Pencak silat is a term used to describe a unique class of martial arts born in Indonesia. According to Black Belt Magazine, it is a full-body fighting form that uses strikes, grappling and throwing in addition to weaponry. Each part of the body is used and subject to attack. In the past, the fighting style was used not only for defense but also for psychological strength.
Pencak silat has a rich history in the archipelago. The word Pencak was used mostly in Java and is considered the essence of training, the outward aspect of the art which a casual observer may view as performance.
According to the book called Pentjak Silat: The Indonesian Fighting Art, the word Silat was historically used in Sumatra and Borneo and is referred to as:
“The essence of combat and self-defense, the true fighting application of the techniques which are kept secret from outsiders and not divulged to students until the guru deems them ready. While other definitions exist, all agree that silat cannot exist without pencak, and pencak without silat skills is purposeless.”
Today, there are many foreigners who come to Indonesia looking to learn the real pencak silat. It’s unclear why the martial art is so popular among our readers. Perhaps they want a truly unique experience and Indonesia seems to keep pencak silat under wraps. Usually, real pencak silat schools are difficult to find in Indonesia if you don’t know where to look.
Teachers don’t really market themselves and usually just recruit through their communities. Many only teach their family members.
With this in mind, here is some fairly rough information pulled from a local web forum in Bahasa Indonesia about a few places expats can attempt to sniff out pencak silat lessons (note: you will probably have to simply show up on foot, as it’s likely going to be hard to find a working phone number or website for these classes).
1. Perguruan Silat Beksi Purbakala
Details: Perguruan Silat Beksi Purbakala, komplek IKPN Bintaro jalan pembangunan tepat dibelakang kampus Trisakti dirumah Bang Cone Pelatih Baba Matalih. For more information contact, Baba Matalih (087884478713), Bang Cone (081383231745) or Anto (02194962725).
2. Perguruan Pencak Silat Beksi Tradisional H. Hasbulloh
Information and registration: Bapak Sabenuh Masir – Jl. Cileduk Raya No. 10 RT 002 RW 03, Kelurahan Ulujami, Kebayoran Lama, Jakarta Selatan.12230
Fax: 021-725 3703
Hotline: 0815 995 3219
3. Silat Golok Seliwa
Practice every Wednesday starting at 7pm and on Sunday at 8 am at Masjid LIPI on Jalan Gatot Subroto in Jakarta.
4. Silat Sabeni Tenabang
Practice is every Saturday from 8 am to 10 am at Sekretariat Silat Sabeni, Kebon Jahe VIII, Tanah Abang. For more information and to reach a contact person, you can call 085888969715 or 995-18690.
5. Gerak Saka/Gerak Rasa
The location is behind Wisma Bidakara on Jalan Rasamala. Go up to the third floor on Tuesday nights at 9 pm.
If you have any additional places to add to this list where foreigners can learn pencak silat, please reach out via the web comments below and we will update this list accordingly.
To see where we gleaned this information from, please click here. Please remember that Indonesia Expat is merely purveying the information we found and cannot really verify that any of these spots are still operating. Happy hunting!