Edwin said: "Still, there's a difference between trying to warn potential students off of a bad teacher and what we were discussing.
Looking at the different martial arts in the US, not just silat, do you think this divisiveness is unsolvable then?"
Absolutely not ever going to be resolved.
Every art I've ever been around considers itself superior. They might be low-key about it, might not get into somebody's face and brag about it, but they believe it.
Within the art, each branch thinks likewise. It's not just that Japanese karate guys think what they do is better than what the Korean guys do, it's that their particular sensei is better than the sensei down the road.
In Okinawa-te, we lived for the guys from other systems who would drop by to spar with us. Our teacher wanted us to kick their asses to show whose style was better, and generally, we did. Because a TKD guy who had gotten his black belt in eighteen months did not have the experience of our green belts, who typically took three years to get there. Our black belts were all six or seven years in, and we sparred every class. By the time I was a green belt, I could hold my own against our black belts -- I had no choice, it was block or get pasted, and we hit pretty hard.
And yet, we learned the X-block as our first knife defense, and that will get you killed real quick if you try it against anybody who knows which end of the knife does the cutting.
In the big arts, ones with thousands of players, there can be some uniformity -- literally is, in most cases. This is how the kata is done, and everybody has to do it this way to rise in rank. They can make it stick, but even in something like Korean arts, there are so many variants -- old-style, sport-style, Tae Kwon Do, Moo Duk Kwan, Tang Soo Do, Hapkido, Kook Sool, etc. And each of them thinks his is the way to go.
Then you get into street versus dojo, reality versus tourneys, weapons, barehanded ... the ways of splitting the apple are endless. I've had MMA guys tell me they could kick my ass. Twenty-five years old, trains three hours a day, takes steroids and pumps serious iron. And I say, sure, you can, using your rules. Can I bring my knives?
I've had guys say, Yeah, bring 'em. I'll still kick your ass.
How are you going to deal with that kind of brain-lock?
The village arts don't group well. In Java, they tried to come up with a national version of silat. It looks a lot like tournament karate with takedowns and the old guys out in the boonies laugh at it and shake their heads.
As long as there are gurus willing to print up colorful certificates of rank to please rich American players who come by, the instant Pendekars who wave those papers and make claims are going to have trouble convincing real silat players they have any skill, so that gap stays.
A silat player I know, who has been to a Tjimande village several times to train, points out that he did see Wm. Sanders's photograph up on the bulletin board in one of the teacher's houses. He (Sanders) had been there and trained. This player also points out that there was no electricity in that village, so the Pendekar didn't get his certificate printed up there. Editorial Note: The logic would seem to be that they had some of these printed up to have on hand, or they sent somebody into town to get some. Largely in English, if you read it. Why would that be?
To be fair, Sanders does have some skill, has been studying and training for years, so that's not in question. We have had some long email discussions that were, by and large, at least civil, and finally agreed to disagree, mostly since he claims my art doesn't really exist. But that early question of his credentials has dogged him all along, and will continue to do so in some circles. It might be true, but it sounds fishy, given what was known about what he knew then. Old mistakes, especially when you hold them up for public viewing, can come back to haunt you.
Oil and water, they aren't ever going to mix and stay mixed. Me, I'm not interested in tilting at that particular windmill -- it's a no-win situation.
Like Chas Clements says, you get a bunch of martial artists together and a fight breaks out?
What a surprise ...
What a surprise ...