• Philippines exudes great potential in pencak silat

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    Philsilat Sports Association, Inc. (PSAI) President Princess Jacel Kiram-Hasan expressed high hopes for the country as members of the national team undergo scientific training in the exotic combat sport.

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    Pencak silat is a martial art endemic in Southeast Asia with strong presence in Indonesia, Malaysia and southern Philippines. Pencak silat employs both empty hands and weapon techniques executed in a graceful dance-like manner.

    Its forms are roughly divided into two categories namely sine (artistic) and tanding (fighting).

    Two fighters performs a demonstration at the start of the first ever profight of the martial art of “pencak silat” in Jakarta. Some fight with machetes three-feet long, others are armed with daggers curved like the claws of big cats, while other combatants rely on only their minds. AFP PHOTO

    Two fighters performs a demonstration at the start of the first ever profight of the martial art of “pencak silat” in Jakarta. Some fight with machetes three-feet long, others are armed with daggers curved like the claws of big cats, while other combatants rely on only their minds. AFP PHOTO

    Living up to its reputation as home of some of the world’s best combat athletes, the Philippines, last October bagged three silver and three bronze medals in the 5th Asian Beach Games held in Da Nang, Vietnam.

    In the 2015 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, three Filipino pesilat (silat practitioner) Alshamier Ibnohisham (tanding men’s 50kg class A), Juanilio Ballesta 2nd (tanding men’s 85kg class H), and Clyde Joy Baria (tanding women’s 60kg class C) copped three gold medals.

    Kiram-Hasan said that scientific training would improve the Filipino pesilats’ chance of winning in international competitions.

    Former first-class international jury Alexius Martin Patano is conducting the athletes’ training.

    Patano, a three-time SEA Games medalist, is conducting training that encompasses strength and conditioning as well as striking techniques.

    National coach Abdul Karim Abad stressed the importance of proper training and nutrition in sport silat.

    “We have a very big chance here. Our athletes just need proper exposure, training partners and nutrition,” said Abad in an interview with The Manila Times on Tuesday.

    Abad said players must at least attend international training or competition thrice a year to hone their skills and be at par with their Asian counterparts.

    Abad, a coach since 2000, is an expert in the sine aspect of pencak silat. He was a silver medalists in the 2000 World Championships, 2002 Asia Pacific Championships and 2003 SEA Games.

    Kiram-Hasan is proud to have developed a pool of distinguished world class Filipino jurors among them former three-time pencak silat gold medalist and world champion Coach Christopher Yabut and coach, sports educator, scientist and fashion designer Dr. Lino Baldevarona.

    Pencak silat is now a regular event in the National Games, State Colleges and Universities Athletic Association, Batang Pinoy, ARMM Regional Games and Mindanaoan Friendship Games.

    Abad said that PSAI would conduct local training in far-flung provinces to promote the sport. A training program for youth ages 8 to 17 years will soon be launched in General Santos City

    Pencak silat will be instituted as a regular discipline in the Palarong Pambansa in 2017 after years of being a demonstration sport in the annual school meet.

    PSAI, the national sports association for pencak silat, is hoping for more support after its former president Celia Kiram became one of the new commissioners of the Philippine Sports Commission.

    Meanwhile, the 27-man national team is currently competing in the 17th Pencak Silat World Championships in Bali, Indonesia. Seven of them are aiming for gold in tanding.

    International Pencak Silat Federation and Pengurus Besar Ikatan Pencak Silat Indonesia organized the Pencak Silat World Championships.

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