Silat Sabungin

From the dingy back alleys of dangerous barrios to exclusive private pits in the most luxurious of Castilian mansions, cockfighting is a Filipino passion. Bloodsports are a cultural aspect of South-East Asia, brutal as it may seem. And as history has shown, the Malay races tend to fight as rough as they play. The bulangan would often be spattered with the blood of both feathered and human warriors. First the cockfights and then the stickfights! Most combats were strictly tests of courage and ability. Getting knocked out or being forced to quit the battlecircle was one thing. Bruised egos can be redeemed. But oftentimes, these defeats went hand-in-hand with broken bones, deep gashes, severe bruises and welts, and in some cases --- death.

Many martial arts are said to be based on the fighting aspects of the animal kingdom. Men have studied lions and tigers and bears. They even perpetuate the abilities of drunken monkeys. Not wanting to be left out, Filipinos have spent a good amount of energy analyzing the fighting styles of armed game fowl. (Human beings have been killed by razor-sharp fork knives when a bird has flown out of the pit and into the audience!)

In Sumatra, the Minangkabau devised a myriad of hand enhancers and small knives with which to fight. The most known weapon of this nature in the West is the Lawi Ayam: the 'spur of the chicken'. Erroneously interpreted as a 'tiger claw', the karambit (another name for the lawi ayam) is a human cockfighting weapon. The root word karam is related to the base word for 'chicken' in Malay languages: ayam.

Silat Sabungin is a compilation of Filipino and Malay martial systems that were specifically designed as human adaptations of cockfighting. These systems all utilize short knives and/or hand enhancers of some sort. Silat Sabungin is the silat style for those who want only pure function. No esoteric nonsense, no hidden secrets, no platitudes. A stag or full-fledged battlecock knows only one thing: how to use its man-made weapons…and use them lustfully. It spars, it learns, it's conditioned in a keep, and it's game dead in the pit. That is the intent, armed or empty-handed, of every fighter trained in Silat Sabungin, the 'animal' style of Yashai Warcraft.