SDMAA wants to popularise ‘kuntau’ among youth

Uggah (left) handing over the cheque to Abraham.

KUCHING, Aug 20: The Sarawak Dayak Martial Art Association (SDMAA) here has set a great challenge for itself — it wants to popularise the traditional “kuntau” native martial arts among the new generation.

This, according to its secretary Abraham Melai, is a heavy task given the fact that the youth are already more into practising martial arts like taekwondo, tang soo do, karate, muay thai, hapkido and others which are very well established.

“But if we want to preserve ‘kuntaul we must go to the youth. To do this we have to restructure the teaching to make it more appealing, more beneficial healthwise, and to be most practical in our modern time,” according to Abraham in a press statement today.

“We have to include sport science concepts like having warming up and warming down exercises, stretching, basic movement, strength and speed training, the proper class training syllabus, the upgrading and what not,” he elaborated.

Abraham added when these could be done, ‘kuntau’ masters could then teach full time and make instructing a profession.

“SDMAA is one of only two (such bodies) in Malaysia to be recognised as a full member by the World Martial Arts Union (WoMAU) under the patronage of UNESCO.

“This union has a total of 62 members from 42 countries,” said Abraham who is also a ‘kuntau’ master himself.

He also disclosed SDMAA had taken part in this prestigious gathering a number of times.

“Without sounding overly ambitious, it is our target to be able to bring this festival here one day,” he said.

Abraham had earlier received a cheque for RM50,000 from Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas to sponsor its senior officials and ‘kuntau’ exponents to participate in the coming 19th Chungju World Martial Arts Festival 2019/ 2nd World Martial Arts Mastership 2019 in Chungju city in North Chungcheong province in South Korea from August 26 to Sept 6.

The 20-member delegation will include ‘kuntau’ grandmasters, masters, exponents and traditional music and dance performers.

They will present group and individual demonstrations of their respective styles including the use of traditional weapons like the “terabai” (war shield), “parang ilang” or machete, “sangkuh” or spear, “kerambit” or tiger claw, blowpipe and small dagger.

Meanwhile Abraham said SDMAA would welcome other ‘kuntau’ groups as its affiliates.

“Contact or write to us and we can sit down to discuss.

“However the main criteria is your ‘kuntau’ style must be the traditional type with a long ancient lineage,” he said.

On behalf of SDMAA, Abraham thanked Uggah for his contribution to making the coming Chungju trip a success.

“We hope he could turn up personally to present the state flag to us before our departure on August 26,” he said. — DayakDaily