Tempur silat is divided into two sections in self defense moves; Tempur Seni (the art of self defense combat that practically done with a partner) and Tempur Beladiri (the fast action of combat sparring that can be trained with two or more opponents). Owing the lack of understanding of the term tempur seni itself even in silat community, this article will cover the term of this soft combat actions, how to apply and why tempur seni is important to be developed alongside other silat skills combat in martial arts fight.
Tempur seni is an application of silat fists with bare hand mimic to the act of striking styles such as stabbing with keris (kris) or badik (dolk), chopping with parang (machete), pedang (sword) or sundang, and hacking with sword, kapak (axe) and so others. The methodology of weaponry combat striking and receiving strikes are preserved in tempur seni which are based from an action of striking using the traditional silat weapons. A signal is given once the silat exponent tends to strike his partner with bare hand using the weaponry symbol or sign.
The tempur seni combat action is done using specific arrangement procedures to preserve the originality of tempur seni which are based from the art of war in Malay’s civilization. Here are the procedures;
1. Both silat exponents present their own Bunga Silat as a respect sign to guru and silat schools either together or separately. Normally, the performance will accompanied by Malaysian standard silat music.
2. Both silat exponents will perform the Tapak Empat. Tapak empat is a movement that needs the exponent to move to four angles (rectangular/square) through Tapal using langkah (step) silat. One Tapal means the pathway to one angle/direction. At every angle, the silat exponent will perform the Tapak Empat Beladiri (self defense moves) movements.
3. When both silat exponents reach the original/starting point angle, they will perform the Tapak Empat Beladiri towards the centre of Medan Laga (fighting area/compound).
4. Both silat exponent to do Langkah Melilit (wrapped around or circling between each other) in Tapak Bulat (centre of ring) in advance, reverse and change direction and will move using Galah Panjang (the movements while waiting to or to be strike) either one-way or opposite way between each other.
5. Both silat exponents alternately perform counter attack either using right or left hand. When, one exponent attack another will defend. Three type of Serang Seni (the art of attack) will be performed such as Tikam (stab), Parang (chop) and Tetak (hack or notch) between each exponent. While the art of receiving the attack known as Sambut Seni. The seven sambut seni are; Tangkap (to catch the strikes), Sentak (to pull down), Kedu (to flex the arm down in order to counter attack), Tindih (overlap on other’s weakness point), Sisip (to insert the hand to self release from being locked), Sagang (to be in alert position) and Potong (to counter attack the opponent). These techniques will developed in stages from selapis (when one person attack another will receive or counter attack), berlapis (attack and defend that alternating between each other), berangkai (when both of silat exponent separated due to the silat technique, both of them will continue back with another strike other than serang seni) and so on.
6. Several signals were composed to facilitate the fight techniques such as Simbor (the sign to change striking technique) and Paras (to stop the fight). Both silat exponents will perform bunga silat at the end of fighting or combat to close the match.
Tempur Seni emphasize on the ecstatic and scientific values. It is a game played by people in the field or gatherings that has it own fighting secrets and meanings. Tempur seni is also known as Silat Pulut or Gayung Pulut. It tests the level of fighting techniques for every silat exponent and at the same time shares the experience and increase the level of silat knowledge or moves between the exponents.
Usually the tempur seni training will be accompanied by silat musics known as Muzik Silat Baku. The music team consistes of Gendang Ibu (head drums), Gendang Anak (small drum), Gong and Serunai (pipes). The rhythm that being played is divided into two rhythm which are Irama Tari (dancing melody) and Irama Tempur (fighting melody). The dancing melody is slower than latter. While the fighting melody is fast and can increase spirit level. Any silat exponent that already achieved the red or black belt can fight with other opponents than are not in the same silat school. Thus, it is important to exponent to train harder to master all the self defense moves in tempur seni in order to face another opponent from variety of silat martial arts styles.