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Pentjak Silat

The Indonesian martial art of pentjak silat is little known outside its country of origin. Practitioners of the art attribute historic victories against Holland and Japan to pentjak silat’s mystical practice of channeling tenaga dalam (the Indonesian version of Chinese chi kung).

Several legends dictate that women created the art. For example, Bima founded the silat style known as Bima Sakti. Another version says Rama Sukana used monkey movements to avoid being beaten up by her husband—techniques she learned by watching monkeys fight while washing clothes on the island of Bawean.

Although the term pentjak silat was chosen in 1948 to be a unifying term to describe Indonesian martial arts as a whole, the art itself is thought to have originated sometime during the Malay empire of Srivijaya (600s-1200s). The art was later refined during the Majaphit empire (1293-1527).

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  1. These 10 Silat Strategies Will Expand Your Consciousness and Make You Better at Self-Defense! Part One

    These 10 Silat Strategies Will Expand Your Consciousness and Make You Better at Self-Defense! Part One

    The way you hold your hands in a violent encounter and in the moments leading up to it can influence the outcome. That’s why the martial art of silat teaches students to open up.
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  2. Pencak Silat Expert Gets MMA Smackdown, Regroups, Comes Back Even Stronger With His Martial Art!

    Pencak Silat Expert Gets MMA Smackdown, Regroups, Comes Back Even Stronger With His Martial Art!

    Can exposure to MMA lead to practical updates to a traditional martial art? Can it make a martial artist more capable of defending himself? Burton Richardson says the answer to both questions is yes!
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  3. Touching New Movie Examines Pencak Silat From a Female Perspective!

    Touching New Movie Examines Pencak Silat From a Female Perspective!

    Next up in Black Belt’s new entertainment blog: Yasmine, a unique film that follows a high-school girl in Brunei who sets out to learn the martial art of silat.
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  4. Pentjak Silat’s 9 Deadliest Weapons

    Pentjak Silat’s 9 Deadliest Weapons

    Suryadi “Eddie” Jafri is one of the best-known instructors of the Indonesian martial art pentjak silat (also spelled pencak silat). Pentjak refers to the fighting movements, while silat means a “spiritual way.” Jafri’s style of pentjak silat, pera taki sendo, is a close-combat system using empty-hand techniques as well as
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  5. Bersilat Weds Martial Arts and Dancing

    Bersilat Weds Martial Arts and Dancing

    In Malaysia, they say a man is not really capable of defending himself against an attacker unless he knows something about bersilat. Its self-defense techniques date back to the early 15th century and today is still popular. The art enjoys such popularity that it can be practiced by anyone whether
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  6. Takedown Tips From Pentjak Silat Master Andre KnustGraichen

    Takedown Tips From Pentjak Silat Master Andre KnustGraichen

    Dr. Andre KnustGraichen is known for his warm smile, eloquent speech and extensive medical knowledge. As a professor at a chiropractic college, he uses his hands to teach and heal. But the same hands that can mend a herniated disc can also drop an assailant—if the good doctor so chooses.
    That’s
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  7. Silat: Indonesia and Malaysia’s Deadly Martial Art

    Silat: Indonesia and Malaysia’s Deadly Martial Art

    You are minding your own business, buying a newspaper at your local convenience store, when a belligerent drunk decides to take a punch at you simply because you met his stare for a second too long. What the drunk doesn’t know is that you are trained in the Indonesian martial
    Read More »