The Azerbaijan State News Agency

SPORTS

Pencak Silat is embodiment of self-confidence, will and power

Baku, March 18, AZERTAC

Pencak Silat is the embodiment of self-confidence, will and power. Pencak Silat is Indonesia's national sport and is more popular in Southeast Asia. The sport, which has two types - armed and unarmed, has fighting techniques among the peoples and tribes of Indonesia. The word Pencak Silat has many meanings. However, the main translation of pencak is body structure capable of self-defense and of silat - possible use of pencak.

This sport is also popular in Azerbaijan. Pencak Silat was brought to our country and developed by the Honoured Coach Abbas Hunbatov, president of the Azerbaijan Sindo-ryu and Pencak Silat Federation. Hunbatov said: "Indonesian athletes and my team advanced to the finals in the masters' competition during the World Festival in Paris, France, in 2001. Our performance aroused interest in Indonesia. And I had a great love for this sport. In Paris, I had a meeting with the then president of the International Federation of Pencak Silat, Eddie Nalapraya, and exchanged views on future cooperation. After the festival, I set a goal to develop Pencak Silat in our country. I did research and obtained comprehensive information on Pencak Silat."

Pencak Silat is not just a type of martial arts. It is also a culture of ancient Malay people. Along with Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, Philippines, Vietnam and other Southeast Asian countries, this sport is much loved in Europe and has a wide audience. This type of martial arts has played a very important role in the history of the region. For example, Pencak Silat was used during the war between the ancient states of Srivijaya and Majapahit-Sunda. In the early 20th century, when Indonesia was a Dutch colony and Malaysia was a British colony, Pencak Silat was banned in Indonesia. This sport is also very popular in Europe. For example, many women in the Netherlands and Belgium are engaged in this type of martial art. In addition to self-defense, Pencak Silat combines a strong sense of will, beauty and respect.

Hunbatov said that in the final of the World Festival in Moscow in 2005, we faced Indonesia again. At that time, the famous Hollywood star and protagonist of the movie "The Raid", Iko Uwais, was our opponent in the final. That year we officially started developing Pencak Silat in our country. An international seminar was held in Baku with Uwais in attendance.

Pencak Silat competitions are accompanied by music. Music inspires warriors to gain victory. The fighting technique of this sport looks ordinary at first glance. But here, along with special tactics of evasion, defense and attack, dance elements are also used. The main elements of Pencak Silat are pasang (greeting), langkah (changing body position) and jurus (tricks). Athletes use swords, daggers, spears and other weapons in armed competitions. Coaches and masters in this sport are called pendekars.

Hunbatov said that the development of Pencak Silat in Azerbaijan started in 2005, and Eddie Nalapraya visited our country that year. The president of the sports body, who held a seminar in Baku, was fully informed about state care for sports in our country and the established sports infrastructure, and the guest left our country with fond impressions. After that, I was invited to Indonesia. After fulfilling all the regulations in Indonesia, their minister of sports met with me and presented me with an international certificate. For 15 years now, we have been participating and winning prizes in competitions under the banner of the International Federation. There is always strong competition in Pencak Silat tournaments.

Pencak Silat is also included in the programme of major sports competitions. For example, in 1987, competitions in this sport were held in the Southeast Asian Games and in the 2018 Asian Games. Negotiations are underway to include Pencak Silat in the programme of the Islamic Solidarity Games. This sport is also included on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List.

Elkhan Jafarov, a member of the Azerbaijani national team, two-time European champion and silver medallist of the world championship, said that along with being a sport, Pencak Silat has a great philosophy as well. He said that this sport is the best tool for self-defense. In addition, Pencak Silat enhances one's self-confidence and sense of security. Azerbaijani Pencak Silat athletes are regarded as strong competitors in the world because we always succeed in prestigious competitions and come back with medals. I must admit that the Azerbaijani national Pencak Silat team is the strongest team in Europe.

Since 2005, important work and steps have been taken to develop Pencak Silat in our country. The Indonesian press also reports the achievements of our athletes and has published a series of articles and reports about Hunbatov's exceptional contribution to the development of Pencak Silat in Azerbaijan. This opened new opportunities for the development of this sport in our country. In 2009, the Azerbaijan Sindo-ryu Federation was renamed the Azerbaijan Sindo-ryu and Pencak Silat Federation.

Azerbaijani Pencak Silat athletes have contributed to the development of sports in our country with the medals they have earned in the international arena. For example, our national team won 1 silver and 1 bronze medal at the World Championships for the first time in 2010. Our representatives won 1 gold and 1 silver medal at the European Championships in the same year. Two years later, our national team won 8 gold medals in the continental championship held in Paris, and the national team of Azerbaijan became a European champion in team competitions.

In 2017, our country hosted the European Championship for the first time. The holding of the continental championship in our country was directly attributed to Hunbatov's contribution to the development of this sport. Also, the high level of organization of sporting events in Azerbaijan does not go unnoticed by international sports organizations. Before this competition, our country had no international referee. On the eve of the championship, 10 of our compatriots were awarded the title of international referee at courses arranged in Baku. One of those referees is Ziya Mirzayev. Our representative was awarded a special certificate of gratitude for observing the principles of justice at the European Championships held in the Netherlands last year. At that championship, our national team won 3 gold and 1 silver medal.

As a logical consequence of the national development strategy initiated by national leader Heydar Aliyev and successfully continued by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, our country has become the leading state of the region. Like in all other spheres, the growing economic power of our state has had a positive impact on the development of sports. It is very encouraging that the state is taking care of and paying attention to sports today. The construction and operation of many Olympic sports complexes and modern sports facilities not only in our capital, but also in the regions and the strengthening of the logistics base allow us to say this. Today, Azerbaijan is one of the leading countries in the world in terms of the development of sports. This is an indisputable fact and a proven fact.

This year, serious tests await our national Pencak Silat team. Hunbatov expressed confidence that his trainees will successfully perform at competitions to be held during the year.

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