Karate, Kung Fu, Judo, Taekwondo…

David Carradine in the Popular American TV Series: Kung Fu

David Carradine in the Popular American TV Series: Kung Fu

Carl Douglas’ 1974 song, Kung Fu Fighting came out when martial arts was the rave in the U.S.  Douglas’ song can be listened to at this link.

A popular American TV series at that time (72-75) was Kung Fu, with the star of the show being David Carradine. It’s a rare person who isn’t amazed by the martial arts, with the practitioners being able to break boards, blocks, and especially breaking bricks on their stomachs when someone smashes them with a sledgehammer!!!

Shaolin Priest Martial Arts Demonstration

Shaolin Priest Martial Arts Demonstration

Indonesia isn’t known for the popular martial arts like Karate, Kung Fu, Judo, or any of the other widely know arts, it is Pencak Silat. During my June 2008 visit to the Jambi Province of Indonesia I was privileged to have witnessed a Pencak Silat demonstration. I also was able to video some of it, and you can watch it here:


To read more about the origin of Pencak Silat, read the below information from the 2007 Jakarta Post article.



What is Pencak Silat?

The Jakarta Post, Thu, 09/06/2007

Pencak Silat is a martial art that was first practiced in Sumatra after arriving in Indonesia with Indian and Chinese travelers more than 1000 years ago.

Today there are hundreds of different forms of Pencak Silat practiced across Indonesia with the various forms jealously protected by the intimates.

One of the newest forms of Pencak Silat is Pencak Silat Nusantara, developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s by Mohamad Djoko Wasposo, Mohamad Hadimulyo and Rachmadi Djok Suwignjo, who sought to open up the esoteric martial art so it would not be lost to younger generations. Pencak Silat is now recognized as a competitive sport within national sports games.

According to Melbourne-based Pencak Silat teacher Ronnie Takdare, the name comes from pencak (the physical) and silat (the movements of the mind); a combination of yoga and meditation that “”trains the five senses””. He says there are three main forms of Pencak Silat:

Ilmu Beladiri or the standard form of Pencak Silat that can be taught to anyone

Seni Beladiri that is specific to a region, such as Sundanese Silat from West Java or the Balinese form of Silat

Silat Keluarga that is developed within families and only taught to family members

Like many martial arts, Pencak Silat movements are based on animal movements, such as the movement of a tiger in attack.

One Pencak Silat legend says the martial art was developed by a woman who watched tigers fighting. Absorbed by the fight, she was late home and her husband attacked her. Using what she had learned from the tigers the woman was able to deflect her husband’s blows, defeating him in the fight. Her husband was so impressed by his wife’s newfound skills that the couple teamed up and developed Pencak Silat, teaching it to their children and community. –Trisha Sertori

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