Sharpen your self defence skills with Balinese traditional wrestling.
Mepantigan, which means “to throw,” is a form of Balinese wrestling that combines self-defence techniques, traditional dancing and fun in the mud. The act is soundtracked by gamelan (a Balinese percussion ensemble) while participants grapple in knee-deep mud with the aim to tripping or throwing their opponent down into the rice field.
Founded by Putu Witsen Widjaya, a martial arts champion, Yayasan Mepantigan hosts hands-on courses in the basics of the practice as a novel stress reliever and fitness builder. Visitor donations from each half-day session help to fund the education of young students from the surrounding area of Batubulan which serve as the the foundation’s instructors.
Step over a bamboo bridge into Yayasan Mepantigan’s open-air training grounds, encircled by palm forests. You’ll be greeted with a homemade lemongrass-and-pandan-leaf soda and a deafening kelaras welcome dance, performed by a troupe of masked men.
Your hosts—Komang, Uci and other young people involved in Mepantigan’s programme—will help you into a saput poleng (traditional sarong) in readiness for training.
Shadowing Komang, you’ll pick up sparring techniques, practice Balinese dance gestures, and learn chants like “Seng ken, ken cang, Katos!,” meaning, “It’s okay, I’m strong!” Prepped for battle, you’ll take your newly-acquired skills to the ring—which, in mepantigan, is a muddy field.
Mepantigan tuition, refreshments, traditional lunch
Old comfortable clothes, the kids
What People Say
“Mepantigan takes from and uses several martial arts techniques and blends them together with Balinese drama and contemporary dance, including the gamelan orchestra in the background, creating a fight performance art. It can be done in a rice field, or muddy grounds, even on the beach. It’s difficult to imagine, but it involves a lot of wrestling, throwing and submissions, all whilst dressed in Balinese traditional attire”Now! Bali