05 May 2011

Training to fight with the tactics of the tiger

It was my expertise as a lawyer which led to my passion for Pencak Silat, one of the true martial arts originating from Malaysia and Indonesia.

My uncle, Guru Paul Deans, who has practised martial arts for 30 years, asked me to research some legal aspects of self-defence as he was holding a self-defence course for women.

I watched one of the sessions and, at the end, there was a demonstration of Pencak Silat, which has several differing, and disputed meanings but which may translate as “to train for the fight”.

It seemed fascinating, so I took it up and have been doing it ever since, attending twice-weekly classes at The Yorkshire Silat Academy, in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, where my uncle teaches. I am one of two women in an average class of about 15.

Our style of Pencak Silat can be traced back to Indonesia in 1610 where it developed as an outdoor, ground-based fighting system used to train the Indonesian army.

It employs a series of moves, postures, hand-strikes, multiple hits and kicks to enable people to attack from the ground.

It also involves stalking movements and we sometimes use talon-shaped training blades, called Kerambits, as well as sticks or a staff as weapons.

The Yorkshire Silat Academy is the only one in Yorkshire to teach the style of Silat we practise.

This is known as Lumpat Harimau Minangkabau Silat, which translates as “leaping tiger silat”.

Minangkabau refers to the area of Sumatra, Indonesia, where it was founded.

We now also have a class for children aged from about three to 13, when they have the option to join the adult classes.

The oldest students are in their 50s and, as silat is so adaptable and versatile, it works well for them, too.

Lumpat Harimau Minangkabau Silat, which was introduced to the UK by my uncle’s teacher, Guru Richard De Bordes, 30 years ago, is fast and flowing with the practitioner or defender attacking from upright positions then perhaps dropping to fight from the ground with movements and tactics which mirror the tiger.

There is a spiritual side which involves breathing techniques and helps harmonise mind and body and promotes mental strength.

Sourced from http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/business/people-and-careers/my_passion_with_emma_major_training_to_fight_with_the_tactics_of_the_tiger_1_3341696

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