PENCAK SILAT AND UNESCO
Pencak Silat tradition: an intangible cultural heritage recognized worldwide. Has it ever crossed your mind that Indonesia is a very rich country? Not only is it rich in abundant natural resources, but it is also rich in diversity and local culture.
Apart from batik, another Indonesian culture that is recognized worldwide is pencak silat. Pencak Silat is a native Indonesian martial art that has been passed down from generation to generation from ancestors. The pencak silat tradition originates from West Sumatra and West Java and continues to develop in various regions of the country with its unique movements and accompanying music.
What is encouraging is that the pencak silat tradition was recognized by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage in 2019 at the Inter Governmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage event which took place in Colombia. Pencak silat is believed to have all the elements that constitute intangible cultural heritage.
The pencak silat tradition consists of oral traditions, performing arts, rituals and festivals, traditional crafts, social knowledge and practices, and local wisdom. Pencak Silat itself is recognized by UNESCO as being a unifier of identity and nation. This culture embodies the values of friendship, mutual respect and sportsmanship.
There are differences between silat and pencak silat traditions. The pencak silat tradition proposed by Indonesia focuses more on philosophy, so it is closely related to UNESCO’s description of intangible cultural heritage for humanity. In contrast to Indonesia, the proposed world heritage of Malaysian silat is more in the martial arts aspect.
For your information, intangible cultural heritage is cultural heritage that cannot be preserved (is abstract) such as concepts and technology. According to UNESCO, intangible cultural heritage consists of various practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, skills, as well as tools, objects, artifacts and cultural spaces associated with them.
However, Indonesian pencak silat is also a sport that has achieved many achievements on the international stage. For example, at the 2018 Asian Games, from 16 classes of pencak silat competitions, Indonesia won 14 gold medals and 1 bronze medal.
So that’s all about the pencak silat tradition as a cultural heritage for middle school friends. Don’t wait for someone to recognize the original culture of our ancestors. Love and preserve Indonesian culture from now on!