29 June 2008

Traditionalist Vs Modernist: The End of a Paradox?

The traditional way of Silat is supposed to be flexible and adaptable because it is an art of survival, helping pesilat to survive; and the survival of the knowledge itself. It must be able to be reinterpreted at any time, into any 'language' and for any situation. It is supposed to be versatile and have a broad meaning even the old ancient traditional techniques are already more than a thousand years old.

Being a true traditional Silat master, one must be an old school, evergreen, modern, 'groovie' (can I use that word...?) and open minded person. If he can't adjust himself to evolve thus making the knowledge stuck in time, he is contributing towards the disappearance of a very precious knowledge.

There is nothing wrong with the modernisation of Silat or of any knowledge; even the modernisation of Islam knowledge. Exceptional precious knowledge are supposed to be able to modernised but with proper adab or manners and must also be done with strict guidance from an expert of that particular knowledge.

Many ancient Silat styles claim that their techniques have the beginning but not the end. How can there be an end? It cannot evolve, adapt, modernise and embrace changes otherwise; proper changes not frankensteining. Adaptability not adoption of alien techniques or style.

Being very ancient and traditional, Silat is not supposed to be carved in stone, stuck and frozen in time or having static narrow techniques. It cannot be only words or so called philosophies or concept alone. Ancient Silat has proven its effectiveness and reliability.

Everyone knows how its power of knowledge and wonder of wisdom evolves itself and it's practitioner through time. The only problem is, can we change for the better? Can we evolve? Can we learn from what we acquired? Can we attain the understanding of our own knowledge? Are we willing to be guided and embrace humility?

Why are all of these important? Because these are among the ways ancient Silat survives through time and evolves, showing its wonder. These are also the ways of a true master whilst making sure the continuity of this precious ancient knowledge of survival.

Everyone must work together by merging their wisdoms so that we can gain more from what we already have, both traditionalist and modernist in the Silat world. Where did those modernists get their knowledge? What happens to the traditionalists if they don’t have any modernists as students? We all know very well that most modernists are from new generation that learn from old traditionalist masters.

In the end, everyone needs everybody. We need each other to survive if we must protect ourselves from any harm and we need each other to make sure that this Silat knowledge can survive another many thousand years, InsyaAllah. Be humble like plain water so that one can be flexible, adaptable, precious, fluid and strong.

By Ustaz Saiful Muhammad
Pertubuhan Seni Silat Telapak Nusantara Malaysia


Anonymous said...

Rahayu DiMas,
Silat is a only part of a process and a catalyst ... the other part is the human being. Because of this is can also be seen as a important tool to organise society along specific guidelines. On the other hand, it can also be used as a project management tool and catalyst for change and approaching enlightenment for the individual (the self). It is what is produced that has the potential for value, to either the individual or to the rest of society.
As a catalyst, silat can show a vista that might otherwise remain hidden, that we are not separate from the source ... imagine that life is the raindrop, the raindrop will always return to the sea :).


Mohd Nadzrin Wahab said...

Salam hormat Pak Krisno,

Nice to see you here. Thank you for all the support.

Project management tool huh? I coach a project management course in Accenture, and I can certainly see that the methods are similar, and are relevant to developing silat within someone.

I think, however, I've seen better crisis management or contingency planning in silat than anywhere else. :)

Salam persilatan,

djambu puadovich said...

nice pic BTW.
is the pair bersilat accompanied by a rock band?
talk about modernists...;)

Mohd Nadzrin Wahab said...

Salam hormat Djambu,

I thought you'd like it. Very ironic and relevant to the topic, no?

Salam persilatan,

djambu puadovich said...

haha. can't agree more! :)

how's d course in Muzium Negara? how's aswad's performance?

Mohd Nadzrin Wahab said...

Salam hormat Djambu,

It was a well-received 1 1/2 hour talk that flew to two hours. Aswad was a sporting punching bag, though. Article could be coming, if I feel like it. :)

Salam persilatan,