A traditional Indonesian golok
Place of originMalay Archipelago region
Service history
Used byAustronesian people
Length25–50 cm (9.8–19.7 in)

Blade typeSingle edge, convex grind
Hilt typeWater buffalo horn, wood
Scabbard/sheathWater buffalo horn, wood

A golok is a cutting tool, similar to a machete, that comes in many variations and is found throughout the Malay archipelago.[1] It is used as an agricultural tool as well as a weapon. The word golok (sometimes misspelled in English as "gollock") is used in Indonesia and Malaysia. Both in Malaysia and in Indonesia, the term is usually interchangeable with the longer and broader parang.[2][3] In the Sundanese region of West Java it is known as bedog. In the Philippines, the term gulok (also known as gunong), refers to different dagger weapons including the kris.[4]


Silat Betawi demonstration of disarming a person who has a golok.

In Indonesia, the golok is often associated with the Betawi and neighboring Sundanese people. The Betawi recognize two types of golok; gablongan or bendo is the domestic tool used in the kitchen or field for agricultural purposes, and the golok simpenan or sorenam that is used for self-protection and traditionally always carried by Betawi men.[5] The golok is a symbol of masculinity and bravery in Betawi culture. A jawara (local strongman or village champion) will always have a golok hung or tied around the waist at the hips. This custom, however, has ceased to exist since the 1970s, when authorities would apprehend those that carry the golok publicly and have it confiscated it in order to uphold security, law and order, and to reduce gang fighting.[6]

Sundanese, Javanese[7][8] and Malay golok have also been recorded. The use of golok in Malay was recorded as early as the Hikayat Hang Tuah[9] (text dated 1700)[10] and Sejarah Melayu (1612),[11]


Sizes and weights vary, as does blade shape, but the typical length is 25–50 cm (9.8–19.7 in). Golok tend to be heavier and shorter than parang or common machetes, often being used for bush and branch cutting.[12] Most traditional golok use a convex edge or an edgewise taper, where the blade is less likely to get stuck in green wood than flat edged machetes. The blade is heaviest in the centre and flows away in a curve to a sharp point at the tip.

Golok are traditionally made with a springy carbon steel blade of a softer temper than that of other large knives. This makes them easier to dress and sharpen in the field, although it also requires more frequent attention. Although many manufacturers produce factory-made golok, there are still handmade productions that are widely and actively made in Indonesia.

Modern application

Martindale design is a modern representation of another traditional golok variant, the Golok Bangkung.

The golok style is noted for being the pattern for British Army-issue machetes used since the early 1950s.[13]

See also


  1. ^ Stewart Binns (2015). The Darkness and the Thunder: 1915: The Great War Series. Penguin UK. ISBN 14-059-1629-X.
  2. ^ Kamus Utama Ejaan Baru. Pustaka Zaman. 1973.
  3. ^ "Kamus Besar Bahasa Indonesia dalam Jaringan (KBBI daring) -entri Golok". kbbi.kemdikbud.go.id (in Indonesian). Retrieved 11 December 2019.
  4. ^ Pendatun, Datu Shariff, III. "Notes on Maguindanao". Grid. No. Volume 3. Retrieved 16 February 2024.((cite news)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  5. ^ G. J. Nawi (2016). Maen Pukulan -- Pencak Silat Khas Betawi: Dari Anak Betawi Untuk Insan Pencak Silat Dunia. Yayasan Pustaka Obor Indonesia. p. 277. ISBN 978-97-946-1983-4.
  6. ^ "Golok Pusaka Cibatu, Sukabumi, Jawa Barat: Pandai Besi Senjata yang Andal" (in Indonesian). Wonderful Indonesia. Archived from the original on March 18, 2014. Retrieved March 18, 2014.
  7. ^ Golok Jawa.
  8. ^ Carol Laderman (1991). Taming the Wind of Desire: Psychology, Medicine, and Aesthetics in Malay Shamanistic Performance. University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-06916-1.
  9. ^ Kassim Ahmad (1975). Hikayat Hang Tuah: (Menurut naskhah Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka). Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka. p. 243.
  10. ^ Hikayat Hang Tuah - malay concordance project
  11. ^ A. Samad Ahmad (1986). Sulalatus Salatin (Sejarah Melayu). Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka. ASIN B00800IO50.
  12. ^ Albert G Van Zonneveld (2002). Traditional Weapons of the Indonesian Archipelago. Koninklyk Instituut Voor Taal Land. p. 29. ISBN 90-5450-004-2.
  13. ^ Ed. Len Cacutt (1988). Survival. Marshall Cavendish Books. p. 177. ISBN 1-85435-539-2.

External link