One of the lesser known sports around the world, Pencak Silat is the umbrella term used for the many different forms of Indonesian martial arts. The sport recently made its Asian Games debut in Indonesia.
Pencak Silat is a martial art that stems from the Malay Archipelago and Indonesian heritage with four different main components - mental spirit, art and culture, self-defense, and sport. As a sport, Silat is split into two main categories; Match (Tanding) & Artistic (Seni).
Team Singapore Silat exponent Muhammad Shakir in action during the recent 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta. Photo: Sport Singapore
While it is a lesser known sport, here in Singapore, Pencak Silat is considered rather widespread and has even contributed to a number of both regional and international awards and accolades. One such recent achievement would be bagging two silvers and three bronzes in their first ever Asiad Outing at the Asian Games.
With the sport transcending into countries outside of South East Asia such as Japan, France and even Africa, the International Silat Federation also known as Persilat, aims to gather all Silat participants from around the globe to compete in this sport on behalf of their countries. The first ever international Silat competition was thus held in 1982, in Jakarta, Indonesia, and since then the competition has been held every other year in different countries such as Holland, Austria, Malaysia, with the most recent one held in Indonesia again.
Following the recent success in the organising of the sport at the 28th SEA Games 2015 in Singapore, Mr Sheik Alau’ddin Yacoob Marican, PBM, Chief Executive Officer of the Singapore Silat Federation made a bid to host the upcoming 18th World Pencak Silat Championship.
With much deliberation from the Persilat, on 7 September, Singapore received the green light to host the 18th biennial World Championships happening from 11 to 17 December 2018.
Team Singapore Silat exponent Sheik Farhan Bin Sheik Alau'ddin (left) in action. Photo: Sport Singapore
In addition to Pencak Silat, Mr Sheik will be inviting other martial arts such as Taekwondo, Judo and Karate to showcase their skills at the opening ceremony of the 18th World Pencak Silat Championship. Over 40 countries including the United Kingdom, United States of America, Japan and even South Africa will be participating in this prestigious sporting event from the 13 to 16 December 2018 at the OCBC Arena Hall 1, Singapore Sports Hub.
Some of the Team Singapore athletes who will be competing in the World Pencak Silat Championships are - Muhammad Shakir Bin Juanda, a 2012 World Champ as well as Mr Sheik’s sons, Sheik Farhan Bin Sheik Alau'ddin and Sheik Ferdous Bin Sheik Alau’ddin. Both his sons share the same passion for the sport as their father, and have also made their mark in the sport with each of them being a two-time World Champ.
Watch this space for our upcoming interview piece that will feature all three up and rising stars in the world of Pencak Silat. In the meantime, you can check out Team Singapore’s past Silat exploits and also support the athletes in the upcoming World Pencak Silat Championships.