Arts of Asskickery: Pencak Silat Harimau: A Different Kind of Tiger-Fist

After seeing Iko Uwais display his tiger-style silat (pencak silat harimau) in Merantau, I'm really looking forward to seeing more silat action in Gareth Evans follow-up, The Raid, also starring Iko Uwais, and, hopefully featuring more from Yahan Ruhian, (Eric from Merantau,) and Team Silat Harimau.

In case you aren't so familiar with silat as a martial art, there are many, many regional styles ranging from the Malay Archipelago all the way through Bali, Lombok and East Timor. Traditionally, silat is a less intensive contact sport. In fact, silat masters have been known to have matches without even touching

In Merantau, Iko Uwais shows off the famous tiger style of the West Sumatra's Minangkabau people (Silat Harimau Minang). Merantau opens with Iko Uwais as Yuda, going through his moves with a small claw-like knife, a kerambit.

While the silat in Merantau has been choreographed for maximum entertainment (check the pedestrian overpass and elevator fights). There's a lot of acting involved in traditional demonstrations, including slitting a a fallen opponent's throat. For example, an excellent perang ("machete") fight in Malaysia:

And a kris battle where the krisses are sharp enough to stick in the floor.

And, as I said, there are many styles. A woman demonstrating Pencak Silat Jati Wisesa Gajah Putih, a white elephant style, in Western Java:

A master demonstrates a Balinese tiger style:

And here's a pretty sweet compilation video including silat in a tournament context:

And, finally, footage of Minangkabau silat (silek) from the 1930s:

THE RAID screening times:
Thurs., Sept. 8th, 11:59PM, RYERSON
Sat., Sept. 10th, 12:15PM, AMC 2


  1. Gareth told me that The Raid wouldn't be a silat movie although the fight coreographer have silat as their background (Iko and Yayan).

    There are actors from different martial arts on the movie. As far as I know, they have someone from Judo and someone from Tarung Derajat (80s MMA from Indonesia).

    if you really interested on Silat, try youtube channel 'saudarakaum'. They came from France to Indonesia and documented a lot of Silat.

  2. Thanks for the comment and the link! I was fortunate enough to have a silat club at my university.

    We'll be reporting more on The Raid before and after its screening Thursday, and if you're interested we have an interview with Gareth here: