Pencak Silat is a unique sport that allows women to join the practice and enter competitions by wearing the Hijab or the scalp of Islamic women. The sport is prevalent among Asian countries, especially in the countries that have integrated with the Malayu culture. Pencak Silat is being promoted in many vital international sports competitions, namely the Asian games and the national Pencak silat championship. In Thailand, the Pencak silat national athletes have been successful in national competitions. However, most of the successful athletes are male. Therefore, many Thai women Pencak Silat athletes still work hard to develop their potential and find opportunities in national and international competitions.
Pencak Silat is a project that promotes the sport to at-risk youth and girls. The clubs are also intended to provide a safe environment for girls to participate in a competitive sport, and parents are enthusiastic about their daughters joining a Pencak silat club. Enlisting Muslim girls as members provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to empower them in a traditionally conservative cultural setting. However, throughout operating on the ground, the project found that female students may not be interested in sports, especially in Pencak Silat. During the third quarter, May – July 2022, the project found a reduction in girl members. The youth leaders attempted to identify why several girl members were dropping out of practice. The youth leaders found that the main reason girls dropped the Pencak Silat practice was its complexity and that they always got hurt during training. Further, they deemed that the sport may not attract girls because of their attitude toward martial arts – with many girl members believing Pencak Silat is a sport for men.
The youth leaders discussed and brainstormed ideas to promote the benefits of Pencak Silat for women, with reasons other than the opportunities to get sports scholarships in the sports institutes. Throughout the third and fourth quarters, the youth leaders attempted to empower and encourage the girl members through the idea of protecting themselves from acts of violence. Female youth leaders have a vital role in talking with the girl members. They emphasized defending practice for girls to protect against severe injury during training. Moreover, they shared their experience with competitions and the many physical benefits of Pencak Silat. For example, practicing Pencak silat can help increase height and improve good posture. Consequently, the girl members had the confidence to practice. However, the girl members also focused on the physical benefits essential for the mind during the practice.
As a result, there has been an increase in the girl members in many clubs. Some potential female members maintain the practice even though their friends have dropped out. Furthermore, the girl members promote Pencak Silat to other students in schools.
On October 22 2022, the project found that many girl members joined the subdistrict competition. They were rewarded in many competitions. The communities, parents, and teacher support and encourage their effort. Many girls think Pencak Silat is a great sport, and they received much motivation and made new friends from this event.