Sunday, August 5, 2012

Why Silat?

When it comes to kata bunkai, it helps to view it from a distance, and I don't mean from the nose-bleed section of the bleachers.  I mean view it from the perspective of South East Asian martial arts like Silat. For the past few months I've been training with Duane. D., the US representative of Maul Mornie's  Silat Suffian Bela Diri and I must say that the experience is like hitching a ride on the long journey to understanding bunkai.  If you look at the some of the video's in Maul Mornie's YouTube Channel, you'll get a glimpse of the type of applications to be found in this rich and varied system.

Today, I had the good fortune to have met and trained with Grant S., SSBD's group leader of Germany, who happened to be visiting.  With Duane, I had been practicing basic knife and open hand fighting drills.  From Grant's perspective, the most advanced technique is simple technique.  In two hours, Grant taught a progression of simple knife passing and blocking technique, culminating in wicked joint destruction technique.  Duane and Grant assure me that what I have been exposed to is just a hint.  Maul Mornie's seminars are the main courses to the appetizers I've been given.  Maul Mornie is coming to NYC in October and I plan on being there.

While training with Duane, I was driven to find out what else is available in the world of Silat.  I contacted Alvin Guinanao of Silat Buka Lingkaran to see if he gave any seminars in my area.  Alvin teaches a comprehensive fighting system which includes weapons, standing and ground fighting, as well as locks, chokes and grabs, or pretty much what I think Karate could be if more folks understood the kata.  I became familiar with Alvin's work while researching all things Silat.  I am fascinated by the way he turns what looks like a dance into a full-blown deadly martial art.  Karate's kata always seems to fall short in this regard.  For some reason, karate's proponents focused on the individual and lost sight of the opponent.

Anyway,  I asked Alvin if he would consider giving a seminar in NYC and he has agreed.  I am very excited about this.  My karate buddy, Joe C. is helping me put this seminar together.  If you are in the NY tri-state area and want to experience Silat, or are more than mildly curious about making your karate a better karate, you have got to participate in these seminars.


  1. Pencak Silat fills in a lot of grey areas in some arts that appear to be less comprehensive. I was having a conversation today with my wife about pros and cons of learning forms, katas ,and or jurus. Her systema teacher doesnt like forms and or katas. I have heard this from a few martial arts teachers, however i think that in all of these forms there is a wealth of knowledge(ie application, technique). Silat jurus are explored and presented in a way that provides the pesilat with several options regarding application and technique. In some cases the possibilities are limitless with the right mind set, skills set and dedication.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Mark. Kata and forms earned a bad rap in many cases because the instructors had no knowledge of the applications. They were presented as quirky dances whose steps must be memorized, but not understood.

    2. Mark, if you're talking about the "systema" as a Russian form of martial arts, I would urge you to be more critical. The last 20 years have given a lot of opportunities to compare the previously closed "systema" with other MA and I fear that she could not stand the competition. I'm from Russia, and here we are extremely wary of the "systema". And even more so I would not take seriously the opinion of the coach "systema" set up a maximum of 30 years ago, about karate and silat that exist much longer. In addition, the "system" was created by one person, and silat and karate - the result of collective work. I am a patriot of my country, but let's distinguish between reality and marketing :-)

  2. Forms/Kata/Quen are important and like it was stated earlier, they are given a bad rap because many do not understand the applications.

    When you practice the forms of your chosen art correctly, you get an understanding and a one-ness with that art that can not be achieved any other way, in my humble opinion.