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Have you ever heard the word ’silat’?
Posted on Mon, Jan 17, 2011 at 1:38 pm
by IDMA Editor

Have you ever heard the word ’silat’? Silat is a collective word for indigenous martial arts of the Malay Archipelago of Southeast Asia. Originally created and developed in Sumatera Island and Java in what is now Indonesia, then spread to peninsular Malaysia, southern Thailand and Singapore.

Photo from

There are many types of Silat actually, for example, Kuntao or the tagalog pronounced it ‘Kuntaw’. Silat Kuntaw is a form of Filipino Pencak Silat coming from the Moro’s Islands.The Art is divided in 3 parts. The Self Defense System, the Art and the Health System. Silat Kuntaw recognized no rules when it comes to Self Defense. Although it is most commonly practiced in Indonesia among the Chinese Indonesian communities, styles of kuntao are also practiced in Singapore, Malaysia(especially Borneo) and the Philippines where Chinese martial arts were brought by merchants, labourers and other settlers from South China.

Photo of Asian beach Silat from

Silat worldwide is based on the following aspects:

Mental and Spiritual Strength

To build and develop personality, noble character and honour is the main objective of silat practitioners that must beupheld during combat or dangerous situations.


As with any martial art, the skill of defending oneself and protecting loved ones when in danger or when faced with adversity is what all silat practitioners prepare themselves for.


Along with the strength of the human body, silat also uses ancient weapons like the keris, pedang, parang/golok, lembing, kayu/tongkat,kipas, tekpi,kelabit and japanese sword.


Competitions and intense training keep the practitioners’ skills sharp, through form demonstrations, for single, double or teamed combat. The concept of sound mind, sound body.

Art and Culture

Performing the ‘art’ of silat is very important. Traditional costumes and music that accompany the stylized moves and artistic techniques of the martial art have made it an internationally recognized form of choreography. Silat is also used in very many officious events, as part of the Malay custom, such as weddings and royal occasions.

Photo of beach Silat from

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