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.