Two antique truncheons. Below is the smaller Indonesian tekpi and above is the Okinawan sai.
|Place of origin||Unknown (possibly Indonesia, India or China)|
The tekpi is a short-handled trident from Southeast Asia. Known as tekpi in Malay, it is called chabang or cabang (Dutch spelling: tjabang meaning "branch") in Indonesian, siang tépi (雙短鞭 lit. "double short whip") in Hokkien, and trisul (ตรีศูล meaning "trident") in Thai.
The tekpi is believed to have been derived from the Indian trishula, a trident which can be either long or short-handled. The tekpi itself is occasionally referred to as a trisula, especially in Indonesia. More than a weapon, it was also important as a Hindu-Buddhist symbol. Use of the tekpi probably spread with the influence of Indian religion and eventually reached Malaysia, Indonesia, Okinawa, China, Thailand, and other parts of Indochina. It is unknown whether the tekpi was brought to the Malay Archipelago directly from India or from several places simultaneously. The earliest evidence of the tekpi outside India suggests that it spread from Indonesia. Other sources propose that the tekpi was brought to Southeast Asia from China, but it seems unlikely for the Chinese to introduce an Indian weapon to a region already heavily influenced by the culture of India.
The tekpi is made of iron or steel, the basic form of the weapon is that of a pointed, dagger-shaped metal truncheon, with two curved prongs projecting from the handle. The prongs extend from the hilt and are useful for grabbing away an opponent's weapon.
Tekpi are generally wielded in pairs, favouring short, quick stabbing movements similar to a knife or a kris. Defensively, the tekpi is effective for guarding against bladed weapons. The outer prongs are meant for catching the opponent's weapon, allowing for a disarm or deflection of the attack. When rotated so that the tip is pointing towards the user's elbow, the hilt could be used in a thrusting blow while the shaft is kept parallel to and against the forearm to block attacks. When not in use, the tekpi are hung at the waist.
- The Malay art of self-defense: silat seni gayong, Sheikh Shamsuddin, North Atlantic Books, Jul 28, 2005 P.51
- A MALAY-ENGLISH DICTIONARY (Google eBook), R.J. WILKINSON, 1901 P.246
- Comprehensive Asian fighting arts, Donn F. Draeger, Robert W. Smith, Kodansha International, 1980 P.181
- Albert G Van Zonneveld (2002). Traditional Weapons of the Indonesian Archipelago. Koninklyk Instituut Voor Taal Land. ISBN 9-0545-0004-2.
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