The Importance Of Traditional Martial Arts

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In addition to the physical aspects of any martial arts, i.e. combat and self-defense, their spiritual aspects such as meditative practice and healing dimensions are fundamental. The nature and importance of “internal energy” (qi, ki, prana) has been among the many topics,* discussed by serious practitioners. However, the emphasis on the mystical transformation (altering an individual’s customary [what does this word mean here?] experience and self-awareness in the world) associated with the repetitive physical activity through involvement in these meditative-spiritual practices has been missing. Much information concerning the principles and practices of various traditional martial arts was veiled in secrecy, known only in small circles of …show more content…
Drawing parallels with Western scientific epistemology in its understanding of silat as a science, PGB members describe it as founded on natural rather than supernatural principles that can be empirically tested through the universal human body (Samudra 2006: 202). According to Wilson Lee, Martial Arts is a means of cultivating body, a vehicle for spiritual development, a performance art and an international sport. Pencak Silat an indigenous and national martial arts [repetitive], developed conspicuously in Indonesian society and political culture,* as a fighting art and a system of physical and spiritual cultivation. The study and practice of Pencak Silat transforms the body leading to ‘inner knowledge’, or ilmu batin, a spiritual cultivation (Samudra 2006: 217). Many of the practices that come under the rubric of ilmu batin are associated with the Sufi orders, which are closely connected with the spread of Islam in Indonesia (Lee 12). Science, as understood in PGB, is universal and is treated as something nearly tangible. Silat skill can be exchanged, given or taken, kept to oneself or shared, even stolen or destroyed (Samudra 2006: 209). Anyone can in theory achieve this knowledge, so no one is barred from membership in PGB because of his or her ethnic or national heritage (Samudra 2006: 210-212). In an interview with her, Suhu Gunawan talks about his transformation after his own father Suhu Subur died and he became the head of PGB organization. It was not sufficient that he was an experienced Silat teacher or an able manager. He had to prove that he understood the internal workings of the science. He describes going through a liminal period as he undertook to grasp Silat’s most esoteric aspects without a trainer to guide his

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