Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Keris as killing tool
Greetings gentlemen and a happy solstice to you too Neschech,
I've been following the rest of the thread with interest, especially the long debate on whether the keris remains a combat weapon or is simply a symbolic, talismanic cultural object.
Perhaps if we look at it from the Malay and maybe Bugis perspective, the keris is still seen primarily as a weapon with an added talismanic function.
If the number of perguruan silat or martial arts school that still teach keris fighting techniques is anything to go by, then, this might offer some clue to how widespread the use of the keris was as a weapon, at least in the Malay states of the peninsula and Sumatera.
Strange thing is, more emphasis is given by some schools to keris techniques than say that of parang, klewang etc, other more efficient hand weapons.
So, is keris a weapon of last resort? Maybe so. But the amount of training needed before a warrior can start wielding a keris effictively and the vast number of techniques taught speaks volumes of the place of the keris in the Malay martial arts world.
One the other side of the coin, from my conversations with a silat instructor, I gathered that very few Javanese perguruans still employ the keris in their combat techniques. Perhaps the Javanese may prefer other bladed weapons but that doesn't mean they've dispensed with the keris totally I guess.