Tai chi demonstration in Kuala Lumpur

straight sword demonstration

Nigel and Lian Sutton attacking Vin who demostrates his iron shirt skills

Next Vin and I changed into our green Zhong Ding taiji t shirts and performed push hands and a sword sparring demonstration. Vin also performed a 5 ancestors straight sword form. Nigel and Fong also performed. Next Vin showed off his new Nei gong skills which he has been practicing religiously for 100 days.


First Vin walked out and Min Sutton as well. She punched him repeatedly in the stomach, when this had no effect she came and got me. I went up to Vin and punched him several times as hard as I could also to no avail so I went off stage to get Nigel Sutton. He came and began to punch Vin as hard as he could, not only in the stomach but also the throat, at the same time Lian Sutton snuck up behind Vin and punched him in the back.


Although this sequence was all stage the punches where not. I punched Vin as hard as I could and so did everyone else. Vin just stood there and took it without any outwards sign of pain.


After this demonstration we thought it was all over but Guru Azlan asked Vin and I to help him teach a Silat seminar nearby. I wasn’t worried about that but I was worried about my black gi. I had been wearing it two days in a row and it had dried sweat twice revived in it. It was now wet and stunk to high heaven. Of course Vin and I agreed to help and we put our sweaty old uniforms back on. The smell was terrible. As we walked to the hall where the seminar was taking place I hoped that Guru Azlan would take one whiff and turn us away.

Min Sutton punching Vin



PART7. Introduction to Lian padukan Silat and Silat Tua in Malaysia

The third and main art I have been introduced to is Lian padukan Silat. It’s a no frills direct martial art. It has Arabic history and passed through Yunnan province in China and then came to Johor Malaysia. It has many similarities to Wing Chun.

Lian padukan involves multiple fast strikes always attacking and moving forwards. The first thing I learnt was the back fist parry punch combo which I would practice many thousands of times. Then I was introduced to the forms. The Juros forms are simple. Preset strike combos performed with stepping in a straight line. After the Juros I moved onto the Lian forms. There are four Lian chapters and each chapter has 4 sets.

I found the forms quiet hard to remember, as they were all reasonably similar. At first I could be performing a set and I would come to the end of a combo and just stand there with a blank mind thinking ‘’ which one am I doing?’’

Lian padukan also involves semi contact sparring. Vin and I would set the mats up out on the training area and it would be the goal to push and strike each other onto the floor or off the mats. It involved wrestling elements and tying up your opponents arms and shutting them down so that you could overwhelm them. Lian Paduakn is an angry martial art always attacking and moving forward.

I have found this endless repetition of strikes and the aggressive intent which you have while training has changed me. I want to fight and I will often wake myself up in the night because I am kicking or punching in my sleep. I am actually quiet glad Sarah is not staying with us in the school as I think she would be a victim to my night time flailing’s

Like in the other arts I am learning much of the training involves repetition. Nigel will show us a set or a sparring attack or counter and it’s up to us to practice it again and again. It’s an affective training method which feeds the moves right into your body so not only your mind remembers them but your muscles as well.

 Vin and I are practicing Lian padukan for a grading in a few months. It’s called ‘’the seven coffins’’ and involves staying awake for 7 days almost continually training. It involves secretive test which make you face your fears. It’s all very mysterious and slightly worrying. Nigel only gives very vague hints as to what will happen. The only other similar test I have heard about involved washing hands in boiling oil and having rocks thrown at your back and sparring.

Here is a video of Instructor Don Harridine doing one of the Lian padukan forms


The fourth art I have been learning is Silat tua. So far it is the one I have the most interest for. Silat tua meaning old Silat is (as the name hints at) an ancient style. The forms are not preset but you are expected to incorporate certain principles into your form. Such as the Malay idea Jantan betina (male female) similar to the Chinese idea of yin and yang. Balance must not be one sided and you can imitate different animals. The tari( dance) is a free style kata.

There is a short strike set and salute before you begin the Tari and then the stage is yours. The first time I practiced the tari I felt very liberated. You can express yourself through movement. Striking at imaginary opponents.

A video of a Silat Tua Tari

Through practice I learn to find my natural movement. Interestingly moves from my Taiji come through in my tari and depending on what mood I am in the tari will be completely different. Compared to other traditional arts I have practiced where there is only set forms Silat Tua is a breath of fresh air. Nigel has told us that through practicing Silat tua you become more aware and in tune with your instincts, He told us that we should tell him of any Silat dreams we have. I didn’t really know what a Silat dream was until I had one.

Learning four different martial arts at once might be some peoples idea of too much but the way Nigel Sutton teaches manages to make it easier to remember. Everything we learn seems to be translatable into the other arts and because we endlessly repeat moves and drills they are hard to forget. I close my eyes at night and I am still fighting