The Standing Positions of Pencak Silat Nusantara
Rapid Journal, Vol. 6, no. 3 (Book 21, 2002)
Demonstrated by Mohamad Hadimulyo, Founder and Grandmaster KPS Nusantara, and by Master O'ong Mayono
Many parallelisms can be
found in stances and forms
of techniques among Asian martial arts, even if the
native names often differ.
One of this is the so-called "standing position". As in other martial arts in Asia in other martial arts in Asia, also in pencak silat the pesilat (practitioner of pencak silat} deploys standing positions before undertaking defensive or offensive attacks. In pencak silat there are many types of standing positions, depending on the geographic areas of origin. In general, standing positions in pencak silat can be classified into three categories depending on the height, namely "full standing" (sikap pasang tegak), "middle standing" (slkap pasang menengah) and "ground standing" (slkap pasang bawah), These three categories often imply different socio-cultural meanings and strategic aims. Here, and in the next edition,, the writer will explain the first set of twelve standing techniques used at his school, the Keluarga Pencak Silat Nusantara, as a first prerequisite to understand the successive explanation of fighting techniques. As the reader will see, these twelve techniques are a combination of standing positions from all over the archipelago and have been inspired by different traditions and schools.
Stand-by Position (sikap siap)
The "stand-by" position is a preparatory stand in which the pesilat stands with the united fists close to the chest. It is meant to allow the pesilat to concentrate and gather his/her energy before engaging in a confrontation.
Standing Position I (sikap pasang I)
This position is often used in pencak silat styles originating from the province of East Java, the island of Madura, and the island of Bali, to step forward or step back, to zigzag or step aside while turning over the body. From this position, a pesilat normally carries out sudden attacks, using hand strikes in combination with kick strikes, which can be eventually followed by throwing techniques to pull down the opponent. It is also possible to hold out using the hands to implement deadlock techniques, as a way of stopping the opponent's offensive by paralyzing his/her hands and legs.
Standing Position II (sikap pasang II)
This position is normally used in pencak silat styles from West Sumatra, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, South Thailand, the island of Kalimantan and Mindanao in the Philippines, for defensive or counter-offensive purposes. If the pesilat gets hand and foot strikes from his/her opponent, he/she can change the foot support and counterattack with side-kick (tendangan T ) Another alternative is for the pesilat to go down and stop the opponent's kick strike with a low side-kick.
Also this position is used for stepping forward and back to draw near or take distance from the opponent by turning the body and jumping aside, it allows the pesilat to engage in other standing positions.
Standing Positon III (sikap pasang III)
Standing Position III is always used in pencak silat styles from West Sumatra Malaysia. Singapore,
Brunei. South Thailand the island of Kalimantan, South Philippines and the southern part of the province of East Java. At first sight, this position looks unstable. However it is highly strategic as it is meant to fool the opponent. Whenever the opponent attacks, the pesilat can quickly change
step and counterattack with a side-kick, or he can
choose to jump and "cut" the body of the opponent with a foot scissors technique. This position allows
creative fighters to deploy many strategic movements, when stepping forward or backward with half turning the body, or when jumping aside| back to the first position.
Stand Position IV (sikap pasang IV)
This position is often used in pencak silat styles in the provinces of East and West Java, the eastern part of the island of Kalimantan, South Sulawesi, and the islands of Madura, Bawean, and Bali. Standing Position IV looks vulnerable to attacks, but actually is meant to invite the opponent's offensive so as to employ deadlock techniques to paralyze his/her movements by allowing swift movements to close in on a target. It works most effectively with emotional opponents who lose their control and forget to maintain a distance. Even so, also with opponents who do not bite into this and remain passive, standing position IV can be useful as it allows the pesilat to perform sudden attacks using hand and kick strikes. Another suitable move is for the pesilat to jump and attack the opponent's neck with a foot scissors technique.
Standing Position V (sikap pasang V)
Standing Position V is often used in pencak silat styles in West Sumatra, Malaysia, Singapore and South Thailand. The pesilat's body stands firm on two feet with a flat body to make for a narrow target, and one hand inviting the opponent to attack. If the opponent starts to attack with a hand strike, the pesilat will focus on his/her knees with a low side kick from a backward position, or with a foot scissors technique. But, if the opponent starts to attack with a foot strike, the pesilat will catch the leg and throw it away, letting the opponent fall to the ground.
From the above it can be said that the standing positions of pencak silat are unusual fighting strategies in that they are also meant, with their elegance and beauty, to fool or disturb the concentration of the opponent.
...to be continued