Human Weapon (2007): S01E13 – Silat: Martial Art of Malaysia


Human Weapon is a television show on The History Channel that premiered on 20 July 2007.

The hosts, Jason Chambers and Bill Duff, travelled across the world studying the unique martial arts, or styles of fighting, that have origins in the region.


Few martial arts match the exoticism of their country like Silat. Beautiful, yet deadly, Silat was born in the jungles of Southeast Asia.

Silat Melayu (Jawi: سيلت ملايو), also known as Seni Persilatan Melayu (‘art of Malay Silat’) or simply Silat, is a combative art of self-defence from the Malay world, that employs langkah (‘steps’) and jurus (‘movements’) to ward off or to strike assaults, either with or without weapons. Silat traced its origin to the early days of Malay civilisation, and has since developed into a fine tradition of physical and spiritual training that embodies aspects of traditional Malay attire, performing art and adat. The philosophical foundation of modern Malay Silat is largely based on the Islamic spirituality. Its moves and shapes are rooted from the basis of Silat movements called Bunga Silat, and Silat performances are normally accompanied with Malay drum assembles.

The term Silat is also employed to refer to similar fighting styles in areas with significant Malay cultural influence, in modern-day Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. In Indonesia, the term Pencak Silat, a composite term introduced in the late 1940s, deriving from the Sundanese/Javanese word Penca(k) and Malay/Sumatran word Silat, has been used officially since 1973 as an umbrella term of traditional martial arts of Indonesia. In Malay terminology, the term ‘Pencak Silat’ is also used, but more in referring to the exoteric aspect of the fighting style, in contrast to the esoteric aspect of Silat called Seni Silat (‘the art of Silat’). In other words, ‘pencak’ (fighting) can be regarded as the zahir (outer/exoteric knowledge), whilst seni pertains to the whole of Silat including batin (inner/esoteric knowledge) and zahir. Seni Silat is thus considered to be a deeper level of understanding. Therefore, it is said that each aspect of Silat emanates from seni (art), including both the fighting and the dance aspects.

Human Weapon Series

You can find a full index and overview of Human Weapon here.

Production & Filming Details

  • Release Date: 23 November 2007.
  • Running Time: 44 minutes.
  • Rating: TV-14.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

Video Link

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