Minangkabau Silek or Minangkabau silat are the Minangkabau martial arts that have been developed in the Western Sumatra region since ancient times. Silek for Minangkabau is their individuality, which is inherent in their daily lives, especially their men. But this is not a taboo for women, because many Minang women own martial arts. It is worth noting that at all competitions in Southeast Asia (SEA GAMES) Indonesia has always been a champion in Silat.
In ancient times, before a man went to merantau (merantau is a journey somewhere in order to gain knowledge, experience, know oneself, earn money, etc. away from his home), he first had to master the art of silat . Penchak Silat and Merantau are inextricably linked, since far away from the home, a person must be able to fend for himself. It was assumed that with the help of a silat they would be able to protect themselves from thieves or to protect their relatives.
Children of Minangkabau from childhood study silat in surau (“surau” means “small mosque”). Usually they are taught by teachers of the Koran who master martial arts. Silat training is usually done at night after studying the Koran.
Since the silat is self-defense, that is, the rules are not to attack dangerous parts of the enemy’s body. Silek also contains wisdom: those who have a good command of the silat should have great patience.
This is reflected in the silat movements made by the fighters, namely: 3 steps back and only 1 step forward. That is, the fighter must give in a lot, be patient and not succumb to enemy attacks in the initial stages. Three steps back gives the enemy the opportunity to cancel their ongoing attack.
There are many varieties of silat, one of the most famous is Silek Harimau (“harimau” means “tiger”). In the world of silat, Silat Harimau is considered the most dangerous species, as it aims to strike at vital points such as the jaw, solar plexus, eyes, genitals or neck, which can be deadly. There is a legend that the highest level of skill in Silat Harimau is considered to be the ability to turn into a tiger, which, for sure, has an allegorical meaning.