11 June 2004, UNITED KINGDOM - Pencak Silat is a traditional martial art from the Indonesian-Melayu Archipelago. This month, London hosts the first ever UK International Pencak Silat Championships - a great opportunity to check it out.
With a history going back over 1,000 years, Pencak Silat as a warrior art, greatly influenced the history and culture of the region. Today Pencak Silat can be practised as a method of self-defence, as a competitive sport, or for the chance to learn one of the world's few remaining complete traditional martial arts systems. Like many martial arts, it can develop physical co-ordination, poise, fitness, as well as self-confidence and responsibility amongst its students.
The International Pencak Silat Federation has developed this martial art into sports ('tanding') and artistic ('seni') competition events, which are included in the South East Asia Games. At the moment Silat is not included in the Olympic Games, but has won recognition in the Asian Games. While the sport side is very comabtive, the artistic side is beautifully choreographed and as difficult as any specialised dance form.
The first UK International championships take place between 11-13th June at the Kensington Leisure Centre. Teams from Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Nepal, Europe, Australia and the UK will take part. Competitors will include Gold medallists from the most recent South East Asia Games, the last World Championships, and the European Championships of 2003.
The event aims to raise awareness of Pencak Silat as a competitive sport with Olympic potential, and to promote the PSF UK to officials from national sports bodies, and to local sports development teams. By presenting young local people in competition with world class athletes, the Championships aims to new audiences, and increase participation in this unique aspect of Indonesian and Melayu culture.
The Championships will be officially opened by the Indonesian Ambassador on the evening of Friday 11 June. The opening ceremony will include performances of Indonesian music and dance, and demonstrations of different Pencak Silat styles. Competition events will start on the Saturday morning.
UK International Pencak Silat Championships
Indonesian Martial Arts, 12-13th June 2004
Kensington Leisure Centre, Walmer Road, London W11
Sat 9am-10pm, Sun 9am-6pm
Adults £5 under 16's £3,
free for under 12's - 2 day pass £8/£5
Tel: 020 7737 5488
Sourced from http://www.bbc.co.uk/london/yourlondon/unitedcolours/roots/pencak_silat.shtml