The Muslim culture is closely associated with the Middle East. While some Muslim nations have had many conflicts of both a religious and a military nature, there are not many well-known Muslim fighting styles or martial-arts. This does not mean that they do not exist. Some fighting styles that developed in Muslim regions centuries ago are still practiced today.
The principle form of martial-art that has Muslim roots is called Pencak Silat Sharaf. It originally was called Silat Mubai and gets its origins from traditional Silat styles of Eastern China. Ali Ibn Abu Talib is credited as the most significant founder of the style and he was a cousin of Islam's prophet Mohammad. The fighting style is highly militant in nature with much of its training focusing on weapon attacks. In modern Pencak Silat Sharaf, guns and knives are heavily used and attacks are trained from ambush positions. There is also a highly spiritual side to the art, due to its origins in the Islamic faith, that focuses on both inner and outer strengths. The outer strengths involve the physical application of the art while the inner strength (Ilm Al-Batin) focus on warrior mentality, morality and using the fighting style to combat social injustices. One of their sayings is "Be a friend to the oppressed and an enemy to the oppressor."
The traditional Silat Mubai was divided into several subsections that included hand-to-hand, ground fighting, and weapons training. The hand-to-hand and grappling are generally trained full-contact in the traditional style. The knife is a principle weapon used in the style and much of the offensive training of Silat Mubai (and now Pencak Silat Sharaf) incorporates offensive knife techniques in its teaching in both standing and ground fighting.
If someone has a gun to your head, Pencak Silat Sharaf focuses on neutralizing the gun arm and then controlling the elbow to bring the weapon back towards the attacker to deliver a kill shot. Likewise, knife attacks are defended either with your own knife by deflecting and counter-striking to vulnerable areas of the body like the groin and throat or by trapping the knife hand and stripping the knife away. Once the knife is taken, it is used upon the attacker.
Their in-fighting techniques utilize a lot of knees and elbows to weaken the attacker, frequently followed by a knife strike to deliver a killing wound. The soft areas of the body are the main targets, such as the temple, throat, abdomen and groin.These tactics are still regularly taught and practiced today in various forms of military training.
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