It is said that the Indonesian people have various ways of self-defense (physically) to keep themselves alive. In addition to themselves, they defend themselves to protect their group. And this is not protecting oneself not from enemies in the form of humans, but in the form of nature such as natural disasters that come suddenly or animal attacks that will attack suddenly.
Pencak silat is a type of art and also a sport, namely a martial art originating from Southeast Asia, including Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand, and Indonesia, our country. Pencak silat is an art tradition that is spread through the Malay Archipelago tradition. Until over time, this type of martial art also began to spread to Vietnam, which was spread by Indonesians. Until now, the State of Vietnam has produced strong fighters and has established a parent organization of pencak silat in Indonesia, which is named the Indonesian Pencak Silat Association (IPSI).
Pencak silat has spread throughout the archipelago since the 7th century AD. However, until now no one has been able to confirm when and how the origin of this martial arts spread. Some say that this pencak silat spread because of the skills of various indigenous tribes in Indonesia. These skills include fighting using machetes, shields, and spears. For example, the traditions and customs in the Nias archipelago where there is a tribe called the Nias tribe has spread its martial arts according to their customs, namely by using a machete weapon. It is believed that until the 20th century, the Nias people were not touched by outside culture at all.
If examined further, actually this pencak silat spread through leluri or by word of mouth, namely orally. Like from teacher to student for example. So do not be surprised if we find it difficult to find a written history of this martial arts.
Some even say that the history of this pencak silat has spread through various stories such as several legends in various regions, such as from one area to another and thoroughly to the homeland of the archipelago. So, do not be surprised if in the past during the Majapahit or Sriwijaya kingdoms, they were very good at fighting. Because all of them, especially the war soldiers, have been prepared with high martial arts skills so that they can fight with the enemy with their skills.
An example is the legend from Minangkabau that says silat in its language is ‘silek’. The Minangkabau people believe that this pencak silat has been created by Datuk Suri Draja from Priangan, Tanah Datar which is at the foot of Mount Marapipada. Datuk Suri created and began to spread this silat tradition in the 11th century. And pencak silat finally spread throughout the archipelago, including Indonesia. These archipelago lands include Indonesia, Myanmar, Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam, parts of Singapore, and other countries in the Southeast Asian continent.
Then, over time, this silek or silat began to be brought and developed to various countries, namely the land of Southeast Asia by Minang immigrants. Maybe you’ve heard the story of ‘Silat Cimande’. The story tells of a woman who performs silat by imitating two animals, namely a monkey and a tiger. And many other martial arts figures. Of course, in each region, there must be a silat figure with various skills and martial arts moves that are owned by regional silat figures or commonly referred to as warriors. Examples of these warriors are Si Pitung from Betawi, Hang Tuah, and Gajah Mada from Java, and there are many more warriors as silat figures in their respective regions who have different skills.
Donald F. Draeger, who is one of the silat researchers, has argued that evidence of the existence of this pencak silat can be seen from several weapon artifacts that he has found. The weapons found are believed to have come from the classical period, namely the Hindu-Buddhist period in the archipelago. In fact, he also admits that there is a history of this pencak silat through the reliefs that shape people with their horses at Prambanan Temples and Borobudur Temples.
Draeger wrote in his book that weapons and the art of pencak silat cannot be separated. In fact, he wrote that pencak silat is not only a physical exercise, but also must have a close spiritual relationship with the customs and culture of this archipelago. This is why pencak silat is not only a sport, but also a branch of art, namely martial arts. There are martial arts from China and India in Silat – Sheikh Shamsuddin (2005).
This opinion has been proven because of the influence of Chinese and Indian culture during the Malay culture period. The culture has been brought by traders and also immigrants from India, China, and also from other countries.
The Spread of Pencak Silat in Malay Land
When pencak silat began to spread in Malay lands, it also developed under various names and different schools. As is the case in Malaysia and Singapore, silat is better known as the Gayong and Cekak flow. In Thailand, pencak silat has the name ‘silat’, while in the Philippines it is named ‘pasilat’. However, the term ‘silat’ is better known to many people in various parts of Southeast Asia. This is what causes that pencak silat is a tradition that spread from Sumatra to various countries.
The history of pencak silat began to be written since the 14th century due to the influence of religious propagators in this archipelago or archipelago. At that time, pencak silat became the main lesson in religion as self-protection when facing war. Because at that time, there were still various wars because of the struggle for territory and politics as well as power. Martial arts lessons are also taught in various surau or mushalla as well as religious places such as madrasas and Islamic boarding schools. Usually they practice pencak silat after or before they recite the Koran. That’s why silat is claimed as a martial art that is part of their spiritual practice. And this practice is commonly referred to as ‘universal’ or union with nature. So, do not be surprised if many moves are born from nature such as animals, plants, even disasters.
Until over time, pencak silat began to be used as an educational science not only as self-defense but also as a defense of the State in the face of enemies from other countries. Initially, pencak silat was only used as a martial art and cultural tradition.
Currently, pencak silat has been recognized as a Malay ethnic culture consisting of the coastal areas of the island of Sumatra and the Malak Peninsula, as well as various other tribes who use the Malay lingua franca (slang language) in various areas such as Java, Bali, Kalimantan, Sulawesi and other islands. who are in the circle of the archipelago.
The martial art of pencak silat began to develop and continued to develop until it was formed into several pencak silat organizations in the archipelago, including the Pencak Silat Association (IPSI) in Indonesia, the Malaysian Nationality Silat Association (PESAKA) in Malaysia, the Silat Association in Malaysia. Singapore (PERSIS) which is in the State of Singapore, and the Federation of Silat Brunei Darussalam (PERSIB) which is in the State of Brunei Darussalam. So don’t be surprised if it starts to grow and form various even dozens of martial arts colleges in other parts of the world such as the United States and Europe.
Until now, pencak silat which was originally only a self-defense science that was classified as a spiritual science and a traditional art, is now officially claimed to be included in the branch of sports science to an international scale. And in the end, pencak silat entered the SEA Games competition.
The Development of Pencak Silat in the World
In the 20th century AD, pencak silat grew rapidly to become global and has officially become a competition sport discipline under the Association of Pencak Silat Between Nations (PERSILAT) or The International Pencak Silat Federation. Thus, pencak silat has been promoted by PERSILAT to various countries to five continents so that pencak silat is included in a sport that can be used as a sport that is included in the Olympics. So in other words, PERSILAT has promoted this pencak silat to become an international sports competition. So there are provisions and policies that members who take part in this international pencak silat competition are members who have been recognized by PERSILAT.
Therefore, several pencak silat federations have collaborated with PERSILAT to establish the European Pencak Silat Federation. The federation had produced the first Pencak Silat World Championship outside Asia in 1986 which took place in the Austrian city of Vienna.
Pencak silat was introduced as part of the Asian Games performance program in 2002 which was held in the city of Busan, South Korea. The Asian Games was the first Asian Games to include pencak silat as part of the program. And in December 2002 was the last World Pencak Silat Championship held in the city of Penang, Malaysia.
PERSILAT is not only trying to include pencak silat as a sports competition, but also trying not to forget old traditions by introducing several old schools, one of which is ‘Silek’ to various countries around the world. And there are hundreds or even thousands of schools or styles that have been successfully taught and introduced in various universities in foreign countries.
Terms in Pencak Silat
As in other branches of science, that of pencak silat also has various terms that need to be known as an understanding of this martial art of pencak silat. The following are some terms in pencak silat.
Pencak silat is a martial art as well as a traditional art that uses many attitudes or positions as well as various movements of body organs such as the body, hands, and feet. So don’t be surprised if we often see fighters who have a lot of movement and positions when facing opponents. Even these movements and positions change according to the flow of the match and also the movements of the opponent to find the opponent’s weak point. If they have found the opponent’s weak point, then they will not half-heartedly attack with fast movements so that the opponent is caught off guard and can be defeated.
Step is the main characteristic in the art of pencak silat. A true fighter of course always pays attention to his steps and his opponent in a match. Because this is very important for them in a match. The steps in pencak silat generally use ‘Step Three’ and ‘Step Four’.
Of course, in pencak silat there must also be techniques or fruits. This technique is also divided into two groups, namely defensive techniques and attacking techniques. Why is this technique also called fruit? This is a traditional term often used by previous fighters. Because the technique in pencak silat is likened to fruit. In general, the fighters use their hands, elbows, arms, legs, knees, and soles of the feet in their attacking techniques. And the common techniques include kicks, punches, stumbling, locking, sweeping, holding, throwing, breaking joints, and so on.
Of course you often hear tiger moves, moves, chickens, monkey moves and so on in this martial arts martial arts. Yes, because in pencak silat, a true fighter and a strong fighter must master at least one move. That’s why, they always use moves in competing against their opponents. In general, fighters use various moves by imitating animal movements in attack and defense techniques. Kick is a series of basic movements in the upper and lower body.
These basic movements will be used as a reference in mastering various advanced techniques of pencak silat called ‘fruit’, when practiced alone or in pairs. Even in pencak silat there is also the term ‘Basic Pasan’. Basic Pasan is a flow in the whole body. So it’s no wonder that some of these pencak silat believe in using mysticism or inner soul.
It can also be proven that pencak silat was once a branch of science that involved one’s spirituality. So that not just anyone can use the moves in pencak silat, because only certain people and wisely use them can use the moves in pencak silat. In fact, in general, moves are formed when silat fighters observe wild animals during a fight, then they pay attention to movements, and learn the movements and imitate the movements of wild animals. This is where the occurrence of various moves that often use animal names.