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Golok naga indonesia.jpg
A traditional Indonesian golok
Type Machete
Place of origin Malay Archipelago
Service history
Used by Austronesian people

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

A golok is a cutting tool, similar to a machete, that comes in many variations and is found throughout the Indonesian 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 and (spelled gulok) in the Philippines. 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.



Sizes and weights vary, as does blade shape, but the typical length is 25 to 50 centimeters. Golok tend to be heavier and shorter than parang or common machetes, often being used for bush and branch cutting. [1] 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.


Silat Betawi demonstration of disarming a person who has a golok. Pencak Silat Betawi 2.jpg
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. 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. [4]

Sundanese, Javanese [5] [6] and Malay golok have also been recorded. The use of golok in Malay was recorded as early as the Hikayat Hang Tuah [7] (text dated 1700) [8] and Sejarah Melayu (1612), [9]

Modern application

Martindale design is a modern representation of another traditional golok variant, the Golok Bangkung. Golok 2.jpg
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. [10]

See also

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  5. Golok Jawa.
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  7. Kassim Ahmad (1975). Hikayat Hang Tuah: (Menurut naskhah Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka). Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka. p. 243.
  8. Hikayat Hang Tuah - malay concordance project
  9. A. Samad Ahmad (1986). Sulalatus Salatin (Sejarah Melayu). Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka. ASIN   B00800IO50.
  10. Ed. Len Cacutt (1988). Survival. Marshall Cavendish Books. p. 177. ISBN   1-85435-539-2.