HomeBlogs Balinese Martial Art The First Open Mepantigan Bali Championship was held at Green School,
Sibang Kaja, Badung Regency on 15 and 16 August 2008. Mepantigan is a
traditional Balinese martial art similar to wrestling, combined with
dance and music, making it an exciting spectacle. The word mepantigan
comes from the Balinese panting, meaning "push" or "throw".
founder of Bali Mepantigan Arts, a Taekwondo athlete, Putu Witsen
Widjaya, was inspired to hold this recent event by the Mepantigan event
held on the beach at Sanur on 15 August 2003. Noting that mepantigan
looked quite exotic when the competitors, greased with coconut oil, were
working on sand, Putu got the idea to present it in a new format:
Mepantigan on mud.
There are several good reasons why Putu chose a
muddy arena: to use the rice field land that is still available in
Ubud, to send a warning signal about the shrinking area of rice fields
in the region, and most importantly, to honor Dewi Sri, the goddess of
rice and symbol of fertility. And so the first Mepantigan in Ubud was
held in 2006. Putu's desire remained to present Mepantigan on a larger
scale that could attract even more tourists, so this year he has
presented it as an art form.
"Mepantigan has many meanings: it's
not just local wisdom, but also a special feeling, steeped in a sense of
celebration, a spirit of togetherness, solidarity, and sportsmanship,"
Putu explained. He refers to Mepantigan as a traditional sport and an
achievement. Many took part in the Mepantigan – men and women, from
small children to adults, and even some tourists.
are similar to those of international martial arts events, with weight
categories ranging from fin through fly, bantam, feather, light, welter,
and middle up to heavy, with the names for the categories translated
into Balinese. The sport requires sportsmanship and sincerity. The
referee carefully supervises each match. There must be no jabbing or
kicking; only pushing and holds are scored, though aggressiveness and
smiling both bring extra points.
Though most of the competitors
come from other martial arts clubs, such as judo or taekwondo, they have
to set those standards aside, because this competition is only for art
and solidarity. During the match, the competitors are required to wear
traditional clothing –sarong and udeng (traditional Balinese men's
headdress). The match is accompanied by Balinese gamelan, which adds to
the excitement. As well as the Mepantigan matches, the championship also
featured Balinese body painting, a demonstration of ancient Balinese
pentjak (another martial arts form), mud and fire dances, Balinese
bamboo fire kecak dance, and traditional ceremonies in honor of Dewi