Pencak Silat is an umbrella term used to refer to martial arts that are indigenous to Indonesia. There are over 150 forms of the martial art officially recognized in the country, with their roots dating back as early as the 6th century. It is currently a competitive event in the Pencak Silat World Championship, the Southeast Asian Games, and the Asian Games, and an influence on some MMA fighters.
So why is there still some confusion about whether Pencak Silat is real or fake?
Pencak Silat Is Still Relatively Unknown To Western Martial Arts Enthusiasts
According to BlackBelt writer Burton Richardson, Pencak Silat didn’t start to gain attention from Western martial artists until the late 1980s. It remains relatively unknown and misunderstood today.
The Raid Franchise and Pencak Silat
Arguably, Pencak Silat’s biggest break in the West came courtesy of The Raid and its sequels, which heavily featured the martial art. This may have led some people to assume that the incredibly cool, flashy skills they were seeing on screen were just for show, and not part of a centuries-old tradition used for military purposes, self-defense, and competition.
The The Indian Olympic Association Scandal
An incident in July 2018 that saw the IOA revoke the status of a number of Pencak Silat athletes likely contributed to this confusion. But the issue wasn’t that Pencak Silat itself was fake. The concern was about the authenticity of the certifications that the athletes held.