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

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