Silat is not a martial art.

Discussion in 'Silat' started by Rebo Paing, Jul 16, 2010.

  1. Rebo Paing

    Rebo Paing Pigs and fishes ...

    Silat is not a martial art. What it is:

    A. A broad genre referring to the many and sometimes disparate martial arts from the Indonesian archipelago, Malaysia and other parts of SE Asia.

    B. A regional colloquialism implying/meaning 'martial arts', in which case (to use an example), upon seeing Koyo's pictures of him throwing people about, my father would be moved to comment ... "Wah pendekar Koyo iki wis sepuh, ning silate isih manteb" meaning "Wow, this pendekar called Koyo is already old, but his silat is still has weight (high quality)".
    What is his silat? It is Aikido!


    Note - Pendekar is an honorific, a term of respect denoting that a person is accomplished in the martial arts ... a knight, scholar warrior etc ... also non specific to a genre of martial arts!
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2010
  2. Rebo Paing

    Rebo Paing Pigs and fishes ...

    To add ... as a broad description of genre it is in my view inadequate because of the huge stylistic chasm that can exist between the breadth of styles. e.g. Nampon vs. Cimande vs. Perisai Diri (which is relatively 'modern' and has very big Shaolin influence).
    Unlike Karate which had a nucleus in Okinawa and is understood to contain very specific and recordable influences ... silat has a very broad range of influences, the archipelago was after-all the melting pot of Asia!

    So to conclude, in my view, silat is defined as B. above.

    Last edited: Jul 16, 2010
  3. Simon

    Simon Moved on Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    Good luck with that.:rolleyes:
  4. pakarilusi

    pakarilusi Valued Member

    I'm in Malaysia, a Malay and have done Silat for years now. My Family even has it's own Style.

    I'll chime in, as I've heard this opinion before... For some years actually.

    It depends on what you define as being a "Martial Art" really.

    The same argument can be used against Kung Fu.

    In the end, it really is just a word.

    The benefits outweigh the semantics imho...

    If you don't think Silat is a Martial Art, that's fine by me.
  5. slipthejab

    slipthejab Hark, a vagrant! Supporter

    training > semantics
  6. Rebo Paing

    Rebo Paing Pigs and fishes ...

    @ pakarilusi ... On the off chance that you're not intentionally misunderstanding me; silat and pencak (used interchangeably in Java; where I came from) means the fighting aspect or in today's language = 'martial art' ... all martial arts ... that's all. The terminology of pencak-silat is an IPSI ratified (modern) convention ... dan silat Melayu tuh bukan urusan saya, salam taklim bung (Malay silat is not my concern ... etc), and you're dead right about the mis-usage of kung-fu as well ;o).

    To expand on the original post, I call my family silat ... silat as well ... but not in the way of the modern 'neo' traditionalist. Language changes, and now 'silat' is becoming to mean a 'style from a region' ... wek ... among IPSI players looking for being added to Olympics .. weleh-weleh! So I think that some in the Endhonez 'silat' world is getting confused and losing it's bearings, perhaps trying to be something it's not.

    My take on recent murmurings I've 'seen' among the 'neo traditionalist' ... if people want sporting silat for Olympics then by all means go for it. But designate it so as a new perspective ... and either develop sport weapons like kendo or kali and/or prove your empty hand method in world arena ... if the ego leads to make comparisons of effectiveness then go for mma, ufc or olympics whatever, because silat people all patting each other on the back saying how good you are on Fesbuk wont get you there. Displays of kembangan and other choreography on youtube wont get you there. If you yourselves make the comparison with other martial arts, then you yourselves have to be seen competing successfully against other martial arts, otherwise it's all just omong kosong ... that is the nature martial arts as a SPORT (pertandingan/olahraga)!
    If you make comparisons out of or away from the sporting context I have no argument.

    BTW, current pertandingan rules only showcases a very small composite from all the styles it claims to represent (as 'silat') ... and it looks like watered down kick boxing, (OK .. maybe I'm being a bit unfair to silat olahraga here!) and Olympics already has taekwondo ... what is the drawcard if it just looks similar to that? Hell, why not enter into the same arena as Muay Tai!? Many point to common roots here ... it's the perfect place! Of course it depends on ... which world and correspondingly, which 'word' usage do you want to follow?

    Incidently, both the words silat (alluding to the martial/tactical fighting aspect) and pencak (jumping & kicking - the action in a fight) originate from ancient Javanese with Sanskrit roots - bahasa Kawi. The word "silat" does not originate from the Minang word "silek" ... they are just have common roots, imo.

    @ Slip, I'm using the 'forum' for its intended use ... c'mon mate! VBG. Hard to disagree on the semantics bit ... even though I've been 'training' since before you were born, but thanks for the advice anyway.
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2010
  7. Saiful Azraq

    Saiful Azraq Valued Member

    Salam hormat Pak!

    I think Pakarilusi misread your emphasis: Silat is not a martial art, rather than Silat is not a martial art (at all).

    I like this discussion, but I wish I had more time to comment. Will pop in and chime in again when I'm freer. Nice seeing everyone again.

    Salam persilatan,
  8. Rebo Paing

    Rebo Paing Pigs and fishes ...

    Salam! Salam! Selamat berjumpa kembali Di-Mas! Welcome back, nice to see you again too :)
  9. pakarilusi

    pakarilusi Valued Member

    I actually did not misunderstand.

    And I like your thinking on proving the effectiveness of Silat...

    Olahraga doesn't do it justice by a long shot.

    Olahraga in the Olympics? I would be surprised if it happens, really...

    I actually have my own thoughts and ideas for a Silat "Sport" that shows how Silat is different and unique from other Combat Disciplines...

    But that is another topic. :)
  10. Rebo Paing

    Rebo Paing Pigs and fishes ...

    Ah yes, but in your sentence above you've fallen into exactly the same language trap that everyone else falls into ... do you see how easy it is to use the term that is generic to so many different styles ... in effect they are different martial arts among each other ... e.g Gayong, Serak, Nampon, Bangau Putih, Perisai Diri, Gerak Gulung & Setia Hati to name but a handful share very little if at all. Karate has more in common with Perisai Diri than Cimande for example and many of the Betawi styles are heavily influenced by Shaolin styles.

    Most what they really do share is language and other cultural trappings, the Melayu based languages and Sanskrit based languages (Kawi).
    Because the language and labels are similar e.g jurus, langkah, tebak, pukulan, tapak, tendang, sabit, babat, sempok, dempok, trisula, pedang, belati, golok etc ... people begin to assume that the arts share a commonality when they more often don't.

    Silat has become to allude to something singular/generic/uniform and the fact is that it isn't the case. There is no single 'indigenous martial art' in the region. There are many indigenous martial arts ... and traditionally the language for 'martial arts' is 'silat'. This proves that the common thread is in fact cultural and not martial technique.

    From the perspective of my original argument what you've just said is that you like my thinking about proving the effectiveness of 'martial arts'!!

    Me too. I would be very surprised, and yet there are some well known personality's in the Indonesian silat world who seem keen for that to happen. To me it too much like glory seeking. I feel obliged to inform my bias that I'm not a fan of silat olahraga. I'm actually not a fan of any public display on a private ethical level, however I understand that there are different motivations at play.

    Aha! You've used the generic term again ... so which martial art do you mean out of the thousands of styles that exist in the archipelago and Asia Tenggara?

    However, I do know what you mean ... and that being so, it would very much be in the greater topic scope of this thread, in my humble opinion.

    Salam my friend,
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2010
  11. pakarilusi

    pakarilusi Valued Member

    Great points and arguments I must say...

    However, if you look closely enough, there is a "common denominator" that makes Silat, "Silat". In my opinion.

    It's in the "bunga", "sembah" & "langkah"... Of course the weaponary in Silat (yes I said Silat again :)) and it's applications are even more unique to its tradition.

    Not everyone can catch that "common denominator", but that doesn't mean it's not there. I would think that you yourself could tell from Silat and non-Silat, when exhibited.

    As such you can tell when someone is doing Silat and not say, Kung Fu or Karate.

    Certainly there are some styles that are completely unique. However, there are always "exceptions to the rule" but they are a minority imo...

    As to my new Silat Sport, it is based on a "general philosophy" I found in most Silat styles (from what research I've done) as opposed to any given movement or technique. As such, I feel anyone (even non-Silat MA's) can take part in it. Stay tuned for that though...

    Again, good discussion Rebo Paing. Refreshing. :)
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2010
  12. Rebo Paing

    Rebo Paing Pigs and fishes ...

    No, bunga (pukulan, laku cendek etc), sembah and langkah are cultural embellishments (in one form or other these exist across many martial arts around the world, localised only by language). Even here there are differences on usage (as well as philosophy).

    When we appraise commonality across a martial art we name as having a unique 'sameness' - there must be a commonality in the principles of technique. While there are many styles that do share commonality within 'silat', there are others that have no kinship. The Japanese do no such thing. They don't call everything Karate, of Judo or Aikido or Iai-jutsu or Kendo ... they differentiate. In silat, they call everything within the cultural container that is martial 'silat'. It is exactly the 'exceptions' that show that there is no 'rule' - no patokan, no over-arching standard except in the minds of those who wish it to be so ... and that causes confusion.

    Most certainly I have seen many instances in 'silat' when I think but for the cultural accoutrement I could be seeing karate, taekwondo, muay thai, pekiti, krabi krabong, judo or one of the plethora of chinese arts. And of course that works in the reverse as well.
  13. pakarilusi

    pakarilusi Valued Member

    That there is the point I'm putting forth, which seems to be the point of our disagreement as well. I contend that the "Cultural Embellishment" you speak of is exactly what makes it "Silat".

    The divergence in Silat combat techniques and approaches is much like Kung Fu's divergent styles, it is still Kung Fu...

    Techniques are adapted to suit circumstances. Much like food. I celebrate Silat's diversity while still seeing it as a whole.

    In the end, I go back to my first post. It is just a word. If you don't see it that way, that's alright. Like the word "Charity". Many definitions to what constitutes "Charity". What it is and what it is not. However, the act of "Charity" is still much more important than trying to pin down what it is by definition. Not that you shouldn't though, by all means, please do. It's just not that important to me...

    Again, I like your thinking even if I don't really agree with your position. :)

    Last edited: Jul 22, 2010
  14. Rebo Paing

    Rebo Paing Pigs and fishes ...

    Fair enough. For the record, the term Kung Fu is another misnomer that has (in the last few decades) acquired added meaning as an inaccurate blanket term ... just like silat. Language tends to develop like that, if not we would all possibly still be grunting caveman and picking nits off each other :hat:.

    Well put, with the provision that people draw meaning and embellish their world views through language; it has the power to alter the course of a life, because ALL of us observe and protect our cherished illusions as the standard for reality ... Meneer Pakarilusi :cool:.

    Salam (dare I say it?) persilatan,
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2010
  15. pakarilusi

    pakarilusi Valued Member

    Haha... :)

    Salam Persilatan...
  16. Shihabudeen

    Shihabudeen Valued Member

    true silat is not a martial art... its a way of life... and a connection through an angelic invocation of divine power expressed through a dance.... of war... the sourcing of which is described in the Old Testament book of 2 Samuel I Believe where the prophet Dawud (as) David danced before the lord with all his might at the front of the war parade in thanksgiving and worshipful appreciation for the victories that God Almighty had given him, the scriptures go on to say that The Angels came down and inspired him in his dance... to us... true silat is this dance.... and the sourcing for all other martial arts although they are mostly today little more than aerobics having lost their connection to spiritual heavenly power...
  17. pakarilusi

    pakarilusi Valued Member

    Shihabudeen, I am from Malaysia and an enlightened Muslim as well...

    This talk of Silat as a Heavenly thing is really dangerous. Look it up...

    It is at the source of the major strife in the world today.
  18. Hannibal

    Hannibal Cry HAVOC and let slip the Dogs of War!!! Supporter

    Says you - your beliefs are not my beliefs or indeed anyone elses....and to be honest they sound asinine
  19. d0ugbug

    d0ugbug learning to smile

    I used to think Silat was cool, but even this art brings in the nutters
  20. Shihabudeen

    Shihabudeen Valued Member

    Every moment of this precious life is sacred and heavenly... Isa (as) said,"heaven and paradise are spread out upon the surface of the earth, but mankind refuses to see it."... the reality of spirituality is more real than any other reality, there will always be those who deny what they can't see in front of them... as that is their world view... they are blind and deaf and will be raised up come the ressurection blind and deaf... ... holiness sainthood, enlightenment... these are spiritual stations one would be wise never to claim for themselves... its better to have it said about you than to claim it... and be wary of anyone calling themselves a saint... for there may be something of pride in their presentation... especially if they are lacking humility... every moment of life is heavenly... and precious... sacred... can tell the measure of a man by the value he associates to his time...

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