There is no overall standard for Pencak Silat. Each style has its own particular movement patterns, specially designed techniques and tactical rationale. The richness of terms reflects a wide diversity in styles and techniques across the regions due to the fact that pencak silat has been developed by different masters who have created their own style according to their preferences and to the physical environment and social-cultural context in which they live. Lets take as example West Java, Central Java and Sumatra. West Java is inhabited by a specific ethnic group with specific cultural and social norms. For them, pencak silat is part of their way of life or as they say is "the blood in their body". In their language they say "penca" or "menpo" (from "maen poho', which literally means play with trickery) to indicate their main four styles Cimande, Cikalong, Timbangan, and Cikaret and all the schools and techniques which have derived from them. The Sundanese people have always utilized penca/mempo' for self-defense and recreation, and only recently have started to use it as a sport in national and regional competitions. In its self-defense form, using hands fighting techniques combined with a series of characteristic footsteps such as langka sigzag (zigzag step), langka tilu (triangular step), langka opat (quadrangular step) and langka lam alip, penca can be very dangerous. Therefore it is kept secret and, especially its magic (tenaga dalam or inner power) component is only taught in phases to selected students.
Penca as art (penca ibing) has been a source of inspiration for traditional Sundanese dances such as Jaepongan, Ketu'tilu', Dombret, and Cikeruhan and actually it resembles dance in its use of music instruments. These instruments, called "pencak drummers" (gendang penca), are devoted exclusively to penca performances and consist of two sets of drummers (gendang anak dan kulantir), a trumpet (tetet) and a gong. Pencak performances also use standard music rhythms such as tepak dua, tepak tilu, tepak dungdung, golempang and paleredan. Penca as art is not considered dangerous and can be openly shown to everyone. From generation to generation until today, penca performances animate wedding parties, rituals of circumcision, celebrations of the rice harvest and all kind of national festivities.
After analizing the Pencak Silat the grandmasters agreed upon a structure. This structure emphasizes the versatility of the Indonesian-Malaysian martial art. In this structure the Pencak Silat is devided in 4 aspects, namely;