The Keris & Jak
I owned my first Keris known as the ‘Rojo Sostro’ a Harimau Berantai Keris, when my dad passed away in 1972. My mother believed I am the rightful owner and she handed it down to me. I was 10 years old, a young pesilat. This Keris belong to my ancestors, direct from the Haji Asraf the Pendekar Harimau Berantai himself and his lineage. They fought the Dutch colonial forces in Indonesia until Independence Day. The owner before me was my late father Pendekar Othman Kassim. This is the beginning of arrival of many other ancient Keris to me.
My first experience of learning the Keris was in 1975, when I trained under legendary keris expert Mahaguru Haji Alias Jamil the Supreme Grandmaster of Gayong Harimau Silat. This style originated from the ancient Kedah Empire and it is based on the way of the Keris. I taught this style in the UK and Ireland more than 25 years ago. My other Keris art come from the world famous Silat Seni Gayong which I studied parallel with Gayong Harimau. In this Bugis Silat style, students are taught the Keris when they are graded to red sash. I continued to learn the keris and weapons of seni Gayong until I was graded to Black sash in 1979 by the late Mahaguru Dato’ Meor Abdul Rahman Uda Hashim just before flying to the UK to study for my A Levels at Harrogate college of further education in Yorkshire, England. I was not granted the permission by the Mahaguru to teach this style abroad.
My next Keris art is from my family art known as Harimau Berantai which I only have the chance to learn since 1986. It is a Javanese Silat style renowned for its blades fighting systems. My aunt Mahaguru Hajah Ramintan Samingon is my teacher. Parallel with the Harimau berantai training, I become the student of Melaka Silat icon; the late Mahaguru Haji Sotin Mohd Ali a legendary Keris expert. Mahaguru Haji Sotin taught me the Keris art of Seni Silat Hulubalang Melaka; a style which believe to have lineage to the Silat greatest warrior of all time Datuk Laksamana Hang Tuah. From these heirs and sources; I learn, explore and embrace the science of the keris of the Ancient Kedah, Bugis, Java and Melaka Empire of Nusantara, the Malay world.
Read full article by Prof Jak Othman here