3 Unforgotten Martial Arts That Have Shaped Indonesian Athletes

Indonesia has been a major hub of Southeast Asian martial arts for hundreds of years.

This coming Friday, 25 October, the country’s new generation of martial artists will engage in battle at ONE: DAWN OF VALOR inside the Istora Senayan in Jakarta.

Ahead of ONE Championship’s return to the nation’s capital, we look at three popular martial arts native to Indonesia.

The Sumo Of Asia’s Southeast

Pencak silat is a self-defense martial art that dates back to seventeenth-century Sumatra and Java. But beyond self-defense, pencak silat is practiced ceremoniously at weddings, rice harvests, and other festivities.

The sport focuses on striking, grappling, and throwing, but the styles differ depending on which area of Indonesia the student is from.

Along the coast, pencak silat practitioners adopt a low stance and prefer hand-to-hand techniques. In the mountains, students use a higher stance and favor foot techniques.

Today, there are over 150 different variants of pencak silat recognized in Indonesia, and the sport is one of the few martial arts featured in the Southeast Asian Games.

Indonesia’s Four-Man Boxing Bouts

Tinju means “fist-fighting,” and it is referred to as Indonesian boxing.

It comes from the Flores Islands of Indonesia and is the most popular martial art in the town of Bajawa.

In Flores, tinju matches involve four people: two boxers and two guides. The two boxers face each other while the guides stand behind the boxers and direct them by their waistbands.

Kicks and throws are not allowed in tinju, but practitioners can strike with open or closed hands and elbows. Tinju martial artists win by scoring points.

Direct Hand-To-Hand Combat

This might not be ancient like the other two styles, but tarung derajat is an original martial art founded in Bandung by Achmad Dradjat in the 1960s.

“Aa Boxer,” as Dradjat is usually called by his pupils and the general public, underlines the aggression of attacks with hands and legs, but also incorporates takedowns, locks, and leg sweeps in his techniques.

Tarung derajat has been officially recognized as a national sport, and it is used in basic military training by the Indonesian Army and Police’s Mobile Brigade. In the 1990s, it was perfected for sporting competition.

Since that time, it has been officially recognized as part of the Indonesian National Committee of Sports, which set a spot for it in National Sports Week. Also, the martial art was introduced in the 2011 Southeast Asian Games in Palembang.

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