One of my favorite question when learning with Gayong Masters is asking them what is really "Gayong" definition, from his own perspective or understanding. I had many answers though. Whether they come from my readings online or books, from discussions with Gayong practitioners, or from my direct encounters with old masters. Some of them talked about the term Gayong/Gayung itself in Bahasa Melayu, so in the Kamus Dewan Bahasa online, it has 2 definitions :
1) The first one is the water container with a handle, a tool which is used to wash up, originally made from a coconut shell with a stick.
2) The second definition is quite broad;
i) whether is a stick used as a weapon;
ii) . hit, slash, stab, etc (with a weapon); playing Silat martial arts (Boxing etc);
iii). Ilmu/Kebatinan, mantra to hurt (kill etc) people from afar; ~
iv) Technique to avoid enemy attacks or
v) Argument, debate, words used to answer people's conversations; ~ tua, ~ cut off prb saying that old people are usually right;
vi) bergayung, bersilat (actions/verbs of practicing Silat)
vii) "Gayong people" , as Malay expression : as the "kundi" seeds on the tray; just a group of wise people;
viii) 1. cut, stab, spear etc. (with a weapon); 2. say spells to kill enemies etc. (Dean's Dictionary Fourth Edition)
Helped by the Google translate, I tried to edit few words from the original meaning taken from Kamus Dewan.
[ga.yung] | ݢايوڠ
Definisi 1 : pencedok air drpd tempurung dsb yg bertangkai, sibur. (Kamus Dewan Edisi Keempat)
Definisi 2 : 1. sl sj tongkat yg dipakai sbg senjata; 2. pukulan, tetakan, tikaman, dll (dgn senjata); main ~ bersilat (bertinju dll); 3. = ilmu ~ sj mantera utk menyakitkan (membunuh dll) orang dr jauh; ~ bersambut kata berjawab prb mengelakkan serangan musuh atau menjawab percakapan orang; ~ tua, ~ memutus prb cakap orang tua-tua biasanya benar; bergayung bersilat (bertikam dll); orang ~ sama pandai sama bak kundi atas dulang prb sama arif dan bijaksana; menggayung 1. menetak, menikam, menombak dll (dgn senjata); 2. mengucapkan mantera utk membunuh musuh dll. (Kamus Dewan Edisi Keempat)
Some of Masters said "Gayong" was the name of an invincible Malay warrior. Some of them revealed that it came from an old Ilmu named "Ibu Gayong". This ilmu actually to be believed used by Almarhum Dato' Laksamana Hang Tuah to defeat Taming Sari during the epic combat-to-death of both of them when Malacca Sultanate delegation visited Majapahit Kingdom. It is claimed that Hang Tuah used the "4 lethal Ilmu" which are "Ibu Gayong Sendi Gedang Tunggal", "Semar Alam Tunggal", "Belah Bumi Kipas Nandung", and "Raja Kipas Nandung".
Soalan:"Dengan langkahan persilatan yang manakah Datuk gunakan bagi menikam Tamingsari?"Hang Tuah:"Datuk gunakan langkahan ibu gayong sendi gedang tunggal, semar alam tunggal, belah bumi kipas nandung, raja kipas nandung."
But the deeper I learn from these old Masters, the deeper understanding about "Gayong" I gain. In the Silat Seni Gayong perspective, "Silat" is all the external self defense techniques. The old Masters loved to coined the term "Seni 349" which covers all the locks (Kuncian), strikes (Pukulan & Kombat), grappling (Kunci Hidup), Weapons, and all the variations (Pecahan). Normally the Red belt, which symbolize the "Blood and Bravery" of a Pendekar, is awarded to the a brave and very skillful Silat fighter. Nowadays, due to modernization, the Red Belt simply represents a Silat practitioner who completed his/her Red belt syllabus, and performed well during his/her belt grading. Although most of places have "diluted" their requirement to gain this belt, I personally know few Gelanggangs which still stick to the traditions and refuse to follow the modern methods. In these Gelanggang, if we are not trained well enough in the free-fight, even though having few Dans in Black Belt, we could get ass kicked by their red belt students. The modern style of learning the syllabus, with static response, is good for basic learning in Gayong. Historically, it was created to make it safe to teach to the school students. It hels lot in creating good body conditioning, and coordination. It helps in promoting Gayong all over the country, with most of Gayong class skips the "Sparring" session. Some Gelanggang has the "sparring" session, but more on the "Silat Olahraga", which slowly has changed many of old styles. It used to be one of a must module in the traditional Gayong teaching. Without these, we are creating a generation of Gayong instructors who are not skillful in fighting, which are indeed the contrary of the main purpose learning it in the first time ; to defend ourselves. By the way, what I wanted to say is these are all covered under the name of "Silat", the first phase in Silat Seni Gayong.
The "Seni" in the other hand, refers to the "internal" self defense techniques. Being a Silat master in Malaysia, and throughout of Nusantara, where the black magic practices are still exist, learning the internal-self defense is a must. These wouldn't be an issue, as far as I can see, teaching martial art in the western country. But being a Silat teacher in Malaysia, one must get ready to be challenged into a fight, whether physically, or internally. We use the term "Ilmu Kebatinan", referring to the mystique arts, based on Holy Book of Quran, tradition Mentera (Mantra), Rukyah/Bomoh (Exorcism), Nafas (respiration), Rewani (unconscious mind), Mimpi (dreams), and certain kind of ritual and ceremony etc. I experience myself, and witness many of my circles, being challenged by these black magics. The practices of Kebatinan in Silat and also in Perubatan (Malay Traditional Healing) are quite controversial especially in Malaysia where Islam is the official religion of the country and Islam prohibit the practices of "Sihir" (Black Magic). That's why some of religious Gayong Masters, who have the deep knowledge regarding these matters, have presented the Kebatinan practices in Gayong to the Islamic Authorities in different states and found out that they don't contradict against Islamic laws. The old Masters loved to share their knowledge and secrets with the loyal and truthful disciples. It is indeed the responsibility of Gayong Masters to help the students by stepping in himself, or asking help from other expert from his entourage. An enemy could send you a "Santau", a wind-transported black magic, into your plate. Those who ate the Santau will had an internal bleeding in the body and will vomit blood, and could cause death, if not treated quickly. A man perverted man who wants to have power on every women he sees will use the "Minyak Dagu", (Chin Oil). He has to dig up the grave of certain dead body, cut the head off, and burn the chin of until getting the oil from it, reciting the Mantra with the name of certain Jin/Satan, and complete it with some other rituals to get the power. It is so powerful that any girl that is touched even with a bit of the oil will forget everything and become his slave. It is common too that someone lost in the jungle, or mountain because they accidentally trespassing into the "Bunian" village, a half-breed of creature from Human and Jinn. These are just 3 lessons from many others that every Gayong practitioner who intend to become a Master should know and learn how to protect, to help, and to cure. The "training" of Seni part is very different from the Silat part. The main component is the Zikir, and the first requirement is to recite the "Qulhu" for 70 000 times. When only finishing the process, the disciple will be allowed to continue and to explore in this "Seni" phase. That is why in this level, is it associated with the Yellow belt. The yellow color comes from the Royal color, and also the curcuma (Turmeric), as one of the main healing and cooking ingredient in Malay culture. It represent the "Sakti" (Magic) and mysticism, and proceeds as the second phase "Seni" in the Silat Seni Gayong.
The final phase, or our final destination as Anak Gayong, is to arrive to "GAYONG". Gayong is Black, that represent the shadow. Shadows doesn't have any color of your skin, or your clothes, or you ranks. Everyone, human being, mountains, trees, any object, will have the same color of shadow. It symbolize the "spirit being", a true form of human being and all other creatures. The journey through "Silat" as a fighter-soldier, and through "Seni" as a wizard-sorcerer, living constantly in conflict to survive in the human and invisible world, we cannot imagine the ego build up in our spirit. This is the most crucial phase that one has to achieve, without doing so, one could easily drown in his material and worldly-fame and pleasure. The journey to the Gayong is the real destination, where the "train" would have few stops in different stations to refill the coal, or waiting the change of railway track. We as the passenger could go outside, taking few minutes break under a tree shade, while drinking a mango juice bought from the hawker. No matter how comfortable we feel at that moment, we must not stay there the moment the train resume its journey. We must get back to our seat, or else, left behind and with no way finding the "true" destination. We can taste and enjoy all the life during the journey, but never confuse it with the original purpose. The true destination is to know who really are we. To see it, to know it. Those who stops the journey before the final destination, would probably be happy in his/her life here, for a short period of times, but will miss a great purpose of his/her existence. The old masters sometimes would say "Whoever knows himself, knows his Lord. And whoever knows his Lord, everything will disappear". This is the final phase that each Anak Gayong has to at least arrive at it's door, open it, and look how beautiful the place is. The beauty of this phase will make all the worldly problems seems so light and manageable, and none of positions, ranks, belts, sandangs, influences or supporters, could replace the "Gayong". Those who are still in Silat phase, will think that HPCS7 is the ultimate purpose of Gayong, while those who are still in Seni phase, will think the Sandang Waris Amanah will make him become the strongest and the most respectful Gayong Master. But the reality is that these are only the tests for us. We must take a good care, whether we hold in only in our hands, or we position them dearly in our heart. Those who turns away from the beauty of world, will find the sweetness in being with his Lord.
And for me, I don't really know how long more my journey continues. But as long as I am still breathing, I will keep my seat in this train, till the day it stops for eternity...