SilatBrief History and Background of Silat

Silat encompasses the martial arts of the Malaysian Archipelago, Indonesia and surrounding Southeast Asian areas and has various names depending on the region it is practised in.

Formed from headhunting skills by native inhabitants with influences from Indian, Chinese and later from Japanese martial arts, Silat has a very mixed history and in it’s earliest form can be dated back to well over a 1000 years ago.

It relies heavily on weapons and animal style fighting techniques and was a form of defence for the Malays for many centuries. The art was also showcased with dances and demonstrations and was known as the peoples game. This peoples traditional culture meant that Silat could be practised without it being obvious that they were practising a fighting skill. These festive occasions make use of music (tanji silat baku or gendang baku/pencha) to help develop aSilat nice flowing and often spectacular show of skill. It is now a recognised sport in the Southeast Asian Games.

There are several organisations such as Persekutuan Silat Kebangsaan Malaysia (PESAKA) from Malaysia, Ikatan Pencak Silat Indonesia (IPSI) from Indonesia, Persekutuan Silat Brunei Darussalam (PERSIB) from Brunei and Persekutuan Silat Singapura (PERSISI) from Singapore.

SilatSilat Training

Training normally starts and ends with a salut and bow, such as a Namaste or Chinese hand over fist salut to those around as a sign of respect and humility.

At the beginning, footwork is worked on to create a firm and stable foundation and to practise fighting stances.

Like many other martial arts, there are set forms/katas, which are designed to teach the techniques and combat applications in an organised manner.

The next stage is to be taught empty hand attacking moves followed by defensive moves. Basic movements would be practised first as a base, with the moves being performed in a beautiful, aesthetic fashion.

Once a student has master the empty hand techniques, then weapons training features a lot and again it is taught in a continuous flowing motion. The practise of these weapons are considered an important and integral part of Silat.

As well as being taught to fight in a flowing motion, the tuning of the bodies energy is also concentrated on, to help the fighter channel their energy through the various offensive and defensive movements.

Silat Equipment/Gear Used

Equipment and clothing can vary from school to school or region to region.

Lower Garment – Sarong (Samping/Sampin, Chindai)
Trousers and shirt (Baju Melayu)
Hat (Songkok)

Various protective equipment can sometimes be used.

Weapons used in Silat

Machete (Parang)
Swords (Pedang, Sundang, Jian, Katana)
Sticks/Canes/Poles (Tongkat, Batang, Toyak, Tembong)
Flute (Seruling)
Rope (Tali)
Billhook (Chakok)
Sickle (Sabit)
Chain (Rantai)
Various Knives/Daggers (Badik, Rencong, Kris)
Curved Blade (Kujang)
Battle-axe (Chipan, Jipan, Kapak Kecil)
Claw (Kerambit)
Mace (Gada, Gedak)
Blowpipe (Sumpitan)
Whip (Ekor Pari)
Spears/Lances (Geranggang, Seligi, Tombak, Lembing)
Trident/Sai (Trisula, Tjabang Tekpi)
Fan (Kipas)
Shield (Perisai, Jebang)
Bow (Gandewa, Busur)

Celebrity Silat Practitioners

Kathy Long
Barry Prima
Iko Uwais
Wesley Snipes
Steven Seagal
Ross Kemp

Movies/TV Series featuring Silat

Matinya Seorang Patriot
Walet Merah
Pengejar Angin
The Raid: Redemption
The Raid 2: Berandal
Keris Hitam Bersepuh Emas  
Pendekar Kundur