The dangerous Pencak Silat banned in East Timor

6:04:00 AM Tkd kwan 0 Comments

12 East Timorese have been killed and more than 200 injured as a result of fighting among rival pencak silat clubs

Pencak Silat: East Timor Takes Measures to Prevent Street Violence Associated with Local Martial Arts!

In an effort to address the issue of violence, East Timor has implemented a stringent crackdown on the practice of pencak silat.

The discipline instilled within martial arts emphasizes the importance of self-restraint. The popularity of martial arts has always been rooted in the principles of defense and strictly controlled aggression, instead of promoting the act of harming or intimidating weaker opponents. Serious bouts are typically reserved for controlled environments such as competition rings or training mats, where opponents are considered equals, rather than being escalated to the streets. This principle applies across martial arts traditions, from Kung Fu and Karate to Judo, Ju Jitsu, and even cage fighting. These martial arts have garnered immense respect and amassed millions of devoted practitioners worldwide, serving as a codified system of traditional combat.

However, exceptions such as those seen in East Timor exist, where individuals with limited knowledge took their martial arts practices to the streets. Acts of violence in public spaces, including instances resulting in twelve fatalities and 200 injuries, have led to the government's decision to ban a local form of martial art that originated in Indonesia and was championed by East Timorese individuals who opposed Jakarta's occupation of their former Portuguese colony.

Armando Monteiro, a senior Indonesian police officer, has indicated that individuals affiliated with martial arts clubs who violate the government's resolution will face legal consequences. He has emphasized that there will be zero tolerance for grassroots martial arts activities in East Timor, specifically referencing pencak silat, a widely used term encompassing various forms of martial arts in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, the Southern Philippines, and Thailand.

These martial arts styles reflect a fusion of Japanese and Chinese traditions combined with regional characteristics, maintaining their popularity across the region. However, in East Timor, the practice of pencak silat has contributed to a rise in violence, prompting Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao to issue a warning two months ago that organizations engaging in martial arts practice would be prohibited.

Gusmao has also instructed police and military personnel affiliated with pencak silat clubs to disassociate from these groups or risk facing dismissal. Other martial arts disciplines, such as Karate, Kung Fu, Taekwondo, and Judo, have seemingly avoided being included in the ban.

Since gaining independence in 2002, East Timor and its capital, Dili, have been plagued by episodes of street violence that have remained a persistent source of frustration for Gusmao. He has expressed a loss of patience with gang-related violence and has vowed not to tolerate such behavior any longer.

These outbreaks of violence not only tarnish the reputation of the small nation but also highlight internal security challenges, which have been considered a major obstacle to East Timor's aspirations of joining the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). This has been a cherished dream for East Timorese governments seeking solutions to the country's considerable economic difficulties.