Traditions of Pencak Silat

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Inscribed in 2019 (14.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

In addition to their sporting element, Traditions of Pencak Silat also encompass mental-spiritual, self-defence and artistic aspects. The moves and styles of Pencak Silat are strongly influenced by various elements of art, involving a unity of body and movement fitting the accompanying music. The term ‘pencak’ is better known in Java, while the term ‘silat’ is better known in West Sumatra, describing a group of martial arts with many similarities. In addition to local terms, each region has its own moves, styles, accompaniments, music, and supporting equipment, which includes costumes, musical instruments, and traditional weapons. Pencak Silat practitioners are taught to maintain their relationship with God, human beings, and nature, and are trained in various techniques to deal with attacks or other dangerous situations based on principles to protect themselves as well as others, avoid harming the offender and build comradeship. The practice strengthens comradeship, maintains social order, and provides entertainment for ritual ceremonies. Related knowledge and skills are commonly taught in non-formal schools and include oral traditions and expressions such as greetings, philosophical phrases, rhymed poems, advice, as well as songs and techniques to play the instruments.

The social function of Pencak Silat is to strengthen comradeship among school members, maintain social order and provide entertainment for ritual ceremonies.
Pencak Silat moves and style are a unity of body movement (wiraga), movement feeling (wirasa) and movement fit the accompaniment music (wirama). The supporting equipment for Pencak Silat includes costumes, music instruments and traditional weapons.
Every region has assimilated the Pencak Silat traditions with their local culture, such as types of accompaniment music along with the musical instrument, costumes, forms of oral tradition and expressions, weapons, etc. without removing the values of Pencak Silat.
The supporting equipment for Pencak Silat includes costumes, music instrument and traditional weapon.
Knowledge of Pencak Silat values and meanings are shared by coaches or masters. The mental spiritual education process starts immediately once the disciple is accepted to the school.
These practitioners are also trained in various techniques to deal with attacks or other dangerous situations based on principles to protect him or herself as well as others, avoid harming the offender and build comradeship.
Pencak Silat is commonly taught through non-formal education in Pencak Silat schools using methods and traits of transmission that are accustomed to each school.
Pencak Silat can be learned by anyone, both men and women of all ages and nationalities, including the disabled.
Skills particularly related to style and technique are taught to the disciples by example. Several schools also teach disciples on how to adjust styles and techniques according to the accompaniment.
Pencak Silat practitioners are taught to maintain their relationship with God, human beings and nature.
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