The youth leaders of the Pencak Silat project play a crucial role as implementers and mentors for local youth in the community. They are students with Pencak Silat skills eager to develop themselves as professional athletes, while others are interested in martial arts as it represents Malay Muslim culture. These leaders believe that Pencak Silat is not just a sport or outdoor activity but represents their culture and identity. Despite the perception that Pencak Silat is a violent sport, it requires physical and mental strength. Athletes must have the sagacity to manage their bodies and power. A good Pencak Silat athlete doesn’t necessarily have a big body but possesses a strong mindset and sagacity during competitions.
The youth leaders of the club not only teach the basic fundamentals of Pencak Silat but also instill a positive mindset in their trainees. They emphasize that Pencak Silat is not a dangerous sport where people fight with each other, but rather a sport that focuses on stealing the physical power of the opponent. The winner is the side that exerts the least effort. Pencak Silat requires a strong mindset to wait and assess the situation, with the ability to plan ahead and take mitigating steps, which are the main principles of every form of Pencak Silat martial art. Practicing Pencak Silat develops the ability to read a situation, think beyond it, and solve problems using mitigating steps.
During their practice sessions, the youth leaders serve as positive role models for the local youth. They excel in the sport and actively listen to their peers’ concerns and opinions. It is important to note that the club operates in five subdistricts where identified areas with violent incidents. This makes it challenging for students and young people to engage in extracurricular activities after school, and they lack access to mentors. The Pencak Silat club serves as a space for the youth to express their opinions and converse with youth leaders and other club members, such as seniors and friends.
The club’s efforts to provide a supportive and safe environment for youth development in such a challenging context are commendable. The youth leaders have shown their leadership skills by tackling tough issues that arise among the club members. For instance, when some members were discussing weapons and other harmful topics, the youth leaders took the initiative to divert their attention toward healthy and positive discussions during practice sessions. The youth leaders have successfully applied this approach. By guiding the group discussion towards safer topics, individuals naturally shift their attention towards more positive and productive discussions.