Pencak silat or silat is a traditional martial art originating from the Malay Archipelago. This martial art is widely known in Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, and Singapore, southern Philippines, and southern Thailand in accordance with the spread of various ethnic groups of the archipelago.
Pencak Silat is a martial sport that requires a lot of concentration. There are influences of Chinese culture, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam in pencak silat. Usually every region in Indonesia has a typical martial arts flow. For example, the area of West Java is famous for the flow of Cimande and Cikalong, in Central Java there is a flow of Merpati Putih and in East Java there is a flow of Self Shield.
Every four years in Indonesia there is a national level martial arts match in the National Sports Week. Pencak Silat also competed in the SEA Games since 1987. Outside Indonesia there are also many fans of pencak silat such as in Australia, Netherlands, Germany, and America.
The ancestors of the Indonesian nation have had a way of self-defense aimed at protecting and sustaining their lives or groups from natural challenges. They create martial arts by mimicking the movement of animals that exist in the natural surroundings, such as the movement of monkeys, tigers, snakes, or eagles. The origins of martial arts in the archipelago may also evolve from the skills of indigenous Indonesian tribes in hunting and battle using machetes, shields and spears, for example as in the Nias tribal tradition which until the 20th century was relatively untouched by outside influences.
Silat is expected to spread in the archipelago since the 7th century AD, but the origin can not be determined with certainty. Major kingdoms, such as Srivijaya and Majapahit, are said to have great swordsmen who master the martial arts and can raise soldiers whose skills in self-defense are reliable. Silat researcher Donald F. Draeger argues that evidence of martial arts can be seen from various artifacts of weapons found from the classical period (Hindu-Buddhist) and on the carvings of reliefs containing the stances of silat horses at Prambanan and Borobudur temples. In his book, Draeger writes that martial arts and martial arts are inseparable, not only in the exercise of the body, but also on the spiritual connection closely associated with Indonesian culture. Meanwhile Sheikh Shamsuddin (2005) argues that there is an influence of martial arts from China and India in martial arts. This is because since the beginning Malay culture has been influenced by the culture brought by traders and migrants from India, China, and overseas.