Tiger Mannerisms

Harimau - Ground Tiger, Chi Macan - Upright Tiger

Element Earth, Color Red

Southern Quadrant

Low crouching and fully prone body postures which feature smashing ankle and knee blows, sweeps, leaps and tiger springs along with highly evasive movements.

Internal trigger - Right hand slaps left forearm

The Harimau tiger style from Sumatra fights mostly from a grounded position, although by no means does it have to start from the ground. Its technical superiority from this position has made it a part of many Pencak Silat systems, whether from Java or not. The macan is another tiger system from West Java that fights mostly from a deep crouch position although it can and does sometimes go to the ground. We find the perfect bridge from the crouch to the fully supine tiger by the blend of both arts in Pukulan Cimande Pusaka. Indeed, sometimes it is hard to say where one ends and the other takes over. Both mannerisms stress a return to Mother Earth from where all things have come. It emphasizes the destruction of the opponent’s lower limbs and thus base destruction is its predominate attitude.

The general concept of these tiger systems are low stances, smooth movements and speed, although the harimau and macan fighter will often slap his own hands on his arms, body and the ground itself for off timing. A strong neck is developed to aid the use of the teeth for biting and continuous decoy positions are employed with the goal to break the opponents upright position returning him very quickly to Mother Earth. Body rolls are used to crash into the knees and ankles of the opponent. These rolls are used to roll up and strike the downed foe and are sometimes combined with the flat tiger sprawl at the head of the attacker to finish him off with sandwiched elbow and knee blows to the head.

Harimau Techniques

Raja Harimau (King Tiger) Position

This position makes the harimau player appear vulnerable but this position allows the player to deliver lead leg joint kicks and other leg kicks of various types. From this position the harimau player can also deliver elbow or knee spears.

Frontal Position

In this position the tiger fighter has exposed his face and as the opponents kicks the two elbows are brought together and the opponent’s leg is put out of action.

45 Degree Position

This position is like the Raja Harimau position but as the name implies the 45 degree angle puts your head further away and your feet closer to attack. It is designed to keep your opponent at bay.

Rear Position

In this position the harimau fighter has offered his extended rear leg as bait. As the opponent tries to stomp on it, it is withdrawn and the bottom leg quickly fires out to break the attacker’s leg.

This position can be directly sideways to the attacker or angled to a 45 degree position. This position offers the player a lot of choices and it is best to experiment with both and give your attacker both of them in a changing manner. If you take this position with your toes up, rather than extended it makes it possible with some practice and leg strength to be able to spring up on the attacker using your elbows and knees or other attacks.

Sitting Tiger Position

You may may also opt to flow into the sitting tiger.

Impale Position

If someone tries to pounce on you then this position is very useful to have them impale themselves on. After they impale themselves continue to roll and come up on them finishing the fight.

Harimau Movement

In the entire tiger art one must think of moving in an upright position and then apply it to the ground. The footwork is the same. Notice how you can cross in sempok or depok. Try and stay low to the ground without your buttocks sticking up in the air.

In fighting tiger to tiger the idea is to hug the ground as close as possible as the other fighter will often try and attack up under the other fighter if he rises too much.


To do the harimau sweep correctly it is necessary that you apply full body torque and speed into it since anything less can get you hurt. To do this with power practice in this manner. Use the back hand speed punch with the back hand. As the blow shoots out towards the opponent’s face it will draw his attention high and start your body spinning with the proper speed and torque.


As the punch nears the target allow your body to drop low and as you slightly depok across with your back leg as it comes forward continue the spin extending your back leg all the way around into the opponent.

I advocate this from the punch position rather than the sometimes used fake high kick for two reasons. If you are far enough away to safely use the fake high kick it becomes very easy for the opponent to see the sweep coming. At close range, i.e. punching range, if he still sees it and tries to back away he can still usually be hit with the end of your leg. Otherwise slam any part of the back of the leg up to and including your buttocks into him. This is a safer sweep than the front sweep in which you must be careful not to damage your shin.

Chi Macan Techniques

This is the upright fighting tiger of Java.

Elbow and Knee Takedown

In this series the chi macan player has missed a kick at the opponent’s leg. As the kick flies over his leg the player lowers his stance using his entire weight and position to drop the attacker breaking the leg in the process. Other elbow and knee takedowns are also used.

War Wheel

In this attacking sequence 12 the lead hand and the rear hand make a clockwise circle. These are done in a slightly different time so that they overlap and cover you. At the same time the lead leg is raised and stomped on the ground as you step forward using the back leg on each stomp of the front leg. This creates a scissors type effect as you move foreword and through your opponent. Any attack which is initiated by the attacker is picked off by either the knees or elbows and of course you can fire other weapons at will as he opens himself up under the assault.

Pukulan Wedge

In this series you spring into the attacker with a raised knee and elbow spear pointed forward. Notice how the rear hand guards in the process.

The macan has two very useful postures. One of them I call a more defensive posture which is shown and the other is more of an attacking moving type posture.

The exception to the rule is that in the first position it is often used to spring up and grab the attackers neck doing a violent twisting take down. Also the defensive posture is a natural one to allow one to drop back in the three point Raja Harimau position, two legs and one hand supported on the ground. Shown are a few applications from each one.

The macan also has some great defenses for an opponent who is diving in to get to your legs. Once the macan player latches on to both arms as shown he falls back to the ground and impales the attacker in various ways with the feet as well as being able to use the feet and legs for neck breaks and take downs.

The sempok and depok movements are also done very effectively, using leg traps and takedowns.

As stated earlier this section of our fighting system represents the earth element and is found in the southern quadrant of the circle of creation. In its fighting manner it seeks not only to get closer to the ground but to bring the opponent, also to the ground. This is accomplished with the use of powerful hand sweeping type motions which are directed at the knee joints as well as powerful kicks to the ankles and the knees. Sometime both legs are utilized together to produce a scissoring type breaking action. Sometimes the opponent is felled from only the force of a powerful kick, which can be delivered to the inside of the attackers leg by powerful blows from the Cimande Pusakas practitioners shin, heel, or from straight frontal powerful side type kicks from one or both legs at once.

Often an attacker launching the usual higher type kick or punch aimed at the practitioners head, will only find the tiger player disappearing from view as the tiger player sinks into the ground, at the same time launching a counter strike at the lower base of the opponent. Once dropped to the ground the enemy is either locked up in a manner that produces joint breaks and dislocations while the hapless enemy is taking a barrage of knees and elbows. Of importance is the way the opponent is felled. The object of choice is to have him fall straight down directly beside you so you do not have to chase him or allow the enemy to escape and right himself.

The real effectiveness comes from the guidance of a qualified teacher who leads the student to identify and allow the animal mannerisms to be as natural to the practitioner as his or her human traits. In this mind set, it is easier to understand how the biting and clawing actions talked about could easily be produced. The harimau stylist will readily use bites to vulnerable part of the opponents anatomy such as the inner thigh area, going for the femoral artery, as well as the neck and various large muscle masses. Although the tiger normally starts from the upright position, and then drives the enemy into Mother Earth, one can also start from Mother Earth and spring up and into the opponents knees and ankles toppling them over. Essentially once on the ground we always attempt to strike all incoming blows in such a manner as to cross up the opponents limbs leaving a vulnerable angle to direct a blow to. If you always keep in mind that Cimande is a hit system where we always strike incoming blows and then strike the base at the weakest point you will make the animal mannerisms work better for you.

Evasions are used against multiple attackers on the ground and are designed to cross up the attackers, causing them to fall into each other. You would then follow up with a barrage of strikes as soon as possible. In the following series I am sandwiched between multiple opponents.

(As the first attacker punches for my head I flatten out evading his blow and at the same time the other opponent is trying to stomp on my leg.

Next I pull my leg away from his stomp slamming it into the first attackers hip point sending him flying out of the picture and down.

Next I throw both of my legs up in the air and swivel behind his body totally evading him and putting him between me and the first fallen attacker.

As my legs come down I shoot them between his legs tapping him as I deliver a powerful upward elbow to his groin.