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Author Topic: My Days with Golok Betawi "Seliwa"  (Read 24379 times)

Antara

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My Days with Golok Betawi "Seliwa"
« on: 17/06/2009 08:41 »
Don’t take this as professional account about the style, I only joined with the Seliwa for about three months now, so I wouldn’t dare to claim any presentable knowledge about this unique style. And if any of you thought that I am saying this out of humility as many Indonesians would intuitively do, please ask people who know me about how humble I was.

They would definitely ask if you were talking about the same person ::).

I am caught by cold and have legal reason to leave work for a day… obeying medical advice to stay on bed, I took my laptop to bed and type in several things to unload whatever lurking in my mind. This is one of them (doctor actually asked me to do nothing but sleeping, hence you may consider this as masterpiece of my sleepwalking, or better, sleeptyping :w).
Fairy tales don't tell children that dragons are real...
Children always know that dragons are real...
Fairy tales only tell that dragons can be slain...

Antara

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Re: My Days with Golok Betawi "Seliwa"
« Reply #1 on: 17/06/2009 08:43 »
Everything I write here are based on my own interpretation of what is being taught, or told during practice by various people. Other people may have different interpretation, or even learn different naming or categorization. I believe you are well aware that in traditional school, we don’t do much standardization. :-X

I intent to make this a life account of my Seliwa study. There could be corrections, omission, and update along the way. People use to do such thing in Blog… but due to my limitation (all right, I can be humble too sometime :-P), allow me to put it here (somebody say about this forum being stagnant?). Of course, I highly appreciate input from other Seliwa members.
Fairy tales don't tell children that dragons are real...
Children always know that dragons are real...
Fairy tales only tell that dragons can be slain...

Antara

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Re: My Days with Golok Betawi "Seliwa"
« Reply #2 on: 17/06/2009 08:45 »
The first thing I learn about Seliwa, is that it is very much like what Don F. Draeger wrote in his book about silat, you don’t do warm-ups. Get onto the field and do the jurus (form) immediately. According to Draeger, silat practitioners assume that fight could occur anytime and anywhere, there won’t be any time to do warm up or stretching, so always be prepared.

However, in case of Seliwa, I think the reason is more practical; nobody in Betawi ever invented warm-up. :w
Fairy tales don't tell children that dragons are real...
Children always know that dragons are real...
Fairy tales only tell that dragons can be slain...

Antara

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Re: My Days with Golok Betawi "Seliwa"
« Reply #3 on: 17/06/2009 08:47 »
My observation after three months, the forms in Seliwa can be divided into three categories. The first one called “Pu’un”, that is Betawi dialect for “Pohon”, or tree. Forms that fall into this category are relatively simple and direct, aimed to introduce new practitioner into reality of combat at its simplest model. Hence the naming –I believe- signify the process to grow knowledge, or develop a strong foundation. More about this later.

The second categories, if I am not mistaken (haven’t got there, I am still struggling with my stubborn tiny trees >:() called “kembang”, or flower. However, unlike the consensus in most silat styles, kembang here doesn’t refer to flowery movements that only good for show but useless in combat, in contrary, kembang in seliwa symbolize the stage where students learn variations and explore larger possibility in realistic fight. When the tree grows big enough, the flower bloom.

The third categories called buah, or fruit. It doesn’t take a genius to see the pattern, a tree grows, generate flowers, and then produce fruits. Unfortunately I haven’t reached that far to be able to make educated interpretation. My assumption, this is the stage where students learn the distilled hence deadly products of the previous stage, judging from the form played by my seniors.
Fairy tales don't tell children that dragons are real...
Children always know that dragons are real...
Fairy tales only tell that dragons can be slain...

Antara

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Re: My Days with Golok Betawi "Seliwa"
« Reply #4 on: 17/06/2009 08:50 »
The Pu’un,

There are six pu’un altogether, from the simplest grab-and-strike of the first pu’un, to the not-too-simple dance-like-scooping motion of the sixth pu’un. All pu’uns employ large and strong hip turning, creating upper torso waving movement typical to Betawi silat (at least to my observation). One can quickly recognize that in this stage students learn how to absorb and deliver power using hip movements.

In Pu’un students also learn rapid muscle controls, that is contracting muscles for maximum impact and relaxing them immediately. This skill will be very useful in close combat where tactile sensitivity and speed play important role, together with strong penetrating force. This is done by combining rapid striking with tapping movements in such a way that students are forced to contract and relax their muscles successively.

Something worth written here about pu’un, is the upper torso waving movement that –at first- I thought to be overly-applied. In my first weeks, I was wondering if I have been doing it right since the waving (we called “goyang”, what is it in English?) are too large to fit into close quarter combat. Some of the other students already doing the more linear form, apparently arriving into the same conclusion. However, since my master, Bang Husin, always do the large wave version, I obediently follow. It feels more suitable to my artistic taste, anyway.

Only later after I was allowed to practice with golok, I realized that the waves help in maneuvering edged weapon, more than the rigid linear version. I should have remembered that like many other silat styles, Seliwa was developed around the use of edged weapon.

Oh, did I mention that pu’uns (and likely, all Seliwa form) are performed while holding your breath? Simple but effective way to simulate the tension of real fight. However, I wonder if it has adverse effect of shortening our stamina, being anaerobic exercise? I haven’t got the answer now, but for time being, I balance it by doing aerobic.
Fairy tales don't tell children that dragons are real...
Children always know that dragons are real...
Fairy tales only tell that dragons can be slain...

Antara

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Re: My Days with Golok Betawi "Seliwa"
« Reply #5 on: 17/06/2009 08:51 »
I am now learning the first form of “kembang”. It is empty handed, like the pu’uns, but has the golok version. Very exciting, my first weapon lesson.

I’ll write more the next time I am caught by cold. Isn’t it nice to know that world does survive without you taking phone-call or reading e-mails, and you do what you really want to do? :w
Fairy tales don't tell children that dragons are real...
Children always know that dragons are real...
Fairy tales only tell that dragons can be slain...

Dodol Buluk

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Re: My Days with Golok Betawi "Seliwa"
« Reply #6 on: 17/06/2009 09:34 »
Uda Antara, Do you mind  if I call with Silat Seliwa Contemporer?? because there're a several technics definitely absorbed from another style or  i'm definitely quite wrong with my assumption.


debuls
"Jangan pernah bilang kagak kalo kagak pernah bilang jangan"

May Lee

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Re: My Days with Golok Betawi "Seliwa"
« Reply #7 on: 17/06/2009 12:43 »
Very interesting topic,

Besought permit to learn, and order seat at hall corner while writing at schoolbook..

Warm regard,

May Lee

santri kinasih

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Re: My Days with Golok Betawi "Seliwa"
« Reply #8 on: 17/06/2009 16:23 »
Uda Antara, Do you mind  if I call with Silat Seliwa Contemporer?? because there're a several technics definitely absorbed from another style or  i'm definitely quite wrong with my assumption.


debuls

Contemporary Style of Seliwa?

It could have been true...One thing that needs to be considered: in traditional silat, one is called a master once he has invented a new teaching method or  technique (jurus) based on the basic principle or philosophy of the Style (aliran).

Bang Husin, surely, has innovated a lot of things from the original form of seliwa, including teaching method, yet the basic principle and philosophy have not changed. Bang Husin's father, Husni Embot, had studied 4 different styles before returning to golok seliwa. Bang Husin, in the middle of his study, was forced by his father to master the art of silat cingkrik. Bang Husin had been also intrigued to learn silat from banten, rawa belong, and karate, before he concluded his study of golok seliwa from his father.

Techniques (jurus) and teaching method may have evolved a lot, yet the spirit, which is the basic principle and philosophy, remains the same.

Despite all, I am still considering to encourage bang husin to open class that only teaches applications of techniques (buah) without bothering the basic principle of jurus pu'un and kembang...Just a thought from the world that always looks for instant results! :)

Antara

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Re: My Days with Golok Betawi "Seliwa"
« Reply #9 on: 18/06/2009 10:16 »
Uh, Bang Husin studied Karate too? Is that how we got the first and second Pu’un?

@Bang Mboel,
I’d rather use the word “hybrid” instead of “contemporary”. Yet, to my pathetic knowledge about silat, almost all Betawi styles are mixed of, combined, or influenced by other styles, which is understandable if we consider Betawi was (and still?) an important trading port that many cultures meet and blended.

@Uda SK,
As for me, I’d ask Bang Husin to slow down a bit... there are too many applications than my old bones could swallow. :'(
Fairy tales don't tell children that dragons are real...
Children always know that dragons are real...
Fairy tales only tell that dragons can be slain...

Dodol Buluk

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Re: My Days with Golok Betawi "Seliwa"
« Reply #10 on: 18/06/2009 10:28 »
indeed...i'll discuss it further with Mas MJ14..hehehe


debuls
"Jangan pernah bilang kagak kalo kagak pernah bilang jangan"

Antara

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Re: My Days with Golok Betawi "Seliwa"
« Reply #11 on: 18/06/2009 11:55 »
Appreciate if you could bring the discussion here, Bang Mboel... [top] The last time Kang MJ and I had practice session together he didn't talk much, just throwing knife around and cutting other people's hair with golok :P Now I know why many students wear kopiah during practice. ;D

We may open "Seliwa" barber shop one day... [lucu]
Fairy tales don't tell children that dragons are real...
Children always know that dragons are real...
Fairy tales only tell that dragons can be slain...

Antara

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Re: My Days with Golok Betawi "Seliwa"
« Reply #12 on: 18/06/2009 12:29 »
I have several things about pu’un in mind, but lets keep it for my future writing. Currently I have other thing burning in my mind. The Seliwa Grip...

Say, what is the first thing a blade master would tell his/her student about handling an edged weapon? Naturally it would be: “Get a good grip”. That’s what Guru Glenn told me in knife fighting seminar last year. Well, actually what he did was hitting my wrist over and over again until I can keep my knife from falling. He said nothing at the time but the lesson was crystal clear (also the bruises :-X).

In Seliwa, however, we are required to switch from tight to loose grip or vice versa as demanded by circumstances. Seliwa’s fighting strategy is so unique that we have to switch among various grips, e.g. standard grip to ice-pick, move the golok from right hand to left hand, turning it in such a way that it would re-appear from unexpected angle, and many other deadly tricks. While you have to have a good grip when your golok meet its target, you need to have flexible wrist and loose grip for maneuvering. Some grips cannot even be called grip since you only use your index and thumb finger to hold your golok. Bang Husin once showed me how he could godot (now, what is it in English again?) my arm using a flexible grip. A close combat using golok...

Long way to mastery, I could see, yet, it is fun to learn...

Anybody know what is godot in english? It is more than simply cutting... ~X( such a rich language that the Betawi people have  :-*
Fairy tales don't tell children that dragons are real...
Children always know that dragons are real...
Fairy tales only tell that dragons can be slain...

Antara

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Re: My Days with Golok Betawi "Seliwa"
« Reply #13 on: 22/06/2009 12:55 »
This is not field report of the workshop, again, simply my account of the event.

The first session was quite enlightening even for me, an insider. The material was presented by Uda SK on behalf of Bang Husin, explaining numbers from one to seven, reciting the meaning of each number from Islamic perspective, and the importance of each number in Seliwa practice. My helplessly pragmatic brain saw it as effective mnemonic to remember the basic of Seliwa’s fighting principles.

Confused? Here is an illustration.
Take number seven for example, Islam believes in seven days of creation, seven level of the skies, seven days a week, and other seven I might missed from the explanation (understand that in Arabian culture, seven represents infinity, just as we use ‘a thousand and one’). For Seliwa, seven represents the number of steps in any of Jurus Pu’un. I imagine that when Islam was dominating all aspect of life in old time Betawi, such numbering can be absorbed easily by students because it has direct relationship with their belief in daily life.

In the next session, Uda SK demonstrate the first Jurus Pu’un, the most basic and simple jurus in Seliwa. Frankly, I was expecting that he would demonstrate something fancier, but later I was glad that he didn’t.

Uda SK explained the jurus with interesting story-line to remember its principle. For example, he used the notion “if you go out, don’t take all the rice from your granary, leave them for those at home.” It means, leave most of your weight at your back leg when you move forward... “travel lightly so you can fill your vehicle later” ... so your front element can react quickly to opponent reaction ... “and return home with something for your family” ... grab your opponent toward you and finish him off.

Such an interesting way to remember principles. [top]

Uda SK then demonstrate application of those principles with his long life partner, Kang Mas MJ14... so realistic that I think they might need to settle something off-line later. x-))

Kang Mas MJ14 also had his own session with his favorite weapon, knife. He explained Seliwa principles applied in knife fighting. I wonder if I ever wanted to be involved in knife fighting in such close distance as showed there, but that’s part of Seliwa’s life, bladed weapon in close combat. In this session, Kang Mas MJ14 invited Kang Abu Zakka in demonstration. I am sure there were scratches and bruises there, and they might want to settle things out afterward too. ::)

This is just simple notes from me. Please feel free to add anything.
I am now in good health, some people don’t want to let me enjoy my life for long time. ???
Fairy tales don't tell children that dragons are real...
Children always know that dragons are real...
Fairy tales only tell that dragons can be slain...

Antara

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Re: My Days with Golok Betawi "Seliwa"
« Reply #14 on: 22/06/2009 13:01 »
Oh... after workshop we had interesting discussion about inventing "motto" for Seliwa... a jargon that represent the school, just like "lanjutkan" or "lebih cepat lebih baik"...

... and the proposal were "loe duluan deh" and "ops... sorry"... [lucu]

... I know we still have long way to go  ???
Fairy tales don't tell children that dragons are real...
Children always know that dragons are real...
Fairy tales only tell that dragons can be slain...

 

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