Pencak Silat ('Silat') is the generic term for the indigenous martial arts of the Indonesian/Malay archipelago, which includes Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei. Silat has played an important role in the history and culture of Indonesian and Malay peoples. Traditionally, Silat formed part of the education of all young men, and was an integral part of a boy's path to manhood.
The great variety of the geography of the Indonesian/Malay archipelago, and the different cultures of each region gave rise to many different styles of Silat, e.g. in areas where the terrain was slippery and rocky, the style of Silat would be characterised by low stances.
Silat continues to be a significant aspect of Indonesian and Malay culture. It is practised in a variety of traditional and modern forms and is fast gaining popularity around the world under the auspices of PERSILAT, the world governing body for Silat.
Pencak Silat was introduced to Europe in the early 20th century and has been taught publicly in the U.K. since the late 1970's. It is a non-aggressive martial arts, which is learnt and practised by men and women, boys and girls of any age, and is accessible to complete beginners in martial arts.
Silat employs natural body movements and develops balance and economy of movement in each individual. It can be practised purely for sport and fitness, for the aesthetic beauty of the art or for the chance to learn one of the world's few remaining complete traditional martial arts systems.
Most Pencak Silat schools now incorporate the self-defence ('bela-diri'), the artistic ('seni') and the sport ('olahraga') aspects, with individual teachers varying the emphasis placed upon each of the elements.
Though the sports aspect 'olahraga' or 'tanding' has only recently been developed, it is proving particularly popular with young people both in Asia and around the world. Under the auspices of PERSILAT, olahraga and seni have been developed as unifying aspects of all the different Pencak Silat styles. A common set of rules and regulations was introduced by PERSILAT, and all competitions are held according to these rules.
Competitions on a national, regional and World level are held regularly. Any student ('pesilat'), who is a member of a recognised Silat school/club/perguruan can participate in these championships, having passed through a selection procedure.
Silat enhances and strengthens self-awareness, self-discipline, integrity, responsibility, loyalty and cooperation amongst its practitioners. When taught by a qualified teacher it offers an opportunity for students to develop physically, mentally, morally and spiritually.
The organisation of Pencak Silat around the world consists of individual countries that have their own national federations incorporating individual schools/clubs, and an international federation, Persekutuan Pencak Silat Antarabangsa (PERSILAT), that is the ultimate authority on Pencak Silat and is responsible for the promotion and development of Silat around the world.
Most countries in which Silat is practised will have one organising body (national federation) that will encourage the development of genuine Silat in that country and will be a member of and be recognised byPERSILAT as the official Silat organisation for that country.
The International Pencak Silat Federation (PERSILAT) was established on 11 March 1980 as a result of a conference in Jakarta, which was attended by the Indonesian Pencak Silat Association (IPSI), the Singaporean Pencak Silat Federation (PERSISI), a representative of the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport of Malaysia and observers from Brunei Darussalam.
The founder members of PERSILAT are:
In addition to the four founding members there are national level Pencak Silat organisations/associations/federations that are recognised by PERSILAT in countries around the world.
The Pencak Silat Federation of the UK (PSF UK) is the only national organisation for Silat in the UK that is approved and officially recognised by the world governing body 'PERSILAT'
The PSF UK was founded by the teachers of two Silat schools based in London: Silat Gerak Ilham Bugis-Makassar (GI) from the Indonesian island of Sulawesi (Makassar), and Silat Perisai Diri (PD), a style based in Java. The teachers, Bapak Aidinal Alrashid of GI and Bapak Otto Soeharjono of PD are recognised teachers/instructors of their respective Silat styles and have been teaching Silat in the UK for many years.
In June 1994, Bapak Aidinal Alrashid of Silat Gerak Ilham Bugis-Makassar was appointed representatives ofPERSILAT for the whole of of the United Kingdom.
Following this recognition, the PSF UK was formed, and officially inaugurated on 16 September 1994 at the Indonesian Embassy in London by the President of PERSILAT, Bapak Eddie Nalapraya, and the then Ambassador of Indonesia in the UK, His Excellency Bapak J E Habibie.
The Federation has been established to encourage, promote and develop the genuine, traditional Pencak Silat martial arts in the United Kingdom (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland). It monitors and checks bona fide Silat organisations in the UK and acts as a general enquiry point about Silat to the British public.
The PSF UK will consider for membership any properly trained and qualified instructor based in the UK, whose club/school has been in existence for at least one year and who can provide written verification from the national body where their Silat style is from.
The PSF UK has also played a leading role in the establishment of the European Pencak Silat Federation, which consists of the recognised European Silat member organisations of PERSILAT.