Beyond this point, the details get a little blurry. Each little island has its own version of the origin of martial arts. The lack of any clear documentation from the early days makes it difficult to form an educated guess. It is difficult to say at which exact point in history the fighting technique got the form of a disciplined martial art. It can however, be safely said that the pencak silat was gradually developed to encompass self-defense techniques which were popular under their individual local names.
In 1973, over 800 styles of martial arts, originating in from every big and small island which belonged to the Indonesian group of Islands, were clubbed under the unified title of Pencak Silat. This new form of martial arts combines the best of defense and attack techniques which exercise both the body and the mind.
Pencak Silat and the History of Indonesia
The fighting style of pencak silat is closely intertwined with the history of Indonesai. The Hindu-Buddhist kingdoms of Sunda, Srivijaya and Majapahit have trained their warriors and soldiers in the fine fighting techniques of the pencak silat.
An archaeological excavation revealed that an organized form of combat training existed in the Malay peninsula even as early as the sixth century. The Srivijaya kingdom, followed by the kingdom of Majapahit are said to have based their fighting techniques from the learning of this combat system. The excellent fighting skills developed by this technique helped the kingdom spread its rule.
The Minangkabau, people residing in the highlands of Minangkabau, claim that the fighting skills were first demonstrated by their fore father, Datuk Suri Dirajo.
A beautiful poem in Javanese describes how a form on pencak silat was used by Kidung Sunda, who were the guards of the Prabu Maharaja Sunda, when they were escorting Princess Dyah Pitaloka to the kingdom of Majapahit to get married to the ruling king, Hayam Wuruk. The guards were severely humiliated and disgraced. Kidung Sunda were not a force which would suffer insults lightly. In the ensuing Battle of Bubat, the Sundanese army, trained in the exemplary skill of pencak silat fought bravely against the attacking forces.
Techniques used in Pencak Silat
Since pencak silat is a broad term which encompasses various form of martial arts, it is extremely difficult to narrow it down to a general pattern. Every martial art clubbed under the title of pencak silat has developed its own fighting style. Some fighting forms on strikes and kicks while others prefer to emphasize the training of locks and grappling techniques.
Despite the diversity of fighting styles, some threads bind the discipline of martial arts together:
Stance or Posture
The first phase of learning pencak silat, is characterized by training in langkah or the art of moving your foot from one point to another when fighting. Eight direction of steps have been defined under the langkah 8 penjuru which guides the learning curve of the student. It is not uncommon for the steps training to be accompanied by traditional music.
As important as the langkah, is the posture of the body. The posture or stance is defined as that point in a fight from which the fighter attacks or defends himself. Some of the stances used in the training of pencak silat are:
- Horse stance or kekuda: This stance stabilizes the body by providing strength to the quads
- Middle stance
- Forward stance
- Side stance
- Tiger stance: The body is hugging the ground in almost crawl position
The stances prepare the fighter to either launch an attack or defend himself form sitting, crouching or standing position.
Jurus of Pencak Silat
Once a student has a firm grasp on the langkah and stances he progresses to learn about the jurus. Jurus is a conditioning technique which helps the fighter prep for learning proper technique. Jurus are used to train the body in firmness and agility.
The pre-meditated format of the jurus helps develop muscle memory. This enables a fighter to take split second decisions in a fight. Jurus can be practiced solo or with the help of a partner. When practicing a juru with a partner it is mandatory to implement the juru like you would if you were in an actual fight.
The armed form of jurus allows the use weapons even during training. The weapons used during practice are blunt and cannot cause serious damage.
The kembang lit juru is a series of graceful hand and foot movements which almost look like a dance. The fluidity of the movements is used to prep the body to reverse the attack planned by an opponent. Often music is played while practicing this form of juru.
Defense and Offense Techniques of Pencak Silat
Defense in pencak silat consists of primarily blocking the attacks. To do this, the fighter may use any style including dodging, countering and deflecting. Since pencak silat has no restriction on which part of the body can be the target of an attack, defense techniques involve the use of hands, shoulders, forearms and shins to block potential blows. The body of the fighter is conditioned to hard block the blows. In the event that the opponent is stronger, the fighter resorts to deflection techniques to distract him.
Pencak silat makes heavy use of punches and kicks to define the offense. The punches are also known as pukul and can use any part of the hand to deliver a strike. For example a strike can be delivered by the heel of the palm, with open fists, the shoulder and even with the elbows.
Kicking involves the use of any part of the leg which includes the knee, feet and shins. The hands and feet can be used in a combination of moves to deliver an attack. Another unique feature of the pencak silat is the use of deceptive blows to confuse the opponent. Fighters often make use of the sweeping technique to unbalance the opponent and ends the fight by wrapping the opponent’s waist between the legs in a classic scissor style.
Over the years pencak silat has emerged as a form of martial art and has become synonymous with the traditions of Indonesia. Festivals and celebrations include a live demonstration of this form of martial arts. It is considered to be an honor and a matter of pride to be invited to give such a demonstration.
Jiu Jitsu, more popular as Jujutsu is a unique form of self-preservation or self-defense which teaches one to fight with or either no weapons. Certain forms of jujutsu permit weapons that can be only used in short ranges.There is a lot of speculation about the origin of Jiu Jutsu. Some cla... More »
Gyrontonic Pilates was founded by Juliu Horvath after a personal experience with chronic pain. In his search for an exercise program to help himself, he ended up developing Gyrotonic Pilates. As a former swimmer, gymnast, and ballet dancer in Romania, Horvath eventually defected and earned... More »
The Ninjas were glorified by the film industry as the most ethical, most capable and most efficient spies that ever existed. The movies are not far from the truth. The Ninjas are trained in the art of Ninjutsu; a specialized form of Japanese martial arts which was created for the sole purp... More »
Focus T25 was created by Shaun T, the successful mind behind the highly popular Insanity workout system. T25 is a workout program that touts its ability to help a person get “lean and ripped in just 25 minutes a day!”. One of the workout’s selling points is its 25 minute ... More »
Shilpa Shetty is a famous Indian Bollywood actress, film producer, and a model. Aside from her talent, she is well-known in the Indian community for her brains, business acumen, and beauty. Today she has developed her own unique brand of health and fitness regimens, particularly in the fie... More »
Anti-gravity / Aerial yoga is one of the newer, more modern types of yoga. It originated in New York back in 1991 by a group of gymnastic athletes who wanted to continue their passion for flipping movements after their career. The movements used in anti-gravity yoga were originally desig... More »
Hip Hop Abs promises to deliver flat, sexy abs without requiring participants to do sit-ups or crunches. Developed by Shaun T, the personal trainer turned fitness celebrity behind other successful home workout programs including Insanity, Hip Hop Abs provides a fun routine to target a comm... More »
Judo is a form of martial arts that was created and developed in Japan. Today it has been accepted as a popular Olympic sport and has gathered a huge following from all over the world. Jigoro Kano chose the name Judo, because when translated it means, the gentle way. Judo was not designed... More »
Yoga’s popularity has exploded over the past several decades throughout the world. With this popularity, yoga has begun to expand itself. Different and new approaches to yoga are constantly being developed. These new approaches focus on highlighting different benefits of practicing y... More »
(200 symbols max)
(256 symbols max)