07 August 2012

Way of the silat warrior

SPARKS flew as martial arts practitioners tried to outwit each other in a series of close quarters hand-to-hand ‘engagements’ steeped in tradition.

Displaying formidable skills, the 15-member Pertubuhan Seni Silat Pusaka Gayong Pulau Pinang kept onlookers entertained during their performance at Gurney Plaza in Penang. The exhibition, held in conjunction with the mall’s Hari Raya celebrations, saw the silat exponents taking turns to duel with each other in simulated combat.

With quick hand moves and agile footwork, the exponents were able to deflect incoming strikes, grapple their opponents to the ground, and dish out their own attacks.

The intensity of duels steadily built up during the showcase, culminating in routines that had exponents sparring each other with bamboo staffs, daggers and machetes.

Fierce fight: Two exponents fighting with weapons.Fierce fight: Two exponents fighting with weapons.

The group’s customary chief and instructor Rusli Hashim said Silat Gayong originated from the Bugis people in the Indonesian archipelago.

According to him, a noble warrior once taught the art to seven royal siblings, and when they later journeyed across the region, the know-ledge and skills also spread to places where they settled down.

“As we approach Hari Raya Aidilfitri, we are pleased to be able to share a notable element of Malay culture.

“Silat is an ancient art that has been our heritage for generations since the times of Hang Tuah and Hang Jebat."

Rusli also cautioned spectators not to attempt any of the stunts they saw at home, for practitioners needed to undergo years of training to attain their skills.

While it is best for one to pick up silat from a young age, he said older adults should have no problems learning the martial art through less vigorous ways.

Unarmed but deadly: Silat masters demonstrating the art of hand to hand combat.Unarmed but deadly: Silat masters demonstrating the art of hand to hand combat.

Gurney Plaza marketing communications manager Peter Chan said such showcases indirectly helped to promote Penang and Malaysia to foreign tourists, many of whom visit the mall.

“With many visitors coming in for the Malaysian Mega Sale, it is a great opportunity for us to share our local culture.

“For Chinese New Year, we usually have kung fu performances. And with Hari Raya around the corner, we thought a silat showcase to complement our line-up of cultural dances would be very appropriate,” he added.

The mall’s festive activities continue during the week.

Shoppers can enjoy traditional Malay dances and Boria performances set to take place over three days from Aug 18 beginning 2pm at the New Wing Atrium.

Those who spend RM150 and above from any outlet in maximum of two combined receipts from now until Aug 18 may also redeem exclusive Raya Packets.

These are limited to three packs per shopper per day, while stocks last.

Sourced from http://thestar.com.my/metro/story.asp?file=/2012/8/7/north/11803910