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Artikel British Silat Association

Do you need to be "EX-SPEAR-IENCED?"

BY Roy Porteous

Regular readers will now have an understanding of Silat weapons such as Keris, Pisau and Parang. Though the art is primarily known for its short-range weapons, Silat stylists also train in longer-range weapons such as the Staff and the Spear. The spears and some of the staff’s are commonly around five foot in length, though some styles use a shorter staff (see photo’s). They also may or may not have a metal spearhead, depending on the style and historically the wealth and social position of the practitioner. In
Malaysia the Spear is known as being the weapon of the “Hulubalang” . These were the palace guard for Sultans in old Malayan states, and their rituals continued to be taught under Cikgu Haji Sutin Bin Mohd. Ali. My Guru Glenn Lobo met Cikgu Haji Sutin on several occasions whilst he visited and trained in Malaysia. Haji Sutin lived and taught in Melaka, though he sadly passed away in 1991. Out of respect for this teacher Guru Glenn placed the two spears that appear on our club badge. Those who hold the Position of “Hulubalang” still perform an important role today. They are used as ceremonial guard at demonstrations and grading ceremonies. Whilst in Penang I remember performing my salutation and then walking along a human corridor of Hulubalang. This was because I had to make my way to meet the Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister and they were his guard, standing at attention armed with their spears. A scary sight and situation! But is this a useful weapon to become experienced with in the modern era? When I think back to my early days in Martial Arts (Karate and Kickboxing) I probably thought not. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Sifu Phil Mead of U.K.A.S.K.A. for creating then nurturing my initial interest in these weapons, some years ago. With experience and the passing of time, I’ve found that like most weapons in South East Asian arts the staff and Spear do seem to give valuable reaction training to defences from various angles, grip changes and switches, whilst training you to adapt to new distances. There is also another advantage of training with weapons of this type of physical form. This is that regardless of which Combat Art you study, most of us have also been taught to grab and use any available weapon that would give us an advantage should, peril the thought, the need arise. Staff and Spear training could allow effective use of snooker and pool cues, umbrellas, and especially broom handles! (Remember that scene in Eddie Murphy’s film “Coming to America”?)

These weapons can be used for parrying attacks, blocks, stabs, strikes, locks and even sweeps. Silat students learn the grips, angles and flow of the weapon and then drill the use of staff and spears in pair-work situations. Some systems make use of pre set Jurus (like Forms or Kata) that seem to be heavily influenced by the Chinese martial art systems. The Photo sequence shows myself and Andy Smith performing a basic pair work attack and defence drill using the short Staff. Andy is a qualified Seni Silat Assiatant Instructor teaching in
Leeds, West Yorkshire. The weapon helps develop our evasion and entry skills, of which Silat styles are renowned. Therefore it seams some experience with this weapon is useful.



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