BFF-21 Masked warriors: Indonesia fighters wield whips in traditional duels

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BFF-21

INDONESIA-CULTURE

Masked warriors: Indonesia fighters wield whips in traditional duels

SURABAYA, Indonesia, Jan 6, 2019 (BSS/AFP) – Dressed in bright colours and
lunging at each other with long, looping whips, martial arts fighters in
Indonesia were cheered by spectators as they dueled during a traditional
festival on Sunday.

A martial art practised by the Manggarai people from southern Indonesia,
Caci bouts typically involve two men wearing masks while wielding shields and
whips made out of rattan.

A fighter wins by hitting his opponent in the face or the head.

The duels are full of symbolism — the leather-handled whips represent
masculinity and the sky, while the round shields stand for femininity, the
womb and the earth.

The festival — which took place in Subaya, Indonesia’s second largest
city — aims to preserve and promote Caci and the Manggarai culture, the
organiser said.

It is held so “the tradition won’t be eroded by time and the modern life”,
said organiser Tarius, who like many Indonesians goes by one name.

In ancient times, the fighters — in the Manggarai peoples’ province of
East Nusa Tenggara province — were men from different villages who competed
against each other to celebrate the harvest season.

BSS/AFP/RY/1715 hrs