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Silat is a general term that comprehensively denotes all Martial Arts based on the originally Southeast Asian (Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Southern Philippines) arts of Penca(k) and Silat.
The root philosophy of Penca(k) and Silat in Southeast Asia includes aspects of self defence, social and spiritual ethics, arts, and sports.
Further Martial Arts (i.e. Kun Tao, Pukulan) have contributed to the actual forms of practice worldwide. Besides its native cultures in South East Asia, Penca(k) Silat especially began to flourish in the USA, the Netherlands, and other mainly European countries after World War II.
In South East Asia and other parts of the world a world union of Pencak Silat (PERSILAT, headquarters located in Jakarta, Indonesia) exists, though this organisation is not recognised by all schools. The PERSILAT organises national and worldwide tournaments of Pencak Silat Sports (Olahraga) and Pencak Silat Art Form (Seni Budaya).
According to the description of PERSILAT, one should distinguish between traditional, transitional (semi-modern) and modern type schools. However, this description may not fit completely to describe the forms of Penca(k) Silat schools generally and worldwide.
Though many aspects and terms related to Penca(k) Silat are shared worldwide, a definite use of terminology and its meanings is currently not yet established.