Pencak Silat: The Indonesian Martial Art
The term Pencak Silat (or Pentjak Silat, according to its ancient form of writing in the Dutch colonial era) is a term actually coined only in 1948 to indicate and in some way classify, martial arts from Indonesia. It is, therefore, a rather generic term precisely because the Indo-Malay archipelago is made up of about 16,000-17,000 islands, and from these, thousands of martial styles were born, in some cases very different from each other. In fact, each village or neighbourhood has structured its own style and techniques on the basis of their territory, physical characteristics, potential enemies, and their need to fight to defend themselves and survive.
Pencak Silat today is divided into four main aspects:
- Olah Raga (sports combat)
- Bela Diri (self defense)
- Seni (dance, culture, and art)
- Mental Spiritual (mind and spirit)
Each style and group chooses how, and how many components of a total of four, they teach and train according to the ideologies and/or tradition of the school or teacher.
As with any art (especially if martial), often the best way to understand it is to practice it, experience it firsthand, immersing yourself in its teachings, in its Jurus and in the passion that guides the practitioners who are carrying on its tradition even today. The Indonesian martial arts did not come down to us without passing the test of time, wars, and situations they had to deal with and they managed to do so by adapting, mixing, and innovating.
Today practicing an art like Pencak Silat therefore does not only mean practicing one of the best and most effective combat systems, but it also means giving continuity to a tradition that combines combat, self-defense, art, and spirituality, and whose purpose is to both make us fearsome fighters, and also better human beings.
We carry on this tradition, through the Naga Kuning Institute and the Pencak Silat styles we practice.
Pencak Silat in the Blog
If you want to find out more about the history and origins of Pencak Silat, we invite you to read the articles of our blog where we explore the history, culture, traditions, styles, and fighting techniques of Indonesian martial arts.