Image credit: SportSG
A silat competition arena is usually topped with a mattress for safety reasons. This mattress must have a level surface that is not bouncy, and cannot measure more than five centimetres thick. A 10 by 10 metre non-slip surface may be laid out on top of it
The arena for the Tanding (match) category measures 10 by 10 metres, and has a round match ground measuring eight metres wide in diameter marked out within it. This match ground is outlined by a five centimetre-wide border. The middle of the match ground is marked by a circle measuring three metres in diametere, which separates the opponents at the beginning of a competition. The two opposing sides are also allocated corners at the points of the square arena. These are labelled in blue and red at diagonal ends, while the other two corners, marked yellow, are neutral areas. Tunggal (single), Ganda (double), and Regu (team) categories simply use the entire 10 by 10 metre performance arena.
Tanding competitions are carried out in three two-minute rounds, with rest times lasting a minute each in between each round. Tunggal, Ganda, and Regu categories comprise three minutes for each competition showcase.
In a Tanding competition, participants challenge each other using a combination of defence and attack moves, and must adhere strictly to a specific routine during the competition - sikap pasang (fighting stances), pola langkah (step pattern), and then back to sikap pasang. Each silat contestant may undertake a series of moves against his or her opponent at one go, but should not execute more than four different types.
The Tanding contestants may not exert physical force on any part of their opponents’ neck, head, and lower abdominal area from the navel to the groin. Should limbs be inadvertently hit as part of an attack or defence, neither penalty nor score will be given. However, they must not be targets of “direct attacks” that may result in injury - such moves are not allowed.
A Tunggal contestant, on the other hand, must perform a Jurus Baku Tunggal (solo routine). This should be done in two segments - with and without the use of weapons. The weapons include the golok/parang (a kind of machete) and rattan tongkat (stick). If the routine exceeds the given three minutes by more than five seconds, a penalty will be handed out.
Ganda teams may perform any number of specially choreographed routines that consist of different attack and defence combinations. Only one member of the duo may use weapons at any time during the showcase; they take turns to do so. As with Tunggal events, a penalty will be given if the routine exceeds the stipulated timing by more than five seconds.
Similar to the Tunggal category, Regu groups perform a Jurus Baku Regu (group routine), showcasing a variety of silat moves - but without weapons. The timing rule also applies here, and the team will be penalised if it exceeds three minutes by more than five seconds.
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