Silat in Fresno

Bengal tiger crossing a creek Bengal tiger - Harimau Silat is a ground fighting tiger style

A prospective student dropped by my class the other day and watched a session. I asked him how he had heard of my class and he said he searched “Silat in Fresno” and my website came up. That’s both flattering and frustrating. It’s flattering because it means this website is doing its job and reaching its intended audience. It’s frustrating because I wish there were more of a Silat presence in Fresno. It would be so cool to have a true Guru or Pendekar in this area.

What about me? Hardly. I am a student with no formal ranking in Silat. I studied Silat in Panama with an American who had learned from Willem de Thouars. When I returned to the USA, I continued studying from videos. I have done that for three years now and have become very comfortable in the art, though I am far from an expert. But I perceive that the movements of Silat have become a part of me. I am in love with the art. It is so fluid, fast and aggressive, but at the same time it requires no power. In that sense it harmonizes very well with the other arts I study and teach – Hapkido, Jujitsu, Kempo.

I learn something new every week. I watch videos intensively, then take the techniques to my class and we learn them together and practice them on each other. I’ve also begun to codify what we’ve learned into a series of flow drills, some with open hands and some with the knife.

It helps that I have experience in multiple other arts. I find – especially in the last two years – that I can watch a technique and immediately grasp the principles behind it, and visualize other ways to use it.

So what style of Silat do we practice? Well, I find that I am very attracted to the movements of these styles:

  • Mande Muda – a style from West Java, Indonesia. Mande Muda represents a synthesis of 18 Silat styles.
  • Silat Suffian Bela Diri – from Brunei, popularized by Guru Maul Mornie.
  • Harimau – tiger style Silat. A very powerful ground fighting style.
  • Buaya – crocodile Silat. Another ground fighting style, quite methodical and brutal.
  • Maphilindo – this is Guru Dan Inosanto’s hybrid style (Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia). What I especially like about Dan’s style, aside from the fact that is is a martial arts living legend, is that he has organized and codified it so well. That makes it very easy to study.

So the Silat techniques we practice in class tend to come from these styles.

9 Comments

  1. Hi Weal,
    I would love to train with you Silat. I can’t make your monday or tuesday classes. But if you would like to train in the country (near) Coarsegold. say Saturday or sundays mornings it sure would be great. I could exchange some Capoeira technis that flow very well with Silat. Please let me know.

    Carlos

  2. I’m always interested in Silat practice/ training. Got a few seminars and classes under my belt from various places. Weekends work well for me too, due to work schedule. If you guys ever want to start a morning weekend session somewhere, let me know at my posted e-mail. I live in Clovis.

  3. Are you still looking for Silat students? And if so how much are you charging

    • Hi Nick. Did we correspond by email? Yes, my class is open to new students. There is no charge, aside from a donation of a dollar or two each class for the church hall where we train. Be aware however that I don’t teach Silat exclusively. I teach Hapkido and Silat, usually half and half.

  4. Update: I’ve continued to train in Silat and have attended numerous seminars with masters such as Maul Mornie and Dan Inosanto. Also, I have been studying Pekiti-Tirsia Kali with an instructor here in Fresno. Over the years I have felt my practice of Silat open up. There’s a smooth flow to my movements now. It’s amazing how this happens when you simply put in the time.

    Also, rather than teaching Hapkido and Silat separately, I tend to combine them these days. I have used the two arts into a style that I call Hammerhead Hapkido.

  5. Wael

    I like the fact that you are able to blend silat with hapkido. Hapkido was always one of my very favorite styles. I’ve always wanted to take Hapkido. I have taken Pukulan Cimande which is Silat from Willy Wetzel. One art that you would might have an interest in is Liu Seong Kuntao by Willem Reeders. It is primarily a striking art similar to Kempo, but with more power. It is a Chinese art with a touch of Dutch-Indo Silat. You might be able to find a teacher in your area. However, Chris Derbaum holds seminars across the US. Check out his Youtube channel called Ft. Myers Kung Fu Kuntao. thank you

    Brad

    • Thanks Brad, I appreciate your comment. Many years ago I lived in Oakland and there was a Pukulan Cimande school there. I watched a few classes and it came down to a choice between that and Hapkido. I chose Hapkido, but some years later I met a Silat practitioner and we began an exchange. I taught him, and he taught me.

      I’m familiar with Kuntao but not Liu Seong. I’ll check it out.

      Where are you located?

      • I live 20 min north of Pittsburgh, PA. If I lived near you I’d take Hammerhead Hapkido. There is a Sin Moo Hapkido and Judo school just south of Pittsburgh, but an hour away from me. I too would prefer Hapkido to Silat if given the chance. There is a Bukti Negara (Paul De Thouars) near me, but Hapkido is a better fit. Liu Seong Kuntao system by Willem Reeders has Silat features but with much more explosive and blazing fast striking. As I said Sifu Derbaum is the best, as his seminars are top notch. Ft.Myers Kuntao Youtube is awesome! I attend a Liu Seong school one hour north of me, and it’s well worth it. So attending another school an hour south of me is tough, and that’d be without rush hour traffic. I believe Hapkido combined with Silat (Bukti Negara) would be awesome! I have heard of others who said that their Hapkido/Judo training has helped out their Silat (flow and throws/takedowns). If I could, I’d do all three (Bukti Negara, Liu Seong, and Hapkido). The closest thing to Hapkido near me is Krav Maga, but I wonder if it would mesh well with my Kung Fu/Kuntao/Silat style?
        thanks
        Brad

  6. Hi Brad. I watched a Liu Seong Kuntao video and it looked a lot like the Silat that I do. I suspect that it would blend fairly well with Krav Maga.

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