20 September 2004


KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 20 (Bernama) -- Malaysian exponents for the World Silat Championship will be from among those who performed well at the National Silat Tournament in Kuantan on Oct 4-9.

The World Silat Championship will be held at Beduk Sports Hall, Singapore on Dec 12-20.

National Silat Association (Pesaka) assistant secretary Bahrain Ibrahim said 19 teams would be competing in Kuantan.

Speaking to Bernama here today, he said all shortlisted exponents would train at Bukit Jalil National Sports Complex next month.

Malaysia would send 29 competitos to Singapore. Seventeen exponents including six women will compete in silat olahraga while 12 including six women are in silat seni category.

Bahrain said Malaysian silat exponents were capable of winning three to four gold medals at the World Championship.

He said United Kingdom, France, Indonesia, Vietnam, Australia, Belgium, Netherlands and Saudi Arabia were among 31 nations taking part in the Singapore tournament.

Bahrain also said Malaysia won six gold and two silver medals at the Swiss Open Silat Championship last month.

Among the gold medallists were Mohd Azrin Abdul Malik, Mohd Zubir Osman, Emy Latip, Ahmad Sharil Zainuddin and Siti Jameelah Md Japilus, he said.

They also performed well to win four gold medals at the Belgium Open last April and European Invitational Championship in United Kingdom in June.

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14 September 2004

Fighting to promote silat heritage

THE normally placid ground of Perak Museum in Taiping will see a bustle of "fighting" action.

Beginning Aug 21, visitors will be fascinated by seni silat groups of various disciplines taking turn to show off their skills and promote Malay martial art as a national heritage product for tourism.

"Accomplished silat practitioners are mostly found in rural areas and it is difficult to gather them. We are honoured to have them here in the interest of our heritage," said Zainal Abidin Jamaludin, Central Perak Museum and Antiquities Department director.

The month-long festival was officiated by Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Tajol Rosli Ghazali, recently.

"Besides Japan and Korea with their karate and takwondo, we are one of few countries that have their own form of martial art. Silat is indeed a national treasure which we must preserve," he said.

Silat exponents wage an impressive display of hand-to-hand combat and amaze audiences with their ingenuity in traditional weaponry such as the keris, parang and todak.

For details of schedules, contact 05-8072057.

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13 September 2004

Students urged to fight for peace

Pencak silat, the traditional Malay martial art, is being promoted at private Islamic schools in a bid to encourage students to spend their time usefully and turn away from unlawful activities.

Several private Islamic schools in Pattani, being closely watched by the army for suspected separatist activities, have changed their image by promoting pencak silat.

Among those schools is Azizsatan Foundation school in Pattani's Khok Pho district. The school, which has drawn the army's attention over the use of foreign funding, has urged male students to learn pencak silat and perhaps become national athletes. Teachers believe the sport protects students from being lured into separatist movements.

In the Malay martial art, an attacker is met with quick and gracefully deceptive movements. Hard contact is avoided.

Some 30 students joined the pencak silat training programme at the school, which hired former national athlete Buslee Sama-ae to train the students.

"Pencak silat training will be held every weekend so students can spend their free time usefully aside from praying five times a day. If they have nothing to do, they may be lured into breaking the law," said Sumet Adin Raksa, 17, who is studying at level 2 of Azizsatan Foundation school, equivalent to Mathayom Suksa 5 or Grade 11.

The school was locally called "pink school" since its buildings were painted pink and its students wore pink

Mr Sumet Adin said he did not want people to have a negative image of private Islamic schools in the deep South after some students were involved in the April 28 violence.

"I don't want people to view most students at private Islamic schools as bandits or separatist members as only a few students made the wrong decision to join the separatist movement," he said.

Prior to the bloody April 28 uprising, several members of a separatist group led by Ustaz Soh Isma-ae Rayalong had persuaded several students at private Islamic schools to join the separatist movement. "Playing sports is better than joining [the separatists] as sport is good for health. Pencak silat teaches us self-defence techniques," he said.

"We also preserve a local martial art. Pencak silat is a Malayu sport and we are Malayu people.

"We hope to become national athletes," said Mr Sumet Adin.

Yakoh Salae, 48, principal of Azizsatan Foundation school, said he had asked teachers to closely monitor students to prevent them from being lured into the separatist movement.

Background checks of some 160 teachers following the April 28 attack uncovered no links to the separatist movement.

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12 September 2004

Silat in Los Angeles

12 Sept 2004, USA, California - September 2004 was the inaugural date of the first seminars of EastWestStudios system of Pencak Silat in the USA. At the joint invitation of Guru Dan Inosanto and Guru Cliff Stewart, Guru Steven Benitez took his team out to formally introduce Traditional Pencak Silat to the martial arts capital of America. Guru Dan Inosanto is the legendary Torch-bearer of Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kune Do system and Guru Cliff Stewart is a legend in the world of personal protection and martial science. These two men have nearly a century of martial arts experience behind them so one can understand what an honour it was for Guru Steven to be invited to share his teachings with them.

On Thursday September 16th 2004 Steven Benitez along with his Chief Assistant Alvin Guinanao & apprentice instructors Mark Wilenkin and Tony Felix arrived in the usual warm southern Californian heat looking forward to an interesting week ahead. On the agenda was a combination of private classes and seminars for both groups.

Steven had previously met Guru Dan when they were co-instructors at a seminar for the UK’s Martial Arts Illustrated magazine. Guru Dan had since gone on to say that Steven Benitez is probably one of the best Silat Teachers in the world and that he is ‘The man to learn Silat from’. Tony Felix had already been a guest instructor at Cliff Stewart’s Lost Art Silat Masters Camp earlier in the year-Tony had assisted Cliff when he was Wesley Snipes’ bodyguard-and the introductory workshop Tony conducted on traditional Silat had led to great curiosity about the Silat practiced at EWS. Steven was then contacted by Cliff and he had already maintained contact with Guru Dan. So it was great to see these two icons cooperating and jointly hosting the EWS seminar team.

The teachings began with private group classes for Cliff Stewart’s LA Pencak Silat group. Guru Cliff Stewart has been studying martial arts for 47 years and studying Silat for nearly 20 years but was looking to further his studies in the more traditional aspects of the art. It is so refreshing that such a well respected and highly regarded teacher-of-teachers was willing to look further into the art that he loves. His previous teachers had not really emphasized the traditional aspects of Silat so he was happy for the opportunity to continue his evolution in a more complete manner. He had been impressed with the rounded approach to Silat at EWS. He noted the syllabus contained the traditional footwork-langkah, handwork-jurus, training methods and usage of weapons. He particularly smiled when he found out EWS had their yoga and conditioning.

Cliff Stewart’s Lost Art Silat group were aware of the ground-fighting aspects of the Art-traditionally Silat players may spend up to 2 years ‘on the ground’ building the foundation. In fact they had been feverishly preparing for Guru Steven’s visit, not wanting to seem out of sorts with the ground systems. The system the group previously trained in did not contain the Silat ground-fighting systems.

Guru Inosanto requested 2 private classes for his personal small group and 2 larger open seminars at his Inosanto Academy at Marina Del Rey. The small group were his long term instructors and more experienced training partners. The open seminar attendees were a broad mixture of students from the various classes held at the Academy. A large number of these were Grapplers generously urged by Guru Dan to attend the seminars.

Guru Steven believes in not deviating from the traditional methods taught to him by Guru Ma Prem so as always all the sessions began with the traditional conditioning. Many people see the positions of Pencak Silat and laugh - that is until they try the postures and feel the strength they build. The conditioning of Silat is unique in the fact that the warm up postures are the self-same postures used for the application but done much slower. Guru Ma teaches that all Silat is ‘One’ and you begin to understand this concept after going through the traditional conditioning. Many people there including grapplers and some yoga practitioners commented on the connectivity of these postures-through the warming up and later on during the application phases.

Let’s say they were pleasantly surprised at the non-sports approach to fighting on that ground that Silat has. It was interesting for them to not be able to ‘rest’ in the guard position and not be looking for ‘pin’ and ‘control’ positions. A few of them kept asking about various scenarios for ground fighting. They also welcomed the concept of multiple-opponent awareness by training in groups of three.

The Academy was treated to another traditional aspect of Silat when Alvin & Tony Felix did a knife-fight within the circle of people training. The catch was that they were only allowed to stay on the ground and not come to their feet. Then later Alvin was told to remain on the floor unarmed while Tony was allowed to get to his feet and continue ‘trying’ to attack him with the knife. Alvin’s performance during this exercise is a testament to how well he studied and been trained by Steven. The gathered southern Californians were suitably impressed. The ending of all the classes held were met by generous applause and warm congratulations for Guru Steven and his team.

A lot of praises are often spoken about Guru Dan Inosanto and you may wonder at how accurate the statements are. But when you meet him, see him train and talk to him you understand why. To spend time with him is truly humbling. He is in his late 60’s and trained along with his students in the open seminars. In fact when the EWS team left he returned to the mats to practice the postures. His knowledge, enthusiasm and love of martial arts is truly something to behold.

Being Hollywood there was naturally some star presence at both sets of seminars. With famed fight choreographer and stuntman Jeff Imada at the Inosanto academy and with Cliff taking the group to meet Judge Joe Brown at the taping of his top-rated TV show. In fact the Judge came to visit the EWS team at Cliff’s house and stayed chatting until the early hours. He is now keenly practicing the ground aspects of EWS Silat.

So the trip ended memorably with smiles all around and with both groups setting up dates for EWS Silat seminars next year. Since the return there have already been congratulatory e-mails for the team. There are now smiles on both sides of the Atlantic and the path has been made for the spread of the little seen traditional Pencak Silat.

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