Mepantigan: Balinese Traditional Martial Art
Two men, standing on the white sand of Kuta beach, facing each other, tried to find an opening in each other stance and movements while keeping smiles on their faces. Then suddenly they charged each other almost in unison. In a flash, one of them prostrated on the sand, thrown by the other. A round in a mepantigan match was over.
The traditional Balinese martial art, Mepantigan, is a traditional fighting style that put emphasis on throwing and securing opponent; hitting, kicking, elbowing, biting, hair pulling, eye poking, scratching, spitting and profanity are prohibited. The word “mepantigan” itself means ‘throw’ or ‘knock down to the ground’.
Mepantigan requires sportsmanship and sincerity. Each match is carefully supervised by a referee. Only pushing and throwing is scored though smiling and aggressiveness also brings extra point. Each mepantigan match consist of two 5-minute round and conducted in 5×5 m arena. During the match the fighters wear Balinese traditional clothes.
The founder of mepantigan, Putu Witsen Widjaya, has developed Mepantigan into an art form. The performance of mepantigan is accompanied with a kind of traditional Balinese orchestra known as Gegambuhan and between each match other art performances are inserted as intermezzos.