Join Date: May 2006
Hi Blu and all the other keris lovers,
Iíve been following this discussion and I do want to contribute to this discussion and hopefully, in one way or another, it might help some of us in understanding the keris as a weapon, an artistic expression or some other interpretation. Whatever that I want to mention here in this discussion is not in any ways, meant to hurt anyone but rather, to share what Iíve learned and understand.
The people in the Nusantara region is well known to tell about themselves without speaking. For example, the way they dressed themselves during those time when the Sultan is the absolute ruler do tell people what status a person is. A Datok would typically wear a green colour songket. This way, from afar, people already know what status this particular person is. The Keris is another form of communication that they used to tell people about their status and their origin, without speaking.
It is a status weapon. This is so typical of the people here in Nusantara. At the same time, it is a form of artistic expression. This is how the people of Nusantara is.
Not many silat masters now know how to use the keris as a weapon. Why you might ask? The reason is simply because, this weapon is a very effective weapon during those time for those who knew how to use it. It is a status weapon. The people that were trained to use the keris were those that was given the trust to protect the Sultan. Hence, only the panglima-panglima of the Sultan were entrusted with this knowledge. The silat that most of us managed to view most probably belong to the silat that originated outside of the istana. There are ways to identify it and not many people know, unfortunately.
Malay kerises and that of Bugis is very unique in terms of handling it. Just a little mention of how effectively dangerous a keris can be is that when a panglima decided that he wants to use the keris, the person he attacks most probably will die because he was taught the way to handle the keris. ďElak kena, tak elak pun kena.Ē Besides that, a keris will come out of the sheath without him pulling it out of the sheath. This is among the way to identify whether the silat that uses keris belongs to the istana or not. Happily I would say, this silat still exist and usually, the geneology of this silat will lead someone to one of the panglima during the Sultanate time. In fact, in Malaysia, the keris silat dance still exist but unfortunately, for the Javanese, the keris silat dance is almost extinct. I really do hope that Iím wrong regarding this because, it is such a waste that such a dance using keris as beautiful as that of Javanese Keris, is gone for the future generation to see. Somewhere I hope, somebody who knows about this dance, brings it out into the open so that it can be preserve.
Unlike that of the Javanese keris, which emphasis more towards beauty, the Malay keris and that of the Bugis keris reflects more towards practicality. Their keris might looks simple but they are very effective.
Regarding the keris as the last weapon to be used, actually, that is not the case. For the Bugis, the last weapon is a weapon that they believe to be an "azimat". Keris is their second weapon that they'll use. Due to the nature of human blood being "panas", and the possibilities of them losing their keris, their last weapon is sort of, "get me to safety" weapon. They term it as "senjata sulit" or "senjata rahsia". No Bugis is a bugis without this weapon. I think I'll stop here for now.