Malay Martial Arts - Silat Headline Animator

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Silat’s Key Components

What comprises a good silat system?

The following are some of silat’s key components:

  • Silat Component 1: Efficient entry system. The style must have techniques that allow you to move quickly and efficiently into close range of your opponent. It must also include training methods that will hone your timing, precision and accuracy when employing those techniques.

  • Silat Component 2: Effective follow-up techniques. The system must have effective punching and kicking techniques. Heavy-duty techniques such as head butts, knee smashes and elbow strikes must be highly developed. “Finishing” techniques are more effective if your opponent is properly “tranquilized.”

  • Silat Component 3: Devastating finishing techniques. After you have entered into close range and applied a “tranquilizing” technique to your opponent, the next step is to apply a “finishing” technique, such as a throw, sweep, takedown, lock or choke, to end the confrontation. Locking maneuvers will break or render ineffective an opponent’s joint. Choking techniques will produce unconsciousness. Takedowns, throws or sweeps will slam the opponent into the ground or other objects with enough force to end a confrontation.

  • Silat Component 4: Realistic weapons training. Most silat systems emphasize weapons training at some point. This training will include realistic contact-oriented drills rather than forms practice and will greatly improve your reflexes, timing, accuracy, rhythm and precision. It’s amazing how quickly practitioners improve when facing a bladed weapon traveling at a high rate of speed.

Silat theory, then, is simple: Enter into close range of the opponent, apply a “tranquilizing” technique such as a punch or kick, and then “finish” the opponent off with a heavy-duty technique such as a lock, sweep, choke or throw.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Dancing and martial arts in silat

In Malaysia, they say a man is not really capable of defending himself against an attacker unless he knows something about bersilat. Its self-defense techniques date back to the early 15th century and today is still popular. The art enjoys such popularity that it can be practiced by anyone whether he’s 8 or 60 years old. When bersilat was first introduced to the Malacca Court by a religious teacher from North Sumatra, Indonesia, it became a necessary part of a young man’s education. There have been considerable changes made in the original style, and through the years, it was practiced in secret with complicated rituals and customs.

In Malaysia, bersilat attracts many men to its evening classes. Particularly youths living in villages and suburban areas indulge in learning its self-defense techniques. They are taught the fine points of parrying or avoiding an attack by an opponent who may be armed with a kris (Malay knife) or pedang or parang panjang (Malay sword). Young folks nowadays take up bersilat as an artistic form of physical exercise, and they often demonstrate the art at ceremonials. Instructors emphasize the of its self-defense techniques.

The Bersilat Breakdown

Basically, bersilat exists in two forms. One, the silat pulot, is purely for exhibition at weddings and other ceremonials. The other is known as silat buah and is used for serious fighting. One can tell by the opening graceful movements the type of bersilat the performer has mastered. With a leap, he will begin moving to the rhythmic strains of an orchestra, demonstrating the techniques of defense against one or several assailants. The movements consist of quick parries and counter-strokes with the arms, well-timed steps and swift kicks.

There are many versions of bersilat. The most common are the bersilat gayong and bersilat harimau. To a lesser or greater extent, most of the movements involve a spiritual aspect, with the performer uttering religious incantations and blessings. This, say its devotees, helps bring out supernatural strength and provide the body with protection. All of the training and exercises in use today have been handed down from the original bersilat masters and are passed on by the loyal disciples from generation to generation. Malaysians like to speak of its early beginnings. They tell of the legendary hero Hang Tuah of Malacca, who lived in the 15th century and is considered the father of bersilat in Malaysia.

Bersilat’s Origins

With his friends, Hang Tuah traveled great distances in his day to learn bersilat, and his glorious exploits are vividly described in many Malay classics. With four of his friends, Hang Tuah made long and difficult journeys to reach Mount Rundok to meet mahaguru (grandmaster) Adi Putera to learn bersilat’s techniques. After long training and plenty of strenuous exercises, Hang Tuah continued his studies at Majapahit in the Mount Winara area with mahaguru Persanta Nala as his instructor. The knowledge he acquired through vigorous bersilat training taught him how to face an enemy and this he passed on to his followers. Many later proved to be loyal warriors to the State. The movements involved in bersilat when used for defense or on the attack can be summed up as follows:

  • salutation movement (gerak langkah sembah)
  • art of bodily movement, a dancelike affair in which the performer employs weapons. This is known as penchak seni tari dan seni tari bersenjata.
  • avoiding movement, which Malaysians call elak mengelak
  • side-striking tactics, which Malaysians refer to as tepis menipis
  • kicking and falling techniques or sepak terajan
  • stabbing tactics, called tikam menikam
  • art of warriorship, classified by Malaysians as ilmu keperwira’an

In addition to being an excellent form of physical training, the art of bersilat has great spiritual value, serving, according to its devotees, as an important aid of enhancing one’s spiritual development. As a bodybuilder, it helps in the achievement of general fitness, it provides alertness and gives the participant the courage he needs to meet his daily challenges.

The Benefits and Brutality of Bersilat

To the people who practice these self-defense techniques, many significant benefits are offered. According to the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, Malaysia and Selangor Silat Seni Gayong Association of Malaysia, the value of bersilat can be summed up as follows:
As a dance, it develops an aesthetic feeling of a cultural nature. As a form of physical training, it promotes good health, and as a form of spiritual education, it develops such qualities as calmness, tolerance, observance, mental efficiency, courage and self-confidence. An expert who specializes in the throwing and unbalancing techniques of bersilat says any Malaysian can defend himself against an attacker by using very little physical strength if he knows bersilat.

The expert, who is skillful in the use of a technique of hitting the vital spot known as seni sendi, points out that there are 12 critical nerve centers in the body. “All of these spots are vulnerable to severe pain at the slightest touch of an expert’s hand,” he says. “The technique will make an assailant react as though he had suffered an electric shock.”

According to this authority, a small man should never try to rely on his own strength when he goes up against a bigger man who happens to be a sheer brute. Instead, he should make use of the opponent’s strength for counterattacking. “If attacked,” he explains, “one must think quickly, clearly and analytically about the position one is in and how best to get out of it. All this is more or less automatic.”

As he further describes it, “Just screaming and struggling may not avert tragedy. For example, if grabbed by the throat from behind, the victim of an attack will be thrown back and probably lose his balance and fall if he becomes panicky and pulls forward. However, if he grabs the attacker’s wrist and pulls the arm away from his neck, he can flip the attacker to the ground. The confidence and know-how a bersilat performer displays is often enough to send an attacker running for dear life.”

Another self-defense technique taught to bersilat students is kunchi, a locking procedure. It’s a handy way of giving a prowler or a burglar the bum’s rush once you sense his presence and give it to him in a very painful way. If an attacker grabs his victim from the front, an expert can startle him by hitting a nerve center. The attacker will then loosen his grip and he can throw the attacker backwards by using his legs, the expert says. However, if the assailant grabs the victim by the neck from the rear, the defender can grasp one of the attacker’s fingers and bend it back. The pain is unbearable.

One of the simplest locks is to hold the attacker’s arm flat on the ground by pressing the knee on the outside of the attacker’s elbow. Once a person is pinned down, you can take all the time you need to decide what to do with the culprit. One thing is sure, the rascal will never get away.

One passing thought in the use of bersilat. Its teachers always stress that its followers must not use it to initiate an attack. It is strictly for self-defense, for counterattacking when one is in danger. Only then, they say, is one justified to use it.

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Friday, June 22, 2012

The Filipino Martial Arts - Kali Silat

In the Philippines, combat training methods developed to a level of efficiency unsurpassed anywhere in the world. There are over 7,000 islands in the Philippine archipelago with over 78 major languages spoken. The Filipino Martial Arts are as diverse as the islands themselves.

Silat Kali
Martial Art of the Philippines

Kali Silat - Kali, meaning body in motion, is the Martial Art of the Philippines. Our Kali program consists of energy drills and sensitivity training utilizing hand eye coordination techniques with or without the use of weapons. Silat is the Art form of Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. It is the art of taking down an attacker simply and directly utilizing locks, chokes and holds.

Unlike most martial art systems, both weaponry and empty hands are taught together because the principles are common to both and are inter-changeable. Armed or unarmed, the student learns to relate to any situation using the same concepts of body angling, positioning and flowing.

Depending on speed, footwork and skill rather than brute strength, this fluid and practical method of self-defense is one of the most comprehensive martial art systems known.

A Filipino Martial Art System

The Kali Weapon
The Weapon of Silat Kali

Kali-Silat is a Filipino martial art and is over 1200 years old. It is tried and tested on the battlefield and is believed to be the art that killed Magellan's warriors when he landed in the Philippines. Kali incorporates empty hand and weaponry as well as specialised sections on dumog (grappling and moving the body), panantukan (Filipino boxing), pananjackman or sikaren(Filipino low-level kicking) and flow / energy drills such as hubud and Kunsi (locks and manipulations).

What is taught at Martial Art Concepts?

We practise Inosanto-Blend Kali that is taught by Guro Dan Inosanto, a martial arts legend in his own right. The blend that we teach has a strong element of knifework in it and this normally signifies a higher level of empty hand skill and technique due to the range of combat.

Kali has stood the test of time and evolved into a fantastic martial art that develops mental as well as physical skills. Kali philosophy is based on triangles and the highest triangle is based on Love, Compassion and Humility. There are many areas of Kali to study and as a modern art it serves the student well as a street defence style.

The American instructors then began to Americanize what they had learned, by adding techniques and new adaptations, and combining old systems to make a New breed of exercises and training methods. New forms and sets of movements developed. The mixing of Kali with Silat was only the beginning, By reducing the necessity of hitting the hands and sparring full contact. The arts then became available even to the very young and the old alike. Also young girls and women could now participate as well. Also the main difference that stamps a particular style is being unique and interesting to learn. And the enjoyment of the flowing movements, and the simplicity on learning the art.

Therefore, the advantage of using the best from both systems is a wonderful balance, of building a strong foundation of practical methods of self defense in weapons and empty hands, that are taught in a unique and dynamic way. In Nubreed Kali Silat one will never say one style is better than the other. All provide an excellent course of self defense training with the standard of equal skill.

Indonesia Martial Arts - Pencak Silat

Pencak silat
Pencak silat

Pencak silat refers to more than 800 individual schools of martial arts across the 13,000 islands of Indonesia. According to legend, they were used to fight against Dutch invaders. Later outlawed by the Dutch, this hybrid system is known as pencak in Java and Bali, and silat in Sumatra. The single term pencak silat was coined after Indonesia was unified, and then accepted in 1973. Some recent silat systems have adopted the Japanese martial art tradition of denoting rank with different-colored belts. The art has become popular around the world and has also developed a sporting tradition with its own world championships.

Pencak lineage

Knowledge of the art has been passed orally from teacher to student, so written records are few. Soldiers and warriors are known to have trained in silat forms in the Srivijaya kingdom in Sumatra between the 7th and 14th centuries and in the Majapahit kingdom on Java between the 13th and 16th centuries. Yet archeological evidence suggests silat may have been used as early as the 6th century. Many silat schools trace their lineage to the Buginese warriors, a band of tough mercenaries renowned for their combat skills. When the Dutch occupied the islands between the 17th and 20th centuries, the practice went underground and reemerged only after independence in 1949. Traditional Indonesian dances and rituals are thought to contain aspects of the ancient art.

Styles and weapons

Pencak silat has no standardized techniques, partly due to the fact that differences between schools depend on the environment in which students train. So, for example, the footwork techniques of urban styles differ from those of jungle variants. The Javanese people tend to use the art as a self-defense form. Even so, training regimes all include instruction in empty-hand techniques followed by weapons training.

Weapons include some common Indonesian fighting tools, such as sticks, staves, and rods made of bamboo, steel, or wood. The "cabang" is an unusual, three-pronged knife thought to derive from the trident. The "kerambit" is a small, curved blade that women often conceal in their hair. The "sabit" is a sickle used as a blocking, striking, and slashing weapon. The "keris" is a curving blade that is washed in acid. The "tedang" is a common sword with either a single-or double-sided blade.

Master and student

The large number of distinct pencak silat schools in Indonesia are the result of extremely localized styles that have arisen when a master in a village teaches his own method. This teaching may include aspects of shamanism, animism, healing, and other spiritual practices. Most silat players train in spiritual awareness methods, learning to harness what they believe are supernatural powers.

In general, would-be students offer gifts in order to be accepted by a traditional master. These may include a knife, which symbolizes sharpness of attitude and spirit, and a roll of white cloth, which the master keeps in a sacred place and uses to wrap the corpse of the student should he be killed.

The blood of a ritually slaughtered chicken may be spread on the ground where the student expects to train this signifies the blood the student would shed in fighting had he decided not to study the art. So, the relationship of master and student becomes akin to a blood relationship, such as that between father and son.

Diverse influences

The hand and foot strikes, locking techniques, and throws suggest the art has had Indian and Chinese influence. The throws typically launched from a very low stance or a deep crouch are often thought of as the silat signature move. Between the 7th and 12th centuries, Indonesia was influenced by Mahayana Buddhism and this, together with the arts, weapons, and philosophies that Indians and Chinese introduced, helped to shape the art. Experts believe that Hindu culture and its grappling techniques influenced silat groundwork and, with the later arrival of Islam, came the distinct "jambia" the short, curved Arab dagger that probably inspired the pencak silat keris blade.

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