Monkey Mannerisms

Monyet - Monkey, Kera - Ape

Water Element, Color Blue

Western Quadrant

Movements Low slapping, grabbing, rolling,
mimics other animals

Hanuman is the Hindu monkey God

Internal trigger  - Left hand slaps left thigh

One may notice a lot of crossover from some of the other animals because the monkey is a great mimic and often imitates other animals. The monkey represents the element of water and is so placed on our circle of creation with its low slapping, grabbing and rolling mannerism that flows from one aspect to another. As water can move and adapt to any container so the monkey can adapt and use other animal mannerisms to its good when needed.

The traditional sempok and depok postures are utilized and from this low monkey crouch the practitioner can become very deceptive and deadly.

Sempok - Back leg moves behind front leg.

Depok - Back leg moves in front of forward leg.

Sapu - front sweep

Beset - back sweep

Being a decoy stance by nature this position allows the delivery of a swift low saber or a higher rising snake strike kick. The main principle of this style is evasiveness. It is obtained at long and mid range through rapidly changing forward moving decoy postures or sikap. Anyone who ever has seen a monkey knows that they are great at grabbing and throwing things. These same attributes are utilized while in the presence of the monyet. Perhaps that statement needs some clarification. Unlike some other animal mannerism styles, old Pencak Silat was not developed by some monk in a monastery or by the simple observation of animals. These forms are done in reverence to the spirit of the animal often exhibit a much more ferociousness in application then most other animal type styles.

So back to the throwing grabbing tactics we were speaking of. One favorite method of throwing involves the aforementioned low sempok and depok positions referred to as a siloh. Once the practitioner hits the ground, he does so with his palms hitting flat and scooping up some dirt from the ground which, as he springs back up is quickly thrown in the eyes of the attacker. At close range the monyet exponent deftly evades the blows with body angling and quickly moves his body in and against the attacker smothering him, occupying his space. All the while the monyet exponent delivers a barrage of blows including head buts, knee blows, bites and elbows, which if in themselves do not bring the attacker down are then combined with various front and back leg sweeps.

Sometimes the monyet exponent will purposely angle his head to appear vulnerable. However if the opponent falls for this ploy and throws a punch the monkey stylist will usually parry this across the opponents own body and with his already superior foot position easily take them to the ground where they are finished off with crushing elbows and knees. Keep in mind, in this art of Cimande we never just go in and attempt to sweep a person when a kick or blow could first be delivered. In other words as you close the distance all of the opponents limbs are struck. If after entering their space they have not fallen down a sweep will be used. If a sweep is attempted first, it is similar to trying weapons defense without first hurting the attacker’s arm. In ether case you could be in for a real hard time and may only succeed in making an unhurt fully functional opponent madder than they already were.

Grabbing is also highly utilized. Springing up from a low crouch as well as other types of springs are utilized. Sometimes an opponent’s arm is grabbed and the monyet practitioner launches into the air delivering two knee blows to the ribs at once, or perhaps using the spring to position himself behind his confused opponent.

So the monkey teaches adaptability and that is its attitude. It contains all of the eleven principles and at this stage the student should be looking for fluidity through rapid change. The general concepts that should be stressed when practicing the monyet are the following:

  • Open hand “leaf parries” and closed fist hit parries to protect the upper body.

  • Use of the leg blows to cover the lower gate of the body from the groin down.

  • Striking weapons look loose and relaxed but are snap tensed on the point of impact. This is sometimes referred to as extended power blows.

  • Defensive body movements are based on the reverse or female triangle and are done in sliding jumps.

  • Sempok and depok positions are freely employed and rolls away from and into the attacker (at close range) are used.

  • Dodging head and body angling evasions are practiced along with half circular head buts.

  • In movement a forward attacking manner is employed with rapid off timing changing stances to confuse the opponents senses. The position is used to deliver the finale blow is not seen only the preceding one.

The art of body positioning is stressed to gain superior position to the opponent. The following are some typical techniques that can be practiced to develop some of these skills and better understand the characteristics.

Monkey Techniques

Double Kick

Shown is the double kick 3 using the rising snake strike kick high for a fake (notice how the groin is protected) and then as the opponent leans back the real kick, the lead leg joint kick shatters his knee.

The high fake using this kick is safer then using most high kicks because it can be kept in tight to the body making it hard to grab. Also if needed it can be brought back down quickly and with force to strike an opponents kick if needed. Remember the double kick usually is a fake first or a shock kick, then the real strike. Shown next is the shock kick.

Here we have used a toe point to the soft inside of the opponent’s leg, which freezes him momentarily, as well as opening him up for the quickly followed groin kick.

L Retreat

When rushed the monkey stylist can use this sliding leap to position himself just out of reach but still in his striking range. The first variation shown is when you push off with your back leg, taking the sliding leap with your lead leg 180 degrees toward your back as you switch sides from a left forward to a right forward.

The length of the sliding leap determines the distance that you will be from your attacker. Make sure it is not to far away to allow you to counter (remember never further away then the length of a kick). As the opponent rushes by you, you may kick them with your lead leg. The second variation is when you can not or choose not to moves towards your back (maybe there is a wall behind you or that is where your opponents friends are).

In this case you step across your body with the lead leg into the depok position and as the opponent crosses in behind you spin around using the side arm and leg passive hit block as described earlier to protect you. From this guarded position you launch a kick at the opponent as you spin in line with him. Now it is not our ideal normally to do any kind of a spinning movement, which puts our back to the opponent. But it is only advisable when at very close range, and when guarded with the side arm and leg passive hit block position. Indeed any time you must spin in combat cover yourself with this position (principle of body armor).

Rapid Moving Decoy Stances

Here are a few decoy positions 4 that you can link together in the proper fluid manner to give you the concept of the way the monyet fighter approaches his opponent.

Vertical Picture Posture

In this decoy position notice how the arms frame the body in such a way as to leave the head appearing very open. If the opponent strikes now his arm is broken by striking with one hand at the joint while the other hand strikes the inside of his arm putting opposing pressure on the joint. You must switch the hand position depending on which arm he strikes with.

Horizontal Frame Posture

From the last position in the smooth transition from one decoy position to the next this is a logical choice. Again the upper body is opened inviting a punch to be thrown. Notice how the counter here involves the breaking of the wrist. As you may notice this is the decoy position built into juru two and since they are drawing in, in nature all of these types of moves are termed magnetic feminine in nature. A trap after the blow can be employed that leads to the elbow blow to the biceps as shown with many follow ups possible.

Roof Hit Parry Posture

From the last stance bring your hands up over your head in the manner shown. Now this posture is actually a roof hit parry that is often used as shown to drop under a blow while striking it and then drop down for a lower strike. In this application the move can be used as a shielding move that carries you to the next decoy posture.

Buddha Posture

As the hands come up and strike from the previous position the practitioner sinks very low with the arms outspread as shown. This position is a decoy for kicks. If a kick is thrown the practitioner braces himself on the ground with one hand as the kick is hit parried away with the remaining hand. As the kick clears the pathway in front of you the player fires a low kick taking out the opponents base. The ground posture and mannerism is from the harimau, but as stated earlier the monkey copies.

Rib Opening Posture

From the low posture rise up and place the lead hand high over your head. Here you are inviting a blow to the rib area. The counter is the downward elbow blow with many follow ups possible.

Kepala Matjan or Head Tiger Cat Posture (upright tiger)

In the next position the lead hand is drawn across the body with the palm facing your face and leaving plenty of room for a blow to enter. The rear hand is held with the finger tips pointing straight out at the attacker. The front foot has no weight on it and is resting on the toe area. As the punch is thrown the lead hand rotates back across the face hitting with the hand blade (edge area part of the hand) at almost the same time the lead leg delivers a swift groin kick to the opponent and the lead hand strikes again with a chop to the opponents collar bone. After the strike the rear hand strikes with the spear point blow to the opponents body just under the rib area.

Back Open Posture

From the last position step forward with the lead leg showing the opponent your back. Study the picture for the correct hand positions. The idea is to decoy an attack to your rear. As he comes in begin to turn away from the attacker, which will bring him in faster. As you turn as previously explained produce the side arm and leg position and as you start to face the attacker impale him with a kick as he comes in.

These postures must flow almost imperceptibly together so the opponent only catches an instant of an opening. He will only see the next to the last position you are in because when he attacks he will just be waiting for another opening, a blunder he believes on your part. When this opening is seen he will attack and be yours. Change the rhythm and speed of all of your positions. You are playing with his mind here. The attacker becomes a puppet of yours as you play the strings with the decoy postures.

Monkey Grab Parries

A word on monkey grab parries. While it is true that the monkey style does employ grabbing tactics be careful to execute the correct principles with them. A grab is only a momentary freeze in time to allow a blow to be landed more effectively. Done in any other manner you may be just as trapped as your adversary and in grabbing him he may very well have you. A basic rule to follow is shown. If you slide grab, i.e. juru three, with the lead hand you should immediately use the leverage and extra balance you have gained by hanging on to him (third leg concept). This allows you to deliver a swift kick to his legs, especially if you are out of range for the upper cut that is often used in close.

If you grab with the rear hand in close immediately use your lead hand to deliver the blow as he is jerked into it.

It is equally important to attack quickly if a kick is grabbed, as there are many kick grab counters.

Monkey Counters

As in all of the techniques the Indonesian arts have counters for everything so I will now show you the monyet kick grab counters in case your leg is caught. First of all, I must say that in almost every case that I have seen a kick caught or have had mine caught in friendly sparring it was either because the kicker did not want to hurt the opponent and so slowed down the blow or after the impact of the kick the kicker was so glad that he connected he withdrew the blow too slowly. Always think of pulling back the blow and kick as though when you launch the kick you picture it as already being back. If you concentrate on the pulling back fast you will get the snap and won’t be caught. I have heard some say pull the kick back twice as fast as it goes out. While the concept is correct, if the person could actually do this it would mean that they purposefully kicked out too slowly in order to have enough speed left to pull back twice as fast. So kick out as fast possible but concentrate on pulling back and you will succeed.

The first kick grab counter shown is when a relatively low kick has been caught by the attacker.

Immediately push off with the back leg and drive all of your weight down on the captured leg. Providing it is caught in a low position the weight will be to much and if the attacker attempts to hold on he will be bent forward giving you the spine for your descending elbow spear.

Variation two is when the kick is either being pulled up or is caught in a rather high mode.

In this case turn away and drop to the ground as you forcibly pull your leg towards you. This gives you kicking power now and whether the pull frees your leg or not drive the kick back into the opponents leg. Be sure when you fall to stay close and put your hand under your body. This way if need be you can push with them to get you closer for the finishing off kick. In the last manner shown you again go to the ground but this time as you brace yourself with your rear hand on the ground allow your body to spin around hitting the attacker in the face with your kick, as your leg comes back down deliver the knee kick as illustrated.

Be careful with this one as a lot of torque is developed on the move. You don’t need to hit the opponent with this in practice as he should know has been “had”. Learn to recognize when you have been struck in practice. Sometimes the ego becomes involved but this does not help you in your progress. I once sparred a man whom I used this move on. I did it with speed and pulled it right passed his face but he never mentioned it as if it did not occur. Blindness to such a thing will not happen when it is for real as a broken jaw would have been the least damage done.

By studying the monkey mannerisms you should have a mental concept of the monkey for you to work on.