Journal of Martial Arts Anthropology

Abstract - Force against force: configurations of martial art in European and Indonesian cultures

Sociology of non-European sport cultures is faced by exceptional methodolo¬gical difficulties. Social sciences (above all quantifying ones) of the western type cannot cope with it, since it is a question here of complex alien structures and one cannot count on universal aspects of the basic categories.
That is why a different interdisciplinary approach is needed in the case of Indonesian art of fight "pencak silat", which would cotntinue with an analysis of configurations of the anthropology of culture (Ruth Benedict) of the sociology of civilization (Norbert Elias) and historical structuralism (Michel Foucault). In this way one gets an idea about the art of fighting that is typical of Indonesian peoples and which is in clear contrast to the historical development of European fencing and boxing. The different exercise patterns reveal most clearly the completely different traditions and ways of socio-cultural development.
It should not be permitted to reduce such complexity to a one-dimensional direction in historical development, in the light of which Indonesian forms may appear as "archaic" or "mediaeval". The more so since we live in times when there exists fascination with Asiatic forms of physical culture (Karate, Aikido, Taekwon-Do, Tai Chi Chuan, Yoga), which is growing in industrial metropolises. And thus the colonial perspective of science about evolutionism becomes doubtful. There is no single modernization.