Mat Eti­quette

Asian Geographic - - Front Page -

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.

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