Destinations in Indonesia
Betawi Pencak Silat Martial Art: The agile and powerful Cingkrik Goning
The history and development of the city of Jakarta is connected in many ways to the traditional culture of Pencak Silat Betawi, the Indonesian martial art that has for many centuries influenced and enhanced the lives of the indigenous Betawi. Amongst hundreds of martial arts in Indonesia covered under the name “Pencak Silat”, Silat Betawi is one of the oldest forms, and Betawi (Jakarta), the place where the art was born.
In almost every village in Indonesia today, you will find a form of Silat and a respected hero of that trade; a hometown hero who used martial arts to defend the good and protect them from tyranny. The Art of Silat in Indonesia is linked to honor, respect, and the triumph of good over evil.
The existence of Silat Betawi was first recorded in the 16th century and was often seen demonstrated at important events and celebrations, making the art not just a form of warfareor sport, but an integral part of local culture and social life. Also known as maenpukulan, Pencak Silat was once required teaching in Betawi amongst students of the Islamic Religion.
The diversity seen in Silat Betawi is highly influenced by the vast variety of ethnic groups that once lived in Jakarta, such as the Sundanese, Javanese, Arabs, Balinese, Ambonese, Malay and Chinese. Silat Betawi is characterized by its speed, flow and flexibility and is often identified with rapid speed hand and foot action. Some of its best known styles are Cingkrik, GieSau, Beksi, Kelabang Nyebrang, Merak Nigel and Naga Ngerem.
Most of SilatBetawi movements and techniques have not been officially documented, but rather have been passed on by word of mouthfrom one generation to the next.
Today you can personally observe the beauty and skill involved in this unique art in the Padepokan Silat hall in Taman Mini Indonesia Indah (TMII), Jakarta. Every Saturday morning, an open space of about 10 x 10 meters is brought to life with the graceful moves of agile fighters. The exercise is led by Tubagus Bambang Kadin, a great mentor and well known instructor in the art of Silat Betawi. Tubagus Bambang Kadin studied martial arts since the age of 11, and at the age of 30 began teaching the science of Silat as a message from his ancestors.
Bambang specializes in Cingkrik Goning, a specific style relying on flexibility and speed. Unlike some other martial arts, this technique does not follow a “one- two-three” count, but rather “one.” – andthe opponent must fall. The prime objective of Cingkrik Goning is to disable your opponent as quickly as possible using as few moves as possible.
One of the main moves in the CingkrikGoningstyle involves using one foot to jump. Betawi people called this move jejingkrikan, and later jingkirk or cingkrik. The move was first developed by the historical Betawi Hero, Ainin Bin Urim, also known as Engkong Goning, thus giving the style the name Cingkrik Goning. The art was then passed down from generation to generation and eventually to Bambang Kadin, manager and trainer in the Silatschool at TMII.
Today, it has evolved into two main styles; cingkrik sinan and cingkrik goning. Cingkrik Sinan relies more on power, while cingkrik goning leans towards agility over strength.
Cingkrik Goning follows a level system whereby the highest grade is a red belt with five stripes. Reaching this stage takes approximately 7 years of study and training and the completion of four stages. First, students must master the 12 basic moves of Cingkrik Goning. Second, learn the defensive maneuvers. Third, learn to apply the 12 basic moves you have learned, fusing them into 80 combination moves. And finally, once you have learned these 3, fight.
Photo courtesy of Gunawan Kartapranata.
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