opal stone on his finger would protect him, another who had a copper knife said it would make the person invincible…..superstitions and no truth in any of it.

    A false prophet is always an ignorant man and he will always hide behind mystery. Dress in a manner to attract attention, go in places where he can get the opportunity for others to hear his word and gratify his self importance. When pushed for knowledge he dose not have, hide behind mystery or talk about his masters and in that way give importance to his word. He usually hides in small circles of people whom he personally selects not based on their knowledge but based on their ignorance, he dose not want someone who may challenge or worse still prove him wrong in front of his followers.
    He says the knowledge he posses is too profound to find words in the English language to describe, in this way saying the English language is primitive and his thoughts are far more complex. He is almost always a fanatic and preaches the vast superiority of one religion or system over the others. He is almost always an empty barrel making loud sounds. He is never the follower of the middle path, the path between extremes.

    Many a useless technique or knowledge originates from such a man and is based on ignorance and passed to the ignorant. The fact that they still remain and are practiced says nothing about the validity of such things.
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2008
  6. Narrue

    Narrue Valued Member

    The keris is constructed using scientific knowledge, it is employed using scientific knowledge and the true Ilmu are likewise scientific and work on laws of nature.

    The Ilmu I talk of is not based on a knowledge of the physical nervous system, it is not as simple as a physical strike to a pressure point (varma ati). Perhaps it’s better if I sneak in a large quote here which better explains the science:

    “One day my master came to my house. We were relaxing in my house chatting, when my master pointed to a **** and asked, 'Why is it standing still?' I said, 'I don't know.' So the master told me to throw some stones at the ****. I obliged him. But still the **** stood there. I went to catch it. It would run a few feet, and then stand still. My master teased me, 'Why can't you catch it?' In this way, I saw that my master could control everything”

    I cant say **** because apparently the software identify s it as rude, lets just say a male hen lol

    “To develop the mental power (manasakti) to be able to attack these marmmam, one must undergo brahmacharya and fasting for 48 days. During that period one can only take water of the tender cocoanut...One who learns this can never think ill of others. You have to develop the utmost patience. During this period, one must repeat a special mantram lakhs of times. This is called yoga mantram and once it is accomplished, any of the 32 yoga marmmam may be attacked simply by pointing”

    Phillip B Z

    This knowledge has been known to masters in India since Vedic times. There are still masters in India today who know this science. The knowledge originates in pre Islamic times and can be proven (luckily Indians have a practice of keeping written records of everything, Sanskrit palm leaves).

    This knowledge was in Indonesia before Islamic teachings began. Its practice has always been secret both in India and Indonesia. When this knowledge was passed to early Muslims rather then have the adet to admit its hindu/vedic origin they said that it was first taught by a Wali, a Muslim saint or great Sufi teacher and in doing so claiming it as something connected with Islam and hiding its true origin.

    I know of a master in Indonesia who teaches an art which is of Chinese origin and connected to early Taoist teachings. He discovered that one student was accepting the techniques and teachings but secretly passing it off to others as having a different origin other then Chinese. When the master heard word of this the man guilty of this was literally kicked out of the school by senior students and told not to come back.
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2008
  7. Kertas

    Kertas Valued Member


    How do you know if you may or may not be part of ignorant people passing on philosophies which you believe to be the truth?

    Thank you
  8. Raden-Rahmat

    Raden-Rahmat Valued Member


    too many diversions and politics ...
    the query wasnt on how islamic it is, it was directed at ilmu batin as a point in debating its legallity yet. though it is welcome but too many detractions. ive just been watching the off sides all the time.
    issues about religions in dark ages, then the issue is islamic heritage, then the islamisation of things...nay nay nay
    all i wanted is do ppl still have ilmu batin and if so, what are they based upon...if it is islamic...then help us ere and tell us the link to islam...also if not, explain how it is applied in your silat, whether mental spiritual or whatever...
    just because i wanna know what teachers are teaching about ilmu ...
  9. Raden-Rahmat

    Raden-Rahmat Valued Member

    scientific reasons...who would have thought

    look simply this wont answer the question. science is not going to answer and to the person who said that religion was backward or whatver, lets just say the modern medicine was taught by the dark aged saints of Islam...not even the scientists knew the composition of the cell found within us...until Ibn Arabi stated his encounter during a spiritual journey into the cell where he disclosed its complete makeup...and to this pppl use his definition and explanation of too was the watch designed by arabs from the dark ages, so too the gun...what more of the dark ages are we benefitting from today.

    ilmu batin is a science...i ask the questions about experience and understanding of it because ppl are exposed to it on a daily basis and theres no denial of the genie because they are there...why not play around and see ... im sure you would not want to.
    but the ilmu batin i refer to is the sufi tradition and was not borrowed from other belief systems. though there are things borrowed because there was no detriment to faith. in the life of our Prophet (upon whom be peace) he used this ilmu batin in various situations. at times he was invisible and times he was provided with aid to overcome things like poison, like harm etc. now its easy to say that the power comes from the ayat of Quran but has anyone been explained how it works. cos if reciting something takes away partial vision and you actually see whats behind that person (him being invisible) it means he has advantage in a battle...ofcors his position must be one of being as to gain the divine help. strength firstly always comes from the Super Power and that is the All Powerful God. No dispute. if your recital of any prayer or sacred verse gains you extra help above your normal power, then surely your position is again advantageous...this i think is enough to prove ot works. why ppl use it and why it is given at the "end" of the beginning of a different part of your training is because it works the same with spirituality...development of the self determines the levels you reach. thus it is entrusted to those who are responsible...and in sufism, these things apply only in correct and legal situations. these days we have ppl looking skew at these things because everyone seems to have developed a materialistic approach...if you trust your teacher then trust his point trusting him partially...ive learnt you get partial results that way.
    and i must pay tribute to the Vedic okes...most of their teachings are great stuff...i havent read ll about everything but if its not detrimental to faith then its ok...its good. Islam wasnt born out of nothing...thigns were just altered to suit the adherents in a suitable system. nothing else. no foreign things. this isnt meant to debating about an islamic claim, just always restating that Islam had influence and still has. there is no negativity about islam...just how ppl percieve things is always of question...

    enough like to read some useful things after this if any of your gurus have the ilmu batin, ever used in class or outside, whether told as in an experience or just an experiment or whatever...but tell me something i can learn more from...

  10. Narrue

    Narrue Valued Member

    If the Ilmu is as I described (distance fighting) then I have already said its origin and what it is, if it is a different knowledge then I dont personally know of it and a clarification of what Ilmu batin actually is would be needed.
  11. Rebo Paing

    Rebo Paing Pigs and fishes ...

    Ilmu batin = Science ??? You must be from another planet.
    Well ... the original topic starter question was about "ilmu", which is just knowledge ... and now it's "ilmu batin", which is spiritual knowledge. It helps to say what you mean and mean what you say.
    Everyone has their own spirituality. The problem with organised religion is that historically if you disbelieve the consequences have been dire. A religion's place is in the dark ages because it seeks to control by coercion ... if you don't believe you will be cast into the deepest depths of hell etc. ad nauseum. Religion can take a flying jump :rolleyes:. Spirituality does not require religion, the concept of GOD is a mind creation, but who says what the mind creates cannot be real? It depends upon which reality you subscribe to.
    You contradict yourself in the very next sentence of the same paragraph.
    Sufi tradition existed long before Islam, Christianity or Judaism. It is just another idea that has become part of Islamic tradition.
    Just like human movement ... where different aliran who think they're unique discover that when it comes down to movement there is little that is actually unique ... spirituality in humans resonate in broad agreement, and has been so long before the non tolerant Middle Eastern Judaic version of theism began it's many quests for world social and political domination.
    Organised religion IS about power, pure and simple :yeleyes:.

    BTW ... the topic of spirituality in Silat has been done to death on this forum. You bring nothing new to the table ... just a bunch of ho-hum.
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2008
  12. Rebo Paing

    Rebo Paing Pigs and fishes ...


    Ilmu = knowledge

    Batin = soul

    Ilmu Batin is knowledge of the soul or that which is spiritual or permutations there-of.

  13. Rebo Paing

    Rebo Paing Pigs and fishes ...

    You are correct, yes it does.
    Predictable response ... "oh you must be a materialistic shallow person because you don't see the TRUTH as I see it" ... that's been the catch cry of organised religion for millenia.
    Really? In the spirit of friendship and silaturahmi, I advise that you learn to develop and trust your own instincts first ... but make sure they truly are your own ... and not a load of garbage piled on top of existing garbage ... because all that's produced then is a full load of rotting garbage.

    Last edited: Jun 18, 2008
  14. Rebo Paing

    Rebo Paing Pigs and fishes ...

    ... but, to answer the question,

    Yes it does have ilmu batin, and yes I do have experience. It comes direct from one of the Wali Songo, from Shyek Siti Jenar who was a Jawanese sufi.

    He taught that God is of our own creation, that organised religion obfuscates what is real ... it is an entrapment of the mind. He taught that to understand reality you had to ask and answer the question ... who and what am I? IMO, very similar to Jnana Yoga.
    Typically he was seen as a heretic among the rest of the Wali and was assassinated :rolleyes:.
    His teaching is Kejawen (the way of being Jawanese) ... which incidently has also absorbed some of the Judaic Islamic influence. Silat is a sub-set of Kejawen, not the other way around. Maybe more appropriate to say humanity instead of kejawen.

    Manunggaling kawula kalawan Gusti does not mean necessarily become one with god ... it can also mean become one with the true nature of self which is the source of all, where the concept of god is created within the universe we each create with our mind. The mind is a trickster. The original Loki.

    As I know it, this way of understanding flows through my family silsilah.
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2008
  15. Saiful Azraq

    Saiful Azraq Valued Member

    Salam hormat everyone,

    Wow! Back on track we are! And at last, definitions to work off.

    Kembang Alas
    "Ngelmu or the path we follow to knowledge is always practical, but the problem is ... how do you define practical?"

    This is just the problem, I suppose. Because Ilmu is so personal, the threshold of acceptance of proof is also personal. Someone living in the confines of a particular worldview will easily accept correlation as causation. If it was immediately practical and repeatable but unexplainable, it was still accepted as true.

    For example, every time you put in caps in your posts, they disappear. Immediately practical and repeatable but equally mysterious. Once you understand the Major mechanism behind it, and it loses its mystery, does it then become Ilmu, or was it already Ilmu to begin with?

    Another example, my mother is extremely practical and rejects quite a bit of traditional Melayu methods (us being an extremely genetically confused family). My wife's family is the exact opposite. So, watching each grandmother dote on my 48-day old daughter is interesting.

    Hiccups are cured by my mother with a drink of water, while the same symptom is cured just as quickly by my mother-in-law with a wet thread (most probably sourced from Indian culture).

    Stomach 'wind' is cured by mother's ever reliable gripe water, while dad-in-law does it faster with nothing more than an unintelligible jampi.

    For each of them, these tips are practical, repeatable and unexplainable (my mother being neither a doctor nor a chemist), and my mother-in-law just says, "as long as it works..." They've accepted the mechanism of these methods as something unimportant to know, and lower their threshold of proof. As for me, I'm just enjoying watching it happen.

    Is this Ilmu?

    Thanks for visiting my blog.

    "An example, a fight brakes out and you open your palms and start to whisper a verse out of a holy book into your palms to give you strength, before you are even finished someone has already kicked you in the head."

    I can't argue with that. But I can say that quite a few of these methods are supposed to be amalan, daily practises, not on the spot applications. One amalan I got was a daily bath ( with water that had a specific sequence of ayat recitated into it.

    It's a supplication to Allah to protect you from dangers analogous to those faced by the Rasul Ulul Azmi (Five Great Prophets), Nuh-protection from floods, Ibrahim-protection from fire, Musa-protection from unjust rulers, Isa-protection from persecution and Muhammad (Peace be upon them all) -protection from all dangers. As with all prayers, it's difficult to quantify its efficacy, but people who use it swear by it.

    "The fact that they still remain and are practiced says nothing about the validity of such things."

    According to Mas Kembang Alas, Ilmu is a personal thing, and I attest that its validity depends on your threshold for proof. I agree that there are Ilmu that doesn't work, but I speak of those that are believed by its adherents to actually work again and again, simply because they have tested it.

    Nevertheless, I think we agree on the same things, just different versions of them.

    I think I know where you're coming from now. Ilmu in this sense is Ilmu Batin to you?

    In Malaysia, Ilmu Batin or Kebatinan was purely spiritual, meaning it was taught for the development of the soul. It had all the hallmarks of Muslim sufism and was synonymous with it. However, in the 1950s, this term began to be used to refer to Hindu, Buddhist and Kejawen methods brought in by Indonesian migrants.

    The mix became so convoluted under this one moniker that Muslims began to assume that the methods were of Islamic origin. This caused several problems with blanket banning in the 1970s which took down famous perguruan such as Nasrul Haq.

    My research at the Malaysian National Archives proves that the National Fatwa Council did not were not unanimous in their recommended action and neither were the Muftis who recommend a ban in the majority. It was recommended to the government to conduct further discussions with the group, but the government banned it outright anyway.

    There is still a strong following for Nasrul Haq, although now splintered.

    Sufi sheikhs since then have sought to distance themselves from the loaded term of Kebatinan or Ilmu Batin and have instead used Ilmu Rohani or Kerohanian to describe their teachings as uniquely Islamic.

    Today, this is how the split is viewed by the public, that Ilmu Batin is vague and obscure, while Ilmu Rohani is Islamic and based on valid sources.

    Now, to answer your thread starting question, here are some of the 'Ilmu' I've collected over the years. I've decided not to mention where I got them from, as most often, that is part of the amanah with those I took it from.

    1. KHYA'S-A recitation (I abbreviated it, but Kertas will know what it is) from Al Qur'an to subordinate an enemy or superior.

    2. Sirr x 3-A recitation for protection against fire to self and property.

    3. Mandi Silat-A daily bath with water which has been recited with key verses from Al-Qur'an.

    4. Pelangkah-Specific sequence of actions to take before stepping out of the house to protect from danger.

    5. Element check-I got two different methods, one more complex and one faster one, to check the amount of damage or injury you would receive if you decide to engage in the upcoming or immediate combat. (Decision making tool, to fight or fly...)

    6. Penderas tangan-A ki'ai-like shout to blur your strikes.

    7. Penderas kaki-An additional area to wash during wudhu (ghusl) to blur your kicks.

    8. Syahadah Nabi Daud & Jabat Besi-Two different methods with the same effect, control over metals and their effects on you (incisions, burns, impact, etc)

    The ones I've put up here are those that have no direct correlation between the method and the supposed effect. There are other amalan that fit Narrue's definition of Ilmu better, but I'll keep it in just so I can keep contributing to the thread.

    Salam persilatan,
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2008
  16. Rebo Paing

    Rebo Paing Pigs and fishes ...

    Ilmu (knowledge of any sort) requires that there be a knower and that which is known.
    Ilmu therefore is the sum total of a particular understanding, that which is born of the observation of the something by the someone. Ilmu removes mystery, and replaces it with a working certainty (and yes ... this is subjective as well).
    The value people place upon that knowledge (the ilmu) is not universal because it is subjective. It will always be subjective, because the knower creates their own reality.
    For example, in my reality, it is impossible to know the essence of silat until one realises that the individual is responsible for their own reality, and the choices we make are invariably conditioned by our judgment that grows in correlation to the effect the distortions of the mind have on our perception. Investigating who "I" am is a path to find the source of knowledge, not because someone said so, but because who "I" am is the beginning of all journey's to remove distortion. The only answers that come forth are negations until we get to the point that we don't reliably know for sure ... when the mind accepts that, it knows that it's modus is subterfuge. Stripped of distortion ... at least minimised of the habitual baggage ... life, which includes our personal expression of silat will become responsible to itself. We remove the stilts and walk on the ground with our own feet.
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2008
  17. Rebo Paing

    Rebo Paing Pigs and fishes ...

    "Do you incorporate Silat Kuntau Tekpi into your Pekiti-Tirsia practice?

    The short answer is yes, but you have to view Silat in its proper context. Just like Kali, there are styles and there are systems, and they can vary greatly from one to the next. Generally speaking on the physical level, you can blend silat techniques with other martial arts pretty smoothly if you know what you’re doing. On a philosophical level, what I have been taught in terms of the combat rationale of Silat is very different from Pekiti-Tirsia. I believe Silat is a cultural/religious expression first and foremost. In my experience very few Indonesian and Malaysian pesilat consider themselves “martial artists” the way people here think of themselves. Silat is a component of their way of life - it’s not the Way itself. This context is missing in Silat in the United States.

    So is it cultural or religious?

    Both. Traditionally, Silat informs the way you relate to your religion and your community. I don’t know if we need to import all of the cultural decorum associated with Silat in Malay lands, but it would be nice if we could use the traditional model to create something of that here. That’s what I’m trying to do with my students.

    It makes for better students?

    It makes for better human beings."

    The above quote was taken from and is the post of Mas Jeff Davidson of an interview he did and reflects a mature understanding (I hope he doesn't mind me using it here).
    It is IMO very close to the reality. Silat at its foundation is not a "sport" or a "hobby", but a survival ethic. A pesilat is a "martial-artist" only so far as he is involved in a personal struggle to understand his own reality. It is martial because it involves struggle. A pesilat is the searcher for ilmu, the struggle is also jihad but as is evident by now the interpretation is wide and varied.
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2008
  18. tellner

    tellner Valued Member

    Oy. This is why I periodically peek back here and then go away for a few months. It's no longer Martial Arts Planet. It's become Muslim Arts Pundit
  19. Saiful Azraq

    Saiful Azraq Valued Member

    Salam hormat,

    Ahhh... Mas Kembang Alas. Quoting my brother Jeff will get you everywhere with me :) I agree 100% with both of you and this proves we're still on the same page.

    Tellner, it was nice having you here again. See you in a couple of months? :)

    Salam persilatan,
  20. Rebo Paing

    Rebo Paing Pigs and fishes ...

    Considering that I'm not religious and that there has been equal input from non Muslim's in this discussion, I fail to see how you can come to that conclusion?

    Your own description of how silat fits into your personal cultural ethos is acceptable as well ... we need to learn and adapt on both sides of the fence IMO. I particularly like this explanation, except 'Him' means you are guilty of gender bias ...

    Maybe in the end we are all on the same page ... although we seem to experience tunnel vision at different times on different paragraphs on the page IMO :).
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2008

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