30 November 2007

Review: Human Weapon - Silat, Martial Art of Malaysia

"Silat: The Martial Art of Malaysia" started off well enough with a view of the 50th Malaysian National Independence Day parade. Hosts Jason Chambers and Bill Duff sauntered over to a Silat Seni Gayong demonstration, seemingly held in commemoration of the day.

There, they are issued a challenge by the Gayong master in attendance, guru Malik, to study several styles throughout Malaysia, and return to face six of his best fighters. Now, this is obviously set up, since the whole premise of the Human Weapon series is to train in various styles and eventually meet up with the first style they feature for a challenge match.

Among those they would train with were: Silat Seni Gayong, Silat Lian Padukan, Silat Melayu Keris Lok 9 and Silat Harimau.

The problem is, there was no one here who thought that this was a good idea. The moment word got out, I started receiving calls, SMSs and emails from friends and strangers who demanded to know, who these arrogant Westerners were, and where they could be found. What the camera never recorded, was how many people actually offered themselves, thinking it was a real challenge to silat as a whole.

Needless to say, I told them honestly, I didn’t know. Although I was originally part of the project, but scheduling problems forced me to sit it out. What a mistake that was.

The whole episode did a good job of introducing different silat styles to the public. However, almost immediately after the show aired in America, forums buzzed with the inanity of the weak showing of Malaysian silat. That, and the fact that Jeff Davidson switched off the television before the episode ended filled me with curiousity. What the hell happened? I intended to find out.

So, after a kind blog fan posted the download links, I spent the next 3 days downloading the episode and lo and behold, not only did I see the corn, I tasted it as well. Because, if the American martial arts community pooh-poohed it, then the Malaysians are definitely not going to be happy, especially those who were interviewed.

For a cable channel calling itself History, there’s a lot of research that they missed and it’s obvious they were careless in quite a few facts. Below are some of the more glaring errors I managed to catch:

"We’ve travelled to the island nation of Malaysia"
Malaysia is not an island nation. It’s made up of a peninsula extending from the south of Thailand and half of the Borneo island.

"Nearly 1 out of every 5 Malaysians is schooled in silat"
Untrue. This would only be true if you said 1 out of every 5 Melayu.

"Seni Gayong is taught to all 9 million members of the Royal Malaysian Police Force and military"
Firstly, Gayong is taught to the Police as Silat Polis, a combination of Gayong, Judo, Aikido and Karate. Secondly, the military has no silat syllabus, only Taekwondo has only ever been an official insertion. The official method is still only called TTS, Tempur Tanpa Senjata (Weaponless Combat). Thirdly, 9 million members means that every third person in Malaysia is in the civil service. Fourthly, this figure contradicts the 1 in 5 statement in no. 2.

"We climbed into a traditional Malay boat and headed to Putrajaya"
There’s no way you can take a boat from Kuala Lumpur to Putrajaya. Literally, there is no water route.

Caption: "Shamsul Balim"
Correction: Guru Sheikh Shamsul Bahrin S.M. Salim.

"And Filipino eskrimadors lent aspects of their weapons work and empty hand forms to silat"
Not an offensive statement, just that it’s the first time I’ve heard it, and is yet to be proven.

Caption: "Yazid Abdul Ran"
Correction: Yazid Abdul Rani.

"But in 1969, this cultural melting pot reached a boiling point. Malay and Chinese rioters fought one another in the streets of Kuala Lumpur with bladed weapons, farmtools and silat. In the end, these riots left some 6,000 people homeless and claimed over 200 lives. In the aftermath, both sides incorporated what they’ve learned from the other into a hybrid style that infused Chinese Wing Chun techniques into traditional silat. It’s called Lian Padukan."
Anyone who even casually browses the Lian Padukan website will know that this is untrue. Lian Padukan was formed long before 1969, when Pak Mat Kedidi studied Buah Pukul from guru Cu Aman and integrated it with Silat and Tomoi. The absorption of the Chinese element itself happened in 1897, when the founder of Buah Pukul, Awang Daik studied it from Syed Abdul Rahman al-Yunani.

"Together, they formed just the move that Bill and I were looking for, the Polick Haimau"
I have confirmation from guru Yazid that there's no such thing as a Polick Haimau. Polick here refers to ‘Polek’, but I can’t figure out where they got Haimau from.

"Is this the type of silat that the people used to defend themselves at this port when they were invaded?," asks Jason and guru Azlan Ghanie answers, "Sama ada dia berpenyakit ataupun tidak berpenyakit" (Whether he is diseased or not) and his student-cum-interpreter replies, "Yes it is" (By the way, guru Azlan speaks excellent English)
It is obvious that the three scenes were spliced together, just to get a reply from guru Azlan, irrespective of what he really said. I guess the editors hoped Americans would know no better.

"Coupled with the silat skills of the Malay warriors, the keris helped Melaka fend off the better equipped, more heavily-armed Portuguese soldiers for more than 40 days"
Not necessarily untrue, but the statement could be misleading. Melaka actually had a good amount of cannons defending its city and was not wanting in warriors. However, it has been agreed in many circles that bad management and infighting caused the Melaka empire to fall, not the lack of firepower.

There are dozens more that I could go on and on about, but I’ll stop here before I start boring you to death. My only worry is, if this happened to silat, how much credibility do the other episodes have?

My rating? I give it a 4 ½ out of 10.

Read MadMike's review here.

Original Article by Mohd Nadzrin Wahab

29 November 2007

Cross Training in Silat Part II - Training The Core

I observe that when cross training, many people seem to understand martial arts as set techniques, and not natural survival expressions. When we think like this, then cross training becomes difficult, because we are tied down to the instructor's way of thinking (notice I didn't say guru).

An instructor normally understands an MA as a syllabus of techniques, and sadly this is rife in silat today. Traditional silat, once upon a time simply called Silat Melayu (now this term encompasses all type of silat), focuses more on development of core competencies such as strategic thinking, tactical analysis, kinesthesis and understanding kinetic energy, human and animal psychology and many, many more.

Thus, many people accuse Silat Melayu of not having a syllabus, when in fact it just means they have no set techniques. What they do have, are training methods that provide understanding for self empowerment, creating positive mindsets, and applying it to various aspects of life.

This 'life-wisdom', when taken into a physical direction, becomes Silat, the art of war. When taken into politics, becomes Percaturan or Siasah, the art of persuasive management. The source of this life-wisdom is various, depending on the area of Nusantara and the worldview each different Melayu clan accepts.

In some areas, it is clearly Hindu, as in Bali. In others, it is Budhhist and Animism or Natural Tauhid (like the Natural Americans, who many claim to be pantheists, but actually subscribe to a Single Diety idea).

When Islam arrived in Nusantara, it affected quite a bit of these life-wisdoms and collapsed these sources into two: Islamic and Folk. Now, because these life-wisdoms are so vast and various, it is impossible to encapsulate it all into a syllabus.

Thus, masters often only transfer mental tools, paradigms, maxims, or in Bahasa Melayu, called Petua which allows the student to explore his abilities, his weaknesses, his life, alone, without continuous guidance. Essentially, the master gives his students the necessary tools to master himself and eventually become a master.

I believe this is what Ustaz Saiful meant when he wrote:

"The appropriate way in deepen one's understanding and elevate one's skill in silat will be learning from the acquired knowledge. Let the knowledge 'mutating' itself into an 'unseen being' that'll guide oneself towards perfection."

These Petua are not unique to Silat, but exist in many different MA under different names. Void, Point, Straight Line, Circle, Compass Points, Opposites and Switch. Terminologies used by English-speaking martial artists.

Melayu call these petua: Ruang, Titik, Alif, Lam Alif, Mata Angin, Jantan Betina and Jengkal. These petua exist on different levels of understanding and usage.Among them, the physical (as in physics) realm, the social realm, the financial realm (no kidding), the psychological realm and the spiritual realm. In reality, all part of the single realm we call Life. Thus, the term Life-Wisdom.

Successful cross trainers are those who realise that all MAs share a common element: Human.

This is why we find that people who cross train from one Silat syllabus to another find it difficult to adapt, whereas those who have good grounding in traditional Silat Melayu can easily take to the structured arts.

This too, is what I believe Ustaz Saiful meant with:

"In our style, Silat Bongsu, apart from being the "Ibu Silat", it is also known as "Sendi Silat" or The Joint of Silat. Thus it is suitable to be incorporate into all kind of silat or non silat martial art. This can be done with strict adab".

This is why we find that THESE people never become newbies in ANY gelanggang. I have met many silat masters who fit this description very well. However, I would like to pay homage to Grandmaster Leo Gaje Jr of Pekiti Tirsia Kali.

He has the ability to look at any technique, silat or non-silat and immediately perform it, integrate it within his own fighting style and in many cases, reexplain it better than the owner of the technique himself. If he only held to techniques in the first place, he wouldn't be able to do this.

Original Article by Mohd Nadzrin Wahab

28 November 2007

Urgent prayers needed for Muhammad Ibrahim bin Muhammad Khalil

To all pesilat around the world, we humbly request your prayers for Muhammad Ibrahim bin Muhammad Khalil, a fellow pesilat in Malaysia who is suffering from an unknown disorder.

He has been bedridden for several months and requires your spiritual and moral support. Please conduct doa and solat hajat for our friend.

Messages of support can be posted in the comments form below. We will pass them on to him, insyaAllah.

Note: I have received word that Muhammad Ibrahim is currently undergoing traditional spiritual therapy and that he has regained 70% of his health. We pray for his timely and full recovery, insyaAllah.

27 November 2007

Cross Training in Silat

Martial arts cross training in the West has become a norm for their martial artists. Originally, the method was meant to create a complete understanding of personal combat by looking into various arts' repertoire.

Unfortunately, some haphazard cross training has resulted in frankenstein arts created by practitioners who regard themselves qualified to mix and match. Definitely, qualified practitioners have no problem doing so. In fact, they have examples in the late sifu Bruce Lee and his protege, guro Dan Inosanto.

Lee analysed the Chinese, Japanese and European fighting methods and extracted its most basic principles for his use in Jeet Kune Do, while Inosanto created the Maphilindo style based on his research into Kali and Silat.

Malaysia has its own cross training masters who include names like guru Dahlan Karim of Silat Setiabakti (a synthesis of 10 styles), guru Pak Mat Kedidi, of LianPadukan (a synthesis of 3 styles), guru Allahyarham Abdul Hamid Hamzah of Silat Sendeng Muar (a synthesis of 3 main styles and various others) and many more.

In fact, I dare say that cross training IS a traditional method of Silat Melayu and that in generations past, it was a norm. However, the sequence of training is not what is common today. Back then, a pesilat would study a base style up to proficiency.

Then, he would seek out specialists in different areas to further enhance the skills he acquired; in pukulan, in kuncian, or in buangan. These enhancements would be further explorations of the basics he already had.

However, silat cross training normally occurred within a particular aliran (style) or fighting genre. Thus, those who studied formerly known as Silat Pulut would continue their studies with Pulut masters expert in Pukulan, Kuncian or Buangan (Pulut style, of course).

This means that the compatibility of the arts need to be taken into account when cross training. What styles are we speaking of here? What is the prerequisite conditions set by the masters involved when studying them? What are the basic technical philosophies underlying each style? These questions and more will help determine, whether a style is compatible within oneself or not.

For example, if you study Silat Cekak Hanafi, Silat Kuntau Tekpi and Silat Kalimah, you will find that because they share a common technical base, you will be able to integrate them into a solid method within yourself. However, if you try to combine Cekak and LianPadukan, you'll run into a problem. The technical philosophies are different. Cekak awaits attacks, while LianPadukan preempts them.

It is a simple matter to say, 'I'll just decide when to attack and when to wait', but the nervous system is not that easy to train. Creating a Frankenstein silat inside yourself will only cause confusion. This is the same when you try to integrate Cekak and Gayong together, because they don't share common footwork systems. Footwork decides 90% of a technique's effectiveness. Playing Lego with different silat won't work.

This is what happened to me when I studied Silat Melayu Keris Lok 9. Trying to keep teaching Cekak in my classes and study Lok 9 at the same time caused an internal 'software conflict'. My Cekak was being systematically deconstructed. Needless to say, when I should have parried, I evaded instead (which Cekak doesn't allow).

So, the only solution is to choose. Choose an aliran (style) and stay within that particular line. If you study Silat Melayu with Tapak 3, Tapak 4 and Tapak 5, keep studying within that direction. If you already have Gayung Fatani, then Silat Telapak Nusantara, Silat Melayu Keris Lok 9, Silat Cakak Brunei, etc would be good options to increase your repertoire and skill.

If you study Pukulan styles, then Sendeng, Kuntau, Buah Pukul and many other of the Sulawesi pukulan genre would help. Most importantly, be good at what you have. As the Melayu saying goes, 'masakan belakang pisau diasah akan tajam', if you really train to be good in one expertise, you'll have a huge advantage over those who only have passable skill in ten expertises.

However, if you want a taste of different things without having to study them, find friends of different aliran and have friendly sparring sessions with them. This will allow you to discover new uses for your present techniques and explore new interpretations of old methods.

As for me, I have managed to solve the problem of integrating my various arts into one useable base. That, however, is a post for another day...

Original Article by Mohd Nadzrin Wahab

26 November 2007

Silat Seni Warisan Bangsa

Seni Silat Seni Warisan
Warkah Ilmu Para Pahlawan
Menjadi Pembentuk Peribadi Idaman
Semoga Usaha Dirahmati Tuhan
-Mohd Nadzrin Wahab
Warkah Ilmu Para Pahlawan
Pakaian Bagi Pendekar Terbilang
Semoga Usaha Dirahmati Tuhan
Sambung Warisan Sunnah Dipegang
-Ustaz Saiful Muhammad
Pakaian Bagi Pendekar Terbilang
Menjadi Amalan Sepanjang Zaman
Sambung Warisan Sunnah Dipegang
Berkibar Tinggi Panji Al Quran
-Mohd Nadzrin Wahab
Menjadi Amalan Sepanjang Zaman
Kukuh Insan Molek Peribadi
Berkibar Tinggi Panji Al-Quran
Pertahan Negara Sepenuh Hati
-Ustaz Saiful Muhammad
Kukuh Insan Molek Peribadi
Itulah Sifat Pahlawan Sejati
Pertahan Negara Sepenuh Hati
Kerana Allah Sanggup Bermati
-Mohd Nadzrin Wahab
Itulah Sifat Pahlawan Sejati
Tinggi Taqwa Kukuh Imannya
Kerana Allah Sanggup Bermati
Taat Nabi Pegang Wasiatnya
-Ustaz Saiful Muhammad
Tinggi Takwa Kukuh Imannya
Dijadi Bekal Sepanjang Jalan
Taat Nabi Pegang Wasiatnya
Jadikan Suri Jadikan Teladan
-Mohd Nadzrin Wahab
Dijadi Bekal Sepanjang Jalan
Ilmu Tinggi Fahaman Pendekar
Jadikan Suri Jadikan Teladan
Jundullah Asli Beriman Mekar
-Ustaz Saiful Muhammad
Ilmu Tinggi Fahaman Pendekar
Digalas Menjadi Pembela Maruah
Jundullah Asli Beriman Mekar
Kembali Lagi Warisan Nubuwwah
-Mohd Nadzrin Wahab

Original Article by Mohd Nadzrin Wahab

25 November 2007

Human Weapon - Silat episode download links

A huge thank you to Mr_Hulk for posting the following links to download the Human Weapon: Silat episode.

Human Weapon S1 Ep13 Part 1
Human Weapon S1 Ep13 Part 2
Human Weapon S1 Ep13 Part 3
Human Weapon S1 Ep13 Part 4

or, you can cut the process short and just buy it for USD1.99

24 November 2007

Human Weapon - Silat - Martial Art of Malaysia

Several months ago, the History Channel, which produces the martial arts documentary series, Human Weapon, decided to include silat in its research collection. Although I myself was supposed to be involved in this project, but several scheduling matters forced me to sit it out.
However, a detailed account of the documentary team's visit was published in SENI BELADIRI magazine. Over several months. The documentary is slated to be aired on 23rd November 2007 in the USA. However, it is unknown exactly when it will come to our shores. Below is an extract from the History Channel website about the episode:
Despite its emphasis on hand-to-hand combat, in many ways martial arts are about how not to fight. This is one of the first lessons hosts and seasoned fighters Jason Chambers and Bill Duff learn on their globe-spanning quest to discover the traditions and techniques of the world's fighting styles.
Learn with them as they seek out Masters of ancient and modern disciplines in the lands where they were created. Discover the cultures that gave rise to distinct martial arts. Witness as Jason and Bill challenge a champion - a true HUMAN WEAPON - after only a week of instruction!
Few martial arts match the exoticism of their country like Silat.
Beautiful yet deadly, Silat was born in the jungles of Southeast Asia. Practiced in secrecy for centuries, and with strong ties to Islam, Silat is one of the most intriguing and least understood fighting systems on the planet.
Now our hosts Jason and Bill face the world of Silat - and their own fears - head on. Join them for an intense Malaysian adventure as they train in sweltering outdoor compounds, in the shadow of the world's tallest twin towers, and jump through rings of fire in preparation for the ultimate test: a pitched battle against six Silat masters.

Original Article by Mohd Nadzrin Wahab

23 November 2007

Melayu Proverbs on Silat

Proverbs in Bahasa Melayu touch upon various aspects of Melayu culture. Thus, it isn't surprising to find that quite a few of them relate to silat, either as a physical method of combat, or a total guiding philosophy underlying the actions of every Melayu.
In some of these proverbs, we recognise the influence of Islam, in others, the intuitive Melayu mind capturing universal truth. I hope this will be the first in a series of proverbs posted here. I'll try to find more for you to read. Enjoy!
"Gayung bersambut, kata berjawab"
Meaning: An attack parried, a word replied; good begets good, evil begets evil.
"Gayung tua, gayung memutus"
Meaning: Words of the wise are normally the right ones.
"Orang bergayung sama pandai, sama bak kundi atas dulang"
Meaning: Both highly skilled; both warriors.
"Bersilat kepada si buta"
Lit: Performing silat for the blind.
Meaning: Showing your skills for those who can't appreciate it.
"Cakak sudah, silat teringat"
Lit: Silat recalled after the fight.
Meaning: After the matter has been settled, then come the complaints.
"Pendekar elak jauh"
Meaning: A person who is very careful.
"Tidak ada pendekar yang tak bulus, tak ada juara yang tak kalah"
Meaning: No pendekar has never missed, no champion has never lost.
"Bagai gembala diberi keris"
Lit: As a shepherd given a keris.
Meaning: A useless gift.
"Berapa panjang sarung begitulah kerisnya"
Lit: Long as the sheath is, so too is the keris.
Meaning: Doing something within one's own limits.
"Berkeras tidak berkeris"
Meaning: Taking tough action but with no strength to defend oneself.
"Hujan emas perak di negeri orang; hujan keris lembing di negeri kita; baik juga di negeri kita"
Lit: Though it rains gold and silver in another land; and rains kerises and spears in ours, better be our own land.
Meaning: No matter how rich and prosperous another country is, your homeland is where you belong.
"Jangan menghulurkan hulu keris ke tangan orang"
Lit: Never offer the hilt of your keris to another hand (Note: This is an actual taboo of silat, to avoid giving a keris hilt first, because the blade will naturally point to the giver, allowing a potential foe to draw the weapon and stab him).
Meaning: Never give power to another, he will destroy you.
"Keris panjang berkeluk, ke mana bawa ke mana olok"
Meaning: A person who can be used for any purpose.
"Keris pedang tiada tajam, lebih tajam mulut manusia"
Meaning: Words are sharper than weapons.
"Keris tersisip di dinding, pedang tajam dalam sarungnya"
Lit: Keris hanging on the wall, a sharp sword kept in its scabbard.
Meaning: Foolish actions.
"Menyisip keris tak bersarung di pinggang"
Lit: Keeping an unsheated keris at your side.
Meaning: Raising a child without providing knowledge will eventually trouble his parents.
"Patah lidah alamat 'kan kalah, patah keris alamat 'kan mati"
Lit: A broken tongue means loss, a broken keris means death.
Meaning: When the tools are gone, the task will never be completed.
"Sebagai bujang baru berkeris"
Lit: A bachelor gaining a keris.
Meaning: Exceeding arrogance due to recent wealth.
"Seperti keris yang tak payah diasami lagi"
Lit: A keris no longer needing lime.
Meaning: Highly skilled and needing no further instruction.
"Tajam lidah manusia melebihi tuntung keris"
Lit: A man's tongue is sharper than a keris.
"Tembaga menunjukkan senam, besi menunjukkan karat, keris menunjukkan pamur, manikam menunjukkan cahaya"
Lit: Copper shows its gleam, iron shows its rust, keris show their pamur, jewels show their shine.
Meaning: Everyone has visible indications of their good or evil.
"Tiada dapat dua keris di dalam satu sarung"
Lit: No two kerises in one sheath.
Meaning: It is impossible for one woman to have two husbands at one time.
"Habis hulubalang bersiak"
Meaning: When there is no one to rule, then one has to do the work oneself.
Source: Dewan Bahasa Dan Pustaka

Original Article by Mohd Nadzrin Wahab

22 November 2007

Yeop Mahidin Bin Mohamed Shariff - The Lion of Malaya

Yeop Mahidin bin Mohamed Shariff was the first Director of Rejimen Askar Wataniah, the reserves component of the Malaysian Army. He was widely regarded as the “Father of Wataniah” for his efforts in establishing the Rejimen Askar Wataniah as a credible force.

Yeop Mahidin was born on 20 February 1918 in Parit, Perak to a Customs officer. He was educated at the Anderson School and a keen boxer who was a bantam weight champion. He was a keen footballer, and was active in field hockey and cricket, in which he was once given the “Batsman Of The Year” award.

According to his family, Yeop Mahidin came from a long line of silat exponents who served as protectors to the Perak Sultanate. His children, both the men and the women in the family are known as efficient fighters with a style of fighting handed down over generations.

One of his sons, named Mokhtar, nicknamed Apin (Ariffin), went on to establish the a silat school in the United Kingdom.

He aspired to join the Malay Regiment but was discouraged to do so by his headmaster L.D Whitfield who wanted him to join the Malayan Civil Service. In 1937, Yeop Mahidin went to the Malay College to prepare him for life in the Civil Service.

In 1938, Yeop Mahidin was appointed a magistrate in Telok Anson (now Teluk Intan) before transferring to Kajang in 1939. In 1940 he again transferred, this time to Kuala Lipis as Assistant District Officer. He joined the local Malay State Volunteer Rifles Reserve and commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant.

World War II
When World War II broke out, Yeop Mahidin formed a resistance group called the Pahang Wataniah. The unit had a strength of 254 men and was assisted by Force 136, which assigned Major Richardson to help train the unit. His bravery and exploits earned him the nickname “Singa Melayu” (Malay Lion).

In 1945, Yeop Mahidin was made Commander of local resistance forces and made a Major. He was offered by the British to undergo military training in Britain but he refused. Captain Abdul Razak bin Hussein (later Malaysia’s Second Prime Minister) and Lieutenant Ghazali bin Shafie (a renowned Malaysian Foreign Minister) was sent instead.

Founding Rejimen Askar Wataniah
In 1950, the British Malaya government formed the “Home Guard” and Yeop Mahidin was made the Deputy Director of the Malayan Home Guard. The Home Guard was tasked with static local Defence and manned checkpoints that curbed the flow of supplies to Communist Terrorists.

In 1958, as the threat of the communist terrorists receded, the Malayan Home Guard was disbanded. The Malayan Territorial Army was formed in 1958 with the passing of the Territorial Army Ordinance 1958. The Territorial Army soon changed its name to Askar Wataniah. Yeop Mahidin was made the First Director of Askar Wataniah with the rank of Colonel.

Yeop Mahidin left the Askar Wataniah in 1963 when he was made the District Officer of Kuala Lipis. Yeop Mahidin was also a renowned Silat exponent and instructor.

He was also active in the Malaysian Olympic Movement was the Chef-de-Mission of the Malaysian contingent during the 1971 South East Asian Peninsular Games in Kuala Lumpur.

Edited from Wikipedia and http://www.silat.f9.co.uk/

21 November 2007

Do you value them?

It is the soldier, not the reporter,
who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the soldier, not the poet,
who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the soldier, not the campus organizer,
who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.

It is the soldier, not the lawyer,
who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is the soldier who salutes the flag,
who serves under the flag,
and whose coffin is draped by the flag,
who allows the protester to burn the flag.

Thank you to Jeff Davidson (http://balisongplayer.blogspot.com/) for allowing me to quote from his blog.

20 November 2007

Silat Kuntau Tekpi

Seni Silat Kuntau Tekpi is an authentic Malay art of self-defense and is an effective form of defense for the individual and the society at large. It has existed since during the reign of Sultan Ahmad Tajuddin Shah, a monarch of the Malaysian state of Kedah in the early 19th century.

It was pioneered by a palace warrior, a panglima (governor-general) named Panglima Taib. This style was taught only amongst the governor-generals and palace guards and warriors to counter the incursions of the Siamese and other state enemies of the period.

Panglima Taib passed on Silat Kuntau Tekpi to his daughter, Siti Aminah, who was known in her days of glory as the ‘Srikandi Kedah’ (Warrior-Maiden of Kedah). This style was then inherited by her son, the late Tuan Haji Zainol Abidin bin Endut and in turn by his son, Haji A. Sani bin Zainol (known as “Cikgu Sani”).

The primary weapon of this style is named the Tekpi, a three pronged metal truncheon also known as the “King of Weapons” which has been proven to be able to counter all bladed weapons.

This silat style has very specific methods that is difficult to be modified aside from strikeforms and tight trapping forms. All movements and deflections are compatible to the natural movements of a human being, young or old, male or female.

This silat style emphasizes defense when attacked but allows for pre-emptive attacks when absolutely necessary. It comprises several deflections with 21 buah asas (basic strikeforms), 21 buah kemahiran (skill building strikeforms), 21 buah makanbalik (recounters), 7 pukulan tekpi 1 (single tekpi strikeforms) and 7 pukulan tekpi 2 (double tekpi strikeforms).


  • SENI is a spiritual method taught at the intermediate level. Completion is only done at the Tapak Gelanggang Puncak Gunung Ledang (the training platform at the peak of Mt. Ophir in Malaysia).

  • SILAT is the physical movement that comprises deflections and attacks for self-defense.

  • KUNTAU is the hard movement applied after diplomacy fails with the enemy.

  • TEKPI is a weapon and is the symbol of this silat style.

The Silat Kuntau Tekpi system syllabus is divided into five levels, with the first two levels focusing on self-defense (“beladiri”) and establishing a strong foundation in ground fighting.

The third and fourth levels of the syllabus introduce the student to the “Tekpi” and its sophisticated application against single and multiple opponents who may be armed or unarmed. The fifth and final level of the system teaches the spiritual and internal aspects of the art.

Beginning students will be taught the 21 buah of Level One and the 21 buah of Level Two, and they will be introduced to six buah “pukulan” (“striking buah”) from Level Three. The core syllabus is rounded out with the teaching of the pelebat form and the Tekpi manipulation exercises.

This core syllabus can be completed in six months to one year of instruction, and it is intended to leave the student with a complete and comprehensive system of self-defense.

Levels Three, Four and Five are only available to students who elect to become instructors.

There is one training form in Level One and Level Two of the Silat Kuntau Tekpi syllabus. This form is known simply as the “Pelebat” (the Malaysian term for a “form”). All of the key movement patterns found in the buah are contained within the Pelebat so the student has the opportunity to master the core movement patterns without a training partner.

The Pelebat assists the student in the development of:

  • Correct body mechanics and coordination
  • Symmetrical mastery of key Silat Kuntau Tekpi movement patterns
  • Fluidity and relaxation while in motion
  • Conditioning when performed in high numbers (between 33 and 99 repetitions in one training session)

The Pelebat is being performed in this video by Cikgu Lan of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Cikgu Lan is one of the senior instructors in Pertubuhan Seni Silat Kuntau Tekpi Malaysia (PPSKTM) - the official Silat Kuntau Tekpi Association of Malaysia.

Sourced from http://tekpi.org

19 November 2007

Silat Melayu Keris Lok 9

Silat Melayu Keris Lok Sembilan (9) is one of the traditional Keris arts found in Silat Melayu. It is an old system that traces its roots back to the famous Malacca Sultanate.

After the fall of Malacca in 1511,the Sultanate split three ways and a part moved south to settle in Sarawak (Kuching), then finally to Kuantan in Pahang. It has been this branch of the Sultanate that has kept this closely guarded system through out the centuries.

The art is now taught and headed by Cikgu Azlan Ghanie, the editor of the Malaysian Silat publication "Seni Beladiri". Silat Melayu Keris Lok 9 was taught to him from his father, and has been passed down through his family from his great-grandfather Haji Salleh.

On his mother's side Cikgu Azlan Ghanie is of Bugis origin, descended from the Pahang warrior Pendekar Endut (one of Mat Kilau and Tok Bahaman's gurus). Silat Melayu Keris Lok 9 is one of the only silat systems remaining that teaches Keris first as a basic weapon of war to give understanding in both armed and unarmed combat. The art is very much seni based, in which one learns many intricate seni pieces (forms).

One is firstly taught the grueling set of traditional exercises called "Senaman Tua" which aid to strengthen and condition the body. upon completion of the Senaman Tua, one is taught the different forms known as "loks" (lok is a Malay term for a curve on the blade of a Keris).

The Loks are all mostly Keris forms, there are 5 Loks (numbered 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9) to be learned to complete the basic syllabus. These Loks hold the keys and secrets to the system which teach one the principles of fighting in armed and empty hand combat. The Basic syllabus takes 2 years of regular training to complete.

Traditionally the keris is regarded as much more than just a weapon and the adab (manners/ rules of behaviour) surrounding this art are extremely important. The keris is a symbol of the ancient culture and traditions of the Malay race and must be kept with much respect, with owning a Keris one carries heavy responsability. As well as learning the deadly combat aspects, the customs and traditions behind the Keris are a necessary part of the syllabus.

In the past Silat Melayu Keris Lok 9 has been a carefully guarded system open only to selected Pesilat of 10 or more years experience, however today the art is being taught and practised more openly. Cikgu Azlan teaches Silat Melayu Lok 9 In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and has large number of students in his gelanggang.

Source: Silat Association United Kingdom website at http://www.silat.f9.co.uk/

18 November 2007

Dengar. Fikir. Faham.

Two weeks ago, a vastly knowledgeable master told me the above words. Within only a couple of hours, he gave me enough to think about for a long time. Every day since, I have found his words ring true again and again.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you. You are truly a diamond in disguise.

17 November 2007

SENI BELADIRI vol 120, Nov 2007

This issue's highlights:

Guru Mat Dian Md Ibrahim - Preserving the wardance in Silat Terlak Tunjai 12 because it is the true heritage of the Melayu people. Spare the art, spoil the silat.
Mat Seman ‘Kipas Lanun’ Nook Kok – What made this fighter cry tears of sorrow in a muay thai ring?
The time has come for the masters to see the limelight – Azlan Ghanie reminds us all of the wise saying "we are important, the elders are necessary".
Don't hurt our host! – ‘Human Weapon’ producer worried Gayong players to rough up actors after witnessing Malaysian style silat training.
Persaudaraan Setia Hati Singapura – Cikgu Aeji Al Haj Karma studied Setia Hati for awareness and humility.
Badik, the personal weapon for loved ones – The Melayu Weapons column returns!
Secret in Sight – Combat sport tips by Azlan Ghanie to observe the opponent's footwork, hands, eyes and movement.
Drunken Kung Fu Champion – Jackie Chan replaces Bruce Lee as the loved heros of the Chinese but finds it difficult to be replaced.
The destined hero – Salahuddin Al Ayyubi never once dreamed of becoming a champion but hopes for his arrival flared up hundreds of year before his victory reclaiming Baitul Maqdis.

16 November 2007

Pusat Cemerlang Silat

The Pusat Cemerlang Silat (PCS) or Silat Excellence Centre in Kajang was formed on the 31st of August 2002 under the patronage of the Pertubuhan Seni Gayung Fatani Malaysia.
It manages and carries out silat related activities in and around the Klang Valley. It also administrates silat clubs in more than 20 schools in and around areas such as Kajang, Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Cyberjaya, Ampang and Bangi.
In the four years since its birth, PCS has played an instrumental role in creating athletes for Silat Seni, Silat Melayu and Silat Olahraga. In addition to that, PCS holds silat, motivational and leadership courses at national and international levels.
PCS has also paved the way in the creation of many silat instructors and assistant instructors who aid instructors in each school.

15 November 2007

We are on Facebook!

Web 2.0 has arrived for many pesilat who are active on MySpace, Friendster and the lot. Now, Silat Melayu The Blog has taken that step as well. We are now on Facebook!

For newbies who aren't sure what Facebook is, it is a highly interactive community network that allows you to connect with others with the same interests online. You might even meet a few old friends there.

Just log on to http://facebook.com/ and register your account. Then under 'groups' search for 'Silat Melayu' and you'll be allowed to join the group we've established there. The group is a closed one and open only by invitations or approval by the administrator (me!).

So, see you there!

14 November 2007

The Origins of Keris Melayu

The keris is a weapon used by the Melayu since the era of the Melayu Sultanates more than 800 years ago. It was used by the pendekars, armies and palace nobility. It was also revered as a ceremonial tool and a symbol of royalty.

Research has shown that the keris originated from the Majapahit empire which ruled in the 13th century. After the decline of the Majapahit, many of its blacksmiths migrated to other areas such as Jawa, the Sumatran islands, the Sulawesi islands and finally to the Melayu Peninsula. The keris developed as a weapon in the Melayu Peninsula up until the point it was occupied by the British. British law banned the wearing of the keris on the body or used as a weapon but only allowed its ceremonial role.

There are many different types of keris, however, the Keris melayu as used by the Melayu normally displays the features of the original Majapahit keris, which has the Jawa Demam hilt and a boat-shaped piece on the sheath.

Parts of the Keris Melayu
Names of different keris parts:
1. Hulu (hilt)
2. Sarung (sheath)
3. Pendokok/ bedokoh
4. Sampir
5. Buntut (end)
6. Perut (stomach)
7. Pamor (pattern)
8. Lok (wave)
9. Bilah/ awak/ mata keris (blade)
10. Aring/ ganja (crosspiece)
11. Puting/ unting/ oting (tang)
12. Pucuk/ hujung mata (blade tip)
13. Tuntung
14. Belalai gajah (elephant trunk)/ kembang kacang
15. Lambai gajah/ bibir gajah (elephant lips)
16. Bunga kacang
17. Gandik
18. Dagu keris (chin)
19. Kepala cicak (gecko head)
20. Leher cicak (gecko neck)
21. Gading gajah (elephant tusk)
22. Ekor cicak (gecko tail)
23. Janggut (beard)
24. Kepit/ sepit rotan (rattan pincers)
25. Lurah/ kambing kacang
26. Tulang/ tulangan (spine)

The 'gecko head' and 'gecko tail' get their names from the gecko resemblance when viewed from the tang end. The ganja comprises the gecko head, neck and tail. The ganja and the blade are two different pieces which are assembled later. However, there is a keris type where both of these are of a single piece, called the Keris Ganja Seiras or the Single View Keris.

The Spiritual Value of the Keris
The keris is not only a weapon, but it also carries certain symbolic meanings. The tang of the keris represents masculinity, while the crosspiece with its hole in the middle represents femininity. The combination of both elements gives birth to a balance in life and power.

The blade of the keris represents the shape of a dragon, which is closely connected to water and rivers. Water is the source of life, thus the dragon is a mystical lifeform that represents power. A keris with no waves represents a resting or meditating dragon, while a wavy keris represents a moving dragon. The belalai gajah and lambai gajah represents and elephant, which is an allegory for power.

The keris was originally made from a composition of iron mined from the earth and the meteoric iron ore. This produces a pamor which is believed contained magical powers as a result of the blending of earthly and heavenly elements.

The keris is also believed to have an affinity or rapport with its owner. The owner will measure the length of the keris from its crosspiece down to its tuntung using his thumbs while reciting holy verses or a mantra. He will cease his recitation when one of his thumb arrives at the tuntung and depending on which verse marked the arrival will determine the affinity between keris and owner. An owner who truly believes in this affinity will not buy or use a keris which does not have this quality, irrespective of the value, beauty or scarcity of the keris.

The Melayu societies of the past would practise keeping kerises on the crossbeam of their homes as protection against enemies, evil spirits and diseases. It is believed that a keris would rattle and make sounds in its sheath when danger approached. Some are even believed to unsheath and fly to the enemy on their own, or when the owner pointed towards the enemy's location, the keris would fly out to the enemy and kill him.

Is it any wonder then, why the keris is so highly revered by some owners who faithfully bathe their kerises every Thursday night (deemed a special night) or once a year in the month of Muharram, to ensure that the power of the keris is not left untended and cause it to run amok or leave the keris totally. However, with the advent of Islam to the Melayu Peninsula, many of these beliefs have been discarded and what remains is a cleaning or weapon care ritual.

Famous mystical Kerises
Among the most popular kerises is the Keris Tamingsari owned by Hang Tuah which was believed to gran invincibility to its wielder. On the other hand, Hang Jebat's keris has a void in its blade which allows its owner to the future, and it was by this way that Hang Jebat discovered his impending death at the hand of his own blood brother, Hang Tuah.

The Keris Kai Condong, which is inhabited by an evil spirit, flies and kills anyone its finds when night falls. This keris was eventually defeated by three other mystical kerises which combined and baited it into a magically prepared pounder, which instantly destroyed it. However, the destroyed keris finally flew away to rejoin a comet of the same meteoric ore from which it was made.

This article was translated by Mohd Nadzrin Wahab from the original article "Asal Usul Keris Melayu" at http://www.mishafbisnes.com.my/krafmelayu/keris.htm for publication in the World Silat Championship 2007 souvenir book. For a reference to the article , please email webmaster [at] silatmelayu.com

13 November 2007

Cambodia Islamic Assistance

Salam hormat to all my readers,

SENI BELADIRI magazine is assisting the Malaysian Ministry of Youth and Sports to repair and restock 2 Islamic schools (madrasah) in Cambodia. Private sponsorships in terms of finance or new and used items such as copies of Al Qur'an, ladies' prayer garb (telekung), etc.

Sponsors names will be published in the SENI BELADIRI magazine.

The Ministry will leave for Cambodia on the 26th of November 2007.

To contribute or inquiries, please contact Azlan Ghanie at azlanghanie@yahoo.com or call +603-4025 5379 or +6012 332 6723.

12 November 2007

Tribute to online silat friends

My silat generation has a clear advantage over our elders, that is, the Internet. Because of this handy little tool, I have managed to make tens of similarly interested friends and occassionally, Silat Masters. With them, I have forged long and strong relationships. Common among most of them, is the fact that I have never met them face to face.

Pengajar Sean Stark
The first of these was Pengajar Sean Stark, of Pencak Silat Pertempuran or as they call it in the USA, Combat Silat. He originally contacted me through an early website I had called Silat: Seni Warisan Bangsa which was hosted in Bahasa Melayu.

We had many email exchanges about silat and I had my introduction to American silat culture through him. I also participated on his Desa Silat Forum and I had a wonderful time asking and answering questions.

Guru Idris bin Alimuda
Another Silat Master whom I befriended was the mysterious and controversial Guru Idris bin Alimuda, whom many martial arts forums know as IBA or JatiDiri. The first time I met him was, again, through my website many years ago and not long after that, actually physically met him for teh ais.

I can tell you this, he is as eloquent and confusing in person as he is online, but the vast amount of knowledge he carries around can never be properly represented on a computer screen nor understood by those whose cup is already full.

Recently, I met him again when a couple of students of a British pesilat, Simon Das, came down to Malaysia to study various styles. We sat down to drink and once again, he managed to give me more food for thought. The last time this happened, it took me two years just to figure it out. I shudder to guess when our next meeting will be.

Jeff Davidson
Jeff Davidson is by far the best friend I have online, and we have never even met. We originally met through one of his students, who asked me questions about silat and Senaman Tua. It turns out we are related via Silat Kuntau Tekpi. Jeff studied it from Omar Hakim, who came to Malaysia and studied it from cikgu Norazlan Abdul Wahid, one of my mentors and currently the administrator for SilatMelayu.Com (SMC).

Jeff is a highly accomplished pesilat and martial artist and often travels the world to learn (but never to Malaysia!) and as blood brothers, we have shared some amazing experiences and secrets together, none of which will ever see the light of day.

The only one thing I can reveal is that, we might actually have been the earliest people to conduct a silat initiation and silat classes over a chat application! With no video! Weird.

Ustaz Saiful Muhammad
The latest addition to my list of esteemed friends (and I really do mean esteemed) is the honourable Ustaz Saiful Muhammad, President and current Principal of Pertubuhan Seni Silat Telapak Nusantara Malaysia. If you read Jeff Davidson's blog, he beat me to including something about Ustaz Saiful's silat style in either of our blogs.

I met Ustaz Saiful less than a year ago, when I was trying to get SMC up and running. He was among SMC's most ardent supporters and today I am among his. A humble, caring and passionate gentleman, Ustaz Saiful is a gem in the Malaysian silat world.

When outside forces threaten to modernise or secularise Silat Melayu, Ustaz Saiful is evidence that Silat can be a tool for dakwah and more, that Islam has made real impacts on silat in terms of its pedagogy and content. He wears many hats comfortably: A devoted husband and father, a deeply knowledgeable religious teacher, a highly skilled IT support specialist, a formidable silat master and a fantastic cook.

When Jef'f's questions began to turn to fields within silat that were outside of my knowledge, I introduced him to Ustaz and they have gotten along fabulously. Ustaz is still a very mysterious, although jovial figure in my life, but I appreciate any and all scraps of knowledge that he shares with me.

This goes to everyone I've mentioned above. May their lives be filled with everything they've ever dreamed of and more, insyaAllah.

Original Article by Mohd Nadzrin Wahab

11 November 2007

Silat Telapak Nusantara

From the oral traditions of our elders, the progenitor of this style was Tuan Sheikh Ali, an Islamic scholar and master of Islamic studies who visited the Sumatran Islands long before its foreign occupation.

During this time, Islam had just arrived to that region of Indonesia. Aside from teaching the locals of the truth of Islam, he also taught them a martial art form, which he developed, derived from experience and inspiration.

Such inspiration repeatedly came to him whenever the need to defend himself arose, and thus the art developed further. There were 7 distinct stages of development in this style, which currently makes up the 7 levels of proficiency. Each level imparts different methods, techniques, and philosophies.

The final development in this style is the level named Silat Bongsu, which is the most simplified and versatile form. Silat Bongsu is the core of the total understanding of all Silat styles founded by Tuan Sheikh Ali. Because of this, Silat Bongsu is also known as the ‘Ibu Silat’ or ‘mother’ of our Silat styles.

After Tuan Sheikh Ali, several masters succeeded him. They are, in chronological order:
1. Guru Qodim
2. Katik Pasok
3. Muhammad Soleh
4. Malim Siroh
5. Pendekar Rohim (Pendekar Lima)
6. Atuk Haji Husin

There are also higher levels that are more expansive and require a deeper understanding to learn. These advanced Silat styles function as the expansion and refinement of Silat Bongsu. Among the masters of these levels are:
1. Bapak Buyong
2. Tuan Haji Deris
3. Ustaz Ramli
4. Che Mail Kedah
5. Pak Haji Harun
6. Haji Nong Bugis
7. Tuan Haji Shahrom

There are many more masters not listed here. Most of them have passed on, and a few others no longer teach.

Nowadays, pesilat learn and master only a glimpse of the Tuan Sheikh Ali Silat style due to the changes and demands of the modern lifestyle. To master all of the levels of this style, it takes at least 7 full years of consecutive daily studying. To be a good pesilat or gain the basic knowledge of a warrior, one must master at least the first 3 levels.

Long ago, this style of Silat spread far and wide, though always fragmented or under the influence of separate ‘perguruan’ (school), and never taught in its original complete format. Now, this priceless heritage has once again re-emerged in its original form and is being studied, strengthened and fused systematically within our organization.

Although each style or development within Silat Sheikh Ali comes from the same source, they are still unique and have their own identities. Each development contributed to the diversification of techniques, group identity, or even style identity, within our Silat school. Some styles previously had no name but were given them by the masters of each particular style. Among the unique names known are:
1. Silat Bongsu
2. Seni Silat Natar
3. Silek Natar Tuo
4. Seni Silat Sheikh Ali
5. Seni Silat Telapak Natar
6. Gayong Mendahiling
7. Silat Minang Sheikh Ali
8. Silek Tuo Sheikh Ali
9. Seni Silat Nuntoro
10. Seni Silat Sobok
11. Seni Silat Melayu Sheikh Ali

As previously mentioned, Seni Silat Bongsu is the name of the final version or development of Sheikh Ali's Silat style and has now become the first level in our instruction. It is appropriate in terms of the technique, application, and philosophy of this unique style. Our organization now strives to find and systematically merge all Tuan Sheikh Ali Silat styles, whilst at the same time preserving the authenticity of each one. No techniques from other styles of any kind, form or formless can be implemented in perfecting our styles. This action will not be tolerated, especially if the techniques are being practiced without permission.

In the quest to achieve the highest level of skill and understanding, a strict set of rules and regulations must be obeyed. All weaknesses and strengths must be accepted, utilized fully, and - if necessary - perfected in their own way. An open mind with a kind heart must be demonstrated at all times towards the whole of humanity. By accepting one's weakness, one has already achieved the basics in achieving greater perfection. That is the ultimate goal, unachievable as it may seem to some.

This article was sourced from http://senisilat.net

10 November 2007

Seni Gayung Fatani

Seni Gayung Fatani is one of the most artistic types of the Malay martial art silat, which some mistake for a traditional dance.

The steps and hand movements each contain their own meaning and can easily lock or disable an opponent.

This style is claimed to be one of the most ancient styles in peninsular Malaysia which still maintains its traditional lessons, besides the addition of the modern system.

It is also known as silat patani, gayung patani, gayung fatani, gayung and silat pulut. Pak Andak Embong taught this style to Tuan Haji Anuar in 1965. Tuan Haji Anuar now is the Guru Utama (Grandmaster) Pertubuhan Seni Gayung Fatani Malaysia (PSGFM).

Seni Gayung Fatani originally came from the state of Patani, a Malay State in the south of Thailand. It was first brought to Kedah in Malaysia in 1840 by Syeikh Abd. Rahman, a Malay man from Patani. Later his son Tok Yah Ramli expanded this style. Another student from Syeikh Abd. Rahman was Pak Teh Mat Ali who taught this style to Pak Andak Embong.

When it was registered in 1976 as an association under the Government's Club Act, the name was formalized to Seni Gayung Fatani (in Arabic, fatani means wise or having wisdom). This style is the combination of the seni(art) that consists of movements that are soft and holds its own meaning practiced together with muzik silat baku or traditional silat music and also beladiri(self defence) techniques against weapons.

The new syllabus outlined by Tn. Hj. Anuar has five different levels for the exponent to master. Each level teaches techniques of its own while maintaining the same basic form. Some of these are:

1. Bunga Sembah
It contains 16 steps and in each lies its own meaning or technique. The bunga sembah is considered as bunga or artistic form.

2. Buah Pukulan
Buah Pukulan are sets of combat in which the techniques an exponent learns at each level are meant to be applied.

3. Tapak Empat
In the Tapak Empat, the steps of the bunga sembah are performed in a square. It is meant to teach the exponent fluidity of movement whilst the silat pulut performed at the end is meant for the exponent to apply the techniques learnt.

4. Jurus Olahraga
The jurus olahraga is the offensive from of the bunga sembah in which the steps are either blocks, repelling of attacks or attacks.

5. Silat Pulut
Silat pulut is the slow, technique-infused version of combat played out between two opponents. It is meant for the exponent to display his/her adeptness at silat by using techniques. It is also so that the individuals who are playing it out to gain insight on how their techniques can be deflected or used against them in combat.

Tuan Haji Anuar bin Haji Abd. Wahab AMN is the current grandmaster of Seni Gayung Fatani Malaysia. Since 1957, he has studied several silat styles such as Silat Harimau, Silat Cekak, Silat Sendeng, Silat Kuntau Betawi, and Seni Silat Helang Sewah at Kampung Kota Hutan Melintang, Perak from members of his family (but they did not teach him Kuntau Cimande).

In 1965, he learned Seni Silat Gayung Fatani in Sabak Bernam, Selangor. The year 1976 marked his foundation of the Pertubuhan Seni Gayung Fatani Malaysia as Chairman and Grandmaster.

In 1983, through his efforts, PSGFM became a founding member of Persekutuan Silat Kebangsaan Malaysia (PESAKA), the National Silat Federation of Malaysia. He played an active role in the development of silat at school-level by his active involvements in PESAKA and PERSILAT (International Silat Federation) and has various literary works in his name such as the book he wrote on Silat Olahraga.

He is responsible for developing the new revised curriculum for Gayung Fatani. He is also the founder of "silat olahraga" (the combative sport of silat). In his effort to develop the silat curriculum came "Silat Malaysia". It is the first curriculum to be recognized by the government and taught in schools all over Malaysia.

This article was sourced from Wikipedia. The official website is http://pusatcemerlang.com

09 November 2007

Amron Omar: Paintings on Studies in Silat

Amron Omar
Pertarungan I, 1980

Amron Omar
Pertarungan II, 1980

Amron Omar
Pertarungan III

Amron Omar
Study for Pertarungan II

Amron Omar
Pertarungan, 1989

08 November 2007

'Orang Minyak' Suffers A Remake! (my title, not the newspaper's)


This film is a weird mix of mythology, martial arts, comedy and horror (obvious or otherwise). But I did find myself enjoying the dialogue and scenes now and then.

Originally making its screen appearance in Sumpah Orang Minyak (1956), which starred P. Ramlee, the Orang Minyak (or oily man) is similar only in the usage of the being as the main character. Orang Minyak is about silat student Malek (Fauzi Nawawi), who becomes jealous of fellow student and friend Munir (Fizz Fairuz) after the latter is declared the star student. In a fit of rage, Malek kills the silat master.

The Devil takes advantage of the incident by inciting Malek into doing more evil, appointing Malek an orang minyak and telling Malek to worship him and to rape 21 virgins in order to gain unlimited power.

This modern take has several suggestive scenes, the most obvious being the orang minyak’s task of defiling the virgins. The orang minyak’s method of deflowering a female in this film is overt, though still within censorship limits. Sharifah Sofea plays buxom lecturer Dian, who expectedly becomes Munir’s love interest. In a final meeting before a large duel, Malek tells Munir of his intention to make Dian his next victim.

Eventually, when one of the orang minyak’s victims eventually gives birth to a bayi minyak (oily baby), the fate of Kampung Tualang Tiga is sealed indefinitely.

Replete with technical goofs, the film appears blurred in some scenes, and Malek’s black outfit suddenly turns grey in a flashback scene. One also finds that a well-lit house is pitch-black from outside. The villagers are ill-cast, with mother and daughter looking almost the same age. Perhaps it is a case of too many cooks spoiling the broth. Well, there were two directors at the helm.

Nadzrin's Note: The Orang Minyak phenomena, like the suburb serial killer, happen in kampungs and high superstition areas. The Orang Minyak is also often blamed for panty raids in local universities. To my knowledge, only one of them was ever a pesilat of high ranking and is now leading a local silat organisation (seriously).

07 November 2007

The Culture of Silat

In ancient times, Silat was as much a part of Melayu culture as any other form of education and prepared young men for adulthood. Because of this, there is a strong emphasis in this art on self-defence. However, war was not always on the Melayu mind.

Silat sits at the nexus between all aspect of Melayu culture. A true pendekar (warrior) will often have an artistic soul and cultivate interests in cultural fields such as keris metalwork, woodcraft, traditional dancing, Melayu dress, medicine, music and many more. Because of this, Silat still plays an important role in the lives of thousands of people across the Melayu world particularly with the rural village dwellers practising and making it part of their daily routines.

These pendekar were synonymous with the local medicine man, religious teacher or blacksmith, indicating society’s regard for such people of knowledge. Usually, a pendekar can also play traditional musical instruments such as the serunai, gendang ibu, gendang anak and gong, which normally accompanies silat dance performances.

Performances are still held during wedding ceremonies, festivals, or official celebrations. In such occasions, it is known as Pulut, referring to the sticky, glutinous rice that is often eaten at Melayu parties and wedding receptions.

Silat has a strong influence of learning from the environment. Many of the movements will reflect animals that you will find in nature more so than some of the other martial arts. One of the most important animals to them was the tiger, being seen by the culture as a symbol of strength and power. Thus, one will find movements in Silat to be explosive and aggressive bursts of attacks.

Outside factors that influenced the growth of Silat Melayu in Malaysia includes those from the islands of Sumatera and Jawa. Aspects of this can be seen in the clothing fashions, terminology of the movements, spiritual practises and the music that accompanies the wardances. In spite of this, the traditional concept of Silat Melayu remains unique and preserved.

Although silat techniques vary between one style and another, the cultural reality remains, that the applications of the body such as the fist, feet, knees, elbows and traditional weaponplay were similar if not identical. A particular style could be identified from their salutations and wardances.

Personal Development & Spirituality
Silat exponents are trained from a tender age to take advantage of the agility and 'moldability' of a young body and mind. Trainees are whipped into shape through several years of tough training. The rigorous and back-breaking routine ensures physical resilience, stamina and agility.

To complete the balance, mental and spiritual self-discipline, based on Islamic teachings, is developed. You might ask what martial art has in common with spirituality, and the answer is simple - the stronger you are, the more peaceful and the better you know how to gain freedom and maintain it.

Most probably, other then the practice of spiritual matters, it is their inherent and intimate knowledge of the body structure and parts, veins and arteries, the body movements, even psychology, and to use all this knowledge in perfecting their art of self-defence, which made them invincible.

The Pendekar
Every pesilat nurtures a similar ambition, to one day become a Pendekar. A Pendekar is not simply an expert in the combat arts of silat, but is also able to master its spiritual and medicinal aspects. The mind of a Pendekar is like the wind. Its presence can be detected, but cannot be directly observed. His wisdom creates situations that makes his opponents lose their focus, thus incapable of anticipating his actions.

A pendekar is like a teacher. He is qualified to teach his students and may authorise any loyal disciples in the various branches of knowledge that he had acquired during his lifetime.
However, to achieve the status of the Pendekar requires perseverance. Without years of immense courage and incalculable effort, all his works could be for naught. Alternatively, this could also depend on their talents of mastery. Last to master means last to succeed.

This article was edited by Mohd Nadzrin Wahab from various internet sources for publication in the World Silat Championship 2007 souvenir book. For a full list of the above sources, please email webmaster [at] silatmelayu.com

06 November 2007

Fighting For Change!

BALI, Indonesia. (SANEPR.com) November 10, 2007 -- There are two organisations in Bali that represent the people more than any other. They are the organisations that were formed to teach Silat - an ancient martial art of the Balinese people. One is called Satria Muda Indonesia and the other is Kertha Wisesa.
For the first time in more than a generation these two organisations have joined together to welcome leaders from around the world to the UN Bali Conference on Climate Change from December 3rd 2007 until December 14th 2007.
It is the hope of these two organisations to present to the world their support for this historic conference through a Silat demonstration called "Fighting For Change!" We hope that these short demonstrations can transfer the determination and spirit of the Balinese people to the negotiators and delegates so that they may conclude a fair and just agreement to save our climate.
Silat Bali is primarily a defensive martial art practiced in almost every town and village by both men and women. It takes its forms from nature and has a deep philosophical basis. Meditation and a clean spirit is required to reach the higher standards of practice.
To commemorate this event we have launched a website at http://www.bali-silat.com to host photos and more information about our aims. This website also contains images of the uniform worn by our Silat Bali masters.Masters of Silat wear loose black pants and a black tunic as with many martial arts. But when combined with the ceremonial Balinese head dress and traditional sarong; the effect is a unique and spectactular fighting costume.
Every Balinese will take great pride in seeing this representation of Bali and seeing their real life heros "Fighting For Change!"

05 November 2007

Silat Melayu – The Blossoming Fruit of The Archipelago

Silat is the traditional martial art of the Nusantara region also known as the Malay Archipelago, and has been passed down from master to student for many generations. It encompasses the vast knowledge of strategic and tactical human combat, weaponry and philosophy.

Integrating soft, aesthetic movements called bunga (blossoms) with self-defence techniques that are both hard and deadly called buah (fruits), silat transcends the physical defence aspect to encompass the spiritual, medicinal and religious practices of the Melayu.

Silat has tread through a long and glorious history. The annals of Malaysia have proven that before the advent of guns and cannons, the ancient kingdoms of the Archipelago were well-defended against incursions from foreign empires, especially the Europeans and East Asians. In the Melaka Sultanate, the legendary exploits of Hang Tuah has been forever inscribed in the hearts of Melayu everywhere.

More recently, the last century saw national efforts by Independence greats such as Datuk Bahaman and Mat Kilau of Pahang, Panglima Salleh of Johor and Yeop Mahidin of Perak, all of whom were pendekars in their own right.

In the islands of Indonesia, bloody battles were fought to regain independence from the colonialists, and names like Kyai Abbas Jamil Buntet are remembered for their sacrifices and efforts.

After Independence, silat grew to become an institutionalised and officially recognised martial art in Malaysia and in the region. To promote silat in Malaysia, the National Silat Federation of Malaysia (Persekutuan Silat Kebangsaan Malaysia or PESAKA, http://pesakamalaysia.org) was established in 1983 by four founding masters, each leading a main style. Silat Seni Gayong was founded by Datuk Meor Abdul Rahman Meor Hashim, Seni Silat Cekak by ustaz Hanafi Haji Ahmad, Seni Silat Lincah by Datuk Omardin Mauju and Seni Gayung Fatani by guru Anwar Wahab. These styles have helmed PESAKA since its inception.

In 1980, umbrella bodies representing silat schools in Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei and Singapore convened in Jakarta and formed the International Pencak Silat Federation (Persekutuan Pencak Silat Antarabangsa or PERSILAT).

At the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Jakarta in 1979, silat debuted as a competitive sport. Pencak Silat World Championships were subsequently organised in Singapore in 1980 and in Jakarta in 1981 and 1982. The first champhionship tournament outside of Asia took place in Austria in 1986. Silat was also introduced as an exhibition sport at the 2002 Asian Games in Korea.

In 2006, the Federal Government recognised silat as the official Malaysian art of self-defence and enshrined it in the National Heritage Act (Akta Warisan Negara), making it part of the nation’s protected treasures.

More than just a collection of fighting techniques; it was as much an integral part of the Melayu culture as any other form of education and prepared young men for adulthood. Because of this, there is a strong emphasis in this art on self-defence. This emphasis is what has made Silat spread through Europe and now the United States.

Today, silat exponents, interest groups and promotional activities are found not just in Southeast Asia but also in America, Japan, Britain and France where organizations like the Pencak Silat Federation of United Kingdom, Silat Association of the United Kingdom and Pencak Silat Bongkot are based.

In the new age of technology, websites on Silat have cropped up and have become the meeting place for practitioners online. Sites such as SilatMelayu.Com and www.senisilat.net from Malaysia and SilatIndonesia.Com provide an intimate look into the traditions of Nusantara from half a world away. Thus after thousands of years of blossoming within a secluded corner of the world, silat has now borne fruit that has travelled far beyond its birth home in the Archipelago.

This article was edited by Mohd Nadzrin Wahab from various internet sources for publication in the World Silat Championship 2007 souvenir book. For a full list of the above sources, please email webmaster [at] silatmelayu.com

04 November 2007

Silat Legenda - Corn in a cup

I was running around the Net when I found a poster of Silat Legenda, Malaysia's first animated feature film produced a several years ago.

It certainly brought back memories of my sprinting to the box office to buy two tickets for myself and a friend. We had actually gone there on good faith, not knowing what the storyline was about.

For blog readers, here's a synopsis: Five kids in modern day Melaka discover five miniature keris which, when activated, become five enchanted weapons: a a sword, an arm band, a shield, a whip and a staff. Unknown to them, an ancient evil villainess is thirsts after the power of the weapons and will stop at nothing to get them for herself. End of synopsis.

My friend and I were worried the tickets would sell out. It WAS the first screening day. Unfortunately, we had arrived after the show time but we decided, watching most of it is better than nothing at all. Thus, we bought our tickets and walked in the theatre. There was nobody inside! Did we get the wrong hall? The usher said it wasn't a mistake. So, we sat down. The screen was as black as a silat uniform.

It suddenly dawned on us, that we were the only two idiots who actually came to see this movie. A couple walked in and looked dumbfounded, then looked at us. All I could say to them was, "Malaysia Boleh!" and they laughed, sitting down.

With four people in the cinema, the movie started. I started cringing. Five keris changing into five other weapons, none of them being a keris. No silat moves whatsoever except superhuman powers granted by the weapons themselves and laser bursts from the sword (and the point of having a sword if it can shoot lasers is...?)

Sigh... we walked out of the cinema two hours older and RM16 poorer. It was a disappointment, no doubt about it. But at least, I can say for a fact, I saw Silat Legenda on its opening day!

Original Article by Mohd Nadzrin Wahab

03 November 2007

Why some Silat don't teach non-Muslims

There are three main reasons a silat style will train only Muslims: Trust, Secrecy and Content.

Trust means that somewhere in history, every successive master was given specific instructions to only teach Muslims as a method of empowering them. Since non-Muslims already have their own martial styles, thus Muslims also need to have one that is specific for their needs. This amanah is considered sacred and often carried out to the letter.
Because the majority of Malays in Malaysia are Muslim, and being Malay generally means being Muslim, this amanah has often been erroneously extended only to Malays by some hardliner masters who misinterpret the original amanah.
The second reason is Secrecy. Silat was born as a martial art, meaning it was a valid and practical method of war. As all nations and cultures on Earth, we seek to keep secret our nation's abilities and strengths to deter our enemies from designing a counteroffense that will render our methods useless.
This has been nominal human culture, as one national develops more strategic tactics and effective weapons against an inferior enemy. Thus, the tradition of secrecy from opponents, who are normally non-Muslims, the heritage of Badr, the Crusades and the colonisation of South East Asia survives to this day in silat styles.
The third reason is Content. Much of these styles incorporate, as a total method of self-development, solat, sawm and other obligatory Islamic practices to ensure that the pesilat they produce is a moral fighter. In fact, many masters in the past were primarily religious teachers who prepared their students for war, thus the silat aspect became secondary and incidental.
So, it would be dishonest to agree to accept a non-Muslim who will be forced to perform salat, dua, realign his heart to Allah and Rasulullah and many more. It is much easier to say that they don't accept non-Muslims.

Original Article by Mohd Nadzrin Wahab

02 November 2007

Malaysia finish second with seven golds in 13th World Silat Championship

Highly entertaining: The ‘pesilat’ from some countries demonstrating their skills during the opening ceremony of the 13th World Silat Championship at the Sukpa indoor stadium in Kuantan.

Contestants from 25 countries camped in Kuantan to take part in the 13th World Silat Championship held at Sukpa Indoor Stadium here recently.

Vietnam defended its overall champion title for the third time consecutively at the championship.

This time, Vietnam bagged 12 gold, eight silver and four bronze medals, while Malaysia finished second with seven gold, five silver and eight bronze medals and Singapore third with three gold and seven bronze medals.

Indonesia, whichh had been champion 10 times since the championship started in 1982, was fourth with two gold, five silver and eight bronze medals.

Malaysia's seven gold medals were won by Ahmad Shahril Zailuddin (Kelas D Putra), Mohd Azrin Abdul Malek (Bebas Putra), Norhasmizan Abdullah (Kelas E Putra), Malini Mohammad (Kelas C Putri), Rina Jordana Adnan (Kelas A Putri), Mastura Sapuan (Kelas F Putri) and Suzy Mohd Sulaiman (Jurus Tunggal Putri).

The five silver medals were collected in the Kelas J Putra event by Wan Md Husaini Wan Deraman, Kelas F Putra event by Md Fauzi Khalid, the Ganda Putra event by Mohd Hafiz Mohd Ariff and Mohd Helmi Abdul Aziz, the Ganda Putri event by Mas Putih Kabil and Aliza Ali and the Regu Putri event by Rina Jordana Adnan, Norfakieza Md Noor and Alice Bagat.

Pleased to meet you: Tan Mohd Aminuddin being introduced to the Malaysian contingent after he opened the ceremony.

The eight bronze medals were won by Ami Latiff (Kelas D Putri), Siti Mariam Maimunah Abdul Rahman (Kelas E Putri), Azlina Aziz (Bebas Putri), Suhairi Chin (Kelas D Putra), Amir Ikram Rahim (Kelas C Putra), Ahmad Saufi Lubis Shamsuddin (Seni Jurus Tunggal), Marzuki Mokhtar, Mohd Izwan Osman and Mohd Fais Awang (Regu Putra) and Faizan Abdullah (Kelas H Putra).
Malaysia’s Ahmad Shahril Zailuddin was named best “pesilat” for male contestants while the best female “pesilat” title went to Hunyh Thi Thu Hong from Vietnam.

The championship was held in conjunction with the 77th birthday of the Sultan Pahang Sultan Ahmad Shah.

All smiles: Malaysia’s gold medalists (from left) Siti Mariam, Suzy, Md Fauzi, Mastura and Malini proudly showing their gold medals.

The countries taking part included Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Brunei, Cambodia, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Myanmar, The Netherlands, The Philippines, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, Surinam, Switzerland, Thailand, Britain, Vietnam and host Malaysia. The championship was organised by National Silat Federation (Pesaka), the Pahang government and Harian Innovatif Sdn Bhd.

Pahang Deputy Mentri Besar Datuk Tan Mohd Aminuddin Tan Ishak represented Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in opening the championship while state Youth and Sports Committee chairman Datuk Dr Ahmad Shukri Ismail represented Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob at the closing ceremony.

Story and pictures by Nik Naizi Husin
Sourced from http://thestar.com.my/metro/story.asp?file=/2007/11/2/southneast/20071102081218&sec=southneast