Mepantigan is a form of Balinese martial arts that involves similar physical techniques to those found in self-defense traditions around the world. But Mepantigan extends the form by also drawing upon Balinese drama, contemporary dance, and gamelan music, fusing fighting with the performing arts to create an entirely new cultural phenomenon. Participants wear uniforms consisting of traditional Balinese clothing, and can compete on the beach, in the mud of rice fields, or in any open space.
Practitioners of Mepantigan gain physical fitness, release stress, and learn valuable lessons in camaraderie and sportsmanship. In addition to physical skills, strength, and agility, both emotional and spiritual intelligences are utilized.
According to Putu Witsen Widjaya, the founder and senior teacher of Bali Mepantigan Arts and a martial arts champion, students of Mepantigan evolve as human beings and avoid violence while cultivating compassion. As he observed, “Wherever proper martial arts develop, evil will diminish and a respect for others will grow. This is particularly true for those who practice Mepantigan, which is a celebration of the spirit”.
The rules of Mepantigan are as follows
- Before the actual full body contact wrestlers are supposed to performmakembang/ngigel (preliminary demonstration martial arts). This individual movement is combined with somersault.
- Fighters are allowed perform throwing, sweeping creasing and locking.
- Both fighters and supporters must wear traditional Balinese clothes as follows:
- Bebuletan/kamen (sarong) with kancut and headgear.
- No shirt for men and T-shirt for women.
4. Before and after fighting, fighters should bow or hug each other to show the respect and sportive.
5. This martial arts practice is open to everybody, i.e. children, adults-men or women.
MEPANTIGAN – BALINESE MARTIAL ART
There are many kinds of martial arts in Indonesia, and so does in Bali. Lately, besides the Pencak Silat, there is a traditional martial art developed in Bali. It is called “Mepantigan”. Basically, mepantigan means to throw or to knock something down. The traditional martial art concentrates on locking and throwing the enemy. It combines some self-defenses, such as taekwondo, silat, capoeira, kickboxing, and judo, and includes various elements of Balinese culture, such as Balinese music, dance, and costumes. Those are the factors that make this self defending martial art a hauling sport, and it has now been prepared as one of the most attractive and interesting Bali tourism attraction.
Mepantigan is a combination of art and sport that founded and developed by Putu Witsen Widjaya. According to him, the martial art can make its practitioners gain physical fitness, release stress, and learn valuable lessons of comradeship and sportsmanship, because mepantigan emphasizes emotion and spiritual intelligence. He also believes that Mepantigan can develop characteristic and avoid violence while cultivating compassion. The uniqueness of mepantigan is its location or arena, which take place in wet and muddy fields. Often, muddy rice fields and beach are also being used to hold the fight. There are three levels of mepantigan: beginner, intermediate, and advance.
Before the Mepantigan begins, a priest will first lead the participants to pray to Dewi Sri, the Goddess of Prosperity. In an open space, it is then played while supervised by some referees. One game is played in two rounds and one round is held for three minutes. Punching, Kicking, biting, or hitting vital parts of the opponent’s body is forbidden. Two topless fighters then come onto the muddy field. Before the fight, they must first perform the preliminary demonstration of the martial art. After the pre-demo there will be an instruction from the referee and they will begin to try to tackle down each other. Both of the fighters and their supporters should wear Balinese traditional uniform.
To show respect and supportive manner, fighters should hug and bow to each other before and after the show. The winner and the loser are decided based on the score of the fighters which is determined by juries. Based on the rule, martial art demonstration earns one point, successfully locking the opponent earns two points, effectively throwing the opponent earns three points, and aggressiveness and politeness earns four points. Mepantigan can be performed by all ages. Every fighter is accompanied by a coach and paramedics that will always be around the arena.
During and after the fight, some artists will perform Balinese dance and music. The dance will deliver the drama about Kebo Iwa, a legendary giant warrior in Bali. The drama usually represents the story of Kebo Iwa in 14th Century who by himself had trained some war soldiers the art of Mepantigan techniques for his willingness to die for the Indonesia archipelago.
- Fighters are not allowed to do the following to their opponents.
- Kicking, down sweeping, attacking the eyes with fingers, attacking using elbow, targeting sexual organs, biting, grabbing hair, swearing or spitting.
- The fight is to be performed at the beach or mud of the rice fields for two round for three minutes long each round. A good size for the arena is 8 meters (26 feet) by 8 meters, with a 12-meters (39 feet) by 12- meters out-of bounds line or space availability.
- Scoring and types of competition
- Makembang/ Ngigel demonstration – 1 points
- Locking – 2 points
- Throwing – 3 points
- Aggressiveness, politeness – 4 points
Type of competition:
International Weight Classifications
|Fin / Gatep||Not exceeding 110 lbs/ 50 kg||Not exceeding 94.6 lbs/ 43 kg|
|Fly / Juwet||Over 110-118.8 lbs/ 50-54 kg||Over 94.6-103.4 lbs/ 43-47 kg|
|Bantam / Salak||Over 118.8-127.6 lbs/ 54-58 kg||Over 103.4-112.2 lbs/ 47-51 kg|
|Feather / Sabo||Over 127.6-140.8 lbs/ 58-65 kg||Over 112.2-121.0 lbs/ 51-55 kg|
|Light / Silik||Over 140.8-154.0 lbs/ 65-70 kg||Over 121.0-132.0 lbs-55-60 kg|
|Welter / Pakel||Over 154.8-167.2 lbs/ 70-76 kg||Over 132.0-143.0 lbs/ 60-65 kg|
|Middle / Gedang||Over 167.2-182.6 lbs/ 76-83 kg||Over 143.0-154.0 lbs/ 65-70 kg|
|Heavy / Duren||Over 182.6 lbs/83 kg||Over 154.0 lbs/ 70 kg|
Junior Sparring Weight Classifications for Aged 15-18
|Class||Male or Female|
|Super fin / Poleng||Under 85.9 lbs/ 39 kg|
|Fin / Gatep||86.0-94.9 lbs/ 39-43 kg|
|Fly / Juwet||95.0-103.9 lbs/ 43-47 kg|
|Bantam / Salak||104.0-114.9 lbs/ 47-52 kg|
|Feather / Sabo||115.0-123.9 lbs/ 52-56 kg|
|Light / Silik||124.0-132.9 lbs/ 56-60 kg|
|Welter / Pakel||133.0-143.9 lbs/ 60-65 kg|
|Middle / Gedang||144.0-154.9 lbs/ 65-70 kg|
|Heavy / Duren||155.0-164.9 lbs/ 70-75 kg|
|Super heavy / Tridatu||Over 165.0 lbs/75 kg|
- Both fighters will move to the fighting arena at the same time accompanied by their respective coach.
- A team of medical doctors are stand by for any first aids or emergency situation.
- Each group of the fighter’s supporters are allowed to bring their own traditional Balinese music.
- The supporters of each fighter are allowed to present their creative and traditional dance.
- Supporters must wear polite traditional Balinese clothes.
- We are all brothers and sisters and therefore alcohol as well as other drugs and weapons must not be involved.
- Everybody must be responsible for the safety, security, and cleanliness of the beach and mud of the rice fields
The juries of Mepantigan are as follows:
- Head Jury/Kelian, acting as the inspector of the game.
- Middle Jury/Pekembar, in charge inside the arena
- Right Jury/Saye, in charge outside the arena
- Left Jury/Saye, in charge outside the arena