Basic Information and definitions:
Pencak Silat: This is a traditional Indo-Malay style of self defense, empty handed and armed combat. This art has seen use in real world combat up to the modern day. It played a significant role in guerilla actions and jungle warfare conducted by the native Indonesians and Malaysians against colonial and invading powers during their struggles for independence from the Dutch and English, against the Japanese in World War Two and, additionally, in various actions during the cold war period. During the colonial periods, training in the native combat arts of the Indo-Malay regions were outlawed. Training went “underground” and was conducted in secret. Depending on one’s perspective, silat became known as either “the criminal’s art” or the art of the freedom fighter, as a result. Training involves body conditioning, eliminating mental distraction and tunnel vision, empty hand combatives (such as hand blows, kicking, groundfighting, locks, throws and grappling), defense against weapons as well as use of weapons. Silat teaches movements and footwork which develop empty handed fighting skill and weapon/counter weapon skills simultaneously. Training also involves demonstration of body control, flow and rythmn and coordination through a cultural “war dance” practice termed Kembangan. An older term for Pencak Silat is Maen Po, which refers to no holds barred “kill or be killed” combat. This art is still relatively rare and difficult to find here in the USA.
Pencak Silat/ Maen Po Mande Muda: The Suwanda Family System of Pencak Silat, composed of 27 subsystem styles of Silat. Techniques blend the movements and strategies of various Indonesian Silat styles. Empty hand and weapons combat are taught both in “stand up” and ground fighting modes. This originates from West Java. This method emphasizes self defense and combat rather than sport competition.
Silek Minangkabau Lompat Harimau: This is the legendary Sumatran “Tiger Style” of Silat, emphasizing fast evasive footwork, powerful kicks, leaping attacks and groundfighting. An emphasis is on “Combat mindset” and fast incapacitation of the opponent. This originates from Sumatra in the Minangkabau region. Silek is a regional term for Silat.
Silat Seni Kuntau Tekpi: This method of Silat has a compact curriculum and has been referred to as an “old man” silat in that it is quick, direct and dispenses with acrobatics/gymnastics and techniques requiring brawn. Training centers on learning modules or conceptual “tool boxes.” Locks are fast and tight. The signature weapon is the Tekpi, a weapon very similar to the Okinawan Sai. This method comes from the Kedah region of Malaysia .
Silat Harimau Berantai : This Malaysian method emphasizes training with silat weaponry and learning armed and unarmed defenses against weaponry. The idea is that to defend against weapons one needs to have an understanding about how they are realistically and efficiently used. Training with weapons also builds fast reflexes, situational awareness, enhanced timing and management of range.
Bela Diri: The Indonesian term for “Self Defense.” Under this conceptual umbrella, we apply Silat skills to everyday self-defense considerations. If appropriate, we apply skills and strategies from other arts within the instructors’ backgrounds. “Stylistic purity” is not adhered to. “Fairness” and “rules” are dispensed with in order to emphasize survival in street fighting and criminal attack situations.
Seni : The term for “art” which essentially encompasses all of the work focused on refining physical movements, flow, form, balance ,coordination and other skills/attributes that enhance one’s silat. It can address spiritual and mental balance and training as well as cultural performance.
Kali: This is a Filpino art of combat which is closely related to Silat. Like Silat, it emphasizes the development or weapons and counter weapons skills while simultaneously developing empty hand skills. Footwork is emphasized. Training is often initiated with the solo baston or single rattan stick.