Monday, December 13, 2021

Dabus | An Art of Self Defence Performance


Dabus of which I have always thought is a musical art is an art of self defence (well, art lah jugak kan), based on the concept of heroism (kepahlawanan… is this translation accurate?). I bet many of you are wondering, tang mana yang heroismnya kan (wondered the same too)?

Apparently, for one to learnt/marter dabus it requires intelligence, agility and bravery among others. Dabus existing for more than 300 years ago in Perak and has seen migrated to other part of Tanah Melayu/Malaysia. In Perak, it expanded to Setiawan and Bagan Datoh of which eventually reach Sabak Bernam, Sungai Besar and Kuala Selangor. It said that Dabus was brought to Tanah Melayu by Ahmad Mahyuddin who is from Persia (Baghdad) in 1785, and that he was the student of Muhammad Abil Hassan al-Rifai. Other school of thoughts theory is that Dabus was brought here via Aceh in Indonesia.

This part is intriguing - it was used to train soldiers for battles back then. Remember I said that I thought it was merely and musical art, well I learnt during this Rentak Selangor trip, a Dabus dancer or player (referred to) uses ‘anak dabus’ or ‘dabus’s son’ of ‘son of dabus’ made of sharp iron. Usually in Dabus, players not only use ‘anak dabus’, the also uses other sharp weapon to provoke and showcase the prowess of the dabus player. Weapon used are basically keris (the Malay daggers), daggers, axes and a few other sharp weapon.

What we often see are the dabus performance and not the self defence art. The traditional performance combines 3 art forms ie singing, dance and art of self defence. And in self defence performance, it is a norm to see players use the sharp weapon to “slice/poke” the own body parts (usually arm).

Dabus style of singing is called berzanji or/and marhaban and the instruments used are gong, rebana and gendang. A Dabus group consist of 22 performers/ players including namely musical instrument players and dancers. There are four types of dance moves called 'susun sireh', 'ayam tajak', and 'helang sewah'. Each dancer holds a pair of ‘anak dabus’ while dancing, and dancers’ moves are according to the music.

As the music started to get upbeat, the dancers will “slide/poke” the ‘anak dabus’ onto their arms, this act is supposedly done when the dancer is in trance. Amazing, once the performance is over, those injured will be restored by the leader of the group.

Rentak Selangor Fam Trip is in collaboration with UPENS (Unit Perancangan Negeri Selangor), Tourism #Selangor and all its sponsors with #GayaTravel as media coordinator.
#RentakSelangor #KitaSelangor #UPENSelangor #MediaSelangor #PusingSelangorDulu #MKNS #PMNS

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