Silat for the Spiritual Scholar

September 30, 2008

Well, Eric and I were talking tonight about a lot of things, as usual. This time the topic of silat emerged and it got me thinking about the different silats I have been exposed to and have researched. Then it dawned on me, that I have only written two articles on silat. One on the more spiritual side and one on a style known as Silat Seni Gayong. I have met and trained with quite a few pesilat during my travels in Penang, Kuala Lumpur, the USA… but after a book idea I had pitched to several publishers on silat was squashed more than a decade ago, I put the materials in the archive.

Tonight I decided to dust off my article on Silat Kebatinan. It was actually a paper I wrote for an anthropology class while an undergraduate at Drexel University. In 1994 it was published in the Journal of Asian Martial Arts. It’s a bit dry and has lots of footnotes… so the scholars among us will love it! But the regular guys may start to yawn. Either way, I have a passion for the more esoteric sides of Asian traditions, especially martial arts. And so I’d like to share this article with you now. Later in the week I’ll post the Seni Gayong piece with all the pics… promise. :-)

(Illustrations courtesy of Carlos Aldrete-Phan)

Mark

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