Are You Familiar With Buka Jalan Pentjak Silat?

Buka Jalan Pentjak Silat is a composite system created by world-renowned Guro Cass Magda.

Guro Cass Magda’s Silat pedigree is excellent as he was a student of two of America’s most revered Silat Masters – Pendekars Paul De Thouars and Herman Suwanda.  

While this system was born in the United States it is unmistakably an Indonesian art; specifically west Javanese, although there is some Sumatran influence as well.

The roots of both masters can be traced back to the island of Java in Indonesia; specifically the Sundanese highland cities of Bandung and Bogor in west Java.

Given our west Javanese heritage, it should come as no surprise that we wear our sarongs west Javanese style. 

The Sumatran influence is represented by the harimau or tiger style.

The Culture & Etiquette of Buka Jalan Pentjak Silat

As an Institute of Higher Learning, culture and etiquette are very important to us.

We want our students to be genuinely curious about the country and its’ customs, dress, language, music, and people.

This promotes cultural understanding, broadens horizons and fosters a richer understanding of the art.  

In further support of our cultural emphasis, we adhere to the adat / hormat etiquette principle.  

Adat refers to a custom or a courtesy.

In our Institute, salutations represent that custom or courtesy.

Hormat, on the other hand, is the rendering of that custom or courtesy.

In other words, hormat is the actual performance of the salutation.

Art of the Takedown

Takedowns are one of the first areas of study for most students. 

As a result, many students believe that Buka Jalan Pentjak Silat is the art of the takedown.

Students learn a variety of takedowns from standing and ground positions.

Despite these facts, Buka Jalan Pentjak Silat is not the art of the takedown.

Don't get me wrong; takedowns are important but its' philosophy and style are more important.

Philosophy In Action

Prior to actually performing the takedowns, however, you need to understand the overall guiding philosophy of our method of Silat.  

The overall guiding philosophy is that of “directing the assailant.” 

“Directing the assailant” is the central doctrine upon which all movements, strategies, tactics and techniques are based. 

This central doctrine is the reason for the other “laws” governing our art.

The other "laws" include things such as tenderizing, making the way and maintaining constant forward pressure in your technique.

A Pukulan Style

Our method of Silat is a Pukulan style, which means it emphasizes fast, rapid hitting.

Pukul means to hit.  

The best case scenario is that this fast, rapid hitting finishes your opponent. 

The worst case scenario is that it softens him up or distracts him. 

In other words, it tenderizes him.

While the hitting itself is a form of making the way, making the way is more detailed than simply hitting. 

Making the way is one aspect of manipulation, which involves applying forces to your opponent’s body to follow up on your hitting and to prepare for his finish.

A second and equally important aspect of manipulation is maintaining constant forward pressure in your technique.

In short, this involves keeping the pressure on your opponent the entire time.

The constant pressure is intended to direct him to a “finish” – in this case, a takedown.


Aside from takedowns, defensive entry techniques are another area of early study.

Defensive entry techniques are protective measures that allow you to handle an opponent’s attack and pave the way for you to close the distance.

The goal of “defensive entry technique training” is to begin establishing the skills, comfort, and mindset to enter into the eye of the storm.

Beyond Takedowns & Entering

Buka Jalan Pentjak Silat is a comprehensive combat system.

This system plays a role in both our Phase and Cultural curricula.

In the Phase Curriculum, students are exposed to:

  • the Buka Jalan Pentjak Silat salutation
  • concepts and theories of the system
  • grappling
  • kuncian - locks
  • harimau or tiger style
  • pleekit - "sticky" body and other "sticking" drills
  • sambutan - counter-for-counter
  • follow-ups
  • weaponry

Students in the Cultural Curriculum are exposed to:

  • jurus - forms
  • langkah - footwork patterns
  • sambutan - techniques and counter-for-counter
  • specialized exercises 
  • weapons
  • rahasia - secrets

A True Self-Defense System

Buka Jalan Pentjak Silat is a true self-defense system!

What does this mean?

This means the system has no on-guard position.

In the real world, you likely will not have time to get into an on-guard position.  

Our system of Silat teaches whatever position you’re in is your on-guard position.

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