To the world of martial arts — an activity that is currently growing with multiples disciplines gaining popularity across the globe. But as Kristy Skull tells us, theirs is one Indonesian practice that is looking to its past to help it in the future.
Concentration and a lot of technique – this is Pencak Silat, Indonesia’s only martial art. It numbers about 800 disciplines — ranging from dance-like movements to fighting. And for some, it’s been a life changing experience.
“I used to have a severe lung infection and the doctor said it could’ve taken years to recover. But by regularly training with the breathing technique – I thankfully recovered, without needing any medical treatment,” said Indra Surya Pringga, Pencak Silat practitioner.
Pencak Silat was often used by Indonesians through guerilla tactics to fight against Dutch colonial rule in the last century. Today it serves more peaceful and modern needs.
“The breathing technique is the core subject of our discipline. The benefits are purely for health and for people to stay fit,” said Rudi Trianto, Pencak Silat instructor.
In the ring, Pencak Silat is beginning to resemble combat fighting sports, such as the Ultimate Fighting Championship and Mixed Martial Arts. The ultimate goal, though, is for the sport to gain Olympic status.
“We are very optimistic, not for the Tokyo [Olympics], but at least for the following Olympic games, that Pencak Silat would be competed in the games,” said Gatot Dewa Broto, Indonesian Ministry of Sports spokesperson.
The sport’s popularity is growing, and international recognition is coming as it’ll make its Asian Games debut in 2018 on home soil in Jakarta.