What is to blame ? The art, the teacher or the training ? I've been in deep thought lately about the south east Asian Martial arts, specifically the arts of kuntao and Silat. I notice most peoples opinion, especially from the mma guys is that Silat is worthless and a dead art stuck in dead patterns. before I even started my studies in kuntao/Silat I always favored what worked and what is grounded In reality so these perspectives got me thinking critically about Silats training, tactics & principles. One thing i agree with from the critics is that MANY Silat systems fail to move past dead patterns and drill type excercises. *learning how to apply the techniques in real time on a resisting opponent is of extreme importance otherwise you are just fooling yourself, it seems pretty obvious but yet it seems most overlook or outright ignore this simple truth. In doing this I believe we figure out what works for US as individual practitioners and gain confidence in our ability to implement our learned strategy and technique. I believe that there is no such thing as useless techniques, Rather certain techniques lend themselves to different unique body types and fighting attributes better than others or the understanding of the context and use of the technique has been lost or distorted. Which is Another reason why stress testing/sparring is important, figuring out what works best for YOU and how to make the principles/techniques work in combat. The warrior spirit The question in my mind is IF the arts useless or impractical how has the ancient arts survived hundreds perhaps, thousands of years of vicious and brutal tribal warfare, invading countries as well as surviving through the ages amongst other fighting arts ? Something doesn't add up in my mind, which tells me there's a problem with the training, teachers or students themselves rather than the art. Has something been lost along the way ? If so, what ? One theory I have pondered is whether what has Changed is the mindstate of people in general. Being that we live in a modern "civilized" society, we call on those such as soldiers and police officers to handle the nasty business most of us would rather turn our heads to or downright fear. The "warrior mindstate" is something most people lack in this present age for a variety of reasons that are obvious, since the average person rarely deals with extreme violence or combat situations of course the warriors way of thinking is never groomed or realized in the average civilized person. *it's important to remember the times and conditions of the people who practiced this art, this I believe can give us insight into our own training and path in Silat. It provides a context for which to veiw and approach the art properly. The people who practiced Silat were those who truly needed it, it wasn't a hobby, it was to survive and to protect their villages and families. These people knew life and death could truly be around the corner. As such I believe these people had the mindstate that they will protect themeselves, their families and community at any cost, including there own lives. They literally practiced this art like their very lives depended on it because it did !* True life and death combat is the true test of a fighter. In the volatile times the pesilat lived in there were many oppurtunities to put there skill and knowledge to the test unlike today. I believe they accepted that death is always a possibility but didn't fear it. This I think is one the keys to truly being able to utilize lethal and brutal arts like Silat. Having that killer instinct and mental conditioning, which most of us just don't have is of extreme importance. It's no easy task to overcome the fear of having to overcome a man waving around a sharp blade Or breaking someone arms or legs or shoving your fingers into someone eyes.* These aren't things the average person is accustomed to even thinking about much less doing to another human being. And even if it were so how do we practice such tactics being that we are living in a society without bandits, invaders and wars to fight on a frequent basis ? How do we sharpen or test these skills that were created to maim and kill ? How do we develop the warrior outlook and the mental conditioning needed to not just fight but to fight effectively using what you have learned. I've heard people say Silat and other arts goes to pieces and look like sloppy mma when trained live. I think this really reflects a lack of mental solitude and focus as well as lack of proper training both mental and physical. Being able to control our emotions whether it be fear, anger ect. in conflict is of extreme difficulty but also of extreme importance. The moment we lose focus and (self)control in combat is the moment we have begun to lose. i think this point is especially so with such an intricate art as kuntao or silat. These are some things I have been thinking about and would like to throw these ideas out there and see what my fellow martial artists have to say on the subject * * ** ** Is the art to blame for it ineffectiveness Or is it the teachers and students who have failed in realizing the arts potential ? What do you think is the solution to bringing life and functionality to kuntao/Silat ?