Tazkia (full name: Rossticha Anjar Kesuma Tazkia). Chief of Azhar Seni Beladiri branch at Alazhar University Indonesia, and secretary of AYLI (Azhar Youth Leader Institute) speaks to us!
Last month, I met with Indonesian female silver medalist Tazkia. Here's the transcript of our short conversation.
Faheem: Assalamu Alaykom Warahmatullah, could you please introduce yourself?
Tazkia: Wa alaykum salam warahmatullah wabarakaatuh. My name is Tazkia, and I come from Indonesia. I was born in Sumbawa (an Island on the west of Indonesia) on the 12th of April 1991. I am 23 yrs old.
Faheem: When did you get involved in silat?
Tazkia: I started when i was 19 yrs old in 2010 at the Al Azhar Seni Beladiri Silat school. Before this, I have never played any other sports.
Faheem: Thats very interesting! In terms of silat, did you participate in any competitions.
Tazkia: Yes, I have participated in about 4 competitions which were regional, state, national and international competitions.
Faheem: How many medals have you won?
Tazkia: I have 3 medals. In my school competitions I achieved a gold medal for Jurus Tunggal category. I also recieved a bronze in an international competition for the Jurus Wajib (synchronised jurus), and a silver medal for Jurus Tunggal as well.
Faheem: So could you tell us about the level of training you have to endure for the international competition?
Tazkia : Of course it isnt easy as you have to train your physique well and also perfect the technique and movements. More importantly when practicing, you have to do your best and repeat each movement at least 1000 times to do it well.
Faheem: Do you actually count those 1000 times when you train?
Tazkia: Not actually, you have to estimate. In reality if you practice 100 movements daily, how many times would you have repeated it in one month or 3 months? Do not just count till 1000, because you will have to repeat the moves thousands of times.
Faheem: Could you advise us about the level of commitment and drive you must have for this type of training. Often we find that boredom sets in because students lose focus due to repetition of moves. Some students even feel that they are getting nowhere, so how would you encourage them?
Tazkia: Silat students should never get bored. Your should push yourself and fight yourself. If you get bored, you will get nothing out of training. Always check with your teacher if your training or movement is improving and be open to correction.
Faheem: Besides the Jurus Tunggal and Jurus Wajib, which other categories of competition have you participated in?
Tazkia: I have participated in sparring (tanding) as well, but I'm not cut out for it as I'm too thin so I should pick up some weight first before trying this out again. But for now, my focus is the Jurus Tunggal.
Faheem: Which category do you like the most?
Tazkia: I prefer the Jurus (artistic) categories because it represents silat best. The sparring (olahraga) is more a sport and is limited to a strict set of rules and techniques. If you master about 5 techniques you could enter the sparring category but the Jurus is more rich in technique. In the artistic category you have to focus not only on the movements but your expression and feeling or soulfulness as well, and its not limited to 5 techniques but at least 100 techniques. So I'd say I love the seni (art) of silat very much, its real silat.
Faheem: It seems the more complicated things are a challenge for you.
Tazkia: Yes indeed!
Faheem: How could you advise pesilats who aspire to enter the Jurus or artistic category. Developing artistic flare and soulfulness as you say is not easy to achieve. How do you develop the Silat Warrior Spirit (semangat)?
Tazkia: Firstly you should be motivated and convinced by yourself. Self motivation and discipline is of utmost importance as it all starts within. Secondly, you should practice slowly and dont rush. Semangat takes time to build so do not rush. Lots of practice makes perfect.
Faheem: For those females who aspire to be good in silat, what are the benefits of silat training which you have experienced?
Tazkia: Practicing silat is not just a short term thing. Its something you carry with you for the rest of your life. I heard that in South Africa the crime rate is high so silat is especially good for women to protect themselves. Silat is not empty, it has many benefits like health and achievements when you become an athlete.
Faheem: Would you say there are more men or women doing silat in Indonesia?
Tazkia: Actually there are more women doing silat over there. You could say the ratio is 4:1. The movements of silat is very suitable for women in terms of its gracefulness, beauty and flexibility so women really like it.
Faheem: Silat is seen as a holistic and islamic martial art. How have you applied your silat in your daily life especially regarding the spiritual training?
Tazkia: About applied silat in my daily life, I really cannot explain it. But what I can say is that silat brings me closer to Allah and Islam as my religion and also gives me a deeper understanding as how to live by Islamic morals and ethics.
Faheem: Terima kasih banyak (thank you very much) and have a safe trip back to Indonesia and may we see you soon Insha Allah. Assalamu alaykom warahmatullahi wabarakaatuh.
Tazkia: Sama-sama (you're welcome)! wa alaykom salam warahmatullahi wabarakaatuh.
Article by: Abang Faheem Jackson