Malay Martial Arts - Silat Headline Animator

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Mastering Pencak Silat

Silat is a very big art in that there is a lot to be learned and there is no way that you can practice all of it or even a large part of it every day. So how should you train? In learning any martial arts, we can break the art into four pieces – mechanics, partner dynamics, real combat and internal aspects. 

Mechanics - Do you have your foot, your hand and your body in all of the right places and do you understand how they should be coordinated together. During this phase you should listen and watch in class for subtle movements and positions that your instructor makes. If you only have the books or the videos then look for every detail. Play the video in slow motion many times and watch where everything goes. Next head out to your garage or wherever you train and practice slowly in front of the mirror. Ask yourself if you look like the video or not? The answer for a while will be no, but keep tuning and fixing until you look good. Also do the techniques both slowly and at full speed. During this phase repetition is the key, but not mindless repetition. Don’t treat your training like reps on the weight machine.

Partner Dynamics - In this phase try the technique slowly with a partner. In your initial attempts the technique will seem “dirty”. Your partners arms and legs will seem to keep getting in the way and it all seems so messy. This is place you are learning to detect motion in your partner, learning about angles and you are learning that constant minor adjustments must be made. If the technique does not work like you think that it should then you need to ask if it is a question of mechanics, something you missed before, or is the problem in the dynamics. During this phase don’t kid yourself into believing that now you are super warrior and ready the take on the jungle. You made the technique work when both you and your partner knew exactly what was supposed to happen and your partner punched or kicked in the correct manner.

Real Combat - In this phase you need to begin slowly with your partner. This time you must maneuver yourself into the proper positions and adjust to the randomness of your partner. Care must be made to prevent injuries. This is not a contest to see who is the winner or loser. Gradually pick up the speed and eventually when you feel ready wear some protective gear and go at near full pace. Some techniques can’t be done at combat pace because they would cause serious injury, but do your best approximation. In this phase also evaluate your success or failure and ask is it due to mechanics, dynamics, fear or maybe you don’t have enough endurance or strength.

Internal Aspects - In this phase you want to integrate whatever animal spirit goes with that technique. Are you integrating the tenaga dalam with what you are trying to do? Have you been doing your tenaga dalam breathing exercises? Watch videos about the real animals, go to the zoo and see the real animals and attempt animal possession. In conclusion keep your training fun. If due to family or work you just can’t get with a partner very often at least try to get together once a week. Balance the other days with work on mechanics, tenaga dalam, endurance or strength. There is a lot to be learned and it should keep you busy a lifetime.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Keris Blacksmith


The keris is synonymous with the Malay culture and way of life. The double-edged dagger is unique because it is only found within the Malay Archipelago. The keris is a dagger unique to Southern Thailand (Patani), Malaysia, Indonesia, Southern Philippines (Mindanao), and supposedly in the Cham areas of Cambodia.At its best, the keris represents the highest level of Malay creativity. A long time ago, it is used to complete the Malay attire. Walking around without the keris for a Malay men then was akin to walking around naked. Training in the use of the keris – both for combat and ceremony, was handed down from father to son.

making keris

A tar road just after the Royal Museum takes visitors to Kg Padang Changkat, Bt Chandan where Malay blacksmiths skilled in the making of keris and golok (machete) and craftsmen apt at crafting traditional embroideries are found.

Abdul Mazin Abdul Jamil , Perak , Kuala Kangsar was a fourth generation in making a keris for Sultan Perak and for the palace. He has been making keris and golok since he was 12 years old. It is an art he learned from his father Allahyarham Abdul Jamil Pandak Lam Pandak Yunus.

He said for first stage he was learn how to indentified types of iron that suitable for making a keris . “Most basic knowledge in making a keris is we must be clever to identified what type of iron that suitable in making a keris.” said Pak Mazin .Pak Mazin also said , with tecnology nowadays it help Pak Mazin to make a keris quick . But when to make a sarong and hulu keris he will do with traditional ways . Because to make sarong and hulu keris it need accuracy and high concentration.

An assortment of keris and golok are available for  sale. They are priced between RM1,000 to RM5,000, depending on the designs. Mazin makes replicas of the Keris Taming Sari too.

For more information and reservations, can visit the website : kerismalaysia

Monday, October 7, 2013

Effectiveness in fighting

Effectiveness in fighting is determined by the training methods you employ, not by the style or technique you perform. Efficient and effective training methods should address each and every component of fighting. Otherwise, an individual's safety can be jeopardised.

Here is formula for developing effectiveness in fighting:

Learning, practicing and mastering the basics 
Putting the basics together into combinations to form a drill 
Using drills to develop physical and mental attributes 
Special considerations 

1. Learning, practicing and mastering the basics:
The basics can be defined as a group of simple and direct, fundamental movements. These movements lay a foundation upon which you can build a myriad of combinations, drills and strategies. For example, all kick boxers, regardless of their level of experience, must maintain good footwork and keep their hands up at all times. To stand still and lower their hands down would invite the pain and injury, not to mention an inability to hit their opponent. So as basic as these movements are, they can not be overlooked or over stressed in training.

Practising the basics is one of the hardest things to do. Why? Because practising the basics are boring and mundane. Even though we know these movements lay the foundation, they do absolutely nothing for our ego or emotions. It is more fun to practice the cool, outrageous and flamboyant techniques that impress our family members, friends and co-workers. However, through consistent practice, we will one day master them and be done with them.

Mastering the basics is something that takes time. It can not be done overnight. To master the basics, you must correctly understand the mechanics involved with each technique, as well as practice them until you can perform them spontaneously and reflexively when presented with the appropriate stimulus. Although you may intellectually understand how to do a technique, that does not mean you can reflexively perform the technique under stress. You must take the basics to a level where you can perform them without thought. Then and only then will you have mastered them.

2. Putting the basics together into combinations to form a drill:
Learning is a process of time and effort. This process begins with learning and classifying the simple knows of life (the basics) and progressing towards the study of the very complex unknowns. When a child learns mathematics, he begins with a very simple known value system: he learns how to count from one to ten by using his fingers or toes. Once he can comfortably and confidently manoeuvre around these simple things, he can then be introduced to more complex things like counting to one hundred. Once proficiency is achieved at this new level, he can then be introduced to basic arithmetic (which is the idea of putting the basics together into combinations). When his grasp of basic arithmetic has grown to a very high level, he can then be introduced to more complex mathematics like algebra, geometry, trigonometry and calculus. This is the process of learning mathematics. This is also the process of learning how to fight. One you can perform the basics reflexively, you can move onto putting the basics together into various combinations.

3. Using drills to develop physical and mental attributes:
The purpose of a drill is develop instil certain habits into your repertoire of physical techniques, as well as develop specific attributes necessary to make your techniques work. Techniques without attributes are useless. Imagine a punch or a kick without speed, power, explosiveness, timing or accuracy. Would it hurt or incapacitate you? I think not! While it is important to learn and develop techniques, the bulk of your training should involve drills that develop specific attributes (like speed, power, accuracy, timing, strength, flow, explosiveness, footwork, sensitivity, cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, balance, co-ordination, line familiarization  spatial relationship, rhythm, awareness, proper mental attitude, focus, concentration, determination, pain tolerance, the will to survive, etc...).

4. Sparring:
Sparring is the next step in your progression of training. Sparring is one of the best tools to develop the timing of your techniques. For when you spar, you truly do not know what your opponent will do, so you must respond accordingly. You must develop your reflexes. Sparring should be done in stages. Stage one sparring is done with light contact hitting and at a slow workable speed. It's as though your and your opponent are cooperating with each other, however, you are not. Stage one sparring is for the development of reflex and timing.

After stage one sparring you must move on to stage two. This is where you bump up the contact and/or speed of the match. This is also where you begin to don protective gear. This stage is very exhausting! Especially when you combine different ranges (long, close and ground) to the match. Stage two sparring is for the development of endurance, focus, concentration, determination, and pain tolerance.

Finally, there's stage three. This is where you add multiple assailants and weapons to the training. This is also where you see the core personality of your trainees. When forced into a situation where they may be hurt, all trainees will show their true identities. I have seen it a thousand times. Joe blow at the office brags about being a great fighter. He talks incessantly about all the street fights he's been in, yet when put through an exhausting scenario involving some medium level contact, he cowers like a yelping dog who sticks his tail between his legs and runs like the wind. Stage three training is very helpful for determining how people will respond to unexpected violence! It is the stage of training where you put it all together. Stage three training will identify an individual's weak points, whether they be physical, mental or psychological.

5. Special considerations:
To fully prepare one's self to deal with violence, you must not only address techniques, drills and sparring, but you must also address those peculiar situations where the formula changes a bit. For example, when you are forced to confront violence, you will have no choice as to the time of day, the location, the environment, whether or not weapons will be involved, how many assailants will assault you, the range at which the altercation will start, what kind of clothing you will be wearing or what kind of mood you will be in. Each of these considerations makes the fight more complex. You must, and I repeat MUST, address these considerations in your training. Otherwise, you will be unprepared to deal with them when they rear their ugly heads!

My personal formula for efficient training that will lead to effectiveness in fighting is this: 

Techniques: learn, practice and master them 
Drills: learn, practice and master them 
Sparring: do it 
Special considerations: address them as needed 

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