Silat is a martial art native to Southeast Asia, especially the states of Indonesia and Malaysia, but is also practiced in Singapore, southern Vietnam, Brunei and southern Thailand.

In Indonesia it is called Pentjak Silat or Pencak Silat, while in Malaysia it has the name of Silat Melayu.

Pencak Silat is the official name used to refer to about 800 schools and styles of martial arts.

However, it is actually a complex name consisting of two terms used in different regions.

The word penchak and its dialectical derivatives, such as pencha (West Java) and manchak (Madura and Bali), are usually used in these regions, while the term silat or silek is used in Sumatra.

This is due to the widespread prevalence of art in over 13,000 Indonesian islands and Malaysia.

Silat takes inspiration by observing nature.

In fact, there are many styles and techniques existing in this discipline that are inspired by animals, observing the defense behaviors of the latter and exploiting their power by applying it to combat.

Among the best known “the tiger” Harimau, “the crocodile”, “the cat”, “the rooster”, “the eagle”, “the torpedo”, that of the ‘pig’ and many others.

Several techniques have been considered by many experts in modern combat systems and self-defense, and it is often learned together with Filipino kali.

Silat has been included by UNESCO among the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity and is therefore considered “Intangible Heritage of Humanity” in December 2019.

Silat Fighting Tips - Street Fight Mentality & Fight Sport

The origins

It is not easy to trace the history of the school, since the written sources were practically not preserved, and all the basic information was transmitted orally by teachers and masters.

Each region of the archipelago has its own version of the origin of the school, which is based on certain traditions.

According to Malay myths, the martial art of Silat was originally developed by tribal groups in the archipelago in the process of observing the movements of animals and natural phenomena.

Its main goal was protection from wild animals and survival.

Over time, it has become a tool for achieving social status during battles between tribal groups, clans, communities, and, in a later period, kingdoms.

A person with such abilities was feared and respected, and his possession provided prestige and a privileged position in society. The master could become the head of the clan or lead the army.

Over time, there was a systematization of military methods, a general form of martial art was developed, which was called penchak silat.

Silat Fighting Tips - Street Fight Mentality & Fight Sport

There are two enemies, one comes from outside and the other from inside.

(Proverb of Silat Indonesian)

Role in history

Since the era of the ancient Indonesian Hindu-Buddhist kingdoms such as Sri Vijaya, Majapahit and Sunda Kingdom, silat has been used for warrior training.

Archaeological evidence suggests that in the sixth century d.C. e. formalized combat systems were practiced in the Sumatra region and the Malay Peninsula.

The two kingdoms, Sri Vijaya in Sumatra from the 7th to the 14th century and Majapahit in Java from the 13th to the 16th century, used these combat skills and were able to expand their dominance into much of what is now Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.

The main functions of the martial art were the protection, conservation or expansion of the territory.

This martial art does not have a common standard.

Each style has its own characteristics of movement, specially developed methods and tactical logic.

It consists of many fighting techniques.

Much of the technique is a combination of grips and strokes.

The richness of the terms reflects a wide variety of styles and techniques in different regions due to the fact that the penchak silat was developed by different masters who created their own style in accordance with their preferences, physical conditions and the socio-cultural context in which they lived.

The organization

After the liberation of the regions from the settlers and the emergence of independent countries, such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei Darussalam, the development and spread of martial arts in these countries accelerated, large organizations appeared, namely Ikatan Penchak Silat Indonesia (IPSI) or the Indonesian Association of Penkak Predators, Persecutuan Silat Kebangsan Malaysia (PESAKA) or Malaysian National Silat Federation, Persekutuan Silat Singapore (PERSISI) or Singapore Silat Federation and Persekutuan Silat Brunei Darussalam (PERSIB) or Federation Silat Brunei Darussalam.

However, its distribution was not limited to these regions alone. New schools began to appear in other countries.

In international communities, the name “penchak silat” has become an official term since the international organization founded in Jakarta in 1980 was called Persekutuan Penchak Antarabangsa, abbreviated as PERSILAT.

The Padepokan complex, designed to study and teach this area, has the full name Padepokan Penchak Silat. There are 1000 clubs and 33 associations that develop this style (IPSI) in Padepokan.

Since PERSILAT (International Federation of Silencas Penchak) was founded in 1980, it has been promoted as an international sport.


Unknown to Westerners until the 1700s, the Silat is characterized by devastating, brutal blows, which are effective and at the same time refined in technique.

Fist blows, kicks, elbows, knees are used with many variations, but what characterizes this type of combat is the use of impact joint rupture techniques (not by traction or compression, static, as in other arts such as ju-jitsu or Jūdō).

In silat, apparently twisted guard positions are often assumed, difficult to learn, but which once they become habitual allow the execution of rapid and powerful shots.

In Silat, weapons are mainly used; typical is the squabbing position, also called depock seat, which is often combined with the use of the characteristic knife (karambit) used on low lines to cut the tendons of the lower extremities, making the opponent harmless; other weapons often used in Silat are the Machete, the kriss, the katana, the dao saber, the tee check (sai), and many others.

Kali Eskrima Silat Panantukan Stick Fighting

Styles and shapes

Four styles are developed in Java (chimande, chikalong, timbangan and chikaret), as well as Sundan schools and techniques.

Only recently, silat began to spread here as a sport with its national and regional competitions.

Bela diri (self-defense) is a rather dangerous section of the silat.

Previously, it was kept secret, especially its mystical component, which was taught only to individual students.

Chinese martial arts presence on the islands of Malaysia recalls the ancient contacts between China and Southeast Asia.

Some researchers consider them the largest organized system of Indonesian martial arts, anticipating the structured training of silat. The Torai, Batak and Dayak cultures demonstrate Chinese influence, and Chinese weapons are often represented in ancient Sumatra art.

Some pre-colonial Chinese temples in Indonesia show martial images characteristic of the forms of southern China, and many methods and weapons of silat are of Chinese origin.

The influences between the various geographical areas is palpable.

Kuntao silat combines the techniques of silat and Chinese martial arts (mainly imitative styles).

In Indonesia, in particular, every Chinese community had some form of kuntao, but traditionally kept it secret.

In the 70s, kuntao was often used covertly.

His methods were not disclosed to outsiders, regardless of nationality.

The changes occurred at the end of the twentieth century and Kuntao is currently taught as a normal martial art.

Among the styles originating in Indonesia that are part of the Pencak Silat we find the following forms:

  • Bakti Negara
  • Inti Ombak Pencak Silat
  • Perisai Diri
  • Cimande
  • Harimau
  • Serak

Among the original Malaysian styles that are part of the Silat Melayu we find the following forms:

  • Lian padukan
  • Breasts Gayung Fatani
  • Silat Pattani
  • Gayong breasts| Silat Gayong Breasts

The main weapons of Silat

The main weapon of the Indonesian peoples was a one-sided sword, shield and spear.

the most common weapons used in the Silat martial art are chris, spear, machete, stick, karambit,sickle and sarong.

Short weapons are the ones used most often, but the stick and the “pareo” are also popular and are used for self-defense.


Maphilindo Silat Silat the martial art of Guro Dan Inosanto

Maphilindo Silat Silat the martial art of Guro Dan Inosanto


The largest archipelago on earth stretches from Malaysia to New Guinea, consisting of more than 13,000 islands, where the deadly martial art Pentjak Silat was developed.

In this geographical area through wars, trade, population migrations and mixing of cultural elements the art of Silat developed and changed from the fourth to the twentieth century of .C., the influences are strong from various combat systems and come from China, India, Nepal, Arabia and the Philippines.

There are literally hundreds of artistic styles in Indonesia, Malaysia, Sumatra, Bali and Java, currently considered the most remarkable and widespread:

  • Maphilindo Silat ,
  • Haka Kuntao Silat DeThouars , Bukti Negara,
  • Silat Lincah,
  • Mande Muda,
  • Bersilat and
  • Pukulan Serak.

Pentjak means physical movement and Silat means battle, the expression has the meaning of battle using self-defense techniques.

Pentjak Silat has 3 combat areas:

  • Pentjak Silat (self-defense)
  • Penjang Gulat (wrestling)
  • Ujungan (weapons)

In the first area the practitioner learns Djurus (top torso movements and hand techniques), Langkas (stimulation), Sambuts (two men exercises), Kembangan (free, not defined shadow-boxing), Sikap (postures), Gerak (movements)) and Serangan (attack).

Postures and movements have flow, harmony, explosiveness and movements imitate various animals such as:

  • Monyet Monkey,
  • Kera Monkey,
  • Harimau Tiger,
  • Pamacan Panther,
  • Ular Senduk Cobra,
  • Ular Sawa Python and
  • Blekok Heron.

In the second area the practitioner learns to fight, throw, control the opponent’s body with a combination of quick destructive blows, it is always taken into account that an attack can be massive so the practitioner learns to fight and fight many attackers with rapid release.

In the third area the trainee learns to use various weapons such as: Pisau knife, Pedang sword, Cabang trident, stick, Toya rod, Kerambit, Keris manual, Sarong (fabric), rope etc. While learning to use various objects from the environment as weapons in situations of self-defense.

In Pentjak Silat, the practitioner first learns bare-handed combat and then weapons, in contrast to Filipino combat systems where he usually learns weapons first and then bare-handed combat.

Although each Pentjak Silat style differs from other similar styles in terms of terminology, style and form, all Pentjak Silat styles have the following points and principles in common:

1. Kerojok , is the preparation of the fighter in the effective response to multiple fighters, mass attacks and the use of deadly techniques to neutralize them.

2. Sepok Depok, are kicks performed when the practitioner is on the ground. Mostly such techniques are presented in style by Sumatra, in this geographical area the rain is very intense and the ground is always slippery and muddy resulting in all the clashes that end up on the ground. With this in mind, the fighters of Pentjak Silat prefer to be on the ground and kick the opponent catastrophically rather than in a state of combat.

3. The techniques of using elbow, head, palm, palm, fist, foot entrapping, throwing and locking are presented in Java style.

4. Sarong, a traditional Bali fabric and worn around the waist by all practitioners of Pentjak Silat, is used in disarmament, drowning, fixing and control techniques.

5. Hit-Trapping , instant control of the opponent’s limbs (entrapping of hands and feet) to prepare for strong blows, practitioners use two basic exercises to achieve this control: Kilet (sticky hands) and Kaki Nempel (sticky feet).

6. Gyroscopic rotation, is the movement and rotation of the opponent’s body to cause loss of balance and throwing, the principles of body mechanics are used to achieve this.

7. Continuous flow, uninterrupted flow of beats and physical movement. The practitioner learns not to reposition his weapons (arms, legs, knife) in a starting position after completing an initial attack, but to continue to hit and repel different lines of attack.

8. Destruction, the practitioner learns to destroy using the elbow, forearm, fist and cut palm of any blow coming from the opponent. This reduces the opponent’s combat ability and creates an opening for a counterattack.

9. Elimination of risk, the practitioner learns for his safe escape from a confrontation to make sure that the opponent is effectively neutralized, so that he is incapable of a direct counterattack.

In addition to the combative side of Pentjak Silat called Bela Diri (self-defense),there is also the combative side of the art called Olah Raga which involves organizing skill demonstration tournaments and combat matches.

Workouts are usually conducted in traditional clothing and to the sound of traditional Gamelan Gendang music to respect and continue the tradition.

The art of Pentjak Silat is flourishing in Europe, mainly in the Netherlands, where there are dozens of schools and styles, as well as in Belgium, England, France and Germany.


Silat Terminology

  • Adat: Rules of conduct


  • Balik Hadap: Turn around
  • Bantingan: Throwing the opponent
  • Bapak / Pak: Literally father, this is a term of respect used for men older than yourself
  • Bela Diri: Self-defense
  • Beset: Rear stepping sweep or tripping obstacle
  • Beset Dalem: Inside sweep
  • Beset Luar: Outside sweep
  • Blok: Block
  • Buah: Literally means “Fruit”
  • Buang: To throw away
  • Buka: Opening


  • Dalem: Inside
  • Dasar Pasan: Flowing with the entire body
  • Dekok: Literally ditch, to make part of your body hollow or empty
  • Dempok: Back seated, cross legged position
  • Depan: Vertical rising elbow
  • Djurus: Literally direction or steps, this refers to a sequence of moves like Kata in the Japanese arts
  • Djurusan: Techniques from the Djurus
  • Dongkari: Vertical dropping elbow
  • Duduk: The sitting position
Silat Fighting Tips - Street Fight Mentality & Fight Sport
  • Ekos: Escape, avoid
  • Garis: Line
  • Gedor: Backfist
  • Gerakan: Motion
  • Goyong: Shake
  • Guar: Striking with the edge (inside or outside) of the hand
  • Gunting: “Scissors”, the act of cutting, crushing, trapping, or mirror strikes
  • Guru: Teacher, both the person conducting the lesson and a term of respect
  • Guru Muda: Young teacher
  • Hormat: Respect, loyalty, indebtedness
  • Jalur: Straight line
  • Kailat: Open area intrusion or closing on the target
  • Kaisin: To open and close the heart
  • Kaki: Leg or foot
  • Kaki Besi Kanan: Turn foot to the right (kick)
  • Kaki Besi Kirie: Turn foot to the left (kick)
  • Kanan: Right
  • Kedutan: Palm of the hand
  • Kelid: Techniques to dodge an attack
  • Kembangan: “Flower Dance”, shadow fighting
  • Kendang: Training hall or school
  • Kilap: “Thunder Clap”, a style of nerve center strikes
  • Kilat: Speed of precise execution
  • Kinjit: Elbow directed throwing technique
  • Kiri: Left
Silat Fighting Tips - Street Fight Mentality & Fight Sport
  • Kuda-Kuda: Stance (literally horse-horse)
  • Kuda-Kuda Depan: Front stance
  • Kuda-Kuda Belakang: Back stance
  • Kuda-Kuda Tengah: Middle stance (called horse stance in most other martial arts)
  • Kuda-Kuda Samping: Side stance (like a front stance, but facing to the side)
  • Kuda-Kuda Rendah: Low stance
Silat Fighting Tips - Street Fight Mentality & Fight Sport
  • Kunci: Locks
  • Kuncian: Locking
  • Kuntao: Originally a Chinese art, meaning “The way of the hand or foot”
  • Langkah: Stepping and footwork
  • Langkah Lurus: Linear stepping
  • Langkah Persegitiga: Triangle stepping
  • Langkah Persigiempat: Square stepping
  • Langkah Bintang: Star stepping
  • Langkah Sigsag: Zig zag stepping
Silat Fighting Tips - Street Fight Mentality & Fight Sport
  • Latihan: Practice
  • Lompat: To jump
  • Luar: Outside
  • Maha Guru: Senior teacher
  • Maju: Advance, move forward
  • Mundur: Retreat, back up
  • Murid: Basic student or disciple
  • Paneges: To cut down the base of the opponent
  • Pantjar: Geometric floor platform
  • Pasang: Readiness position, fighting stance
  • Patahan: To break
  • Pentjak: The Art of rhythmic movement occasioned for self-defense
  • Pendekar: A master of the martial arts
  • Pentjakkers: People that practice Pentjak Silat
  • Pombas Mian: To kill the opponent
  • Pukul: Punch, strike
  • Pukul Ayer Terjun: Waterfall punch
  • Pukul Lurus Tangan: Straight jab punch
  • Pukul Membalekan: Inverted punch
  • Pukulan: Punching, striking
  • Puter Kepala: Literally turning the head, the act of throwing a person by turning, or cranking the head
  • Sabit: Front instep kick, kicking side to side
  • Sabit Tumit: Heel thrusting kicks
  • Salamat: To thank
  • Sambut: Training mode to develop flow, you move from technical essence to technical essence without your partner stepping or countering, though they may offer resistance
  • Sambutan: Training mode to develop flow, your partner steps out of your technical essence and you track to your next, literally means “reception”
  • Sapu: Ankle sweep, torquing throw for re-positioning
  • Sapu Luar: Inside sweep
  • Sapu Dalem: Outside sweep
  • Sekurum: Cross or addition sign “+”
  • Seliwa / Slewah: Half moon, refers to a stance resembling the front stance, but with the back leg bent
  • Sempok: Front seated, cross legged position
  • Sepah: Kick
  • Serangan: Attack
  • Siap: Ready
  • Sikap: Position or posture of the body
  • Sikut: Horizontal elbow
  • Sila / Siloh: The cross sit position, the two positions/motions of Sempok and Depok are collectively known as Siloh
  • Silat: Skill for fighting
  • Simur: Thrusting elbow
  • Sliwa: Square foot pattern used to teach decoy and evasion
  • Sumbutan: Fighting
  • Susulan: Reverse heel kick or hook kick
  • Tameng: Shield
  • Tangan: Hand
  • Tangkis: Block or ward off a strike
  • Tangkisan: Blocking
  • Tebasan: To sweep
  • Teke: Flat fist, or cobra strike
  • Tempiling: Hard slapping
  • Tendang: Kick
  • Tendangan: Kicking
  • Tewak: Grab
  • Tewekan: Thrusting finger jab
  • Tiga: Triangle
  • Tileup: Circular elbow redirect


  1. Satu: One
  2. Dua: Two
  3. Tiga: Three
  4. Empat: Four
  5. Lima: Five
  6. Enam: Six
  7. Tujuh: Seven
  8. Delapan: Eight
  9. Sembilan: Nine
  10. Sepuluh: Ten

Forms of thanksgiving:

  • Selamat pagi – good morning
  • Selamat siang – good morning
  • Selamat sore – good afternoon
  • Selamat malam – good evening
  • Selamat tidur – good night
  • Selamat jalan – goodbye
  • Selamat tinggal – farewell
  • Terima kasiu – thank you
  • Sama sama – please
  • Sampai bertemu lagi – goodbye
  • Apa babar? -How are you

Miscellaneous terminologies

  • Stick – tongkat
  • Blowpipe – sumpitan
  • Hit – pukul
  • Shot – pukulan
  • Knife – pisau
  • Combination – kombinase
  • Combat – tempuran
  • Disarm – perlucutan senjata
  • Balance – keseimbangan
  • Scythe – sabit-arit
  • Foundation-dasar
  • Scissors – gunting
  • Whip – pecut
  • Elbow – siku
  • Teacher – guru
  • Kriss – keris
  • Lightning – kilat
  • Lancia – tombak
  • Wrestling – (Malay)pencak silat
  • Master – guru
  • Orchestra – gamelan
  • Press – tekan
  • Pressure – tekanan
  • Boxing – tinju
  • Tip – puncak
  • Rattan – roten
  • Rules of Procedure
  • Reject – tolak
  • Breathing – pernapasan
  • Rhythm – irama
  • Skipping – melompat
  • Sarong – serung
  • Fencing – rencana
  • Saber – pedang
  • Shaman – dukun
  • Shield – perisai
  • Axe – kapak
  • Challenge – tantangan
  • Sport – olahraga
  • Strategy – siasat
  • Cutting – potong
  • Tactics – siasat
  • Head – kepala
  • Pull – tarik
  • Tournament – turnamen

Silat systems and various terminologies

  • Buaya – crocodile
  • Garuda – eagle
  • Sendok – cobra
  • Naga – dragon
  • Burung elang – hawk
  • Kucing – cat
  • Kilat – lightning
  • Macan tutul – leopard
  • Harimau tutul – panther
  • Kalong – cikalong-bat
  • Ular – python
  • Tupai – squirrel
  • Kala jengking – scorpion
  • Kura kura – turtle
  • Macan harimau – tiger
  • Monyet – monkey

Other terminologies:

  • Usik cikalong – total movement
  • Batekan – internal energy
  • Parieu/purilit – leva
  • Pariesan-many levers
  • Rikesan cikalong – many levers
  • Tendang – football
  • Tendangsan – many kicks
  • Taok – grab
  • Ganda – demonstration



Personally I studied two styles of Silat, Harimau and Bela Diri, where I studied the Silat Suffian Bela Diri of Brunei spread by Maule Mornie which is a style of Silat that I find very integrated and with aspects common with my approach and my martial path and studies of Kali Filipino.

Those who practice combat sports can greatly benefit from broadening their martial / sporting horizons in the study of Silat and Kali or even just Panantukan (Filipino boxing that is imbued with dirty boxing or if you want illegal boxing), you can learn new angles of attack, learn positions where you become difficult targets and the use of combinations of shots not known by most, continuous and unpredictable changes of pace, all elements that when combined with another martial art, greatly enrich a fighter.

Learning the use of weapons in Silat and Kali provides the opportunity to know how to defend, in case of aggression even with a small stick,an umbrella,a rolled up newspaper, or any other similar object.

If law enforcement and military bodies in different parts of the world study these techniques it is for the effectiveness detected in the field and not for a fashion of the moment.

Studying Silat and Filipino Kali in their traditional forms can be a cultural experience that enriches as well as extremely interesting just as a martial and self-defense path that can last a lifetime.

The study of all forms and dances, which are linked at the same time to tribal origins, Chinese kung fu and Indian arts, is priceless.

Studying these arts we will get to complete martial systems: movements, distance management, use of weapons, study of the weak points of the body, study of breathing and inner energies, punches, kicks, heads, elbows, knees, shoulder blows.

Again, even landings, projections, submissions and strangulation.

Nothing is left to chance.

Stay Tuned!

Street Fight Mentality

Con una passione per la difesa personale e gli sport da combattimento, mi distinguo come praticante e fervente cultore e ricercatore sulle metodologie di allenamento e strategie di combattimento. La mia esperienza abbraccia un vasto panorama di discipline: dal dinamismo del Boxing alla precisione del Muay Thai, dalla tecnica del Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu all'energia del Grappling, dal Combat Submission Wrestling (CSW) all'intensità del Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). Non solo insegno, ma vivo la filosofia di queste arti, affinando costantemente metodi e programmi di allenamento che trascendono il convenzionale. La mia essenza si riflette nell'autodifesa: Filipino Martial Arts (FMA), Dirty Boxing, Silat, l'efficacia del Jeet Kune Do & Kali, l'arte della scherma con coltelli e bastoni, e la tattica delle armi da fuoco. Incarno la filosofia "Street Fight Mentality", un approccio senza fronzoli, diretto e strategico, unito a un "State Of Love And Trust" che bilancia l'intensità con la serenità. Oltre al tatami, la mia curiosità e competenza si spingono verso orizzonti diversi: un blogger professionista con la penna sempre pronta, un bassista dal groove inconfondibile e un artigiano del coltello, dove ogni lama è un racconto di tradizione e innovazione. Questa sinfonia di abilità non solo definisce la mia identità professionale, ma dipinge il ritratto di un individuo che nella diversità trova la sua unica e inconfondibile voce e visione. Street Fight Mentality & Fight Sport! Andrea


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