The region of Indonesia and Malaysia is home to many different types of combat systems. For example, Indonesia's three thousand islands are spread across three thousand miles of ocean encompassing many different kinds of weapon systems - from the Batak of Sumatra's expertise with the blowpipe to the Sea Dayaks of Boreno use of the mandau (long knife).
The kris is considered to be the national weapon of both Indonesia and Malaysia. It is a double-edged dagger a length of 12 to 16 inches. The blade may be either wavy or straight (with wavy blades being more common). For a full description and combat tables, see Sections 13.0 and 18.0. This weapon is associated with many myths and legends in both cultures. It is said that given the proper incantation water can be drawn from the weapon. A kris is said to be able to kill a designated victim by simply pointing at him. Stories are also told of a kris jumping out of its sheath to protect its owner or rattling within its sheath to warn of danger. The incredible feats associated with the kris are attributed to the supernatural power of the weapon. Each kris is connected to its true owner from the time of the forging of the blade. The tuju (kris sorcery) also allowed the owner to kill a man by stabbing his shadow or his footprints. It has also been said that the kris can control fire by influencing its direction of motion.
All the magical properties attributed to the kris are to be used only in true need and never for display. The selection of a kris is a time-consuming and deliberate action. The fame of the maker of the kris, the pattern of the blade, the number of times the blade has shed blood, and other marks help the prospective owner determine if the blade is right for him.
The kris occupies a central portion in the cultures of this region. In Java during the nineteenth century, criminals were executed by kris and the wearing of the kris was considered a mark of social distinction.
Similar to the myths and legends associated with the kris are also stories of the mystical power of the spear. Legends speak of a spear chasing a band of enemies for three miles and killing all but one of them. The Sea Dayak of Borneo wields the mandau, a long single-edged blade similar to the machete. The handle of this weapon was usually adorned with human hair. The scabbard of this blade is brightly colored and is usually also adorned with human or animal hair or teeth.
Missile weapons used in this region revolve around the use of the blowpipe and the bow and arrow. The blowpipe is a common weapon in Java, Sumatra, the Celebes, and Borneo.7 What made the blowpipe such adangcrous weapon was the poison on the tips of the small missiles. This poison was usually derived from a species of stingray native to the waters of this region.
The national form of defense of Indonesia is pentjak-silat. This combat system appears to have first developed in the Sumatran Minangkabau kingdom in Indonesia. Over the following centuries it spread to the rest of the island of Indonesia. Some scholars say that the inspiration for pentjak-silat is due to the Chinese martial arts that strongly mimicked animal attacks. Local legend says that a peasant woman first discovered this combat system when she watched a tiger and large bird fight to the death.
The word pentjak means "a system of self-defense" and silat as "fencing, to fend off. " Pentjak is practiced alone or with a training partner in a carefully controlled exercise, not unlike the Japanese kata forms. An unusual feature of this training exercise is that the use of percussive instruments as background music and training aids are frequently used. This can help the new student learn his timing and focus in this martial art. Silat can also be practiced separately, but it is most commonly practiced against a partner. There are over 150 recorded styles ofpentjak-silat. Almost all the pentjak-silat techniques operate on a responsive and adaptive style of fighting. The movements of this system are based on the movements of animals or people. These styles make no use of warming up or preparatory exercises because itrecognizes that in combat a person will have no time for these types of exercises.
2.2.4 • JAPANESE MARTIAL ARTS
This is a brief overview of Japanese martial arts.
Like China, Japan possesses a long history of martial arts tradition. The bugei or martial arts were founded and taught by family organizations called ryu and later by non-bloodline organizations called ryu-ha. Each ryu or ryu-ha had its own unique perspective on the bugei it taught. Scholars have calculated that at one point in history over seven thousand unique ryu and ryu-ha schools existed in Japan. One of the most important ryus in Japanese history is the Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto ryu. The founder of this ryu, Iizasa Choisai Ienao Sensei, was born in 1387 in Chiba Prefecture, forty miles from present-day Tokyo. As
■^■■■■■■■■■■■HHHHHHaBHHBl a young man he became a skilled fighter and served as a retainer to the Chiba family. He took part in many battles and saw the destruction of numerous family lines. When Chiba fell, he retreated to seclusion in the Katori Shrine at the age of 60, where he engaged in daily worship and martial arts training. After a period of one thousand days, Choisai founded the teachings that became known as Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto Ryu. The prefix "tenshin shoden" means heavenly, true correct tradition and was used because Choisai Sensei believed he had assembled the correct and true teachings. He lived until he was 102 years old and left behind a great body of martial arts and philosophical teachings that were deeply rooted in Zen philosophy. These teachings, in turn, were avidly followed by Japanese professional warriors known as bushi. After the Muromachi period (1392-1573), these warriors were referred to by a more commonly known name: samurai.
The Influence of Zen on the Bushi/Samurai The feudal Japanese warrior presented a fierce sight. He approached battle with an immovable will and a desire for displaying his combat skills to win personal glory and prove his loyalty to his master. While traditional Buddhism is generally based on compassion and gentleness, bushi were militant warriors. Zen, however, was one of the less militant sects of Buddhism in feudal Japan that survived because most of the bushi followed its teachings? The noted Japanese scholar, D. T. Suzaki, offers this insight: In Japan, Zen was intimately related from the beginning of its history to the life of the samurai. Although it has never actively incited them to carry on their violent profession, it passively sustained them when they have for whatever reason entered into it. Zen has sustained them in two ways, morally and philosophically. Morally, because Zen is a religion that teaches us to not look backward once the course is decided upon; philosophically, because it treats life and death indifferently.
Zen taught the bushi to become self-reliant, self-deny-ing, and above all, single-minded to the degree that no attachments or fears could sway them from their course. Zen also contributed to the development of the bushi with its concept of mushin no shin or "mind of no-mind." By entering into this state of meditative awareness, the bushi could react without any conscious thought to danger. The concepts of implicit trust in fate, submission to the inevitable and composure in the face of adversity were well ingrained in the bushi. Another factor that heavily influenced the acts of the bushi was the concept of bushido, the way of the warrior?
Bushido was developed after centuries of military experience and philosophical influence from other Asian countries. It was never developed as an explicit written code but rather, was communicated directly from leader to follower. Bushido incorporated Confucian ideas such as ancestor respect and filial piety. Furthermore, the rise of the military brought the idea of a bond of loyalty based on honor rather
• than kinship. A true follower of bushido was said to possess these seven virtues: justice, courage, benevolence, politeness, veracity, honor, and loyalty. It's interesting to note that amongst all this tradition, superstition managed to play a role in the life of the bushi. This was based on the nine signs or kuji no in.
The nine signs or kuji no in is a practice of a Buddhist sect followed by many Japanese martial artists. Each sign has a name and each corresponds to a special meaning. By making the hand gestures of the nine signs followed by a secret tenth movement, a warrior was said to gain good fortune. The sign name and the corresponding meaning follow.
Rin—Signifies physical strength
Pyo—Is associated with the channeling of energy and is though to deflect objects To—Achieves harmony and inner peace Sho—Promotes healing
Kai—Is associated with premonition or foreseeing Jin—Allows for the opening of one's awareness to the thoughts and intentions of others Retsu—Is associated with the mastery of time and space Zai—Signifies control of both will and mind Zen—Advances enlightenment
To be effective in battle, however, the Japanese warrior could not leave everything to fate. While the nine signs might have been practiced by all bushi, it was the extensive and rigorous training in martial arts or bugei that helped them attain both personal glory the handsome monetary rewards for services rendered. Before listing the bugei that bushi engaged in, it is important to distinguish the bugei, which are martial arts initiated in tenth century Japan, from the budo or martial ways that were developed in twentieth century Japan.
The bugei include the jutsu forms as well as other combat systems. The bugei were developed for maximal effectiveness in a combat situation. The budo, which includes the do forms, such as kendo, judo, karate-do, and iai-do, were developed from the existing bugei and are more concerned with attaining spiritual discipline through which individuals can attain self-perfection. Budo are less combat-oriented and lack the practical aspect of their predecessors. In some cases, the budo have deviated so far from their origins to have almost no value in a combat situation. Unlike budo, however, the bugei are intensely combat-driven fighting systems and include the following: Ba-jutsu—Horsemanship Bo-jutsu—Staff art
Chigiriki-jutsu—Technique of using a ball and chain on a short stick
Fuki-baki—Technique of blowing small needles by mouth
Gekigan-jutsu—Technique of using a ball and chain
Genkotsu—Assaulting vital points
Jitte-jutsu—Technique using a short metal rod
Ju-jutsu—Fighting with minimal use of weapons
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Kusarigama-jutsu—Technique using a ball, chain, and sickle weapon Kyu-justu—Bow and arrow technique Naginata-jutsu—Halberd technique Sasumata-jutsu—Technique using a forked staff to hold a foe
Shuriken-jutsu—Technique of throwing small bladed weapons
Sodegarami-jutsu—Technique using a barbed pole to catch a foe So-jutsu—Spear technique Sumai—Armored grappling Tessen-jutsu—Technique of using a small iron fan Tetsubo-jutsu—Technique of using a long iron bar Uchi-ne—Throwing the arrow by hand
Of all the fighting systems incorporated under bugei, the two most important ones to master were ken-jutsu and iai-jutsu. The reason was the Japanese sword was the most important weapon for any warrior to master.
The bushi carried two blades, the o-dachi or long sword and the ko-dachi or short sword. The dimensions of the swords varied over Japanese history but some generalizations are possible. The long sword had a blade a little over two feet long and was generally a foot longer than the short sword. The blades were one and a quarter inches thick and tapered to a razor edge. The back of the blades sometimes contained a blood grove to make withdrawal from an enemy's body easier and to collect the blood on the blade. The types of swords most commonly associated with the bushi are the katana and wakizasha swords. These are grouped under the tachi swords and are known for their long blades and curved single-edged shape.
A great deal of ritual and customs dealt with the care and handling of these weapons. When confronted with a person with unknown intentions, the bushi kept his long sword close at hand. When kneeling in respect, if a warrior positioned his sword to the right he signaled noble intentions. If on the other hand, the sword was positioned on the left of the kneeling warrior, he signaled hostility or lack of trust of his host. In the house of a friend, the bushi might leave his long sword in the custody of a retainer but he would continue to carry his short sword. The host would keep his swords in easy reach at all times even in his own house. If a guest placed his sword with the handle facing his host, it was considered an insult against the skill of the host. To step over the sword of another as it lay on the ground was also considered to be an insult. The Japanese warrior considered the his sword to be his "soul." To touch or dishonor another's sword in any way was to invite a duel to the death.
The armor of the bushi was equally regarded, as it reflected his worth and prowess in battle; therefore, they were religiously maintained. The armor of the bushi was lightweight to provide the maximum amount of mobility and speed needed for combat. The armor was typically made of thin sheets of iron, hides, lacquered paper, cloth, and sharkskin. The armor covered the vital areas and was designed not to restrict his movement. Unlike European armor, bushi armor was not designed to withstand powerful direct strikes. Rather, it was designed to survive glancing blows and weak attacks. The breastplate was typically made of overlapping iron plates bound with metal clamps or silken cords. It was decorated with family crests and colors. The helmet of the bushi was a bowl-shaped device made of iron and secured to the head with silk cords. Notable bushi had ornate front pieces attached to their helmets signifying their clan or leadership. The shins were protected by flexible coverings, as were the arms. The body armor as a whole was usually decorated with a strong and impressive color scheme that usually had some significance to the house or clan the warrior was associated.
Korea possesses a rich history of martial tradition. The Korean combat systems have traditionally favored empty-handed techniques and missile weapons. The reasons for this development are due to the heavy influence of calvary techniques that used the bow and the relatively late introduction of metallurgy techniques to Korea. Chinese cultural influence played a strong part in the development of Korea's unarmed combat systems. Korean philosophical thought also lead to the ideas that inspired the code of Bushido in Japan.
2.2.6 • OKINAWAN MARTIAL ARTS
Okinawa has always been a center for the exchange of ideas and trade between Japan and China, being situated just off the East China Sea and very close to Japan as well. In the late fifteenth century, a new king arose to power in Okinawa and banned the carrying of weapons by any one not associated with the government to quiet rebellion at the start of his reign. This ban remained in force throughout most of Okinawa's history up to the nineteenth century? These restrictions lead to the development of karate, a rich martial art technique practiced by the native Okinawans. Many new types of weapons were pioneered by Okinawan martial artists due to the restrictions placed upon them, including the nunchaku, sai, kama, and tonfa.
2.2.7 • EUROPEAN MARTIAL ARTS
Traditionally European fighting systems have been less well developed than their Asian counterparts. Where an Asian fighting system may be seen as a "way of life," the European fighting system is seen as a system of mechanical movements or simple recreation. In spite of this, Europe still has some interesting martial arts that have been developed in its rich history.
The earliest martial disciplines developed in Europe were the events centered on the Greek festivals, the most famous of these being the Olympic games. Some of the events included javelin throwing, boxing, and wrestling? The pancratium was a contest that involved both wrestling and boxing and sometimes ended in the death of one of the combatants. In general these events were seen as public entertainment or a recreational sport, and were not considered to be true fighting systems.
During the Middle Ages, a specialized class of warriors called the knights rose to prominence. The knight could be considered to be the European equivalent of the Asian martial artist. Medieval knights lived by a code in which skill at arms played a central part. Mounted fighting skills formed the core of chivalry. The budding knight primarily learned his skills from within the family. Young nobles practiced their fighting skills every day. The martial skills of the knight were displayed at the tourney. These tournaments could become very dangerous affairs often resulting in deaths.
Knights formed exclusive societies like the Knights Templar and the Knights of Malta. These groups of knights blended their martial skills with religious conviction, not unlike their counterparts in Asia.
A codified fighting system for European martial arts did not develop until the end of the Middle Ages and the start of the Renaissance. In the Renaissance era, armor became lighter and fighters began to rely on their skill and agility in combat. The nobles and the new middle class began to practice and learn (or be tutored) the art of self-defense and combat with the blade. The influx of the new middle class lead to the formation of fighting schools that taught them the skills needed for combat. The change from heavy armor cleaving weapons to lighter blades formulated fundamen tal changes in fighting strategy. The superiority of the point and quickness asserted itself and the art of fencing was born.
In European history there were many schools of fencing. The earliest and most famous schools came from Spain and Italy. The Italian schools of fencing attempted to simplify the cuts and thrusts of the blade. The Spanish schools of fencing mystified fencing through the inclusion of geometry and natural science. Because of their more practical bent, the Italian schools soon surpassed the Spanish schools of fencing.
The early teachers of fencing did not teach a codified method of fighting, but rather taught secret maneuvers and tricks that they had learned. Like other martial arts masters, the teachers of fencing were secretive, holding back their best tricks and maneuvers for their most worthy (or wealthy) students.
Unlike the unarmed fighting systems of the East, the unarmed fighting systems of Europe have been viewed more as sports than actual deadly fighting systems. Unlike the Eastern fighting styles, the European unarmed fighting systems have not been closely linked to medicine.
Savate or chausson was developed in France during the 19th century. Of all the European martial arts, savate bears the closest resemblance to the Asian fighting systems. It is believed to be developed from a folk combat art in which punching, kicking, and tripping were permitted. Despite its similarities, it has been confined to recreational uses and it has never been offered as a "way of life" to its practitioners. Savate also taught the use of the walking cane in its unarmed combat techniques.
Parti Section 2.2 The
Development of Martial Arts
Sections 3.0, 3.1
Fitting Martial Arts into Your Campaign
Integrating into Current Campaigns
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