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The first martial skills in the Malay Archipelago were those of the indigenous tribes (orang asal) who would use hunting implements like spears, machetes, blowpipes and bows and arrows in raids against enemy tribes. Certain tribes were well-known warriors and pirates such as the Iban and the Tringgus of Borneo. Aboriginal populations on the peninsula were mostly replaced by Deutero-Malays and Chamic people in a wave of migration from mainland Asia around 300 B.C. These settlers were rice-farmers from whom modern Malays are directly descended.
The areas from where they originated are concurrent with the early evidence of silat. Sumatra in particular is considered the birthplace of much that today constitutes Malay culture, in particular the Malay language, while the first prototype of a kris came from Cham-dominant southern Vietnam. The silat tradition has deep roots in Malay culture and can trace its origin to the dawn of Malay civilization, 2000 years ago.

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