30 September 2007

Who to study silat with in Malaysia?

Previously, I have recommended several different styles to visitors from overseas who want to study here. All of them I have personally studied or have deep trust for the masters teaching it. However, it would help to know what types of styles you are interested in.

Silat in Malaysia can generally be classified into styles that emphasise training in one of three aspects of Silat technique or a relative balance between them: Kuncian (locking), Pukulan (striking) and Buangan (throwing). They also have relative weapons training to develop or complement the empty handed skills.

Some of them are deeply Islamic in nature and only admit Muslims. Below I list a few of the styles I would personally recommend and their locations in Malaysia:

1. Silat Telapak Nusantara
Technical breakdown- Locking: 33%, Striking: 33%, Throwing: 33%
Weapons- Keris, Pedang, Parang, Kain & Tongkat
Master/ Instructor- Ustaz Saiful Muhammad in Negeri Sembilan
Contact: www.senisilat.net/english, ustazshifu@senisilat.net, +6019 631 5668 (mobile)

2. Silat Melayu Keris Lok 9
Technical breakdown- Locking: 33%, Striking: 33%, Throwing: 33%
Weapons- Keris, Kerambit, Tumbuk Lada, Tongkat
Master/ Instructor- Guru Azlan Ghanie
Contact- mailto:33%25azlanghanie@yahoo.com +6012 332 6723 (mobile)

3. Silat Sendeng Haji Hamid
Technical breakdown- Locking: 5%, Striking: 90%, Throwing: 5%
Weapons- Pedang, Tongkat, Tumbuk Lada, Tekpi, Keris
Master/ Instructor- Guru Jamaludin Shahadan +609 2228 754 (home)

4. Silat Kuntau Tekpi
Technical breakdown- Locking: 50%, Striking 10%, Throwing: 40%
Weapons- Tekpi
Master/ Instructor- Cikgu Norazlan Abdul Wahid +6012 332 3264 (mobile)

5. Silat Kalimah
Technical breakdown- Locking: 40%, Striking 10%, Throwing: 50%
Weapons- None
Master/ Instructor- Guru Eusoff Ali (aka Pak Jauhari) +6012 374 1848 (mobile)

6. Silat Setiabakti
Technical breakdown- Locking: 10%, Striking: 80%, Throwing: 10%
Weapons- Tongkat, Parang, Kerambit
Master/ Instructor- Guru Dahlan Karim +6016 350 0410.

All of them have experience in training non-Malaysians and have a fair command of English. You can contact them personally for more information.


Original Article by Mohd Nadzrin Wahab

29 September 2007

Keris, King of the Melayu Weapons

Dimana Wajar Duduknya Keris
Menjadi Raja Segala Senjata
Molek Pusaka Ada Pewaris
Waris Biar Berilmu Di dada

Menjadi Raja Segala Senjata
Tiada Takhta Tanpa Lantikan
Waris Biar Berilmu Didada
Itu Sebenar Kuasa Warisan

Tiada Takhta Tiada Lantikan
Namun Kerjan Tetap Dinobat
Itu Sebenar Kuasa Warisan
Ilmu Islam Penguasa Adat

Ustaz Saiful Muhammad
11:59am
1/12/2007
Seremban, Negeri Sembilan

28 September 2007

Cekak, Cekak, Cekak, Cekak and Cakak?

When someone mentions Silat Cekak in Malaysia, the overwhelming young majority will recognise it to mean the silat style founded by the late Ustaz Hanafi Haji Ahmad. However, ask around in the villages and you'd be surprised when the older folk don't know this personality, but will mention a Pendekar Ahmad instead.

If you're a student of Silat Cekak Malaysia or Silat Cekak Hanafi, you would probably have been fed the party line, that only these two styles lay claim to the name. In fact, the name Cekak dates back through different lineages, one in Kedah, another in Pahang and yet another in Berunai.

Cekak Pahang
To my knowledge, there are five distinct Cekak styles running around Nusantara (maybe hundreds more). The first one is the famous Silat Cekak Pahang which is derived from the teachings of Pendekar Ahmad. As I understand it, the 'cekak' in this silat is a reference to its movements and not so much as an appelation, which came later.

Cekak or Bercekak, means to fight in a close-quarter pukulan fight, culminating in locks. Some Cekak (Pahang) teachers don't agree with this, instead preferring to use the term 'lintar' or 'spado' to describe the locking after the initial 'cekak'. This particular style is said to come from Sumatera since that's where Pendekar Ahmad hailed from.

Cekak Panglima Ismail
The second is of course what is represented by Silat Cekak Malaysia and Silat Cekak Hanafi today, the art that was taught by the late Ustaz Hanafi. The late Ustaz studied this art from the late Mahaguru Yahya Said, who later founded Silat Kalimah. Although there are several points of contention, both of their students agree that the lineage passed through a common ancestor, Panglima Ismail.

Ustaz Hanafi's students maintain that the name Cekak was originally revealed by Mahaguru Yahya Said, but the latter's students (especially guru Eusoff Ali [Pak Jauhari] who specifically questioned Mahaguru Yahya on this) claim that he only suggested the use based on an ancient style in Kedah which went by the same name, Cekak.

This (these?) is a very close-quarter pukulan and locking style and comes closer than any other martial art on earth (I base this on guro Omar Hakim's observation). However, the pukulan aspect is not as apparent as in Silat Cekak Pahang even though cikgu Baharin Ibrahim (former national silat olahraga coach) mentions that much of the locks in both arts are highly similar.

Cekak Kedah
This 'ancient style' is interesting since no one seems to know about it. The only clue we have is that several Kedah-born or Kedah-hailed masters claim to have inherited it. One is guru Osman Nok, currently of PESAKA Pahang, who heads his own Silat Cekak Harimau style. He claims it is a blending of his family's Kedah Cekak style and the Harimau he studied later.

Other than this, almost all other kampung Cekak styles are referenced as Cekak Minang to indicate their origin. Strange thing is, I have yet to find someone who can enlighten me on what Cekak Minang looks like. Add that to the Cekak Bengkulu style that appeared once in PENDEKAR magazine almost two decades ago, and you have a curious mystery on your hands.

Cekak Singapura
On one of my trips to Singapura, I was pleasantly surprised to find a style called Silat Cekak Singapura. Sadly this style, in its previous form, is no longer taught openly. The master who founded it is guru Allahyarham Budin Seon from Melaka. He migrated to the Lion City in the 1950s and started teaching his own blend of Cekak, Harimau and Sendeng, calling it only Cekak.

Because the Singapura government instituted the MACU (Martial Arts Control Unit), which made background checks into all masters obligatory, many students and masters faded away, including those from Cekak. Guru Budin left behind several black belt level students, but he himself returned to Melaka, where he restarted the style. It still exists today as Silat Cekak Bertam Ulu under guru Budin's son.

Where his Cekak style comes from, he did not inform his students. Either that, or I was not worthy of such information.

Cakak Berunai (Brunei)
Silat Cakak Berunai on the other hand is very different from the latter and former (my initial impression), seeing as it is a pukulan system without any apparent locking. It was demonstrated to me by Pengiran Anuar from Berunai (he was featured in both SENI BELADIRI and SENI SILAT WARISAN BANGSA) and he told me that the strikes are delivered with a bent arm, ala a western hook punch but at solar plexus level.

This is at odds with many other pukulan silat which deliver their strikes as an uppercut or backfist. Given the opportunity, I would definitely want to study more of this.

Either way, I would greatly appreciate if there are any other Cekak stylists out there who could contribute more information here on their particular brand, be it on any of the ones I named above, or even the ones we don't know of.

This article was edited from my post at Martial Arts Planet forums many years ago, with new information recently gleaned or some that I forgot to mention.

Original Article by Mohd Nadzrin Wahab

24 September 2007

Buah Pukul & Lian Yunan

A few comments here about Buah Pukul. In Malaysia, Gayang 5, LianPadukan, Silat Awang Daik, Gerak Silat Lian and many more fall under the category of Buah Pukul which has been variously defined as Shield and Strike or Striking Techniques or just Striking.

The name Buah Pukul is used exclusively when speaking of a root style taught by a Chinese trader who came to Singapura in 1897. He is known by various names, but the most common is Abdul Rahman Al-Yunani with some later practitioners claiming him to be of Chinese-Arab descent (even a descendant of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, PBUH).

Some even add on the title of Sheikh, claiming him to be a Muslim missionary. His skills (and successful defence against Singapura dock workers who tried to fleece him) caught the ear of Sultan Ibrahim of Johor. The Sultan ordered his personal bodyguard, the then High Commissioner of the Mersing district, Awang Daik, to investigate the incident and maybe even court the trader to teach.

Sensing his skills incapable of testing Abdul Rahman's own, he asked that a friend, Pak Long Muhammad Yassin, the Muar Chief of Police to accompany him. In a friendly contest, both of them conceded defeat and managed to persuade Abdul Rahman to come to Johor to teach. It was there that Awang Daik and Pak Long Muhammad Yassin became masters of the style. In Buah Pukul lore, Abdul Rahman disappeared soon after, never to be heard of again.

Meanwhile, Awang Daik and Pak Long Muhammad Yassin modified the style with their own expertise. Awang Daik was himself a Sunting man and Pak Long a Sendeng man.

Buah Pukul was then taught to the Sultan's personal army (Johor used to have its own army separate from the Malaysian Armed Forces up until the the turn of this century) and flourished. To this day, there are still remnants of these army folk who pass on the knowledge and their particular blends to their families and students.

In the palace, Buah Pukul was known as Lian Paduka or Royal Lian, but the art filtered outwards to the kampungs by way of Awang Daik's students and gained names such as Gayang 5, migrated to Pahang, and called Gerak Silat Lian, etc.

One of the more prominent Buah Pukul is LianPadukan [http://silatmelayu.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=23 you have to register as a free member to read this article] which has made strides away from the original Buah Pukul, including incorporating a left side lead and connection to the right side lead and a simplification of the 99 Lian forms into 16 core ones.

In Sabah and Sarawak, there is a particular pukulan style called Silat Spring (sometimes Sapring, or Sepiring) which resembles Buah Pukul. Recently, we had an interesting lead when AB Rahim, one of our research team members posted there, reported that Spring lore tells of a Chinese Muslim merchant named Abdul Rahman Abdullah who came to Sarawak and spread the art. So maybe he didn't 'disappear' as we all thought. We haven't nailed down any chronologies yet but we hope to soon and publish our findings in SMC (SilatMelayu. Com).

The most interesting part is that AB Rahim was himself an intermediate student of LianPadukan and he reportedthat what he saw in Spring is reminiscent of the old Buah Pukul forms, a continuous fist rolling that only exists in LianPadukan as a three-strike barrage. The inquiry is ongoing.

Now, as for Lian Yunan, although some Buah Pukul practitioners use this term for their own variants, I personally know of one strain that claims no descent from Buah Pukul.This Lian Yunan comes from Melaka and was last taught by a Salleh Chik (nee Soh Ah Chee) to Pak Anwar (full name unknown to me).

It is claimed to originate from one of Hang Li Po's bodyguard entourage (she was a 'princess' bride from China for the Malaccan sultan, although some people dispute her royalty for lack of records). Having seen and practised slightly both LianPadukan and this Lian Yunan, I can personally say the difference in method and technique is vastly different.

However, when I described Lian Yunan to LianPadukan guru utama Mohd Hasyim Mohd Salleh of LianPadukan, he seemed pleasantly surprised, saying that that was a really old form of Lian, which he thought did not exist anymore. Curiouser and curiouser.

Original Article by Mohd Nadzrin Wahab

10 September 2007

New link between Sendeng and Spring

After we reported the controversial possible link between Silat Spring in Sarawak and Silat LianPadukan in Johor, a possible link has been hinted between Silat Spring and Sendeng, also of Johor.

I received today news from our fellow Silat Melayu researcher, AB Rahim that after several months of studying Silat Spring, he has found remarkable similarities with Silat Sendeng. He reported that:

"The method and techniques in (silat) Spring is exactly like Sendeng. The only thing missing is the Kuntau aspect. The 7 Hari Belebat taught by cikgu Jamal(udin Shahadan), all of them are in the Spring techniques... There are only 11 techniques altogether..."

The missing aspect referred to, Kuntau, makes sense from an evolution point of view since original Sendeng always fought of the lead and never square. It was only introduced by the late Mahaguru Abdul Hamid Hamzah, founder of Silat Sendeng Muar (now known as Sendeng Malaysia) as a complementary element in the training.

This fits in well with what Dr Jean-Marc DeGraves of France has uncovered in his travels throughout Kalimantan and Sulawesi. In his research, he claims that the Bugis did not create Sendeng, but adapted it from a style found in Kalimantan. The original style too fought only off the lead.

Interesting? We WILL keep you updated as more comes in...

Original Article by Mohd Nadzrin Wahab

09 September 2007

Silat LianPadukan and Silat Spring link?

Recently, Galohajang, a regular visitor to this blog sent me this comment:

"I have encountered 1 Silat Spring 12@Pukulan 12 when I was young and what was demonstrated to me was similar to those buah of Lian Padukan and Gayang Lima which I viewed in youtube. There's an article of this silat in Pendekar or Seni Beladiri I couldnt recall which but being a writer in SB back then, have you stumble upon/got the chance to interview the practitioners of this system? If yes, do the share the same principles? I'd like very much to know whether LP, G5 and S12 share the same history. Thank you"

Well Galohajang, as far as the Buah Pukul people are concerned, both LianPadukan and Gayang Lima come from the same root, which is Awang Daik, the Mersing magistrate who first studied the art in 1897 from a Chinese Muslim businessman from Yunan named Sheikh Abdul Rahman al-Yunani.

However, there is nothing to prove a connection between Spring 12 and Buah Pukul, except that there is apparently a common master in both lineages.A friend of mine who has studied LianPadukan is currently posted in Sarawak and is intending to learn Spring 12 soon.

In his talks with a Spring 12 instructor, he found that the claimed founder of Spring 12, a Chinese Muslim missionary, Abdul Rahman Abdullah was a close copy of LianPadukan's Sheikh Abdul Rahman.

According to LianPadukan history, Sheikh Abdul Rahman 'disappeared' after he trained the warriors at the Johor palace. If we are to draw a conclusion now, it could be that he moved on to Sarawak. However, until we have further proof, this is all we have to go on.

My Sarawakian-posted LianPadukan friend also noted that what exists in Spring 12 now greatly mirrors the original Buah Pukul whereby the rolling fists 'gulung' are released in a continuous barrage whereby the 'gulung' in LianPadukan is most often truncated to three 'gulung'. Add this to the fact that in LianPadukan, there is a form called 'Lian Gulung' and you have all the elements of a good mystery.

Maybe all we need to do is for the LianPadukan folk organise and official friendly visit to Spring 12 in Sarawak to compare notes, and maybe, even a few 'gulung' :)

Original Article by Mohd Nadzrin Wahab