Roughly speaking, silat means “skill for fighting.” There are hundreds of different styles of silat, most of which are found in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, southern Thailand and the southern Philippines. Common to all of these styles is a combat-oriented ideology and the use of weaponry.
Virtually all silat styles, particularly Filipino silat, emphasize weapons training. In the areas where silat originated, carrying a weapon - usually one of the bladed variety - was for generations a fact of life for the general male populace. A silat practitioner will normally be skilled with a knife, stick, sword, staff, spear, rope, chain, whip, projectile weapons or a combination thereof.
What comprises a good silat system? Following are some of the key components:
The style must have techniques that allow you to move quickly and efficiently into close range of your opponent. It must also include training methods that will hone your timing, precision and accuracy when employing those techniques.
The system must have effective punching and kicking techniques. Heavy-duty techniques such as headbutts, knee smashes and elbow strikes must be highly developed. “Finishing” techniques are more effective if your opponent is properly “tranquilized.”
Most silat systems emphasize weapons training at some point. This training will include realistic contact-oriented drills rather than forms practice and will greatly improve your reflexes, timing, accuracy, rhythm and precision. It’s amazing how quickly practitioners improve when facing a bladed weapon traveling at a high rate of speed.
Suryadi (Eddie) Jafri was one of the first to teach pentjak silat in the United States, conducting seminars throughout the country in the 1970s and ’80s before returning to Indonesia several years ago.
About the author: Terry H. Gibson is a Tutsa, Oklahoma-based martiat arts instructor who teaches various styles of silat, muay Thai and jeet kune do.
This article posted in honor of Terry Gibson (March 28, 1953 - September 26, 1997). He would've been 62 today.
Please check out these related Silat entries in case you missed them:
- REVIEW: “Village of the Keris” DVD
- IN MEMORY OF: Pendekar Paul De Thouars (1930 - Sept 11, 2013)
- Bobbe Edmonds - Limb Destructions Vidclips
- Bobbe Edmonds - Mande Muda Vidclips
- Bobbe Edmonds - Penchak Silat Lecture Vidclips
- Bobbe Edmonds - Pecut Pencak Silat Lecture Vidclips
- Bobbe Edmonds - Perception in the Martial Arts
- Bobbe Edmonds - Posture, Structure, Stance and Mobility
- Some sarong notes from a Dan Inosanto seminar by JMAN
- Silat exponent Saiedah Said banned during the recent National Pencak Silat Championships
- NEWS: Malaysia looking to revive and preserve Silat
For another Terry Gibson article, please check: