Silat – the Malay Martial Art

Silat is a powerful synthesis of martial art movements  and graceful ritual dance, widely practiced in Malaysia. It is an extremely elegant and restrained style of atrial art, putting a premium on self-control and discipline before violence. Combining breath, movement and energy techniques with self-awareness and empowerment.

According to Silat culture, the energetic body consists of connecting circles called chakra (in Malay spelled cakra or cakera). The chakra’s energy rotates outwards along diagonal lines. Energy that emits outwards from the center line is defensive while offensive energy moves inwards from the sides of the body. The Silat practioner is aware of this and can harmonize their movements with the chakra, thereby increasing the power and effectiveness of attacks and movements.

I am currently in Malaysia (training therapists) and had the opportunity to visit a Silat master. He had 7 children hat demonstrated the ancient martial art form to us. It was like a clan of children in all sizes and ages standing in front of us. With utter seriousness and pride they demonstrated the “Katas” synchronized with breath. It was a true joy to see.

Silat3

The Silat master is also a snake master, he had a cobra curled up at the back of the room, we were happy to see that it was encaged and at sleep when visiting. The master showed us three scars where he had been bitten, as when one time, the snake curled up behind his back, probably to get some warmth from the sleeping man. A sudden move in the sleep made the snake bite him and he claimed that he didn’t take any serum to survive the bite; he used Silat breathing techniques, lymphatic kind of massage to get the venom out. I believe him. After that scary story he demonstrated his own snake dance, movements he created after watching how the cobras move before catching their prey.

Eyes focus, spine moving in waves, slowly until reaching out to strike his meal. Very fascinating!

/Isabella

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