Archives for March 2010

Silat Retreating Forwards Techniques

Here is a basic list of Retreating Forwards Techniques.

1. Evade – Covered in the last post on Retreating Forwards.

2. Flanking – Step out to your left or right at 90 degrees and then step back into the opponent while leaning in and moving forwards the entire time. The shape will look similar to this < or > .

Think of roller skating or ice skating. if you do not lean in a bit then you will fall over your own skate due to your momentum. In the case of the physical technique you are in an extremely weak position if you are not leaning in towards your opponent all of the way through the movement. The trick is to step far enough away with the first step so that they can not hit you while you are flanking and to over run their position on the way back in. Your lean into them does not have to be much and in fact can be slight enough so that they can barely see it if they are looking for it.

You can flank this way against any straight punch or kick and against a hook if you are moving to the opposite side of the incoming strike. So, if they are throwing a hook from my right side then I am stepping out to my left.

3. Crowding & smothering – I can step directly into the opponent and run them over crowding and or smothering their ability to throw a technique. I will be writing at least one full post dedicated to the topic of smothering.

4. Penetrate through the attacker.
When the opponent throws a big hook I simply launch myself (leading and making contact with my forearms) straight through the middle of their arm with my entire body weight. The idea is to make their arm collide into your entire body weight moving forward and through them. If the arm collides with your entire body weight moving forwards and through it then typically the arm will be temporarily paralyzed from the impact with the body momentum and weight.

Another option is that if the attack is a big haymaker and I can step in and hit / shove their head in the direction that their fist is coming from it will completely stop the incoming hit.

Silat – Retreating Forwards

Retreating Forwards is basically the idea that you always go forwards and never back up.  At the same time, you may need to get out of the way of an incoming attack.  You get out of the way by moving forwards.

Running from an overwhelming or unnecessary situation is well within our parameters of effective self defense.  We will try to escape from gunfire, multiple attackers armed with machetes and other such overwhelming odds and we will try to get away from the drunk who is stumbling around but insistent on fighting to the death over some drunkenly misperceived slight like we looked at him the wrong way.  The drunk may need a lesson but we do not want to go to jail and / or get sued for killing him or breaking him into little, barely recognizable pieces.

To retreat forwards if you are going to move in a direction that is behind your current position (i.e. you are facing North and want to run South) then you must move forwards and turn in a forwards movement while turning around.  If you are going to turn and run from a situation or opponent who may be pursuing you then you will usually want to see the way you are traveling and the situation or opponent you are escaping from at the same time.  This requires some specific physical positioning and the use of  peripheral vision.  You could also retreat forwards and escape by turning left or right and running straight ahead in the new  direction.  Please remember that in retreating forwards you also turn to the new direction by utilizing forward movement.  Most people tend to turn in a way that actually causes them to move backwards while they are turning.  Turn by moving forwards.

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Phase 1 Vol 3 is now available for Pre-Order.  This Video contains classes 6, 7 & 8

  • 06 Decoy & Welcoming Postures
  • 07 Constant Motion
  • 08 Ranges of Fighting

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Silat is a Closing Art

In the last post I stated and detailed the first 2 steps to Clear’s Silat Ranges of Fighting. The 3rd step of Clear’s Silat Ranges of Fighting was introduced and will be elaborated on in this post.

The 3rd step for proper utilization of Clear’s Silat Ranges of Fighting is to learn how to transition from one range to another effectively. An example of this is training how to get from 1 to 2 steps out of Kicking Range into Pukulan “Collision” Range in a way that does not cause you to get hit but allows you to go all of the way in and through your opponent with your various techniques.

Silat is a closing art. A closing art closes in on the opponent and goes all of the way into and through them finishing by coming out the other side. You will want to train to go all of the way into the opponent starting from various distances and positions and carefully /safely training to go all of the way through them. This is not just a grappling position. It is a collision that is closer and completely flush to the other person leaving no available or open space for most holds and grapples with the idea being to go through the opponent and to break them in the process. I have had a fair amount of grapplers look at me funny when they first hear this and then when they see or feel it they quickly agree that the majority of grappling arts popular today need a little bit of space between the 2 practitioners for the grappling arts to be effective.

A NOTE HERE: Practice carefully and safely. It is hard to find partners if you hurt those you practice with and people who are seriously injured by you playing to rough tend to want to harm you back when they are in the sweet position to do so and sometimes sooner. Please be careful, safe and professional in your training.

You may have noticed that grappling is not a range in Clear’s Silat. That is because trapping and grappling / breaking just like striking can occur at every distance. So, which distance is grappling? All distances can be used to trap, grapple and break.

To train the Silat Closing Art carefully practice and train to go in and through an opponent starting from various positions and distances using your various tools and techniques. Work to always end up on the other side of the opponent to continue running or fighting after you have broken through them. Being able to smoothly and efficiently work / fight through the ranges and get finishing breaking moves that immediately end the situation is a signature technique of most real Silat.

The 7 Ranges of Fighting

The Ranges of Fighting in Clear’s Silat are as follows.

  1. Shooting or Throwing Distance
  2. 1 to 2 Steps out of Kicking Range
  3. Kicking Range
  4. Punching Range
  5. Knee Range
  6. Elbow Range
  7. Pukulan “Collision” Range

Clear’s Silat Ranges of Fighting are based on the distance that your torso is from the torso of the recipient and how far their torso is from you.

The first step is to learn the ranges.

The 2nd step is to learn what techniques can be used at each range and where and how they can be used. For instance at 1 to 2 steps out of kicking range you can hit the opponents extended kicking leg with your hand, foot, knee or elbow.

You can punch, kick or grapple at every distance from 1 to 2 Steps out of Kicking Range to Pukulan “Collision” Range. However, what you punch, kick or grab / break and the way you punch, kick or grab / break will be different at every range.

In Pukulan “Collision” Range you can use all of your bodies tools and weapons. They will be used differently than they are at kicking range but they can be used at this distance with quite effectiveness. Both striking and grappling can be performed quite well at this distance. There is simply to much info for me to try to post it all here. You will want to see our video on this in order to get a better idea of how to effectively use your tools when in this close body contact range.

The 3rd step for proper utilization of ranges is to learn how to transition from one range to another effectively. An example of this is training how to get from 1 to 2 steps out of Kicking Range into Pukulan “Collision” Range in a way that does not cause you to get hit but allows you to go all of the way in with your various techniques.

I will write more about the 3rd step of Clear’s Silat Ranges of Fighting in my next post.

Silat Constant Motion Fighting

In Silat Constant Motion Fighting is used in almost every facet of the art. The only exception is when you are hiding and when you are in stationary decoy and welcoming postures. Some welcoming postures stand still as part of the trick of deception and decoy. The rest of the time the art moves and for very good reason. The culture where Silat is from is a bladed tribal based culture where multiple attackers are the norm. If you stand still against an attack from multiple attackers swinging bladed weapons who are attempting to hack you to bits then you will most certainly die. As a result in Silat, Constant Motion Fighting is a hard and fast rule of survival.

Silat Constant Motion Fighting can be used to run away to live and fight another day. It can also be used to furiously and continuously attack until your opponents can no longer attack you. In Silat Constant Motion Fighting is generally used for one or both of these purposes. In extreme self defense situations standing in a pose and waiting for the attackers to come to you one by one will get you killed as they will simply surround you and then overwhelm you or hack at you with their blades until you eventually bleed to death. Constant Movement is essential to avoiding such a terrible outcome.

A moving target is much harder to hit. If an attacker chases you to hit you and you are properly trained then there is an excellent opportunity for you to use Silat Constant Motion Fighting to hit them while they are trying to get into position to hit you. The opponent never gets to strike you because you continuously hit and run them until they are so injured that either you can escape (the first and best legal choice) or finish them off if necessary.

If an attacker wants to stand and fist fight Silat Constant Motion Fighting immediately disrupts their plans because we simply won’t stand still for it. Most kickers can not kick while they are running or even while walking and usually they stop walking to aim and throw a kick. When the attacker stops you are still moving and so the attacker usually can not land a foot on you at all. Grapplers have the same problem.

Remember the UFC matches where the 2 opponents would run around the ring for 30 minutes because every time the grappler would shoot in he would get empty air or get hit on his way in as the defender moved out of the way. Silat Continuous Movement Fighting makes it quite difficult for a grappler to get a decent grab on you and they can not easily lock you up because the constant movement makes it hard for them to get in close enough to tie you up.

If the grappler insists on trying to get a serious grab on you while you are continuously moving then they usually become quite vulnerable and expose themselves in ways that make it easy for you to get them in ways that most fighters find unacceptable when their life is on the line. This is simply because it takes so much more commitment and energy to grab and hold a moving target. As an example I will simply state this: A child or small animal that wants to be picked up is generally easy to get a hold of and secure. A small child or animal that does not want to be picked up and runs from you can be quite difficult or nearly impossible to get and if they are fighting then you are most likely going to get bit, kicked and scratched even though you are a lot bigger and stronger than them. If they know where and how to hit and hurt you then imagine that as opposed to the random striking, clawing and biting they are likely to do.

Play with Silat Constant Motion fighting while on the move for a while. At first you may only be able to evade. If you have the patience for it you will also find that most opponents will be unwilling to commit to attacking you. As you practice and get better at it you will be able to move and attack at the same time. You can also drill moving and attacking against a training partner whose job it is to get to you without getting tagged by you in the process.
After you get good at it drill Silat Constant Motion Fighting against multiple attackers.

Have fun.

5 Silat Welcoming Postures

Silat Welcoming Postures are actually moving positions that utilize deception and decoy to attempt to trick an opponent into making a bad decision or moving into a bad position.

I will use some simple examples to illustrate the idea of Silat Welcoming Postures. These examples will help me to make the point about what Silat Welcoming Postures are but these examples are generally are not used in the islands as they are to overtly obvious to another Silat fighter. However, the examples I am listing here could generally be used in our culture if you have the deceptive skills to pull it off.

Example 1: Stick your hand out and offer to let the other fighter strike it so that you can get his hand with something hard such as your elbow when he goes for the bait.

Example 2: Stick your head out and offer to let the other fighter strike it so that you can evade the head attack and attack him as he comes in. Think of the bull fighter who holds the cape in front of the bull only to stick the bull with the sword when the bull comes charging in.

Example 3: Make it look as though you have a bad leg that you can not move very well and when the attacker tries to capitalize on what appears to be a weakness you then have him as you are quite prepared for his attack and actually very strong in the leg that you offered as bait.

Example 4: This one is the kind that Silat tends to really use. Make it look like you are really defending yourself but have one little positional error that is very slight so that it looks like an actual mistake or poor position that you are not aware. It could be an arm that is held a little to low and forward making it appear like an actual mistake of position as opposed to something being offered. Or it could be a foot that you make it look like you are trying to use to creep towards the opponent while you are actually extending it for bait while hiding the fact.

Essentially these are traps that you are waiting to spring as soon as the attacker comes into range or begins to get into a position to take advantage. If you have one position and then change into another very different position and the opponent follows suit you may have an advantage to attack them while they are changing positions.

Example 5: Silat definitely uses this one. Change from one position to another and do it so that you look to be open while changing positions. When the opponent tries to capitalize on the opening they are actually stepping into the trap. This requires that the Silat practitioner be very skilled at both the positions and the changing between positions including having a multitude of fighting options in each part of the positions and transition. The skill needs to be high enough that it looks like there is an opening which is in reality a trap that can be sprung at any time.

Silat Decoy

Silat Decoy arts use the idea of decoy in a number of different ways. In this post I will elaborate a bit on Silat decoy using fighting position, Personal Body Slapping and Upper and Lower Body Arts.

In fighting a decoy often refers to the idea of a fake hit or feint. Although a Silat fighter may utilize a feint they will much more often use their body position to try to make the opponent think that they are attacking from a direction or with a body part that is different from the direction or body part that they are actually really using. As a result sometimes strikes are thrown at odd angles or from strange positions compared to most conventional fighting methods.

The application is to cause the opponent to not see what you are actually attacking them with until it is to late and ideally they never see or realize what direction or / and what body part / tool they are being attacked with. Only, if they are still awake, after being hit should the opponent know they were hit and as soon as their focus goes to where they were hit then another technique is applied somewhere else equally unexpectedly.

In Silat Decoy you will also find the practice of personal body slapping. The slapping in Silat can be used to make the opponent look in the direction of the sound of the slap while a real strike comes from another direction. A personal body slap or stomp is meant to be disorienting or distracting even for an opponent who is moving and fighting more intelligently.

Also, in Silat Decoy arts we have the upper and lower body art. The lower body art uses foot, knee and leg methods including leverage including tripping and trapping. The upper body art is everything above the waist. To use decoy with the upper and lower body arts is a fairly simple matter but it must be trained to be performed well.

One of my favorite Silat Decoy techniques is as follows: An upper body strike is thrown or defended against while I am stepping on the opponents foot. The opponent sees the upper body strike / defense but does not see the step on the foot.

Another Silat Decoy technique is to kick the leg of an approaching attacker and when they are pitched by the contact then I apply the upper body art strike or grab to them. They do not realize the upper body art is happening until it is to late.

In the next post I will continue to add some info about the Silat Decoy art with a focus on Silat Welcoming Postures.

Striking With Power (Nine Angles Part 3)

One of the basic principles studied when practicing the nine angles of attack regarding external blunt trauma striking is that power can only be transferred one of two ways.
1. Strike through the target
2. Bounce off of the target
When you stop on the target at the point of contact with the target then no or very little power gets transferred.

When practicing the nine angles of attack first practice swinging all of the way through the target from one side to the other in the cases of angles one through six so from extreme right to extreme left or vice versa and from up to down and from down to up in the cases of angles seven and eight.

The next way to practice the nine angles of attack is to bounce the strike out and back in at a point midway in front of you. Practice doing it where you throw an angle 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 then an angle 2, 4, 6 and 8.

If you look at the possibility of strikes using each hand once and either retracting from a bounce or striking through then you have approximately 17 possibilities with each arm / hand multiplied by the same number of possibilities with the other hand. So 17 X 17 = 289. If you throw either hand one more time then you have another 17 minimum possibilities for a total of at least 4,913 options just by using these nine possible basic moves with either a pull through or a retraction.

One of the major secrets of so-called Karate blocks is that they are not blocks at all but are in reality pressure point strikes. The only way for them to be effective and actually work is for the practitioner to do as I have stated above. This may seem strange since most Karate forms strike or throw a block and then stop.

This method of stopping the motion at best was only meant for very new beginners to learn the kata patterns and at worst it is an outright deception that is intended to keep non-devotees in the dark regarding the actual applications of the art. There is unfortunately a lot of this and it is not limited to Karate.

The idea that these pressure point strikes are blocks is something that crept into the teaching of the Karate katas in the 1960’s. I have spoken with more than one person who trained in the 1960’s who have personally stated that one day they were learning the moves as pressure point strike and at the very next class they were being taught as blocks without any mention of how or why this came to be and without ever again mentioning the reality of the moves as pressure point strikes.

Anyway, one last word on the nine angles of attack. If you look at an angle 2 it moves in the same manner as an upward block (pressure point strike) in traditional Karate. If you look at an angle 6 it moves like a downward block in traditional karate. If you move your arms pulling in behind yourself with a angle 3 and 4 and then move your hands back out in front of you with an angle 3 and 4 then you are performing another Karate hand move. In fact with the nine angles you can achieve every karate hand blocking (really striking) and striking moves in the majority of Karate styles all of the way up to the 3rd degree black belt. Not bad for a little nine move set that can be easily learned in just a couple of hours.

Nine Angles of Attack (part 2)

Click here to read Part 1

5. Angle 5 is like a golf swing. Your right arm continues from where you stopped behind your neck and shoulder on your right side. You then swing it through hitting their kidneys or scooping up one of their legs or knocking a kicking leg away. I highly recommend using an open hand slap to do this. Angle 5 finishes behind your neck and shoulder on the left side of your body.

6. Angle 6 picks up where angle 5 left off. Angle 6 is like a reverse golf swing. Your right arm continues from where you stopped behind your neck and shoulder on your left side. You then swing it through hitting their kidneys or scooping up one of their legs or knocking a kicking leg away. I highly recommend using an open hand slap to do this. Angle 6 finishes behind your neck and shoulder on the right side of your body.

7. Angle 7 picks up where angle 6 left off. Your hand is in the shape of a fist. Raise your right arm straight up into the air and then drop it straight down in front of you as you turn. Continue the motion finishing with your fist behind your neck and shoulder on your left side. Think of Angle 7 as a strike to the top of their head, top of their nose or into their teeth. Try to make the downward angle so straight that opponent will have trouble actually seeing it. Angle 7 can also be a downward arm break.

8. Angle 8 picks up where angle 7 left off. Your hand is in the shape of a fist. Drop your right arm straight down into their groin and then raise it straight up in front of you as you turn. Continue the motion finishing with your fist behind your neck and shoulder on your right side. Techniques for Angle 8 include the groin, the bladder, the stomach and under the chin. Angel 8 can also be an uppercut.

9. Angle 9 is a straight punch with a fist out in front of you.