How to get started in Silat


File photo credit: SportSG

An intense sport that requires a great deal of commitment and discipline, silat contains many important basic moves that budding enthusiasts must master before even approaching the competition arena. Rigorous drills and technique trainings are necessary in order for a silat practitioner to pick up simple skills; weapons don’t come into the picture only until much later.

As stances make up the bulk of silat moves and form a sturdy base from which one may execute attacking moves, it is essential for silat practitioners to work on perfecting them. The first one that you can try out would be the kekuda, or horse stance. Prevalent in most Asian forms of martial arts, the horse stance helps to train one’s balance and core strength. Simply stand straight with your feet apart, positioned wider than your shoulders. Bend your knees, and lower your body. Your upper body should remain relaxed and straight.

Next, we look at a langkah (step stance) routine, made up of different langkahs. Stand straight, feet slightly apart, and orientate yourself from this preparatory position. Mark out your front, back, left, and right. These will remain as your points of reference, even if you turn and re-orientate yourself. While doing a langkah, your leg is always bent 90 degrees at the knee when it is raised. 

Langkah Serung
Raise your left leg and place it in front of you, heel down first, and bend slightly. Your foot should be angled and turned out slightly to the left. 

Langkah Tujang
Move your right leg next, raising it while turning 90 degrees to face your right side. Put your heel down first, with your feet turned out and your toes pointing to the back. You should end with your right leg bent slightly, in front of your left.

Langkah Terus
While still facing the right, lift your left leg and turn to face the front again as you land your left foot squarely in front of you. Bend the front leg as you shift your body weight to the front. Now, the inner side of your right foot should be facing the front, behind your left.

Langkah Undur
Lift your left leg and move it backwards, behind your right. The inside of the left foot should be facing the front now.

Langkah Ereng
Flex your right foot while keeping its heel on the ground. In a controlled movement, place the ball of that foot on the ground while lifting the heel at the same time. Rotate the foot on its ball till the toes face your left side. Your body should also be turning to face your left while you do this.

Langkah Silang
Lift your right leg and place it just behind your left foot, landing only on your toes. Bend both your knees slightly. Here, you should still be facing your left.

Langkah Samping
As you rise from the knee bend, raise your left leg while still facing your left. Place your left foot out directly ahead of you, bending it slightly at the knee.

To end, raise your left knee again and finish the routine in a kneeling position, on one knee.

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