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Malaysian Silat

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  • Malaysian Silat

    [RIGHT]Hi. I've noticed that a lot has been written about Indonesian silat. There are also some excellent postings by Husnira on Malaysian Silat. I'll add my 2 cents worth. In an effort to distinguish Malaysian silat from Indonesian silat, some writers have referred to Malaysian silat as "Bersilat". Well "bersilat" in Malay means is a verb which means "to do silat". In Malaysia we normally say "Seni Silat". "Seni" means "the art of". Secondly, there are thousands of silat styles in Malaysia. Some specialise in locks and trapping, pukulan/hitting, groundwork etc. So depending on what one's preference is and whether a particular style is taught to locals and foreigners, one can choose a silat style which suits him or her. Silat in Malaysia, as with other martial arts, is deeply rooted in and greatly influenced by the teachings of Islam but this is not to say that one must be a muslim to learn silat. Case in point, Silat Gayong practitioners in US and UK, from what I've seen, are very competent and skillful in silat although they have not embraced Islam. Being a muslim however, allows the silat "practitioner" to understand the philosophy behind silat. I use the word practitioner because despite the tendency to mystify silat, silat requires one to "live" its teachings in daily life, at the mall, at the office, on the street, everywhere. Silat practitioners are always practising i.e. the first thing I do before heading of to the office, is the basic movements of my system and the first thing I do when I get back from work, is to practise the forms and patterns. Whilst I take the train to work, I am training my awareness and management of my immediate environment. Of course, silat is often associated with incantations and knowledge which appear to allow it s practitioners extraordinary strenght and powers.This prevailing perception sometimes makes silat unattractive even to the Malays who prefer to send their children to TKD classes. Again, it is a matter of choice, there are many silat which stress development of attributes such as speed, stamina, strength and skill just like any other martial arts and there are some silat which stress spiritual teachings much like the controversial "empty force" of chinese qigong. To each his own. But I've learned and am still learning 2 silat systems and both stress development of physical skills and supplemented with spiritual teachings. Silat is many things to deifferent people, there is no generalisation which is correct,seek and ye shall find as they say.