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Silat

Pentjak Silat means, literally, the formal movements or choreography (Pentjak) of fighting (Silat). It is a catch-all term for the indigenous martial arts of Indonesia. There are regional specialties such as the kicking and ground-fighting of Sumatran Harimau stylists or the hand-work of Bali and Java. The Indonesian government has its sanctioned organization IPSI which is dedicated to creating an athletic sport out of the brutally practical combatives of Pentjak Silat. This form of the art, Silat Olah Raga, was part of the most recent Southeast Asian Games. The word Silat is also used in Malaysia and in the Muslim Southern Philippines. Although the words Pentjak and Silat may be used by themselves there is a saying about them which underscores the interdependent nature of the formal and practical aspects of the art. “Pentjak without Silat is meaningless. Silat without Pentjak is worthless.”