Many Indo-Malay martial arts are kept private, taught in secluded areas away from the public. These are arts of the older tradition, developed when combative knowledge was valued for its use in protecting the sanctity of life.
This two-volume anthology brings together a great collection of writings by authors who dive into the deepest realms of Indo-Malay combatives. They offer readers a rare viewing of martial traditions that is usually hidden behind social shrouds of secrecy and a clannish quest to preserve individual tradition.
A special presentation in this second volume are the writings of Dr. Kirstin Pauka forming three chapters on silat (silek) of West Sumatra. The lead chapter discusses silek history, styles, training methods, and its use in dance. In chapter 2, Dr. Pauka shows that the martial arts constitute the core of the movement repertoire of the Randai folk theatre. Her third piece reports on an extended silek artist-in-residence program in the Asian Theatre program at the University of Hawai’i.
The next three chapters contains some academic coverage of kuntao-silat in the Indo-Malay traditions, garnished with technical sections illustrating the martial aspects of the arts. Mark Wiley details Silat Seni Gayong’s ethical foundation for self-defense and nine techniqes illustrating the art with the help of Master Shiekh Shamsuddin.
My own chapter offers a glimpse of how cultural streams from India and China contributed over centuries to native Indonesian fighting arts to form hybrid systems. Examples were derived from personal observations of practitioners in the Willem Reeders lineage. The research shows the original intent and practices of any highly efficient combative art.
Chris Parker’s insightful chapter discusses applications of specific movements, the rhythm that can be achieved when employing them, and the space they fill as being of crucial importance for defense. Pencak silat postures form the focus of this study.
All who are serious about the history and practice of Indo-Malay fighting arts will enjoy this special anthology, volumes one and two. We are very fortunate to assemble the works of these highly qualified authors. We hope reading will provide information you seek. Although the availability of studying under a true silat mater is nearly impossible, the chapters here will certainly add direction and inspiration for practitioners.