Monday, March 13, 2017

Thump 'n' Bump

Past three days, I was at a silat seminar in Battle Ground, WA. 

“Silat” here being the short version of Pukulan Pentjak Silat Sera Plinck, a Javanese martial art that features hitting, kicking, elbows, stabbing, cutting, and other ways of whacking people who mean to do you harm.

By the third day of a three-day camp, one tends to be tired, sore, and with a full cup. Given the quality of the teachers and how much they know, it sometimes feels like drinking from a fire hose, but the hope is that some small amounts will get retained …

Maha Guru (which for silat players, means “Great Teacher,”) Plinck is the best-qualified and most excellent teacher of our art, hands down. What he shows and how he delivers it is, simply, superb.

We were honored to have Guru/Sifu/Sensei/etc. Cliff Stuart up from SoCal, sharing a small fraction of his wisdom. Guru Cliff has black belts in, I think, fourteen different arts, a long career as a bodyguard to celebrities who needed such, and who has forgotten more than  most of us in the room combined will ever learn. His compliance techniques, for those times when you don’t want to have unconscious people bleed on your client’s nice carpet, were really impressive. 

Guru Muda Max (“muda” meaning young here), is the newest of the teachers, and whose enthusiasm and skill was a delight to behold. Given that Max is Italian and teaching in English, it was even more impressive. He brought with him a crew of Italian players who had waay too much fun. 

There were other ranked instructors training who, while not listed on the program, nonetheless helped teach the rest of us as the days flowed, notably Don Lee and Derek Sasaki. 

I did a class in how to use a cane if you are impaired enough to need one to stay upright. One does what one can ...

There were twenty-some of us, ranging in age from twenty-something to pushing seventy, and, for once, I was only the second-oldest guy in the room.

A fine time was had by all. 


Anonymous said...

I would be interested in your comments about cane use. From reading Mushtaq Ali al Ansari's old blog entries, I know that using it every day so that it becomes a part of you is very important but any additional insights you could provide would be appreciated.

Steve Perry said...

I believe you have it -- practice with your primary tool until it becomes second-nature. Learn how you have to move to compensate for whatever handicap you have. If you have a gimpy leg, advancing or delaying timing might not be doable, you will probably be limited to meet-timing. If you can put 60% weight on a bad ankle or knee, that is not the same as only being able to do 30%.

Work against a heavy bag, a big tire, something you can whack solidly. With a partner using a thick pad.

Learn which strikes work best, and some of them are not what you'd expect. Smashing somebody's foot or knee will give them pause. You can borrow somebody's base for support.

How to deal with somebody who grabs your stick. Hint: Going into them with an elbow works well ...

Most of this is hands-on, you have to do it to get better at it. Most stick or sword arts can be modified for cane.