Monday, April 20, 2009

Silat Resources

Got a query from a new silat student south of here, and I thought it might be useful to offer what I told him. He was asking about books and vids and such:

Silat is such a big tent that the only thing some of the styles have in common is that they are from the same part of the world.

The seminal work on silat in English is Donn Draeger's Weapons & Fighting Arts of the Indonesian Archipelago. There are various versions of this around, you can probably pick up a used version in trade paperback. He has a couple other books on the subject, like Javanese Silat, but they are just okay.

O'ong Maryono's English version of his book, Pencak Silat in the Indonesian Archipelago is good.

You can download Ian Wilson's thesis from the Murdoch University School of Asian Studies, in Western Australia (2002), The Politics of Inner Power: The Practice of Pencak Silat in West Java. Wilson lived in the country and speaks the language.

Most of the books and tapes out there have some use, and though I'm not too impressed with some of the Paladin Press stuff, my teacher did a video for them on Bukti Negara, the daughter art Pendekar Paul and his senior students created, drawn from Sera. It's good for what it is.
Paul did an eight-tape series on Bukti, but I haven't seen it for sale on his site for years. Might find it used online somewhere.

There is material out there on some of the blades -- best books on the keris are from Holland, with a Dutch/English side-by-side text and hand-glued in pictures, but they are spendy: De Kris, by Tammens, three volumes.

Best guy to see for buying the hardware lives in Australia, Alan Maisey, there's a link to his page here.

Lot of YouTube stuff on the kerambit.

Also Bobbe Edmonds silat videos on YouTube are good. He spent some time in the old country training, knows his stuff, despite the fact he came down with yesterday's rain.

Best general work on weapons: Traditional Weapons of the Indonesian Archipelago, by Albert van Zonneveid. A coffee-table sized book and also expensive.

You can get Maha Guru Plinck's vids from Joe Daggy, at Lexington Films:

And, of course, you can order my e-book, But What if I Did This?! and get a PDF for $5, if you don't already have it. Just click on the PayPal button up there under the header.
There are bits of history and philosophy on our art ladled into my musings ...


Bobbe Edmonds said...

Wow, Thanks for the mention! Took me a while to figure out what "came down with yesterday's rain" meant, then I smacked my head and said "Oh, of course."

If you don't mind, I would also like to add my teacher's book as well: Pencak Silat Through My Eyes by Herman Suwanda.

Steve Perry said...

Oh, yeah. There other silat resources around, and anybody who has a good one is welcome to add it to the list. My hit wasn't anywhere inclusive, only a basic primer for somebody who was interested.

Some guy said...

Ooops. I hadn't read this entry yet when I recommended The Weapons and Fighting Arts of Indonesia by Draeger in a comment to your previous entry. I noticed that the title you recommended was slightly different, with "Archipelago" in it. Do you know if there's any difference between the two books, or did he just change titles for a new edition? Thanks.

Steve Perry said...

SG --

Nearly as I can tell, it's exactly the same book, save for the title change. I have a hardback version of the original, published in 1972, and a trade paper reprint with the "Indonesia" replacement in the title, and everything appears identical.

Comprehensive Asian Fighting Arts, by Draeger and Robert W. Smith has a chapter on Indonesia/Malaysia in it, runs seventeen pp.

A lot of what Draeger (and Smith) put down has since been found to be less than completely accurate -- they point out that kun-tao and silat don't have anything to do with each other and that they probably didn't influence each other very much, especially kun-tao upon silat.

But when these book came out, there wasn't much in English, save for brief articles here and there, including the one in Black Belt about Paul and Rudy from the mid-sixties, "Spice Island Fighting Men."

Richard Sackville said...

As I have fallen on hard times, one of my training partners brought me the Manu Guru Steven Plinck three DVD set from Lexington films as noted by Steve above.

Only had them a week so far but I find them extremely helpful. I now have a year’s (or life)worth of training to work on and I love the way Steven moves.

Very much worth getting these DVDs and not just for silat enthusiast like me.I think people in other arts would find them useful.

The next step is to get out to the states for some training with the group or take part in some workshops.



Steve Perry said...

Richard --

And bear in mind that Guru was either just pre- or post-op major back surgery when those vids were shot. He moves better now ...

Richard Sackville said...

Hi Steve, the main thing I am doing is listening to what Guru he is saying, lots of gold dust there for me coupled with great demonstration.

Do you think Guru will continue to produce DVD’s that explore other juru’s? He kind of hints at it.