Mepantigan is a form of Balinese martial arts that involves similar physical techniques to those found in self-defense traditions around the world. But Mepantigan extends the form by also drawing upon Balinese drama, contemporary dance, and gamelan music, fusing fighting with the performing arts to create an entirely new cultural phenomenon. Participants wear uniforms consisting of traditional Balinese clothing, and can compete on the beach, in the mud of rice fields, or in any open space.
Practitioners of Mepantigan gain physical fitness, release stress, and learn valuable lessons in camaraderie and sportsmanship. In addition to physical skills, strength, and agility, both emotional and spiritual intelligences are utilized.
According to Putu Witsen Widjaya, the founder and senior teacher of Bali Mepantigan Arts and a martial arts champion, students of Mepantigan evolve as human beings and avoid violence while cultivating compassion. As he observed, “Wherever proper martial arts develop, evil will diminish and a respect for others will grow. This is particularly true for those who practice Mepantigan, which is a celebration of the spirit”.