Shaykh Sayyid Zahid Husain Rizwi has replied to our questions:
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Perguruan Seni Silat Sendeng Haji Hamid UK ISLAMIC MARTIAL ARTS
Posted 30 October 2008 - 10:29 PM (#1)
Shaykh Sayyid Zahid Husain Rizwi has replied to our questions:
PERGURUAN SENI SILAT SENDENG HAJI HAMID UK
ROYAL BATTLEFIELD ART OF THE NOBLE BUGIS WARRIORS- ILMU PERANG SABIL
Allahyarham (The Late) Hj. Abd. Hamid bin Hj. Hamzah (1927 - 1990)
Pengasas(Founder) dan Guru Utama Seni Silat Sendeng
Grandmaster Founder of Seni Silat Sendeng
Royal Bugis Warriors Across Malaysia and Nusuntara
The culture of migration also prompted the Bugis-Makasar people in South Sulawesi to preserve pencak silat self-defence. The people belonging to this ethnic group are renowned for their penchant for sailing all over Indonesia and setting up their own community in other islands. As an integral part of people's life, pencak silat self-defence is taken along and developed wherever they may be. Even in high sea, the crew train in pencak silat self-defence. No wonder, that in South Sulawesi, styles of pencak silat self-defence abound and everywhere masters can be found who give individual lessons in secret moves to their students. Meanwhile, modern styles of pencak silat olahraga can only be found in large cities, where schools of Javanese origin set up branches. Techniques of self-defence combined with inner powers are taught to male children from an early age, as a tool to defend themselves in the future. Their performance, distinguished by the use of badik (dagger), also has an artistic dimension. On the nights of the full moon, Bugis-Makasar people like to gather on the beach and practice pencak silat move following the music. Still, the main purpose of pencak silat remains to resolve problems that might dishonour the name of an individual, family or ethnic group. To defend their honour, Bugis-Makasar practitioners are ready to confront the enemy, oftentimes to the death. In daily life the cultural heritage of pencak silat once more appears difficult to apply. Far from being perfect creatures, humans are not always able to control themselves, and stay out of trouble.
Since long before European explorers arrived in the Indonesian Archipelago in search of the riches of spice, the Bugis people had gained the position as masters of the seas. From the small village of Bira, on the island of Celebes, today known as Sulawesi, the hardy Bugis sailors constructed and controlled fleets of sailing ships to support the spice and cargo trade that thrived in these islands thousands of years before the Europeans ever arrived.With the support and friendship of the Macassar traders in the Port of Ujung Pandang, the Bugis sailors carried spice and cargo to and from the 13,000 islands of the archipelago, to the major trading centers where their cargo was unloaded and traded to Chinese and Arab merchants, who then started their treks to the markets of Europe and the ancient Chinese dynasties.
The Bugis Schooners, crafted of the strong timbers of the islands, were capable of coping with the heavy seas of the region. Under the guidance of their masters, they earned a well deserved reputation of fine seaworthiness and controlled the major trade routes of most Asian waters. With the arrival the Dutch, Portuguese and English in the Spice Islands, an alliance with the Bugis and Macassar people was a key strategic objective to assist in the colonization of Indonesia. The ultimate abuse of these alliances by the Dutch, was to label the Bugis people as Pirates. The basis of this label was the fierce rejection of colonization by the Bugis Sultans.
Today, these proud Bugis people still build the same massive sailing schooners and carry a great part of Indonesia's cargo to the same colorful ports across the archipelago. The Traditional Fleet is made up of these fine vessels and our working crews are drawn from the finest of these sailors. Our itineraries and ports of call are the same routes sailed by our hosts for thousands of years.
The southwest arm of Sulawesi embraced three related peoples active as seafarers, the Makasarese in the southwest, the Mandarese in the northwest, and Bugis, the most numerous, occupying most of the remainder of the peninsula. These people shared a similar written script and a highly pluralistic political system in which local authorities were anchored in supernaturally endowed regalia (arajang) and descent from a variety of mythical ancestors, each separately descended from heaven (tomanurung). In the period 1600-1669 the city of Makasar and its Goa-Tallo ruling dynasties dominated the region politically and economically. Resentful Bugis of the Bone kingdom therefore allied with the VOC to destroy Makasar in 1669. This event had at least two consequences. First, Bone became the most important kingdom in southwest Sulawesi until the 19th century. Second, it led to the Bugis Diaspora, particularly of the men of commercial-minded Wajo, which had been allied with Makasarese Goa rather than Bugis Bone in the war. The Bugis became noted both as effective warriors and enterprising traders throughout the Archipelago.
Two Bugis warriors achieved fame during the troubled years of Mataram, the principal Javanese kingdom of the 17th century. First, Aru Palakka, the King of Bone and an ally of the Dutch during its war with Makasar in the 1660s, assisted the Dutch in their involvement in Javanese politics and the affairs of Sultan Amangkurat I. Second, Karaeng (King) Galesong, one of the warriors of Makasar and an enemy of Aru Palakka, assisted the rival of Amangkurat I, Prince Trunajaya from Madura. In 1675 Karaeng Galesong built his headquarters in Pasuruan (Eastern Java). Until his death around 1679, Galesong and his men roamed the north coast of Java assisting the Madurese warriors of Trunajaya. On many occasions they fought against Palakka and the Ambonese warriors of the VOC led by Kapitan Jonker.
IN THE STRAITS OF MALACA
Another group of Bugis migrated to the Riau Archipelago (Straits of Malacca), headquarters of the Sultan of Johor since the mid 17th century. In 1679 a Bugis warrior, Daeng Mangika, and his men offered their assistance to the fugitive king, Ibrahim. From that time on the Bugis became involved in the politics of the kingdoms of the Malay peninsula. Daeng Parani, another warrior, succeeded in making himself viceroy (Yangdipertuan Muda) of Sultan Abdul Jalil of Johor at Riau in 1722.
Up until the end of the 18th century Bugis warriors were always appointed as viceroys of Johor. Daeng Parani was followed by his younger brother Daeng Marewah. Another relative, Daeng Chelah, whose son Raja Luma was appointed Sultan of Selangor, succeeded his uncle at Riau, followed by Daeng Kamboja. The last Bugis viceroy in Johor was a nephew of Daeng Kamboja, Raja Haji. From their headquarters in Riau the Bugis expanded their influence to a number of kingdoms on the peninsula. From time to time they controlled the tin kingdoms of Perak and Kedah. In the kingdom of Selangor they were unchallenged and eventually became kings themselves, starting with Raja Luma. Their economic base in the peninsula was the export of tin. The political pattern began to change in the mid 18th century when Sultan Sulaeman of Johor allied himself with the Dutch at Malacca. By promising concessions on the tin mines to the Dutch, Sulaeman used them to balance the power of the Bugis.
Daeng Kamboja was then forced to move from Riau to Linggi. The Bugis risked all in an attack on Dutch Malacca in 1756, but were badly defeated. Two years later three Bugis leaders, Daeng Kamboja from Linggi, Raja Tua from Klang and Raja Abdul from Rembau, tried to make their peace with the Dutch and Sultan Sulaeman. Raja Haji, the successor of Daeng Kamboja, tried every means to uphold Bugis power in the Straits, even killing Sulaeman. In 1784 a large fleet was sent from the Netherlands under Admiral van Braam, defeating and killing Raja Haji of Malacca. From then on the political influence of the Bugis on the peninsula declined, though their position in Selangor continued. Many nobles of the kingdom today trace their ancestry back to the Bugis warriors
IN EASTERN WATERS
Since the emergence of Makasar as an emporium, traders from south Sulawesi became the middle-men in the spice trade from Maluku. Even though Makasar was conquered by the Dutch in 1669, their boats (padewakang), were always able to evade the blockade of the Dutch fleets protecting the mono-poly on spices from Maluku. Apart from trading in spices, the Makasar-Bugis traders also developed into the main inter-island traders in the eastern waters of Southeast Asia. In time two different trade patterns emerged among the Bugis. The first was the `formal trade', using legal passes issued by Dutch authorities. The settlements of these traders in the cities of Maluku, like Ambon, Ternate, and Tidore were known as Kampung Makasar, although a small number of Javanese and Malays also lived there. In Ambon, besides trading, their leaders were used by the government as intermediaries when dealing with Muslim villages in central Maluku.
The second pattern was the `informal trade', avoiding the formal trade routes controlled by the Dutch. Those who traded in this way, regarded as `smugglers' by the Dutch, must have been more numerous than those who sailed with government passes. Most of them settled in the coastal area of north Seram which was still unoccupied by the Dutch. Those who settled in the villages on the islands east of Seram (Seram Laut and Gorong islands) had a longer history in the area as they had been visiting there since the early 17th century without the Dutch being able to stop them.
The Bugis trade network in the islands of Maluku was an extension of their settlements in various places in the Nusa Tenggara islands such as Bali, Lombok, Sumbawa, Sumba, and Timor. The `informal trade' of the Bugis was important in two ways. First, many traders tended to marry locally and became in fact trade agents for their compatriots who visited the area once a year. Sea products were their principal interest, especially trepang (sea cucumbers) which were much in demand by the Chinese. The second importance of the Bugis presence in the eastern waters was their influence on local culture. The fact that they circulated such `foreign' goods as iron, weapons, textiles, and rice was important to the development of the material culture of the area. Further, the influence of their house styles was strong in some settlements in north Seram. And most importantly, they brought Islam to the marginal islands of Maluku. Although Makasar was controlled by the Dutch from 1669, Bugis traders kept operating from the port city. A group of Bugis from Mandar, for instance, operated as far as Cambodia. Amanna Gappa, their Matoa (chief) in Makasar, rewrote the maritime laws of Malacca in the form of an elaborate Bugis maritime code.
Another trading activity organized from Makasar was the `trepang' trade to the northern coast of Australia. Studies made by historians and linguists point to the fact that many loan words in the local Aborigine languages of the Northern Territory are of Bugis or Malay origin. In particular words denoting kinship, maritime activities, trade commodities, art, ornaments, parts of the body, and flora and fauna are positively identified as being Bugis or Malay.
Fiercesome in their chain-mail armour, bristling with muskets and Blunderbusses, the Bugis have been known throughout Southeast Asia as a Warlike race. In the first half of the 18th century, with an uneasy Peace between the Dutch and Johor, and the power and influence of Acheh Dwindling, the most dynamic political influence in the Malay states Centred around five Bugis brothers - Daeng Perani, Daeng Menambun, DaengMerewah, Daeng Chelak and Daeng Kemasi - who left their native state in The Southern Sulawesi and had come to the Malay states to seek adventure And fame.
In 1699, Sultan Mahmud II of Johor was killed by one of his chiefs inRevenge for the murder of the chief's wife. The death of the Sultan,known as "Marhum Mangkat di-julang" ('slain-as-he-was-carried-on-his-litter'), marked the end in Johor of The royal dynasty which was the directly descendant of the Melaka royal line and which had ruled for over 170 years. Sultan Mahmud did not leave an heir, and the Bendahara, Tun Abdul Jalil, became Sultan of Johor with the title Sultan Abdul Jalil IV.
In 1712, a pretender prince from Minangkabau, Raja Kechil, claimed to be the posthumous son of the murdered Sultan Mahmud. Raja Kechil met Daeng Perani and Daeng Chelak, at the island of Benkalis and asked for their help to overthrow Sultan Abdul Jalil IV, promising Daeng Perani the title of Yam Tuan Muda or Crown Prince of Johor if he were installed as Sultan.
Selangor then had a large population of Bugis settlers and the two princes went to Langat to collect their forces for the impending coup. However, in 1717, while the Bugis princes were still in Selangor, Raja Kechil was able, on his own, to overthrow Sultan Abdul Jalil IV. Raja Kechil adopted the title of Sultan Abdul Jalil Rahmat Shah and moved his capital to Riau. The deposed Sultan Abdul Jalil IV had to flee to Pahang where in 1718 he was murdered by an emissary of Raja Kechil.
The Bugis felt they had been cheated of an opportunity with Raja Kechil's success and prolonged open warfare broke out between them. The five Bugis princes lent aid to Raja Sulaiman - the son of the murdered Johor Sultan - and they attacked Raja Kechil at Riau. Finally, in 1722, the Bugis finally expelled Raja Kechil from Riau and the Minangkabau prince fled to Siak in Sumatra, from where he continued his war against the Bugis.
With Riau captured, the Bugis installed Raja Sulaiman as ruler of the Sultanate of Riau-Johor, with the title Sultan Sulaiman Badrul Alam Shah, while Daeng Merewah was declared Yam Tuan Muda. From that time onwards, the centre of Bugis power shifted from Selangor to Riau. Raja Sulaiman was Sultan only in name, with the Bugis princes as the real rulers of the kingdom. There were also attempts to strengthen ties between the Bugis living in Riau and those living in Selangor. Daeng Perani, for instance went to Selangor and married the daughter of the Bugis prince who claimed the title of "Yam Tuan of Selangor".
The Bugis princes then tried to expand their power to Kedah and Perak. Daeng Perani, with a strong force of Bugis warriors from Riau and Selangor, invaded Kedah and took an active part in the power struggle between the then ruling Sultan of Kedah and the Sultan's younger brother who was plotting to overthrow him. Daeng Perani sided with the ruling Sultan, while the Sultan's younger brother invited Raja Kechil and his Minangkabau followers to oust the Bugis from Kedah. The war lasted two years and devastated Kedah. Daeng Perani was killed in the campaign, but the Bugis succeeded in driving Raja Kechil and his forces out of Kedah back to Siak.
The Bugis next turned their attention to Perak. In 1728, Daeng Merewah, invaded Perak, but the attack was unsuccessful. His successor, Daeng Chelak, the second Yam Tuan Muda of Riau, eventually led an expedition to Perak in 1743 and managed to capture it. Daeng Chelak died two years later and was succeeded as Yam Tuan Muda by Daeng Kemboja, the son of Daeng Perani. Daeng Chelak left behind him several sons, the most famous in Malay history being Raja Lumu and Raja Haji. It was Raja Lumu who became the first Sultan of Selangor under the title Sultan Salehuddin Shah, whose descendants rule Selangor up to the present day. Raja Haji, on the other hand, was to become famous as the warrior prince who was to become the scourge of the Dutch in Melaka.
During Daeng Kemboja's rule as Yam Tuan Muda, relations between the Bugis and the Johor Malays under Sultan Sulaiman Badrul Alam Shah became strained. The Dutch were quick to seize the opportunity of this breach between the two groups and openly sided with Sultan Sulaiman of Riau. The Sultan even signed a treaty with the Dutch, handing over control of Siak to the VOC in return for their help against his enemies. The Bugis regarded this as a threat to their control and waged war on the Dutch. Daeng Kamboja, made Linggi his base and, in October 1756 besieged Melaka. In February 1757, help arrived from Batavia and the Bugis were forced to drop the siege. In that year, the Dutch built a fort on the Linggi River and named it Philippe (today's Kota Linggi), after the daughter of the Dutch Governor of Batavia, Jacob Mussel
In 1759, Raja Haji successfully brought together the Johor Malays and the Bugis in a united front against the Dutch. However, Sultan Sulaiman Badrul Alam Shah died the next year and Daeng Kemboja reversed the policy of hostility to the Dutch. He maintained very friendly relations with the Dutch in Melaka and made a substantial profit in tin, opium and other commodities.
The warrior prince Raja Haji - who was given the title To' Klana - was kept busy elsewhere. He helped the Raja of Indragiri in Sumatra to fight the Minangkabaus, assisted the Sultan of Selangor in his fight with Kedah, and also helped the Raja of Pontianak in Borneo to quell his enemies. It was while Raja Haji was busy fighting in Borneo in 1777 thatDaeng Kemboja died in Riau. Raja Haji immediately left for Riaustopping, however, at Pahang. There, he successfully asked theBendahara of Pahang, Tun Abdul Majid, a prominent member of theRiau-Johor royal house, to install him as Yam Tuan Muda of Riau-Johor.
For a time, Raja Haji continued Daeng Kemboja's policy of an uneasy friendship with the Dutch at Melaka. However, hostilities again broke out between the Dutch and the Bugis in 1782, and it led to numerous Bugis attacks on Dutch shipping in the Straits of Melaka. Two years later, a strong force of 13 Dutch warships and 1500 troops besieged and attacked Riau. Raja Haji took personal command of its defence - paddling from ship to ship directing fire and naval manoeuvres. Whenever any of his sailors ducked at the sound passing Dutch cannon balls, he would strike them on the head with a rotan for displaying such cowardice. The Dutch fleet finally retreated when its commander's flagship was struck and blown out of the water.
Not wasting any time, Raja Haji launched an immediate counter-attack on Melaka. He landed at Teluk Ketapang, five miles south of Melaka,mustering a force of over 1000 Johor Malays, Minangkabaus and Bugis warriors, including forces led by Sultan Ibrahim of Selangor. The siege lasted four months and was only broken in June when strong Dutch reinforcements consisting of six ships, 326 guns and 2130 men arrived from Batavia. Landing his troops under cover of darkness on June 18th,1784, the Dutch surprised the Malay stockades at daybreak after laying a withering barrage of cannon fire from their ships. The Malays were completely surrounded and overwhelmed, Raja Haji seen standing over the stockades amid a hail of Dutch bullets and cannon balls, with a dagger in one hand and an Islamic tract in the other, as his followers embraced his knees waiting for death to come. At the end of battle, Raja Haji's body was recovered by the Dutch and buried on the slopes of St Paul's Hill - some stories say it was the site of pig-sty. When the English took control of Melaka decades later, his followers were allowed to bury his body in Bukit Kursi, Pulau Penyangat, in Riau, where he lies today -a martyr in the cause of Malay freedom.
The Dutch invaded Riau just three months after their victory and scattered the wounded Bugis fleet. Johor's Sultan Mahmud was forced to sign a treaty which practically acknowledged Johor, Selangor, Perak, Trengganu and Pahang as Dutch territories by right of war, with the Sultan being 'advised' by a Dutch Resident and under the watchful gaze of a Dutch fort at Tanjung Pinang in Riau. The treaty not only devastated Bugis power but, in effect, ended the independence of the once mighty Johor Empire.
Religious Beliefs. Almost all Bugis adhere to Islam, but there is great variety in the types of Islam practiced. Most Bugis identify themselves as Sunni Muslims, but their practice, influenced by Sufi tenets, is a syncretic blend that also includes offerings to spirits of ancestors and deceased powerful personages. However, reformist Islamic organizations, especially Muhammadiyah, have gained many adherents in some areas and have established their own educational institutions. The I La Galigo literature preserved in ancient manuscripts (lontara') describes a cosmology involving an upper-world and an underworld, each of seven layers, and a host of heavenly beings from whom nobles trace descent, but knowledge of details of this literature is not widespread among commoners. The To Lotang, a group of non-Muslim Bugis in Sidrap regency, continue to adhere to an indigenous belief system based on the lontara' and similar to that of the Toraja to the north, but has had to affiliate with the national Hindu movement to retain legitimacy as a religion. The extent to which Hindu-Buddhist notions have influenced Bugis religious and sociopolitical notions is currently a matter of debate.
The I La Galigo literature presents a pantheon of deities (dewata) from whom nobles trace descent, but contemporary Bugis argue that this literature basically recognizes a single great God (Dewata Seuwa é) in accord with the monotheism of Islam. Despite this, some of the other deities (e.g., the rice goddess) are still given offerings, even by Muslims. Village Bugis also recognize a panoply of local spirits associated with the house, the newborn, and sacred sites; they are variously termed "the ethereal ones" (to alusu'), "the not-to-be-seen" (to tenrita), "evil spirits" (sétang), etc. In fact, every object is thought to have its own animating spirit (sumange'), whose welfare must be catered to in order to insure good fortune and avert catastrophe.
Religious Practitioners. In addition to Islamic judges (kali), imams serve as local leaders of the Muslim community; they conduct Friday worship services, deliver sermons, and preside at marriages, funerals, and local ceremonies sanctioned by Islam. Small numbers of transvestite priests (bissu), traditionally the guardians of royal regalia, still, though rarely, perform rituals involving chants in a special register of Bugis directed to traditional deities recognized in the lontara'. Curing and consecration ceremonies are conducted by sanro, practitioners with arcane knowledge and expertise in presenting offerings and prayers to local spirits.
Ceremonies. Besides the celebration of calendric Islamic holidays (Lebaran, Maulid, etc.), Bugis of syncretic orientation perform many domestic consecration ceremonies (assalamakeng) involving offerings to local spirits, guardians of the house, supernatural siblings of the newly born, and other such spirits. Some districts and regencies also sponsor festivals marking planting and harvesting, although some of these have become more civic spectacles than religious celebrations. Especially among nobles, weddings are major occasions for the display of status and often involve presentations of local culture, including processions. The bissu rituals, however, increasingly are restricted and performed without large audiences.
Arts. Regional dances (e.g., padendang) are still performed at some ceremonies for the harvest and other occasions, as well as at government-sponsored festivals, but some (e.g., bissu dances) are now rarely performed. Young men enjoy practicing Indonesian martial arts (pencak silat) and the traditional sport of maintaining a woven rattan ball (raga) in the air with one's feet and other body parts, excluding the hands. Traditional Bugis houses still abound, and are used as the basis of modern architectural designs, but figurative art is meager in keeping with Islam. Bugis music is also heavily influenced by Middle Eastern models. Music performed on flute (suling) and lute (kacapi) similar to that in West Java is common. Epic songs of traditional and contemporary martial heroes are still composed and performed, even on radio. Amulets, especially of Middle Eastern origin, are in demand, while Bugis badik, daggers with characteristically curved handles, are prized heirlooms. Gold ornaments and gold-threaded songket cloths are paraded at weddings. Royal regalia are now on display in some local museums.
Medicine. While Western medicine has made inroads with the government-established rural medical health centers (puskesmas), many illnesses are seen as specifically Bugis and curable only by indigenous practitioners (sanro) who use such techniques as extraction of foreign objects, massage, use of bespelled or holy water, and blowing on the patient after the utterance of prayers. Illness may be due to one's spirit leaving the body when subjected to sudden shock, and certain therapies are directed to its recovery. Invulnerability magic is much prized, with the shadow playing an important protective role. Certain illnesses and misfortunes are inflicted by specific spirits associated with each of the four major elements - fire, air, earth, and water.
Death and Afterlife. Islamic notions of heaven and hell are now most influential, although among syncretic Bugis local spirits are still identified as the spirits of deceased rulers and other formerly powerful individuals. Funerals follow Islamic rites, and are not occasions for major redistributions, as among the neighboring Toraja. Memorial gatherings for prayer and a shared meal may be performed at such intervals as forty days after a death.
The home of the Bugis is Macassar, Celebes, They played an important part in the political development of the Malay Peninsula in the 18th century. They were great warriors and this enabled them to extend their political influence to Kedah and Perak and established a Bugis Sultanate in Selangor.
Soon after the founding of Singapore Bugis traders came to the settlement. By 1820 the "Pallari", the distinct Bugis vessels, were e familiar sight in the Kallang River. About 500 Bugis with their chief Arong Bilawa in 1822 fled from Macassar to Singapore to settle down here. Raffles in his master plan for the settlement allotted to the Bugis the land between Kampong Glam and Rochore River.
During the Japanese Occupation a number of Bugis were resettled in pontian, Johore and others moved out to Beach Road and Arab Street.
Today the Bugis have been assimilated into the Malay community
Silat has often been shrouded in mystery and secrecy, particularly in the west where it is less visible than its cousin martial art styles from the east and far east. Although in the west it has yet to reach the level of prominence of such styles as Tae Kwon Do, Kung Fu, Karate or Ju Jitsu, its apparent humility is contrary to the immense depth and great history bound up with this collection of fighting arts. It is a reflection of the respectful manner in which it is taught by the majority of traditional masters, who don't seek fame and fortune, but concentrate on selecting students with integrity and the correct intentions. Having been honoured to both train under and encounter traditional Indonesian and Malaysian masters, I have noticed that Seni Silat Sendeng is to them a way of life inseparable from every action that they take. In keeping with this, they are entirely modest and prize this quality highly in their teachings. A Silat teacher is not merely a teacher of physical movements and techniques but also acts - at the least - as a valued mentor to his or her students, and often a father/mother figure. A true master will develop his or her students as human beings and not only as fighters, and the relationship between student and master is not confined to the training arena.
The self-defence aspect of Seni Silat Sendeng stems from its origins as an ancient warrior art form, used to defend individuals or tribes from the threat of attack. This aspect still holds true today. The techniques used are very much applicable in the modern self-defence scenario, although many are 'diluted' in order to avoid causing serious injuries to assailants. Being born of war, many of the techniques are highly dangerous, designed to cause maximum destruction to an enemy.
This aspect of Seni Silat Sendeng has contributed to its reputation for mysteriousness and secrecy. With its internal forms of exercise, such as breathing techniques, meditation etc., and reputed ability to protect a pesilat against otherwise lethal situations, weapons, poisons etc., it's not surprising that 'ilmu batin' knowledge always was, and remains closely guarded, and only passed on with great care. Silat techniques can be both life saving and deadly in a real life situation, and in a similar way, spiritual knowledge is taught and learnt with humility and respect, often to an even greater extent than other practices or traditions within Seni Silat Sendeng .
Seni Silat Sendeng can be categorised as 'attacking' whilst others, mostly evasive or counter attacking.Some styles had become famous for their fighting skills, such as those of the Bugis-Makassar people of South Sulawesi and Malaysia, who were sought after as warriors; and while secrecy was maintained within some Perguruan (Silat schools), numerous Silat masters also benefited from sharing skills with other schools.
Many forms would employ striking as the primary mechanism for destroying an enemy, whereas other styles would be expert at applying various locks and holds. Having listened to talks by Bapak Aidinal Al Rashid, a Silat scholar and Grandmaster of Bugis-Makassar Gerak Ilham, and by Bapak Haji Jamaludin , Grandmaster of Seni Silat Sendeng, I've learnt that a style of Silat was often born and shaped by a myriad of cultural, geographic and even anthropological factors. A style developed in a coastal region would be different in essence to a style developed in a land-locked region, due to the physical difference in the land; - techniques used in fighting on sandy beaches and on ships would be very different to those used in dense jungle, or mountainous areas.
Tribal and cultural characteristics seem to find their way into the various styles, as all martial arts are fundamentally an expression of the inner self. Certain styles would become adept at combating the styles of their local enemies; it is this natural kaleidoscope of fighting styles, which makes Seni Silat Sendeng such an intriguing martial art.
Initially neophytes students are grounded in Silat Kuntau Telok Mas/Meleka , being introduced Senam Silat (Traditional body conditioning / health exercises) then to the study of the numerous jurus duduk (techniques done while in a seated position) and the 7 pelebats (basic standing forms)with its infinite applications and variations which are the basic fundamental foundation studies of stances postures hand foot techniques etc which takes traditionally 3 months on intensive daily study and practise to complete before moving onto the advanced combat forms called Pecah 4,6,8,12,16,24 and to the higher level method of developing internal energy and power from the form called LEAN ( LATIHAN ERAT ANGOTTA NAPAS ), after successful completion of this phase the students are then introduced to Pelebat Sendeng and the Sendeng curricul