The martial arts known as Silat is not very well known in the U.S. but it is very popular internationally! This arts has now spread from Java, Singapore, and Thailand and Silat is said to have influenced the most popular martial arts in the US which is Okinawan karate. Although you may never have heard of it or seen it performed check out this art and you will see for yourself that it is right up there with the best. This art is also known for it’s intense training and hard workouts, so it is perfect for those who want to get into shape and lose some pounds!
Legend has it that silat was originally created by a woman, Rama Sukana. Rama is believed to have developed several fighting styles from watching fights between animals in the jungle including monkeys against tigers and tigers and large birds. This is no doubt the basis of many styles named after animals that were so popular when martial arts first took to the big screen.
Joint Locks and Pitch Forks, Huh!
Silat is known for it’s focus on joint manipulation, strikes, throws and weapons. Much like other Asian martial arts the weapons of silat are mainly derived from what was on hand at the time including machetes, daggers and pitch forks. Practitioners as known as pesilat. One of the biggest beliefs of silat is of energy forces and it is believed that top ranking practitioners hold the ability to inflict an attack on an opponents pressure points with their energy alone, without actual contact.
However one of the greatest things about training or watching silat the way it was originally designed is the body conditioning drills that practitioners went/ go through. No room for wimps here. Body conditioning by the the real pesilat involves subjecting yourself to being beaten to build up tolerance for pain. You can check this out in several YouTube videos showing instructors beating students with bamboo, staffs, metal rods and even what looks like a machete.
Students Taking Beatings and Come Back For More!
You can witness martial arts students taking beatings, not only to the body but to the head and shins as well and with full force. Silat demonstrations to show off their conditioning including students sitting and being pummeled by four or five other practitioners with full force blows to the head and even letting cars drive over their arms. Please do not try this at home, though it is interesting how different this is from modern martial arts training in many American and Canadian gyms and dojos.
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