Philosophy

Chivalry

In accordance with the tradition of our teachers, and their teachers before them, Pencak Silat Gerakan Suci is taught as a set of tools for the student to use in defense of themselves and those under their protection. These tools are also useful for becoming a better person through personal enrichment, emotional maturation and spiritual unfolding and transformation.

This betterment begins with physical health but expands to encompass emotional stability, mental acuity, and spiritual purity. The training attempts to develop the cultured attributes of chivalry and service to be warriors for peace and justice. Pencak Silat should not be practiced in order to bully or hurt other people and it is not taught for that purpose.

The guiding principle is a code of chivalry which is focused on internalizing the Traditions (Pusaka)—chivalric qualities that begin with protecting those with less power than ourselves and include good manners and cleanliness. A result of the training is a citizen that is dedicated to service of their community. Those that are attracted to the study of Gerakan Suci are those that seek to be witnesses of injustice and who do their part—however small—to protect those in need.

What is Chivalry?

Chivalry is a code of ethics that teaches the student how to behave with a refined sense of morals. It includes a bond between the teacher and student that the information and the art will not be misused. There is no compulsion to use the information for good, only a proscription against misuse.

A student is expected to attempt to do their best to be impeccable and above reproach. Ali al-Murtazah is our example on how to conduct ourselves as warriors. The Teacher and The Messenger are our examples on how to conduct our daily lives and interact with our community.

Like most styles of Pencak Silat, Gerakan Suci places an emphasis upon learning forms and performance-oriented demonstrations. It is not, however, a sport. The skills and and applications are geared toward self-defense and the neutralization of violence.

The student learns the step-by-step escalation of injury from disabling, to maiming and ultimately learning how to kill another human being. The person who comes into possession of the science of combat carries with them a burden of responsibility. The knowledge of injuring others should not be treated lightly. It is because of this that the Gerakan Suci syllabus contains methods of honing a student’s sense of morals. The code of behavior that leads to this moral certainty is what is known as chivalry.

Qualities of chivalry

Teaching martial arts without a moral and spiritual foundation is the same as handing someone a loaded gun without teaching them how to use it safely. The chance of misuse and accidents rise, for themselves and bystanders.

Solidarity (Kardesh)

Kardesh refers to the solidarity of a group of like-minded people working together to attain a similar goal. Rather than think in global but vague terms of helping the world or fighting injustice, we suggest that it is a good idea to begin by treating your companions and family with the highest regard and respect. The first and most important rule of kardesh is that students should never engage in gossiping or backbiting. Kardesh is the foundation of chivalry but it cannot be cultivated if people are speaking ill of each other. Gossip and backbiting can destroy a community that should be focused on mutual support and growth.

Gerakan Suci Code of Chivalry

A satria is a person who:
– Chooses what is right, not just what is easy
– Is humble
– Has good manners
– Is cheerful in the face of adversity
– Is a helper
– Is a peacemaker
– Is a protector of the Earth
– Is dedicated to social justice
– Defends the weak
– Serves the poor and hungry
– Is a champion of the downtrodden

Traditions

Traditions (pusaka)

Our traditions are the gifts of wisdom of the Masters. It is spiritual chivalry, good manners, personal integrity, and social responsibility. Pusaka is the blueprint of Pencak Silat which provides the explanation of the physical mechanics through the principles, attributes, and qualities. It is the why behind the how. These traditions are derived from Indonesian and Malaysian martial arts wisdom and Ansari Qadiri-Rifai Sufi Order spiritual practices.

Principles

The physical principles are the laws of physics and motion that are learned from the jurus and lankah. These are put to use during a confrontation to gain a tactical advantage. When these principles are applied correctly a Pencak Silat practitioner moves with toughness, ferocity, and grace.

Principles include: Breathing, grounding, stability, sensitivity, stillness, relaxation, timing, range (of threat), distancing, flaring up (semangat), entering (masukan), colliding (tubrukan), evasion (gayong), shock (bantingan), grabbing (pimbangan), chambering, seating, centerline control, acceleration, passing, deflection, interception, infiltration, stealing space, stealing balance, levering, throwing, vacuum, adhesion, spiraling, rotation (centrifugal force/ centripetal force), expansion, constriction.

Attributes

Attributes are the external elements that we see in the natural and spiritual world that we can lay over our movements like a template. Working with an attribute for a period of time allows us to internalize that aspect to give our movement an added dimension.

Attributes include: sensitive lava (perasahan lahar), attribute of lightning (sifat kilat), monkey, tiger, the elements of earth, water, fire, air, and light, The 99 Most Beautiful Names of the Divine (Asma al-Husna).

Qualities

Qualities are the mental, emotional and personal aspects of ourselves that we can develop and refine through guidance and discipline in order to manifest a chivalric personality. These are the qualities that ultimately differentiate a warrior from a brawler.

Qualities include: connection (rabita) and surrender. Blessing, step, encounter. Toughness, ferocity, grace. Respect, trust, patience, zeal. Intention (niyat), attention, presence. Unity (Tawhid/ajeg), certainty, chivalry, manners, cleanliness, honor, humility, courage (kuat hati), impeccability, solidarity (kardesh), sincerity, persistence, focus, perception, awareness, confidence, calmness, misdirection/deception, coolness under fire, tactical awareness, strategy, service, attenuation, empathy, relentlessness.

Good Manners

Good Manners (Adab)

Having good manners is the foundation of chivalry and is on the path of peace and self-development. Adab means to treat people with courtesy and politeness, to be refined in your actions and humble in your speech and also to be respectful of your elders and teachers. It means to be helpful to others beyond your own needs.

If you have good manners you greatly lessen your chances of getting into fights. Good manners are contagious and help foster politeness and ease in your everyday life. Some of the good manners we encourage are common sense and some are aspects of the Indo-Malay culture from which Pencak Silat came.

In the art of Pencak Silat, adab is considered as essential as your physical training. We encourage all students to use good manners when at the school and at school events and to let these habits spread to your daily life. In this way students of Gerakan Suci will be known not only as proficient martial artists, but as friendly, polite, and humble.

School Etiquette

A martial arts school must have a well-developed etiquette and sense of ethics in order to provide a safe and supportive training environment. We have developed the Open Circle Academy as a family environment. We encourage our students to treat the teachers as your father and mother and each other as though they were brothers and sisters, or as if they were all living in the same small village. We especially want the Academy to be a safe and supportive place for women to train, as this is not stressed enough in the martial arts.

Hazing

It is essential that new students be treated with the same courtesy as long-time members, if not more, as we wish for them to find the Academy to be a safe place to learn. It is considered the height of disrespect for Academy members to intimidate, harass, make sexual advances, or victimize other students. This includes using excessive force in exercises or unwanted flirtation. Hazing will not be tolerated.

Dating

Dating among students is discouraged in the strongest possible terms. We have seen over the years that dating between students can often produce unpleasant stresses for the entire school. While we will never stand in the way of true love and know that it is possible to meet your “soul-mate” here, we respectfully suggest that it is more likely that you meet him or her at a dance class or your preferred religious gathering.

Adab suggestions

– Bow to the school when you enter and when you leave.
– Leave your shoes at the door.
– Perform ablutions (ritual washing) before beginning class. Maintain good personal hygiene as a courtesy to your teachers and training partners. This includes keeping your fingernails and toenails trimmed and your breath fresh, and managing any body odor you may have.
– Bow to your workout partner before you hit each other. Keep contact intense but peaceful.
– When listening to an instructor or when waiting for instructions, stand in pasan santai (feet shoulder width, right hand over left). The perguruan is a house of discipline, peace & safety. Nurture these attitudes in class and take them with you when you leave. Treat the perguruan as a sacred place of learning where you have come to grow and become the person you envision in your secret heart.
– Maintaining a clean school is of paramount importance and is the responsibility of the students, not the teachers. Take the initiative to get things done. This is your school so treat it as such.
– Bring fruit, snacks, and flowers to share with your classmates. Check with the Chai Baba (Tea Master).
– Consider the study of martial arts as a path to self-healing, confidence, discipline and spiritual unfolding.
– Treat your teachers and fellow students with respect and dignity.
– Treat yourself with patience and gentleness.
– Be always sincere but never serious. Be lighthearted but not frivolous