Silat Serak

© 2002 By “Pak” Victor de Thouars
Maha Guru to the International VDT Academy

In my years of teaching and practicing Pentjak Silat Serak, it has been a blessing and an avenue. With so many great people coming to train from me, friends as well as students it has been a rich and rewarding experience. From my student Kees Boering from forty-two years ago and my friend and brother Guru Dan Inosanto. Guru Dan has certainly earned the recognition from the VDT Academy as Guru Tua Serak or Senior Serak Instructor. With the Ring of Fire 2002 in Las Vegas Nevada on June 29, 2002 at the gathering he will receive the certificate for full Guru Tua In Pentjak Silat Serak. Certainly this martial arts Icon made silat a household word in the United States. In my own early training days in 1948 from my first teacher Pak Tisari Mardjoeki it has been sometimes an uphill battle in propagating the system, ever since I came here in the United States on May 11, 1960. The internal understanding in Silat Sera/Serak is never given, and many have tried to coach the Guru in giving the system and failed. But once you have been accepted as a murid or student then information is freely given up to a level. Still many levels and years of trust must be developed to be given all that is required. And many of the sub and “major keys” for each individual Guru is different, on accepting murids. Sometimes times from a month to years. Gut feeling has played a major role in many instances. Why you may ask, why would a Guru go through such a steps, in guarding? Well, one main reason would be that Silat Sera is an extremely violent system. For sure the Guru with many of years of experience has the forethought to preserve, and give the knowledge to levelheaded persons. Another reason could be that the time element in learning the system is lengthy. The main key is education of how to become an instructor or guru. And with that responsibility, it becomes obvious that the exact knowledge must be past on. At the time of this writing information and the major Silat Sera players in advanced age, essentially no book has ever been written about the whole system. With the start of the Silat Sera system plan, it is well known who has the full knowledge of Sera. This short article however, will give you the information that was withheld for so many years. But you still need a qualified Silat Sera Instructor or Guru for the inside knowledge that is handed down personally. Unfortunately for the three decades when the sixties began, no true information had been handed down. Sparingly, information trickled down trough sub-systems and sometimes when a prospective murid was eager to learn, only half-information was given. The legacy of the founder of Silat Sera, Pak Sera must go on and this written information will enhance the understanding, when internal teachings are covered. These then one of the major keys to understand and grasp about the system of Sera. When you look at the Sera system, remember to view it as a tool of understanding, and a weapon that can either harm or not harm an opponent who have deadly intentions to your loved ones or yourself. Remember what is written, the words “Opponent who have deadly intentions.” Also understand with the understanding that when you produce the Serak techniques, many consequences may confront you, that you may not have not counted on. Also to count on that the system of Sera has the philosophical, as well as the harsh reality of eliminating the violent adversary that has deadly intentions. Understand clearly that no adversary is to be taken for granted, and of course these actions can be sensed in two ways. When the adversary has taken the initiative of doing harm to you with killing intentions in a frontal assault, or in a covert way of eliminating. Regardless of the intention, the action has to be counted on as “intentions to harm with the intent to kill.”

It is hoped that with this information, a good understanding is within the person that warlike intention does not belong in situation of growing and giving. It is only when no other recourse exists, then the system of Sera can be likened to total devastation. So it must be understood that with learning the system also comes understanding of peace and healing. But make no mistake in grasping the system of Sera as a system of peace, it is not. In many instances it is a reactionary system, and in other rare cases it can be proactive. When you are given the physical jurus to learn, that is still a Luar or outside application. One of the major keys of understanding would be the many of intricate interwoven movement that is taught. Also to understand that you must stay close to the Guru who is teaching you. This providing the Guru has the full system under his belt.

These are the eight basic lessons of understanding to interact on: The intricate reactive: 1. Dempet and 2. Dalam Principle and Philosophy of Sera. The intricate reactive: 3. Longar and 4. Dalam Principle and Philosophy of Sera. The intricate proactive: 5. Dempet and 6. Dalam Principle and Philosophy of Sera. The intricate proactive: 7. Longar and 8. Luar Principle and Philosophy of Sera.

Were many of misunderstanding came is when the Guru spoke of “To have your hands or posture in a ‘Dempet” position. These positions are only in reference to the action or stances called “Sikap.” Many reasons are why it is so important to understand the difference. With the progression and training of the jurus and techniques on the platforms, it will become apparent why the need to understand the meaning of Dempet, Longar, Luar and Dalam.

“Luar” and “Dalam,” or literally translated “Outside” or “Inside.”

The Luar can be described in two ways: 1. When you exercise and do the jurus, or when you do Latihan or exercises. 2. Understanding of an outside technique. The Dalam is in similar fashion also described as two parts: 1. When you are given the understanding what a juru or technique is. 2. Understanding of an inside technique.

With this information given and truly understood by the murid, Sera can be a system that may not be as difficult to understand as many believed. When you are given the basic jurus or movements, then we can count on eighteen jurus to be within the curriculum of Silat Sera. The main idea to remember is that it is a good idea to visualize having to fight off multiple opponents. While it is true, the “Puter” (Balik) or turn around was never labeled as a juru. But with closer examination of all the movements, it becomes apparent that the Puter is a juru. For sure the Puter then a juru with no number of its own, or could it be said that the Puter is juru number twenty-five. Yes of course it could, for when you work the platforms, it becomes apparent that the Puter is in constant use. To put it lightly every time a single movement is done could be construed as a juru.

Let’s examine the much-discussed movement, and see where it can be such a precise tool to be in a ready mode at all times. Here the importance of the platform and lines from Langka Pantjar becomes imperative. Were you can learn to dissect the lines of the meridian structure of an opponent. This of course with the help of a qualified Silat Serak Guru or instructor. The idea is to have a perception that you have eyes in the back of your head. And while it is impossible to have the physical eyes in the back of your head, it is possible to have one hundred and twenty degrees of vision. And finally, a somewhat of an additional blurred peripheral vision of an additional thirty degrees at each end will be required to get the full prospectus of what the ability of Vision should be. Of course a constant and rigorous training is called for to become an expert at this. I foresee a great future ahead, and for a certainty I advocate cross training and many arts have great things to offer. Ultimately a practitioner will take the easy out to progress in combat either to defend or take the offensive stand when pushed in a corner. For a certainty myself and many of the qualified Serak Instructors making the inroads in teaching the system of Serak in seminars.