On the weekend of July 13th-14th, history was made as the first internationally sanctioned national-level tournament for Pencak Silat (Indonesian Martial Arts) was held in Loveland, CO. Organized by the United States Sports Silat Association (USSSA), this tournament featured paired (Jurus Ganda) and standardized solo (Jurus Tunggal Baku) performances as well as sparring (Tanding). Inti Ombak Pencak Silat New York joined Persatuan Gerak Badan Bangau Putih (White Crane Silat) in sending 13 athletes to represent the state of NY. In this case, 13 was a lucky number as NY state brought home 7 gold medals!
Bangau Putih rocked the youth divisions in sparring and I went 2-0 to win 1st place in Men's Senior Open Class Sparring. It was a unique experience, and I am honored to be one of the first US sport silat champions in my last year of eligibility (next year I will be too old to compete as an athlete). I would like to thank Benny from Bangau Putih for his great advice (video below), he is a great coach!
There are some objections to sport silat based on it "being too safe" to mimic actual fights. This is an objection that comes up with any point-based format, however, none of us in the US really have a background in point-based silat so there was some shots to the groin and knee and punches to the face as well as some vicious take-downs. The rules were not exactly ignored.... but there is definitely a tendency to doing as much as you can get away with to win. If you train to compete in sports silat, don't neglect your traditional training (as always, rolls and falls are core skills) and definitely don't forget your cup and mouth-guard! Overall, it was a great experience and I hope to see you on the mat next year.