Gra zmysłami. Tradycyjna sztuka walki na zachodniej Jawie w Indonezji

Translated title of the contribution: Playing with the Senses. A traditional Martial Art in West Java, Indonesia

Semiarto A. Purwanto, Agung S. Perdani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose. This paper examines silat, an Indonesia traditional martial art, from a sensory anthropological perspective. The focus of the study is on the maenpo Cikalong, one of the old martial arts developed in Cianjur Regency, West Java, which emphasises the refinement and development of the human senses. Methodology. We used a qualitative research strategy with in-depth interviews, participant observations, and literature studies following the Creswell research protocol. The data was analysed through the lens of the anthropology of sense as developed by Mauss and later revised by Classen Main findings. Maenpo has undergone transformations from an exclusive aristocrat martial arts to a practice everyone can learn, and from a deadly martial art to a more defensive skill. We found that instead of growing as a sport and modern martial art like other silat branches in Indonesia, maenpo is developing more as an art and philosophical exercise. Conclusions. By emphasizing the senses in our study, we believe that the development of traditional martial arts in Indonesia can be directed into a more local and cultural base rather than just being promoted as a sport and modern martial art. Novelty. Studies on the sensoric aspects of silat are only found in small numbers and the anthropological approach to the senses has proven useful to reveal the other side of deadly martial arts.

Translated title of the contributionPlaying with the Senses. A traditional Martial Art in West Java, Indonesia
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)19-28
Number of pages10
JournalIdo Movement for Culture
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Indonesia
  • martial arts
  • senses
  • silat
  • West Java


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