What is Silat?

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Silat is a Malay word which means martial arts. Malay silat is a generic term for many Malaysian martial arts. There are at least 150 known Malay silats in Malaysia. Most popular ones are Silat Gayong (pronounced Guy Yoog), Silat Cekak, Silat Sendeng, Silat Keris Lok 9 and Silat Gayong Fatani. There is also another silat style called silat Melayu. This silat is considered as the oldest Malay silat.The art is not merely about self-defense, it is also for the development of ourself and to becoming a better person. Usually silat is use to develop and increase physical fitness, flexibility, mental conditioning, discipline and self-confidence.

The music played during silat performances is known as gendang baku or gendang silat baku in Malaysia.The instruments vary from one region to another but the gamelan (Javanese orchestra), kendang (drum) and gong are common throughout Southeast Asia.The most common instruments in Malaysia are the gendang (drums), serunai (oboe) and seruling (flute). Music from Malaysia’s the northern states more closely resembles Thai music.Types of silat drums include the gendang ibu or “mother drum” and the gendang anak or “child drum”. The serunai, which also comes in long and short variations, is what gives silat music its distinct sound.

Silat employs a wide variety of weapons.Among the hundreds of styles and dozens of weapons. The most commonly used weapons are the kris (dagger), parang (machete), tongkat (walking stick) and sarong.


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