What Are Langkahs?

For us, langkahs refer to steps or footwork, as well as strategies.

We use a multitude of different steps or footwork to include lurus, tiga, empat, lima, the "U," and lingkaran.

Lurus, a straight line, is not really considered a langkah, but I include it here because it does involve steps or footwork.

Tiga, empat and lima are actually numbers. Specific geometric shapes are used to represent each for the purpose of conceptualization. 

Once this concept is understood and internalized, students know that the shapes can take on many different looks.


Tiga is found in many Silat styles.

It is estimated that 90 percent of all Silat styles have some version of tiga.


While empat is not as common as tiga, many Silat styles do have some version of it.

It is often used like a “U.”


Lima is even less common than empat, but some styles do have some version of langkah lima

In many cases, however, the level of sophistication is very low.   

In Buka Jalan Pentjak Silat, however, the applications for langkah lima are quite sophisticated.  

In fact, within Buka Jalan Pentjak Silat, there are three separate strategies for lima, which will be highlighted later.  

Lima is used for in-fighting!

Sumatran Influences

The Sumatran influences on the footwork of our Silat - Buka Jalan Pentjak Silat – show themselves in the “U” and the “circle.” 

While these “patterns” involve footwork, they do not possess the same level of sophistication as the Javanese langkahs

The “U” is the basic pattern.  

It is a square without one of its sides.  

At the onset of learning, the “U” is performed stationary.

As some proficiency is developed, the “U” can move.

It is this movement that creates the “circle” or lingkaran.

Lingkaran or the circle is merely a bunch of “U’s” strung together in succession.  

The “U” is similar to empat in that it has four points.

Our harimau (tiger) style emphasizes the “U” and the circle. 

Independent Study

While most martial arts have forms, the forms of most arts contain hand and foot movements together.  

Pentjak Silat is unique in that it provides independent study of hand and foot movements.  

The study of the hand movements is covered in detail through juru work, while the study of foot movements is covered in detail through langkah work.

The Other Half of the Foundation

Langkahs, along with jurus, form the foundation of our Silat system. 

Like jurus, langkahs teach the pesilat many things.  

By training footwork diligently, students learn:

  • proper posture and alignment

  • patterns for walking and stepping

  • the footwork for sweeps and takedowns

  • the formula for any takedown

  • specific strategies and tactics

Ways, Applications & Strategies - An Example

In our system of Silat, there are three different ways of using langkah lima

The ways include kurung, panchar and pentjak.  

The “ways” are also applications and strategies. 

Kurung means cage.  

The kurung application or strategy is to dominate the center point by going straight in and directing the opponent. 

This strategy inspired the Magda Institute Association Fighting Philosophy, which is “You are the DIRECTOR, he is the DIRECTEE!” 

Students learn tactics that support this fighting philosophy.

It is these tactics that enable the Magda Institute Association pesilat to put the fighting philosophy into action!

Langkahs Are Self-Correction Tools

Earlier we mentioned Independent Study as it relates to the hand work and foot work of Buka Jalan Pentjak Silat.

Independent Study can also be applied to the footwork itself.

In Buka Jalan Pentjak Silat, students learn about two bases – the lower base and the upper base.

These bases can be viewed independently of each other.

Langkahs are GREAT self-correction tools to teach the body mechanics of the lower and upper bases.

For instance, the langkahs teach students that:

  • the lower base makes the way for the upper base during foot sweeps and

  • the upper base makes the way for the lower base during back sweeps

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