Next up in Black Belt’s new entertainment blog: Yasmine, a unique film that follows a high-school girl in Brunei who sets out to learn the martial art of silat.

Most of us have no idea what life in Brunei — or even what the culture of this Islamic state on the north coast of Borneo — is like. A new film titled Yasmine is about to change that. It’s not only the first movie ever produced in Brunei, but it's also bound to be of interest to you because it’s all about martial arts. For a clue as to what Yasmine is about, think Rocky meets Karate Kid — but make sure you’re envisioning The Next Karate Kid, the 1994 sequel that starred Hilary Swank. That’s because Yasmine paints a picture filled with elements that could have come from any American high-school girl's coming-of-age story: peer pressure, attraction to boys and an ongoing fight for independence from her strict, single-parent dad, who’s unable to accept her adolescent pining and desire to learn pencak silat. Why does the titular character Yasmine, played by Liyana Yus, want to learn silat? For all the wrong reasons: to fight her high-school nemesis and silat expert Dewi at an upcoming silat tournament, and to win over her childhood sweetheart and silat champion Ali. When Yasmine connects the dots and discovers that Dewi is Ali's new girlfriend, she freaks out, and her yen for victory becomes even stronger. Yet that's dampened when her father enrolls her in a strict Muslim school, where she chooses to wear a red head scarf to symbolize her individuality in a school hierarchy of conservatism. History sidebar: Although the term “pencak silat” was chosen in 1948 to be a unifying name to describe the Indonesian martial arts, silat is believed to have originated during the powerful Malay empire of Srivijaya (seventh century to 13th century). Some legends hold that unlike most martial arts, silat was not created by a man. A woman named Bima reportedly founded the style of bima sakti, which incorporates a philosophy of never being the first to strike. It also teaches that even if you’re hit, you should try not to hit back. Another version of silat’s founding tells that while she was washing clothes in a river, a woman named Rama Sukana observed a monkey fighting a tiger. She later used the monkey's movements to avoid being physically abused by her husband.


Burton Richardson, Black Belt’s 2015 Self-Defense Instructor of the Year, teamed up with the magazine to make an online course called Silat for the Street. It teaches the techniques from the Indonesian martial art that he’s deemed most effective for modern combat. Click here for details!

Yasmine's first silat teacher in the movie claims to be a master of tenaga dalam, something akin to chi in the Chinese martial arts. However, the filmmakers chose not to delve into the subject, which is unfortunate. Considering that Yasmine is a family film, you may find the action is rather lightweight, especially compared to the popular silat-based film series The Raid. However, Yus holds her own. She spent several months training in kuntao, a Chinese art widely practiced in Indonesia. That gave her the skill base she needed to endure the fight choreography, which was created by Chan Man-ching, a longtime filmmaking associate of Jackie Chan. The best thing about Yasmine is that no matter where the plot’s twists and turns take viewers, at the end of the day, it's the silat that brings Yasmine peace, love, friendship and a deeper understanding of herself and her life. It's almost as if the young martial artist was walking in the footsteps of silat's foremothers. Watch the trailer for Yasmine here. Photos courtesy of Originfilms. Go here to order Dr. Craig D. Reid’s book The Ultimate Guide to Martial Arts Movies of the 1970s: 500+ Films Loaded With Action, Weapons and Warriors.
SUBSCRIBE TO BLACKBELT MAGAZINE TODAY!
Don't miss a single issue of the world largest magazine of martial arts.

The UFC returned to American network television for the first time in more than two years Saturday on ABC while former featherweight champion Max Holloway returned to his winning ways following two straight losses, earning a unanimous decision over Calvin Kattar in Abu Dhabi. Holloway showed he still has plenty left as a fighter dominating Kattar from the opening bell of the main event with a mix of punches and low kicks.

It appeared as if the former champion might stop his opponent in the fourth round landing a series of vicious body blows followed by hard elbows to the head as a bloodied Kattar sagged against the fence. But Kattar somehow survived managing to keep himself upright through the fifth stanza as well, only to lose a lopsided decision. After dropping his title to Alexander Volkanovski and then losing a controversial rematch, Holloway may have put himself in position for one more crack at the championship following Saturday's impressive performance.

The Legendary Black Belt Magazine Hall of Fame has never before been documented in a single location. Now, you can learn about all the icons that have achieved one of the greatest honors in all of martial arts.

Black Belt Magazine is proud to announce the NEW Member Profiles feature for the Hall of Fame. At the time of this article, the online records account for every inductee from the inaugural year of 1968 all the way through 1990 (upwards of 200 martial artists). The page will be updated continuously and will include every inductee through 2020 in the near future. For now, you can enjoy images and facts about the legendary members for each induction they received before 1991. Take advantage of this never-before-seen opportunity to learn about many of the martial artists who contributed to the lifestyle, culture, and community that every martial artist experiences today.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE BLACK BELT HALL OF FAME

Black Belt Magazine Subscriptions

When it comes to grappling arts most people have heard of Judo, Ju-Jitsu, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Sambo, and Sumo. The dynamic art of Shuaijiao, though it is not as well known as the others, should be.

What is Shuaijiao?

Shuaijiao (also spelled Shuai-Chiao) is a Chinese martial art that is approximately four thousand years old. Shuaijiao was born in a time of warfare long ago when to fall on the battlefield meant likely to never get up, and in that spirit, the curriculum of Shuaijiao focuses on throwing in a variety of ways. It is a standup grappling style, meaning that although there are hip throws, leg sweeps, and hand techniques, like many other arts, there is no ground grappling. The goal of Shuaijiao is to end up in a dominant position standing.

Keep Reading Show less

ONE Championship's first event of 2021 is on the horizon as the company returns to the Singapore Indoor Stadium for ONE: Unbreakable on January 22.

In the main event, bantamweight kickboxer Capitan Petchyindee Academy challenges ONE Bantamweight Kickboxing World Champion Alaverdi "Babyface Killer" Ramazanov for his crown.

The Thai challenger has a chip on his shoulder for this contest. Capitan mentioned that he wants to prove all of his doubters wrong with a title-winning performance on Friday in a video detailing the matchup.

Keep Reading Show less
Sign up for our weekly newsletter!
Stay up to date in the martial arts community with news from around the world, techniques of all styles and all around guiding you in your martial arts journey
Don’t miss a thing Subscribe to Our Newsletter