User:Preserving knowledge/Poekoelan

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FocusStriking the opponent
Country of originIndonesia Indonesia
Olympic sportNo

Definition and origin[edit]

Poekoelan is a martial art from Indonesia, the word 'poekoelan' is the archaic, Dutch colonial spelling of what is at present most commonly written as 'pukulan'.[1] The exact meaning of 'poekoelan' translates into English as 'a series of returning hits'. Poekoelan has also been translated as 'boxing' accompanied with the additional explanation that it is not limited to the use of hands, because it also includes kicks, although to a lesser extent than punches. Roughly translated 'poekoelan' simply means 'fighting' or 'combat'. [2]

The word poekoelan was originally used by descendants of Indonesian born mestizo’s (people of mixed Eurasian marriages), most often Dutch-Indonesians. The mestizo’s called their own martial art ‘poekoelan’ to distinguish it from the pure Indonesian martial arts, called Silat. Emphasizing this distinction between pure Indonesian and Mestizo martial arts was very important for the Mestizo’s, because the Mestizo’s did not enjoy the status of Indonesian, neither that of European. Using a different word for their own martial art gave the Mestizo’s something that helped them to define a cultural identity of their own.

After witnessing the effectiveness of the poekoelan martial arts, several Indonesian Silat groups offered to let the small and scattered groups of poekoelan players join their Silat style. The poekoelan players, whom were never fully accepted by the Indonesians before, were reluctant to let the Indonesians take pride in calling a Mestizo martial art Indonesian Silat, and therefore refused to join any Silat group. When the Mestizo’s were promised the status of civilian in the Netherlands in return for fighting for the Dutch in Indonesia, they felt they finally received a sense of recognition as citizen, which is the reason why they chose to keep using the Dutch colonial spelling ‘poekoelan’ and not the modern Indonesian spelling ‘pukulan’.

Several martial arts which originated in Indonesia and Malaysia use the word 'Poekoelan' or 'Pukulan' in the name of their martial art, alongside with adjectives which help to distinguish these different martial arts from each other. Often these distinctive names were created after the different poekoelan martial arts were introduced to Europe and America. Different styles of poekoelan today are 'Poekoelan Tjimindie', 'Poekoelan Kemajoran', 'Pukulan Madura', 'Pukulan Betawi', 'Pukulan Pecutan', 'Pukulan Tangan Buka', and others.

Modern usage[edit]

Times have changed and nowadays the Mestizo’s –also known as Indo people– do not have big issues with the Indonesians anymore, so a large part of them have opted to use the modern spelling of ‘pukulan’ instead of ‘poekoelan’. The modern spelling is also more phonetically accurate in accordance with English rules of pronunciation, and has been adopted by mestizo’s in America much earlier than by those who settled in the Netherlands. Many poekoelan groups have also opted to use the word ‘Silat’ in conjunction with the word ‘Pukulan’ as to increase their visibility as a martial art, because the word ‘pukulan’ itself is much less known than the word ‘silat’.