12 Proverbs of Javanese Silat

The following twelve proverbs outline the philosophy behind Javanese silat.  These were presented to me by my teacher Daniel Prasetya, but are commonly known and taught throughout Java.  Thank you to Guru Tristan Sutrisno for his help in keeping these translations true to their original meaning.   Note: Capitalized sentences are the original Javanese, the bracketed sentences are the Indonesian translation, and the English is in italics.

‎1. URIP IKU URUP
[Hidup itu nyala, hidup itu hendaknya memberi manfaat bagi orang lain di sekitar kita]
Life is a flame, live to benefit others around ourselves.

2. MEMAYU HAYUNING BAWANA, AMBRASTA DUR HANGKARA
[Harus mengusahakan keselamatan, kebahagiaan dan kesejahteraan serta memberantas sifat angkara murka, serakah dan tamak]
Strive for safety, happiness and prosperity while eliminating characteristics of greed, wrath, and jealousy.

3. SURA DIRA JAYA JAYANINGRAT, LEBUR DENING PANGASTUTI
[Segala sifat keras hati, picik, angkara murka hanya bisa dikalahkan dengan sikap bijak, lembut hati dan sabar]
Cruel traits, pettiness, and greed can only be lost with wisdom, kindness, and patience.

4. NGLURUK TANPA BALA, MENANG TANPA NGASORAKE, SEKTI TANPA AJI-AJI, SUGIH TANPA BANDHA
[Berjuang tanpa perlu membawa massa, Menang tanpa merendahkan/ mempermalukan, Berwibawa tanpa mengandalkan kekuasaan/kekuatan/kekayaan/ keturunan, Kaya tanpa didasari hal2 yg bersifat materi]
Fight without needing numbers. Win without degrading or shaming your opponent. Command without relying on power, strength, wealth or lineage. Be rich without relying on material things.

5. DATAN SERIK LAMUN KETAMAN, DATAN SUSAH LAMUN KELANGAN
[Jangan gampang sakit hati manakala musibah menimpa diri, Jangan sedih manakala kehilangan sesuatu]
Do not become heartbroken easily when disaster falls upon you. Do not be sad when something is lost.

6. AJA GUMUNAN, AJA GETUNAN, AJA KAGETAN, AJA ALEMAN
[Jangan mudah terheran-heran, Jangan mudah menyesal, Jangan mudah terkejut dgn sesuatu, Jangan kolokan atau manja]
Do not become amazed too easily. Do not be quick to regret. Do not let things shock you too easily. Do no not become spoiled or pampered.

7. AJA KETUNGKUL MARANG KALUNGGUHAN, KADONYAN LAN KEMAREMAN
[Janganlah terobsesi atau terkungkung dengan kedudukan, materi dan kepuasan duniawi]
Do not become obsessed with or shackled by position, material goods and worldly satisfaction.

8. AJA KUMINTER MUNDAK KEBLINGER, AJA CIDRA MUNDAK CILAKA
[Jangan merasa paling pandai agar tidak salah arah, Jangan suka berbuat curang agar tidak celaka]
Do not step on someone’s toes or hurt others to pursue your own agenda. (Literally: Don’t feel clever by not going the wrong way.  Do not cheat to avoid harm.)

9. AJA MILIK BARANG KANG MELOK, AJA MANGRO MUNDAK KENDHO
[Jangan tergiur oleh hal2 yg tampak mewah, cantik, indah dan jangan berfikir gamang/plin-plan agar tidak kendor niat dan kendor semangat]
Do not salivate over things that appear luxurious, pretty or beautiful, and do not fret or act wishy-washy to avoid sagging morale.

10. AJA ADIGANG, ADIGUNG, ADIGUNA
[Jangan sok kuasa, sok besar/kaya, sok sakti].
Avoid arrogance and maintain humility. (Literally: Do not act with quasi-power, quasi-size, and quasi-magic.)

11. ALANG ALANG DUDU ALING ALING , MARGINING KAUTAMAN.
[Persoalan persoalan dlm kehidupan bukan penghambat , jalannya kesempurnaan].
Problems in life are not barriers, but are the way to perfection.

12. SOPO WERUH ING PANUJU sasat SUGIH PAGER WESI.
[Dalam kehidupan siapa yg punya Cita2 luhur, jalannya seakan tertuntun]
In life, those with noble ideals, walk as if guided.