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

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