Pencak Silat Syllabus


The basic techniques of stances (sikap), blocks and strikes are taught as individual components.  These basics are referred to as "jurus".  The jurus are practiced as solo exercises.

The fundamental combination of movement and attacking and defending combinations, are taught and practiced both solo and with a partner.  These fundamental combinations are referred to as "dasar"; there are 36 of these dasar in the system.

When practice is done solo, the emphasis is upon the technique being performed with correct execution and posture.  Speed and power can also be practiced more safely in solo exercises than can be done with a partner.  Partner practice focuses on the control of timing and distance.  With experience it is possible to train with a partner using speed and power provided that there is also the well-developed skills of being able to control timing and distance.

An integral part of silat is learning to move.  This is referring to the ability to move progressively from posture to posture and understand the strategic and tactical maneuvering involved to set up the desired result.  The maneuvering has a number of objectives.  It can have a psychological effect; that is, to mentally dominate your opponent by exhibiting such confidence and control of movements that it becomes intimidating for your opponent long before you have closed to within a range to be able to strike.  Each change of position sets up different opportunities and different threats.  Each position presents its own set of defensive and attacking possibilities.  The idea is to draw your partner into making a move that you want them to do creating a tactical advantage.  The moves that you elicit may be a strike that you are ready to counter; equally, the move may be to create an opening at which you can successfully strike.

Silat is often described as being deceptive.  This aspect was touched upon by Donn Draeger in the following passage referring to the Balinese style of Bhakti Negara:

"Psychologically speaking, the exponent of this pentjak-silat form tries to torment his enemy to make him lose mental poise.  This device, plus deliberate deceptions in a physical sense - appearing to be in a weak cluster or lacking alertness - is the method of BHAKTI NEGARA.  Such a ruse is called a "weak counterpart position" and is based on deceptive stances and movements.  This "weakness" is always demonstrated openly and deliberately about two yards from the enemy.  It is all decoy, a lure to bring the enemy into a blind attack with his mind set on how easy the BHAKTI NEGARA exponent looks.  By such miss judgment of the "weak counterpart position" the attacker leaves holes in his defense and is subject to prompt and efficient counterattack.  This decoy or ruse is termed tipuan, implying "imitation substituted" … ". [1]

The elements of the tactical maneuvering and the dasar come together with the kembangan (flower dance).  Dasar are selected and "knotted" together with tactical maneuvering to form a kembangan, performed with partner.

The self defence component (bela diri) applies the same basics, however, in a more direct and pragmatic manner.  The ascetics of practice by way of patterns and prearrange combinations gives way to the practicality of self defence.  The commencing stances (sikap used in the dasar can be used and modified for use in self defence.  However, the commencing positions for self-defense are natural stances rather than the fighting stances used in the dasar.  This is more in keeping with contemporary self defence applications.

Free sparring is taught using strategies and combinations of techniques that have been learnt and practiced as pre-arranged combinations; now being used in free sparring exercises.

Self defence against weapons is part of the syllabus as is training of various weapons against other weapons. The weapons programme is built upon the foundation of the empty-handed system as is commonly applied in combat systems.


[1]        Draeger, Donn F "The Weapons and Fighting Arts of Indonesia"; Charles E. Tuttle Company Japan 1972, p.170