How To Fight Summarized

This was written to a student a while back who was struggling in his exploration of his own abilities. There are no secrets here, just basic info, but if you’ve never put words to the basic info that you, or your teacher just do, perhaps this is a good starting point. It’s very unlikely this addresses everything but it is sufficiently broad enough to help with a bunch.

I have a question for you. A friend of mine is a black belt in TKD he’s pretty fast when he throws kicks, and [uses] different combinations [than I’m used to], always one kick immediately after another kick so he always catches me. How do you deal with that?

It depends on how you are fighting.

[None of my available materials right now address tactics or methods so much as just the body culture you need, and overall ideas. I’ve always preferred that people figure it out by experimenting rather than being told. It’s a more fruitful method to development of a personal methodology IMO. Anyway, it’s probably a missing component to what I have created over the years for people and I’ll have to look at doing some.]

In any case, I have fought TKD guys, Karate guys, Kung fu, Kuntao, Wing Chun guys, Kali guys, Hapkido guys, etc. It matters a great deal how you are fighting. Are you fighting to touch or to hit? Hit or to hurt? Hurt or to injure? Injure or kill? If the intent is not there to at least hurt it makes ANY fighting more difficult.

Also, when you “fight” anyone you must remember that there are several ways to deal with it. It doesn’t matter a great deal who they are or what style:

1. Close or open the gap. Closing reduces the required space for kicking attacks and opening makes their kicks irrelevant and gives you time to observe. Kicking requires a certain distance between you and the kicker. If you stand still or stay on line and he kicks, he gets to choose when and how often he kicks. Meaning HE/SHE gets to create the combinations and you’re left to defend yourself (reaction versus action). Move out of defense and into offense. (Gerak, Langkah, Ales, and Masukan)

[Kicking in this regard is really any type of attack but I was specifically addressing kicks.]

2. Use angles. Don’t just stand there or even back up. Those are the two least effective options for evasion. In a pinch you may do it, but it’s not preferred. If you back up against any type of attack, in a straight line, they will be able to continue to attack. In response to kicks specifically, remember that they are not very maneuverable. If you choose to back up for the initial attack, you should do so at an angle. In all cases, the attacker will be forced to change simple combinations into complex ones when the body has to re-orient. Additionally, if you do both, close the gap and change angle, it really messes with the combative relationship. (Gerak, Langkah, Ales, and if you close the gap, Masukan)

3. Every attack generates from or through one of four places – either shoulder or either hip. If you want to defend against any attack the best way is to go to the source. Attack the source of the attack directly. I normally just block kicks by kicking the kick as it starts, or by attacking the hip or upper thigh close to where it generates. The same can be done for strikes of any kind. This is best when combined with the previous two points. The key is to “block” in a way that is destructive to structure. Not just blocking or attacking the limb that as kicking or striking, but actually destroying structure by doing so. (Totokan and or Timbilan)

4. Close the gap, attack, change angle, destroy structure, and then monitor additional attacks by putting your hands or feet in ready positions to deal with additional attacks by monitoring the zones from which they generate. Additionally, by closing the gap and catching or locking the attacker you can nullify many follow up attacks. This is only a good option if you haven’t already and aren’t able to destroy the opponent. I don’t advocate this over hitting the attacker repeatedly or breaking down their structure, but it does work if you close the gap but are unable to effectively attack. (Pencegah Tangan, Tangkapan, and Kuncian)

5. Fight the way you fight best. If what you’re doing isn’t working for you, learn to control the relationship of the fight. Be able to break away, get up, and release when you want to, or close, grab, shove or strike and kick. By doing so, you’re allowing yourself to use the tools you want to use and are comfortable using. Do not fight the other persons fight. This is hard to remember sometimes, especially if you’re getting hit. You are still better to fight your best fight, than to fight their best fight.

6. Be ready to take it to the end. Be willing to close, over-run, take a hit, and get close. Do what is necessary to do. Be willing to move beyond injuring to killing. Intent to do harm as quickly as possible is necessary. To what level of course, needs to be determined responsibly. If there is a weapon involved on the part of the attacker, for example, it is not enough to injure in most cases, you need be willing to move to killing. Pembas.

Those are my suggestions. How they work for you will depend on your skill and understanding, and of course the attackers skill and understanding and the sweat you put into your study.

Guru Stark
Pencak Silat Pertempuran

Be Clear!

YOU could be teaching Combat Silat within two years.

Did you know that with a strategy, a little hope, and some sweat you can achieve your goals?

The majority of us do not think so out of the box crazy that we cannot achieve what we set our mind to. If you wanted to do the work, put in the time, and bust your ass, you could achieve the instructor level rank of Pelatih within 2 years!

I’ve already helped you more than you realize. I’ve provided materials that you can use as the basis of that study. I’ve provided the goal of Pelatih. I’ve provided the timeline of 2 years. The curriculum itself is attainable, organized, measurable, and relevant.

The only thing really left for you to do is take the lead on your own education and goals.

Here’s how you do that:
1. Set up a strategy.
2. Then follow it. Do the work. Find the path that gets you there.
3. Set milestones along the way for your goals.
4. Think of what if scenarios. What if I my knee craps out? What if my elbow, shoulder, back gives out? What if my job changes? What if….? Make some contingency plans. Measure your risk areas.
5. Then, in the face of setbacks adjust your course. Keep pursuing. Be consistent and diligent.
6. Review your progress and see if it aligns with your goal. If not, adjust.

100% of this is consistent time and energy.
There are no secrets.
There is nothing esoteric. It is all exoteric.

But let’s be honest, not all the people who travel through the doors of a training area want to teach or even should be teaching.


You should still have a goal. Do the work of giving yourself something measurable to work towards. Include a timeline for that progress. Part of that will be determining for yourself, what it is that you want from your attendance, from your sweat, from your effort.

It doesn’t need to be a particular rank. The point of martial arts training is not a fixed destination in my opinion, but the journey involved. Get your mind wrapped around what it is that you are looking for. Is it personal growth? Physical health? Spiritual change? Combat efficacy? Development of grace, balance, and flexibility? Cultural attachment?

Meditate on your personal pursuit regularly. Define what you are looking to obtain. Be open to changing that as life changes, or as you mature in the arts.

Silat can be a journey that provides different things to different people, meeting you where you’re at and giving you purpose or it can be as simple as something you do to develop one aspect of yourself. Do the work of figuring out what that is.

For example, you read through this and determine that you really have no interest in teaching but instead want to develop your combat efficacy. Great! Do you know why? Is it something you like because it seems cool to kick ass? Or do you live in an unsafe environment? Do you come from an abusive background?

You will benefit more from the act of meditating on your purpose of the pursuit than you can imagine. Burrow down and try to be specific. Truly meditate on it. Figure out what you are looking for in the pursuit. Only then can you make a sure target of your training and have a way to measure your journey, make adjustments, or completely flip.

Accidental learning is the slowest way to learn. Be intentional. It’s no different than trying to find something you’ve misplaced. You think. You draw conclusions based on your thinking. Then you act accordingly. Adjusting your journey as you go, until you find the thing misplaced. And, just like a thing misplaced, if you don’t know what you’re looking for, it’s pretty damned hard to find it!

Move with intention and as in an attack, have clarity of movement, clarity of target, and clarity of the results.

Sean Stark
Pendiri–Combat Silat

PS: Just to clarify. I don’t give any certification away. This is not a attend a seminar and get certified thing. I’m sorry, that it may sound like it in hindsight, but in the past 16 or 17 years of involvement in pencak silat. I’ve awarded a grand total of 3 people instructor level rank in Combat Silat. All have taken more than 3 years to earn the lower level instructor ranking. The majority around 4 actually. However, much of that has to do with life, the ebb and flow of desire, etc. It is doable in 2 years. IMO with the right combination, which is mostly dependent on you!

Manifesto Series

4. There are pencak silat people and systems that do not follow the path of silaturahim (brotherhood and sisterhood). They should be avoided if possible—as though they do not exist—not because we fear them, but because they bring nothing of value to Pencak Silat Pertempuran. Do not even utter the names they fight so hard to protect.

When you must, treat those associated with negativity, in kindness and brevity.

This then is also one of the ways by which Pencak Silat Pertempuran was developed.

Manifesto Series

2. Let’s not try to keep those who do not find the way of Pencak Silat Pertempuran to their liking. Instead let’s help them on their way to finding a path that’s suitable for them.

A student, a friend, an acquaintance, cannot be forced to be part of your life. It is better to help them find their way to the right place than to try and keep them.

How to know when to let go: laziness, complaining, contrary, turmoil in their life. They do not develop fruit. These people, if too close, will pull you into their life and pull you off the path of prosperity and growth. Misery truly does love company.

Pencak Silat Pertempuran Manifesto Series

This is going to come as a series of posts highlighting the ideas within Pencak Silat Pertempuran:

1. Teachers and students, in Pencak Silat Pertempuran we must not think so little of ourselves, our success, or our skill, that we feel it’s necessary to protect ourselves with words or deeds against another person out of fear or jealousy of their success.

If the one succeeds it’s better for us all. Lets join in and help. Otherwise we will damage not only Pencak Silat Pertempuran’s reputation, but we will continue to damage the community of pencak silat around the world.

Pencak Silat: Combat or More?

For some, the study of pencak silat is a hobby. It’s something we do for fun, or exercise, or social interaction. It can also be that we may feel the need to protect ourselves or others. Lastly, it may even be a drive we have to generate self-confidence.

To me, and hopefully the students and instructors I raise, I hope they see it as more….

When I talk about attributes and attribute development within Pencak Silat Pertempuran I’m talking about more than just physical attributes. Of course, those are very important, things such as speed, endurance, quickness, reach, timing, strong side, mobility, etc.

The more often overlooked components are things such as emotional and mental attribute development.

Apart from the need to use the physical attributes you develop during times of physical crisis, and self or community protection, it’s the emotional and mental attributes that take martial arts from a hobby, exercise, or something fun to do just for the sake of it, and give value to everyday life.

Attributes such as patience, will, and determination may seem like obvious traits that would develop over the course of training, but other attributes include things such as self-reflection/evaluation, centeredness, adaptability, respect, and trust are some other examples.

The majority of us already have an amount of these attributes when we start PSP. Some more than others. PSP when truly studied will continue to grow these as well, challenging you along the way incrementally.

To see it, let’s look at a quick example. When you’re training, do you trust what you’re being taught? Do you trust the teacher? Did you start off fully trusting the teacher or the art, or has that trust grown over time and with the input of energy from you and the teacher? It’s likely that it’s been a process.

You may even find that if you do not yet fully trust the art or the teacher. That’s normal. As a point of caution, to see the greatest value from your training, you must work through that and learn why you do not fully trust and then take steps to rectify that. One way would be to ask questions, which will develop another mental attribute in the desire to learn—it’s a path of connection and relationship. Relationship to one another and relationship amongst attributes.

Now, I challenge you to take the lessons you are learning in study of Pencak Silat Pertempuran and apply them to your everyday life!

Hormat Saya,

Moving Beyond Technique

The study of Pencak Silat, depending on the system, can be a process of personal discovery. It can be an amazing journey to help you discover life. It confuses some people because all they see in martial arts is the destruction. However, it has been my journey that the point of martial arts is about prolonging life, and what value is prolonging life without at least addressing the idea of quality of life? In fact, through the process of learning about life’s destruction, you can, also learn to develop and improve life. However, only if you put the principals of pencak silat to action on a consistent basis outside of the aliran and perguruan.

Pencak silat is not a game or a hobby to be turned on and off.

It IS a way to step. Langkah dari batuan ke batuan.
It IS the act of stepping from stone to stone.
It IS learning to act, not react.
It IS fluidity, not rigidity.
It IS simplicity, not complexity.
It IS beauty, not ugliness.
It IS natural, not contrived.
It IS relationship, not autonomy.
It IS sync, not difference.
It IS a path to life AND death.