The badik sewar is a traditional combat weapon from Sumatra, Indonesia. This type of badik looks similar to the traditional daggers used by the Bugis, Makassar and Mandar people of southern Sulawesi, Indonesia. Though the shape of the sewar‘s blade also has a lot in common with the Tumbuk Lada from the Riau Archipelago, located south of Singapore. However, the blade of the sewar is longer and heavier than that of the Tumbuk Lada and most other badiks. Furthermore, the distinctive warangka (sheath) of the short-bladed dagger features several similarities in design compared to the scabbard of the rencong from Aceh, Indonesia. Yet this particular thrust weapon (i.e., badik sewar) is in fact of Indian origin.
Traditionally the badik sewar was the weapon of choice in many close-quarter fighting styles, such as in pencak silat and several other forms of martial arts. Hence the Sumatran dagger is considered an important cultural artifact that resembles the extraordinary bravery, masculinity and warrior mentality of the Alas, Acehnese, Gayo, and Minangkabau people. Although the true badik sewar no longer serves a practical function, enactments of combat techniques are still performed at cultural shows today. These knife fighting techniques (e.g., striking, slashing) are demonstrated in the offensive movements of Tari Sewah (sewah being another name for sewar), a traditional dance from Minangkabau influenced by various styles of traditional Indonesian martial arts, including pencak silat.
Due to the badik‘s original function as a weapon, it is therefore also believed that the Sumatran dagger holds supernatural powers to help protect the owner from danger and to evade physical attacks by his or her enemies. In addition, these magical qualities automatically boost one’s charisma and ability to effectively subjugate others. Owing to its potent powers, the badik sewar is further known to improve one’s skills as a manager or supervisor of work groups and teams. Through the dagger’s inherent mystical properties one will thus be able to reach a higher level of development of one’s personal values and standards (e.g., integrity, justice, and maintaining the societal good). In this way, then, the badik gives the owner the courage to face risks and work at overcoming obstacles in the pursuit of his or her goals.