Silat is a martial art originating from Indonesia. There are more then 13,000 islands, 360 spoken languages and a population of approximately 200 million people in making up the Indonesian Archipelago.
With over 1,800 different styles of Silat throughout the islands of Indonesia, you cam imagine that no two styles of Silat look exactly alike. Each style depicts the area of origin and it's ethnic group with their own characteristics.
The word Silat comes from the areas of Sumatra, the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and others, and refers to the actual fighting aspects of Silat.
In Indonesia Silat was originally taught as a secretive art to the family and to members of the village. Now there is a modern version of Silat which caters for the public. It is taught in the school systems starting in elementary schools and continuing throughout the colleges and universities.
The techniques involved in Silat have been predominantly designed with the local terrain in mind. Much of Silat was practised and performed on marshy, uneven ground, and so the most reliable techniques tended to center around the task of upsetting the opponent's balance. A Silat practitioner would hope to offset an opponent's center of gravity, manouvering him/her into such positions that would either a) prevent the opponent from delivering an effective blow, or b) open up a clear, more damaging, line of attack. Since the art of Silat is particularly strong in its body/balance manipulations, it's techniques of this ilke that are used within the Scimitar Progressive Street Combat with the greatest degree of frequency.
The style of Silat predominantly taught at Progressive Martial Arts is Maphilindo Silat, the name being a reference to the countries of Malaysia, the Phillipines and Indonesia. Developed by Guro Dan Inosanto from his studies with numerous Silat instructors, including Herman Suwanda and Edgar Sulite, Maphilindo is a blended style which builds on the traditional styles.
In addition to the Maphilindo, at Progressive Martial Arts account is also taken of the techniques and combat philosophies of more traditional/foundational Silat styles.
Maphilindo Silat is essentially a counter fighting style and incorporates empty-hand techniques along with the use of such weapons as the short stick and sarong. The general idea is to manipulate and destruct a part, parts, or the whole of an opponent's body in a minimal period of time. This goal is achieved by a flow of techniques and movement through the phases of entering, takedown and finishing. The emphasis here is on the concept of flow, which is the smooth transition through a series of movements or techniques. To achieve flow a martial artist must have a high level of sensitivity to the energies an opponent employs in a combat situation.
The range of techniques used in Maphilindo Silat, and in the traditional/foundational styles, is not extensive and the major striking techniques include Finger Thrusts, Guntings, Elbows, Knees and Headbutts, along with manipulative techniques such as Arm Pulls, Head Pulls, Head Turns, Leg Sweeps, Knee Compressions, Arm Breaks, Elbow Levers and Chokes.
The self defence applications of Silat are numerous, particularly in empty-hand attack situations, and its value as a "street style" is high since it's emphasis lies on a short engagement time and strong finishing techniques.
To the martial arts student, the ideas of Silat are straightforward and the techniques not overly complicated however continual practice is required to achieve the level of energy sensitivity and fluidity required for dominance in a range of situations. Training in Silat will therefore enhance the control a student has over their own actions, as well as attaining a high level of control over the energy of an attacker.