Maphilindo Martial Arts: Glossary Of Terms

Compiled and edited by Francis G. Loch

Please note that this is a continual work in progress and some of the information may be incorrect and/or incomplete.

Last updated 10th June 2014.

Language key

fuk. Fukien
hok. Hokien
ind. Indonesian (modern Bahasa)
jav. Javanese
mal. Malaysian

A note on spellings

I have tried to incorporate the different variations of spelling (e.g. Pentjak and Pencak or Djuru and Juru) and, where possible, have placed the definitions under the modern spellings.

– A –

(ind.) Literally means ‘high’ or ‘supreme’.
(ind.) This is a throw technique used on an unweighted leg.
(ind.) Literally means ‘to hit’.

– B –

Bakti Negara
(ind.) Possible translation may be ‘to serve a nation’. Style of Silat.
(ind.) Literally means ‘father’.
(ind.) Literally means ‘shadow’. It refers to the shadowless hitting and kicking techniques, or the invisible or unseen techniques of the system.
(ind.) Literally means ‘to stop’.
(ind.) Literally means ‘to do (ber) fighting (silat)’. Malaysian style of Silat.
(?) Literally means ‘to turn’. This is a foot dragging technique.
(ind.) Literally means ‘fruit’.
Bukti Negara
(ind.) Literally means ‘witness (bukti) to a continent (negara)’. Can also be read as ‘tip of the iceberg’. System of Silat created by Pendekar Paul de Thouars, a Dutch-Indonesian immigrant to the United States and the most senior exponent of the traditional Sera system. He developed the style after a period of meditation and prayer in 1985. It was intended as a gift to the country which accepted the de Thouars family after the expulsion of the Dutch from Indonesia.
(ind.) Literally means ‘flower’ or ‘blossom’. Bunga is the formal etiquette prior to engagement in training with a partner, which is not divorced from self-defence considerations. Within every etiquette form are contained the necessary qualities for personal protection should the person being greeted attack without warning; posture, mental alertness and distance from the opponent are carefully regulated.

– C –

(ind.) Literally means ‘branch’. A weapon in Silat which is much like a sai, but shorter.
(?)Cuci Kan
(?) Breaking glass.

– D –

(ind.) Literally means ‘inside’.
See Dalam.
(?) Cross-legged, ground-sitting position.
Dewan Pendekar
(ind.) ‘Council (dewan) of Silat Masters (Pendekar)’.
See Juru.
(ind., mal.) Literally means ‘two (2)’.

– E –

(ind., mal.) Literally means ‘four (4)’.
(ind., mal.) Literally means ‘six (6)’.

– G –

(ind.) Literally means ‘griffin’ or ‘eagle’.
(ind.) Literally means ‘circular space’. Also means ‘arena’ or ‘ring’.
(ind.) Literally means ‘teacher’. In Silat a Guru is a full teacher, able to instruct students on his or her own.
Guru Baharu
(ind.) Literally means ‘new (baharu) teacher (guru)’.
Guru Besar
(ind.) Literally means ‘master (besar) teacher (guru)’.
Guru Muda
(ind.) Literally means ‘young (muda) teacher (guru)’. A person who has achieved the status of Guru Muda is competent at the basic curriculum and can teach under the supervision of a full teacher.
Guru Penuh
(ind.) Literally means ‘full (penuh) teacher (guru)’.

– H –

(ind.) Literally means ‘tiger’. Refers to the ground tiger style. This is Sumatran style of Silat.

– I –

(ind.) Literally means ‘science’.
Abbreviation for Ikatan Pentjak Silat Indonesia. An organisation, established in 1947, attempting to combine all styles of Silat. Ikatan means ‘union’ or ‘alliance’.

– J –

(ind.) Upper body movement.

– K –

(?) Literally means ‘bat’.
(ind., mal.) Literally means ‘leg’, ‘foot’ or ‘lower end’.
Kaki Menangkap
(ind.) Literally means ‘leg (kaki) catching (menangkap)’.
(ind., mal.) Literally means ‘development’ or expansion’.
(ind.) Literally means ‘mysticism’. Spiritual aspect of Silat.
(ind., mal.) Literally means ‘head’.
Kepala (?)Menguruan
(?) Literally means ‘head (kepala) instructor (menguruan)’.
Kera Silat
(ind.) Monkey style of Silat.
(?) Literally means ‘to compress’. A compression throw.
A double-edged dagger with a wavy blade.
Kun Tao
(fuk., hok.) Literally means ‘fist (kun) way (tao)’ just as Kempo or Kune Do. This is a generic term which includes various Chinese martial arts irrespective of their origins. Though Kun Tao is found all over Indonesia and Malaysia, it is not directly connected with Pentjak Silat or Bersilat. It is the product of Chinese communities in Indonesia and Malaysia and contains Chinese fighting methods brought to those areas by Chinese settlers centuries ago.
In the Philippines Kun Tao is sometimes spelt as Kuntaw to relate more to the Tagalog tongue.

– L –

See Langkah.
(ind.) Literally means ‘pace’ or ‘step’. Feetwork drill.
Langkah Tiga
(ind.) Triangular feetwork drill.
Langkah Sliwa
(ind.) Square feetwork drill.
(ind., mal.) Literally means ‘arm’.
(ind., mal.) Literally means ‘five (5)’.
(ind.) Literally means ‘out’ or ‘outside’.

– M –

(ind.) Literally means ‘tiger’. Refers to the upright tiger style.
Macan Layat Gunung
(?) Literally means ‘tiger (macan) descends (layat) the mountain (gunung)’. Style of Silat.
Macan Putih
(ind.) Literally means ‘the white (putih) tiger (macan)’. Style of Silat.
Macan Salju
(ind.) Literally means ‘the snow (salju) tiger (macan)’. Style of Silat.
Maha Guru
(ind.) Literally means ‘great (maha) teacher (guru)’. A Pesilat of great skill as a fighter and a teacher might be known as a Maha Guru by people in the area.
Entry to be added
Maphilindo Silat
Founded by Guro Dan Inosanto, and is based on the various systems of Silat he has studied under Silat masters from Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. Maphilindo combines these Silat styles, using empty hand strikes, off balancing techniques, kicks, punches, elbows, knees and nerve strikes. Guru Inosanto created this system to honour his many Silat instructors.
See Macan.
(?) Instructor.
(?) Literally means ‘takedown’.
(ind.) Literally means ‘to begin’.
Mustika Kwitang
(?) Silat system which has a strong Chinese influence.

– N –

Nempel Kaki
(ind.) Literally means ‘sticky (nempel) legs (kaki)’.

– O –

Olah Raga
(ind.) Literally means ‘bodily (raga) exercise (olah)’.
Ombak Batu
(ind.) Literally means ‘splashing (ombak) stone (batu)’. This is a part of the Kabon style of Silat which is otherwise known as the splashing hand.

– P –

(ind.) Weapon that is similar to a cleaver. It can be up to 36 inches long and gets larger towards the tip.
(?)Pecut Silat
(?) Snake style of Silat.
(ind.) Literally means ‘clever (from ‘pendai’) mind (from ‘akal’)’. Can also mean ‘champion’ or ‘advocate’. A skilled teacher of the martial arts and more. The title denotes someone who has taken the practice and teaching to a point where he has become a spiritual teacher as well as a master of the physical art.
Pencak Silat
(ind.) Literally means ‘the formal movements or choreography (pencak) of fighting (silat).
Pentjak Silat
See Pencak Silat.
The governing body for the Silat International Community.
Singapore Silat Federation.
(ind.) A Silat practitioner or ‘player’. There are seven levels at this stage.
Petjut Silat
See Pecut(?) Silat.
(ind.) Short, single-edged knife.
See Pukulan.
Abbreviation for Persatuan Pentjak Silat Indonesia. An organisation which seeks national unification of all styles of Pentjak Silat. Persatuan means ‘unity’ or ‘union’.
(ind.) Sticky.
(ind.) Literally means ‘to strike like lightning’. Pukulan, or Poekoelan, is a Dutch-Indonesian word whose root is pukul which means ‘to hit’. There is speculation that it comes from the same Latin word that gave us the English word ‘pugilism’. It refers to fighting and the martial arts in general rather than to a specific style.
Literally means ‘blessing’ or ‘blessing from the divine light’. This refers to the internal and spiritual aspects of Silat.
Putar Kepala
(ind.) Literally means ‘to rotate (putar) the head (kepala)’.

– R –

This is an advanced subject analogous to tien-hsueh (Chinese) and atemi (Japanese) in which the student is thoroughly taught the location of vital points on the enemy and how best to attack them. At the same time he learns how defend his own vital points.
Ratu Duri
A derivative of the Sera system of Silat.

– S –


I present myself before the Creator in the beginning. I present myself to the best of my ability in the knowledge of the Art. I ask to receive from the Creator all those things which I do not understand and have not yet seen to engrave upon my heart to the end.

The salutation is performed at the beginning and end of class. The words are a promise to work hard and have faith in the Almighty. The movements physically express the sentiments of the invocation and have other applications. The hands protect the upper and lower body and control the centre line. There are a number of strikes and some controlling moves and throws. This posture shares many characteristics with the juru stance. It is very stable but surprisingly mobile – you can move instantly in any direction.

Literally means ‘to receive’. Sparring exercise against one or more opponents.
Literally means ‘reception’.
(ind.) Literally means ‘sweep’.
Sapu Dalam
(ind.) Literally means ‘inside (dalam) sweep (sapu)’.
Sapu Luar
Literally means ‘outside (luar) sweep (sapu)’.
(ind., mal.) Literally means ‘one (1)’.
(ind.) Literally means ‘ready’.
Cross-legged, ground-sitting position.
System of Silat named after its founder, Ba Pak Sera.
The two positions/motions of sempok and depok are collectively known as siloh.
Singa Silat
Lion style of Silat.
Suda Miring
Langkah exercise. It is mostly done as a leg exercise so that beginning students can practice their basic leg techniques and develop lower body strength.

– T –

Tenaga Dalam
Literally means ‘internal (dalam) energy or power (tenaga)’.
Teung Lung Silat
Praying mantis style of Silat.
(ind., mal.) Literally means ‘three (3)’. Can also mean ‘triangle’.
(ind.) Literally means ‘level’.
Tingkat satu = Level one
Tingkat dua = Level two
Tingkat tiga = Level three
Tingkat empat = Level four
Tingkat lima = Level five
Tingkat enam = Level six
Tingkat tujuh = Level seven
See Cabang.
Literally means ‘stick’. Also a derivative of the Sera system of Silat.
A staff made out of ratten wood which is 5 to 6 feet long.
(ind., mal.) Literally means ‘seven (7)’.

– U –

Ular Sawa
Ular Sedok

– W –

Literally means ‘referee’.
Literally means ‘warrior’.


Pentjak without Silat is meaningless. Silat without Pentjak is worthless.


Strength is garbage. Speed is garbage. Timing is everything.

Pendekar Paul de Thouars

The Djurus are like a bag of flour. You can make many things out of the flour – pies, croissants, donuts, cakes, bread, cookies, etc. but does it say you can make all these things on the bag? No, you have to be shown how to make all these things.

Pendekar Paul de Thouars

The truth of combat is hard enough to understand, why mystify and create more obstacles to it?

Pendekar Paul de Thouars

A silat student may have a thorough knowledge of the system’s curriculum, but only when he begins to think, live and above all else, feel that which has been taught him, does he actually begin to understand the real content of his lessons.

Guru Cassimore Magda

References: Books

Indonesian Phrasebook. Lonely Planet, 1995.

Malay Phrasebook. Lonely Planet, 1996.

Tuttle’s Concise Indonesian Dictionary. Charles E. Tuttle Company, 1995.

Draeger, Donn F. & Smith, Robert W. Comprehensive Asian Fighting Arts. Kodansha International, 1980.

Lewis, Peter. Martial Arts. Magna Books, 1988.

Maliszewski, Michael. Spiritual Dimensions of the Martial Arts. Charles E. Tuttle Company, 1996.

Orlando, Bob. Indonesian Fighting Fundamentals: The Brutal Arts of the Archipelago. Paladin Press, 1996.

Reid, Howard & Croucher, Michael. The Way of the Warrior. Century Publishing Company, 1983.

References: Web-sites

Sadly it appears that all the following websites I used for reference are now offline.

The Official Homepage of Aikisilat
Indonesian Pencak Silat Governing Board USA Branch
Pukulan Cimande Pusaka
Pencak Silat Ratu Adil Indonesian Martial Arts
The Galaxy of Martial Arts
Pukulan Pentjak Silat Bukti Negara
The Fighting Arts Home Page


My Silat instructors Steve Krause, John McKean and Neil Millar.

One thought on “Maphilindo Martial Arts: Glossary Of Terms”

  1. Hi There
    An interesting glossary and good to find…
    As a fellow silat player I wanted you to know that Uncle Paul De Thouars is coming to the UK on his first ever visit in May on 19th + 20th to grace us with his knowledge.
    I am part of the group helping to organize this event and we welcome any and all silat players.
    Please get in touch if you are interested in coming it would be good to meet fellow practitioners in the UK.
    All the Best

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