Which Silat Style?

M

MKnight

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Hello All,

I was hoping to get some feedback from the Silat practitioners on this forum. I live in the Denton, Tx and have a background in Taiji & Xingyi with a little Pekiti-Tirsia Kali picked up from seminars. It was at one of those seminars that I was advised to look into Silat for the possibility of some good, hardcore, combative training.

To give you a little background: I work in the field of Catastrophic Property Claims as a field adjustor. This means I get sent to areas that have been hard-hit by hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, severe storms etc. It is an emotional occupation; tempers from clients & surrounding individuals often run high & the threat of violent encounters is very often in the background. When I'm not in a "catastrophe" area, my company will often send me to nasty areas of town at odd hours because I'm supposed to be "used to dealing" with semi-dangerous, high-stress situations. I have not yet been involved in a violent altercation, but one of my team members just got out of the hospital because of such a situation. Given the above, I'm looking for training that I can realistically use to handle armed & unarmed attacks that can happen in the course of me doing my job.

Having taken a look at what's available in my area, I've found 3 or 4 possibilities that might feet the bill. Being a newbie in the world of Silat, I was hoping for a comparison/contrast of these systems given the needs I've outlined. My main concern is combat functionalty---I'm not really all that worried about issues of politics, lineages or which is the "purest system." I'm also well-aware that much of this depends on how much/well I train in a given system & how it is taught by the instructor in question. On the other hand, in general terms some systems are just more efficient, direct & to the point than others (at least IMHO based on my past experiences).

Keeping this in mind, I would greatly appreciate any feedback on the following systems:


1) Maphilindo Silat--This class is taught by a couple of instructors under Guro Harley Elmore of Wichita Falls, Tx. The group actually specializes in training in Sayoc Kali but they also cross-train in Maphilindo Silat. They are a friendly bunch with a combative mentality. They are also honest enough to say that they only have 2-3 years of experience (I think) with the Maphilindo system as opposed to greater experience with the Sayoc. I like the blend inherent in the Maphilindo but am mostly unfamilair witht he art apart from the demo & limited explanations I was exposed to when I visited the group. Most of the info on the web just seems to repeat that it is Dan Inosanto's blend of different Silat styles. The class is offered once a week, I believe.


2) Mande Muda-- This would be a twice a week class taught by a gentleman by the name of "Doc" Dority who apparently has several years of experience with the Mande Muda system. The same class also teaches Richard deBordes' Minangkabau Harimau style and DeBordes' thinking on combat seems to influence the group. I like the comprehensiveness of the system (even though on the other hand, the voluminous nature of the system may not make for any fairly quick combat ability). I have not yet been to the class but a trusted friend went & gave me a review of the class. From what I gathered, the class had quite a bit of conditioning exercises at the beginning, then got into applications. As I understand it, the applications were quite brutal, full of shearing forearms, elbow smashes etc. The classes run about 2 hrs.


3) Silat Kuntau Tekpi-- A Malaysian Silat system taught by the same Mande Muda instructor in #2 above. From some e-mail exchanges with the system head for North America, Omar Hakim, I understand that this style of Silat has a very short training syllabus & can be learned in a compressed period of time. It seems to be nicknamed "old man Silat" as it does not require much athleticism to perform (or so I'm told). My friend saw a short demo of this style at the Mande Muda class. While the short curriculum appeals to me, the style seems to have a great concentration on locks rather than strikes & appears to be very defensive in nature rather than offensive or counter-offensive. Maybe someone here can elaborate on that & show me that my thinking is incorrect.

4) Serak--This is taught by one Raymond Crow at his school. He appears to be a student of Victor De Thouars and he also teaches JKD, Muay Thai & Inosanto Lacoste Kali at his school as separate classes. I audited one of the classes & it appears that this style is pretty direct & efficient. I didn't have much time to stay & chat afterwards, so my info is limited to what I saw & what I've picked up on the internet. I'm well aware by now of the De Thouars brothers & their....problems with one another & their former students. I really don't care. Again, I'm just looking for what might best fit the bill for a real violent encounter. The Serak I saw seemed quite aggressive & possibly effective. From what little I've been able to get on it while wading through the minefield of politics, it doesn't seem to be quite as comprehensive as Mande Muda or even Maphilindo---but maybe I'm wrong.

Just some additional background on me: I'm a 40-yr-old male with a slight build (5'8). I was recently diagnosed with Epstein-Barr, so whatever I train in would optimally help me end the fight quickly as my endurance could easily give out (depending on to what degree I'm feeling the adrenaline dump). Not a great set of circumstances, but that's my current reality.

I'm all ears for any feedback on the above. Any input/experiences/advice would be greatly appreciated!


Marcus
 

Selfcritical

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If you are intending to utilize Silat primarily for self-defense purposes, I would highly suggest continuing to cross-train in kali. I currently cross-train mande muda and Pekiti Tirsia and find the two to blend seamlessly. If i were to pick one as the more functional for self-defense(as opposed to just inflicting severe punishment on people), I would lean toward PTK, as it has a proven success record bladed defense(Erwin Ballarta has trained the Texas dept of saftey for quite some time now, and the entire phillipine marine force is now adopting PTK). Mande Muda and PTK both have some relatively good instructors in the Dallas area as well, if i recall correctly
 

Franc0

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I would recommend Sifu Raymond Crow. I met him awhile back and he's real nice guy as well as an excellent instructor. He visited a seminar I did in Ft. Worth, and I sent one of my associates to train with him, who said he really enjoyed training with him. Regardless of the behind the scenes goings on within the DeThouars brothers orgs, the Serak is what your going for. Since Sifu Crow is also ranked under Guro Dan Inosanto, and holds Kru ranking in Muay Thai also, so you can get some other flavors under the same roof. Tell him Franco from Vegas sent ya ;)

Franco
 

Selfcritical

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Selfcritical said:
If you are intending to utilize Silat primarily for self-defense purposes, I would highly suggest continuing to cross-train in kali. I currently cross-train mande muda and Pekiti Tirsia and find the two to blend seamlessly. If i were to pick one as the more functional for self-defense(as opposed to just inflicting severe punishment on people), I would lean toward PTK, as it has a proven success record bladed defense(Erwin Ballarta has trained the Texas dept of saftey for quite some time now, and the entire phillipine marine force is now adopting PTK). Mande Muda and PTK both have some relatively good instructors in the Dallas area as well, if i recall correctly

If you're training for a violent encounter, then one of, if not possibly the most major factor will be how much pressure they train under......will you get the chance to perform you technique against full resistance?
 

SilatFan

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Hello Marcus,

From the choices youve given I would choose the Serak school. Id choose it over the others both because of the benefit that academy seems to be able to offer (I reviewed their website) and your other options dont seem very appealing.

Lets get the negatives out of the way. If an art primarily uses locks then that method usually take a long time to be able to use against a noncompliant opponent(s) and therefore I would not go with Silat Kuntau Tekpi. The Mande Muda class that is mixed with Richard deBordes' Minangkabau Harimau style is probably not the right choice either because youd like to raise your skill set to a point that you can quickly become at least somewhat competent in your new art and I feel that any version of Harimau takes a very long time to develop actual combative competence.

The group that teaches Maphilindo Silat and Sayoc Kali might be a good choice. Your only question is their experience and competence teaching since they have only been studying the silat for a few years. Still their honesty, the fact that they teach two good systems and a good atmosphere would make me seriously consider them.

As I stated before I do like the Serak school. Serak is a good system and you have access to Kali, Muay Thai and JKD. I would consider going with the Serak but also dabbling a little with either the Muay Thai or Kali. You also might consider looking for some combatives training in your area or at least some videos on the subject by instructors like Jim Grover or Carl Cestari. Good combatives programs have short curriculums and useful material. My only caution regarding any combatives program/videos is that, like in many MAs, so many of the practitioners have a very angry or negative vibe. Stay yourself. Dont start collecting 10,000 different kinds of knives or trash talking other arts/schools/etc, etc
I know you wrote that youre 40 so you should be well past that kind of vulnerability but I still feel the need to give a heads up. Let us know what you do and how it turns out. Stay safe.

 

beau_safken

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I would check out Kuntao Silat as well. Its a derivation of Chinese boxing and penjak silat. Its very utilitarian in its approach and wonderfully effective. Cross train in Kali and knife work. If your thinking of LEO things, its great as a lot of the art revolves around control of the core of a person. I did it for....3-4 years and it was amazingly fun and very wonderful in its application.
 

Brian R. VanCise

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I would meet with each instructor and see which one you get along with the best. Also that will give you a chance to see the facility and possibly see a class to make a choice. All of the Silat that I have trained in has always been pretty direct and to the point. It is a very good art.
Good luck.

Brian R. VanCise
www.instinctiveresponsetraining.com
 
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Phadrus00

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Marcus,

You are very fortunate to have so many very good options for studying Silat! Given your requirements (High Combat effectiveness) I think you are definately looking at a great family of Arts.

I have had the pleasure and fortune to have studied Maphalindo Silat for several years and it is an excellent art. It is particularly well suited to being studied in combination with Kali as the two arts compliment each other well but do be aware it is an amagamation of many Silat Systems and you will ned to to filter out what you find useful from the less that so.

THe Harimau system is incredibly effective but does require signifigant training to be effective. It utilizes a number of low ground techniques which are amazing but take time to master. Again I have had an opportunity to study it a little trhough exposure via Guru Inosanta as well as a Herman Suwanda semina several years ago and it is amazing but perhaps best suited to later on in your martial career.

Serak is frankly an incredible system. It is very systematic and methodical in it's approach and is very effective! I have the great fortune of attending a Victor DeThouars seminar and I was amazed by the art.

As someone has already suggested you should have a conversation with each of the instructors to understand their philiosophy and make sure they align with your needs but I would highly recommend spending some time studying Serak.

Good Luck!

Rob Masson

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liuseongsystem

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i am not really that familiar with most of these arts.

i have heard that mande muda is a very good style.

from what you said you should take Serak.

i am a bit biased being from GM Reeders lineage arts, which are composed in part of Serak ( Master Reeders was a training partner of Ernest Dervries).

Serak is direct, effective, and deals with multiple potential problems rather quickly.

not to downplay the other arts mentioned in any way. but some of their patterns might take a bit longer to pick up. and at your age ( im 38) you should probably avoid the harimau.

good luck.
 

doc D

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Hello
I hope no one will mind my weighing in on Marcus' questions as I am the instructor cited in items 2 and 3 on his list. I hope to clarify , explain and enlighten, not argue that my class is best.

Part of his problem is that, while authentic silat is still fairly rare here in the USA, the North Texas area now has a pretty fair selection of decent choices. Those who advise him to explore Serak are not giving him bad advice. It is a fine system. If I didn't have such a full plate with my own training and teaching I might also explore it.Maphilindo is also a fine system and has a considerable amount of Mande Muda and Serak influences in it( I have a background in Maphilindo silat as well). Sadiq Silat is also in the region ( in Frisco and Oklahoma)and what I have seen of it, seems to be fine. The Maphilindo people may only have a couple years of teaching but all teachers constantly grow and expand their knowledge and add to their skills and, subsequently ,modify what they teach over time. As they grow , they would ,no doubt, bring you along with them. Some martial arts organizations allow interested people to run a club even if they are not instructors. In this case, the interested long distance student is a "ring leader " of sorts and is allowed to at least have training partners. Your Maphilindo choice should be as good or better than that option.

You have experience with Pekiti Tersia which is a really fine Kali system. Pekiti and the silat groups in Texas have a very friendly fellowship .You will find Pekiti Tersia dovetails very nicely with any of the Pencak Silat methods. I suggest you definitely keep up the Pekiti training.

Any malady causing a fatigue -like syndrome could be problematic if you were in a ring competition art. If you would be expected to" go the distance" for many rounds , especially if a first round knockout could not be achieved, you would be in trouble. Fortunately, all good Pencak Silat emphasizes putting the opponent down quickly. I did not recommend Harimau to "your trusted friend", not because it is slow to teach effective combat, but rather because of the physical demands required to enter the groundfighting curriculum. I will address some misconceptions about authentic harimau shortly. However, I agree that you would be better suited to explore that curriculum after your health difficulties are more effectively addressed or after you have more immediately attainable silat skills developed.

In this day and age , many silat instructors are open minded and secure enough to allow a student to explore another art. I have many students that train in other arts and with other teachers and that has never been a problem for me. I only ask that when training with me, the student empty his cup and approach training with an open mind. I have an extensive background in Muay Thai, Jun Fan, JKD concepts, combative grappling , wrestling, kali, pekiti tersia, various styles of gung fu, kenpo etc, etc, so I appreciate cross training and having more than one world view on violence. Find out how agreeable your potential teacher is to letting you see other arts. He may not demand blind loyalty!

All of the Pencak Silat styles that are authentic should have some common elements. Sometimes these are hard to appreciate when you are an uneducated investigator. These elements may be shown in demonstration but , not knowing silat yet, they just don't quite register with you. These elements , to my way of thinking are:
1) The training is always weapons oriented. "Empty Hand" technique is instantly adaptable to weapon bearing application. Training assumes the possiblity of the weapon in play ...you have it , your opponent has it , you both have it.
2) Multiple opponents. Footwork , body positioning, visual scanning and opponent manipulation are all programed to deal with multiple opponents or those who decide to join in after the fight begins.
3) The ability to fight from where you are at.....from the "disadvantaged position" and on poor terrain. The opponent is not expected to allow you the luxury of an optimum fighting stance.
4) No submission. "Locks" practiced in class are for safety. We do not align the planes of motion and approach the physiologic barrier to threaten the opponent with injury if he doesn't "give" during an altercation. The resistant opponent may not be controllable long enough for that. In combat , silat instantly meets and exceeds physiologic barriers ...."locks" are safe ways to practice destruction of tissue .
5) In training, there is material that can instantly be applied for combat after only a few classes. This is balanced with material that takes considerable time to master and apply. Your teachers should define these elements for you and they should be able to show the "fight enders" that are ,many times, not pointed out to visitors or during the setting of the "open to the public" seminar.

Really, I think you'll see these elements in all your choices.

Mande Muda's curriculum seems daunting. It would be if one had to study it completely to achieve combat competence. The material does not require one to study the entire curriculum. Material can be quickly extracted and applied to combat from the basic jurus-jurus . As stated above in item #5, there is material that can be very quickly applied and it is balanced by material you have to work at. It is a reasonable choice if you want to learn a vast amount of material over time and have the disciple to pay attention to what the teacher is emphasizing during the techniques and flows. ( That will probably be the key that sets up everything else and is most likely the most combat expedient element)

My Tekpi associate and Harimau student, Michael Carroll, demonstrated some very basic buah for "your trusted friend". What he showed him was just basic application. I guarantee he did not see where that material goes in full application....see item #4 above. The Silat Kuntau Tekpi curriculum is quite compact. It does start with somewhat restrained striking, but where it takes you, even with that ,can be eye opening. The striking it uses in the essential buah is direct and to the point. The curriculum for the USA, gets you through the first two levels and then into the more focused striking curriculum and tekpi drills before even a full year is complete, so you should have quite a bit in a relatively short time. It does start with a close quarters "Self defense" aspect. It assumes you will be standing there and the opponent will launch on you. This is not a bad place to at least start considering the legalities of violent action in this country. What helps this along are some very unique spacial awareness and distancing drills that your "trusted friend" never saw. Having trained a number of silat methods as well as other types of martial arts, I think I can say its worth training in.

Finally, I will discuss harimau. I can not speak for ALL harimau . I come from the DeBordes method of Silat Minagkabau Harimau which come from the Hanafi lineage and the Harimau & Pak Macan subsystems of the Suwanda Family's Pencak Silat Mande Muda. Harimau could still be a fine choice. The limiting factor lies in that the low training would be arduous for you with your chronic fatigue, not that combat effectiveness can not be achieved in a reasonable period. Harimau has a standing curriculum that few people see . It's standing game is as fast as any other system's. It seems everyone thinks that harimau players always drop to the ground to fight. Nothing is further from the truth. The ground game is started early on because ,as pointed out by some here, it takes a while to develop.( It also is a nice way to weed out some types of people.) Most silat systems have a ground curriculum of some sort. I bet if a Serak instructor takes someone to the ground, he would explain that he has entered the ground game of serak, not that he has left serak and now started doing silat harimau. A Silat Harimau practitioner has the ability to be like a yo yo. He goes down and explodes back up.....he doesn't drop to the ground and stay there forever. ( By the way, we almost always train on concrete).We train the standing and ground curriculums concurrently. There is no reason one could not become combat effective quickly, if they are a competent student.A number of our students have done quite well in real fights with just a short period of training....no problem.( Of course ,this can be viewed as anectdotal) .Guru DeBordes' teachings are based out of his real world experience as a Presidential body guard and security professional in the Third World. He teaches a "Mentality" over technique. He believes that you must have a mindset prepared to definitively deal with sudden, explosive violence. Also, he immediately starts your training to minimize tunnel vision and to maximize environmental awareness during an altercation. He emphasizes "shocking " the opponent in the first moment of the fight.....explosively taking the initiative and advantage from the opponent . He holds us to a 4 second rule....we must have the opponent finished by then ...NO ***** footing around with the enemy when other dangers could be present !!! With these elements in mind, I can't see why anyone could say our harimau couldn't get anyone ready to fight for a few years.....
Still, with the challenges of the ground training being such a high hurdle for you ,I would still suggest either staying with the standing harimau curriculum early on or exploring the other possibilities.

Aside from reservations considering the challenges of Harimau, all the possibilities are good ones. Pencak Silat ( and Kuntao) are great arts and all of them can get you where you want to go.

I strongly recommend that you do not give up the Pekiti Tersia training. I do recommend that the lengthy "researching period" be brought to an end. Pick any one of these good choices and get into training!!! If you truely have a short period of time( now less than 2 years???) , time is wasting. Give yourself some time to develop some skill within that system too....no matter which you choose, you will not be invincible in one month. Be honest with your teacher and let him know what you need. Find out if he will let you cross train too. Unless you get into training though, its all of it is academic and the "research" becomes pointless. I think someone studying the 4th best silat in the world for 6 months is better off than the "researcher" who is still trying to decide who is #1 and has yet to set a foot in the training area.

With Respect

Doc
 

liuseongsystem

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hell, that was such a great post you got me ready to go take harimau.

lol.

kudos.

peace.
 

doc D

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Hello again.
I have posted a notice in the events section regarding a September harimau training opportunity, in Dallas Texas, for anyone close by who might care to explore this art based on the previous discussions.

With Respect

Doc
 

jeff5

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Doc, great post. I personally practice Kuntao Silat and Majapahit (Maphilindo), but I've also been exposed to some Mande Muda and Harimau. MKnight, if you even check these boards anymore hehe, which did you chose? Just curious, I don't think you can go wrong with any of those choices.
 

Carol

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Welcome aboard, Jeff. Good to see more Silat people here. :)
 

jeff5

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I'm still kind of a newbie to it but I can tell what I know!

Kuntao Silat De Thouars is what I study. Its a combination of several styles of Indonesian Silat, as well as several styles of Chinese Kuntao. The Silat and Kuntao is kind of woven together, and its kind of hard to seperate them. Grampa Bill was fortunate enough to study under some Chinese masters in Indonesia, as well as getting exposure to his family style of Silat (Serak), as well as several others. Here's his site. http://www.willemdethouars.com/

First, everything we do assumes that your opponent has a blade. Silat is a bladed art. All our empty hand movements translate into weapon movements, especially with the knife. We always assume the other person is armed.

One of the main differences between regular Silat so far is the way we practice forms. Tradionally Djurus are very short hand sets in Silat, and initially they are stationary. (footwork is added later) What we do in Kuntao Silat is practice them strung together in longer forms or sets, kind of like a Chinese form.

Another aspect is that our body structure and power generation is very Chinese. Meaning that its a lot of spinal power, stressing correct posture, and power come from a "whipping" motion of the spine.

Leg attacks. Any time that we enter in off of an attack, our legs are in position to off balance and destroy our opponent and/or attack their legs and structure in some way.

Throws and take downs aren't just for getting the person on the ground. The set ups, how we throw, and how the person lands, are all meant to hurt and break things.

Every stance we use has a purpose. For instance our horse stance is really our breaking table. Meaning that we use it to break limbs on once the person is on the ground. Its also used for off balancing.

The first few forms we learn are basically Silat forms, after that the forms get more Chinese in nature. But how we apply the moves from them is extremely different from many tradional Chinese martial arts. Grampa Bill's website has a good description of Chinese Kuntao and there are lots of resources on there.

My teacher is under Steve Gartin who's system is American Kuntao Silat. AKTS basically puts more structure to what Grampa Bill has taught. We're taught the forms and drills in a certain progression. After that your free to learn and experiment with whatever other forms you want from the system or outside it. Kuntao Silat kind of makes you interpret other arts in a different way than most would.

Hope that helps.
 

arnisador

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Thanks! I didn't realize just how deeply embedded the blade was in the art.

I have seen some of the leg attacks you mention--they can be very sneaky.
 
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