30 September 2008

Eid Mubarak 1429

Eid Mubarak, Min al Aidin wal Faizin, Maaf Zahir dan Batin. Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri to all readers of Silat Melayu: The Blog. We will be taking a one week break for the festival and we'll see you back here soon.

In the meantime, do drop by Silat.TV to express your support. That's where everyone is. Is that where you aren't?

Original Article by Mohd Nadzrin Wahab

29 September 2008

SEAArch recommends this blog

A big thank you to SouthEastAsian Archeology Newsblog for mentioning Silat Melayu: The Blog in their Wednesday Rojak #28 post. We appreciate the acknowledgement.

Original Article by Mohd Nadzrin Wahab

28 September 2008

PSSKTM Annual Gathering & Silat Festival

Pertubuhan Seni Silat Kuntau Tekpi Malaysia is organising its Annual Gathering & Silat Festival and cordially invite all interested pesilat and martial artists to attend.

The event will be marked by silat demonstrations and the opportunity to network among different martial stylists, regardless of origin.

For those who know, it will be held at Pak Guru Sani Zainol Abidin's home in Baling.

Date: 30 Nov 2008
Time: 10.00am
Venue: Kg. Siput, Mukim Weng, Baling, Kedah

If you want to RSVP your attendance, click here

For more information on the event or specific address, contact Cikgu Norazlan Wahid

Original Article by Mohd Nadzrin Wahab

27 September 2008

Romancing The Gendang, Hamid's Way Of Keeping Traditions Alive

"I feel something is amiss if I go through the day without once playing the gendang (drum) - just like a forlorn person pining for his missing loved one," quipped a cheerful-looking Hamid Abdullah, to the rapturous guffaws from all those within earshot.

The affable 48-year-old Hamid, whom residents of Kampung Kuala Lanjut affectionately call Pak Tih Mid, was all smiles as he related his experience at playing the gendang silat (traditional Melayu drum which usually accompany a silat demonstration) to journalists, at his home here.

Grabbing the 53.3 cm-long drum that hung on the wall of his house, Hamid placed the musical instrument on his lap, his fingers caressing the skin as he strike forcefully onto the drum face, letting out a staccato of thumping beat.

Occasionally adjusting his headgear, Hamid related his gendang-playing legacy.

Among the 15 siblings, Hamid is the fifth and only child who took up the cudgel from his father and is carrying on with the musical tradition, which has been in the family's patriarchal lineage for the past three generations.

"I started playing the drum at the age of 14 and have never stopped to this day," claimed Hamid, who still keeps the first drum that he made some 30 years ago. He also keeps the drum his father made some 70 years ago.

Earning a living playing the gendang
Hamid, who formed his own musical ensemble called Gendang Budaya Warisan Pak Tih (Hamid's Cultural Drum Heritage) 20 years ago, said playing the gendang silat has enabled him to support his family.

Besides playing at silat demonstrations, he also gets invited to perform at wedding receptions as well being a regular act at government functions like the Merdeka celebrations and VIP receptions.

Hamid charges from RM600 to RM2,000 depending on the location, time, the nature of the function and whether other traditional instruments would be required.

Hamid demonstrated his musical prowess by playing five drums simultaneously.

"The thinner the leather used, the better and sharper would the sound of the beat be," said Hamid.

He said the quality of the beats produced by a drum depends on the tautness of the leather used for the drums surfaces.

Usually, cowhide leather is used to form the bam or inferior surface of the gendang that emits low-pitch beats while sheepskin leather is used for the superior surface or cang that emits high-pitch beats.

"Rattan is used to reinforce the tautness of the bam," said Hamid who keeps 10 pairs of various Melayu drums used for silat and joget routines.

For Hamid, even though the task to create a gendang is really meticulous, the interest in keeping his father's legacy alive keeps him going on.

"A good gendang is that made from either the jackfruit, coconut or cempedak wood. I would usually seek out the wood from the jungle", said Hamid who also teaches the art of self defence, Silat Gayung Melayu.

He said the ideal length of a gendang is around 55cm as it would not strain the arms and can be comfortably held.

Such gendang may cost up to RM800 and making one, takes about one month, he said.

Assistance from Kraftangan
Hamid felt as if he was over the moon when the Kedah-branch of Kraftangan Malaysia offered him RM5,000 assistance.

Hence, from the money, Hamid built a workshop next to his home in an effort to conserve the Melayu drums heritage.

Apart from the gendang-making work, the workshop also doubles up as a kind of a showroom for those who wish to view the finished products.

Kraftangan Malaysia also channeled RM20,000 worth of cowhide leather and machine for Hamid's gendang-making effort.

Fifth generation
Now Hamid is a relieved man as three of his children have shown that they are keen to follow his interest.

Hamid's sons Mohd Sabri, 25, Mohd Shabi, 17 and Mohd Faizal, 16, frequently follow their father and his Gendang Warisan Pusaka troupe to their performances.

According to Mohd Sabri, ever since he first started to hear the performance of the gendang when he was a child, his interest in the tradition has built up.

"I started to play the gendang when I was in standard three, and now I work fulltime to make them. If not my brothers and I, who else would continue this legacy, furthermore performing with the gendang is able to give us a good income.

"Sometimes, we have our hands full in meeting the invitations to perform", he said.

Mohd Sabri is also learning how to perform with the serunai like his father who is adept at performing the traditional tunes like Mak Inang Lama, Layang Mas and Didikku.

This was proven when Hamid charmed the journalists when he performed the Ayam Didik tune with the serunai.

Written by Nurul Halawati Azhari
Sourced from http://www.bernama.com.my/bernama/v3/news_features.php?id=361283

26 September 2008

100 days to masterhood

Silat in Malaysia is a hodge podge of methods, lineages and styles. You'll even find some Oriental and Japanese styles masquerading as silat, simply because of the very open definition we have for it here.

Generally, traditional Silat Melayu styles which map very closely to Sumateran styles take far longer because it's often deemed to be a comprehensive human development system which includes physical (as in phys ed), combat (as in war), philosophical (as in introspection), spiritual (as in relationship with Allah) and social(as in relationship to man).

There are two main traditional methods, the live in uchi-desi-like method, where students study for 100 days straight to graduation in a system (3 months and 10 days, actually only 88 days, because Thursdays are reserved for religious studies) day and night.

They then leave as a qualified master of the system and are expected to travel to improve their skills and develop their own style (not as in founding a style to teach others, but finding their own applications and expressions that work best for them).

This means that the student's knowledge will have a different starting point than a student who studied later in a common master's life, who by then would have further developed his skills, understanding and method of teaching.

The second method is the full-time live in student cum adopted son. He studies the same way, but after his 100 days are up, continues to explore his skills with his master, his skills just barely behind the old man as he progresses. This provides daily training for the student and an opportunity to the master to constantly improve himself as well.

Buah-based systems in Malaysia are fairly new and catches on faster than traditional systems because of their simplicity. This has caused the majority view that buah-based systems are the norm in silat, which is not the case. They just have a higher profile.

Their syllabi are also noticeably shorter more focused on combat and don't have fully developed whole-person development systems in place. Thus, many of them only provide hints or directions for the students to improve themselves. Students are forced to look elsewhere to add on to their skills.

Original Article by Mohd Nadzrin Wahab

25 September 2008

All in Silat?

I got an interesting SMS (that's a text message to you Americans) yesterday from a young friend of mine. It read:

"In the knowledge of silat, is there an 'amalan' (spiritual practise) to have the girl that we love, love us back sincerely and honestly, followed by marriage and be together until the hereafter? Is there an 'amalan' to have her express what she keeps hidden and what she truly feels? How does one remove doubt in what she feels?"

I expect my international readers should be scratching their heads right about now. Allow me to try explaining. The Melayu view their culture as an integrated whole, religion, customs, dress, martial arts, all included. For many, it's difficult to draw the line between them.

Young Melayu are socialised in this culture through various different channels. Parents, the masjids, old folk in the villages, etc. However, the strongest and most organised channel is Silat. If you asked a traditional Melayu what silat is, be prepared to get a definition that covers every single thing under the sun.

Manners, customs, dress, religion, philosophy, spirituality, medicine, magic, music, dance, weapons, combat, life. Long time practitioners of Oriental and Japanese martial arts will recognise this concept. It exists the same way in Silat. So, don't be surprised that my young friend actually asked that question.

I was just surprised it came from a city boy in an SMS over my handphone. Then it hit me. This is exactly how I began. A city boy with searching for his lost heritage, and I found my first footing in Silat. This is true for so many of us now in Malaysia. Cut off from our roots by the rise of globalisation, we are forced to find dependable channels to help us rediscover them.

Ironically, the many things I found in Silat are hardly what I found in it, but through it. I am no where near my journey's end, but I feel that I have passed that stage where Silat is an all-encompassing field of study. It is to me, now, a key to open those other doors. Doubtless, those young Melayu who are taking their first steps in Silat would still view it the way I did.

No problem there. Just make sure you don't miss the point.

As to my young friend, I told him no, there isn't such amalan in Silat. But there is in Islam.

Original Article by Mohd Nadzrin Wahab

24 September 2008

Difference between Silat Cekak Hanafi and Silat Melayu Keris Lok 9

Silat Cekak Hanafi and Silat Melayu Keris Lok 9 are both well-known silat styles in Malaysia. Although Cekak Hanafi has the numbers due to its strong grassroots support from the government, local schools and higher learning institutions, Lok 9 has become increasingly popular through SENI BELADIRI magazine, both of whom share a founder, guru Azlan Ghanie.

When I first studied Silat Cekak Hanafi, I found it a very systematic and an energy-economical style. It can generally be classified as a buah-based system which trains direct applications through set techniques. It was quite a shock then when I took up Silat Melayu Keris Lok 9, a very traditional, very amiable style that was more principle-based than buah-focused.

Setting aside the principle that all martial arts are fundamentally the same, Cekak stands apart (sometimes purposely) from the majority of Silat Melayu because its combat principles and ethics are different.

Lok 9 allows for Tipu Helah (trickery) while Cekak employs none of it. Cekak subscribes to a Tapak 2 footwork while Lok 9 employs all Tapaks 2, 3, 4 and 5.

Cekak ready stances are always high and square to the opponent, but Lok 9 stances vary according to the situation and relative position of the opponent.

Cekak is essentially buah-based, which means they start off with preset multipurpose and modular techniques during the Buah Asas, Buah Jatuh and Buah Potong stages. These are drilled into students to guide them into decompiling the techniques into smaller modules that can be reassembled during combat. The stage where they find this freedom is called Buah Umum.

Lok 9 on the other hand starts with physical reeducation of the body to train fluid responses, originally through Tari and Kembangan, but in recent years, through Senaman Tua instead, which was derived from the aforesaid Tari and traditional dynamic and static exercises.

Students come away understanding how to generate kinetic energy and transfer that into limbs for various purposes: kuncian, pukulan, buangan, langkahan, etc.

Once the body has this vocabulary, then they move into the forms called Loks which build upon one another in terms of difficulty. The Loks are progressively expanded derivatives of the Sembah Perguruan, a Kembangan taught at the very beginning of their studies, thus the claim that the whole art is already taught in the beginning.

They are then partnered into two-man kembangan akin to full body Chi Sao to train sensitivity. This gets progressively faster and from simply indicated strikes, lead into connecting ones.

This will lead into technique interpretation, where the teacher spars with a student and when a technique is born of the interaction, everyone else in the class has to imitate it, then extrapolate it into their own application depending on variations in size, speed and angle of attack of their partners.

For practicality sake and due to the short attention span of modern man, all three of the above phases are done sequentially in every session, which builds skill and allows weaker students to train with higher skilled ones in random pair ups.

Cekak never trains in the use of weapons as a principle (being prepared for the worst situation, no weapons available) while Lok 9 trains in the Keris and all weaponwork: kerambit, badik, tumbuk lada, sundang, pedang, etc are simply extrapolations of the Keris work.

Original Article by Mohd Nadzrin Wahab

23 September 2008

Words of wisdom

Today, I thought I'd share with you some words of wisdom from those people who have influenced my life in silat the most. They have shaped my outlook and helped my decisions and in many ways, have made me what I am today. Along with my family, they are my other fathers, and I'm sure my late father would approve. Here are my favourite sayings of my masters and their masters before them.

1. Mahaguru Yahya Said - Silat Kalimah

"Berlapik Berlantai Bentang Tikar Tiga Helai Cari Seorang Cerdik, Seorang Pandai, Seorang Juara Di Tengah Balai Ke Gunung Sama Didaki, Ke Lurah Sama Dituruni Berat Sama Dijunjung Ringan Sama Dijinjing Hati Gajah Sama Dilapah, Hati Tuma Sama Dicecah Ayam Ditambat Mesti Diberi Makan"

Translation: "A Covered Floor , Spread Out Three Carpets Find An Intelligent Man, A Skillful Man and a Champion In The Middle of the Court To The Mountains We Climb Together, To The Valleys We Descend Together The Heavy Load We Lift Together, The Light Load We Carry Together An Elephant's Heart We Cleave Together, A Flea's Heart We Dip Together A Tied Rooster Has To Be Fed."

Meaning: It talks about unity, community and leadership. The Melayu say: never sleep on a bare floor, so having three carpets indicates formality and norms in a community. The three qualities of a leader or leaders: intelligence, skill and a champion are the bare minimum needed to ensure positive growth. A rooster is a proud champion in his own right, but if you select him as your leader (i.e. tying him down), his livelihood is your responsibility.

2. Guru Eusoff Ali (Pak Johari) - Silat Kalimah

"Hang ingat Allah bagi semua kat hang saja ka? Aku pun Dia ada kasi..."

Translation: "Do you really think Allah gave you everything? He gave me some too..." (basically what he likes to say to an opponent at a face off).

3. Ustaz Hanafi Haji Ahmad - Silat Cekak

"Pakai Tak Pakai, Tak Pakai"

Meaning: Counter the enemy's movements by following his movement's, not opposing them. What he uses (pakai), you don't use (tak pakai), and what he uses (tak pakai), you use (pakai).

4. Tuan Guru Md Radzi Haji Hanafi - Silat Cekak Hanafi

"Belajar silat mulanya dari jam kunci, lama-lama jadi jam digital"

Translation: Learning silat begins from being a wind up clock but later ending up as a digital clock.

5. Guru Jamaludin Shahadan - Silat Sendeng Haji Hamid

"Senjata makan tuan, maksudnya tuan tak reti guna senjata"

Translation: A weapon that hurts its owner means the owner isn't competent to wield the weapon! Full story here http://silat-melayu.blogspot.com/200...akan-tuan.html

6. Ustaz Ahmad Che Din - Silat Abjad

"Berkorbanlah, jangan sampai terkorban sekali"

Transation: You may sacrifice, just don't be sacrificed.

Meaning: Do what you need to achieve your objectives but keep in control and ensure you can continue the battle and not die meaninglessly.

7. Guru Azlan Ghanie - Silat Melayu Keris Lok 9

"Biar dia tidak tahu kita menjirus air ke atas dia, tahu-tahu saja dia dah basah"

Translation: It's unnecessary for him to know when we pour water over him, all that matters is that he gets wet.

Meaning: A student doesn't need to know the process he needs to go through to learn, nor know what the master intends to teach him. All that matters is that he gains knowledge.

Original Article by Mohd Nadzrin Wahab

22 September 2008

Beach Training

Silat Seni Gayong practitioners undergoing a khatam keris ceremony on the beach.

In 2003, I joined a journalistic excursion with SENI BELADIRI magazine to the beautiful state of Kelantan. We were there to interview guru Pak Su Noor of Silat Terlak Empat and guru Awi of Silat Jawi. The group we assembled were all Silat Melayu Keris Lok 9 practitioners who studied with guru Azlan Ghanie, also the magazine's publisher.

Although we spent our first night there at a hotel, we later decided on staying at a beachside dorm at Pantai Cahaya Bulan (formerly Pantai Cinta Berahi), better known as PCB. Being a group of silat-mad practitioners, it wasn't long before someone suggested we practice some forms on the beach under the moonlight.

We decided not to practice close to shore, where the sand was packed hard by the water, but further up the incline, where the sand was loose. It was an amazing experience. Moonlight sparring was very different. The sand kept moving under our feet and made it difficult to keep mobile. Practicing arts that depend heavily on footwork means that the more you move, you more energy the sand saps away from you.

Soon enough, our feet started hurting badly. It dawned on us that this was probably why beach training was such an important aspect of silat to those masters who had access to it in the past. If you want to put power into your legs, but can't pay for a personal trainer nor a gym membership, a sandy beach is probably your cheapest option. Oh, if you're doing this in Malaysia, keep a can of bug spray handy.

Although all of us were studying Lok 9 at the time, we were blessed by having members who had varied backgrounds in the arts. There were practitioners of Cimande, Gayong, Cekak, Sendeng, Lincah, Gayong Maarifat and who knows what else.

Thus, after we got bored of doing Lok 9 forms, we began taking turns leading the group, doing forms from various different styles. Combat-wise, I suddenly appreciated the simple buah of Silat Cekak Hanafi and Silat Kuntau Tekpi. You lost a lot less energy by not evading too much.

But I have to say, if strong legs is what you want to get out of your free beach training, Sendeng forms have got to be the toughest. It's bad enough to have to constantly balance on a single-line fencing-style low stance, but you have to shuffle instead of step, and that takes smooth balance transfer. The worst parts are the kicks, which are delivered from those same low stances.

You can imagine then, my horror when I read in the news recently that the Asian Beach Games, first ever to be held in Bali, is actually going to happen. What started out in my mind as a laughable event became a serious undertaking, with several countries committing athletes, including Malaysian and, of course, Vietnam.

I'm not laughing anymore, and I regret I ever did.

To all the athletes who will face each other on the hot, burning, shifting sands of Bali, I envy you not. This will be the toughest test ever for your skills. Make us proud and any medals you bring home will be well deserved. Then, and only then can you kick off your shoes and soak your feet into a tub of hot water for the next couple of weeks. Good luck!

The Beach Pencak Silat event will be held from the 18th to 21st and 23rd October 2008. For more information, click here.

Original Article by Mohd Nadzrin Wahab

21 September 2008

Silat.tv social networking site

When I first started this blog, I reported that guru Omar Hakim of Silat Kuntau Tekpi USA had planned to set up a website at http://silat.tv/ to sell silat-related books and DVDs. Well, although that hasn't seen fruition, but a happy replacement seems to have happened.

If you go to the URL now, you'll see a rocking cool Silat social networking site that allows you to discuss, post comments and videos and publish your own blog. I joined it recently and would greatly encourage all my visitors to do the same.

You can set up groups for different silat styles. Let's have more Malaysian styles over there and show the world we exist! So far, only Silat Kuntau Tekpi, Silat Cekak Hanafi and Silat Melayu Keris Lok 9 are represented.

Go to http://silat.tv/ and register now!

Original Article by Mohd Nadzrin Wahab

20 September 2008

Seeing is believing

At a recent class, we were working on Pekiti-Tirsia's "3d Hand" principle against multiple knife thrusts. The usual plan is to render the opponent blind, or otherwise knock him senseless and then range-out in an explosive manner to "welcome" the next opponent.

For this particular class however, I decided to show how kuncian (locking) from Silat Kuntau Tekpi could be applied against a knife attack. After waylaying the knife, instead of ranging-out you immobilize, then lock him down from his core.

Some of the newer students were seeing (and feeling) Silat Kuntau Tekpi for the first time.

The next day, one of the students sent me the following note:


After bugging you for awhile to demonstrate Silat Kuntau Tekpi to me, now that I have seen it, I am almost sorry I asked. I can only describe this martial art in one word, cruel.

I have been exposed to joint locks, but it appeared that almost every technique you demonstrated worked on destroying the entire body rather than focusing on a single point.

The interesting thing about this was the simplicity of getting the opponent - actually victim - into the positions you want them in. Unlike some of the grappling arts I have seen, most of these moves happened without any setup, you just went directly into them.

After seeing this I must say that I would rather be beaten with a stick or cut up with a knife than face a Tekpi practitioner and have my body broken in this ferociously painful manner.

With all of this being stated, I will say that everything I was shown was brutally effective. If a person wanted to end a fight immediately in such a way as to make even the onlookers wince in pain, then this is the art to use.

Just my thoughts on what I witnessed.


Stolen unapologetically from http://balisongplayer.blogspot.com/

19 September 2008

Pencak Silat Asma plays Fire Soccer

Two soccer teams comprising female students of a pesantren (Islamic boarding school), struggled for the ball with great zeal.

The girls, wearing head scarves and no shoes, were not kicking an ordinary soccer ball -- they were chasing after a flaming, dried-out coconut "ball" under the darkened evening sky.

The students of the As-Sunniyah pesantren in Sokaraja Lor village, Central Java, were indeed enjoying the lively atmosphere of this particular activity.

As many as 200 male and female pesantren students (santri), as well as local residents, gathered around the school compound and mosque yard to watch their rare and bold match.

"Come on, come on kick it ... Goal!," exclaimed supporters as the ball, still burning, was kicked and rolled between the goal posts.

This was As-Sunniyah's student fireball soccer competition which involved male and female members of the Pencak Silat Asma (traditional martial arts club) in a bid to liven up the school's Ramadan evenings.

The girls showed no hesitation or fear whatsoever during the match. They chased after the burning ball just as they would a normal leather soccer ball.

"Yes, it's a terrible thing to imagine before you've tried it. But after learning the techniques and saying some prayers, I wasn't afraid anymore and I got used to it," said 17-year-old Novi Utami.
The previous evening, her instructor had briefed all players, Novi said.

"Among other things, we were told that fire was God's creation. All creations and beings obey Allah as their creator. So before playing, we pray that the fire will not harm us," Novi told The Jakarta Post.

And the special prayers made her bare feet feel no heat from the scorching ball, she said.
Hasyim Murtadho, 60, a patron of As-Suniyah, said certain prayers and shook hands with all eleven players on each team before the game began.

Hasyim said fireball soccer in his pesantren was a tradition on nights of Ramadan, especially to welcome Nuzulul Qur'an on the 17th day of the holy month.

"It's an expression of gratitude to God in anticipation of the descent of the Koran," Hasyim told the Post.

Nuzulul Qur'an was the night of God's miracle and glory when the Islamic holy scripture, the Koran, was given to mankind, he said, adding that fireball soccer was a means to demonstrate to santri one of the marvelous powers of Koranic verses, by which the heat of fire could be subdued.

Muji Setiono, 30, an instructor at the school's Asma club who teaches fireball soccer skills to students, said he and his fellow trainers had prepared several dried coconuts for their games.

"About five dried coconuts were immersed in kerosene for a whole night," Muji said.

That way, he said, the fibrous skin of the coconuts could absorb more kerosene and keep the "ball" flaming for an entire match. Those "balls" that ran out of spark would be replaced with a new flaming one.

The players, aged between 17 and 19 years, were divided into two, same-sex teams before forming a circle to pray together.

The squads then prepared their teams for play. As soon as the referee blew his whistle, the center-forward kicked the ball and cheers filled the night air.

The fireball soccer matches were held for two 10-minute halves.

The game created a very vibrant atmosphere -- spectators were amazed to see barefooted female students chase after (and kick) a burning object.

"We teach players to fear nothing but Allah. This is the main source of their strength," Muji said.

Written by Agus Maryono
Sourced from http://old.thejakartapost.com/detailfeatures.asp?fileid=20080919.T01&irec=0

18 September 2008

Indonesia aims for Silat gold in Beach Games

Indonesia is looking to take the lion's share of gold medals in the traditional martial art of pencak silat at the inaugural Asian Beach Games on the resort island of Bali next month.

Oyong Karmayuda, a director at the Indonesian Pencak Silat Association (IPSI), on Tuesday said the Indonesian Sports Council was expecting Indonesian pesilat (pencak silat athletes) to win four out of eight gold medals up for grabs.

"The target is quite realistic. However, we haven't yet decided which events we have a bigger chance (of winning medals in)," Oyong said.

Indonesia will field a 10-strong pencak silat squad. Dian Kristanto will compete in the men's 45-50-kilogram category, Pranoto in the men's 80-85 kg, Ria Puspitasari in the women's 45-50 kg, Komang Suparniti in the women's 55-60 kg, I Gusti Ngurah Arya in the men's artistic form singles, Putu Sepianawati in the women's artistic form singles, Muhammad Yusuf and Hamdani in the men's artistic form doubles, and Ayu and Dwi in the women's artistic form doubles.

Team manager Bambang Ruseffendi said most squad members were also champions at the Southeast Asian Games in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, last year, and at the 2008 National Games.

"All our pesilat arrived in Bali last month to undergo intensive training," Bambang said.
At least seven countries, including archrivals Malaysia and Vietnam, have confirmed their participation in the pencak silat event.

Oyong admitted competition would be tougher than usual.

"Fighting on beach sand is a lot harder and more exhausting than on a mat. The hot sand can quickly drain your energy. It is really demanding in terms of endurance," he said.

Each pesilat would also need to worry about getting sand in their eyes, Oyong said, but added providing sunglasses to competitors would increase the risk of more serious injury if a misplaced strike were to hit the sunglasses.

"We won't use sunglasses. Instead, we will use a certain technique to cover our eyes," Oyong said.

He added his team was expecting a strong challenge from the other competitors.
"Pesilat from Malaysia, Vietnam and Singapore have been in Bali longer to practice."

Written by Niken Prathivi
Sourced from http://old.thejakartapost.com/detailsports.asp?fileid=20080918.U01&irec=0

RI aims for 'pesilat' gold in Beach Games

Indonesia is looking to take the lion's share of gold medals in the traditional martial art of pencak silat at the inaugural Asian Beach Games on the resort island of Bali next month.

Oyong Karmayuda, a director at the Indonesian Pencak Silat Association (IPSI), on Tuesday said the Indonesian Sports Council was expecting Indonesian pesilat (pencak silat athletes) to win four out of eight gold medals up for grabs.

"The target is quite realistic. However, we haven't yet decided which events we have a bigger chance (of winning medals in)," Oyong said.

Indonesia will field a 10-strong pencak silat squad. Dian Kristanto will compete in the men's 45-50-kilogram category, Pranoto in the men's 80-85 kg, Ria Puspitasari in the women's 45-50 kg, Komang Suparniti in the women's 55-60 kg, I Gusti Ngurah Arya in the men's artistic form singles, Putu Sepianawati in the women's artistic form singles, Muhammad Yusuf and Hamdani in the men's artistic form doubles, and Ayu and Dwi in the women's artistic form doubles.

Team manager Bambang Ruseffendi said most squad members were also champions at the Southeast Asian Games in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, last year, and at the 2008 National Games.

"All our pesilat arrived in Bali last month to undergo intensive training," Bambang said.

At least seven countries, including archrivals Malaysia and Vietnam, have confirmed their participation in the pencak silat event.

Oyong admitted competition would be tougher than usual.

"Fighting on beach sand is a lot harder and more exhausting than on a mat. The hot sand can quickly drain your energy. It is really demanding in terms of endurance," he said.

Each pesilat would also need to worry about getting sand in their eyes, Oyong said, but added providing sunglasses to competitors would increase the risk of more serious injury if a misplaced strike were to hit the sunglasses.

"We won't use sunglasses. Instead, we will use a certain technique to cover our eyes," Oyong said.

He added his team was expecting a strong challenge from the other competitors.

"Pesilat from Malaysia, Vietnam and Singapore have been in Bali longer to practice."

Sourced from http://www.accessmylibrary.com/article-1G1-187689023/ri-aims-pesilat-gold.html

16 September 2008

Spiritual Authenticity: An introduction

Malaysia sits at the nexus of some very interesting commercial lines. I say interesting, because not only does the society acknowledge and condone their existence, but in a way, so does the government.

If you go to Kuala Lumpur, the tourist spot that everyone tells you you should visit is Petaling Street, or fondly known as Chinatown where knock offs abound: pirated handbags, wallets, watches, DVDs and what have you.

In all the government and non-government travel brochures, Petaling Street is touted as "the" place to get cheap goods, but stops short of revealing its ethical dilemma. The problem is, most of the goods aren't out and out pirated. They are overruns, meaning, they were produced at the same factory contracted to produce the originals. They are just as good as the real thing. And if there ever was an analogy that worked for plagiarism in silat, Petaling Street would be it.

Silat could properly be classified as Traditional Knowledge if we go by the definition here. Traditional Knowledge is deemed to belong to a community, but an issue arises when segments within that community cross-claim it to belong to a smaller group, a family or even an individual.

This was not always a problem. Long before there were 'schools' and 'styles', there was a master and a student. This minimum of a pair was the 'school' and what passed between them was the relationship.

From my surveys among silat masters, most of them agree that knowledge does not pass from them to their students, because they ultimately do not know what their student receives or understands. This is rooted in the sufi conception of knowledge, that when someone teaches something, it is not the facilitation skills of the teacher, nor the sheer intellect of the student that creates understanding. It is that Allah reveals this knowledge to both the teacher and his student at the same time with differing insights.

The master could, in his process of explaining a concept he studied, gain an updated enlightenment. Or, it is the student who gets it immediately, without the master having to say too much. This, especially in silat circles who are deeply influenced by Tariqat, is called "Haq Diri" or granted knowledge for one individual.

Because the master and student now have 'different' knowledge, and the master acknowledges the student as a master himself, they are now masters of different styles. Their own "Haq Diri".

When one studied with one's master, the master's duty was always to lead one on the right path of understanding, of seeing the universe in a holistic manner, which made Silat applicable in both wartime and peacetime. You'd use the same methodology to fight or debate, in diplomacy or marital facilitation, in economy or government and it was always your interpretation of the same basics.

Which means, whatever knowledge you learned was indisputably your right. This knowledge had good tendencies and would always guide its user towards good. However, in Islam, a right to something carries certain responsibilities, and it is understood that when abused or misused, can lead to the understanding being "repossessed" by Allah and in its place, false knowledge that resembles the original which guides its user, by virtue of the evil in his heart, towards evil.

A simple way of stating it is that the status of the knowledge changes from being "authorised" to "unauthorised".

Now, although this "authorisation" process happens spiritually, there are masters who claim to be intermediaries or are able to assess that his student has met the conditions for authorisation, in effect, becoming Allah's earthly authorised representative. For example, when a master grants masterhood to his student, he also places conditions, most of which are sourced from Islamic Law.

He is deemed to have lost his right to the knowledge his master facilitated if he kills without due reason, fornicates, commits adultery, steals, lies and so on. In one way, the conditions are also parameters to safeguard the sanctity of the knowledge.

We have to remember that this was a time when there was no style names, no uniforms and certainly no school colours. There was no plagiarism because there was no way to identify one from another. Everyone was graded on their skills in battle, or their wisdom in the village, not by how many students they have or what fancy techniques they employed.

They were valued more for their piety than their haughtiness. It was this humility that signalled the height of their skill and gave credence to their spiritual authenticity.

This method of authentication is practised by and an accepted part of many silat styles in Malaysia, and the modernisation of silat is threatening this age old tradition. Styles that are legally registered, are recognised by the government as organisations, and not as traditionally passed down schools.

This opens up opportunities for opportunists who see financial or material gain in leading his own version of a particular school. There have been cases where silat syllabi have been lifted wholesale and imported into another school under a different name.

Thus, in one way, law helps control the copyright of the master's knowledge, but it also robs him of many other rights, which he was granted under the spiritual authenticity system. Since there are very few things in culture that can be copyrighted, we are forced to accept it when dissenting factions split off from the main, and continue teaching the main art.

In extreme cases, offshoots actually manage to legally copyright their master's arts and claim them as their own.

Until the day that the law catches up with spiritual authentication, we will see more plagiarism of the efforts of masters who know nothing of the law and what it can and cannot protect.

Original Article by Mohd Nadzrin Wahab

15 September 2008

Jasa Cikgu Sani

"In our history lessons, we were taught of the Siamese terrorising the Kedah sultanate by forcing them to provide tributes to themin the form of golden flower arrangements (Bunga Emas). The process of transporting these Bunga Emas was never easy, travelling by elephant through the jungle. Eventually, tired elephants necessitated overnighting in the forest.

"Cikgu Sani related to me that his great-grandfather, was the royal Panglima in charge of the excursion to gain audience with the King of Siam. Being responsible for the Bunga Emas meant fighting off advances from countless highwaymen, all of which were dealt with by Panglima Taib."

"For five generations, Silat Kuntau Tekpi has been passed down through Cikgu Sani's family, but one matter has often been overlooked, there has been no acknowledgement given to this lineage. "When I was in Baling several days ago, I mocked sarcasm: had he ever been given a medal? Not just for anything, but for his efforts educating thousands of students, including government officers and the children of several national dignitaries. At least, a medal from the Kedah government, but he answered with a sad, 'None at all' "I asked again, how much fees did you receive when you taught P Ramlee the tekpi in the film 6 Jahanam, to which he answered: 'I asked for nothing'.

By Adam Salleh Translated and edited from Harian Metro The article in Bahasa Melayu above can be read in full by clicking on the graphic. I decided to translate only the crux of the message. May someone in authority understand what we're driving at-Mohd Nadzrin Wahab

14 September 2008

Cikgu Sani: The man behind P Ramlee’s Tekpi

In the movie 6 Jahanam, Allahyarham Tan Sri P Ramlee showcased his silat skills with a pair of weapons. As was tradition in Melayu films back then, the weapon most identified with pendekars of yore was the keris. However, in this film, P Ramlee introduced a different weapon, the tekpi.

In 6 Jahanam, P Ramlee played the role of Tantari, a businessman who seeks revenge upon the death of his wife, Masmera (Nor Azizah) who was brutally raped and murdered by the criminal gang known as the Enam Jahanam.The targets of his wrath: Mumbala (Shariff Baboo), Karambit (Ahmad Dadida), Jagindas (Ibrahim Sabtu), Katipang (Kamal Idris), Paragas (Osman Md.Amin) and Sujamang (Yusof Ali).

To mete justice to these criminals, Tantari carries with im a pair of tekpi. The three-pronged iron truncheon is also known as the ‘king of weapons’ due to its ability in countering all manner of bladed weapons. Amidst P Ramlee’s furious display of the tekpi in the film, not many realise that the Supreme Artisan (a post-mortem title given by the Malaysiam government to acknowledge his cultural contributions) actually drew his inspiration to introduce the tekpi on film from Sani Zainol Abidin.

A tiger with sheathed claws. Surely an apt description for former military intelligence officer Sani Zainol Abidin, better known among his students as Cikgu Sani or Pak Guru.

Apt indeed, in a time when other silat styles race each other to increase their popularity, Cikgu Sani feels more comfortable being a humble man, without exploiting the media for his own interests. What years he has left is now being spent in his hometown of Kampung Kampung Siput, Jalan Weng, Baling, Kedah.

While visiting him in his home three days before the beginning of Ramadhan, Cikgu Sani admits to me that not many people know that the tekpi display by P Ramlee in the film 6 Jahanam owed its performance to him.

“I am in P Ramlee’s debt for his willingness to introduce the tekpi on film. Many people criticised him at the time, to the extent of claiming that he would lose himself in the film.

“However, not many realise that through 6 Jahanam P Ramlee revealed to the Melayu that they had another ethnic heritage that they could be proud of , one feared its enemies, the dreaded tekpi,” he said.

The tekpi is the primary weapon of Silat Kuntau Tekpi, a silat style that existed during the reign of Sultan Ahmad Tajuddin Shah, the Kedah Sultan of the 19th century.

It was founded by a Panglima (military general) of the royal household named Panglima Taib bin Wan Hussin. This style was taught only to the cadre of panglima, palace guards and warriors to fend of Siamese incursions and other enemies of the era. Panglima Taib bequeathed his knowledge to his daughter Siti Aminah who was known as ‘Srikandi Kedah’ (Warrioress of Kedah). This style was then inherited by her son Zainol Abidin Endut and in turn by his son, Cikgu Sani himself.

Cikgu Sani’s friendship with P Ramlee began in Singapura when he was only 25 years old. Cikgu Sani was posted there at Fort Canning for a year to undergo training in a Military Intelligence Course.

“During my off days, I’d take the opportunity to walk around at the Jalan Ampas Studio. This is where I befriended P Ramlee and he got to know of my background with the tekpi.“Allah fated that we meet again when P Ramlee moved to Kuala Lumpur to work at the Merdeka Studio in Hulu Klang and I was posted at the Intelligence Department of the Ministry of Defence. We often met in Setapak.

“It was during one of those casual conversations that P Ramlee mentions that in Melayu films, the pendekar would often brandish a keris, a sword or a machete, and that it crossed his mind to make a film with a tekpi as a weapon. “He asked if I would teach him the tekpi if he were to film it. I felt honoured and said, why not,” he said.

According to Cikgu Sani, P Ramlee’s sincerity in his studies made teaching him easier. It took Cikgu Sani a month to train P Ramlee in parrying using the tekpi.

“I remember him telling me, ‘Sani, just show me how to parry with the tekpi. Camera tricks will handle the rest,” he said.

Although only one Melayu film showcased the tekpi, Cikgu Sani is grateful that the style was given such an opportunity by the Seniman Agung (a title given by the government to P Ramlee meaning Supreme Artisan). This is unlike Allahyarham A Rahim, who although did not immortalise his art on film, managed to formally study with Cikgu Sani.

“After P Ramlee passed away, the late A Rahim began studying from me in Ampang Jaya. He achieved his red belt which ranked him as an instructor. In fact, in the March 1991 issue of the PENDEKAR magazine, A Rahim was reported as a veteran instructor of Silat Kuntau Tekpi,” he said.

As Supreme Chairman of Pertubuhan Seni Silat Kuntau Tekpi Malaysia (PSSKTM), Cikgu Sani has now handed over the day to day running of the organisation to three of his children who are active in promoting the style, Khairunizar A Rani (39) as Chief Instructor, Kharirul Fazli, 37, (Senior Instructor) and Amirul Mukminin, 20.

Other than those three children by his late wife Latiffah Che Ya, Cikgu Sani also sired Nooranifah (42), former national pesilat to the SEA Games, Norziefahani (34), Khairul Azwadi (31), Noorazlita (28) and Amira Natasha (14).

For Cikgu Sani, even thought Silat Kuntau Tekpi is bereft of publicity, but it lacks no prestige with the presence of the President of Pekima (Malaysian Muslim Welfare Organisation), Hassan Adam at a special event in Baling, Kedah. The event also saw Najua (Nadia) Nasir, P Ramlee’s own granddaughter attend with her cousin, Nasreen Ngasri (Darling), producer at Nasreen Pictures Sdn Bhd.

By Adam Salleh Translated and edited from Harian Metro

13 September 2008

Back in the black

It's been awhile since I posted anything insightful about silat on this blog. Work and family commitments have been keeping me away from writing. Add that to the fact that I haven't really been thinking much about silat in the last couple of months and there you have it, writer's block.

That doesn't mean that interesting things haven't been happening. I got a phone call last Thursday from Editions Didier Millet, publisher of the Encyclopedia of Malaysia. They are currently publishing a book about the traditional health systems of the Melayu, Chinese and Indian ethnicities.

For the Melayu section, they needed pictures of Silat Seni Gayong practitioners training next to a river. I immediately had them get in touch with Cikgu Jazwan Kahar of the Silat Seni Gayong Malaysia Taman Nirwana Wajadiri training centre. I await the published results with anticipation.

The very next day, a representative of the Museum Volunteers Malaysia group called to request that I deliver a short session on the Keris Melayu. My relationship with them began when they called several months ago for the very same reason.

Feeling hardly qualified, I recommended my good friend, Fazli Ibrahim, a keris collector and former New Straits Times journalist who wrote several articles on the keris. That resulted in two successful talks. However, the participants also wanted to know the combat applications of the keris and the design rationale, which the group requested I do. If all goes well, my session will happen somewhere in the next few months.

Still on the topic of the keris, I received an email recently from a keris collector in the USA. He believes that he owns a keris that was made circa 5th and 7th century intends to sell it to an interested buyer. He claims that the keris is currently being carbon dated by a local university and has since sent me photos of the blade. It certainly looks old, and I'll put these pictures up as soon as I get more information, including the results of the carbon dating.

I was also pleasantly surprised to see a two page spread in Harian Metro about Pak Guru Sani Zainol Abidin, the Guru Utama of Silat Kuntau Tekpi. Several days later, another article appeared where the writer recommended that Pak Guru Sani be appreciated with a medal for his contributions to the country. I intend to translate those articles and post them here as soon as possible.

Another piece of good news is that the master I referred to in this article has decided to stay with silat and continue his good work. Some people would of course know that I was talking of guru Azlan Ghanie, of Silat Melayu Keris Lok 9. I called him while I was in Illinois and he assured me that he has no desire to return to political journalism. Welcome back from all of us, and we hope you stay. For our sake. Speaking of appreciation, if anyone deserves it, he definitely does.

Also, my reluctance to comment on the recent Silat Cekak Hanafi leadership crisis seems to have ruffled some feathers. Let me make this clear. The people who need to know what I think of this already know and everyone knows what happened the last time the issue was made public. This blog does not belong to one perguruan and its crises. Therefore, unless I decide to create a personal blog, I intend to keep this one free of such matters. My opinion will not change hearts, and I certainly don't intend to.

However, I did make a few new friends online. One is Salzian, a self-confessed martial artist, whom I have had long interesting online chats with about silat. Another is Amir Talib, a Bruneian who is an advocate for Silat Chakak, the national silat style of Brunei. His website, Tribumi, was posted on this blog several weeks back. Thank you both for your friendship.

Well, back to the grindstone. Until I have something new for you all, keep safe. Salam persilatan,

Original Article by Mohd Nadzrin Wahab

06 September 2008

The Encyclopedia of Malaysia - Sports and Recreation

Almost a year ago, the Editions Didier Millet, the publishers of the Encyclopedia of Malaysia series contacted me to contribute an article on Silat Melayu to its Sports and Recreation volume.

It turned out to be a daunting task, because I was actually co-authoring the article with the great guru Anuar Wahab of Pertubuhan Seni Gayung Fatani and Ramzi Ramli, a lecturer from Universiti Malaya. In the end, the effort was worth it. My name is listed here among eminent authors, a privilege I hardly deserve.

But, if this is my only one contribution to Malaysia, and allows me to sit and tell my children and grandchildren about it 20 years later, so be it. This one is for you, Malaysia.

The following article is a review from NST Online.

This is Volume 15 of a colossal project that is The Encyclopedia of Malaysia, with the preceding 14 published in stages over the past decade.

The first five of these — The Environment, Plants, Animals, Early History and Architecture — were launched in 1998 by then Minister of Education Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

The Seas and Early Modern History followed in 2001; Performing Arts and Languages and Literature (2004); Religions and Beliefs (2005), Government and Politics (2006), Peoples and Traditions, The Economy and Crafts and the Visual Arts (2007).

With the Olympics magic still reverberating at the back of our minds, this book can be considered timely, the wealth of information on the local sporting scene literally at our fingertips.

Besides momentous events, one gets to read all about the nation’s leading sports persons, both on and off the track or arena.

At 184 pages, Sports and Recreation is the longest volume in the encyclopedia series, containing 86 topical articles presented in a visually stimulating format.

A high-quality work, it’s easy to heap praise on such an undertaking, its glossy pages making it, as the accompanying newsletter gushes, “a celebration of the spirit of sports”.

More than that, it’s a celebration of what it means to be Malaysian. There is the feeling of pride, of oneness and, yes, of Malaysia Boleh! when one reads of the myriad sporting achievements by our fellow citizens through the years.

Nostalgia is a given, especially for the older generation perusing the pages of their favourite sport. Many, I suspect, would sigh deeply with the memories of Malaysia’s heyday in soccer excellence.

Who can forget the late Mokhtar Dahari, our “Supermokh”, who once thrilled fans with his speed, thunderous kicks and unerring eye for goals? Then there was “Towkay” Soh Chin Aun, who impressed the whole nation with his commanding play as defender. And how about the heroes’ welcome for the team, led by captain M. Chandran, after their successful pre-Olympic qualifying tournament in 1971 Seoul? Priceless memories, these.

Hockey was another sport that generated much interest and patriotism. The drama at the 1975 World Cup, held in Kuala Lumpur, was truly unforgettable.

For two weeks, hockey gripped the nation, pushing politics from the front pages of newspapers. Malaysia dethroned defending champion Holland 2-1 in their last group match, with household names Poon Fook Loke and M. Mahendran providing much of the spark.

Alas, the team was beaten 3-2 to India but not without loads of drama as Malaysia led 2-1 with only a few minutes left!

These precious moments — when happiness swelled in us all or when despair took hold and made a nation depressed for days, or even when hope ignited optimism for a possible win — helped a nation break down racial boundaries.

Sports and Recreation, in its own way, helps to reinforce this ideal notion. It showcases diversity and offers a fascinating overview of a nation, one which is never racially biased.

For me, the bonus in this book are the write-ups on distinctively Malaysian traditional pastimes.

From top-spinning (and their contest spin-offs such as gasing uri and gasing pangkah) to kite-flying (festivals, contests and the attendant harvesting seasons), silat and even recreational activities enjoyed by the Orang Asli, there are lots to hold one’s interest in the book.

Of course, those loved and played by the major races — for instance, congkak, mahjong, qigong, uri adithal and kabaddi (no prizes for guessing their ethnic affiliations) — are not forgotten.

Written by a team of 74 — comprising athletes, coaches, sports leaders, administrators, academics and sports journalists — Sports and Recreation is a wealth of visual material.

Archival and contemporary photographs, specially commissioned artwork, maps and diagrams bring to life the country’s sporting culture.

The history of each sport and activity is chronicled, focusing on its introduction to the local scene and the key individuals and events that have shaped its evolution.

As for the specifics, more than 70 different topics — comprising team sports, racquet sports, precision sports, athletics, equine sports, water sports, contact sports, adventure and extreme sports, strength and movement sports, paralympic sports and even mind games — are featured.

The development of sports institutions and infrastructure are also discussed, as are the roles of prominent sports leaders as well as the major sporting events organised in the country. This is an excellent addition to The Encyclopedia of Malaysia, probably the largest reference work on the country ever undertaken.

If anything, Sports and Recreation reminds us of our past sports glory and, better yet, will inspire our sportsmen to greater heights.

Written by Fong Leong Ming Sourced from http://www.nst.com.my/Current_News/NST/Saturday/Features/20080905172642/Article/indexF_html

05 September 2008

Keris As-Sab'ah For Sale

This beautifully forged keris is named As-Sab'ah and is now put up for sale by its owner, Ustaz Saiful Muhammad of Silat Telapak Nusantara for RM900.00
Interested parties who want to know more about it may contact him at ustazshifu@senisilat.net

Original Article by Mohd Nadzrin Wahab

03 September 2008

Students showcasing martial art skills

Perguruan Persilatan Panca Sukma recently organised a creative silat tournament for 73 young members at the RBRC Sports Complex in Berakas. The tournament was held to instil courage and self- confidence among young silat members and to demonstrate their skills. The winners were Najwa Qayimmah Sanudin, Wazean Aziellah Nora Ahmad Faddilah and Muhd Hanif Muqri Hj Sufri. Prizes were presented by the guest of honour, the Brunei National trainer, Suhartono.

Sourced from http://www.accessmylibrary.com/article-1G1-188011113/students-showcasing-martial-art.html

02 September 2008

Students showcasing martial art skills

Perguruan Persilatan Panca Sukma recently organised a creative silat tournament for 73 young members at the RBRC Sports Complex in Berakas, Brunei.

The tournament was held to instil courage and self-confidence among young silat members and to demonstrate their skills. The winners were Najwa Qayimmah Sanudin, Wazean Aziellah Nora Ahmad Faddilah and Muhd Hanif Muqri Hj Sufri. Prizes were presented by the guest of honour, the Brunei National trainer, Suhartono.

Written by Hanni ABD

01 September 2008

Ramadan al-Mubarak

Dates: The recommended sweets to break your fast with.

I wish all Muslims Ramadan al-Mubarak. May your 'amal this month be pure and sincere towards Allah, and I hope you pray the same for me also.

InsyaAllah, if this is our last Ramadan together, it was an honour to have known all of you.

Original Article by Mohd Nadzrin Wahab