In the easterly Malayan State of Kelantan, the village folk offer a Puju (offering) to mark the debut of fresh 'graduates' in the Malay art of self-defence, or "Bersilat".
In the easterly Malayan State of Kelantan, the village folk offer a Puju (offering) to mark the debut of fresh 'graduates' in the Malay art of self-defence, or "Bersilat". The village elder chants prayers and sprinkles sacred rice from tray of offering to cast away evil and make the place safe for the fighters.
This ancient art came to Malaya from Sumatra some 400 years ago, and has been practised purely as self-defence. A trained man can easily disarm an armed attacker or gangster; and armed with just a baton he can defend himself against a hostile gang of ten.
But an oath taken before training starts forbids the trainee from using it for unprovoked attacks, and even today, those well versed in Bersilat do not use their knowledge unless in self-defence.
Before the fight starts, the contestants ask for blessings from the teacher and shakes hands to show that it is a friendly encounter. But once the fight starts it has all the trappings of a real fight, both using their defensive tactics to beat off the other's attack. The Bersilat man has a mastery of the nervous system which enables him to subdue the opponent.