At most martial arts competitions and sometimes even during sparring practice, competitors bow to one another or shake hands as a formal show of respect. In sports like jujitsu, competitors bow before and after the match to each other and the referee, and in kurash, there’s the tazim, or the courtesy bow, before sparring commences. Sanda fighters use the customary wushu salute, clasping their open left palm over a closed right fist, while sambo fighters may sometimes bow and other times choose to shake hands after the match is over. Researchers say the act helps fighters express the bond they develop during the (sometimes brutal) matches.
Originating from the Malay Archipelago, pencak silat, or silatmelayu, has developed over 100 styles and techniques across Southeast Asia. One of the theories of the origin of pencak silat by Mariun Sudirohadiprodo, a renowned Indonesian pencak silat master, is that the martial art originated from humans’ observation of the movement of animals.
The legend goes that in olden times, ferocious animals roamed Java, and a woman, Rama Sukana, was washing beside the river when she spotted a pair of monkeys on the opposite bank in battle. One attacked with a tree branch, while the other dodged expertly, and the fascinated Sukana copied their techniques through careful observation. After arriving home late, she used her newfound fighting skills to dodge a beating from her husband, and eventually he begged her to teach him the moves.
Today, pencak silat practitioners still copy the movements of snakes, crocodiles, monkeys and scorpions, with certain styles of fighting – like the harimau (tiger) and garuda putih (white eagle) – named after the animals themselves. In competitions, fights involve a series of three matches, called tanding, lasting two minutes each. Opponents use a series of attack and defence moves – which each have scores attached to them – to overcome their opponent. Each of these must adhere strictly to a fixed routine: first a fighting stance, then a step pattern, then back to a fighting stance.
“Pencak silat was born in our country and this is going to be the first time athletes compete in the martial art at the Asiad”
The earliest versions of rock climbing began when shepherds first scaled steep rocky terrain to herd their sure-footed flocks. People across the ancient world also started climbing up large rocks and cliffs for exploration, and the sport began to emerge in prominence in the 19th century with the advent of mountaineering (and its accompanying mountain rescue operations).
The first and most prominent record of sport climbing was the scaling of the Alps’ Mont Blanc by two French nationals. Rock climbing grew more and more popular over the 20th century, with the invention of gear such as nylon rope, carabiners and pitons, and the creation of artificial ranges soon allowed for indoor matches.
Today, people climb to enhance their agility and strength. In competitions, athletes have a fixed time to observe the climbing wall via binoculars before the race begins, and can make sketches or notes to formulate a winning strategy. A climber clocks in a timing when they hit a switch at the top of the wall.