Martial arts of SE Asia
Muay Thai (Thailand) Muay Thai is probably the most famous martial art of the region. Thai kickboxing or Thai boxing, as it is also referred to, is a style of fighting that makes used of the usual kicks and punches found in kickboxing, but especially strikes with the knees, clinching techniques, and blocks and strikes with the shin. Muay Thai has become popular with non-Thais in the last 20 years, and many training facilities throughout Thailand accommodate foreigners. The hard-core nature of training is renowned and also the reason relatively few people who try it stick with it for more than a short period of time.
(Pencak) Silat (Indonesia, Malaysia, Southern Philippines, South Vietnam) Silat is an overall general style of fighting practiced in Malaysia, southern Thailand, Indonesia, southern Philippines, and South Vietnam. In modern Indonesia, it is usually called Pencak Silat, a combo of 'Silat,' as it was known in Sumatra, Bornea, and other islands, and 'Pencak' as it was known in Java. Silat is similar to Karate in many regards - stances, open hand fighting, kicks, and forms, but like Arnis from the neighboring Philippines, weapons training is an essential part of training. This includes sticks (tongkat), knife (kris), and machete (parang). The movements of silat are meant to be fluid and based on chakra energy principles. Silat is often, in fact, performed as a dance during festivities, with traditional music. Many Pencak Silat schools in Indonesia still incorporate traditional and more mystical (from Sufism) aspects and application of the art, including prayer and meditation, acupressure, fighting while blindfold, being able to feel one's way around a maze while blindfold, locating bombs using one's perception/sixth sense, and so on. Silat Seni Gayong is the leading style taught in Malaysia, including to the Malaysian police. It originally came from the area near south Sulawesi in Indonesia. Like other styles, it includes strikes, grabs, joint manipulation, weaponry, and acrobatics, but follows a standard set curriculum of advancement.
Arnis / Eskrima Filipino martial arts are famous for teaching fighting using a rattan stick or 2 sticks, which are called canes or bastons. Each is about 70cm long. Striking techniques and unarmed defense against the stick(s), knife, and bolo (machete) is taught, as well as empty hand combat and the use of improvised weapons. The terms Arnis, Eskrima, and Kali are used interchangeably to refer to this general Filipino style of martial arts. Various organizations and practitioners prefer one term to another and emphasize slightly different aspects of the same overall art. (Modern) Arnis has been the official national martial art of the Philippines, since 2009, when President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed an Act making it so. Modern Arnis is based on the long tradition of Filipino martial arts (Arnis, Eskrima, Balintawak) and was developed by Remy Presas from the 1950s on. He had studied other Japanese martial arts and incorporated locks/holds found in jujitsu into the training. Modern Arnis leaves out some of the more traditional brutal aspects of training (for example, instead of being struck on the bare skin constantly by rattan sticks, pads are used), so as to attract more interest.