Some Thoughts on Silat
Directing – Taking Command
The Overall guiding philosophy of our method of Silat is that of “Directing the assailant.” It is the main central doctrine or attitude that produces all movements, strategies, tactics and techniques that we use. It is the reason for the other “laws” governing our art. All principles, laws, and concepts are related to this main attitude or central doctrine. This main idea of directing is like a trunk of a tree secure in the ground with roots that are deep. The many branches of various tactics and techniques can spread our forth from this trunk in various directions and ways, always related to the trunk of the central doctrine, always rooted firmly this combative truth.
The Many Branches of Directing
Directing the assailant can be expressed in many ways, Silat styles excel in directing the assailant to hit or move where the Silat exponent “asks for it” (JKD terminology-ABD-Attack by Drawing). In a conversation you can direct by asking questions, i.e., fake attacks, false moves, exposing targets, giving openings, creating possibilities for counterattacks, invitations- we are “asking questions” so to speak of our assailant and thus directing him – we are taking command of the fight!
The silat man may invite his assailant to attack a target by purposely leaving a vulnerable spot open. When the attack comes he closes the opening and counters. He also may try to force his assailant to make a predetermined counterattack or he may coax his assailant to make the wrong moves by a series of clever feints. Using the eyes, making loud noises by shouting or thigh slapping and clapping the hands is used a great deal by silat people to direct their opponents not only physically but psychologically as well, these special moves shake the confidence of their assailant creating fear and indecisiveness.
The Order of Defense
Tenderizing should come first. Our method is a “Pukulan” Pentjak Silat style. “Pukul” means “to hit” so the emphasis is on fast, rapid hitting. If this doesn’t finish it, it softens or distracts him so that you can now manipulate his body. More often than not, you assailant is finished after a “pukulan” blitz.
Once we are “IN” we manipulate his body with the many techniques to follow up and finish him. Manipulating is expressed by the laws “to make the way” and “keep constant forward pressure in our technique.” We can direct and make the way for our techniques with any part of our bodies – hands, arms, shoulder, hips, head, knees, feet, legs, elbows, etc., keeping the pressure on him the entire time – directing him to our finish. The other “laws” have to do with the execution of the major takedowns and techniques.
The Inner Questions
Ask yourself, how good is my ability to direct my opponent? What aspect do I need to improve? Am I making the way? Is each move making the way for the next move? Am I keeping pressure in my techniques and moves or are there gaps in my pressure he can counter? Do I tenderize enough? Am I pushing/pulling on the correct angles. Am I consciously aware, of all these things when I practice or am I trying to speed it through or muscle it through?