What is the difference between Malay, Indonesian and Filipino silat

Values ​​and development of the Pencak Silat

Values ​​and development of the Pencak Silat


  1. Preface
  2. The story of Pencak Silat
  3. The philosophy of Pencak Silat
  4. The types and styles of pencak silat
  5. The schools and pendekar of Pencak Silat
  6. Research and documentation of the Pencak Silat
  7. Development and distribution of Pencak Silat
  1. Conclusion and conclusion


Pencak Silat is a compound word. Pencak and Silat have the same meaning and form part of the culture of the peoples of the Malay race, that is, the ethnic group of the original inhabitants of Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei Darussalam.

The word Pencak is commonly used by the people of Java Island, while the word Silat is commonly used in other regions of Indonesia, as well as Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei Darussalam.

The amalgamation of the words Pencak and Silat into a single word took place for the first time when an organization of the Association of Indonesian Pencak and Silat Schools was founded in Surakarta in 1948 Ikatan Pencak Silat Indonesia (IPSI) (Indonesian Pencak Silat Association). Since then, Pencak Silat has been used as the official name in Indonesia. This name is also used by schools in many other countries that teach the Indonesian form of pencak and silat.

At the international level, Pencak Silat has been used officially since the establishment of the International Federation in Jakarta in 1980 under the name Persekutuan Pencak Silat Antarabangsa, abbreviated PERSILAT (International Pencak Silat Federation). However, the words pencak and silat are also used separately as single expressions due to dialectical habits.

The following analysis is a summary of some key points in the development of Pencak Silat: history, philosophy, species, styles, schools, and Pendekar, Research and documentation, development and dissemination and threats for the pencak silat. This analysis is then summarized in a conclusion.

The story of Pencak Silat

The basic human needs are security and prosperity. To meet these needs, man invented and developed various means (techniques) and equipment. The inventions relating to human security are means and equipments for combating and overcoming all kinds of threats, challenges, obstacles and nuisances. Such means include, among others, the so-called jurus and weapons.

Jurus is a technique of effective physical (physical) movements for self-defense or for attack with or without a weapon. This early form was very simple and represented an imitation of the movement of an animal, adapted to the human anatomy. As a result, there has been a constant development along with the development of human culture. The weapons used also developed in the same way. The ethnic groups in the Malay Archipelago are agricultural peoples whose social togetherness is defined by a paguyuban, Community system. The social peculiarities and relationships of such a system have shaped the wisdom and lifestyle, according to which religious values, principles and morality of the people are of great importance.

According to the above social system, should Jurus applied in a responsible manner. This can only be done if the practitioner has himself under control. Jurus were used for self-defense. But man has also invented means (techniques) and equipment of the most varied kinds in order to achieve a certain level of prosperity (or well-being); for example by Jurus developed into an artistic sport that can induce both physical and mental wellbeing.

In the course of their social and cultural development, the ethnic groups in the Malay Archipelago have incorporated many foreign influences into their lives, which harmoniously blend with religious and moral values ​​and principles. In the course of this development, the Hindu philosophy was also integrated and in the control and application of Jurus used. Because this philosophy applied to budi pekerti luhur or noble way of thinking and character traits, it is also called the "philosophy of the sublime ethics". The control of self-defense and the artistic and athletic aspect of the Jurus with philosophy based on religious and moral values ​​and principles, it is called Pencak Silat.

The identity of Pencak Silat is therefore determined by three main points:

  1. The culture of the ethnic groups in the Malay Archipelago as a source and structure.
  2. The “philosophy of the sublime ethics” as the spirit and motivation for its application.
  3. The substance of Pencak Silat itself, which comes into a unity through intellectual and spiritual (self-control), artistic and sporting aspects as well as aspects of self-defense.

With this identity, Pencak Silat emerged in the 4th century, when the kingdoms of that time were the cultural development centers of the ethnic groups living in these regions in the Malay Archipelago. During this time, in which first the Hindu culture, then Buddhism and finally Islam spread, Pencak Silat experienced a significant development and spread.

When the ethnic groups in the Malay Archipelago were under the rule of the colonial powers from Western Europe, teaching by Pencak Silat was restricted and then banned as this philosophy was seen as a means of strengthening national currents. During the Japanese occupation, the colonial government allowed culture to develop freely in order to ensure popular support in the war against the Allies. At that time, Pencak Silat was being taught again as it was at the beginning and was enjoying wider popularity.

After the ethnic groups in the Malay Archipelago freed themselves from foreign rule and independent states (Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei Darussalam) emerged, the growth and spread of Pencak Silat increased significantly, especially after the establishment of the national Pencak Silat organizations in these countries: Ikatan Pencak Silat Indonesia (IPSI) - Indonesian Pencak Silat Association, Persekutuan Silat Kebangsaan Malaysia (PESAKA) - Malaysian National Silat Federation, Persekutuan Silat Singapore (PERSISI) - Singapore Silat Federation, Persekutuan Silat Brunei Darussalam (PERSIB) - Brunei Darussalam Silat Federation.

Pencak Silat also spread outside the original countries, particularly after the establishment of Persekutuan Pencak Silat Antarabangsa (PERSILAT) - International Pencak Silat Association.

The philosophy of Pencak Silat

The philosophy of Pencak Silat is also called the philosophy of budi pekerti luhur (noble disposition and character), as it is oriented towards a perfect ethic. According to this philosophy, a peaceful, safe, orderly and prosperous society can be created if all members adhere to the code of consummate ethics. Accordingly, the way of life that should be made a principle is those that form a noble disposition and character as such. Budi is a dynamic psychological aspect that includes the elements of cipta, rasa and karsa. These three are the dynamic forms of akal (mind), rasa (sensitivity) and kehendak (will). Budi (disposition) can be viewed as a kind of pekerti (character). All of these properties must be luhur (noble / perfect / ideal). What is to be achieved through the formation of this perfect ethic is the ability to self-control, especially when using the technique (jurus) of effective physical movement for self-defense or attack. Jurus should only be used to maintain truth (legality), honesty and justice, in connection with religious enthusiasm and human mortality, and to create masyarakat tata-tentrem karta-rahaja (a peaceful, safe, orderly and prosperous society).

In other words, ethical philosophy can also be called self-controlled philosophy. With this noble morality (ethics) and the ability to self-control, it becomes possible for man to fulfill his high moral obligations as God's creature, individual, social creature and universal creature, that is, to devote himself to God, to improve his personal qualities, to put the people's interests above their own interests and to love their living space. A person who can fulfill his noble moral obligations is a person of great dignity.

The types and styles of pencak silat

Based on the aspects of its internal substance, Pencak Silat can be divided into four types. The practice of each of these types of pencak silat has its own purpose, and because of that aim, the practice will emphasize one aspect, but without neglecting the other aspects.

The four types of pencak silat are:

  1. Mental-spiritual Pencak Silat or self-controlled Pencak Silat, the execution of which has the purpose of strengthening the ability of self-control and therefore emphasizes the mental-spiritual aspect more.
  2. Pencak Silat for self-defense, the execution of which pursues the purpose of effective defense and therefore emphasizes the aspect of self-defense more.
  3. Art Pencak Silat, the execution of which has the purpose of showing the beauty of the movement and therefore emphasizing the artistic aspect more.
  4. Sporty pencak silat, the execution of which pursues the purpose of physical fitness and sporting achievements and therefore emphasizes the sporting aspect more strongly.

The other, non-focus aspects can be measured with different degrees of importance; some of them are obvious, others are hidden again. All types of Pencak Silat therefore always have four aspects that must be viewed as a unit.

Pencak Silat has different styles (aliran). An aliran or style has a distinctive and unique shape with certain characteristics and can be distinguished from other aliran. Whatever the implementation of a particular style, the values ​​of the four aspects of Pencak Silat, i.e. ethics, technique, aesthetics and sport as a unit, must be present and evident. If this is not the case, the Pencak Silat's values ​​are wrong.

It is not easy to distinguish the styles of Pencak Silat, and only experts who really understand the individual "Jurus" techniques of Pencak Silat are able to do so. The difference in the styles only affects the physical training aspect and not the mental-spiritual and philosophical aspect. Whatever the style and style of Pencak Silat, it is always inspired by the consummate ethical philosophy and has a mental-spiritual aspect as an aspect of self-control.

In pencak silat of self defense, there are styles that use supernatural powers in performing their jurus technique. This tenaga dalam (= inner strength) or tenaga tambahan (= additional strength) is a way of strengthening the jurus or physical vulnerability. There are theoretical explanations for these "supernatural powers" and the ways in which this ability can be achieved; however, the explanation and its evidence are not based on the results of intensive scientific research.

The schools and pendekar of Pencak Silat

The meaning of the Pencak Silat schools is often confused with the Pencak Silat styles. The Pencak Silat School is an educational institution where one can be berguru or a student of Pencak Silat. Berguru or being a student has the related meaning of intensive study (learning) and the process which is directly and completely observed by a teacher, directed and supervised, so that the progress of the student's ability and morality can be clearly followed. The teacher does not teach a student whose mentality is considered unworthy. Because of this, it was not easy in ancient times to become a student or member of a Pencak Silat school. Difficult and lengthy tests of mental posture were performed before admitting a student.

According to the types of teaching of Pencak Silat, there are four categories of Pencak Silat schools:

  1. The Mental-Spiritual Pencak Silat School, which focuses on the mental-spiritual aspect of Pencak Silat and aims to develop a high degree of self-control in the students or members.
  2. The Pencak Silat school of self-defense, which focuses on the aspect of self-defense and aims to develop a high level of technical skill in self-defense with or without weapons.
  3. The Art Pencak Silat School, which focuses its teaching on the artistic aspect of Pencak Silat and serves the purpose of highlighting the beauty of movement in the performance of Pencak Silat, with or without traditional musical accompaniment and with or without the use of weapons, according to the Rules of wiraga (basic body movement technique), wirasa (creativity and improvisation), which make body movement even more beautiful, and wirama (harmony and harmony of movement and rhythm of the accompanying music).
  4. The School of Sports Pencak Silat, whose teaching focuses on the athletic aspect of Pencak Silat for the purpose of training Pencak Silat techniques with athletic relevance and for physical exercise or competition. For the purpose of the competition, the lessons are coordinated with the applicable fighting rules.

The Pencak Silat schools of self-defense are the most popular and well-known of all, with some teaching "inner strength" or physical endurance and similar skills. Since the 1970s there have been many self-defense schools that also teach sports pencak silat in order to train their students to compete and thus enable them to take part in championships in sports pencak silat. (International) competitions are also held in the self-defense and art pencak silat.

According to the requirements of modern development, Pencak Silat can be divided into the following three groups:

  1. The traditional Pencak Silat school, the main characteristics of which are among others:
  2. The top management of the school is inherited.
  3. Admission of students takes place after selective tests and a strict probationary period.
  4. The teaching method is monologue.
  5. Violation of school regulations is punished with dismissal of the student.
  6. Laws and regulations of the school and the teaching are not laid down in writing.
  7. There are no fees or contributions from members.
  8. The cost of maintaining the school is borne by the director (owner).
  9. The main hallmarks of the school of modern pencak silat include:
  10. The school directors and officials are chosen from among the cadres who are considered reliable candidates.
  11. The admission of students is open and free for everyone.
  12. There is no trial period, but basic training is considered the first stage.
  13. The educational method is dialogue and analytical.
  14. School regulations are enforced by admonishing with reasonable arguments.
  15. There are guidelines and written instructions relating to the school and lessons.
  16. Fees or contributions are collected from members to cover school expenses.
  17. The main hallmarks of the Transitional Pencak Silat Schools include:
  18. The leadership is inherited, but the school officials are chosen from among the executives who are considered reliable candidates.
  19. Students are accepted through selection and those who are accepted receive temporary membership status.
  20. The teaching method is dialog-restricted, i.e. it does not cover matters of principle.
  21. The school regulations are explained in an introductory speech.
  22. There are a limited number of guidelines and written instructions relating to the school and lessons.
  23. No school fees are charged, but voluntary contributions from members are not rejected.
  24. The maintenance costs are covered by the leader and through contributions.

The teaching of philosophical values ​​and moral-spiritual lessons are not carried out separately in all Pencak Silat schools, but are taught during the training in the form of short instructions, with the oath of solidarity and loyalty to the school being sworn.

With the increasing demands of social development, all traditional and transitional Pencak Silat schools will be transformed into modern schools with professional aspects of management and education. In general, the qualification of the head of Pencak Silat Schools is Pendekar, which is the highest status according to the degree of skill and according to the rules (principles) or philosophical doctrine of Pencak Silat, which is to be followed as a shining example.

In modern school society, the term pendekar is used as a title or degree awarded when a high level of self-defense skills is achieved. The title Pendekar can be translated as "master". Often the degree “master” is divided into different levels. This degree is comparable to the Japanese "Dan".

Research and documentation of the Pencak Silat

To date, there is no exhaustive scientific research or documentation on Pencak Silat. In general it can be said that previous research and documentation have concentrated on the technical aspects of Pencak Silat. The non-technical aspects were little or not dealt with at all, although both aspects should be viewed as a unit.

The most popular books on Pencak Silat were Amy Shapiro's work entitled "Martial Arts Language" and Don F. Draeger's "Weapons and Fighting Arts of the Indonesian Archipelago" .

In Amy Shapiro's book, the author differentiates between Pencak and Silat. According to the author, pencak literally means practiced and specialized body movements, and silat means fight using pencak. Don F. Draeger also makes a distinction between Pencak and Silat in his book, although the two aspects are not separated. In his opinion, based on the belief of the Minangkabau people, Pencak is an artful movement of the body with variations for self-defense, and Silat is Pencak's combat application; Silat cannot exist without pencak; Pencak without silat loses its purpose. The word Pencak comes from "pung-cha" from the Shandong language. "Pung" means to repel and cover an attacking action, while "cha" indicates an end by a blow (Hau) action. The first part of the word indicates a falling force, while the second part of the word indicates more of an oppressive force.

According to the explanation given in the foreword, however, the words Pencak Silat come from the language of the ethnic groups in the Malay Archipelago and both have the same meaning. This also agrees with Silat's explanation in the W.J.S. Poerwodarminto compiled dictionary.

In his book Sejarah Perkembangan Pencak Silat di Indonesia (The History of the Development of Pencak Silat in Indonesia) in the Glorious Age of the Sriwijaya Kingdom, Hisbullah Rachman writes that the University of Nalanda in this country is the center of the development of the Buddhist faith and the starting point for the Spread of pencak silat had become. Many Chinese came there to learn Pencak Silat and then spread it in their country. The most important books on pencak silat in Indonesian language, widely used in Indonesia itself, were written by Mariyun Sudirohadiprodjo, Moh. Djumali, and Januarno. All three books contain a technical guide for learning and training the athletic Pencak Silat. The “Pendekar” magazine, written in Malaysian and published in Malaysia, pays special attention to information about Pencak Silat. The magazine "Pencak Silat", published by Pengurus Besar (Central Board of the Indonesian Pencak Silat Association), the first publication of which appeared in May 1990, also deals with these aspects. Information on Pencak Silat techniques can also be found in a variety of magazines in different countries.

Development and distribution of Pencak Silat

Pencak Silat is developed and disseminated through the Pencak Silat Schools. After World War II, the activities of these schools in Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam were coordinated by the national Pencak Silat organizations in each country: IPSI, founded in 1948, PERSISI, founded in 1976, PESAKA, founded in 1983 and PERSIB, founded in 1987.

National Pencak Silat organizations have also been set up in other countries. The Persekutuan Pencak Silat Antarabangsa (PERSILAT), the International Pencak Silat Federation or International Pencak Silat Association, was founded on March 11, 1980 in Jakarta to coordinate the various efforts to develop and spread Pencak Silat on an international level. According to the statutes of this organization, there are three types of membership in PERSILAT:

  1. Anggota Pendiri or founding members, consisting of IPSI, PESAKA, PERSISI and PERSIB.
  2. Anggota Gabungan or Affiliated Members: national Pencak Silat organizations that are members of a national sports organization and that have been accepted as members of PERSILAT.
  3. Anggota Bersekutu or Associate Members: Pencak Silat organizations that are not yet a member of a national sports organization, but are entitled to represent their country according to PERSILAT rules and have been recognized as members of PERSILAT.

The German Pencak Silat Association "Pencak Silat Union Germany" (PSUD) is an associated member of PERSILAT. All efforts to develop and disseminate should consider the physical, mental and philosophical aspects at the same time. However, these goals have not yet been fully achieved. Only the Sport-Pencak Silat was successful in this regard.

Development and dissemination of the sport pencak silat takes place, among other things, through the holding of championships. In Indonesia, the IPSI organizes championships, alternately for adults and youth, except in the years when the National Sports Week takes place, when the sports pencak silat is also held. Pencak Silat has also been part of the SEA Games since 1987. In the years in which Pencak Silat is held at the SEA Games, the IPSI does not organize any national championships. Every national championship always begins with a district championship.

Efforts to develop and disseminate art pencak silat consist in holding festivals and competitions. A national competition was held in Indonesia in 1982. In order to be able to carry out the preparations more efficiently, such festivals are held at the same time as the championship in sports pencak silat. Efforts have recently been made to showcase self-defense pencak silat in events as well.

On the occasion of every national championship in sports Pencak Silat in Indonesia there are always discussions about how Pencak Silat can be developed and disseminated more intensively. Such strategy discussions are also held in Munas (Musyawarah Nasional - National Conference), which is convened once every four years. Other efforts in this direction include the further training of coaches, referees or jurors, the creation of competition rules and the formulation of a national standard for sports pencak silat, the evaluation criteria for art and self-defense competitions in pencak silat, and teaching and training methods for pencak silat in general.

There are also Pencak Silat championships on an international level. The first and second of these events were held in Jakarta in 1982 and 1984, the third was in 1986 in Vienna, the fourth in 1987 in Kuala Lumpur, and the fifth in 1988 in Singapore. At all world championships the competition in art pencak silat took place at the same time. Other championships were held regularly.

Today Pencak Silat is operated and further developed in many countries except Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei Darussalam (these four countries can be considered as the countries of origin of Pencak Silat).

In some Asian countries, the development of Pencak Silat is still in the early stages, e.g. in Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam and the Philippines. These countries would like to participate in the Pencak Silat competition on the occasion of the XVI SEA Games in Manila in 1991; some of them have requested Pencak Silat trainers from Indonesia.

Dangers to Pencak Silat

If Pencak Silat is operated outside the countries of origin, it is usually not qualified as Pencak Silat in terms of its task to fulfill the identity criteria or its application principles, which understand ethical, technical, aesthetic and sporting values ​​as a unit.

Among the Pencak Silat enthusiasts outside the countries of origin there are those who only want to study the physical aspect of Pencak Silat and who are little interested in studying and absorbing the philosophical values ​​that inspire Pencak Silat, as well as the cultural values ​​that Pencak Underlying silat.

The dissemination of knowledge regarding the identity and principles of Pencak Silat, as a fundamental rule for the practice of Pencak Silat with its ethical, technical, aesthetic and sporting values, has never been specifically carried out until now. Efforts in this direction are currently being made by IPSI, which is again being organized by PERSILAT. Those sports that are called Pencak Silat but do not match Pencak Silat in their practical form automatically lose all Pencak Silat values ​​in their true sense. This fact, in turn, worsens the image and reputation of Pencak Silat, and therein lies the danger.

The second threat concerns the quality competitions of sports pencak silat, which cannot be called sufficient, and is even sometimes undermined by disputes. Sharp criticism is often loud in this regard. This has likely already worsened Pencak Silat's reputation. The main reason for this is the fact that the principles (rules) of Pencak Silat have not been absorbed deeply and are not fully applied by participants in such competitions. The in-depth study of the principles (rules) of Pencak Silat must be based on an understanding of the identity of Pencak Silat with all of its values. Otherwise the aim of a competition cannot be understood either. The goals of a competition are, among other things, to strengthen the development and awareness of Pencak Silat, the brotherhood and unity, to strengthen the image of Pencak Silat and to arouse sympathy and interest for Pencak Silat nationally and internationally.

These goals should represent the basic motivation of the participants in a competition. The idea of ​​the Central Committee of the Indonesian Pencak Silat Association is to improve the quality of Sport Pencak Silat competitions by increasing the number and improving the quality of IPSI trainers who come from Pencak Silat schools and train their members there, especially the Members who are then sent to championships.

Only pesilat or silat fighters who have been taught by an IPSI trainer should be allowed to participate in a championship organized by the IPSI. In the near future, this is to be implemented by PERSILAT on an international basis. Another idea is to create a new competition system.

Conclusion and conclusion

Based on the above analysis, the following conclusions can be drawn:

  1. Pencak Silat is derived from and is part of the ethnic culture of the Malay people and has its own identity.
  2. Due to its philosophical values, Pencak Silat can essentially be regarded as the substance and equipment of mental and physical education for the development of a human being of integrity with high mental and physical quality.
  3. The dangers threatening Pencak Silat's image must be overcome by disseminating knowledge of Pencak Silat's identity and increasing the number of skilled, trained and professional Pencak Silat trainers.

May this analysis of the values ​​and development of Pencak Silat be useful to all those interested in expanding the knowledge of Pencak Silat.

(Source: IPSI)