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.

Can Silat or Xing Yi be applied in MMA?

MMA is just like any other sport.

If you want win at Tennis, you need to spend most of your time studying and practicing Tennis.

You can use training from other sports and disciplines to enhance aspects of your Tennis game…

…but when you walk out onto the court you’re either playing Tennis or you’re going to lose.

Xing Yi and Silat were designed for a very different setting.

Using the full art in a ring would get you disqualified pretty quick.

(…and that’s assuming they’ll even let you into the ring carrying that machete 😉

An mma fighter could use training from Kuntao Silat or Xing Yi to increase their power, speed and explosiveness…

…but sorting through all the BS that’s out there on these arts and finding a good teacher takes a lot of work and effort.

Until top quality examples of these arts are a lot more common I doubt we’ll see them having much influence on MMA.

Though I could be wrong…

How to Throw a Shock Kick

Shock Kicks are a valuable tool in your arsenal and are one of the basic kicks in Clear’s Silat. The shock kick is intended to be a surprise leg attack at just the outside edge of punching range. The shock kick has whole body power behind it and is quite powerful.

A Basic Shock Kick

The basic method for throwing a shock kick is [Read more…]

Phase 1: Emergency Head Cover

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