28 April 2008

Silat channels geek therapy for local practitioner

If you are a martial arts fan, you might be familiar with the blog www.silat-melayu.blogspot.com. Run by Malaysian silat afficinado Mohd Nadzrin Abdul Wahab, the blog has attracted a good number of visitors with its extensive archive of articles and discussions on martial arts, specifically silat.

Although most hits come from Malaysia, the blog does get regular visitors from the United Kingdom, United States and Australia. It woos an average of 150 to 200 visitors daily, which should be good enough to fulfil its purpose of reaching silat practitioners worldwide.

“I don’t know what silat background my readers are from, but I generally write about silat styles that I have studied and understand, aside from those I am familiar with,” Mohd Nadzrin says.

What fuels his passion? “Knowing that I’m correcting misconceptions about Malaysian silat keeps me going. The feedback that I get from readers tells me I’m on the right track,” he shares.

Mohd Nadzrin has been writing about silat long before blogs existed.

“I studied Silat Burung Rajawali from age nine, but that didn’t last long. From age nine to 17, I basically became a copycat martial artist, learning from movies and books. Being a timid introvert, it was an empowering way of building my confidence, even if none of the stuff I did was practical from a combative point of view.

“Aside from impractical martial arts, I love to write as a form of geek therapy, a passion sparked by one of my teachers,” he recalls.

Mohd Nadzrin now practises several forms of silat such as Keris Lok 9, Silat Cekak Hanafi and Silat Kuntau Tekpi. He took up Silat Cekak Hanafi and later Keris Lok 9 while studying communications at the International Islamic University Malaysia in 1995. This was when blogging caught on for him.

“When the Internet suddenly happened, there were silat forums everywhere. I participated in them, but there was nothing much about Malaysian silat. It was all about Indonesian silat and worse, because of some books that were published in the West many years ago, the rest of the world viewed Malaysian silat as being highly impractical,” he says.

So, Mohd Nadzrin started to become active in certain silat forums to correct such misconceptions and explain what Malaysian silat is all about. He served as the conduit between the knowledgeable here and the interested in the rest of the world.

In 2006, his blog came about, originally at blog.com and then blogger.com a year later. Mohd Nadzrin mainly blogs from home.

Interestingly, his blog has a fair share of contributing editors, including silat masters, to ensure the authenticity of information on silat.

Mohd Nadzrin also allows readers to discuss or dispute whatever he has put up on his blog. “It’s all been done with impeccable manners, so at least I know that those reading are of quality befitting silat people,” he says, adding that one of the most challenging parts in keeping the blog is to describe something that can only be felt, not explained.

The blog has brought Mohd Nadzrin some recognition. He has managed to contribute information for at least seven people to study silat in Malaysia as well as an invite to co-write an entry for the Encyclopaedia of Malaysia titled Seni Silat.

“Most importantly, I have made dozens of new friends online, most of whom I haven’t even met. They feed me with questions and this forces me to gain a deeper understanding of what I have studied. Their questions and suggestions prod me to constantly refer to my masters for the answers they seek. The good news is, I get my answers as well,” he says.

Written by Hazimin Sulaiman
Sourced from http://www.nst.com.my/Current_News/techNu/Monday/Blogger/20080428091042/Article/index_html

Thank you very much to Hazimin for helping to publicise the blog.

No comments: