Friday, July 04, 2008

Principles of Silat Sera Plinck

First principle is, the art is much easier to do if you have six arms and four legs ...

Actually, the illo is from the section on Sera Principles, on Guru Plinck's site. Written and posted there by Todd and Tiel.

It's interesting to read, in that if you know much about the art, you won't have any trouble making some sense of the article. But if you aren't one of us, it won't mean anything really useful at all. In cases of applied movement, the map is truly not the territory. I don't know anybody who ever learned how to swim sitting on the edge of the pool reading a book on the various strokes. You gotta get wet.

As I was looking for some tidbits to send to a few of the newbies in our class, I came across the Djuru Topics, only a few of which they have had a chance to learn yet, but that also reminded me of how much of what we do is so very simple and basic. Sera as we practice it, is not a complex art. There are combinations of things that can look complicated, but they aren't when you know what goes into them.

"Simple" does not equal "easy," of course, as I have said many times before, but simple is the heart and soul of what we do. We don't have any jumping-flying-spinning-triple-
sommersault kicks in our toolbox. Most of what the advance class does most of the time is the same as what the beginners do most of the time, at least insofar as the root movements are concerned. The principles of swinging a baseball bat are the same for a Little League player and the National League home run leader. It's a bat, you try to hit the ball with it, nothing complicated at all. Practice a lot, pay attention while you do, you tend to get better.

A whole lot -- even most -- of what we believe you need to know to do this stuff in a useful manner is covered in the twelve topics. I'm not giving anything away by posting them here:

Djuru - Topics

1. Receiving (4 ways)
2. Giving (5 ways)
3. English (corkscrew)
4. High Line
5. Low Line
6. Push/pull
7. Trapping (window)
8. Elbow
9. Punch
10. Back up (attitude)
11. Tense/relax
12. Breathing

And just to be fair, I need to say that our djuru forms are only the upper body; the legwork, we call "langkas," and while both are usually learned together and lumped under the term "djurus," we do consider them in different lights. You need both, but you can practice djurus sitting in a chair, most of them. The langkas come into play on the various geometric footwork platforms, and technically, you can do them without the handwork, too. Might be more semantics, that, but it's how we consider it.


Bobbe Edmonds said...

"First principle is, the art is much easier to do if you have six arms and four legs ..."

I started to post something smarmy before I read your post. You beat me to it.

AF1 said...

Interesting principles.

The idea of not rotating the shoulder girdle when moving the feet, and not moving the feet when using the upper body, resonates with me. (Used to do kenpo, and this idea might have fit in well there.)

I know it's not ideal to learn an art from a DVD...but are there any good ones out there that you recommend, to get a taste of silat in motion?

Steve Perry said...

Lots of silat tapes and vids. Only ones that demonstrate it like we do it are Guru Plinck's -- you can get them from Joe Daggy, who shot and produced them.

Vids do have limitations, but these will give you the flavor.

AF1 said...

Thanks. Went ahead and ordered a copy of volume 1.

Dan Gambiera said...

Steve and Bobbe,

Speaking of that site, I talked to Guru Plinck. There will be a pretty substantial update Real Soon Now™.

Steve - if you want to rewrite the history section now is the time.

Bobbe - if you can spare the time I'd really appreciate your thoughts on studying Sera in Indonesia and links to a few clips if you still have them up somewhere.

Steve Perry said...

I touched up the history and sent it your way.