Pencak Silat: Definition, History, Characteristics, Objectives, Techniques, and

Pencak Silat: Definition, History, Characteristics, Objectives, Techniques, and Levels – Does anyone not know what Pencak Silat is? On this occasion About will discuss about Pencak Silat and other things that surround it. Let's take a look at the discussion in the article below to better understand it.

Table of contents

  • Pencak Silat: Definition, History, Characteristics, Objectives, Techniques, and Levels
    • History of Pencak Silat
      • Developments in the Age of Kingdom
      • Developments in the Dutch Colonial Period
      • Developments in the Japanese Occupation
      • Developments in the Age of Independence
    • Characteristics of Pencak Silat
    • The Purpose of Pencak Silat
      • Mental-Spiritual Education Development
      • Martial Aspect Development
      • Art Development
      • Sports Development
      • Educational Development
    • Techniques in Pencak Silat
      • Basic technique
      • Attack Technique
      • Basic Attitude of Pencak Silat
      • Pencak Silat Horses
      • Movement Formation
    • Levels in Pencak Silat
    • Pencak Silat Competition Rules
      • Competition rules
      • How to match
      • Target
      • Ban
        • Serious offense
        • Minor Offense
        • Punishment Value
      • Determination of Victory
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Pencak Silat: Definition, History, Characteristics, Objectives, Techniques, and Levels

Pencak silat or commonly abbreviated as silat is one of the sports arts originating from Indonesia from Southeast Asia to be precise from the countries of Indonesia, Brunei Darusaalam, Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand.

The word "silat" itself is a term that is widely known in Southeast Asia to refer to this martial art. However, each country also has its own designation according to their local language such as gayong and Cekak (Malaysia and Singapore), martial arts (Thailand), and passilat (Philippines).

Pencak silat comes from two words, namely pencak and silat. The definition of pencak is the basic movement of self-defense and is bound by rules. While silat means a perfect martial motion that comes from spirituality.

In its development, this silat prioritizes elements of art in the appearance of the beauty of the movement, meanwhile silat is the core of the teachings of martial arts in combat.

The IPSI Executive Board stated the meaning of pencak silat as:

"Pencak silat is the result of human culture in Indonesia to defend, then maintain its existence (independence) and integrity (single) for the surrounding environment in order to achieve harmony of life in increasing faith & piety towards God Almighty".

Meanwhile, based on the KBBI, it states that the definition of pencak silat is as a game (skill) in self-defense with parrying, attacking and self-defense skills using or without weapons.

Some of the official terms related to silat from various regions in Indonesia, including:

  • In the province of West Sumatra, there is the term Silek & Gayuang.
  • On the east coast of the provinces of West Sumatra and Malaysia there is the term Bersilat.
  • In West Java there are terms Maempok and Penca.
  • In Central Java, Yogyakarta, East Java province there is the term Pencak.
  • In Madura with Bawean Island there is the term Mancak.
  • In Bali there is the term Mancak or Encak.
  • In NTB and Dompu there is the term Mpaa Sila.

In the Indonesian dictionary, pencak silat is a game (skill) in self-defense with the ability to fend off, attack, and defend oneself.

According to silat researcher Donald F. Draeger, evidence of martial arts can be seen from the weapons artifacts found from the classical period and the sculptures of reliefs at the Prambanan and Borobudur temples that show the attitude of the silat horses.

According to Shamsuddin, the development of silat was influenced by Chinese and Indian martial arts. This is because since the beginning, Malay culture has been influenced by the culture brought by traders from India, China, and others

According to Minangkabau legend, silat or silek was invented by Datuk Suri Diraja from Pariangan, Tanah Datar at the foot of Mount Marapi in the 11th century. Silat or silek was then brought and developed by Minang immigrants throughout the Southeast Asian region. There is also a story from the land of Sunda about the origin of the Cimande silat which tells the story of a woman who imitates the pertrukan movement between a tiger and a monkey.

History of Pencak Silat

The history of the development of pencak silat can be traced as follows:

Developments in the Age of Kingdom

At this time, self-defense is a skill as a security defense. Several kingdoms such as Kutai, Tarumanegara, Kediri, Mataram, Singasari, Sriwijaya, and also other kingdoms Majapahit, prepared various troops who had been equipped with martial arts to defend his territory.

At that time, the term pencak silat was not yet known by the royal community. Then in the years 1019-1041 to be precise during the Kahuripan kingdom with its leader Prabu Erlangga who came from Sidoarjo, was familiar with the martial art of pencak called "Eh Hok Hik", which means "Forward One Step Hitting" (Notosoejitno, 1999).

Developments in the Dutch Colonial Period

The growth of pencak silat was strongly opposed by the Dutch, because it was seen as dangerous for the survival of their colony. Thus, pencak silat is carried out secretly and is only carried out in small groups of people.

And at this time, silat only has the opportunity to develop its art which is still used in some areas, and even then in the form of performances and ceremonies. The influence that came from the emphasis of the Dutch colonial era also colored the growth of silat in the next period.

Developments in the Japanese Occupation

In contrast to the Dutch era, which was against the growth of pencak silat, during the Japanese occupation, pencak silat was strongly supported and developed to serve Japan's own interests, namely to inflame the spirit of defense to face attacks ally.

Due to Shimitsu's recommendation, there was a lot of concentration of power from the pencak silat school here. At this time, the whole of Java was established as a martial arts association which had been regulated by the government simultaneously. Although Japan has given the opportunity to revive the elements of the heritage of the greatness of the nation.

Developments in the Age of Independence

This period saw the pioneering of the establishment of a pencak silat organization with the aim of accommodating these existing martial arts colleges. On May 18, 1948 in Surakarta, there were several warriors who gathered and then formed an organization called the Indonesian Pencak Silat Association or abbreviated as IPSSI.

The organization is chaired by Mr. Wongsonegoro and later changed the name of the organization to the Indonesian Pencak Silat Association and abbreviated as IPSI which has the aim of rekindling the fighting spirit of the Indonesian people during the development period, another goal The purpose of the formation of this organization is to foster a sense of brotherhood and unity of the Indonesian nation so that it is not easily divided split.

IPSI is listed as the oldest national silat organization in the world. Furthermore, on March 11, 1980, a pencak silat organization was also established named The International Pencak Silat Association or abbreviated as Persilat which was founded by the initiative Eddie M. Nalapraya from (Indonesia) who at that time also served as chairman of IPSI.

Furthermore, a pencak silat event was held attended by representatives of various countries, such as Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei Darussalam. And of the four countries, Indonesia is included in the country as the founder of Persilat.

Other silat organizations include the following:

  • IPSI (Indonesian Pencak Silat Association) in Indonesia
  • PESAKA (Malaysian National Silat Association) in Malaysia
  • PERSIS (Singapore Silat Fellowship) in Singapore
  • PERSIB (Bruei Darussalam Silat Fellowship) in Brunei Darussalam.

Characteristics of Pencak Silat

General Features

  • Using all parts of the body and limbs as a means of attack and self-defense
  • Can be done with or without tools (weapons)
  • Pencak silat does not require a specific weapon, but any object can be used as a weapon.

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Special Features

  • Calm, weak and alert attitude
  • Not only relying on strength or power, but using flexibility, agility, speed and accuracy.
  • Pay more attention to position and changes in weight transfer.
  • Take advantage of the opponent's attack/power, so that
  • Expend energy as efficiently as possible

The Purpose of Pencak Silat

The following are some of the goals of pencak silat based on the 5 important aspects in it:

Mental-Spiritual Education Development

The first goal of pencak silat is to develop mental and spiritual education, including in realizing noble character for each of its followers. Pencak silat also teaches about self-knowledge as a creature who believes in the existence of God Almighty.

Therefore, pencak silat is not only a coaching with the aim of aspects of art, self-defense, or sports. But it also has a goal to develop a noble character, personality, character, chivalry attitude, self-confidence, and also piety to God Almighty.

The development goals of spiritual mental education can also be summed up as below:

  • Increased piety to God Almighty and also virtuous for each of his followers.
  • Creating a sense of tolerance, self-confidence, and also high discipline.
  • Building a sense of love for the nation and homeland, supported by the presence of pencak silat itself as one of Indonesia's traditional martial arts.
  • Increase a sense of brotherhood, self-control, and also high social responsibility.
  • Build a sense of social solidarity, desire for progress, honesty, truth, and justice for its followers.

Martial Aspect Development

Pencak silat as a form of self-defense so that it aims to develop aspects of self-defense in developing skills, attitudes, personality, and also a sense of nationality. Which of these things must indeed be mastered in the martial arts of pencak silat so that the followers can be formed as a complete human being, which means formed physically and also spiritual.

The purpose of developing the self-defense aspect of pencak silat can be concluded with the following objectives:

  • To improve the effectiveness and skills in terms of self-defense and also to maintain the safety and dignity of both his followers and the nation and state.
  • Increase responsiveness, carefulness, and sensitivity in responding to or understanding all the problems faced.
  • Increase toughness or tenacity in developing basic abilities from within each individual.

Art Development

As one of the martial arts, pencak silat also has a goal to develop regional arts and culture. Where pencak silat itself must be able to follow aesthetic provisions such as wiraga, wirama, and wirasa into a unified whole.

Therefore, pencak silat aims to develop art and culture which also means there is a purpose for the development of skills in harmonious, unique, and interesting movements based on a love of culture nation.

Not only that, the purpose of art development is also to:

  • Addressing and reducing the negative influence of foreign culture, as well as to encourage the formation of attitudes to be able to filter out foreign cultures that are positive and useful in cultural development nation.
  • Develop the values ​​of pencak silat that are adapted to the application of personality values ​​that exist in Pancasila.
  • Development of noble cultural values ​​in order to strengthen the cultural personality of the Indonesian nation.

Sports Development

In some aspects, pencak silat is also defined in terms of sports.

So that it has a goal for the development of sports where the effective movements in pencak silat aim also to develop physical and spiritual health. This condition is also because pencak silat uses the muscles of the body as well as balance and the ability to make decisions in a short but precise time.

Thus, this pencak silat for the development of sports also has other goals, such as:

  • Encouraging the emergence of sportsmanship for his followers.
  • Improving performance by going through various pencak silat sports competitions.
  • Improving healthy living habits through the sport of pencak silat.

Educational Development

Pencak silat also has several objectives for the development of education, including the following:

  • Promote deeper knowledge.
  • Forming a more positive and effective attitude as well as in an effort to adapt to the surrounding environment.
  • Help to form skills.
    For example in making decisions and solving problems that are being experienced.
  • Improve the function of body organs, because in pencak silat which is included as part of sports, it also uses muscle ability and body strength as well as balance.

In addition to the five goals above which are based on several important aspects of life above.

There are also several goals of pencak silat in general. Among them:

  • As a place to channel hobbies and interests related to self-defense.
  • Forming a society with a healthy soul, intelligent thinking, and increasing achievement in society.
  • Educate as well as form a personality that is chivalrous, brave, fair, disciplined, and also has a high responsible attitude.
  • Encouraging and mobilizing the public so that they can appreciate the arts and culture of the Indonesian nation itself.
  • Encouraging the emergence of an understanding that pencak silat is a necessity of life.
  • Educate the younger generation so that they can use their time better and not fall into promiscuity or be influenced by negative foreign cultures.
Pencak Silat: Definition, History, Characteristics, Objectives, Techniques, and Levels

Techniques in Pencak Silat

  • Basic technique

Post Attitude

  • Attack Technique


  • Basic Attitude of Pencak Silat

The first technique that you must learn and master is the basic attitude of pencak silat. These attitudes are static attitudes.

And done to train the strength of the muscles in the legs.

The formation of this basic attitude is also the foundation for the formation of technical movements for the next fighter, which includes physical attitudes as well as spiritual attitudes.

As for some of the basic attitudes of this martial art, including:

  • Respect

The first is an attitude of respect or an upright attitude that is used to respect enemies and friends.

The position of respect is in the form of a straight body followed by close feet and hands in front. The open chest position is tight with the fingers on the hands and the view is facing upwards.

  • Upright attitude

The position of an upright stance is where you are ready to stand up straight in the martial arts of pencak silat.

In this upright position is also divided into 4 types of attitudes, including:

Upright Stance 4
Upright Stance 3
Upright Stance 2
Upright Stance 1

  • Sitting Attitude

As the basis of the bottom game, sitting posture is also divided into 4 attitudes, including:

Kind attitude
Sitting posture
Sick attitude
And the attitude of sempok or empok

  • Post Attitude

Next is the attitude of pairs, namely the initial attitude that aims to carry out attacks or defenses.

In this tide attitude is also divided into 4 attitudes, including:

Attitude The first tide is pair one.
Next is the attitude of pair Two.
Then the Triple Pair stance.
And finally the Four Pair Attitudes.

  • Pencak Silat Horses

The word "kuda-kuda" comes from the word "kuda" which means the position of the feet like a person riding a horse.

In the martial art of silat, the horses can also be interpreted as a pedestal position to perform a tidal attitude. Next attack techniques, to self-defense techniques.

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Below are five forms of stances in pencak silat, including the following:

Position of the Middle Horses.
Position of Side Horses.
Front Horse Position.
Rear Horse Position.
Cross Horse Position.

  • Movement Formation

Then there is also the formation of a movement which is the basis for realizing a defense or attack on the opposing party. What is needed at the time of formation of movement is direction. There are several directions that you need to understand when learning martial arts.

Below there are 8 directions or cardinal directions.

The 8 directions of the compass are the attitude and pattern of silat steps by forming 8 directions in one fulcrum in the middle.

The 8 directions include:

  • backward direction
  • Rear left oblique direction
  • Left side direction
  • Front left oblique direction
  • Front direction
  • Front right oblique direction
  • Right side direction
  • Rear right oblique direction.

Levels in Pencak Silat

  • Beginner,Learn all the basic stages.
  • IntermediateFocusing on all the basic movements, the understanding, variety, and talent of the fighter begins to show.
  • Trainer,The result of mature abilities based on experience at the beginner and intermediate stages.
  • WarriorA fighter who has been recognized by the college elders, they will inherit high-level secret knowledge.

Pencak Silat Competition Rules

Competition rules

  • Pesilats face each other using elements of Penak Silat defense and attack and what is meant by the rule is that in achieving technical achievements, a fighter must develop a pattern of competition starting from the attitude of pairs, steps and measuring the distance to the opponent and coordination in carrying out attacks / defenses and returning to attitude plug.
  • The defense and attack carried out must be patterned from the initial attitude / pairs or step patterns, as well as coordination in carrying out attacks and defenses. After carrying out an attack / defense must return to the initial stance / pairs by continuing to use the step pattern. The referee will give the signal "STEP" if a fighter does not perform the proper Pencak Silat technique.
  • Successive attacks must be arranged in an orderly manner and sequentially in various ways towards the target as many as 4 types of attacks. Pesilat who performs a series of attacks and defenses of more than 4 types will be dismissed by the referee.
  • Similar attacks using hands that are carried out in succession are considered one attack. Attacks that are judged are attacks that use a step pattern, are unobstructed, steady, powerful and arranged in good coordination of attack techniques
  • Match Code
    • The command "BERSEDIA" is used in preparation as a warning to Pesilat and all match officials that the match will start soon.
    • The signal "START" is used every time the match starts and will be continued, it can also be by signal.
    • The signal “STOP” is used to stop the match.
      The commands "PASANG" and "SILAT" are used for coaching.
      At the beginning and end of the game each round is marked by hitting the gong.

How to match

  • Preparation for the start of the match begins with the entry of the Referee and the jury into the arena.
  • Each Pesilat who will compete after receiving a signal from the Referee, enters the arena from their respective corners, then salutes the Referee and the Head of the Competition. After that, the two fighters again took their place in the designated corner.
  • To start the match, the Referee calls the two Pesilats, then the two Pesilats shake hands and are ready to start the match.
  • After the Referee checks the readiness of all officers by signaling to comply with the specified prohibitions.
  • During the break between rounds, Pesilats must return to their respective corners. Pesilat's assistants carry out their functions in accordance with the provisions of Article 5 paragraph 4.
  • Apart from the Referee and the two Pesilats, no one else is in the arena except at the request of the Referee.
  • After the final round is over, the two fighters return to their respective corners to wait for the winner's decision.
  • Done saluting and shaking hands


What can be used as a legitimate and valuable target is "togok" which is any part of the body except the neck and above and from the pubic center.: Chest, Stomach (center up), left and right ribs, back or back body. Parts of the legs and arms can be used as targets for intermediate attacks in an attempt to drop but have no value as targets of impact.


Serious offense

Attacking unauthorized body parts, namely the neck, head and bottom of the center to the genitals and causing the opponent to get injured / fall, Attempt to break the joints head-on, Intentionally breaking joints directly, Head-banging/knocking and head-on strikes, Strikes opponent before signal “START” and attacks after a “STOP” signal from the referee, causing the opponent to be injured, Struggling, biting, scratching, grabbing and grabbing, Opposing, insulting, issuing polite words, spitting, etc., deviating from the rules of competition after receiving warning I for violating the that.

Minor Offense

Not using step patterns and pairs of attitudes, Exiting the arena in a row what is meant by successively is from 2 times in 1 round, Embracing the opponent in the defense process, Performing attacks with sweeping techniques while lying down repeatedly with the aim of stalling time.

Punishment Value

Terms of the penalty value:

  • Value – 1 (less 1) is given if the fighter gets a warning I
  • The value – 2 (less 2) is given if the fighter gets a warning II
  • Value – 5 (less 5) is given when a fighter gets a warning
  • Value – 10 (less 10) is given if the fighter gets a warning

Determination of Victory

Win numbers

If the number of judges who determine the victory over a fighter is more than the opponent. The determination of the pleasure is carried out by each jury. In the event of the same score, the winner is determined based on the fighter who gets the least amount of punishment. If the results are still the same, then the winner is the fighter who collects the highest / most technical achievement scores. Basically the value of 1 + 2 is higher than the value of 2 only. If the result is still the same, then the match will be added 1 (one) more round. If the results are still the same, then there is no need for a re-weighing, but it can be seen from the results of weighing 15 minutes before the match. If the result remains the same, a draw will be held by the Competition Leader witnessed by the Technical Delegation and the two Team Managers. The results of the Jury Assessments are announced on the scoreboard, after the final round / determination of victory has been completed.

Win Technique

Because the opponent cannot continue the match due to the request of the fighter himself / resigns. Due to the decision of the Match Doctor. The Competition Doctor is given 60 seconds to decide whether the Pesilat concerned is declared "Fit" or "Not Fit" (Unfit). After 60 seconds the Referee will ask the Match Doctor whether the Pesilat is "Fit" or "Not Fit" (Unfit).

Absolute Win

Absolute Winning Determination is if the opponent falls due to a legitimate attack and becomes unable to get up immediately and or depressed, then after the count of the 10th Referee and cannot stand up straight with an attitude plug in

That's the review from About about Martial arts, Hopefully it can add to your insight and knowledge. Thank you for visiting and don't forget to read other articles.

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