Kuntao and Silat: Sulu officials want to keep traditional martial arts alive


Posted at Mar 16 2021 09:25 PM | Updated as of Mar 16 2021 09:46 PM

Kuntao and Silat: Sulu officials want to keep traditional martial arts alive 1
Photo from JTF Sulu. 

MANILA - Authorities in Sulu are seeking to revive the traditional martial arts program “Kuntao" and "Silat” for young people in the province, the military said on Tuesday, as this would supposedly help in instilling discipline and respect. 

In a statement, the Joint Task Force (JTF) Sulu said reviving the century-old martial arts practiced by Sulu warriors is supported by the Embassy of Norway in Manila.
"The Norweigan Embassy is also supporting this endeavor by provision of a training fund. What we want is to revive the identity of Tausug as noble warriors. Warriors who are God-fearing and respectful of the law. Warriors who have discipline and who only use force to protect the innocent,” Col. Tarahuddin Ampatuan, deputy commander of the 1102 Infantry Brigade, was quoted as saying.


On Monday, Sultan Kiram, JTF Sulu commander Maj. Gen William Gonzales, and 1102nd Infantry Brigade Commander Col. Benjamin Batara, witnessed the martial arts demonstration participated by the youth from different barangays in Patikul. It was led by Grandmaster Said Musa. 

Photos showed that the event was attended by many young people and residents there, who were wearing face masks. Physical distancing, however, was apparently violated by the onlookers. 

1st Lt. Jerrica Angela Manongdo of the task force’s Public Information Office said the spectators were repeatedly warned to follow physical distancing protocols. 

“We [admit], minsan, 'di talaga mapigilan ang tao magkumpol-kumpol. On the part po ng event organizer, nag-announce naman repeatedly,” Manongdo said. 

“[According to the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office] walang active case sa residents. And almost no movement ho sa area ng munisipyo,” she added. 

(We admit that sometimes, we cannot prevent the residents from clustering. The organizers repeatedly made announcements. There is no active case among the residents. There are also no movement in the municipality.)

Based on the March 8 report of the Sulu Task Force COVID-19, the province has so far recorded 288, of which 7 were active.


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Grandmaster Said pointed out that students of the said martial arts, the training of which he said was formalized in 1969, were mandated to review the Qu'ran. The students will also be guided by spiritual advisers. 

Sultan Kiram said studying and practicing Kuntao and Silat is a huge responsibility, given its “spiritual obligation.” 

“Meron din itong mga ipinagbabawal, lalo na kung ikakapahamak ng indibidwal o nakakarami. Ito rin ay gabay sa mga estudyante upang sila’y magkaroon ng takot sa Diyos, masunurin sa magulang, at respeto sa pamahalaan,” the sultan said. 

(This practice also has limitations, most especially if this will harm anyone. This is also a guide to students so they can be God-fearing, obedient to their parents, and respectful of the government.) 

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- with report from Leila Vicente Albani, ABS-CBN News