Silat In Malaysia





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Silat Melayu

Silat is a collective word for indigenous martial arts from a geo-cultural area of Southeast Asia encompassing most of the Nusantara and Malay Archipelago, as well as the entire Malay Peninsula. Originally developed in what are now Indonesia, peninsular Malaysia, south Thailand, and Singapore, it is also traditionally practiced in Brunei, Vietnam and the southern Philippines. There are hundreds of different styles but they tend to focus either on strikes, joint manipulation, throws, bladed weaponry, or some combination thereof. Silat is one of the sports included in the Southeast Asian Games and other region-wide competitions. Training halls are overseen by separate national organizations in each of the main countries the art is practiced. These are Ikatan Pencak Silat Indonesia (IPSI) from Indonesia, Persekutuan Silat Kebangsaan Malaysia (PESAKA) from Malaysia, Persekutuan Silat Brunei Darussalam (PERSIB) from Brunei and Persekutuan Silat Singapura (PERSISI) from Singapore. Practitioners are called pesilat.
While the word silat is used by Malay-speakers throughout Southeast Asia, the art is more often called pencak silat in the modern Indonesian language. Systems that were created on the Southeast Asian mainland are grouped in the category of silat Melayu, in reference to the Malay Peninsula. The oldest of these originated in what are now northern Malaysia, Thailand and southern Vietnam. Silat as practiced in Brunei is also grouped in the same category for historic reasons. Generally speaking, silat Melayu is characterized by fixed hand positions and today is often thought of as a slow dance-like art among non-practitioners. In Indonesia, pencak silat displays greater diversity and its use of high kicks, jumps and agile maneuvers are comparatively more well known among the public. While this generalization does not necessarily reflect the reality of silat's techniques, it has had a notable influence on the stereotypical way silat is portrayed in Malaysia and Singapore.

Fighting arts in the Indonesian and Malay Archipelago arose out of hunting methods and military training by the region's native inhabitants. The descendents of former headhunters still perform ancient wardances which are considered the precursor of the freestyle form in silat. While these aborigines retained their tribal way of life, the Indo-Malay diaspora instead based their culture on India and China. By adopting the Indian faiths of Hinduism and Buddhism, their social structure became more organised. Evidence shows that silat was influenced by both Indian and Chinese martial arts. Many of the region's medicinal practices and weapons originated in either India or China, and silat's thigh-slapping actions are reminiscent of Hindu wrestling. The martial arts practiced by the Chinese community of Southeast Asia are referred to as kuntao.

Although a number of myths attempt to explain the institutionalisation of silat, most of them concern only a specific style.


The earliest evidence of silat taught in its present form is found in Sumatra where, according to local legend, a woman based her combat system on the movements of animals that she had seen fighting. Masters still believe that the first styles of silat were created by observing animals, and these styles were probably derived from animal-based Indian martial arts. In the 5th or 6th century, pre-determined sets are said to have been introduced by the Mahayana Buddhist monk Bodhidharma who came from India to Southeast Asia via the Sumatra-based kingdom of Srivijaya in Palembang. Through this connection, silat is also used as a method of spiritual training in addition to self-defense.
Silat was and in some cases still is used by the defense forces of various Southeast Asian kingdoms and states in what are now Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Brunei. Despite the Hindu caste system which held sway in ancient times, silat was never confined to any particular social class or gender but was practiced by all without restrictions. Even today, it is often taught in families who have inherited cultural traditions such as woodcarving, dance, herbalism or the playing of musical instruments.
Southeast Asian trade had already extended into Okinawa and Japan by the 15th century. The number of Japanese people travelling the region increased after the Battle of Sekigahara. By the early 17th century there were small Japanese communities living and trading in Indochina. Some arrived with the official red seal ships while others were warriors and pirates from the losing side of the Sekigahara war. Although mostly confined to Siam, some Japanese escaped to Cambodia and Indonesia after the Ayutthaya Kingdom was attacked by the Burmese. Silat shares many similarities with Okinawan karate as well as the throws and stances of weapon-based Japanese martial arts which probably date back to this time. Trade with Japan ended when the country went into self-imposed isolation but resumed during the Meiji era, during which time certain areas of Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore became home to a small Japanese population. After the Occupation of Japan, some silat masters incorporated the katana into their styles.
Since the Islamisation movement of the 1980s and 90s, there have been attempts to make silat more compliant with Islamic principles.[1] It is now illegal for Muslim practitioners in Malaysia to chant mantera, bow to idols, practice traditional meditation, or attempt to acquire supernatural powers.[citation needed] This has given rise to various misconceptions that silat is inherently Muslim or can only be practiced by followers of the Islamic faith. In actuality silat has existed long before Islam was introduced to Southeast Asia and is still practiced by non-Muslims. The Hindu-Buddhist and animistic roots of the art were never eradicated, and remain very evident even among Muslim practitioners of traditional styles. Some of these old methods have been lost after silat masters in pre-dominantly Muslim areas could no longer teach them, but others still endure among conservative training schools in Indonesia and Thailand.
Silat practitioners begin and end each routine and practice session by saluting their teacher, partner or any spectators as a show of respect. The handsign used is dependent on style and lineage. The vast majority of silat exponents use the Hindu-Buddhist namaste in which the palms are pressed together at chest level. This represents the balance of two opposing forces such as light and dark or hard and soft. The head or upper body is usually bowed as a sign of humility. This was used as a greeting in ancient times, as can still be seen throughout much of Indochina, and until recent decades it was also a form of apology among Malays. The practical purpose of the salute is to trigger the proper state of mind for training or fighting. Additionally, it serves as a technique in itself to block attacks aimed at the face.
Some traditional Javanese schools use another handsign apparently borrowed from the Chinese in which the left hand clasps the right fist. In the context of silat, the fist symbolises martial skill while the opposite hand is a sign of courtesy and camaraderie. This is meant to convey mutual respect and shows that the fighters are willing to learn from each other. Like the namaste, it recalls the idea of duality. This concept is referred to as jantan betina (male-female) and is equivalent to the Chinese yin and yang. A few styles, such as silat Pattani, may have their own form of salutation unique to that particular system.
Silat Uniform

Silat Melayu

Silat Melayu is a blanket term for the types of silat created in peninsular Southeast Asia, particularly Malaysia, southern Thailand, Singapore, Brunei and Vietnam. In modern usage, the term is most often used to differentiate the Malaysian styles from Indonesian pencak silat

Silat Weapon

Kris A dagger which is often given a distinct wavy blade by folding different types of metal together and then washing it in acid. Kris Weapon Of Silat
Parang Machete/ broadsword, commonly used in daily tasks such as cutting through forest growth. Parang Weapon Of Silat
Tombak Spear/ javelin, made of wood, steel or bamboo that may have dyed horsehair near the blade. Tombak Weapon Of Silat
Lembing Lembing Weapon Of Silat
Tongkat Staff or walking stick made of bamboo, steel or wood. Tongkat Weapon Of Silat
Batang Batang Weapon Of Silat
Gedak A mace or club usually made of iron. Gedak Weapon Of Silat
Kipas Folding fan preferably made of hardwood or iron. Kipas Weapon Of Silat
Kerambit A concealable claw-like curved blade that can be tied in a woman's hair. Kerambit Weapon Of Silat
Sabit Sickle commonly used in farming, harvesting and cultivation of crops. Sabit Weapon Of Silat
Trisula Trident, introduced from India Trisula Weapon Of Silat
Tekpi Three-pronged truncheon thought to derive from the trident. Tekpi Weapon Of Silat
Chabang Chabang Weapon Of Silat
Chindai Wearable sarong used to lock or defend attacks from bladed weapons.  
Rantai Chain used for whipping and seizing techniques Rantai Weapon Of Silat
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