Sifu Dwight D Woods my former JKD instructor has written an article on Silat: Is Silat Practical?
My respect/Hormat to Sifu Dwight Woods for exposing me at 19 to Pentjak Silat through JKD & Guru Dan Inosanto also my respects to Sifu Dwight for his article answering if Silat is Practical. If it was not for Guru Dan Inosanto I would have never known about Serak or Harimau. Sifu Dwight actually made it possible for me to meet Uncle Willem de Thouars for the 1st time many years ago. I fell in love with Silat from day 1 of being introduced to it. It is very dear to my heart and it makes sense to my Body Mind & Spirit. It is not for everyone and not for the faint of heart. It requires dedication, sacrifice, and effort. So here is my 2 cents on whether it is Practical:
I have trained directly silat Serak & Harimau with most of the people Sifu Dwight mentioned in his article and have received the rank of Guru from several of the masters he mentioned and even the title of Maha Guru from my Martial Father "Bapak" Oom Willem de Thouars however i dont use the titles cause in my opinion I am a humble student of Silat for life. I am just Santi in the day to day and Only called "Guru" once i am teaching on the training floor. I have almost 2 decades now studying Pentjak Silat and I'm only scratching its surface. In my opinion Silat is one of the most practical and lethal arts available to the true seeker of Martial Arts. It is not a sport and its priority is survival by any means necessary. It historically has been used in conflicts during Majapahit empire, Sirivijaya empire, during Portuguese, British, Dutch colonization, Muslim occupation, Japanese occupation. WWI, WWII, Korean War and abroad in many military and executive protection scenarios globally.
In our Serak & Harimau lineages we have actual folks that developed their skills in actual times of conflict.
The de Vries & de Thouars elders in the family used it in WWI, WWII, Korean War, Indonesian Dutch and Japanese conflicts, insurgency in Indonesia. Uncle Willem de Thouars is still alive and the eldest of the family trained in Serak. He can still tell you the actual family history and how Serak has been used in many real world situations, including Japanese concentration camps. The Hanafi family has used it in Sumatra during Dutch conflicts and against Japanese conflicts, in Cuba during the revolution and its strategy has been used in the United Nations. Their family history has the art being used in tribal conflict going back to the 1400's in Sumatra. Gm Crabbe De-Bordes has used the art protecting Government officials, Kings, Tribal elders, and Presidents in Ghana and has used it to deal with conflicts in Africa such as Sierra Leone. Guru Clifford Stewart has used it numerous times as a body guard to many in Hollywood & middle east diplomats. We have body-guarded several entertainment celebrities in Miami and have had to use Silat for their safety. The real silat has nothing to do with fancy outfits and esoteric mumbo jumbo. It is also not commercialized. It deals in true survival protection of life and jungle warfare strategy. It is adapted to all environments and all ranges of combat and all aspects of protection/survival. I have seen members of Marines, Navy, Air force, Army, Police, US Air Marshall, Coast Guards, EMT come take private classes with us many times. Is it practical? Very. In fact it can be deadly and unforgiving. Oom Paul de Thouars had a saying when it came to serak "Hospital or Morgue? Be careful". I remember once asking Oom Willem de Thouars years ago when i was just turning 20, where do you find real silat his response was "Either in jungles, warfare or in prison. " Although i respect the JKD approach of absorb what is useful and explore or "Cross Train" all arts, that has its time and place but to know silat you really have to study it deeply. The words Pentjak Silat really mean to "To Fight with the skill achieved in Martial ways". And its roots go back to Nomadic Native Chinese Kuntao "Pong Ja Te, Si La te", Native Malay, Indonesian fighting "Ulin", "Silek", "Kilat", it has been influenced by also Mongolian Fighting arts, Vedic Martial arts, Arabic Blade work and Archery, and later influenced by Spanish & Dutch Fencing and Bare Knuckle Boxing. The word Silat is really the skills achieved through years of practice and study in the art of Combat. Silat is Synonymous with Kuntao "The way of the Fist".
Some styles are more influenced by the original native traditions of combat others have evolved through conflict to adapt to what simply works to survive at all costs.
In my humble opinion you can not know Silat/Kuntao or begin to even comment on it with out actually immersing yourself in it fully 100%. A lot is kept out of the public eye on purpose and not everything you see on YouTube is actually revealing in some cases it is misleading. Real Silat/Kuntao is deceptive and inconspicuous. So either you dive into the deep end of Silat/Kuntao or at least get your feet wet to find out for yourself if it is practical or if it has any value. But sitting on the sideline will not do anything for you. You have to train it and you have to find a real Silat/Kuntao Teacher. Silat/Kuntao is to close quarter combat what Sun Light, Air and Water are to Nature: Necessary for Survival and Longevity with out it you die struggling. The older you get the more practical your Silat/Kuntao become to deal with surviving and aging youthfully. How many 80 year olds do you know that can still move like animals? All you have to do is look at Uncle Willem de Thouars at 80+ years still moving better than most half his age in the Martial arts World and is still deadly. There are others too that are aging well with their Silat for example Pa Harold Koning Ph.D. is still deadly in his 70s. If your Martial art is limited by the fact that at a certain age you have to stop training then maybe its not the best nor very practical. The older the whine gets the better it gets. The older the tree the stronger its trunk and roots are. Silat follows nature and these principles. It is practical for all ages, all sizes, all ranges of combat and all aspects of combat. It made a handicapped man known as "Pak Serak" extremely dangerous on the Silk Road. If you want to find out about Pentjak Silat my garage and training floor are always open to those curious about actual real Silat. We are the only school in South Florida that is 100% Real Silat all the time and not just dabbling in the art. Who is showing up to class to find out if Silat is practical? Is knowledge of applying Physics, Angulation, Leverage, Force = Mass x Acceleration, Speed, Power, Timing, Positioning, Pushing, Pulling, Coiling, Compressing, Decompressing, Moving, Dissolving, Fortifying, practical in combat? Is learning how to turn on the reptilian brain and the central nervous system practical for combat & survival? Those are all the essences SILAT. And remember Silat is a Bladed Art.
Guru Santiago Dobles
For Class info : http://thewarriorscave.blogspot.com/…/indonesian-pentjak-si…