Pencak Silat as it is fondly known in the Malay Archipelago, is a combative art of self-defense and survival traced back to the early days of the Langkasuka Kingdom. The annals of Malaysia have proven that before the advent of guns and cannons, the ancient kingdoms of the Archipelago were well-defended against incursions from foreign empires, especially the Europeans and East Asians.
Among the hallmarks of Pencak Silat is the Keris, a wavy dagger made of nickel and iron sheathed in wood. It was the weapon of choice of kings, warriors and later became a large part of the Malay identity.
Merdeka and Independence rekindled an interest in all things in Pencak Silat hence the artform has benefited from this new wave of interest. To promote silat in Malaysia, the National Silat Federation of Malaysia was established in 1983 and since then, Pencak Silat has evolved into a fine practice of physical and spiritual training which also encompasses traditional Malay attire, musical instruments, and customs.
Sarawak which is famed for its astonishing cultural identity has always been a central hub for Pencak Silat in the archipelago. With that said, the historic “land of the hornbills” is ready to raise the bar of the artform by hosting the Sarawak Premier International Silat Championship 2023 (SPISC) from the 27th of February till the 5th of March at the Kuching Indoor Stadium.
The inaugural edition of the championship, which is set to be organised by Rumpun Silat Sarawak, holds the pride for being the number one association in producing the highest number of silat practitioners across the nation.
Dato’ Mohamad Yusnar Haji Matalie, who is the deputy president of the RSS, iterated that Rumpun Silat Sarawak emphasizes on the importance of preserving this artform for the future generation.
“We at Rumpun Silat Sarawak will forever stay committed in maintaining and promoting this distinguished traditional martial art form in the land of Sarawak. Silat is a unique artform in this archipelago therefore, it’s our duty to develop and mould silat exponents from a tender age for the betterment of the cultural heritage of the artform in Malaysia and specifically Sarawak.”
Commenting on the scale of the Sarawak Premier International Silat Championship 2023 (SPISC) event, Dato’ Mohamad Yusnar Haji Matalie is determined that the inception of Sarawak Premier International Silat Championship 2023 (SPISC) will be a benchmark for RSS to continue their initiatives in organizing annual silat championships for Sarawak in the future.
“RSS desires the inception of this tournament to be successful and noteworthy. In fact, we do not wish to make this a “one-off” tournament, but rather intend to organize the Sarawak Silat Series Championship into a historic and household event for Silat in Malaysia.
“I am also excited and honoured to welcome the presence of established world class silat exponents to Bumi Kenyalang next month. I hope the exponents can display a world-class combatting action while manifesting high sportsmanship along with the values possessed by a silat exponent,” he added.
The Sarawak Premier International Silat Championship 2023 (SPISC) will also feature various interesting programmes the Sarawak Arts Council to light up the event such as pendekar run, food and cultural festivals. 800 silat exponents from local Malaysian states and international contingents such as Indonesia, Singapore, Kyrgyzstan, and the United States of America will be vying for supremacy in the junior and open categories. A total prize money of USD$20,000 will be conferred to the overall team champion of the tournament.