06 December 2006

PESAKA wants silat be made Malaysia's official martial arts

PORT DICKSON, Dec 5 (Bernama) -- The Malaysian National Silat Federation (Pesaka) has urged the government to proclaim silat as the country's official martial arts.

It also seeks recognition as the silat governing body in the country and plans to set up silat complexes at the national, community and district levels.

Those were among the resolutions passed by the two-day National Silat Convention that ended here last night.

Pesaka president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan who is Negeri Sembilan Menteri Besar, said the silat federation hoped there were universities that would conduct special research on the Malay martial arts.

Pesaka also encouraged more writing materials on silat be published and compiled to serve as reference by future generations, he said and later launched Pesaka's website at Pesakamalaysia.org.

Present were Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim, Senator Tan Sri Muhammad Muhamad Taib who was Pesaka president for 16 years and and founder of the Malaysian Silat Lincah Organisation Datuk Omardin Mauju.

Sourced from http://www.accessmylibrary.com/article-1G1-155861282/pesaka-wants-silat-made.html

03 December 2006

Call for changes in silat

PORT DICKSON, Dec 3 (Bernama) -- The National Silat Federation (Pesaka) wants changes to be made to ensure "silat", a Malay art of self-defence, remained relevant and able to go far.

Its president, Datuk seri Mohamad Hasan said that performance and achievements in competitions alone would not take the art anywhere

"We should be able to convince all quarters on the need for silat to be given a wider role and not merely to win medals for the country," he said at the opening of a National Silat Convention here today

He hoped that a policy on the development of silat could be drawn from discussions at the convention

Some 800 participants from various silat associations, the army and the police are attending the convention, which is scheduled to be closed by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi tomorrow.

Sourced from http://www.accessmylibrary.com/article-1G1-155543951/call-changes-silat.html

23 November 2006

Silat fit to be national art of self-defence, says Najib

SERDANG, Nov 23 (Bernama) -- Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak tonight said that silat is fit to be the national art of self-defense due to its many plus points.

The Deputy Prime Minister said that while the South Koreans had taekwando, Japan judo, Malaysia could make silat the national art of self-defense

He said this when opening the 14th National Silat Championships, which will be held from today until Nov 26 at the Universiti Tenaga Nasional, here

Najib was responding to a suggestion on it made by Negeri Sembilan Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Hassan in his speech at the opening of the championship earlier

"Apart from being the Malays' heritage, silat can be learnt by other races," said Najib when highlighting the benefits of silat in building the internal strength of its practitioners

The championship is being participated by 17 contigents from throughout the country

Sourced from http://www.accessmylibrary.com/article-1G1-155950150/silat-fit-national-art.html

15 October 2006

Inmates to learn 'silat'

GEORGE TOWN: The Penang Silat Lincah Malaysia organisation (PSSLM) will begin its physical exercise programme at drug rehabilitation centres in the state. The "Senaman Jurus Lincah" project will be conducted in Bukit Mertajam and Kampung Selamat after Hari Raya. PSSLM training unit principal Aladdin Noordin said the body had obtained the nod from the National Anti-Drug Agency to run the programme.

Sourced from http://www.accessmylibrary.com/article-1G1-152912319/inmates-learn-ilat.html

12 October 2006

Don't worry. You decide. Be Free.

If you're a true Silat Melayu fan, I'll bet you can't stand next to a silat master without eventually asking a question. That was most often the case with me. But, if you're familiar with one, sometimes, you forget what a treasure trove of knowledge comes to your doorstep every day, and you never take advantage of it.

Once, I casually posed a question to Guru Dahlan Karim, founder of Silat Setiabakti, a very effective pukulan style. Although he visited my former office almost every day to deliver his articles to be published, it had never occured to me to actually consult the man about my confusions regarding silat (d-uh!). [Rest assured, I studied briefly with him soon after].

I formed scenarios as to what I should do if someone comes at me like this, or like that, or like that, or however. Every answer he came up with was a natural, and painful, response (those who know my former line of work also know that I was often the punching bag for masters like him).
After what seemed the most medically challenging lesson, I suppose he got tired of my prodding and said to me:

"Buat apa risau buah orang? Risau buah sendiri sajalah"
Translation: "Why worry about what other people will do? Focus only on what you want to do".

This startled me for two reasons. First, I thought responding to an enemy attack WAS silat. Apparently not. This offhand statement made me rethink my previous trainings. The change in perspective made me realise how important it is to be the active party in anything. Like a dance, you lead, not be led.

Guru Azlan Ghanie, founder of Silat Melayu Keris Lok 9 has a favourite saying, whether it relates to martial arts or publishing:

"Kita buat dia"Translation: "We decide"

Whenever a particular combat scenario seemed to end in a stalemate, or worse, in me being locked or on the receiving end of a barrage, I tended to assume a defensive mindset, assuming that since silat is about yielding, it meant the same thing as retreat. But, in reality, it's about thinking outside of the box, and he would always show me a way out of the problem that I hadn't seen before.

Ustaz Hanafi, founder of Silat Cekak, said it more poetically in a pantun:
"Lahirnya Cekak kerana kesedaran,
bukan bermusuh sebagai tujuan,
untuk mendaulatkan seni kebangsaan,
mensesuaikan dengan makna kemerdekaan"

"For awareness was Cekak thus born,
not enmity, nor trangression, nor scorn,
to uphold the heritage we claim,
towards true freedom we aim"

Silat is about being yourself. No. It's about being a better yourself. It's about being free from the machinations of other people, or the stubborn, unproven ideas of yore. Silat is about being confident in knowing what you're doing and why you're doing it. Being a leader means the awareness of knowing where you're going and why, while being a follower means you only wonder about these things.

Silat is about your freedom in making choices, and accepting the consequences of those choices, good or bad, and learning from them. Taking the experiences of others as a guide, but not as a limit.

Being Muslim, this kind of train of thought always brings me back to Allah. If we are truly to be free of man and all of man's ways, to become ourselves, to attain haqq diri (self-actualization, self-realisation, enlightenment, whatever), then we have to submit to the One who created them all.

So, worry not about the opponent. Worry about who really controls you. Your government? Your media? Your friends? Your enemies? Who decides what you do and how you do it? Yourself or others? Are you free of them all? Or do you miss the point that the One who really controls you is none of them?

Don't worry. You decide. Be free.

11 October 2006

Adat & Adab in Silat

Adat dan adab are both Arabic words, loosely translated, meaning Norm and Manner. Most of the time, they have been misrepresented to mean Culture/ Custom and Protocol/ Manners. In reality, Adat in Bahasa Melayu is used to mean Islam, specifically the Shariah, Islamic Law. Therefore, all Adat is based on the Fiqh, or understanding of the Islamic Law. That is why this word crops up so often in Melayu literature or expressions such as Silat.

However, modern usage has confused and relegated it to Istiadat (rites/custom) status where only the observable action of the culture is taken into account. It is because Adat is equated with Islamic observance that many pesilat tend to place importance on it when in reality, it is at best, a permissible act in religion.

Adab, which is usually equated with ethics or manners is in Melayu culture quite comprehensively crystallised, ranging from the different types of hand clasping (salam) devoted to parents, teachers, superiors, friends and strangers to the usage of different fingers for different reasons (e.g. pointing with the thumb, etc.) However, it is the core of adab that is most important and not its expressions.

Adab is essentially the regulation of relationship. In Islam and Melayu culture, there are four types of relationships: with Allah, amongst human beings, with the environment and with oneself. As a Muslim, it is lawfully not wrong to conduct salat with only a cloth covering your navel to knees but it is definitely Adab-less, since no one would even consider dressing in such a way to meet an earthly king, let alone the King of Kings. This is Adab.

Amongst human beings, respect is noted in various ways and differs from culture to culture, where intention is codified and decoded by members of the same culture. I shall not touch on that. Since there is no emotional nor cultural aspect in our relationship to the environment, there are no limits to what we can do.

For example, the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) treated his camels and herds with care, gave names to his swords and mirror and made them personal. Likewise, a graphic artist's first taught lesson is to respect the cutting blade or it will take off a good chunk of your index finger one day.

Finally, respect (Adab) towards oneself. This includes performing prayer and eating healthily, exercising and such. I once saw a resting motorcyclist sit on his helmet. He no doubt put it back on his head. Those who are sensitive to this will understand what I mean. Applying powder to one's armpits by using the back of the hand and not the palm shows good character, especially when shaking hands with others. This is Adab.

If I were to put it into one word, it would be mindfulness. Mindfulness of the needs of the relationships we conduct with ourselves, our environment, our fellow human beings and Allah.
A question, then, comes to mind. Should a non-Melayu foreigner (or non-Nusantarian) be forced to practise adat and adab Melayu when studying silat, thus transforming his or her value system to conform to that of the art they study?

The following is my answer: It has been said by some silat masters that they teach silat to foreigners in the hope that they will become good Muslims. What this means, in reality, is not so much the conversion itself but the personality change that occurs during martial education.

There is a sort of cocooning of the confused non-Asian, surrounded by the rich culture, language and people that inevitably, he will himself be pressured to change and like it, or reject the change and be branded an outsider.

However, attitude is a nasty thing here in the many-times colonialised Southeast Asia, so much so that most of the time, the silat practising white man becomes nothing more than a white man practising silat and most communities still see it as a novelty and not an induction into their culture. They'd sooner accept a Chinese, Indian or Arab, since the hostile history is not apparent or nonexistent.

Because of this, many foreigners (especially Westerners) who study silat here are apologetic of their colonial past, or their resemblance to those masters of yore and usually submit themselves to the machinations (the connotation here education, not manipulation) of the silat master. So, the question of should he practise adab usually depends on the strength or focus of his master's education.

Fortunately, the world being the global village that it is today, many cultures are vying for a top spot in the hearts of its citizens. One of my American lecturers said once that everyone in Kuala Lumpur dresses like they were something out of a fashion magazine. We seem to have become more American than the Americans themselves.

The Dutch are fairly surprised to know that we have McDonald's, KFC, Burger King, Long John Silver's, Coffee Bean, Starbuck's, Pizza Hut, Hard Rock, Planet Hollywood, Hiltons and who knows what else littering KL, while they only have a few McDonald's. So, I guess, this "shouldness" is part of that cultural war.

Interestingly, my answer to the earlier question is, though it may seem biased, I would have to say, yes. A foreigner who studies silat and is keen on understanding the roots of the philosophies and attitudes within silat, has to experience the adab of relationships within its cultural context, or risk second-guessing and/ or misinterpreting the silat lessons itself, which as many pesilat understands, is not limited to jurus-jurus, buah, sapuan and others like it.

However, everyone has a right to practise their own culture. So I suppose, treat silat like a university where all of the university by-laws are your laws, until you leave it to forge your own path in life. Then, if you have permission by your master, integrate your lessons into your cultural contexts and teach them to your local students, all the while understanding the original intention behind them.

Reminds me of our local McDonald's and Pizza Hut serving congee and satay dishes a la carte.

Original Article by Mohd Nadzrin Wahab

10 October 2006

Between Progression and Tradition

The same way that 'karate' serves as a blanket term for a multitude of Okinawan-Japanese styles, so too does SILAT (Malaysia) denote an endless variety of fighting methods, many of which bear a striking resemblance to arts from foreign countries.

Reports of karate-like, judo-like, aikido-like, savate-like, wing chun-like, boxing-like and God-knows-what-else-like arts are mostly not exaggerated for Silat Melayu is highly adaptive and has, in my mind, accepted more diverse foreign influences than any other martial art in the world.

In Malaysia, the late Mahaguru Datuk Meor Abdul Rahman Uda Hashim's was known for his openness (see http://hulubalang-lagenda.tripod.com/draeger.html) of the reception of karate and judo-like techiques into his Silat Gayong system without losing the entire Melayuness of the art. It was essentially a progressive philosophy, something nobody before Bruce Lee even considered saying loudly in the West. That was a Melayu art with Japanese influences.

In Malaysia, the art is administrated by a few organisations including Pertubuhan Silat Seni Gayong Malaysia (PSSGM), Pertubuhan Silat Seni Pusaka Gayong Malaysia, Pertubuhan Seni Silat Gayong Warisan and PASAK in Singapore. It currently has a few offshoots and no surviving counterparts.

Another interesting example is Silat Lian Padukan (see http://www.lianpadukan.com) which is interestingly, a Yunnanese art with Melayu and Siamese influences. Unlike many kuntau masters who maintain that their art is Melayu all the while ignoring the origin of the name itself, Lian Padukan prides itself as being a Chinese adaptation of an Arab fist art with Melayu innovations.

Tracing its origins beyond Yunnan to the Middle East, it also claims to predate Wing Chun, whose origins it claims to have spawned. The modern Lian Padukan (before simply labeled Lian Yunan or Buah Pukul Mersing) which was founded by Mohammad bin Chik (Pak Mat Kedidi) incorporates into its Lian core many concepts and techniques (using the term loosely) from Tomoi (Muay Thai) and Silat.

It is adminstrated by Persatuan Seni Silat Lian Padukan and the Lian Padukan Martial Arts Academy. It has two offshoots, Lian Harimau Kumbang (defunct), Lian Golok (unofficial) and Lian Ilham. Currently, it has many contemporaries under different names and guises such as Buah Pukul Mersing, Gayang Lima, Buah Pukul Endau, Silat Awang Daik and an organisation called Persatuan Gerak Lian Malaysia.

Local (Malaysian) university students have no doubt heard of Silat Cekak (see http://silatcekak.org/ or http://www.cekakhanafi.com/, http://silatcekakhanafi.org) which claims to be an authentics Melayu art of the peninsula, which not many can dare to do. Within its syllabus lies the 'Buah Keputusan' or Conclusive Techniques (CT), said to belong to the masters of many different arts, successfully integrated into a whole by a straight-backed style.

Amongst its many claimed component arts are Gayung Fatani, Sendeng, Harimau, Terlak, Kuntau, Lintau, Kemanga and once upon a time, Spelet. These CTs are said to be able to counter all techniques that originate from these styles. Under the guidance of the late Ustaz Hanafi, these CTs have given birth to new techniques for countering other-styled attacks and agressions. It is currently administrated by two different organisations Persatuan Seni Silat Cekak Malaysia and Persatuan Seni Silat Cekak Ustaz Hanafi Malaysia and has no surviving offshoots.

Its current contemporaries are Silat Kuntau Tekpi (http://tekpi.org) (contemporary from a rumoured shared lineage from 1879) and Silat Kalimah. The forme is adminstrated by Pertubuhan Seni Silat Kuntau Tekpi Malaysia while the latter is administrated by several organisations, including Persatuan Kalimah, Persatuan Seni Silat Kalimah Yahya Said, Persatuan Seni Silat Kalimah Amin, Pertubuhan Ikatan Kalam Utama Malaysia and Persatuan Seni Silat Kalimah Panglima Tangkas.

Malaysian Silat is not as backward as many people see. The authentic versus modern debate that, ironically, still rages on in Malaysia and the rest of the MA world was essentially a moot point in the past, even the recent past. Allahyarham Datuk Meor Rahman's insistence on progressiveness was even though a thorn in the hides of many a silat teacher before, has since become accepted as the norm.

However, Datuk Meor was simply the physical vanguard of this concept, whereas more forward thinking Melayu were already doing this long before him. I understand why Datuk Meor had little resistance for in the days of yore Melayu (and still today) were a very royally-loyal race, coming under the influence of Islam immediately through the conversion of the local ruler.

Even on a smaller scale, royal vestiges in commoners with the prefix Tengku, Daeng, Megat, Teuku, Syed (the Prophet's lineage) Abang in their names strike a chord of authority and respect in their fellow commoners, even if these 'royals' were poorer than them.

Datuk Meor's vestigial princeness from the Bugis clan, his subsequent commendation from the Sultan of Perak as 'Sendo' (Mighty) and his commanding respect as a CID officer in the Singapore Police (not many Melayu back then in the White Man's professional realm!) all contributed to the acceptance of his ideas and methods.

Add that to the fact that many 'traditional' Silat masters had to bow to his superior skill when they matched him in hand to hand combat, the loser eventually forced to study Gayong. However, needfully mentioned, as public relations dictate, the names of the masters who overwhelmed Datuk Meor has been kept quite secret to this day.

My reason for comparing the three masters above: Datuk Meor Rahman (d.1991), Ustaz Hanafi (d.1986) and Pak Mat Kedidi is to illustrate the may ways Silat Melayu has held on to its Melayuness. Gayong in principle, Cekak in form and Lian Padukan in spirit. Unfortunately, it is evident that the minds of the masters are foremost in any adaptation process since after the passing of these two silat greats, Gayong and Cekak have ceased to be progressive as a whole in martial arts terms (which does not mean they are not effective).

However, Lian Padukan's philosophy of 'Padukan!' (empower, solidify, encompass) still sees new innovations based on the old under the leadership of its new guru utama, Haji Mohd Hasyim Mohd Salleh, all the while receiving the blessing of Pak Mat Kedidi who is healthy and hale to this day.

Gayong as a whole in Malaysia and Cekak which is more visually presented by the offshoot Silat Cekak Hanafi seems to have taken different directions.

Silat Cekak Hanafi has jumped head first into a corporate public relations frenzy, redesigning the uniform to a non-traditional look, using increasingly modern backing music for their demonstrations, organizing corporate dinners with local artistes performing. Image-wise, it has essentially done in 10 years what Taekwondo took 30 years to achieve in Malaysia. However much the look has changed, a board of trustees are strict in changes, if any to the silat syllabus that Ustaz Hanafi set to paper.

Gayong, however, has clung stubbornly to its past, rites and customs while very few of its masters deem to follow Datuk Meor's penchant for pressed slacks, coat and tie and a well-groomed appearance (although I am proud to have friends of the younger generation who are doing their best to present a good corporate image of Gayong).

It is true that cikgu Awang Daud has formed his Awang Daud Martial Arts Academy and is tirelessly promoting Gayong as an adaptive art, building other arts onto its core. As an art and culture, Gayong is highly recognizable, even when other arts unintentionally copy its form and look and the gait of its practitioners. While having absolutely no lineage to Gayong, these arts conform to the Gayong Norm, where demonstrations of breaking, self-torture, extremely violent weapons play are everyday culture.

Needless to say, these new values wowed the then Taekwondo, Judo, Karate-minded Melayu to begin respecting Silat again. In the 50s and 60s, Silat was mainly categorized by bunga and appearances at wedding ceremonies. Gayong changed all that and the norm is no longer the bunga, but the combat. However, I personally believe Allahyarham Datuk Meor Rahman overdid it since many Gayong practitioners now have trouble with softer, more precise movements.

That was why, the late cikgu Razali (former President of PSSGM) planned a return to more traditional forms, reintroducing music and tari. Unfortunately, he was taken too early for this to succeed. Some Gayong people are realizing this and have taken individual steps to study the more graceful village art of softness and pliability.

However, the process is not managed and Gayong recedes in popularity every year, quickly being overtaken by newer upstarts with a finger on the pulse of the youth and know what they want. For the same reason that Gayong is increasingly popular in the West, it is just a lack of it that is causing the very same art to lose its luster in its homeland.

This article was previously published in http://silatmelayu.blog/com and http://combat-journal.com

Original Article by Mohd Nadzrin Wahab

09 October 2006

RM200,000 Silat documentary in the making

I came across an interesting piece of news today. Apparently The National Film Development Corporation (FINAS) has decided to fund the making of a Silat documentary.

As many Malaysians already know, apart from those produced by Filem Negara Malaysia (oh so many years ago), the following ones such as the Mahaguru series (shown on TV3 terrestrial tv in the 90s) and Wajadiri (shown on the sattelite operator Astro) were short of expectations, but we embraced them anyway, since that's all we had.

TV3 also came out with a one episode 'SILAT' which was a forum show where masters discussed their views on the arts. Unfortunately, I have never seen it and the only person I know of who has a copy is Azlan Ghanie (so, go bug him for it).

Anyway, back to the FINAS effort. Six million ringgit has been allocated to produce quality documentaries of National Geographic standard. Currently, the body is in the midst of producing three of them — 'Silat', 'Seni Pertukangan Perak' and 'Tembaga'. Each documentary costs RM200,000 and is made for local tv, but they're hopeful they can be exported.I just hope the money spent isn't going to go the way of other 'cultural white elephants'. Rant rant rant.
Click here for the full story http://www.nst.com.my/Current_News/nst/Monday/Features/20061008144230/Article/index_html

Original Article by Mohd Nadzrin Wahab

01 October 2006

Sports Science Level 1 Course for silat instructors

It's been a slow news week for silat, unfortunately. Those who have come to the blog expecting an update would have been sorely disappointed.

However, a piece of good news for those silat instructors who have been shopping around for a Sport Science short course to add to your resume:

Cikgu Baharin Ibrahim (former national coach and current Asst Secretary for PESAKA Malaysia) is organising a Level 1 Sports Science Course. Interested? Then contact the man himself at +6017 679 6977.

The details of the course are as below:
Date: 8th - 13 Oct 2006
Venue: MSN Keramat AU
Fees: RM200.00

A steal if you ask me. Sigh! Can't get off work to attend though. So, if you're keen, then get further details from Cikgu Baharin before the places run out!

Original Article by Mohd Nadzrin Wahab

21 September 2006

Book Review: Panduan Pukulan Tujuh Hari

In my previous posts, I highlighted some concern from two buyers who failed to receive their copies of PANDUAN PUKULAN TUJUH HARI and were quite distressed that the merchant involved did not reply to their inquiries. Today, I received a review on the title by one of the buyers. Read his comments below.

Dear Nadzrin,

After an almost 2 month wait, the book finally arrived at my mailbox, thanks to your aggressive approach of highlighting the issue on the web. You are right, poor customer service. Allow me to provide a short review of this book. I'll refer this book as PTH. Some of my personal comments about this book...

I think the publisher of PTH could have produced something better than this. I mean, the book looks like a cheap menu for some cheap restaurant. It does not follow any publication standards. No ISDN. No publisher. No company address, except for the web address. It uses thin color papers as covers. It has about 10 printed pages with no table of contents and no indexes. Small fonts were used. What an economical way to produce books. I would suggest the author to venture into the eBook business for cost savvy way to produce books.

What's interesting is that it looks like someone's printed research notes, but without the references. It's more like a collection of short 'how to' articles rather than a book. From a unique angle, looks more like a lost secret guide from warriors of gone days! ;-)

At first glance, this book reminded me of concepts I once read from Jeet Kune Do books. The book covers the topic mentioned in the advertisement in a very simple and straight manner, which adds to the concept of the author's PTH . In my opinion, most of the content and combat philosophy is of no surprise to intermediate level pesilat from 'Pukulan' aliran (Sendeng or maybe Lian as example).

Anyone familiar to Bruce Lee's Jeet Kune Do will straight away recognize some of these tactics from the guide. First, Progressive Indirect Attack (PIA). Attacking one part of the opponent's body followed by attacking another part as a means of creating an opening and Attack By Combinations (ABC). This is using multiple rapid attacks as a means of using volume of attack to overcoming the opponent. The author mentioned few of these examples in the PTH book step by step, which is a good point.

There's not much technique in the book. My opinion is that the author's target audience is not someone with no martial arts background. Explanations require some martial arts background (not necessarily silat) to visualize. He might want it to be as a concept to build your techniques around. The reader has to look for other techniques to fit the concept themselves.

In the book the author did not clearly explain what PTH is and where the term comes from but he briefly stressed the importance of 'simplicity'. So, my guess is the author is trying to convey PTH as simple fighting concept or tactic using simple but effective techniques.

My personal opinion is it looks more like a subset from Tao of Jeet Kune Do with better Bahasa Melayu explanation and interpretation with some street psychology plus few petua. Sendeng veterans would agree there's a lot more to Tujuh Hari than mentioned in the book.

I would say that people who are looking for basics of 'petua menyerang' might find the tips quite useful. Recommended if you don't mind paying RM 20 for this kind of knowledge.

Plus points: Good tips if you want to learn theories ot effective timing in launching attacks or intercepting them.

Minus points: The appearance, limite content, quality of visuals used and printing material. No citations to substantiate theories.

Interesting: More and more people are interested in using the term Pukulan Tujuh Hari nowadays.

Peluru Perak

18 September 2006

Silat Movies Available on DVD

A chance visit to the Ampang Park shopping centre allowed me to survey a video store. Since TN2006's earlier comments on my blog were still fresh in my mind, I took it upon myself to see if the movies from which he sourced his collection of silat video clips were available.

Lo and behold, they now have on DVD, Tuah and Kelisa (a movie I had never seen before, but was reading about in several issues of PENDEKAR I had borrowed from a good Sendeng friend the night before). Tuah starred Jamal Abdillah as Tuah and Faizal Hussein as Jebat, while the former World Silat Olahraga champion Ruzaidi Abdul Rahman starred in Kelisa, the one movie proudly touted by local pesilat as the silat movie to watch.

Unfortunately, I have no DVD player, so I gave it a pass. However, I now regret it since I wonder how much longer they'll be on the shelves. The licensed DVDs are sold for RM9.90 each. Many other late 80s and early 90s Melayu movie titles are available including the A.R. Badul and Mr. Os favourites (with Panglima Badul being the only silat-themed one, albeit a comedy, but the fight scenes are downright funny).

Other silat-themed or silat-player movies include Iskandar (with an Awie and Bob Omardin [son of Mahaguru Omardin of Lincah fame] climactic warehouse fight, which bears a scant silat look anyway) and Raja Laut (a Navy movie starring Ustaz Mokhtaruddin of Silat Pancang 12 fame), although I'm unsure of what silat scenes are included in this one.

So, for TN2006, if you're looking to update your collection, DVDs are definitely clearer than old RTM video shots. And for those who want to start building their own collection, you can start your journey at LOVE MUSIC CENTRE (M) SDN BHD, 190, GROUND FLOOR, AMPANG PARK COMPLEX, JALAN AMPANG, KUALA LUMPUR. For those who are unsure, just take the Putra line LRT to the Ampang Park station and you're there!

Original Article by Mohd Nadzrin Wahab

15 September 2006

Malaysia's Ultimate Warrior

There's been quite a buzz lately about the 'Ultimate Warrior' championship that's going to take place at Dataran Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur on the 15th-17th of September 2006. When I saw the newspaper advert announcing a total RM100,000 prize money, I thought, "Every single tok guru in the country will crawl out of the woodworks to refresh their buah".

Then, I saw the categories. What at first appeared to be a No Holds Barred competition turns out to be a nothing more than a Silat Olahraga, Karate and Taekwondo competition, all categorised according to weight. Back to collecting points, it looks like.

However, since it is open to all, it should make for an interesting watch. Anyone wanting to report the event from their own perspective may email me at silatmelayu [at] gmail.com
If you're interested in participating, more information and the registration form can be found here.

Original Article by Mohd Nadzrin Wahab

14 September 2006

Collection of Silat Melayu Videos on YouTube

Thank you to Tn2006 for bringing to our attention the collection of video clips concerning Silat Melayu he has posted on YouTube. There are currently 35 clips in the collection. If you wish to view them, click on this link Silat Melayu Videos

11 September 2006

Have a bath, or IT will follow you everywhere...

I live in an area in Petaling Jaya where the population is majority Melayu. As expected, the more common vanguards of modern Melayu are also present, UMNO and PAS (both political parties), PEKIDA (a Muslim-Melayu missionary group), Silat Gayong and Silat Lincah.

Recently, however, I discovered a gelanggang teaching Silat Tongkat. A coincidence, since barely a day before, I had found a research paper written by Tuan Ismail Tuan Soh on another Silat Tongkat style in Kelantan. Although interesting, what was more intriguing was a chance meeting with a female pesilat who had recently joined their ranks.

She claimed to be the granddaughter of a famous freedom fighter who was among the band of pendekar in Johor during the era of the Communist Terorrist Threat. Her grandfather had never allowed any of his children or grandchildren to be 'given' what he has, according to her.

"But, among all my siblings, I was the only one who had the audacity and courage to practise with a parang. I'd wave it about like a toy," she said, much to my chagrin. Her smooth, well-built arms rested on the table we sat at.

"Can you tell I'm a pesilat? I don't tell anyone. Do I look it? The pakcik over there immediately knew who I was descended from. Some people have the ability to tell, I suppose," she smiled, indicating the old man busily burning his satay next to the food stall she owns.

"Although I never learnt anything, but recently, these last few years, I've been getting strange dreams, now I have my own silat techniques, they come naturally. And now I can naturally do massages and medicinal baths. It's strange," she lamented, inviting debate.

"Guess how old I am," she coaxed.

"Nope," I said vehemently.

"Oh, come on."

"Nope". I hate these types of games.

"I'm 30," she says triumphantly. "People say I use susuk, but I don't. My mother, to this day, doesn't have a line on her forehead".


"Where do you think it comes from?"

"Excuse me?," I ask.

"This silat knowledge. I have these dreams..."

Yeah. Yeah. Dreams. Okay. I have your answer, but I don't think you'd like it.

"So you want to study Silat Tongkat?," she asks, her topic dying away like a bad joke.

"Yes. What do I have to bring?"

"Nothing, just come and learn. Wait, have you studied any other silat before?" she asks, almost oblivious to the t-shirt with the fighting pendekar I'm wearing.

So, I rattle off everything I learned. I'm honest. So sue me.

"Have you had a bath yet?"

Excuse me??? I don't smell THAT bad.

"Mandi limau, mandi minyak?"

Ahhh. Yes, I have. Mandi limau I say.

"Good. Because if you haven't, then IT will follow you. It's okay if your guru is still alive. He can take care of you. But if he dies, then IT will follow you forever," she says matter of factly.

That's my cue. I take her phone number, give my salams and tell her I'll drop by the gelanggang if I have the time. Currently, the class times clash hard with my other activities (really!!!). I had to pick up my car at the workshop. The brakes should have been changed by now.

And so, I walk to the workshop in the drizzling rain, satisfied that one weirdness a day is enough.

Original Article by Mohd Nadzrin Wahab

09 September 2006

Anyone else been scammed?

I've gotten quite a few emails regarding the PUKULAN TUJUH HARI book in the previous post from friends thanking me for bringing this to light. Many of them have even forwarded their correspondences with the person selling the book.

The initial responses from the seller are interesting and descriptive, but after several inquiring emails, he seems to have disappeared (even after ultimatum emails were sent), which convinced these buyers they were duped.

I include below, some of the seller's responses about the book. In reply to a question about the content and quality of the book, he wrote (translated to English):

"P7H is only a name given to one martial art's technique. Silat Melayu calls it P7H, Karate calls it sen no sen, Kungfu calls it jeet tek, western fencing calls it attack on preparation and development. western boxing calls it quarter or half beat. The P7H guide is the result of the author's journey and research into the martial arts world for 15 years. The methods are the same but the names differ. Delivery of the P7H guidebook will be done as soon we receive your order. P7H needs minimal practise to develop skill. P7H is more the concept than the technique itself".

If anyone knows how to contact the company Bayan Juta Enterprise, please direct the owners to this blog and contact us at silatmelayu [at] gmail.com. We'd like to hear both sides of the story. Have you also bought the book? Tell us what you think.

Original Article by Mohd Nadzrin Wahab

07 September 2006

Pukulan 7 Hari Scam?

I recently became aware of a website purporting to sell a book titled 'PANDUAN PUKULAN TUJUH HARI'. For silat enthusiasts, Pukulan Tujuh Hari is a secret striking art that is claimed to have originated from the Bugis and was brought over to Malaysia via their clans. The art is well known especially among Sendeng stylists and have achieved a notoriety for secrecy and deadly effectiveness.

Unfortunately, a friend who has ordered and paid for the book has not received his copy within the alloted time, prompting him to declare it a scam. I shall keep this post up, not to discredit the website owner (who hasn't even stated his name on it), but as a mention of caution to those who would buy the book, at least until my friend gets his copy.

If you feel this post is irresponsible, I shall take it down immediately and issue and apology. But, until a protest is lodged, especially if it's by the site's webmaster, I shall keep it here.

To visit the alleged 'PANDUAN PUKULAN TUJUH HARI' site, click here.

Original Article by Mohd Nadzrin Wahab

06 September 2006

SENI BELADIRI September 2006 Issue 10 (vol. 2)/106

The latest issue of SENI BELADIRI magazine has hit the stands! Of interest in this issue include:

Guru Amran's passion for silat drove him to study style after style. Then, an old man who appeared to him in a dream changed it all prompting the founding of a new style based on the old man's cryptic words.

Secrets of the Ancient Warriors
The Melayu warriors of old knew their omens well. Calculations and spiritual measurements based on maxims that foretold of dangers or opportunities, whether it was to sit down to a meal, or in meeting a King or persons in power.

If Looks Could Kill
Pak Teh defines the movements that answer the question, just what should silat look like?

Available at newsstands throughout Malaysia at RM5.90.

05 September 2006

Silat exponent dies after falling during display

SUNGAI PETANI, Sept 5 (Bernama) -- A silat exponent, Muhamad Hafiz Che Pin, 21, died on his way to a clinic after falling during a silat display at Aman Jaya, near here, today

Muhamad Hafiz and another exponent were in the midst of a display at Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Aman Jaya, Sungai Lalang near here at 10.15am when he suddenly fell

One of his friends who declined to be named said, he was brought to a nearby clinic but died on the way

Muhamad Hafiz was a member of the Selekoh Tengah silat association and was invited to give a display as part of the school curriculum

He was said to be healthy before the show

Sourced from http://www.accessmylibrary.com/article-1G1-151080388/silat-exponent-dies-after.html

Tekpi in the USA

Following in the footsteps of other Malaysian Melayu Martial Arts, Silat Kuntau Tekpi has found its way to America via the famed Pekiti Tirsia instructor, guro Omar Hakim.

Omar Hakim, who came to Malaysia several years ago, became a certified instructor of Silat Kuntau Tekpi and was given an exclusive mandate by Pak Guru Sani Zainol Abidin, the principal, to take the art to the United States.

There, he ran candidate instructor courses that produced several Cikgu Muda including Robert Slomkowski; Steve Slomkowski; Ricky Rillera and Jeff Davidson. The official Silat Kuntau Tekpi [TM] USA website is http://tekpi.org/.

Cikgu Muda Jeff Davidson's blog, Balisong Journal also describes Silat Kuntau Tekpi and his experiences in teaching it.

To all Silat Kuntau Tekpi Cikgu Muda, I bid you syabas!

Original Article by Mohd Nadzrin Wahab

04 September 2006

Brunei: Recognition for silat exponents

A certificate presentation ceremony to silat instructors and members of Perguruan Persilatan Panca Sukma was held yesterday at the RBRC Sports Complex in Berakas.

The event was organised by Perguruan Persilatan Panca Sukma in collaboration with RBRC Silat Club and Kg Keriam, Tutong of PPPS branch as well as PDS School of PPPS branch, Sengkurong Primary School Brunei III and OKAWSD Primary School of Kupang.

Present as the guest of honour was Awg Hj Arsad bin Abd Adis, Director of Co-curriculum, Ministry of Education. Also present were Awg Hassan bin Hj Tuah, President of Perguruan Persilatan Panca Sukma; committee members of the association, Ketua Kampong of Keriam, and principals of PDS Jangsak Gadong, OKAWSD Primary School of Kupang and Sengkurong Primary School Brunei III.

Silat is a form of martial art that has been practised in Brunei and is part of the local culture and accepted as a sport in the region.

The presentation of certificates to the instructors, leaders of silat clubs and members of Perguruan Persilatan Panca Sukma was done by the guest of honour.

There was a showcase of silat styles by various silat clubs under Perguruan Persilatan Panca Sukma. There was also a silat performance by members of the Brunei Sports School.

Silat activities conducted by the members were also on display at the RBRC gallery. It was aimed at informing and attracting the public on silat activities.

Written by JON TAMPOI
Sourced from http://www.accessmylibrary.com/article-1G1-150889494/brunei-recognition-silat-exponents.html

Ustaz Hanafi Haji Ahmad: The man behind Silat Cekak

To all practitioners of Silat Cekak Hanafi, the late Ustaz Haji Hanafi Haji Ahmad is a supreme leader in the realm of Silat Melayu. This title is given to commend his efforts in giving new life and meaning to a Melayu martial heritage.

This was proven on the 5th of Ramadhan 1385 Hijriah coinciding with the 28th of December 1965 AD, when after much effort on his part, Ustaz Hanafi learned this art from Yahya Said.

Served posthumously, this title also credits his innovative teaching system and silat method whereby its benefits and martial qualities could be scientifically and logically valued as a method of self-defence by the public. He was also the first silat teacher to succeed in placing Silat Melayu on par with a modern professionally-managed organization.

Ustaz Hanafi Haji Ahmad hailed from Kedah; born in Kampung Sungai Baru, Mukim Gunung, Alor Setar in 1923. Following the norm of the day, he received his early education in a Melayu-vernacular school in Kampung Gunung, Alor Setar, Kedah and continued his religious studies at a few Religious Schools with a few Islamic scholars in Kedah.

Searching for true understanding towards Allah and following the Holy Prophet’s example, Ustaz Hanafi Haji Ahmad decided to sacrifice his youth to deepen his religious knowledge with a few famous scholars throughout the country, going as far as Singapore. The learning process to become a true servant of Allah, required him to support himself by selling pastries, traditional medicine and travelling throughout Malaysia to find a true teacher.

As a result of his patience and perseverance, it was Allah’s Will that Ustaz Hanafi met with Pak Haji Zain Abdul Rahman, who succeeded in explaining and summarizing for him the reality of divinity towards Allah using the book Al-Hikam written by Ibni Ataillah Al-Iskandari as a guide.

The struggle for independence of British rule struck a chord in the nationalistic soul of Ustaz Hanafi Haji Ahmad to fight for the rights of the Melayu people. The field most suited to him as a true Melayu was Silat Melayu. Ustaz Hanafi was sure that the Melayu people had a combat form that was no less powerful than the martial arts of other cultures.

A detailed research into many Melayu martial arts was carried out. The process of searching for one silat that could truly be effective for self-defence once again required that Ustaz Hanafi travel, becoming a servant to teachers, learning many different silat, and selling traditional medicine all around Malaysia. Finally, with the Will of Allah, he met Yahya Said.

Yahya Said practiced Silat Cekak and for 40 years, had sought a replacement worthy of the art itself. With his impressive knowledge of the Malay language, Ustaz Hanafi encapsulated Silat Cekak in simple but accurate verses, now immortalized in the Silat Cekak poems and philosophy.

He was also the man responsible to breathe new hope and faith to Silat Melayu as an art worthy of study by the Malay people. He revived the respect of the masses towards an art tarnished by ignorance and superstition; an art that has withstood the riot of rain and the sear of shine. As a dynamic pioneer in organizational management, he provided a new image to Silat Melayu in a silat organization.

It is clear that a huge part of the success of Silat Cekak’s popularity among the Malay masses today is the result of the vision of Ustaz Hanafi; the supreme leader of Silat Cekak. Now, Silat Cekak Hanafi is available to be learnt at most learning institutions. Friend or foe, respectful or disrespectful students, acknowledge and appreciate him as a Principal with caliber, courage and perseverance.

Ustaz Hanafi Haji Ahmad passed away on the 13th of August 1986 at Kuala Lumpur at the age of 63 years leaving behind a widow Maimunah Haji Othman and six children. His vision continues to this day as led by his fourth son, Md. Radzi Haji Hanafi.

"His speech and actions were always in concert. In all things, he practiced it first before teaching it. His speech and opinions were easy to understand and in line with the purpose of life. He was also a master of many situations. There were times, he would be a teacher, times he would be a father and others he would be a friend.” -The opinion of the Silat Cekak Hanafi Principal, Md. Radzi Haji Hanafi, of Silat Cekak’s supreme leader, the late Ustaz Hanafi Haji Ahmad.

1929 - Received early schooling at Sekolah Melayu Gunung, Alor Setar, Kedah.
1933 - Enrolled in a religious school at Kampung Alor Gonchar, Mukim Gunung, Alor Setar, Kedah under the supervision of Haji Osman bin Lebai Zain.
1936 - Enrolled in the Guar Chempedak Religious School, Gurun Kedah. Religious education was led by Haji. Abdul Majid and Arabic language was taught by Yahya bin Jonid.

Independently sought learning from the following teachers:

  • Haji Bukhari Hassan of Batu 4 1/4, Kampung Pinang, Mukim Pengkalan Kundur, Alor Setar, Kedah.
  • Hj. Hanafiah – His own uncle from Anak Bukit, Alor Setar, Kedah.
  • Haji Lah from Chegar, Pantai Johor, Kedah.
  • Studied with Pak Ngah Shariff, known to be a powerful man in Kedah at the time. In order to study, he had to serve his teacher beforehand, doing heavy work such as chopping wood, gardening and fieldwork. It was during times of leisure that Pak Ngah Shariff would teach self-defence and spiritual knowledge.

Gained experience through travel, involved in discourses with:

  • Che Salleh bin Haji Abdul Rahman Limbong in Terengganu.
  • Kiyai Muhammad Fadlullah Suhaimi from Singapura whom he met in Pahang.
  • Sheikh Osman Cincin from Perak who was reportedly famous for his knowledge of invulnerability.
  • Abdullah Salleh – known as Che Lah Keramat; famous for his traditional medicine in Terengganu.
  • Met a teacher named Pak Haji Zain Abdul Rahman. The teacher who managed to summarise his knowledge of the Divine Unity (Ilmu Tauhid). Pak Haji Zain guided his education using the book Al-Hikam written by Ibni Ataillah.


  • Sold medicine throughout the country.
  • Active in politics in the 1940s. Joined the Parti Seberkas and Parti Negara led by the late Dato' Onn Jaafar.
  • Zakat Director in 1963 at the Kedah State Religious Office.
  • Sold apam balik in Yala, Thailand and Pekan Rabu, Alor Setar, Kedah.
  • Led Seni Silat Cekak from 1965 to August 1986.

Translated from Cekak Hanafi Dunia Digital http://cekakhanafi.com/

03 September 2006

Jeff Davidson: The Lost Melayu

This is probably the most embarrassing entry I'm going to post on this blog. A good friend of mine, someone I have never met before but have had the pleasure of having inspired silat discussions with, has posted an entry about me on his blog.

Jeff Davidson, who writes at his blog Balisong Journal is a teacher of Silat Kuntau Tekpi in Michigan, America and has a long history in South East Asian martial arts and the sufi traditions. Known online as JD Tekpi and also likes to be called Jaafar ibn Daud, Jeff has shown great interest and admiration for silat. I have found him to be a careful proponent of the Melayu arts, and has tried to keep as true to the traditions they were founded upon. You can read his article on Silat Kuntau Tekpi at silatmelayu.com.

Jeff has, on several occasions, admitted himself to being a land displaced or a closet Melayu, due to his taste for our arts, our food and our women (just kidding). Here's hoping he'll actually make it to Malaysia to complete the transformation.

I have never ceased to learn something new from Jeff everytime we have our discussions and our lives have paralleled each other's within the last one year. To Jeff, thanks for the compliment. Here's mine in return, deficient as it may be.

See his post http://balisongplayer.blogspot.com/2006/09/silat-melayu-on-move.html

Original Article by Mohd Nadzrin Wahab

01 September 2006

Terms and conditions of Silat

As with many things cultural, there are those that are popularly accepted, even though by mistake and there are those terms that are reserved exclusively.

For example, for a layman, silat can mean any martial art. Kung fu would be called Silat Cina, Kalaripayat would be called Silat India and so on.

However, some masters take issue with this and claim that anything with Kuntau influence cannot be called silat.

A particular style in Malaysia even claims that only martial art styles that adhere to Islam can be called Silat while all other styles with philosophies or methods deviant from Islam be termed Gayung.

Since the Melayu culture and Islam in Malaysia are so synonymous, it would be natural for the Melayu to guard their terms jealously. This includes the ban from using the term Allah in Melayu Language Bibles because of their understanding of the exclusivity of the name. Whereas in fact, Allah is common in Arabic Bibles.

This jealous guarding of terms also affects the term Pendekar. Depending on who you speak to, Pendekar can either mean saint (wali) or a politician.

Original Article by Mohd Nadzrin Wahab

31 August 2006

Pendekar or Pendita?

Based on what little I know, Pendekar is claimed to source from three phrases, depending on who you ask, the popular 'Pandai Akal' (Intelligent Mind), 'Pendek Akal' (Conclusive Mind) or 'Pendek Akar' (The Conclusive Root). Pendek means short.

The two terms are different, simply because the word pandit, which is Pundit in English also exists as a separate term in Bahasa Melayu, 'Pendita'.

A Pendita is someone of high esoteric knowledge, usually non-combat related, a thinker, a scholar and is a much older term used to describe sages and saints before the coming of Islam.

Today, Pendita is used to socially anoint great Melayu thinkers. A famous example is Pendita Zaaba, our late father of the modern Melayu language, who was active in the mid-20th century.

Recently also, the Malaysian martial arts community, through the SENI BELADIRI martial arts magazine, have unofficially titled guru Anwar Wahab with Pendita, the founder of the modern form of Seni Gayung Fatani, who is known as a scholar of silat in general.

Original Article by Mohd Nadzrin Wahab

24 August 2006


SEREMBAN, Aug 24 (Bernama) -- Sabah emerged as overall champions in the Malaysian School and International Invitational Silat Championship which ended here today

They were overall champions in the primary school category and won four events including primary and secondary school women's silat dance

Terengganu won overall champions in the secondary school category while hosts Negeri Sembilan won the secondary school men's silat dance event

The tournament began on Aug 19 and involved 570 participants from 17 contingents including from Brunei and Indonesia

Kelantan will host the championship next year

Sourced from http://www.accessmylibrary.com/article-1G1-151796326/sabah-emerge-overall-champions.html

30 July 2006

The Keris Master

Not quite the Taming Sari, but a keris master in Kota Baru can make one that you will be proud to own. He has a reputation and you might want to know him if you want a special job done. Rosman Ramli is the man in Kampung Banggol, Kota Baru, and he is a master keris maker.

His intricate and superb carving, especially on the hilt, has attracted many admirers, among them sultans and corporate leaders. Such is his work that serious collectors are willing to pay more than RM50,000 for an intricately carved piece.

"I make furniture and love woodcarving but my speciality is the keris," says Rosman, who is known among local collectors by his nickname, "Man Kris". "The simple keris costs less as it can be finished in just a week. The expensive ones are elaborate and the carvings are very detailed.

"The exclusive and more intricately designed keris can take months. The fine carvings on the hilt alone can take two months."

Rosman started as an apprentice woodcarver with his furniture- maker father, Ramli Abdullah, and at 41, he is the youngest among the few masters still in the trade. Despite doing well in the Form Six examination, Rosman declined to continue his studies. He wanted to concentrate on carving.

His skills caught the eye of teachers when he was attending a woodcarving course at the National Handicraft Corporation in Mentakab, Pahang. Being the educators they are, the teachers persuaded Rosman to concentrate on making the keris, and arranged for him to be an understudy to master woodcarver Tengku Ibrahim Tengku Wook in Jertih, Terengganu.

He spent more than three years with Tengku Ibrahim, the 1988 National Master Craftsman, who passed away a few years ago. Rosman married one of his daughters, Tengku Aida, now 37, and they have two sons. Operating from his house which also serves as his workshop near Pantai Cahaya Bulan in Kota Baru, Rosman works mostly with wood for the hilt and the sarong of the keris.

He is also adept with other materials like horn, ivory, silver and gold. The hilt of a keris has been described by many as a sculpture in miniature and in most, descend from life-like representations of a man.

Islamisation has turned the original intricately carved hilts into very abstract representations where the barest outline of a man can be discerned. It is only in Bali, which remains Hindu, that lifelike representations of man, gods and beasts still appear on the hilt.

The main form for the hilt in Sulawesi, Sumatra and Malaysia is the Jawa Demam (Fevered Javanese). Many believe that it is an abstraction of the Garuda, the mythical King of Birds, because of its beak-like projection. However, there is strong evidence that it is an abstraction of a man as some clearly shows hands, feet and teeth.

In Perak, there is a hilt in the form of a parrot and this "cockatoo" pommel is also well-known in Moro or Sulu pieces while another form, the Hulu Pekaka or kingfisher, originates from the northern Melayu States, particularly Pattani (now a part of Thailand).

Rosman excels in making the Jawa Demam, Hulu Pekaka, parrot and other forms like the Buaya Bongkok (hunched crocodile) and Hulu Sejuk (cold chick). He is probably the only one in the country producing the crocodile hilt. He normally uses kemuning wood for the keris. The wood is left to dry under the house before he starts his work.

"I don't draw sketches for the keris. Everything is in the head and it comes naturally when I concentrate on the job." Using tools that he made himself, the intricate carving is done patiently. The final part is the glossy look, given by a coat of resin from the sape tree. Rosman normally uses the blades of old keris to give his creations a natural look.

"I can forge them myself if there are requests but most collectors prefer the old blades as it makes their keris looks more authentic," he says. Rosman also makes smoking pipes, knives and parangs for the household, and other closed combat weapons, including swords, kukri (Gurkha knife) and kerambit (knife with a short curved blade).

Rosman may be good at what he is doing but more importantly, he is aware that in this modern age, the traditional craftsmen are disappearing, He is playing his part to make sure that traditional skills are not lost. His sons, Mohd Izzat, 12, and Mohd Adam, 8, have been trained to carve since they were young and they are good at it.

"I want them to learn everything from the basics to the detailed carvings. "Even if they do well in studies and take up something else, it is okay with me. "The important thing is they learn the skills."

Unique dagger a work of art

The keris, a dagger unique to Nusantara, or the Melayu world, has won the admiration and devotion of many in the region and beyond. It is said that the keris originated in Java, where sculptures of the weapon dating back more than 400 years, have been found in Chandi Borobudur.

Apart from Indonesia and Malaysia, the keris is also found in Pattani (southern Thailand), Mindanao (southern Philippines) and in the Cham areas of Cambodia. To many, the keris is not just a weapon but a work of art.

The beautiful carvings and the air of mystery surrounding the keris, like the famous Taming Sari, are among the reasons for its wide following. Legend has it that the Taming Sari, which once belonged to Melayu hero Hang Tuah, could fly and seek the enemy just like the modern missile. It would even rattle in its sheath (sarong) to warn its owner of potential danger.

Starting a collection of keris is not difficult as there are numerous collectors and antique shops dealing in them. It is also available through the Internet.

By Sulaiman Jaafar
Sourced from The New Straits Times

11 July 2006

Indonesia, the silent achiever in pencak silat

TUESDAY, JULY 11, 2006 - As two giant sporting events, the World Cup soccer competition and the Wimbledon Championships, transfixed the world, Indonesia pocketed 13 gold and five silver medals in the Second UK International Pencak Silat Competition

Ten countries -- Belgium, France, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Russia, Azerbaijan, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia -- participated in the tournament, which took place at Brunel University's sports center, in Uxbridge, West London, from July 7 to 9

Opened by Indonesia's Ambassador to the UK Marty Natalegawa, the championship attracted only dozens of spectators. But the fact that it was a low-profile event did not discourage the fighters from doing their best and supporting their teams

Indonesia, represented by 16 male and 16 female fighters, was one of the biggest teams and came up with a winner in almost every category of the competition. The medal tally also gave the country the Challenge Cup from Persilat, the pencak silat world governing body

Harriet Zuidland of the Netherlands won the best sportswoman title, while Md Noor Rafili B Md Ramli from Singapore was honored as the best sportsman

Zuidland, who has been practicing pencak silat for five years in her hometown of Groningen, won a gold in weight class F after defeating Suriani Usman of Indonesia. She said the combination of art and sport in pencak silat was the main reason she was attracted to it

Originating in the Indonesian-Malay archipelago, Pencak Silat is competed in two divisions, tanding (fight) and seni (artistic), both of which have been featured at the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games

Persilat has been lobbying countries to include the sport in the Olympic Games. Toward this objective, the sport has been recognized as a demonstration sport in the Asian Games

The UK Championships also aims to raise awareness of Pencak Silat as a competitive sport with Olympic potential and to promote the Pencak Silat Federation of the UK (UK-PSF) to national and regional sports bodies

Currently, the UK's sports council has yet to recognize the sport that was once allegedly related to the underworld

Reportedly an Indonesian pendekar (pencak silat fighter) who used to live in the UK made his livelihood by supplying bodyguards and bouncers who practiced pencak silat. The fighter was later told to leave the country due to tax evasion

However, the sport's reputation has since been cleared and currently there is growing interest in the sport, said Aidinal Alrasyid, the head of the UK-PSF

"Singapore, for example, only sent 25 fighters two years ago when we organized this event for the first time, but now they sent 36 fighters," said Alrasyid, who is the grandmaster of the Gerak Ilham pencak silat organization in the UK

Two new countries of Russia and Azerbaijan also sent their fighters to the championships for the first time

Russia sent only two athletes, instead of four as planned, due to financial problems. "A UK visa cost us US$200 per person, and the flight ticket was an additional $800 each," said Valerie V. Mastrovois, the president of the Russian Pencak Silat Federation

However, he said his country had participated in almost all pencak silat championships around the world so far

Mastrovois said currently there were around 205 athletes practicing pencak silat in Moscow. "More people expressed their interest in this martial arts and we have sent some of our fighters to train in Malaysia, Jakarta and Bali," he said

The presence of Nicky Roche, the sports director of the UK Ministry of Sport, Culture and Media at the opening ceremony was also taken as an acknowledgment of the growing presence of this martial art in Britain, which has begun to attract young people from many different ethnic, socioeconomic, religious and cultural backgrounds

Sourced from http://www.accessmylibrary.com/article-1G1-148169950/indonesia-silent-achiever-pencak.html

07 July 2006

Indonesian fighters to join pencak silat contest

JAKARTA: Indonesia has sent a team to compete at the Second United Kingdom International Pencak Silat Competition in Uxbridge, England, which runs Friday (today) until Sunday

National fighters are competing against athletes from 14 countries: Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, Netherlands, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Vietnam and the UK

A release from the organizers said that 125 fighters would compete in 21 tanding (sports) and seni (artistic) categories

The organizers hope the event will help promote the sport in the United Kingdom and raise global awareness about its Olympics potential

Pencak silat originated in Indonesia and the Malay archipelago

The opening of the championships will feature exhibition performances by a team of experts accompanied by Indonesian music and dance

Sourced from http://www.accessmylibrary.com/article-1G1-148169911/indonesian-fighters-join-pencak.html

11 June 2006

KUALA TERENGGANU: Silat will be declared a national self-defence art and registered as a national heritage.

The Culture, Arts and Heritage ministry will work with the Education Ministry and the National Silat Federation (Persaka) in order to incorporate the art as part of the school's co-curriculum.

Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim said this was also because silat originated in Malaysia . This move would see more Malaysians taking up silat, he told reporters after closing the Silat Festival 2006 here.

Various programmes will be organised to make silat more attractive to students including a nationwide convention in August. The ministry will also consult Persaka on the genres of silat it intends to protect and propogate. The three-day event saw 526 exponents demonstrating various genres of silat and featured an exhibition of silat-related items.

Sourced from http://www.accessmylibrary.com/article-1G1-146933362/silat-registered-national-heritage.html

10 June 2006

Silat to be given national self-defence status

KUALA TERENGGANU, June 10 (Bernama) -- Silat, the Malay martial art, will be declared a national self-defence art soon

Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim, who announced this today, said it was time for the government to give recognition to silat as it is a national heritage that originated in the country

"It is only fitting since the organisations under Pesaka (National Silat Federation of Malaysia) have a total of 4.2 million members," he told reporters after closing the first National Silat Festival at Gong Badak here

Also present were Pesaka acting president and Negeri Sembilan Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Hassan and Terengganu state executive councillor Din Adam

Rais said silat would be registered as a national heritage under the National Heritage Act as the first step towards government recognition

After that, he would prepare a working paper for the federal and state governments to recognise silat as a national self-defence art

The Education Ministry and Higher Education Ministry would also be asked to make silat a subject in the co-curriculum in schools, colleges and universities, he said

Mohamad said Pesaka would hold a silat convention in Selangor in August to discuss the future direction of the martial art

Sourced from http://www.accessmylibrary.com/article-1G1-147143112/silat-given-national-self.html

07 June 2006

Pencak Silat competition in Temburong

In conjunction with His Majesty's 60th birthday celebration, the organising committee of Pencak Silat championship in Temburong District will be organising a "Pencak Silat" championship on July 2.

The objective of the championship is to foster closer rapport among participants as well as to add to the merriment and joy of the royal birthday celebrations in the district. It also aims to develop and upgrade the sport of Pencak Silat, a self-defence art, in the district and in Brunei.

The championship is also to scout for new talent for the national squad. Winners in the championship will represent the district to compete at the national level championships to be held sometime in July this year.

Awg Jeluddin bin Tuah said the championship is divided into several categories, "Silat Cekak Asli Brunei", "Kuntau", "Wiralaga ( Olahraga)", "Wiragana Tungal", "Wiraganga", and "Wiraluka".

The categories are open for both men and women (adults) and boys and girls (youth). All categories competed during the championship will also be competed at national level.

Entry forms can be obtained from Awg Haji Lampong at Sultan Hashim Batu Apoi Primary School, Puni Religious School, Schools Department of Temburong District and at Batu Apoi Sports Complex and Religious Office in the district.

Closing date for entries is June 15.

Sourced from http://www.accessmylibrary.com/article-1G1-146987521/brunei-pencak-silat-competition.html

03 June 2006

Mazlan gives Kedah the edge

KEDAH's silat strength revolves around a towering figure called Mazlan Shaari (pic) and the former world champion has always made sure that his home State remains as the major force in the Malaysia Games. Mazlan has been in charge of Kedah for the last three Games and under him, they won four gold in Sabah in 2002, five gold medals in 2004 and their 2006 campaign ended yesterday with four gold and two silver at the Insaniah Hall.

Mazlan, also a former national middleweight champion in taekwondo, was appointed as the national coach after 2004 Games and under his guidance, the national exponents returned with six gold from the World Silat Championships in Singapore last year. Despite his success in such a short time with the national team, Mazlan is a Kedahan by heart and returned to help the State after the Manila Sea Games last December. "I would say Kedah are the strongest when it comes to silat and I will do anything to maintain that status. That's the reason I came back to help them after the Sea Games," said Mazlan. "Don't mistake me. I want to give my best for the national team as well but I need to return and help Kedah as we are hosting the Games.

"I'm employed by the Kedah State Sports Council and with their consent, I will rejoin the national team after this. "However, come the next Malaysia Games, I will return for six months to train my young talent. That is going to be my coaching path from now onwards." The national squad have another experienced coach in Ahmad Wardi Salim and this is one of the reasons why Mazlan is able to give Kedah a helping hand. Kedah's gold medals yesterday came from Jabbar Zulkifli in the men's below 55kg, Nik Arrafi Mat in the men's below 80kg, Rozilawati Azizan (women's below 50kg) and Marshito Ismail (below 65kg). Pahang, with their strength in the silat seni (pattern) events, were the overall champions with eight gold, four silver and five bronze medals.

Sourced from http://www.accessmylibrary.com/article-1G1-146671898/mazlan-gives-kedah-edge.html

19 May 2006

Spread knowledge to other places, silat masters urged

19 May 2006, MALAYSIA, Pulau Pinang - SILAT masters in Kampung Kelian in Teluk Bahang, Penang, should venture to other villages to impart their Melayu martial arts knowledge to youngsters.

Finance Ministry parliamentary secretary Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya said it would be good if the silat masters could organise classes in other villages.

“This village has many masters, thanks to an initiative taken 30 years ago by mahaguru Datuk Omardin Mauju and the village chief Ahmad Omar to encourage the youths to learn silat lincah,” he said during a meet-the-people session at Kampung Kelian recently.

State Youth and Sports, Women, Family and Community Development Committee chairman Datuk Jahara Hamid said more than 700 people had undergone silat training at the village.

Sourced from http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2006/5/19/north/14120752&sec=north

08 May 2006


KUALA TERENGGANU, May 8 (Bernama) -- A silat exponent who represented Terengganu in the Malaysia Games (Sukma) was killed when his motorcycle was hit by a car that skidded at a traffic light junction in Gong Badak early this morning

Mohamad Abdilsallam Mohamad Fathil, 18, who died on the way to Kuala Terengganu Hospital (HKT) was said to have failed to stop at the traffic light as the road was slippery, Terengganu Public Order and Traffic Chief Supt Farid Mahmud said today

"A car from Kampung Banggol Air Leleh approaching the junction tried to avoid Fathil but instead it skidded and hit the silat exponent," he told reporters

He said the victim from Kampung Butut, Kuala Berang, succumbed to internal injury. The 24 year-old driver of the car was unhurt

In another accident, two women were killed while the driver was injured when the car they were travelling in collided with a timber lorry at Kampung Sungai Pinang, Sungai Tong, Setiu at 6.45 pm yesterday

Rosnizah Mohd Razali, 20, from Felcra Sungai Temau, Kuala Lipis, Pahang died on the spot while Ruzila Mohd Salleh, 18, from Kuala Lipis, Pahang died at HKT at 9.45 pm

Nik Mohd Khairul Nik Hassan, 24, from the 24th batalion Malay Regiment who was at the wheel injured his head and foot. Farid said the car skidded on to the path of the lorry which was travelling in the opposite direction

Sourced from http://www.accessmylibrary.com/article-1G1-148898881/silat-exponent-killed-road.html

06 April 2006

GEORGE TOWN: Schoolchildren, particularly girls, should take up martial arts to protect themselves.

State Youth and Sports Committee chairman Datuk Jahara Hamid said with the rising incidence of violence against women such as rape and snatch theft, martial arts could make women more confident in protecting themselves.

"Women and girls are normally targeted because they are deemed easy victims, thus, learning martial arts is a must nowadays," Jahara said after officiating at a silat lincah demonstration for schools in the State yesterday.

Jahara, who is also president of Pertubuhan Seni Silat Lincah Penang, said traditional martial arts classes had been introduced in 10 schools in the State, including three all-girls secondary schools.

Sourced from http://www.accessmylibrary.com/article-1G1-144598346/build-confidence-via-martial.html

30 March 2006

The Organisation of Silat Part 2

Pertubuhan Silat Seni Gayong Malaysia was famed for its dazzling displays of realistic fighting and breakings, which at the time, was not a common practise amongst the other silat styles. Gayong was probably the first to get silat noticed again by a society that had long regarded it as an archaic danceform.

Oriental martial arts styles were not only making a huge impact in the West at the time, but also gained a following among the younger Melayu because of its 'realistic' techniques. From such opinions, several forward thinking masters of silat decided to play the game. They too formed associations around their silat practises.

No longer just an exercise to be studied or a dance to be performed at cultural occassions, silat craved the recognition it felt it deserved. Also, as non-profit associations, they patterned themselves as vanguards of culture and the Melayu race, fending off external 'negative' cultural influences.

Pertubuhan Seni Silat Lincah Malaysia, Persatuan Seni Silat Cekak Malaysia and Pertubuhan Seni Gayung Fatani Malaysia joined in the fray to find favour among the Melayu, and ground zero was Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia. The four of these organisations established KL as either their headquarters or base of operations, which saw many cityfolk, who had only known silat to be soft, flowery undulating (and old-fashioned), rushing to embrace these 'new styles'.

Gayong and Lincah with their brutal performances, Cekak with its no nonsense, no frills method and Gayung Fatani with its traditional core but modern approach to combat swamped the public with alternatives to the foreign imports such as Karate, Judo and Taekwondo.

But competition for students soon became unfriendly. Pesilat were bickering more and more about whose style was better, a result of the competitive lifestyle of the KL city folk. Words were exchanged at meetings and in the media. Insults, accusations and counter accusations became the scandals of the day. The silat community needed unity. But where would they meet? On what grounds? Something had to be done.

Original Article by Mohd Nadzrin Wahab

29 March 2006

Promotion of Silat Seni Gayong in France

29 Mar 2006, FRANCE, Paris - The Malaysian art of self-defence, ‘Silat Seni Gayong’ is spreading in France, thanks to a Malaysian student studying in France. Like any other student, most of his time during the week will be spent at the university library in Montluçon, a medieval town of 45,000 inhabitants located in the centre of France. But during his free time Shaiful Hakim Mohammed Noor indulges in teaching and promoting Silat Seni Gayong.

Shaiful Hakim is a final year engineering student specializing in energy and thermodynamic at the Montluçon Institute of Technology. He created the ‘Silat Seni Gayong France’ association in November 2005 due to the overwhelming demand from the French public in learning the art of Silat Seni Gayong. Other than Montluçon, the ‘Silat Seni Gayong France’ has also expanded into Lille, in the northern part of France.

Born in Kota Baru, Kelantan, Shaiful Hakim started learning silat when he was still in secondary school. He trained under several instructors from the Seni Silat Gayong Kelantan. He won the Kelantan ‘Seni Bela Diri’ championship in 2000 when he was still studying at his secondary school in Pasir Putih .

Shaiful Hakim came to France in January 2003 to study the French language at Colmar, in eastern France. His first Silat Seni Gayong demonstration in France took place in October 2004 during an Open Day event held at the Technology Institute of Colmar, where he was a second year student. Students and visitors were impressed with his Silat Seni Gayong demonstration as the martial art was unknown to them. They found the spiritual and the cultural aspects of Silat Seni Gayong so fascinating that many came to Shaiful Hakim to learn the art.

The French Association of Pencak Silat (AFPS) spotted Shaiful Hakim’s talent and invited him to demonstrate the Malaysian Silat Seni Gayong at its recent ‘Premier best of the best of Pencak Silat’ event held in Paris on 18 March 2006. The event was attended by about 3,000 spectators including H.E. Dato’ Hamidah Mohd Yusoff, Ambassador of Malaysia to France and YM Tengku Azamiah Tengku Majid, Counsellor of the Embassy of Malaysia in Paris. Also present was H.E. Ambassador Arizal Effendi, the Indonesian Ambassador to France. During the demonstration Shaiful Hakim performed the Pukulan, Kunci Maut, Gerakan Anak Harimau, Pentas Pisau, Keris and Parang. The French Pencak Silat association, a member of the International Federation of Pencak Silat (PERSILAT) was created in 1994 with the objective to promote and develop the Pencak Silat in France.

Shaiful Hakim has travelled around France to promote Silat Seni Gayong. In October 2005 members of the ‘Silat Seni Gayong France’ led by Shaiful Hakim participated for the first time in the “Interstyle Pencak Silat Meet’ and met with members of other French Pencak Silat clubs in Ile d’Oléron (west coast of France).

Shaiful Hakim’s Silat Seni Gayong instructors also came and toured France during its ‘Silat Seni Gayong French Tour’ program last December. The tour program included giving demonstrations and courses in Silat Seni Gayong at Lille, Paris, Montluçon in France and also in Belgium. The members of the ‘Seni Silat Gayong France’ was invited again to Belgium in February this year where they demonstrated the Tari Bunga Tanjung, Kombat Keris and Kombat Tongka to the Belgians.

Given the interest shown in Seni Silat Gayong, it won’t be surprising if in time, Seni Silat Gayong becomes as popular as Taekwondo, among the French public.

Sourced from http://www.maf.online.fr/2006/press_release/silat_gayong.html

21 March 2006

The Organisation of Silat Part 1

Many non-Malaysians wonder just how is silat administrated in Malaysia? They are used to seeing schools, academies, clubs and the such in their own countries, but most of these are for-profit ventures, where the teaching master teaches full-time.

In Malaysia, this is hardly the case. In the 1950s, silat was taught in villages as a pastime, as legal as hopscotch, but far more dangerous. At a time when television and MTV had yet to take over our world, silat was the equivalent of physical education.

When the Melayu were still studying in vernacular schools and especially boarding school-type 'pondok' (religious institutions akin to the pesantren of Indonesia), silat became the evening physical activity to complement the daylight spiritual and academic teachings. These silat styles were usually generic and were not stylecentric as in the modern world.

Other styles however, existed on their own and were taught as nightly activities to the youth as acculturation and social entertainment. Young girls and children would watch their men dance to the beat of the drum as the flame of the 'jamong' (torch) glistened across their bodies.

But the 1950s also saw silat reinventing itself under the guidance of Allahyarham Meor Abdul Rahman Uda Hashim, the founder and Mahaguru of Silat Seni Gayong. He was the first person to teach silat under the auspices of a registered organisation, Pertubuhan Silat Seni Gayong Malaysia.

It set a trend that was to be followed by many other silat styles in the future.

Original Article by Mohd Nadzrin Wahab

18 March 2006


I got a long distance call yesterday from an old friend and mentor, guro Omar Hakim. He's currently the USA representative for Silat Kuntau Tekpi, a Malaysian silat style that hails from Kedah Darul Aman.

He bore good news for all silat enthusiasts: Soon, they'll be able to read about silat in English, sourced from books previously published in Malaysia in the Malay language. Formerly inaccessible material can now be obtained without having to travel here.

There will also be a range of DVDs on silat appearing soon on the various silat styles in Malaysia, most of which are as yet unknown in the West. Who is in charge of translating all of these? Wouldn't you like to know :)

Omar will publish these products via his company Tactical Response Systems LLC. For progress updates, do visit http://www.silat.tv

Original Article by Mohd Nadzrin Wahab

17 March 2006

Silat Kuntau Tekpi: A typical grading day

It is early morning and you wake up groggy, wondering where everyone has gone, suddenly realising you're the only one still under a blanket (which bore pretty much no protection anyway).

Cikgu Sani walks in and announces to everyone that you're awake, casually ordering you to take a bath. And irrespective of what anyone says, village bath water is no less cold in the morning than it is in the middle of the night.

After getting dressed, you notice that you're not the only one being graded today, even though your instructor made it seem that way. (Maybe it's because you're the only one from Kuala Lumpur while everyone else is either from the Port Dickson or Baling branch).

You mingle with the other students, all of whom are warming up and stretching. You, on the other hand have still yet to wake up and are trying to warm up your cold feet. The sudden shrieks and hollers, images of bodies being flung to the ground and the sound of popping joints fill you with fear. Then, you cringe even further when you realise that those kids were just practising!

They huddle together on the uneven cement floor of Pak Guru Zainol Abidin's house porch, which faces cikgu Sani's. Both porches are separated from each other by a small tract of earth, on which is parked cikgu Azhar's and cikgu Izat's cars. On Pak Guru's porch, the students shiver as one by one, they are called behind a tarp curtain surrounding the gelanggang. No one who hasn't sat for the test may enter.

You hear familiar sounds, screaming and popping and cracking and thudding, as if you've made them before, but more intense and frightening. You crack jokes with your newfound friends, making fun of the earlier guy who went in, but they don't go down well with the folks intent on aceing the grading.

Suddenly you realise, not only are you smelling the chickenshit you stepped in earlier, you actually ARE it. Suddenly... well, maybe not suddenly, you of course expected it, but it came as a shock nonetheless, your name is called out from behind the curtain. Nodding honourably to your testmates, you walk towards the curtain, the words wafting from behind you as you pass ... "city boy, gonna get thrashed, this'll be good".

You part the curtain. You try to lift the curtain. You work your way around the heavy tarp only to face your fellow students, their faces either gasping in amazement at your weakness or in horror at the severe beating you're going to receive. Many students have gone before you, and you know that they're grateful to be able to watch you go down. It doesn't help that cikgu Sani is playing the serunai hauntingly, while his youngest daughter plays the gong and his other students man the drums.

The gelanggang is all earth. Not a slab of cement, not a hint of tiles, or even a plank of wood. Those that have gone before you, are sitting in a corner, watching. The senior instructors sit on chairs behind a table with grading checklist sheets. You hope to God you studied everything needed to be studied.

The panel calls your name and you approach the table. They ask you to choose an envelope. Sensing your whole life flash before your eyes, you choose the least threatening one and open it. A slip was inside."Pancang Kerbau" & "Ular Sawa" it said. You nod respectfully and step backwards into position. Cikgu Azhar suddenly gets up. Wasn't he here also for his grading? Yeah, you remember. He's here for his red sash. You're here for your yellow. Since we probably don't want you to get hurt, so, yeah, let's get your own instructor to test you. (A collective "Damn" goes up from the crowd).

You get the signal from the panel and cikgu Azhar winds up. Wait a minute, which buah was th... and your lip splits just as you finish the thought. Wasn't he supposed to be the good cop? After picking themselves up off the floor, the panel allows you to try again. This time, cikgu Azhar let's one rip and you're prepared. Your hands slide effortlessly across his arm and you feel the tension.

You immediately snag backwards, his body now blasting uncontrollably towards you, his elbow bending from the slack. You pivot sharply to your left and bring his wrist up above and behind his head followed by his elbow. His stance now proudly disrupted by your oh-so-clever positioning of the static sweep, you feel him descend to the ground at twice the maximum velocity.

Your pride swells... that is, until you realise that you're going down just as fast. He's grabbed on to you for support! Timber!...Amazing. A perfect lock. And only some wounds to show for it. The next buah came naturally, after a minor dusting off and profuse apology to your instructor. The other guys just purse their lips, their entertainment not as promosing as it was made out to be.

Then, the collated marks are read out, and you made the top 25 (there were 25 testees). Happy but tired, you look forward to the lunch that was to follow the grading. But it was not to be. Now, it was cikgu Azhar's turn to be graded. And guess who has to be his partner?

(The story above contains untruths and polishings. Westerners may believe what they wish. Malaysians can pooh-pooh it and move on).

Original Article by Mohd Nadzrin Wahab