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History of Silat

Pencak Silat or Silat ("fighting by using techniques of self-defense") is a Southeast Asian martial art with roots in the culture of the Malay World. This art is widely known in Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, Philippines, and Singapore but can also be found in varying degrees among the Malay-affiliated communities in Thailand. The art has also reached Europe, and is especially popular in the Netherlands, where it is as popular as karate is in the United States. It is estimated that there are hundreds of aliran (styles) and thousands of schools. Many of the aliran find their origin in the observation of wild animals fighting. "Harimau" (Tiger) and "Helang" (Eagle) are some examples.

There are four main aspects to pencak silat:

1. Mental and spiritual:
Pencak silat aims to build and develop personality and noble character. One must use their training to focus their mental and spiritual energies during combat situations or dangerous emergencies.

2. Self-defense:
Self-confidence skills and perseverance skills are very important. Without them, your skills are reduced.

3. Culture and art:
Culture and performing the "art" of pencak silat is very important. This combines Pencak Silat with traditional music and costumes.

4. Sport:
This means that the physical aspect of pencak silat is important. We try to have a sound mind in a sound body. Competitions and intense training are part of this aspect.
There are full-contact matches, as well as form demonstrations, for single, double or teamed.

To be simplified, seni silat or pencak silat are based on 4 parts:

1. Culture
2. Self defense
3. Weaponry
4. Sport

The styles and schools of pencak silat differ from each other with regard to which aspects are emphasized. It is thanks to the sport and self-defense aspects that this sport has become popular in Europe (to give evidence of this, the character of Ulrich Stern from Code Lyoko practices the art on occasion, and utilizes his skills in battle). However, many believe the essence of pencak silat is lost, or watered down, when converted to a sport and therefore still focuses on traditional or spiritual forms of Silat, not strictly following the PERSILAT way.

Pencak silat is a system that consists of sikap-sikap (positions) and gerak-gerik (movements). When pesilat (silat practitioners) are moving (when fighting) these sikap and gerak-geri change continuously. As soon as one finds an opening in their opponent's defense, they will try to finish the opponent with a fast serangan (attack).

Pencak silat has a wide variety of defense and attacking techniques. Practitioners may use hands, elbows, arms, legs, knees and feet in attacks. Common techniques include kicking, hitting, tripping, sweeps, locks, takedowns, throws, strangles, and joint breaking.

The pesilat, or silat practitioner, practices with djurus. A djurus is a series of meta-movements for the upper body used as a guide to learn the applications, or buah, when done with a partner. The use of langkah (steps), or lower body meta movements teach the use of footwork. When combined, it is dasar pasang, or whole body flow. This is common to most Asian martial arts and called kata in Japanese.

Pencak silat has developed rapidly during the 20th century and has become a competition sport under the PERSILAT rules and regulations. At the moment pencak silat is being promoted by PERSILAT in several countries. The goal of PERSILAT is to make pencak silat an olympic sport. Apart from the official PERSILAT line of making Pencak Silat a competition sport, there are still many traditional styles practicing old forms of Silek and Silat.

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