Disadvantages of IM
Unfortunately, there are two sides to every coin. A fighting-focused student usually shies away from the more esoteric aspects of the art such as ethics, responsibility, philosophy, religion, etc. Only a small percentage actually do find themselves interested in such topics and even less finally adopt it as an integral part of their worldview.
Secondly, a realistic setting doesn’t necessarily mean real. A reflex-conditioned fighter may find himself dealing with situations that were not inherent in his training. Since his analytical mind has already been trained to take a back seat to his reflexes, he may survive by sheer effort, but will rarely escape unscathed.
Thirdly, large group training creates minor mistakes and bad habits that unless attended to personally by a trained instructor (and not mass-produced carbon copy yes-men), could result in the ineffectiveness of the technique when applied combatively, or worse, muscular and ligament injury that will lead to permanent damage.
Fourthly, strict IM style training often mentally cages a student and teaches him to think within the box and rarely outside of it. This cuts off important avenues of creative and lateral thinking in problem solving. In combat, life or death hangs in the balance.
IM arts have been very popular in Malaysia because of their apparent systematic pedagogical style and are quite well represented among the major silat styles. Silat Seni Gayong, Silat Cekak and Silat Lincah are some of the better examples. Each of them has encountered the setbacks of the Impression Method and have compensated for them in their own ways.For example, in Silat Cekak, after the initial memorisation and drilling of the standardised buah to completion, students are taken through a Skill Set. Unusual and sneaky attack styles are introduced, of which no standard answer was provided for in the syllabus. Students are guided to analyse the tools provided in the memorised buah and apply them in their unique fashion to counter these new threats.