The Presean Dance of Sasak Tribe of Lombok

“For the rains, the sasak tribe of Lombok perform this unique martial art form, where to impress the rain god these people fight amongst each other and the more blood comes out, the better it will rain” said our guide Ouji, while he took us on a walk to the only inhabited village of the Sasak tribe in Lombok, the Ende Village

“It is dangerous sometimes but it is a belief that has been practiced by the sasak people for generations and today you are going to be a part of this grand ritual. You wouldn’t be witnessing it in its purest form though but you are going to get a glimpse of it in dance form’ Ouji further added

Soon, I saw two men coming in bare chest, with a shield in one hand and stick in another ready to perform the dance. On the local music beats and instructions from the referee they started hitting each other with sticks and before I could understand what I am witnessing and what they are doing, I was told that this is called Presean

Getting Ready to perform Presean

Understanding Presean: The Traditional Martial Art Form of Lombok

Presean, the traditional martial art form of Lombok has been a part of  the sasak tribe of Indonesia for many generations. Presean which means the fight by using Penjalin (Rattan) as a tool and Ende (Shield) as a protective device has been preserved with the people of Lombok for a long time now, a belief with which they pray the rain god for better rains.

How Presean is Performed

Honestly, Presean is considered as the symbol of masculinity amongst the youth of sask tribe of Lombok and each one of them try to win. During the fight, Pepadu (the warriors) will start hitting the opponent by using the penjalin and ende, on the instructions from the referee called the pakembar.

The battle starts when the drummers will play a traditional musical instrument of Lombok, and each hit in tune with the traditional musical instrument played by the drummers, Pepadu (Warriors) each block and hit your opponent until one of them to leak or bleed because there is one of those who surrendered.

It is another thing that sometimes this martial art form can hit hard because Pepadu (the warriors/players who fight) had to fight till one of them bleeds. More the blood, the better rains is expected is what it is believed.

The fights are held in 5 rounds and the winner is decided in two ways. Either one of them starts bleeding or on the basis of the score, which is decided by pakembar (the referee) from his observation during the fight.

Fighter Equipment

The fighting sticks that are used to fight are made from rattan (hence called rattan) wood with a diameter of 2- 2.5 cm and length of 110 cm. The ende or shield is made of using the wood and bamboo frame which is covered with either deer or cow skin. The size of a shield is usually 40 x 60 cm.

Usually, the practice of Presean was limited to the dry season in Lombok but due to its increased popularity, this form has found its place at the celebration of the Indonesian Independence day.

The Future of Presean

Though, the future of these ancient practice looks bleak with youngers moving out of the village for earnings. But let’s just hope for the best

The future of Presean looks cute though 🤪

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