Originally Posted by m@T
ya with its absence of head strikes and penchant for strange dancing manouveurs between attacks, it is ideal for any bar brawl.
I'm guessing you've seen a few demonstrations of kembangan, in which an individual performs his silat artistically and set to music for the purpose of aesthetic appreciation. While practicing kembangan regularly does train your sense of timing, among other skills, it is very different from actual combative silat, which is not only pared down and "unpretty" but in which every attack is meant to be followed by another until the opponent is incapacitated.
Or maybe you're thinking of the pulut demonstrations of Malaysian silat as opposed to buah. I don't know.
As for the supposed absence of head strikes, this is just wrong. Silat is a complete system. But the different styles, of which there are hundreds, do have different emphases: nerve strikes, throws, etc.
Silat is not above dirty tricks to distract the opponent, and it has a penchant for found weapons. And practicioners are often most comfortable fighting in extremely close quarters in order to utilize their elbows, knees, and head. Rather ideal for the bar environment in a fight against the hypothetical drunken jackass and his friends.