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Commonly used weapons in Silat

silat weapons

Image credit: SportSG

Silat originated as a method of self-defence. While our hands and feet are sufficient, weapons give an added advantage to the pesilat.


Since agriculture plays a huge role in the Southeast Asian culture, many of the commonly used weapons in Silat were originally farming tools.

Kris
Worn as a status symbol, this dagger is also known as keris. It often comes with a pistol handle and a distinctive wavy blade. Different types of metal are melded together, washed with acid and (said to be) infused with venom to achieve the finished product. The dagger can be wielded on its own or paired.

Lembing
The Lembing can refer to a spear or javelin. It can be made of bamboo, steel or wood. Horsehair can sometimes be found attached to traditional lembing in order to prevent enemy blood from dripping onto the handle.

Parang
This machete was initially used to cut through the forest. Now, they are one of the most popular Silat weapons. Depending of the Pesilat’s preference the blade may be curved or straight, with the size ranging from tiny handheld knives to the length of an actual sword.

Kerambit
Often regarded as a lady’s weapon, the kerambit is a narrow curve blade that resembles a tiger’s claws. It is easily concealed due to its compact size. One can wield it as a single weapon or in a pair.

Sabit
The sabit refers to the sickle, a farming tool still used today. It may be paired and its nature has turned it into one of the most popular weapons. Its almost circular blade makes it a deadly tool for defense.

Cindai
Also known as the Samping, this weapon is a simple cloth that can be worn as a sarong. It is used to train beginners for hand movements. However in advanced stages it can be applied as a weapon for locks, grabs and choke-holds. It is surprisingly useful against bladed weapons, protecting the Pesilat from cuts.

Tongkat
The term for this weapon literally means walking stick, but in Silat, it refers to a short stick or club. It can be used to sweep an opponent or catch a weapon depending on its shape. The tongkat is useful for self defense and often wielded in pairs.

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