YAHYA Bakhit is a young man from Uganda who has become enamoured by the beauty of Silat Garuda.The Albukhary International University (AiU) foundation student was introduced to the Malay martial art when his roommate signed up for Silat Garuda training last December.
"I followed my roommate to one of his training sessions.
"Next thing I knew, I was a member of the Kedah-based Malay martial art troupe," he said.
What struck the 21-year-old was the combination of style and power in the moves of Silat Garuda.
"When I first saw it, I thought to myself that I must sign up to learn silat, and I am glad I did.
"It is a fun and healthy way to spend my free time," said Yahya.
He is one of 25 foreign students to join AiU's Pencak Silat Club. The foreign students are from Fiji, Somalia, Kosova and Sri Lanka, among other countries.
Training is from 9pm to 11pm on Fridays and Saturdays at the club.
As a kickboxer, Yahya has little trouble picking up the moves and sticking to the strict training regime for Silat Garuda exponents.
In fact, he won the silver medal in the Silat Combat Festival in Penang last December -- just a few weeks into training.
He lost in the tough battle against a silat exponent from Universiti Pertahanan Malaysia in the finals.
"Silat Garuda has been very good for me. I hope to introduce it in my country after I have completed my studies here," he said.
Yahya's coursemate, Mohammad Yazid Razali, 21, who is from Acheh, Indonesia, said it was patriotism that drove him to sign up for silat training.
"Indonesia's national coat of arms is the 'Garuda Pancasila'.
"By learning Silat Garuda, I feel that I am upholding the pride of my country," he said.
Yazid said there was a martial art with the same name in Indonesia.
"I wanted to know if there were similarities between the two.
"On top of that, I have also made many friends among my silat partners," he said.
Yazid has participated in four silat tournaments, and won a bronze medal in one.
Coach Norhayatudin Othman, 45, described his foreign trainees as very hardworking.
Silat Garuda, founded by Datuk Abdul Raof Hussain in Kampung Pegawai, here, in 1962, is a combination of Silat Minangkabau, Silat Kuntau Jawa and Silat Sadang -- all of Indonesian origin -- as well as tomoi, the Malaysian form of the Thai martial art.
It has about 30,000 members in Kedah, Penang, Pahang, Perak, Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Negri Sembilan, Malacca and Terengganu.
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Pictured from right: Abang Faheem, Tanzeelur-Ragmaan, Aunty Aasieya, and Boeta Kassiem Jassiem. They proudly show us an original hand-written Quran, written by their forefather, Tuan Guru Imam Abdullah bin Qadi Abdussalam.
On Friday evening, 15th February 2013 we visited Tanzilur-Ragmaan Jassiem at his home. His parents Aasieya & Kassiem Jassiem were present, and offered us fizzy drinks and some nice homemade cookies. Tanzilur-Ragmaan comes from a good family, being a 6th generation descendent of Imam Abdullah bin Qadhi Abdussalaam (Tuan Guru) from his maternal side. Our purpose was to draw up a report about his experience at the annual AYLI (Azhar Youth Leadership Institute) 40 day camp, which he attended in December 2012.
Tanzeelur-Ragmaan also partiipated in Silat training arranged by Pukulan Melaka South Africa, and Azhar Seni Beladiri Silat schools.
Parents' General Overview
Q) Do you feel Tanzeelur-Ragmaan has benefitted from this program, and have you seen a positive or negative change in him since his return from Jakarta?
A) He is now more mature and organised, and seems to have a better insight into life. We noticed an improvement in his attitude and he seems to be more independent. We feel this program has done him much good, and we thank the organisers very much for this opportunity granted to our son, we are very grateful.
Q) How have you found the program, and what changes, if any, have you noticed within yourself?
A) I found it to be very informative and enlightening in many ways, and the leadership course has made me a more responsible person. I felt that I previously lacked ambition, self confidence, and generally didn't push for excellence. It has been an eye-opener for me and I feel more prepared for lifes challenges.
Q) Tell us more about your experience when you first arrived in Jakarta, seeing that it was your first time there.
A) Some of the things I had to deal with was adapting to the time and climate etc, which I feel made me a stronger person.
Q) Your best and worst experience?
A) My worst experience was getting sick with a stomach bug.
Best experience was a race we had similar to the Amazing race. We were told to take a bus in various teams and finding clues along the way, not knowing our final destination. My team ended up taking 4 different vehicles to reach the end. Although we came last, it was fun.
Q) Being a Cape Malay of Indonesian descent, was it a cultural shock for you or did you find much similarities in the Indonesian people compared to the Cape Malays?
A) There were some similarities, as people are generally friendly and they shake hands to greet one another after solah. I was told they also have a legacy of dhikr gatherings and moulud, although I never attended any due to following the leadership camp.
Q) How was the food?
A) It was pallatable, though bland. My favourite dishes are Nasi goreng, Bubur ayam, and roti Keju. Milk was expensive so i avoided it, and I didn't find any koeksisters.
Q) How was the program structured?
A) We would train Silat after fajr from about 5 or 6am until 8am. In this session we do physical training and exercises. We get an hour to rest and freshen up. In the evening we have another 2 hour silat session which is more focussed on techniques. Ka' Jojo was our coach, and he coached us on how to coach others and management principles in being a trainer.
The youth Leadership course took place between 8-11am, and again between 3-4pm.
Q) how many youth attended the youth camp? and were there females as well?
A) Yes, more females than males, and we were a group of about 22. Some attendees from Johannesburg, Indonesia, malaysia, and Palestine.
Q) On a mental and emotional level, did you find yourself wavering from your purpose there at times?
A) I missed home at times, but never became homesick. The environment and being surrounded by good people all the time left no space for wavering. We encourage and inspire each other. I would say I was mentally and emotionally stable throughout my stay in Indonesia. One thing which was more challenging was sleeping in tents on an open field, sometimes accompanied by rats. But this made us stronger.
Q) We heard that for the last few days of your stay, you were the last remaining participant at the camp. How did this affect you, and did you slow down or lack the drive needed to put your best forward?
A) The last few days, I trained the Jurus tunggal (a series of 99 silat moves combined with empty hand, staff and sword techniques). It was challenging, but I never lost focus. I did however feel sad because leaving indonesia was soon approaching.
Q) Staying at an Islamic institution, Al Azhar University, was there a spiritually focussed program as well?
A) Pak Sariat was a father figure to us, and guiding us along the way in every aspect. I also maintained a close relationship with Qori Ustadh Mukhtar, the Imam of the Azhar Masjid, however we did have a little bit of a communication barrier. He made me lead the congregational prayers for Jumuah, which was a first for me in my life. I was also asked to give a nasihah (advice) to the local musallees after solah, where I spoke about the importance of the Quran in our lives. I spoke in english and I had an Indonesian translator.
Q) Do you feel that this kind of program could be applicable in Cape Town? What would you add or change to a program like this designed for Capetonians or South Africans?
A) The original 40 days leadership program which was initiated in 2011, was reduced to an intensive 2 week program. The organisers felt that the participants were fatigued after 40 days, and the same outcomes could be achieved within a shorter span. So this could work better for Cape Town. Some elements of that program would have to be replaced to reflect a Cape Town theme and capetonian needs. The AYLI program was designed to introduce the indonesian language and culture to its foreign participants. We could definitely use the AYLI program as a model.
Q) In terms of your silat, how will you maintain what you have learnt in Indonesia?
A) Apart from attending regular silat training sessions in Goodwood, I also go over my jurus at home. School takes up most of my time now, but i do train where I find the time and space.
Q) What are your concluding remarks?
A) The leadership camp was geared towards developing our leadership roles and skills, and trained us how to be more responsible role models for other youth. Of the valuable lessons :
We thanked Tanzilur-Ragmaan and his parents for their time, and for participating in the program. We hope he will becoming a shining example for others to follow, and wish him the best for his future.
For the second time, 37 year old Abdul Malik Ahmad competed in the Silat World Championships. The 15th silat world tournament was held in November 2012 in Chiang Rai, Thailand (see video at the bottom of page). Abdul Malik is an American muslim and currently a Silat instructor at the ASBD (Azhar Seni Bela Diri - Azhar Moslem Martial Arts) silat school in Virginia, USA.
In 2010, Abdul Malik was the first and only American athlete at the World Silat Championships in Jakarta, where he participated in the Seni Tunggal category (Solo performance), as well as in the Tanding (sparring) category. Although he didnt bring home any medals, Abdul Malik was happy to participate and enjoy the experience. "
Once known as a hamlet of warriors in colonial times, Jampang village is now striving to pass on that legacy to its younger generation.
The sun shone brightly one Sunday in the village in Parung, Bogor. Dozens of children wearing black-and-white uniforms swarmed onto a field to learn and to practice the traditional Indonesian martial art known as pencak silat. Teachers soon led the pack and showed the students a few moves, followed by the students’ echoing shouts under the scorching sun.
The practice sessions are part of weekly activities in Kampoeng Silat Jampang, a training center of traditional martial arts in Indonesia.
The country, with its diverse cultures and ethnic groups, is home to what has been estimated to be 150 variations in style. Different provinces even have their own self defense traditions. The Minang
kabau in West Sumatra have silek harimau, the Sundanese have their cimande style and Bali has bakti negara. Some of those fighting methods have even gained reputations on the global stage, with their popularity reaching Australia, the US, Europe and Japan.
The self-defense technique got another boost from the success of the action movie The Raid, which features Indonesian actors performing pencak silat.
But despite the global fame, it is still a challenge to maintain the pencak silat tradition in the midst of modern society.
This has occurred in Jampang, where the heirs of the Betawi folk hero of the same name are believed to reside and are struggling to preserve the art.
According to local legend, Jampang was a warrior from Sukabumi, West Java. He was a good fighter and used his skills in pencak silat to battle against Dutch colonialism. On his way to Batavia (now Jakarta) to confront the enemy, the man was believed to have sojourned in what is now called Jampang, where he taught local people fighting skills.
A few hundred years later, Jampang’s legacy is now under threat, according to Saptadji, 47, who was one of the teachers at Sunday’s training session and the head of Kampoeng Silat Jampang. He said that youth in the area these days seem to have lost interest in pencak silat.
“They prefer to watch television or play video games,” said the man.
The current situation is much in contrast to the past, Saptadji explained. In the old days, pencak silat was more than a self-defense technique but a way of life, as almost all the people in the village, both young and old, knew how to fight.
This strong cultural influence can still be traced through family histories, with almost all locals interviewed for this article explaining that their ancestors — either fathers, uncles or grandfathers — were pencak silat fighters.
Saptadji himself is the nephew of Sukarna, who is believed to be a sixth generation descendant of Jampang.
In attempts to pass on the legacy of his predecessors, Saptadji with the support of private foundation Dompet Dhuafa, initiated Kampoeng Silat Jampang in 2009 to revive the fighting tradition in his village.
One of the programs is free pencak silat training for everyone.
Saptadji said more than 1,000 people, mostly under 18 years of age, had joined.
“Most of them are residents of Jampang,” Madroi explained.
In order to expand, fighting lessons are not only given on Sunday at Kampoeng Silat Jampang’s headquarters at Rumah Sehat Terpadu Hospital for the poor founded by Dompet Dhuafa in Parung. Trainings are also offered at schools in the form of extracurricular activities.
Dompet Dhuafa representative Moh. Noor Awaluddin said the program had so far entered 17 schools in Jampang subdistrict.
Apart from regular exercises, Kampoeng Silat Jampang also holds an annual festival. The latest Kampoeng Silat Jampang festival was held at the beginning of November, which coincided with the program’s fourth anniversary.
The event is a major gathering for traditional Indonesian martial arts groups. Saptadji said different self defense clubs attended the last festival to show off their unique skills and styles.
In the long run, Awaluddin hopes that Kampoeng Silat Jampang will become a new center for the development of the ancient self defense method in the country, standing side by side with the existing martial arts hub at Taman Mini Indonesia Indah, or perhaps replacing it.
“I hope in the future Kampoeng Silat Jampang will become the destination for people interested in finding out about traditional Indonesian martial arts,” the man said.
Currently, Kampoeng Silat Jampang is the training ground for four different martial arts groups (Satria Muda Indonesia, Pancer Bumi Cikalong, Perisai Diri and Beksi Traditional Haji Hisbullah) and targeting two more (Tapak Suci and Merpati Putih), he said.
Joining Sunday’s training session was the Satria Muda Indonesia group under the leadership of Saptadji, and Perisai Diri, believed to be the most popular Indonesian fighting group, with memberships extending to
Europe, Japan and the US.
One of the Perisai Diri members is 16-year-old Bella Oktaviani. The senior in high school may be the perfect example of a Jampang village youth who helps to preserve pencak silat. The long-haired girl said she started with Perisai Diri one-and-a-half years ago through an extra curricular activity at her school.
“I wanted to learn about self-protection and through this program I have so many new friends,” said the girl who participated in the Pencak Silat World Championship in Samarinda, East Kalimantan, this year.
The program’s good influence on the young seems to have encouraged many parents to enroll their children in the Kampoeng Silat Kampang training program, including 35-year-old Lilis Kartika, who enlisted her 7-year-old, Muhamad Arravi, in Satria Muda.
“The main thing is so we don’t lose what we had,” said the woman, who is a native of Jampang.
The mother of two explained that her father and grandfather were pencak silat masters in the village and she said she was eager to see her son follow in the steps of his predecessors.
However, it turns out the program has strayed from its original mission of preserving the tradition. But in a good way.
Self defense skills, international recognition and soon financial benefits are on the list of good things coming from the efforts to save pencak silat in Jampang.
During an interview with The Jakarta Post, Awaluddin revealed Dompet Dhuafa’s plan to develop a local home industry to produce martial arts weapons and accessories.
“We want to support locals in the production of daggers or silat costumes,” he said.
This kind of support, Awaluddin added, is expected to improve people’s living standards in the region and give residents strong reasons to continue preserving the tradition.
And good things lead to other good things. That is the lesson from Kampoeng Silat Jampang with its effort to preserve the pencak silat tradition, which in the end brings wider benefits to the whole village.
— Photos By Jp/Ika Krismantari
article taken from thejakartapost.com
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