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17 Mac 2010

Malay Martial Art From Malaysia

Silat or bersilat means to learn and to do a various style of fighting, it is a self defense method which started popular since the 15th century. This is a unique culture of malay. Malay youngsters are taught silat as part of their growing up and education system, and not purely for self-defence purpose.Its meant not only as a self-defence technique, but also to inculcate the child with values of self - discipline, and to instill in him the qualities of self-dependence, self-respect as well as respect for others. This is to ensure that the youngster would be a rounded human being, useful and beneficial to society.

The legend of silat practitioners was the famous 15th-century Malaccan warrior Hang Tuah.Hang Tuah is an idol for silat practitioners and students. He learned martial arts together with his four compatriates - Hang Jebat, Hang Lekir, Hang Kasturi and Hang Lekiu - from two of the most renowned silat guru of the era. Hang Tuah is more likely to have been one of the art's disseminators rather than its originator since silat is known to have been practiced long before the founding of Melaka.

In the 16th century, conquistadors from Portugal attacked Melaka in an attempt to monopolise the spice trade. The Malay warriors managed to hold back the better-equipped Europeans for many days before Melaka was eventually defeated. The Portuguese hunted and killed anyone with knowledge of martial arts so that the remaining practitioners fled to more isolated areas but Bugis sailors were particularly famous for their martial prowess and were feared even by the European colonists. 

Nowadays, there are many popular schools of silat (called perguruan) in Malaysia such as Silat Seni Gayong, Seni Silat Pusaka Gayong, Gerak Seni Silat Kuntau Melayu, Seni Silat Cekak, Seni Silat Gayong Fatani, Sendeng, Silat Melayu Keris Lok 9, Seni Silat Lincah, Seni Silat Kalimah and many more.

Actually the syllabus of silat had devided to two branches, first methode is for public display where its always performed at weddings and other festivites. The other is concentrating on combat skills emphasize unarmed combat and focus on weapons.Bersilat emphasizes leg techniques, but punches, throws and holds are so important.The most popular forms are fist and finger attacking, grappling and gripping, and a spectacular style with high leaps and flying kicks.Besides that, silat is also a very good sport which combines a bit of dancing ,mental training and physical work.

The standard full and formal dress of today's silat practitioners usually the combination of the "tengkolok" and "tanjak" (headkerchiefs with different ways of tying them depending on status and region.),"baju Melayu" (Malay clothes), "samping" (waistcloth)."Bengkung" (a cloth belt or sash which secures the samping). 

While the training area or hall called "gelanggang", they were traditionally located outdoors, either in a specially constructed part of the village or in a jungle clearing. The area would be enclosed by a fence made of palm leaves to prevent outsiders from stealing secrets. Before training can begin, the "gelanggang" must be prepared either by the masters, instructors or senior students in a ritual called "opening the training area" (buka gelanggang ) with a prayer, this ritual is still carried out in some form or anoth.Today most practitioners train in modern and sophisticated indoor gelanggang. 

The art focuses on several basic groups of techniques that are practiced faithfully and must be mastered by each practitioner. The syllabus devided to
"Langkah" or "Tapak" , "Bunga silat"(dance or movement) and "Buah Silat" such as weapon forms, avoiding attack, side stepping (Footwork), kicking or falling techniques, grappling and gripping, stabbing techniques and art of the warrior techniques.

The most common of silat's weapons are like "keris" (asymmetrical dagger),"Kerambit" (A concealable claw-like curved blade that can be tied in a woman's hair.), "tekpi" ( Three-pronged truncheon thought to derive from the trident.), "golok" and "tumbuk lada"(machete/ broadsword) , "lembing" (Spear/ javelin), "sundang" (a sword created by the Bugis),"tongkat/kayu/rotan" (pole or rod) and "cindai" (a wearable cloth like sarong usually tied around the waist or draped across one shoulder)

Lastly silat is our heritage and our proud and silat is one of the most deadliest martial art in the world!

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