Silat – Sleepy Eye, Wide Eye and Looking Down

Sleepy Eye, Wide Eye and Looking Down are 3 different types of vision methods that are taught in Clear’s Silat that can be used as part of your fighting arsenal.

Sleepy Eye

Sleepy eye is an old Shaolin method used to conserve energy and relax the body.

It has the benefit of making you move faster and also when you relax the eyes you can see more around you including the floor, ceiling (if inside) and more to the left and right.

Your view is a bit unfocused but you actually perceive motion faster and objects that are close such as an incoming fist do not look nearly as large allowing you a much better ability to move without getting overly fixated on the close object.

Sleepy eye is also a great way to survey your surroundings while you appear not to be looking at anyone or thing around you.

To practice sleepy eye let your eyelids droop about half way. If you have astigmatism then you may have to hold your eyes slightly differently and I have taught folks where the vision that they normally have is sleepy eye due to the astigmatism they have. Corrective lens glasses correct this and to do sleepy eye when wearing glasses you will still normally do it the way that I have described here.

Wide Eye

Wide eye is a method of looking whereby you open your eyes as much as you can. For most people this will elevate and ramp up your fighting mood while typically causing you to defocus a bit even though once again you can see much more of what is around you.

Wide eye typically will put you in a fight or flight mindset.

Wide eye will also tend to make you hyper respond to any incoming stimulus. It can be easier to do wide eye if you tilt your head forward and look through your eyebrows.

Looking Down

If you look down at the floor at about a 90 degree angle ( \ ) with your eyes open you will notice that your ability to see what is around you is improved while you look like you are looking at the floor.

This is great to use for multiple attackers or if you think there might be multiple attackers so that you can see where everyone is at relative to you and your position. You will be able to get 180 degree view around you simply be taking one step forward. If you start with your left arm / side in front of you and then you step so that your right arm side is in front of you then you get the complete view.

A simple benefit is knowing when someone is close enough that they can reach you and being able to respond while they still think that you do not realize how close they are.

Sleepy Eye, Wide Eye and Looking Down are 3 of our beginning visual training methods. As you continue through our Clear’s Silat program you will learn other visual methods for use in self defense.

Good training to you.
Until next time.

Kun Tao Silat – Flip Kicks & Head Butting


Two other basic techniques in Kun Tao Silat that are included in the Clear’s Kun Tao Silat curriculum are Flip Kicks & Head Butting. There are many other techniques and methods. These are simply some of the basics that we specifically teach along with the Clear’s Kun Tao Silat Basic 8 Set in our system of Kun Tao Silat.

Flip Kicks

Flip Kicks are intended to be thrown close enough to the opponent so that you can hit the opponents front thigh. The intended target is normally just behind the knee and is intended to rake or cut downwards through their leg.

Flip Kicks are thrown by first stepping out with the front leg an inch to a foot or so and lifting the back leg up and bringing it over in an arc so that the shin and knee are facing downwards hence the name because the leg is flipped over.

This technique is very similar to a Thai Boxing Shin Kick except that the shin in this case is intended to rake and cut through the opponent most likely ending in a leg break to them.

After the Flip kick is launched the descent occurs by sinking on the support leg so that the practitioner’s entire body drops. The toes (which are pulled back) land on the floor and the practitioner is back in the Clear’s Kun Tao Silat Basic 8 position but now facing 180 degrees the other way.

When the first step happens the practitioner should throw their front hand out to strike followed immediately by the other hand. Ideally this overwhelms the intended recipient and keeps them busy so that they do not see the Flip Kick which lands an instant after the 2nd hand. As soon as the 2nd forward hand strike is thrown but before the 2nd hand lands the Flip Kick gets thrown.

Used properly this kick can have devastating results.

Head Butting

Clear’s Kun Tao Dragon set the headbutts are always present in every move.

The key thing to ingrain and practice is that the headbutts are not thrown by moving your head or neck but that instead you move your entire upper torso as one piece so that the entire upper body weight makes contact each time you headbutt. This is simply devastating to the recipient of such a blow. Another key element is to look through your eyebrows at whatever you are headbutting.

When you add the Flip Kick and the head butt into your Clear’s Kun Tao Dragon set arsenal you begin to get a fairly simple and quite powerful method of in close fighting that can be used quite effectively by anyone who takes the time to practice properly and build the leg strength, power and speed necessary to properly perform the set moves.

Kun Tao Dragon 8 Move Set

The Clear’s Kun Tao Silat Basic 8 Move Set utilizes a loaded position that capitalizes on compression and forward body motion to over run and go into and through the opponent.

To begin the Kun Tao Dragon Set stand with your feet parallel at shoulder width while facing forward.

Then, turn 90 degrees and face to the left. Lean slightly forward as if looking over the side of a steep cliff. Then, drop low enough that you can place your left forearm on top of your left thigh.

The toes of your right foot stay on the ground but pick up your right heel as high as you can so that you are ready to run or jump forwards due to the pressure on your toes.

All of your weight should be on your left leg and you want as much pressure as possible on the “loaded” right leg. If you pick up your left leg the right leg should pop you forward due to the pressure on it. This position resembles a runner poised and ready at the starting line.

All of the moves start and end in this loaded position with the exception of the Lift kick causing the practitioner to switch leg positions (the right leg has all the weight and the left becomes spring loaded) so that you can repeat the sequence on the other side of your body.

  • The 1st move is a spring loaded punch up with the whole body behind the punch.
  • The 2nd move is a punch down with a heavy forearm type of strike.
  • The 3rd move is an upward elbow with your forward elbow.
  • The 4th move is an elbow across with the back arm.
  • The 5th move is an upward (can be jumping) knee with the forward leg.
  • The 6th move is a cross knee with the back leg.
  • The 7th move is a shock kick where the front foot is kicking forward while the back foot moves up to replace the position the front foot was in. When the front foot sets down you are back in the Kun Tao Basic 8 stance one full move ahead of where you were before the kick.
  • The 8th move is a Lift Kick where your back foot is brought forward with your toes pulled back in order to spear or spike the opponent in the knee, groin, belly, (or throat if you are an advanced practitioner) with your foot. This kick is similar to a Push Kick in Thai Boxing.

In the Clear’s Kun Tao Dragon 8 Move Set you can also change sides / positions by stepping forward with the back foot so that your right leg now has your body weight and the left leg is loaded. You can also simply turn around 180 degrees by spinning on your toes or you can throw a Flip kick to turn 180 degrees.

We will be covering the Flip Kick in an upcoming Post

Kun Tao Silat Intro

Many hundreds of books could be written and filled regarding Silat styles, Kun Tao styles and the interaction of these two extensive arts commonly referred to as Kun Tao Silat. Silat styles generally are indigenous to the islands although they have flavors in them from all over the far east including from India. Kun Tao styles are of Chinese origin and the literal translation of Kun Tao from Cantonese to English is Fist Way.

In the Indonesian archipelago you can find art forms that are purely Silat and there are art forms that are purely Kun Tao. More often than not there is some degree of mixture between the two arts. Sometimes this is acknowledged by the practitioners and sometimes it is not. When the mixture is evident (usually when the mix has more than 25% from each art) then the mixture is generally acknowledged because it is somewhat obvious to other martial artists of either style. As a result these styles are more and more often becoming known as a Kun Tao Silat style. Clear’s Silat is a Kun Tao Silat style and is officially recognized as such by other senior practitioners of the arts.

Many years ago, in order to help new students gain an understanding of the Kun Tao expression of compression and explosiveness along with the overwhelming attacking movement of the art I chose to place 8 basic movements that are found in most Kun Tao styles in Phase I of our program. These movements are also found and used very effectively in Silat and particularly in our Silat but in Silat the energetic expression of these movements is noticeably different than in most other arts. Please understand. An elbow is an elbow but there are many different ways and timings of when and how to use an elbow. My teacher and mentor Uncle Bill (Willem de Thouars) tends to say “different flavors”. Part of the idea being that they are all still flavors even though different.

The movements in our Basic 8 move set include body compression and release with extreme forward machine gun type attacking with whole body weight to over run into and through the opponents position. Included are 2 primary punches, 2 elbows, 2 knees and 2 kicks. I will detail these in the next post.

keep up the Good Training.

Programming an Attacker

Programming for fighting purposes is simply the idea of getting an opponent used to something and then doing something different so that it catches them by surprise.

There are quite a few different ways to program and catch someone. I will include a few examples here. Have your partner field your techniques while you are moving around them in a circular pattern.

1. Move rhythmically and then while continuing to move rhythmically hit to a different area than where you have been striking. For example: Throw a punch to the head followed by a kick to the leg several times in a row and then on the 3rd or 4th repetition throw a punch to hit the arm that your training partner has been blocking with.

2. Throw the same punch but use a broken rhythm so that your training partner knows that you are throwing a punch but they do not know when you are going to throw it so that they have to really focus and work on catching the punch. After a moment or two throw a surprise kick.

3. Move around your partner throwing a pattern of several hits and kicks and then throw something that is not in the pattern or / and that has a different timing in order to catch them by surprise.

A typical street programming strategy is to fake a hit and when they see how the victim is going to naturally react and how fast and if they stop (the most common reaction) then they throw a real hit designed to catch the intended victim.

In Clear’s Silat we have several different basic responses to the attempt to program in order to throw a successful sucker punch. I will include 2 of the basic strategies here:

The first is if the person attempts to throw a strike at us we either get moving away and / or around the person and do not stop until satisfied that we are safe or we simply attack the attacker’s feint and position as if it is real so that we can not so easily be sucker punched.

Staccato Rhythm

Staccato Rhythm is a rhythm that acts like a broken rhythm.

Staccato Rhythm is a very rapid and continuous stream of motion and tone like machine gun fire or a rapid drum beat. In class I like to use the example of 1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1……… to make the point.

This pattern applied to fighting movement is a fighting rhythm because there is a pattern and all parties know when the next strike and the one after it will occur and the person using this pattern can mostly rest their mind because it is a pattern.

This pattern acts like a Broken rhythm because it is overwhelming and after a very brief period of time the person using the Staccato rhythm will get tired out. Staccato movement will tend to overwhelm the opponent which is something that a Broken Rhythm tends to do as well. A simple way to see this is to have your partner perform a reasonably complex (not simple abc, abc, abc type) pattern in the air and then the partner practicing the Staccato rhythm rapidly runs letting their feet make sound and hits their chest with their open hands making sound and moves very close to the partner performing the rhythm. As long as the partner performing the rhythmic motion is performing a complex enough rhythm then the tendency will be for their movement to get interrupted which may show as a speed up or slowing down or simply interrupted movement on the part of the person trying to maintain a rhythm.

Kun Tao tends to use Staccato Rhythm in its movement and there are quite a few fighting patterns that are trained in our style of Clear’s Kun Tao Silat using Staccato Rhythm.

Kun Tao Silat

Clear’s Silat & Street Kung Fu is Kun Tao Silat. Kun Tao Silat is a mixture of Silat and Kun Tao. This mixture goes back quite a few generations and is a blend that came has come about starting with the Chinese trade with the spice islands of Indonesia and Malaysia in the 1200’s.

Although pure Pentjak Silat and pure Kun Tao styles can be found in the islands the majority of martial art styles that can be found in Indonesia and Malaysia today are a combination of Kun Tao and Silat. Part of the reason for this is that the primary purpose for martial arts study in the islands is survival. This tends to mean that if something works then use it and if it works particularly well then claim it as your own.

The mixture of Kun Tao and Silat in styles range from close to 50/50 % to as much as 95/5 %. It just depends on which region or area you are in and what styles are available and what kind of techniques and skills you will need against nearby enemies. Techniques can also depend on who married who and what family arts are / were available.

The mixture of Kun Tao and Silat allows for a wide range of techniques and awfully sudden changes in expression that can be very explosive while being very deceptive. Kun Tao Silat is directed towards the practitioner being able to defend themselves against multiple attackers, armed with weapons, attacking by surprise. The art is a mixture of powerful, explosive and fluid bone breaking and pressure point striking designed to help one extricate themselves from a situation as rapidly as possible. In the art every part of the body that can possibly be used is considered and used as a weapon.

Implements including bladed weapons and improvised weapons are also studied along with tactics and awareness techniques.