"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. "
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
A father wants his family to learn silat because it is not only a form of martial arts, but steeped in the Malay traditions of adab (respect) and adat (customs).
EPIDEMIOLOGIST Dr Mustafa Bakri’s fascination with silat started from watching old Malay films from the 1960s such as Anak Buluh Betong and Dharma Kesuma.
“I was fascinated by how silat invoked the spirit of heroism and justice. But after being introduced to different silat techniques such as silat lintau and silat panji alamin secondary school, I realised martial arts acts in movies were choreographed, be it in Malay, European, Hollywood or Japanese movies.
“Silat teaches the core art of martial arts, minus the fancy moves seen on the big screen. In a real fight, the scenario is entirely different. Silat is thus far one of the best and most practical,” shares Dr Mustafa, 57, who works at the Seremban district health office.
The Perak-born doctor attends Silat Melayu Keris Lok 9 lessons which he considers one of the most practical self-defence tactics.
“It is one of the few silat systems where students (beginners included) are encouraged to use the keris in both armed and unarmed combat. Silat exponents can use simple yet effective movements to counter attack the opponent.
“To me, Silat Melayu Keris Lok 9 is the most practical silat by far as it combines skill and rigorous exercise. It requires minimal running, pumping or punching unlike other silat forms that I have seen, making it a perfect martial arts form-cum-exercise for me,” he said.
Silat Melayu Keris Lok 9 is an old system in Silat Melayu that can be traced back to the Malacca Sultanate and it is believed Malay warriors used it to fight Portuguese invaders.
The modern version of this form of martial arts was developed by silat exponent Prof Dr Azlan Ghanie, who had learnt it from his father Abdul Ghanie Abu Bakar, who inherited it from his grandfather Abang Salleh Datu Patinggi Borhassan.
Dr Mustafa, who has been learning silat since 2007, is one of Azlan’s students. He was so enthusiastic about silat that he has persuaded his wife Noraishah Mohamed, 49, and his sons Muhammad Syahridwan, 13 and Muhammad Syahriezlan, 11, to participate in Azlan’s classes.
“Since my wife and sons do not do much physical activities, the classes help to keep them active,” said Dr Mustafa who has six children.
Noraishah, a homemaker, was inspired to join silat classes due to its simplicity and practicality. “We learn self-defense tips for women, be it in public spaces or at home. It is especially useful as I am a housewife and I am home alone most of the time,” said Noraishah, who has been a silat student for two years.
Muhammad Syahridwan’s interest was sparked by his father’s enthusiasm. “My parents have been silat enthusiasts and their interest rubbed off on us. I enjoy my silat lessons as they build confidence and discipline. It is also a good form of exercise,” said the secondary school student. Dr Mustafa works in Seremban but travels back to be with his family in Rawang during weekends. Every Saturday, his family travels from Rawang to Setapak, Kuala Lumpur for their silat lessons.
Students start their classes with Senaman Melayu Tua, an ancient form of physical exercise that focuses on breathing techniques, stretches and movements to strengthen the body. After the warming up session, students learn different forms of loks (a Malay term for the curve on the blade of the keris).
There are five loks (numbered one, three, five, seven and nine) to be learned to complete the basic syllabus. Learning the loks is the key to the principles of fighting in armed and empty hand combat. The basic syllabus takes two years of regular training to complete.
Dr Mustafa adds that besides an art of self defence, silat also places emphasis onadab (respect) and adat (customs). Traditional Malay values are maintained throughout classes where students are taught how to respect their elders and each other. Students are also taught how to confront danger (with or without weapons) which is useful for different age groups and gender.
“Silat practitioners are taught to respect our opponents and training tools. Before each session, we have to bow a little to shake hands with partners and kiss our weapon as a sign of respect. This traditional martial arts form teach us to avoid trouble and protect ourselves from danger. Being able to handle the keris during practice has helped boost my sons’ self confidence,” explained Dr Mustafa, adding that plastic or wooden knives are also used during sparring sessions.
Traditionally, the keris is regarded more than just a weapon and the adab (manners/ rules of behaviour) surrounding this art is extremely important. The keris is a symbol of the ancient Malay culture and must be respected, and those who own a keris carry heavy responsibilities. Learning the customs and traditions associated with the kerisis an integral part of the syllabus.
Another benefit of learning silat is that it is good for health as its practitioners learn how to regulate their breathing. “Some silat students with asthma and shortness of breath are now more aware of proper breathing techniques. Learning how to improve breathing is among the core essentials of silat,” said Azlan, who charges RM50 monthly for his silat classes.
Azlan has also further developed Senaman Tua – a traditional exercise system based on the movements found in Silat Melayu Keris Lok 9. He had turned to this exercise form after he suffering from a stroke at 32, which left him partially paralysed.
“Although I sought all sorts of treatments ranging from modern to traditional, I didn’t show signs of improvement. I eventually started to practise various techniques ofSenaman Tua (which I had learnt from my father) and my health gradually improved,” recounted Azlan, who is the founder and editor of Seni Beladiri, a monthly magazine dedicated to the Malaysian martial arts scene.
Dr Mustafa hopes more youngsters will learn silat as it is a self-defense art passed down from the warriors of the olden days. “Sadly, some feel that silat is out of fashion and not a necessity. Hopefully more students will sign up for classes as it is a powerful martial arts form that stresses on team spirit and confidence.”
*For more details on Silat Melayu Keris Lok 9, go to senibeladiri.com.my.
article from: http://www.thestar.com.my/Lifestyle/Family/Features/2013/09/25/Bonding-over-an-ancient-art.aspx
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 22 (Bernama) -- While women may be synonymous with being gentle, they could also show firmness by learning the martial art of silat, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor said today.
The prime minister's wife said silat was beneficial in developing an active mind and body, apart from fostering inner confidence in women.
She said, although women were able to take care of themselves, there were people who took advantage of their trusting and caring nature.
"While silat can prepare one to be ready for unexpected threats in life, its beautiful moves help a woman achieve physical strength, without compromising her decency and grace," added Rosmah.
She said this when launching the Women's Silat Lincah Movement at the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) here.
Rosmah noted that learning the silat could be more difficult for women than men as it demanded more physically.
"However, it teaches us to get up, even when we are down. It also teaches us to be patient as anything we learn needs patience and perseverance to achieve perfection," she said.
At the ceremony, Rosmah was honoured with the first Selendang Tun Fatimah Award from the Malaysian Silat Lincah Association, as a symbol of upholding today's women.
Sourced from http://www.bernama.com/bernama/v5/newsindex.php?id=621873
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