Demonstrated by Mohamad Hadimulyo, Founder and Grandmaster KPS Nusantara
This is the second and final installment featuring the unique standing positions of pencak silat KPS Nusantara. Like the five positions featured in the last issue, these stances also have similarities with stances and techniques of other Asian martial arts. Here, I present to you the last seven standing positions.
Standing Position VI (sikap pasang enam)
This position is often used in pencak silat styles originating from West Sumatra in Indonesia, Patani, Yala, and Narathiwat in Southern Thailand, Mindanao in the Southern Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei. Sikap pasang enam is closely related to the previous position (standing position V) in which the pesilat stands firm on two feet. The flat body makes for a narrow target, with the hands inviting the opponent to attack. To become standing position VI, the pesilat steps forward with the left foot, while the left and right hands stick outward, inviting the opponent to attack further. If the opponent uses hand-strikes, the pesilat will counterattack turning the body. The right hand catches the opponent’s hand, while a left elbow is used to strike and ‘break’ the opponent’s arm. If the opponent attacks with feet strikes, the pesilat uses the right hand to catch the opponent’s foot, while pushing with the left hand the opponent’s left shoulder and the left foot sweeps the opponent’s left foot. Another suitable counterattack is to surprise the opponent with a back kick.
Standing Position VII (sikap pasang tujuh)
This position is normally used in pencak silat styles from Batavia ( Jakarta), West Java, Banten, the islands of Madura and Bawean (East Java), South Celebes, Lombok, and Bali. It has a ‘hold out’ function. The two hands stand firm to block all kinds of strikes and eventually break the hands or feet attacks of the opponent. In this position the pesilat prepares to play ground fighting that will end with locking and breaking techniques.
Standing Position VIII (sikap pasang delapan)
This position is almost the same as the standing position VII. The firm and low feet stand (kuda-kuda rendah) signals a passive attitude, while the hands are set to block and counter-attack the opponent’s strikes. The aim is to insist until the opponent falls and fight can continue on the ground.
Standing Position IX (sikap pasang sembilan)
This standing position with an elevated elbow is often used in pencak silat styles originating from West Sumatra in Indonesia, Patani, Yala, and Narathiwat in Southern Thailand, Mindanao in the Southern Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei, although the feet stand (kuda-kuda) varies according to the various styles. The pesilat looks straight to the opponent, and when attacked steps back with the right foot, dropping the elbow down to block the kicks of the opponent. However, if the opponent strikes with his/her hands, the strike is interrupted with the forearm. Another alternative is for the pesilat to counter-attack with a side-kick after using blocking techniques.
Standing Position X (sikap pasang sepuluh)
This standing position is very popular all over Indonesia. You can also find it wherever Malay people live as far as Campa in Cambodia and Southern Vietnam, Burma, and Xi Shuang Ban Na in Southern China. This is actually a ‘ground’ rather than a ‘standing’ position. From standing position IX, to avoid the opponent’s attack, the pesilat steps back with full expression and throw him/herself to the ground. This is why this technique is called menghindar ke bawah or in Madura sempo (avoiding by going to the ground). To fight from the ground, the pesilat usually uses side-kicks, front-kicks, round-kicks, and back-kicks. The hands are used to block, catch and pull the opponent’s hands or feet until he/she falls. Originally, the ground fighting of Cimande style in West Java was meant as sparring exercise between two partners who would seat with crossed legs (duduk bersila) as the Muslims do in the mosque.
Standing Position XI (sikap pasang sebelas)
This standing position is often used in pencak silat styles originating from the province of West Sumatra, the islands of Madura and Bawean in East Java, and Bali. Also this position is actually a ‘ground’ position. It derives from standing position IV, with the pesilat letting him/her self fall to continue the fight on the ground. Once on the ground the pesilat sweeps to the opponent’s ankle from the right, while a kick is directed to the opponent’s knee with the left foot. From this, the pesilat will insist fighting with all kind of kicks. Hands can also be used to block, catch and pull the opponent until he/she falls.
Standing Position XII (sikap pasang dua belas)
This position is common in all pencak silat styles or even other martial arts. From the “stand-by” position or sikap siap the pesilat moves to standing position XII signaling that he/she is ready to fight, with the fists close to the chest. It 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. From that intense moment, in which the pesilat becomes ready to respond to all possible circumstances (good or bad), the pesilat enters into action by slowly opening the left hand while the right hand remains in a fist, and the right feet steps back.
As we said in the previous article, and as can be seen from this review, the standing positions of pencak silat are unusual fighting strategies in that they are also meant with their elegance and beauty to disturb the concentration of the opponents and fool them. This is what makes pencak silat different from other Asian martial arts, as it will become even clearer in the next chapter, in which I will explain the first set of KPS Nusantara fighting techniques.