Literally meaning “Malay Silat” is a Southeast Asian martial art form known as Silat Melayu. This “mixed” combat form is said to have originated from Malaysia, and is also to said to have its roots deeply embedded in the Malay culture. Apart from Malaysia this combat form is also popular in neighboring countries such as Thailand, Singapore, Brunei, and Vietnam. Furthermore, this martial art form apart from being an unarmed combat style also includes the use of several weapons. In addition, a fighter in Silat Melayu is supposed to wear a dress code (i.e. uniform) generally comprising of a sarong while fighting.
a. History/origin of the Silat Melayu:
Apparently, the Silat Melayu as a martial art form is supposed to have originated from the Malay culture about 2000 years ago. It is said that the Malay community were in constant contact with India and China during the 1st century. It was therefore using elements of martial arts observed in China and India that this form of combat was created. The use of Indian mace and Chinese sword in this form of combat is clear evidence of the influence of Indian and Chinese culture respectively. Furthermore, the term Melayu was used so as to connect this martial art form to a kingdom that existed in Sumatra in Indonesia. In addition, in Malaysia since the ethnic Javanese, Bugis, and Minang communities were supposed to be “Malay” any form of “silat” that was practiced by them was given the term “Silat Melayu”.
b. Weapon used in the Silat Melayu:
The weapons mainly used in the Silat Melayu are as follows;
- Kris: Is basically a dagger that consists of unusually wavy blade.
- Parang/Golok: A form of a machete/broadsword.
- Tombak/Lembing: A wooden spear/javelin.
- Tongkat: Is basically a bamboo staff or walking stick.
- Gedak: Essentially a mace or club made from iron.
- Kipas: Basically an iron folding fan.
- Kerambit: Basically a blade shaped like claw that can be tied to woman’s hair.
- Sabit: Basically a sickle used in farming.
- Trisula: Essentially an Indian version of the trident.
- Chindai/Samping: Is basically a sarong that is used to defend against bladed weapons.
- Rantai: Basically a chain used to whip.
c. Technique involved in the Silat Melayu and training availability:
In terms of technique, a fighter in this form of combat basically uses “parrying and counterattacking techniques”. Furthermore, moves such as “grappling and locking” are used frequently. In addition, weapons (from among a list of eleven) may also be used in this form of combat. In terms of training centers/schools, there are a number available especially in Malaysia for those interested in learning this “mixed” martial art form.