The Silat secret to beat a faster opponent.

There’s always somebody faster.

…and no matter how hard we train we can’t afford to make the assumption that the attackers will be slower than us. Especially in Pencak Silat where blades are a given.

…and every day we get older and more and more people become faster than we are.

…and even if we are fast, 3 attackers half our speed still have a speed advantage.

…but that’s OK

Because in the words of Uncle Bill,

“Speed is Bullshit”

There are two things that beat speed.

Either one is good, both together is almost unbeatable.

And, unlike speed, these do NOT decline with age.

So you can keep getting better and better no matter how slow you get.

First is Timing.

Timing is showing up for the race a day early and getting a 24 hour head start on all the other runners.

The second is Position.

Position is when you start the marathon 5 feet from the finish line.

(These may sound like cheating but, in a life or death attack, if you’re not cheating you’re not doing Silat right.)

Understanding position is absolutely critical.

In the Internal Combat Arts course:

  • Kuntao Silat lessons 2, 4 8 & 10 all teach essential positioning skills.
  • Bagua lessons 15, 16 & 17 teach multiple attacker positioning principles
  • Bagua lessons 13 and Tai Chi lessons 15, 16 & 17 teach internal positioning skills.

…and most of the other lessons are using these positioning principles even when the focus is on teaching other skills.


3 Silat strategies to beat a surprise attack

In Pencak Silat we always assume the attack is unexpected.

This seems like common sense but most martial artists train as if they will know when they will be attacked.

There are 3 important things to take into account.

But first,

Train your awareness.

Talking about awareness isn’t enough.

You need to practice on a regular basis. Drills exercises and techniques to build this skill. The same way you build the physical skills of your art.

Training awareness isn’t enough.

We must assume that at some point our awareness will fail and we need to be ready.

1) Minimize the damage.

We have to assume we’ll be hit or stabbed before we realize we are under attack.

This means we’ll need to train our body to respond automatically.

So that as soon as an opponent makes contact our body relaxes and slides out of the way.

Turning punches into grazes and stabs into ‘light’ slices.

The Internal Combat Arts Course has several beginning drills for developing this skill.

2) Work from where you are.

In a surprise attack we won’t have time to change position or take a “fighting stance.”

We must effectively respond to the attack first.

This means training to move well from awkward and uncomfortable positions.

Learning to strike with power at awkward angles.

Learn to use the entire body. Every tool is useless in some situations and positions. You must have enough tools at your disposal that you are never out of options.

And this brings us to weapons…

3) Improvised Weapons.

The only weapons you can rely in are those already in your hands at the instant you are attacked.

A person with a knife who is 20 feet away from you can stab you before you can draw a gun.

This has been tested and proven over and over.

…and that’s assuming you know the attacker is about to charge you.

If you don’t know they are an attacker your reaction time will be even slower.

The thing is attackers don’t tell you they’re an attacker.

…and they certainly don’t announce it when they’re 30 feet away from you.

So, we must assume we’ll be empty handed when we are attacked.

And if we are training to draw a weapon we must train to draw in the middle of an altercation while we are already fighting.

In Silat drawing a weapon is built into the empty handed movements of the art and the empty hand fighting movements are the same ones you use with a weapon.

Last, train to use anything that might be in your hand already.

Pen, Cell Phone, Purse or whatever.

Our favorite improvised weapons in Clear’s Silat are the other attackers.

How to prepare for self defense reality: The 7 assumptions you must make.

Assumption is often treated as a four letter word.

It’s not.

In fact, it is an absolute necessity.

We almost never have all the facts.

…But we must act anyway.

And so we make the best assumptions we can with what little we know.

There are a couple tricks to making this work for us instead of against us.

1) Know when you’re making assumptions.

2) Make the right assumptions.

So let’s talk about the second one.

How many attackers will attack you?

There’s no reliable way to know the answer.

…but whether we realize it or not any training we do is preparing us for a specific number of attackers. So first we must make that assumption for ourselves instead of letting it happen for us.

Next we have to make the right one.

There are a few options:

  • A single attacker
  • A small group (2 – 4)
  • A large group / Zombie Horde (5 – 8+)

We could train for a single attacker, but then we’re screwed if we’re attacked by a group (or a horde.)

We could train for all of them, but there are two problems:
1) That requires our training time is split among more things and so it’s less effective.

2) It means we make another assumption. The assumption that we will be able to determine how many people are attacking us and do it quickly enough to choose the right skillset before it’s too late.

Fortunately there’s a third option.

Techniques and strategies that work against a group will also work against a single person.

So if we assume there’s a large group, and train for it, then if we’re wrong we’re still good and if we’re right it’s what we trained for.

That may sound like common sense. …but we all know how often people use common sense.

So, here are the seven assumptions you must make to ensure that your expectations of self defense meet or exceed the reality.


  • There are Multiple Attackers.
  • The Attack is Unexpected.
  • The Attackers are Armed.
  • The Attackers are Faster.
  • The Attackers are Stronger.
  • You are Old & Out of Shape.
  • You have unforeseen limitations.

EVERY single martial artist is making assumptions on each of these points.

You have NO choice.

Either you train for a single attacker or you train for a group of attackers.
You can assume the attackers are unarmed or you can assume they have weapons.
You can assume the attackers are stronger or you can assume they are weaker.

There is no middle ground.

You CAN be aware of these assumptions.

And if you’re aware of them you can make a conscious, ‘educated assumption.’

The Clear Defense Method will teach you how to train for all these issues with clear and direct skillsets you can implement right away.

Learn this method directly from Sigung Clear at the Clear Defense Instructor Certification Workshop in July.

Early Bird registration ends on April 21st.

If you can’t make the workshop, you can get the Clear Defense DVD package on sale April 19 – 21.

The first rule of Pencak Silat

The first and most important rule of Pencak Silat is…

Rule 1) Survive.

Everything else is secondary.

…because if that first thing doesn’t happen, nothing else will either.

There are many great reasons to study Silat.

  • Safety
  • Health
  • Peace of mind
  • Confidence
  • Longevity
  • Strength
  • Power
  • Friends
  • Fun
  • Stress Relief
  • Fitness

…and many more.

But in Silat short term survival is first.

  • You can survive several weeks without food.
  • You can survive several days without water.
  • You can survive a few minutes without air.

When a crazed maniac is swinging a machete at your head you only have a second…

…maybe less.. use your head and stay alive.

This is where we begin training in Pencak Silat.

Tai Chi VS Silat. What’s the Difference?

We often talk about the differences between Tai Chi, Hsing-I and Bagua.

  • Hsing-I moves forward in waves like a sine wave or water rolling in to the beach.
  • Bagua moves more like a gyroscope or/& a spinning sphere within a spinning sphere.
  • Tai Chi moves more like a large ball that can expand or deflate instantly from the inside & outside.

But what about Silat?

Well that’s a little tougher.

Unlike Tai Chi, Silat isn’t a single art. It’s a whole category.

There are around 900 styles of Silat including arts like Tjimande, Tjikalong, Harimau, etc…

So it really depends on which type of Silat you compare it to.

Here are a few generalizations to get you started:

  • Tai Chi is usually much more concerned with health in the beginning.
  • Silat usually starts with survival first.
  • Tai Chi uses very refined structure.
  • Some Silat will throw structure completely out the window.
  • Tai Chi will tends to use a very calm quiet mental & body state.
  • Silat will often do the opposite. There’s a lot more…

Keep in mind that with a category as big and diverse as Silat there will always be exceptions to the rule.

For example, our Clear Defense method is straight up Kuntao Silat.

It’s aggressive, powerful, vicious.

However, if you train it, you’ll find yourself using all of these Tai Chi principles:

  • Peng, Lu, Ji, An
  • Zhong Ding (central equilibrium)
  • Whole body connection (& one piece moves everything moves)
  • The “They attack first I land first” principle
  • Condensing
  • Opening & Closing
  • Root and more…

The method also prevents someone from having the error of double weighted and every bit of movement is found throughout the Tai Chi form.

…and, though the method is somewhat rigorous, we’ve successfully taught it to 60 & 70 year olds who were not in very good shape.

In this case the only thing that really makes Clear Defense a Silat method is the attitude. Because this method is designed to be learned quickly, students use a very aggressive mind state.

We find the aggression of Silat much easier for beginners to use effectively in an attack, While the calm peaceful mind state of Tai Chi takes a bit longer to develop well enough for use in life and death situations.

Learn this method at our Clear Defense Certification Workshop in July.

You can also get the Clear Defense Instructor DVD Package.

My first encounter with Sigung Clear…

Many years ago…
I studied Karate for a short time.

I only ever fought in one tournament. I got kicked in the head twice and took second place because there were only two of us in my division.

It was frustrating.

Not because I lost.

Or even because I was roughed up a little. It was frustrating because [Read more…]

Bubble toe fighting secrets of Jack Johnson

“Move Like a jellyfish, rhythm is nothing
You go with the flow, you don’t stop” – Jack Johnson, ‘Bubble Toes’

1. Move like a jellyfish.

  • Don’t hold tension anywhere,
  • Effortlessly float out of the way of an attack,
  • Make sure every touch is excruciatingly painful for the attacker.

2. Rhythm is Nothing.

– You use rhythmic movement but you are not bound by it. The Rhythm changes constantly and you mix in a healthy dose of broken rhythm.

3. You go with the flow.

We prefer the phrase: “Go where there’s no resistance” but the principle is the same.

Let your movement flow from what is happening.

Don’t try to force a technique or strategy.

4. You don’t stop…


Constant motion is critical.

Change the distance, change the flow, change your position.

Never be in one place for more than an instant.

Unless it’s bait.

We teach all of this in the first phase of Clear’s Silat.

In a few days all 17 Phase 1 DVDs will be finished and I’ll put together several instructor packages and discounts for folks who want to study the system in depth.

Get started right now.

Head on over to amazon and get
Internal Combat Arts Vol 1: Kun Tao Silat

Free Lesson: Silat Destructions

From Clear’s Silat Phase 1 Vol 8: Upper Body Art.

A destruction is any technique that disables part of the opponents body for 26 minutes or longer. At least the duration of the fight.

This could be anything from nasty charlie horse that takes out the arm for a little less than half an hour to a broken limb that will never heal right again.

How to hold a Knife

This free Silat lesson is brought to you by Clear’s Silat Phase 1 Vol 5.

Free Silat Lesson: Waist Power

“putting your hips into it” will destroy the hip joint. Use you’re waist instead.

This lesson is brought to you by Clear’s Silat Phase 1 Vol 5.

Read more about Waist Power, Knee Power & Whole Body Power here:

Free Silat Lesson 12 – More Power through Leverage

This free silat lesson from our class on “walking style” will teach you how to gain more power through proper leverage.

Learn this and much more on Clear’s Silat Vol 4.

Learn more about Class 12 Walking, Shaking Hands & Running:

Defeating Karate Kicks

Defeating Karate kicks first involves knowing how the karate kicks are performed and used and understanding both the strengths and weaknesses inherent to the techniques. Of course in our Phase I class we are referring to average basic common karate kicks practiced in most Karate schools in America today.

Defeating these kicks is one of the basic Phase I classes in the Clear’s Kun Tao Silat curriculum and of course there is much more advanced material further along in our curriculum as we definitely understand that a senior black belt in a good karate system will have more than just the basics to work with and will move much better and with more fluidity and less telegraphing than most folks who practice and train these kicks.

The 5 most basic karate kicks are

  1. The front snap kick
  2. The round house kick
  3. The side kick
  4. The spinning back kick
  5. The crescent kick which can easily be an ax kick

Each of these kicks have their strengths and defeating them means avoiding those and taking advantages of the weaknesses of the kicks as practiced by most people.

The biggest weaknesses of Karate kicks are as follows: [Read more…]

How to Fight Multiple Attackers…

Be somewhere else…

As always the first priority in any attack is to be somewhere else or to escape.

However attackers will do their best to make escape impossible.

Only fight one person at a time.

In the movies when the hero is surrounded the bad guys step up one at a time to fight and be defeated.

This is ideal. Unfortunately in the real world attackers don’t do this for you.

You have to do all the work yourself and prevent them from surrounding you in the first place.
[Read more…]

Free Silat Lesson 8: Retreating Forwards

This lesson is brought to you by Clear’s Silat Phase 1 Volume 4.

You can read more about Retreating Forwards here:

Free Silat Lesson 7: Ranges of Fighting.

Brought to you by Clear’s Silat Volume 3. On Sale Through Nov 6.

Learn more about the Ranges of Fighting.

Free Silat Video Lesson #5: Silat Decoy & Welcoming Postures

This is from Clear’s Silat Phase 1 Class 6: Decoy & Welcoming Postures

Read more about Decoy & Welcoming Postures:

Silat Jamming

In Clear’s Silat Jamming is used as a technique to control the other person’s entire body through one point of contact.

For instance if the attacker has their fists up in an aggressive stance then the defender can jam the arm at the elbow to control the attackers body through the elbow.

To do this you must…

[Read more…]

Free Silat Lesson 3: Using Your Legs

This is from Phase 1 Class 3: Habud

You can read more about Habud drills & Training here:

Silat Lift Kicks

Silat Lift Kicks are a nice and relatively simple tool that you can use to defend yourself.

The movement is simple.

Think of moving your leg the same way that you would to move a box that is sitting on the floor with your toe.

Simply reach out and push the box without any extra movement or telegraphing.

However, the internal aspect of lift kicks is very important.

The idea is to [Read more…]

How to Build Bone Breaking Power with Standing Bear

Standing Bear is one of the basic entries in Clear’s Silat Phase I that contains critical skills for more advanced training in the art.

It is long power based movement that is most often seen in the orangutan movenment in the island arts.

The first skill worked on and learned is how to use the power of gravity to drop an enormous amount of whole body power on your opponent. At more advanced levels it is easy to use the skills learned in this kind of fighting method to break an attackers arm.

Most people will find the basic training method unusual both in look and application but after you have trained the basics actually apply this fighting method becomes easy.

Basic Practice Method.

To practice Standing Bear start by [Read more…]