Friday, May 13, 2005

A Little More About Silat Kuntau Tekpi

I have had an enormous response from my students and the public regarding lessons in Silat Kuntau Tekpi (TM). I am just as excited to begin teaching it, and believe me, I am working as fast as I can to get everything in place for classes. I know that Cigku Omar is putting the finishing touches on the official website for the system, which exists in a temporary form at

Cigku Omar Hakim also has a blog where he relates some of his experiences in Malaysia. This can be found at

Here is a chokingly brief summary of the Art:

About Kuntau Silat Tekpi:

Seni Silat Kuntau Tekpi was founded by Panglima Taib (General Taib Bin Wan Hussein). He is the great-grandfather of the current head of the system, Cikgu Sani. The exact date of origin is unsure, but it appears to be around 1890.

The Tekpi itself, otherwise known as the sai, are central to the system, along with the keris (the wavy kris-like dagger). The logo of the system reveals much about its character:

Colors – The logo is made up of three colors: white, red, black. The White stands for purity and Islamic values. The Red stands for bravery & brotherhood. The Black stands for secrecy, for this has historically been a secret art.

Weapons - There are four weapons represented in the logo that are the weapons of Silat Kuntau Tekpi. The weapons are:

Rantai (Chain) - Two chains are shown with 13 links each. Each link symbolizes one of the 13 Federal States that make up the country of Malaysia.

Cindai (Cloth) - The word TEKPI is written on a long thin cloth sash called a cindai. The cindai is used in Malaysia as a belt or sash worn with traditional clothing.

Tekpi - The tekpi (a.k.a. sai) is the primary weapon of Kuntau Tekpi, giving the art its name. This is because the tekpi is not a Malay weapon - it is of Chinese origin, so it is considered unusual for a Malaysian form of Silat to use the tekpi.

Keris (Kris) - This is a 7 lok (wave) keris which is what is worn and used by the Malay Panglima (Generals). Seven waves is the most that a keris can have for someone who is not of royal blood. That's why Seni Silat Lok Sembilan (9) has a keris with 9 waves - it is a Royal form of Silat for Princes. The Keris of a Sultan can have up to 13 or 15 lok.

Tekpi is a compact, well-organized fighting system - it has five levels including the central 42 buah, or traditional forms, that define its movements.

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