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Author Topic: Philosophical musings on our arts  (Read 23613 times)

Russian Silat

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Philosophical musings on our arts
« on: 10/12/2007 13:01 »
A greeting of peace,

In an attempt to move dialogue towards constructive ends, I would like to offer my own musings on the philosophical and spiritual dimensions of the art I practice.

These are my own observations after 13 years of practice. It is wholly my personal opinion.

I invite other practitioners here post their own views about the spiritual and philosophical dimensions of the silat styles they practice. Perhaps this can serve as a bridge of understanding.



Attaining the Dragon

The goal of Pukulan Cimande Pusaka is to attain the Naga, in both its physical and spiritual sense.

The forces of nature have non-physical, spiritual, energetic aspects, which are apparent in us as well as in natural phenomenon. The different aspects and nuances of natural forces have their analogies in our minds, in our personalities, in the makeup of our character, in our emotions and even in the secret place which gives rise to our thoughts, attitudes and feelings. The Javanese believe that there is an inner, hidden connection between things such that these analogies have mutual influence upon each other in subtle ways.

Animist religion, of which Pukulan Cimande Pusaka can claim to be an expression, is about having a harmonious relationship with the forces of nature and expressing them in a balanced way in ourselves and in the world.

The history of media and artistic expression is closely tied to animism as well. When we as humans want to express a higher idea or force, we use some kind of media. Traditionally these have included dance, dramatic performance, song, drumming, ritual and poetic and graphic arts.

According to animism, all unhappiness, un-fulfillment, confusion, ill-health, personal weakness and bad luck are the result of a deficit or imbalance of natural forces as they are expressed through us.

If we expect any kind of force to express itself through us in a healthy way, we must become a healthy medium for this force. Simply wanting it to come to us, or asking it to come is not enough, although these are important too.

Just as someone cannot express themselves musically until they have mastered the medium sufficiently, practiced a certain instrument, learned music theory and so forth, so too do we have to train and condition ourselves in certain ways to be able to express certain forces. Sometimes this training takes the form of severe ascetic discipline, or adherence to a very strict and specific moral code. Sometimes it requires meditation, the memorization of prayers and ritual actions.

In Pukulan Cimande Pusaka, the medium through which we express the forces of nature is combat. And as with all media, there must be an element of artistry which opens the door. Without a genuine desire to express something subtle, something higher, all forms of media fail in their intentions, ours especially.

I have often described what we do as combative animist worship. The movements of our art are designed to alter the consciousness and express a certain type of energy. This design of our movements comes from animists who were successful in using the powers of nature to achieve their combative ends, and the physical shell of what they left us is a key to attaining the same mystical, powerful state they were in when they performed the movements. The principle is just like that of traditional prayers, the idea being that prayers spoken in a specific state can be re-spoken, and if this is done with proper intent, leads one back to the state in which they were composed. This is why it is so important in Islam to chant the Quran, for example, because it is God’s will expressed to the mind of man, put into words. In fact, I think Islam would be better off chanting the Quran and keeping its injunctions, instead of engaging in pseudo-intellectual speculations, and then using these speculations to impose restraints on Javanese culture.

The benefits of practicing Pukulan Cimande Pusaka are that the energies channeled during combat training have very strong analogies to all parts of one’s life and character, such that strengthening one’s self for combat simultaneously develops the overall spiritual, mental and emotional condition.

Russian Silat

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Re: Philosophical musings on our arts
« Reply #1 on: 10/12/2007 13:02 »
The four elements

Each set of animal movements in PCP is meant to open the door to the energies of certain elements and animal fighting energies. This follows the principle of mudra from Hindu mysticism, and also yoga, but its roots are distinctly animistic.

When we perform the movements in a trance state, these energies are called into our body- in order to be expressed through our body. This is a fundamental rule. Energies will not manifest unless there is the means by which they can be expressed, and the occasion fits also. This principle will be important later when speaking of the circle of creation.

When I express an elemental energy through myself, it is as if I have had an epiphany of it. I experience it in a direct, transforming way. I am re-shaped, renewed and energized by the encounter. This is true for any spiritual epiphany; we encounter spiritual force in a direct way, and that confrontation causes fundamental changes in the way we exist and see the world. And after each encounter, our connection to that force becomes stronger, allowing it to influence and change us even more.

What I’m speaking of, experiential spirituality, is very different from dogmatic religion. It is a direct knowing of certain processes and truths, and knowing these informs us in the most perfect way how to be. It is better to guide someone to have an experience, then to ask them to accept what comes from the mind of another, unless of course you want to enslave someone.

All of our personal strengths and weakness, all of those things which determine our fate and determine our outlook can be understood in connection with the elements. We are a prisoner to the way we see reality- our ego is usually the interpreter of events, and this limits the range of responses we can make, and factors we can be aware of. When we become free of these self-imposed prisons of perception, then we have what the Javanese call “rasa”, correct intuitive knowledge.

As an example, let’s say that the fire element is unbalanced in my person. I will be aggressive, I will be prone to argument, I will be hasty to act, etc. I will let things stress me that probably shouldn’t. What this means is that I am a prisoner to these personality traits. The same set of circumstances, the same events could be experienced by me and another person, but because of my dysfunctional relationship with the fire element I will see it differently, and respond differently. I will step into a totally different future, with a totally different set of probabilities than the other person from that one theoretical point we share. I will be suspicious of the motives of others, perhaps making unfounded assumptions and guesses. People will not want to be around me for long periods of time, maybe avoid interacting with me. I can destroy personal relationships, fail to be diplomatic with the right people, or anger someone I shouldn’t.

When the elements are unbalanced, when there is an unhealthy abundance or deficit, we will find various prisons of thought, ego interpretation and response which keep us from acting according to our best destiny. This self-made prison is called “nafsa” in Javanese.

We therefore seek to understand the elements as they exist within us, and use the power-building, energy manifesting movements of PCP to give us an epiphany of the healthy element we need to influence us. Water counteracts too much fire, for example. I would be more calm and sensitive, reflect reality more instead of assume, be willing to go with the flow, etc. All of this is the opposite of suspicion, anger, and the need to control.

It is the usual state of most people to live in unbalance, which is why the world is the way it is. Even after you do the work of balancing yourself, you must maintain your balance always. Life will always offer you chances to lose your balance. We must also harmonize with the cycles of nature, because various elements and forces ebb and flow at different times. We must be aware of the affects of this in ourselves, and also realize what times are appropriate for what things. All of this knowledge is part of the Ilmu of the Bayang-Bayang Naga Penglima.

When we balance all of the elements within ourselves, we will have freed ourselves from many internal prisons, many of which we won’t be aware of until we’ve escaped. After this happens, we can see properly and respond properly. Our perception is open to seeing reality how it truly is, and we allow ourselves a broader range of possible responses. It seems like magic to people who haven’t undergone this same journey on some level, as if we know things and are capable of dealing with reality on a totally different level. This is the mind of the dragon. In Javanese culture, this is known as “Eiling”, which can be translated as being centered, remembering what you need to remember, having depth of awareness, and being an ethical person. This puts us into the state of “weneng”, meaning clarity and purity.

Circle of Creation

The circle of creation is a diagram of how things come into being, and how we create our reality. Be clear that you do in fact create your reality at any given moment. More accurately, you are now living in the reality you created not long ago, and the circle of creation you are in now is forming your future. Your life is like a series of interconnected circles, spiraling upwards like DNA. It is also like the “S” diagram footwork of Mas Jud. To gain the mind of the dragon is to work with this process in a much more far-seeing, subtle and effective way. 

As Pendekar Sanders has taught, all potentiality starts in the water element. This is where things are conceptualized, given birth to in potential. Next is the earth element. This is where the stage is set, where the material conditions and potential are arranged. The fire element governs the actual process, the action of bringing in to being. It is decisive action towards the goal. The air element is the thing realized, which frees us to travel in a new realm of potentiality. The fifth element is the great matrix of what “is”, to which all accomplished energies go, to play out their karmic effects according to the will of the Cosmos.

There is really nothing mysterious about this, it is logical upon reflection. If a student needs to write a term paper, for example, the first thing is to get the idea straight in their head of what they’re going to do. Then they gather books from the library, schedule some time, and sit down at the computer. The fire element will be the actual beginning of the writing process, and the air element is the finished product. The fifth element will be how your paper affects your grade point average!

Another example is if you want a new job. You first must be clear about what you want, what is available, and what you are capable of. This is the domain of the water element. Then you craft a good resume or CV, collect references, and find out where to apply. This is the earth element, taking care of those practical matters which will allow the whole thing to happen. The fire element is actually sending out the resumes and going to interviews. The air element is your first day on the job, the fifth element is the long-term results of having made this career choice.

Pendekar Sartono put the elements on a circle, with the water in the west, earth in the south, fire in the east, air in the north. Their respective colors are blue, red, orange and white. The reason given was that this was the process of how night turned into day, so it is essentially how a new day is created in the heavens. First the sky is blue, then turns red as the sun starts to come up, then orange in the morning, becoming white at mid-day. And just as the path of the circle of creation is anti-clockwise, so too do we have to go against established momentum when we want to intentionally create something. If we just “go with the flow” we meet little resistance, but we must exert ourselves if we want to express our will. Expression of will is creative and alive, like the morning to the noontime, but passivity in life is like the setting sun- you fade away.

From this we can see how imbalances in the elements in our personality can negatively affect the way in which we create our lives. Imbalance in the water element, for example, means that we never understand what we really want, and can never imagine the right way to go, the best future for ourselves. If we aren’t in touch with who we really are and what we want, if we cannot decide for ourselves what path is best, all our efforts will go to serve something else, no matter how skillful or diligent we are. We don’t have our own true goals, so we will accept someone else’s goals, adopting them as our own.

Imbalance in the earth element means that our ideas never pan out. We never get it together enough to make things happen. We try to proceed without having laid the right foundation, or don’t manage the practical aspects as we should. Or maybe we over-plan, without ever getting out of the planning stage. We can’t get our goals “off the ground”.

If the fire element is imbalanced, we act hastily, forcing things. Impatience burns us. We are too rash, not careful enough. If we lack fire, hesitation sabotages us, or lack of motivation.

If the air element is imbalanced, we cannot see things through to completion, we stop short. Either that, or we try to finish the job too early, or are unclear and scatter-brained about what to do, how to proceed to the finish.

So we can see that the process of creating anything in life relies on the healthy participation of all the elements. One imbalance can de-rail the whole act of creation.

Sympathetic magic

If you do manage to purify your elements to a certain degree, then you will be able to exert your will with far greater effect, embracing subtleties of cause and effect unavailable to most people. But more than that, you have the sanction to perform magic. Only now will you safely be able to use magical means to enhance your will-power. If you dabble in magic before this purification, then those prisons of perception will tighten their chains as never before, and cause ALL of your willful acts to go afoul of your desires.

Once the analogy is fully grasped, it is possible to use the circle of creation to perform sympathetic magic which brings results into being. When someone ritually pantomimes the process of manifestation in the circle of creation, there is a sympathetic connection which demands that that energy find its expression in reality. All causes must have their effect.

Sympathetic magic is primal, and easy to understand once the basic concept is grasped. If you find or make something which resembles something else, there is a strong hidden connection between the two. If you understand how certain processes work, these processes can be represented ritually, and the ritual will have this same kind of sympathetic connection to the process it imitates.

When we combine the use of symbolic materials and symbolic processes, then we have a real laboratory wherein we can engineer reality, especially if we can trick ourselves (mostly our subconscious mind) into believing what we’re doing is not symbolic, but real. If our inner-self is acting as if the sympathetic magic process is the actual process, and that the representational material is the actual material, then all the creative powers of our spirit reverberate into the cosmos to help cause the change.

Using the circle of creation in training

The circle of creation has two primary functions in helping us to improve our martial arts skills. Firstly, by purifying our perceptions our reactions will be correct, enabling us to respond to our opponent in ways he himself will not be able to comprehend. We seek that state of clarity mentioned above, from which we can see without the interference of our ego filters, which include fear, anger, nervousness. The goal is to develop the ability to do the right thing at the right time, which in martial arts is everything. If the elements are balanced within you, you will not be prone to the certain “blindnesses” associated with each element in its dysfunctional state.

Second, we use sympathetic magic to determine the outcome of a technique before it is even performed. By performing different martial arts techniques in the circle of creation, (using a special methodology which we possess) we can control how these will manifest themselves in reality. It is not deterministic- no magic is. It is the creation of a ‘potential’ which seeks to express itself if conditions allow. If I perform a successful attack or defense within my circle, (by the methodology from the Untung Surapati lineage, which is a carefully guarded secret) it exists in the ether, a waiting potential. If the need ever arises to use the technique, I simply ground this potential out through my opponent by my movements. The outcome has already been strongly conditioned in my favor.

All Pukulan Cimade Pusaka techniques need to be pre-programmed in this way, if one is truly doing Ilmu. Physical and energy attacks will have special mudras and mantras which call this potential into being, triggers which were programmed using the circle of creation. Some of these mantras have existed for hundreds of years, having been programmed over and over again by generations of masters. When this type of magical training is combined with the instinctive response trance training we employ, the result is something very powerful and effective. It is true combat sorcery.

The Dragon

In all cultures, the dragon is a holy mythical creature. This is a mystical animal, different from the rest of creation.

In our art, the dragon is that which operates on a different, higher level. It is the overcoming of fragmented perceptions, able to see things in their totality, the “big picture”. The dragon can make better physical choices, because he knows better the overall dynamics of cause and effect, but he can also cause change through non-physical means. He knows how power exists in various correspondences, how to manipulate these, and how to manipulate his own belief about reality. He is not a passive victim, letting random forces dictate to his inner-self; he informs his inner-self from his higher self.

As Pendekar Sanders has said, the dragon is unfathomable. It is almost impossible for the opponent to see how the dragon attacks, and it is impossible to attack the dragon unless he himself allows it. The opponent is manipulated into doing what the dragon wants him to. In all things, the dragon operates according to his own terms, and if you must confront him, he will be the master of all aspects of the confrontation.

Our “Ta Naga Dallam”, or “Inner-Dragon” is the power we have access to when all the elements are purified and balanced. It is the power of subtle, mystical comprehension of reality, and the numinous power which accompanies this understanding. We have power from the four elements; moisture from water, body heat from fire, breath from wind and muscle power from earth, and we get these elements by breathing, drinking and eating. But the other power, the fifth element, is something different.

The various properties of this power- how it is increased, how it becomes depleted or captured, how it expresses itself in various circumstances- are taught in Pukulan Cimande Pusaka. The art is an example, a mandala of this power and the truths which govern it. This is why it is called “Pusaka”- a sacred vessel of knowledge which can be passed down through the generations.

The Dragon fighter

In reality the dragon rarely has to physically fight. Most confrontations are caused by a lack of wisdom, so wisdom is the primary martial tool, and for us wisdom means a balanced and healthy expression of the elements.

Training in Pukulan Cimande Pusaka is characterized by a lack of emotion in crisis situations, emotions which serve to filter your response. When I was younger I got into confrontations every once in awhile, and these were always times of great stress for me for various personal emotional reasons. After studying this art, I have been in a number of confrontations, but I was never nervous or scared- if anything I was extremely empty and focused. Most of the time, my would-be attacker suddenly decided it would be better to leave well enough alone, not because of anything I said, or a threatening posture I made, but because of the silence, total readiness and lack of fear they felt.

Fear actually fuels the flames of aggression. There is something primal inside of us which urges us on to attack with more ferocity when we sense fear in someone. Many predatory types rely on fear to set the stage and give them the cues and stimulus they are waiting for. Without it, it is like a rapist with impotence.

The student of Pukulan Cimande Pusaka knows that there is almost nothing that can happen to him on the street which his body isn’t already prepared to handle. His training makes him calm, because the confrontation is not a new, unknown or unusual thing he is experiencing. Any fear or uncertainty is cast upon the opponent, and this is really half the battle.

Many of my students started studying with me because they had been in confrontations, and felt as if the other styles they studied had let them down. But I know of no one who has been let down by this style in a real-life situation. No one has ever left this art because it failed them on the street; indeed, it has saved the lives of several people I know personally, men and women, although there were sometimes legal problems afterwards. One small boy had to leave the art because it enabled him to stand up to his tormenters at school- a little too well. His father stopped bringing him for lessons after he broke the leg of a much bigger, older boy who had bullied him.

My students have also reported to me that the frequency of confrontations they experienced was greatly reduced after studying this art. They simply seem to stop getting into fights. This is the first indicator that you are becoming the dragon- things begin to happen on your own terms.

The master of Pukulan Cimande Pusaka knows that everything has been decided in advance. He has trained so extensively in the circle of creation, that any attack to his person will be met by an extreme surge of potential flowing against the attacker in favor of the master. Destiny itself is on your side, because you have aligned with it, and aligned it with you. The only possible attack can come from someone who does not possess such alignment, and without these elements in place, it will be like attacking with a weak, ineffectual limb, still frozen from the night’s sleep.


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Re: Philosophical musings on our arts
« Reply #2 on: 10/12/2007 13:06 »
gile.. panjang banget postingannya.. :D
salam aja for sahabat russian silat [top]
martial art equipment:
Jaket Kulit (Leather Jacket):


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Re: Philosophical musings on our arts
« Reply #3 on: 11/12/2007 04:09 »
I am glad to see you sharing some of the religious/cultural aspects behind your PCP Cimande.  It makes for a more mature conversation and hopefully will not lead to more negative arguments.  I do recommend that you not refer to yourself as godzilla.  It makes for better conversation if we know eachother by name.

The Association of Pencak Silat America - "Promoting Brotherhood Within US Pencak Silat"

Michael Lee

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Re: Philosophical musings on our arts
« Reply #4 on: 11/12/2007 08:19 »
Nick!  We actually have a ton of positive stuff to say about Pukulan Cimande Pusaka.  Trouble is that most on this forum were never interested.  They'd rather just denounce us.  Not that I need any more proof of this,  but I believe the "Cimande makes you go hmmmmm" thread is approaching 8000 hits.

But I say let's let bygones be bygones and talk about something constructive!  [top]

Something I want to add to this thread is how I explained the concept of Pukulan Cimande Pusaka (PCP) to one of our new students last week.  This may be equally appropriate for the "When is it Silat" thread, but as it's about PCP, it belongs here. 

I explained that in PCP, our movement is an expression of your inner self in a combative form. 

An Analogy ....

When students enter a painting class, they are all given a canvas, some paint, and some instructions by the teacher about form, design, texture, etc.. etc.. (I'm not a painter so please excuse if the terms aren't correct).  The students then paint as they see fit.  They use various brush sizes and brush strokes.  They paint in whatever colors they feel will express what they want to express best.  They paint whatever shapes they feel will express best what they want to express.  If the entire class is told to paint a bowl of fruit, everyone will paint it in a unique way.  To be sure, the bowl will probably have an apple, maybe a banana or some pears. I’d venture to say that each painting will have fruits in different orders.  Each painting will have fruits of different size, different hue and maybe of different colors. 

In short, each painting is of a bowl of fruit, but every painting is different because they are all expressions from the individual artist’s hand.

So it is with PCP.  We do punch and kicks (canvas and paint).  We have high and low postures (design).  We have our favorite techniques and ways of attacking (form).  We have weapons of various sorts (texture).  But what makes our movement unique is that it’s “made up,” for lack of a better term, by the practitioner.  It’s movement that it’s an expression of the individual PCP player.  To be sure, it will contain punches and kicks and takedowns and joints destructions, but once the basics are learned, the PCP individual expresses himself in his (or her) own unique way through martial movement. 

That’s what makes it Pukulan Cimande Pusaka movement.  For sure, we certainly don’t have a monopoly on self-expression through combative movement.  I’ll even venture to say that if you re-write my above text and substitute every time I say PCP for the word “Silat,” what I just wrote would still be more or less valid.

Let me also say to Fyodor THANK YOU for taking all that time to share so much of yourself.  I want to say a couple of fast facts about Fyodor that the general reader may not know:

Between 1989 – 1993, he was an active member of the United States Marine Corps where he fought in Operation Desert Storm.  He is currently married with children and living in Moscow where he's doing research for his Doctoral Thesis in Anthropology on indigenous shamanistic inhabitants of Russia.

I say this because I doubt that he will, and I think its important background information that speaks to his creditability as both a human being and a martial artists.   8)  Despite his chosen moniker of "Godzilla," he's actually a pretty humble guy...until you rile him up that is.  Godzilla... LOLOL!!  You're frickin' killin' me bro!   [lucu]

Warmest regards to all,
« Last Edit: 11/12/2007 09:02 by Cimande Fan »

Russian Silat

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Re: Philosophical musings on our arts
« Reply #5 on: 11/12/2007 20:33 »
Thanks for that, Mike.

These arts are so interesting, I believe that is why they have survived intact for so long.

I seriously doubt people get as much pleasure from Karate, for example.

Once a person "finds the thread" of knowledge, it becomes an interesting life-long companion, teaching you about many things.

I would be interested in the other members sharing their spiritual experiences of Silat, or the spiritual dimensions of their training.


Best Regards,

Guru Fyodor


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Re: Philosophical musings on our arts
« Reply #6 on: 12/12/2007 06:31 »
Between 1989 – 1993, he was an active member of the United States Marine Corps where he fought in Operation Desert Storm.  He is currently married with children and living in Moscow where he's doing research for his Doctoral Thesis in Anthropology on indigenous shamanistic inhabitants of Russia.

Ah, I see. That's explains that little bit of 'shock and awe' and the Geertz :P

Also the appreciation of 'the drum' that is prevalent in much shamanism and certainly the Samoyedic groups and of course the broken rythmn of silat.

I see Godzuki is something of an eclectic syncretic himself from his writings :)

But what makes our movement unique is that it’s “made up,” for lack of a better term, by the practitioner.  It’s movement that it’s an expression of the individual PCP player.  To be sure, it will contain punches and kicks and takedowns and joints destructions, but once the basics are learned, the PCP individual expresses himself in his (or her) own unique way through martial movement. 

Not just PCP Michael, I think this principle is included in a lot of silat! You see, what I like with silat is it is not just 'counter A with B', on the contrary, individual expression and interpretation is encouraged allowing us all to develop an individual flavour and adaptability. In essence there is not the 'one size fits all' mentality of many other arts, and as we all know we are all different sizes, shapes, temperaments..........

For instance, going back in time, I could never have said to my old karate teacher, "I prefer to use a hammerfist rather than a chop with that move". Of course the response would generally be "but the move IS a chop".

Now, also going back a while when I was a murid baru......reminds me of a very simple indication of flow and adaptiveness. One of our drills has a chop to the throat. I thought I'd be a bit cheeky one day & throw a hammerfist to the point of the jaw instead.

Instead of, "wrong move" I got the response of "good, good". So, instead of the rigidity of former arts, I now had the freedom and responsibility to assemble the fragments as I saw fit. Of course my teacher gave me these fragments....

Anyway, that's pecahan for us!


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Re: Philosophical musings on our arts
« Reply #7 on: 12/12/2007 07:31 »

.... When we become free of these self-imposed prisons of perception, then we have what the Javanese call “rasa”, correct intuitive knowledge.

...When the elements are unbalanced, when there is an unhealthy abundance or deficit, we will find various prisons of thought, ego interpretation and response which keep us from acting according to our best destiny. This self-made prison is called “nafsa” in Javanese....

This is the mind of the dragon. In Javanese culture, this is known as “Eiling”, which can be translated as being centered, remembering what you need to remember, having depth of awareness, and being an ethical person. This puts us into the state of “weneng”, meaning clarity and purity.


Thank you for the coherent explanation of PCP's kebatinan. Well, from what you write I wouyld say PCP is very syncretic, using Jawanese Kejawen concepts in a Sunda based art.

What is not clear to me :

1) What school / perguruan is Pak Sartono affiliated to and who gave him the tittle pendekar?

2) It seems that from your explanation the main part of kebatinan in PCPO comes from Sartono. What has happened to the kebatinan from Banten and Tarikolot? Do not these two systems have their own, whole, intergrated kebatinan and ilmu?

An other thing might be typos, or it might be transcribing from handwriting. There is no 'nafsa' in Jawa kebatinan... there is NAFSU, which entered Jawa kebatinan throught Sufism. The Arabic would be NAFS, and in Jawa, this is often interpreted as the 4 spiritual siblings we all have.

There is no Jawa word 'Eiling' - you must mean 'ELING' which means what you say it does. Again, this comes from Sufism, where it is practiced as 'remembrance of Allah' and is attained through 'dzikir'. For example, we can se the use of the word eling in a 'dandanggula' poem atributed to Sunan Kalijaga... which goes:

Eling, eling, pra kadang den eling
Urip ira ning donya tan suwe
Bebasan mung mampir ngombe
Cinecep nulya wangsul
Mring asaling sangkaning neki
begja kang wus pana
sangkan paranipun
dedalan kang den ambah
mrih rahayu lumampah margi utami
sejatining kasidan....

I think for clarity, you would say WENING rather than WENENG.

So Fyodor, though you say that your kebatinan and your movement is an expression of animism, you have borrowed central concepts in your kebatinan from Islam.

Salam hangat,

batu kali jadi candi, duka jadi puisi, jagal jadi wali

Russian Silat

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Re: Philosophical musings on our arts
« Reply #8 on: 12/12/2007 20:10 »
Hello Bram,

Thank you for your feedback on my essay, I hope you received some insight into our art. You will have to forgive my lack of competency in Indonesian language, I have never studied it. Indeed, some of these words I have never seen in print before. If you insist on proper spelling and pronunciation, I’m afraid that in this department you will have to be my teacher.

To answer your question about Pendekar Sartono…

The lineage of Untung Surapati was passed on to Sartono from his teacher, Kiyai Donowongso.  The Ilmu from Untung Surapati is the ability to summon any deceased master of any style and attain their knowledge. This is the Ilmu that Pendekar Sanders now possesses, which he passes on to his students. Pendekar Sartono referred to this ability as “Silat Surapati”, and his base of physical Silat was from the style of Abdul Jabar, and Sheik Abdulkadir Jaelani. These names were used in a mantra, and the result is that their fighting knowledge would flow into the practitioner. So in other words, 'Silat Surapati' is what happens as the result of summoning the knowledge connected with these names. The names are used as a mantra in the summoning proccess. Sartono practiced physical Silat in his youth, but then specialized only in the metaphysical aspects, which he considered the real Silat. After mastering the Ilmu of Untung Surapati, to study any particular style became redundant. He was introduced by Pendekar Jafri and Sirait with the title 'Pendekar', and they stood in awe of him.

In my essay, I was musing only on the parts of the art which I’m currently studying. We also have from Pendekar Mama various mantras, fastings and other traditional Cimande spiritual methods, but these are not for discussion on a public forum. Join our art in good faith, and we will be happy to teach you.

Pendekar Sanders was introduced to Pendekar Sartono by Pendekars Sirait and Jafri, who considered him the premier practitioner of Ilmu. We have Ilmu from other sources, but Pendekar Sartono is our main influence. If you have further doubts about Pendekar Sartono, I suggest you seek him out personally and experience his Ilmu for yourself, and ask about his credentials.

Syncretism is a feature of classical Javanese culture. I am not a syncretist, because I don’t have enough knowledge to be able to put the pieces together in a coherent way. But the late Mas Jud was, and he had similar problems to what we are having today. He and his family were ‘Abangan’ believers, and he mixed traditional Cimande with Cikalong, Animal styles, and whatever else he wanted, and deviated from an exclusive Islamic focus. Because of this, he and his family were harassed, and had to move several times to new locations. He was part of an Islamic organization called “Dawru Islam”, I believe (don’t prosecute me for spelling errors!), and when he no longer wanted to embrace this philosophy, the organization tried to make life difficult for him. By the way, he was also a master of Ilmu Kontac, and this Ilmu is part of PCP through the Mas Jud lineage.

Now concerning the four brothers…

I understand that this idea has its analogue in Sufism. To say that it is ‘Sufism’ or ‘Animism’ exclusively would be intellectually dishonest. Sufism borrows from Kejawen, Hesychasm, Tantra, Kabbala, western magic (magic squares), and many other sources. The native traditions of Java have been equally influenced by Islam. This, to my mind, is fascinating and beautiful…

The fact is that the Animist variant of the four brothers exists openly on Bali, divorced from Islam. So which variant came first, the Animist variant or the Sufi variant? If we consider the relative age of both traditions as they exist in the archipelago, I think animism takes the elder place, even if it once existed through different names.

This is compounded by the fact that Islam has a long history of incorporating and assuming local Pagan/Animist forms, then claiming them for itself. Islam has traditionally re-defined older traditions, just like Christianity.

For example, it is a well understood that the Kaaba, the Hajj, and all the rites associated with it long pre-dated the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) as a part of Arabic polytheism.

Therefore, when we speak of borrowing we enter into another discussion altogether. I for one am happy to admit the influence of Islamic Sufism in my art, and in my personal philosophy. I am happy that we teach Ta Naga Dallam jurus which use the most perfect names of Allah as mantras.

I hope I have answered your questions (but I’m sure just the same you’ll never be satisfied).

-Russian Silat

« Last Edit: 13/12/2007 18:49 by Russian Silat »

Russian Silat

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Re: Philosophical musings on our arts
« Reply #9 on: 12/12/2007 20:59 »
So let me see if I can put the fine point on this, and hopefully soothe alot of ruffled feathers in the proccess...

Pukulan Cimande Pusaka has been criticized and attacked because it displays features not consistent with traditional Cimande. People assume that some guy from California made a bunch of stuff up, and decided "Cimande" would be a good name for it all.

If this were indeed the case, then your grounds for anger and outrage are completely justified.

However, this is NOT the case...

The primary source of our physical art is the lineage of Mas Jud. HE WAS THE ONE WHO MIXED TRADITIONAL CIMANDE WITH OTHER ELEMENTS! That's why it is different that what you normally see.

This should be a source of interest and scholarly research, not persecution.

We practice his version of Cimande, and have changed nothing.

Mas Jud was persecuted during his lifetime for doing this, and we inherit this legacy also. I believe it's time to lay it to rest.

Is Pendekar Sartono's Ilmu part of traditional Cimande?

No, it isn't. But this is what our Master's Masters brought him to and told him to learn. We honor this.

People are mad that we use the word "Pusaka". Pendekar Jafri gave us that name, we didn't assume it ourselves. It is meant to offend no one.

Does PCP contain traditional Cimande and Cimande Ilmu? Absolutely. We have the full Embah Kahir heritage as given through Pendekar Mama.

Please, let's move foreward...


Russian Silat

Michael Lee

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Re: Philosophical musings on our arts
« Reply #10 on: 13/12/2007 01:25 »
Agreed Russian Silat... I mean Godzilla... no wait... I mean Fyodor!  ;D

Let's move forward! 

On that note, I'm pleased to announce that Pendekar Williams Sanders will at the new King Tiger School of Martial Arts for a seminar March 15th and 16th, 2008.  The seminar is open to the public and all are welcome.  Topics covered will be Crane Jurus & fighting and Keris fighting. 

If anyone would like more information feel free to contact me personally. 


Russian Silat

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Re: Philosophical musings on our arts
« Reply #11 on: 13/12/2007 16:37 »
A greeting of peace to all,

Hi Mike. I sent Godzilla back into the ocean, and hopefully he can stay there.

I would like to move the discussion back towards the philosophy and spirituality surrounding our arts, and would be extremely grateful if others would share their impressions as well. I would be especially interested in hearing about direct experiences with Ilmu, and healing.

I have seen my master, Pendekar Sanders, use Ilmu on several occasions both combatively, and to heal. I’ve personally seen him use Ilmu to knock people to the ground, make them lose consciousness, make them lose their strength, and to manipulate their emotions of fear and anger.

But also to heal. One good example is my senior student Sergei in Russia. Sergei had fractured his wrist in several places, and because it wasn’t set properly by Russian doctors, it didn’t heal right, and caused him constant pain. This pain had gone on for more than three years.

After our seminar, Pendekar Sanders spent about ten minutes with him, and channeled his ta naga dallam through the affected area. Sergei said he felt as if electricity and heat were running through his wrist the whole time. After Pendekar Sanders finished, Sergei realized that his pain was totally gone, and ever since that time, his wrist has been perfectly healthy. I didn’t see Sergei for about two years, and when I saw him again one of the first things I asked was “how’s your wrist?”. He just smiled and said “great!”.

This is one reason why PCP has gained credibility in Russia, and why we continue to train it.

I personally have had success in using the techniques taught by my master both combatively, and to heal.

A regular part of our Ilmu training in Russia is to practice temporarily causing weakness in our opponents. We can’t do it with the power and consistency of Pendekar Sanders yet, but we are still training, and have some successes.

The Ilmu has helped me in several confrontations I’ve had here in Russia. Russia can be a very violent place, especially in Moscow. More than once I have had people confront me, and I have used Ilmu techniques to make them suddenly very afraid, so that they left me alone. This results from training yourself to feel fear, then suddenly shut the fear off, whereupon it will attach itself to the opponent.

When people did attack me, they suddenly became confused about what to do, while everything was easy for me.

I have also used te naga dallam to take away headaches, and to relieve people of pain and tension. Some of my students had never felt energy before and were skeptical it even existed, but I was able to help them to feel and understand it.

I hope I’m not bragging, because I am no master at these things! I have only basic skills. Others in our art are more adept than me.

I have much more to learn, and hopefully will learn something from your responses.


Russian Silat

Russian Silat

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Re: Philosophical musings on our arts
« Reply #12 on: 13/12/2007 17:26 »
When I was with Pendekar Sanders recently in Ireland, I had the chance to ask him more about the teachings of Pendekar Sartono. Together with Guru Besar Liam, we were walking in the beautiful countryside of Ireland, in a place of incredible beauty and power. There were green mountains surrounding us, and we were in a grove of giant, ancient trees. It was a truly mystical place, and the perfect setting for hearing the teachings.

He spoke more of the circle of creation. Every period of our life is like a circle of creation. We live in the now, but we also create the future we are moving into. Life is like moving through a series of spheres, some of them large, some small. Each movement in to the future is like being born again into a new variant of our destiny.

In each period of our life, we exist as if in an egg, waiting to hatch into the future. The egg must be broken from the inside out in order to move forward. In nature, failure to do this results in stagnation and death.

The snake is holy also because it knows to shed its skin and renew itself.

In this analogy, the shell represents the old ego beliefs which we collect around ourselves. Because we tend to be reactionary, seeing everything through the lens of what we think we already know, life experience imparts ego beliefs to us, and sometimes these beliefs are necessary to that stage of our evolution. But when the lessons of that stage are learned, the ego beliefs must be abandoned, otherwise they prevent you from moving forward.

This is one meaning of the phrase “om awingam atsu”, may there be no hindrance. Pendekar taught us long ago "do not accept other people's limitatons as your own". Your own ego beliefs are burden enough, but if you willingly assume other people's dogma as well, you can become quite lost along the journey of life.

In a previous post, we looked at how imbalance in the elements causes us to create prisons of perception. These prisons are the egg shell which needs to be broken.

Destiny is like circles within circles. Each moment of life gives us a chance to decide, and our decision places us on a new branch of our life’s path, sends us in a different direction. Cycles of time are small, such as one moment, or they are large, such as the cycle of childhood, the cycle of a season, or the cycles of the Javanese calendar. At the end of each old cycle, the ego beliefs you hold determine the trajectory you travel into the new cycle.

So how do we know we are walking the true path? How do we navigate our way through to the end of life and beyond successfully, fulfilling God’s purpose for our lives?

At each moment of choice we must be as clear as possible. If we balance the elements, and purify our ego of its dogmatic beliefs, we can see reality, and respond correctly as we should.

The result of practicing this transforms the “egg” into the “cocoon”. Now our life is not a shell which needs to be broken free from, it becomes a cocoon in which we undergo transformation. At the end of life, we emerge as a butterfly, free from ego and able to fly in any direction. We leave the constraints of time and space behind forever.

When we let the events of life happen to us randomly, our process of evolution is a series of egg shells which we must break free from with pain. When we work with our destiny by letting go of ego and seeking balance with nature, harmony with the elements, we weave the nurturing environment we need to help us evolve according to God’s will.

I thank the members of this board for providing the occasion to make these things explicit in writing.


Russian Silat

« Last Edit: 13/12/2007 17:35 by Russian Silat »


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Re: Philosophical musings on our arts
« Reply #13 on: 14/12/2007 01:53 »
Woah, you guys certainly like to muse philosophical, and there was me thinking we'd be having a little talk about individual expression within MA :) Are you sure you've not been partaking in a little too many herbal cigarettes :) I've also had a day when one of my physicist colleages went all quantum. Of course he could have been right and wrong-at the same time ;D

Anyway, after many years of pondering such things myself, I made a concious choice not to ponder any longer. This was via Sufi mystics, Hindu saddhus and so on and on.....deserts, mountains and caves and so on and on ::) Lot's of metaphysical claims, psuedo scientific mystic rhetoric & what not, but I have never really been convinced.

Now, I do believe that some people can master a greater connection and understanding between mind and body, that allows them to use their physical rescources to a level that beyond the 'normal'.

So guys, no offence intended but I'll have to respectfully not believe :-X

Anyway, I must go top up my cool aid :P

Russian Silat

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Re: Philosophical musings on our arts
« Reply #14 on: 14/12/2007 02:22 »
That's okay, Gajah, I respect your right to believe or not believe.

My experience is that the metaphysical aspect of Silat is more important than the physical, because it makes the physical what it is.

I know nothing about physics or quantum theory, but I do know what I've been taught from Indonesian sources.

Gajah, do you practice Silat with no Ilmu or spirituality at all? Is this usual?

Let me say that I am against drugs of any kind, and that Pendekar Sanders discourages his students from using any kind of intoxicants. Implying that the teachings of our masters are drug-induced is very offensive and inappropriate.


Russian Silat


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