Silat | Fighting Styles


Silat or Penchak Silat means "fighting with self-defense tactics" and refers to martial arts from Southeast Asia with cultural roots from the Malay World. Although most popular in Indonesia, this art can also be found in various degrees through Cambodia and Thailand’s Malay-affiliated communities. In fact, is has even already reached Europe and has become very well-known Netherlands; here, it is as popular as America and karate. An estimation of hundreds of styles (aliran) and schools exist for Silat, which observe wild animals for their ways of combat, like tigers (harimau) and eagles (elang).

The world’s biggest archipelago goes from Malaysia all the way to New Guinea and is comprised of an excess of 13,000 islands that makes use of the killer fighting art Silat. Around 500 styles exist in Malaysia alone, while 200 more styles exist in Indonesia; a lot of these styles would rather not become recognized by their governments. Today, an incalculable amount of styles is put to practice with various tactics and applications for self-defense. A lot of the systems integrate, function and inter-relate as one, while each mental or physical move remains consistent with a particular fighting rationale and system of belief which makes this system of self-defense devastating.

Every Pentjak Silat style comes with its own personal traditions, history and formal, several of which are hidden in secrecy, while others are available to the general public. Silat Pulut refers to a method which is displayed openly to the general public and can be found at public ceremonies like weddings. Pulut refers to glutinous rice that is oftentimes eaten at such wedding receptions and other Malay parties. Because of this, Silat is characterized through flashy and beautiful moves which hardly have anything to do with actual self-defense. Silat Buah, on the other hand, can hardly be seen in public. Buah translate to "fruit" to imply how helpful Silat is.

Penchak Silat has no total standard. Every style comes with its personal movement patterns, which are specifically designed for tactical rational. Still, even though every style makes use of foot and hand motions, the amount of this use depends on the techniques and styles that are being used. A fairly remarkable technique would be the harimau style that stems from Sumatra. With this method, practitioners’ movements are similar tothose of tigers and heavily focus on remaining near the ground with the use of semi-squatting, crouching, sitting and lying positions.

The needed leg flexibility and strength is very impressive with harimau stylists who make use of their hands as if they were feet and vice versa. They can begin fighting from ground positions or invite opponents into traps before sending them down. Other kinds of Sumatran Silat include Podang, Menangkabau, Lintau, Kumango and Sterlak.

A lot of Javanese styles make use of percentage weighting, which has a better balance between leg and hand work. A lot of Javanese styles ask practitioners to move closer to the enemy while upright before using numerous foot and hand moves to show off their tactics. Styles like Tjimande Serak, Tjigrik and Tjikalong all make use of this particular fact.

Style names can be found in various origins and are usually named after areas, cities or districts of geography, after animals, after combative or spiritual principles, after people, or after physical actions.

One spiritual principle is called Seitia Hati and means "faithful heart". Mustika Kwitang gets its name from the district of Kwitang in Jakarta, while Serak gets its name from a person that founded that style. Menangkebau Silat gets its name from an ethnic group known as the people of Menankabau, while Sterlak Silat gets its name from a means and quality of attacking with strength. The diverseness and variety of these names are not restricted to a single style.

Finding great teachers who have this knowledge to give will not be easy, though. Classic Pentjak Silat happens to be very secretive and clandestine. Teachers don’t compete to obtain students and usually stay within smaller groups. To locate true Silat masters, it usually has to occur through friends or family members.

The process acceptance also happens to be highly selective with a period of probation that proves to be very strict. Every teacher has certain personal criteria that he puts to use in order to evaluate potential students and is oftentimes based on the character of the student, along with his judgment, temperament, demeanor, ethics and morality. The student’s overall willingness to learn would also be of the utmost essence since training is going to be severe. Within a lot of styles, an accepted student would be required to take those styles’ oaths.

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