Sep 2017 - Silat Melayu: An Immersive Journey

"Silat Melayu: An Immersive Journey" by
Jagdev Kaur Pretap Singh

The presentation was held on 20th September and conducted by Mohd Nadzrin Wahab who is a certified Silat Melayu instructor as well an actor for the performing arts in the field of martial arts. He is also attached to a couple of local universities as an instructor of Silat Melayu.
The session started at 10.40am with Nadzrin providing some background information on Silat. Briefly, it is a form of the traditional martial arts from the Malay Archipelago region and has been passed down from the Tok Gurus (Masters)of Silat to their students over generations. This form of martial art comprises philosophy, a vast array of strategic and tactical combat moves and the use of specific weapons.
Silat Melayu, which he describes as an art to experience Malay culture where one has “to be like Malay and move like Malay”.  He further clarified that the moves in Silat provides one with an idea of what the culture is. He defines Silat as a means of self-preservation, something detrimental and the body language of the Malay race.

According to him most documentary films from the 1970s depict the traditional Silat and that there were different themes in different parts of the world. Some still pictures and a short video of the moves were shown during the lecture. The session was then open to members to ask questions and this led to an interesting lengthy discussion. Some of the comments by members were on the nature and style of movements depicted in the short video clip as well as the information they had known by living in this country.
Nadzrin pointed out that movements were based on the environment and they reflected the agile movements of animals that inhabit the Malay Archipelago. One of the most influential animals of Silat is based on the tiger which is deemed in the Malay culture as a symbol of strength.The other animal movements are from the bear and birds. Another influence on the movements of the Silat were the occupations the people carried out.The movements of Silat do appear to be dance like but with more vigour and aggression.

Nadzrin then ran a 40-minute practical session with demonstrations on some of the basic moves of Silat Melayu. MCG members participated heartily and were very happy with the useful practical session full of fun and skills.
Fighting and defending techniques demonstrated were:
The focus is on targeting the kicks rather than trying to get them as high as possible. The most effective kick is the front kick, because the power is targeted directly to the opponent
The technique is often used in an attempt to confuse your opponent
3.    Locking.  The locking movement is one of the techniques that can actually break the bones of an opponent.
4. Slapping.“Slapping the bear” was another fast skill where the     opponent is slapped in the face.
The last part of the talk was showing the members some of the weapons used for self-defense and the main one of course was the Keris.
The blade of the Keris represents the shape of a dragon, which is closely connected to water and rivers. Water is the source of life, thus the dragon is a mystical life form that represents power. A Keris with no waves represents a resting or meditating dragon, while a wavy Keris represents a moving dragon.
Similarly, the elephant is also used in another design of the Keris with other descriptions.
The Keris was originally made from a composition of iron mined from the earth and the meteoric iron ore. This is believed to contain magical powers as a result of the blending of earthly and heavenly elements.
The session ended at 12.30noon.