Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Sarong He!

Oh My God...the new cycle is just the coolest ever! We have a lot to do before I go back to Japan, and it is stuff we have never done before...

The coolest part is our introduction into Pencak Silat, a martial art native to Indonesia, and a core element of the Kali Majapahit curriculum. As intermediates, we are now getting exposed to this fascinating art. I just love it because it is so completely different than anything else. Trapping, groundfighting, close knife work - Silat has it all, and all coming from seemingly impossible angles.

We also start learning the fighting sarong. The sarong is a traditional garment (see photo) worn around southeast Asia. It is a tubelike cloth wrapped around the waist, and of course, can be used for fighting. Initially, I thought this was interesting, but not very practical. After a lesson or two of using it, my mind has changed.

Training in the fighting sarong has application in combat with a variety of similar flexible items: rope, chain, cable, even a towel, t-shirt, or jacket. Flexible weapons wove in very special ways that cannot be understood by training just in stick, blade, or empty hands. The fighting sarong offers trapping, locking and pinning restraints, chokes/strangles, and ties that cannot be done using non-flexible weapons. It is a new dimension to explore. SO COOL.

Previosuly, I trained with nunchake (semi-flexible weapon) and Japanese Manriki-Gusari (weighted chain). There are elements of both that can be applied to fighting sarong.

Of course, study of the sarong, how to wear it, its patterns, and its integral part in the daily
lives of southeast Asian people is an important cultural study. We give respect by learning it well and dressing correctly.

Life in Kali Majapahit is never boring, and this new cycle exposes us to a brand new world of learning. This is a great cycle to end my time here.

See you there!!

PS: in case you were wondering about the title, Sarang He (사랑해) means "I love you" in Korean...I know it's lame, but at least I tried...

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