Suhu Subur Rahardja was born on April 4, 1925. His name at birth was Liem Sin Tjoei, son of Liem Kim Sek and Tan Kim Nio. They lived at Angbun St. #79, Lebak Pasar, Bogor, where both his older siblings, Liem Pouw Nio and Liem Sin Teng, were also raised. It was the custom at that time to call boys by the appellation 'Babah', so Suhu was called Babah Cuih. This was later shortened to Ba-Cih. [i]
From the time he was 6 years old, Suhu joined his elder brothers in being educated by their father. His father was a martial arts master who had come from a long line of martial artists. Suhu was further trained in the foundations of silat by Asuk Yat Long, a martial arts master also residing in Lebak Pasar.
When Suhu was a small child, he liked to play with kites with his friends. While still a child, our teacher already liked to socialize, loved his friends, and was ready to defend any one of them who was in trouble. During his school years, Suhu had a Dutch education at the Kesatuan school and also studied English at the Tunas Harapan school, in Suryakencana, Bogor. He was further educated at the Gedung Dalam school.
When Suhu was 8 years old, his father passed away. Suhu was then adopted by his uncle, Liem Kim Bouw, a martial arts teacher and expert medicinal healer who resided in Pulo, Bogor, not far from Lebak Pasar. In the residence of his adoptive father, Suhu came to know a lot of Science[ii] because he was entrusted to various teachers. His uncle, a student of Mpe. Sutur, the founder of Cimande [a style of pencak silat], often received in his house various martial champions who needed help.
Every day, Suhu helped his uncle in his herbal medicine shop, Sumbur Sehat [Emerging Health]. Suhu was also active in Asmara, a voice and Keroncong music group.[iii] In the 1940s, out of this group was formed the Lima Macan Pulo [Five Tigers of Pulo], who started holding latihan [martial arts training sessions].
Oei Peng Hoei
Tjio Wie Kwat
Kwee Hian Tjie
Lim Sin Teng (a.k.a. Lim Sin Tjoan)
Lim Sin Tjoei (a.k.a. Suhu Subur Rahardja)
In 1950, Suhu began working in the sales/distribution office of Stanvac in Jakarta. This American-based enterprise was active in the field of petroleum refinery. This division was an extension of the Sungai Gerong field. In the Merdeka Selatan office, Suhu handled bookkeeping and utilities and as head of the Mailing Service was in charge of correspondence.
In 1951, Suhu married Lie Gwat Nio. They were blessed with 9 sons and daughters:
Irwan Rahardja [a.k.a. Ii]
Gunawan Rahardja [a.k.a. Jijin]
Lim Lan Hoa (deceased)
Ardyan Rahardja [a.k.a. Dd]
In 1952, when Suhu was 27 years old, PGB was officially established.
From that moment on, his time and his life were devoted to PGB. He made PGB and his students who needed help his first priorities.
The expansion of PGB Bogor became especially rapid after he demonstrated [silat] at Stanvac. The entire office staff began to join [silat] training. Usually around noon Suhu trained the office workers in an empty office room. It so happened that amongst the Stanvac employees there was also a teacher of the silat style known as Pat Kwa. His name was Peng Ciang. He invited Suhu to talk and then try his ability against him. In one contest of skill, Suhu threw Peng Ciang.
As more latihan groups formed in Jakarta, it became very apparent that Suhu did not get enough sleep and only rarely got together with his wife and children. On weekdays he left for work before his children woke up. He took the train to Jakarta. After office hours, he went to train in various places. By the time Suhu returned home, his wife and children were already deeply asleep. Even on holidays (Saturdays), Suhu would go to Jakarta. His colleagues and friends would wait for him by the floodgates in order to go to Jalan Kesehatan [Health Road] together. After training, they ate lunch together. Often Suhu leaned against a tree or anywhere else and immediately fell sound asleep. When it was almost time for a training session to start somewhere else (i.e. Bungur or Gunung Sari), he would wake up.
His last position at Stanvac before it was taken over by Pertamina [a government-owned Indonesian oil company] was in the Utilities department. His main duty was to cover work for employees on leave. He also oversaw other areas, including: (1) Processing foodstuffs such as seaweed and temulawak [an herb]; (2) Producing film development solutions and photographic equipment; and (3) Processing coffee required by Jama'ah haji [people leaving on pilgrimage to Mecca].
Suhu liked to go hunting in a manner that was quite unique, even incredible. Simply by stomping his feet on the ground, he attracted wild animals who would approach him. He stopped this activity after hearing a mother ape cry because she had become separated from her children.
Although there is no ivory that is not cracked, his cracks were more than compensated for by his indescribably extraordinary qualities. Even hearing him cough from a distance of about 5 meters away, one would feel the vibration in one's own chest. Once when he was at Pelabuhan Ratu beach, during a PIBU championship [a competition amongst martial masters] in West Java, Suhu was declared Martial Arts Champion Number One without even having to compete, because his feet had left no traces in the sand.
All that 'wah' [mystical power] was possessed by Suhu, yet not a trace of arrogance was in his appearance. His spiritual strength was apparent from his daily attire of a white t-shirt and loose-fitting pants. He would get together with his students, relax in a tamarind wood chair, or read Kho Ping Ho in a rattan chair in Kebon Jukut, Bogor [PGB headquarters and main training center].
Until he died, his only desire was to spread the science [of silat]. He was not ambitious, but nevertheless made Indonesia famous in the lands of Australia, Europe, and America.
Suhu Subur Rahardja - your body is buried in Tugu, Cisarua, but the products of your struggle and charisma live on in the hearts of all that knew you.
The 1950 Period > Background on the Formation of PGB
Members of the Lima Macan Pulo each possessed special knowledge of the science [of silat] and the majority of the elemental animal movements such as bird, snake, monkey, tiger, and dragon. At first they only trained together. This training was carried out in secret, even from Suhu's adoptive father, Lim Kim Bouw. According to Suhu's real brother, Liem Sin Teng, who was one of the members of the Lima Macan Pulo, their training consisted of exchanging knowledge with one another that each had been given by their elders. In the Chinese tradition, each family usually possesses a particular science [martial art system] that is known as that family's style and is passed down successively from generation to generation only within that family. Because of the secretive nature of this knowledge, it sometimes happened that some of the science was lost to future generations.
Their training also included watching silat films of both good imported silat as well as traditional silat. During this period, the detail of silat movement in the films was so clear that, upon returning home, they could practice together the martial arts steps that they had memorized and also discuss them.
Although the Lima Macan Pulo normally did not accept students and were reluctant to be called teachers, Suhu finally accepted one person who asked to be taken as a student. This was Kwe Ciu Kong, alias Kong-Kong. After that, more members came along: Tam Kong Hwa, Ong Kiat Wie, Kwe Ciu Cin, Lu Eng Sian, and John Atmadja. Gradually, the number of members increased.
Selection of new members was done by a team of supervisors formed by Suhu, which included Lu Eng Sian, Tirta Rahardja, and Ong Kiat Wie. This team's task was to investigate the background of prospective students. Those that were felt to have the right to obtain a "Surat Berkelakuan Baik" [Good Inspection Letter] could be accepted as students after passing an initiation. Students had to look for a river stone about the size of a playing marble, then round it by any means they saw fit. The rounded stones were kept in a container in front of the altar at Liem Kim Bouw's residence. These stones symbolized the hardness and roundness of the students' determination to face instruction. They also had to make an important promise not to demonstrate the movements without Suhu's permission. Suhu was at that time addressed as 'Encek' [Younger Uncle] by all his students.
Because there were increasing numbers of members, including some from outside Bogor, it was necessary to organize training activities. It was especially important at this time lest the club be regarded as an illegal association.[iv]
After reaching an agreement [to start the organization], a date was set: December 25, 1952. All the club members and students assembled for training that night, which coincided with the full moon. They established their organization officially as a silat training club under the name: PERSATUAN GERAK BADAN (PGB) - BOGOR at Gg. Angbun no. 79, Rt II/Rw VII Lebak Pasar.[v]
*The name was chosen because each movement [gerak] of our body [badan] can form a parry, a strike, and so on. *
At that time, everyone also agreed on a symbol for the organization. The symbol was inspired by that of a club in Jakarta, named Hiap Tong Hwe, which had already disbanded. The symbol was also chosen because Suhu loved cranes, which are clean and white, gracefully supple, calm, and enjoy gathering together. He later explained at a meeting that the crane is a bird which can adapt to any environment. It can fly, but not too high, meaning the crane is never too far from the world (the earth). At the same time, it cannot be completely tied down. The crane possesses a harmonious life style. It likes to gather without noise. Its most eminent characteristic is a deep internal calm.
The emblem was drawn by Lim Siang Hian, who changed the colors of the original emblem (the inspirational symbol).
The emblem as he drew it came to mean the following:
The White Crane symbolizes calm (yang) [the masculine principal], purity, and diligence.
Yellow (on the outside) symbolizes unity [persatuan].
Yellow (on the inside) symbolizes scientific knowledge [keilmuan].
Red symbolizes greedy self-centeredness (yin) [the feminine principal].[vi]
Blue symbolizes the world circle.
The small circles on the left and right symbolize balance.
As the first secretary to be chosen, Ong Kiat Wie was a liasion for PGB between outsiders and the organization. As PGB was now official, the government gave formal permission for the organization to go on existing. Furthermore, Suhu Subur Rahardja systematically set up statutes and rules for the association.
Suhu discussed the need for qualified trainers with Kwi Guan from Bandung. As a result of this discussion, the Sekolah Gerak Badan (SGB) [Body Movement School] was formed in Bandung to unite pesilat [martial artists].
To realize this goal, they decided to first have a meeting on the night of the full moon. This was on the fifteenth day of the eighth month of the Chinese [lunar] calendar. On this occasion, Suhu invited professional pesilat, their families, good friends, and trainers. The event was intended for exchanging ideas. Suhu also gave verbal instruction to his more competent students at this time. Students had the chance to ask "Young Uncle/Suhu" to demonstrate certain movements.
To expand insight and maintain friendships between martial artists, exchange students began to visit one another's martial art schools.
Kwi Guan from Bandung: He was one of Suhu's saudara seperguruan
Cua Kek Kiong: from the Ceng Bu Hwe school, Jakarta
Tjio Swi Hong: who was known for his Shan Tung
Lo Ban Teng: a Chinese kung fu master from Jakarta.
Mr. Suhaya, H. Dulhamid: from Cimande [a pencak silat style]
The training place in Angbun Street could no longer accommodate continual growth in membership, so they often borrowed a space in the Gedung Dalam school, Bogor.
Afterwards in this place there were also held silat art shows in the form of Ki Lin. Ki Lin is a mythical animal that is as big as a donkey, horned like an elk, and scaly like a snake. According to legend, the Ki Lin is ridden by a deity.
The Ki Lin silat art was shown around Bogor from every Chinese New Year to Cap Go Me, the fifteenth of the first month of the Chinese Year. All along the streets, people waved envelopes filled with money to feed the Ki Lin. There were even those who had tables filled with fruits and cakes as offerings to Ki Lin, so that the Ki Lin would stop by those places.
The profits from the Ki Lin shows were donated to:
An Indonesian women's coordinating organization led by Mrs. Karta Jumena
A literacy school - Gedung Dalam, Bogor
The army wives' organization (Persit) - Bogor
And a certain percentage from these events went to support latihan activities.With the help of Tan Kun Hwat, Ki Lin PGB could boast itself in Jakarta (especially on Jalan Pintu Kecil).
The profits from this show went to:
The Pure Heart orphanage - Jakarta
To help build the Chinese School Hew Kuan/Pa Wha at Patekwan Street, #31, Jakarta Kota
The first Ki Lin costume was made in 1953 by Yang Cun (Bogor), as the one ordered in 1954 from Tasikmalaya was unsatisfactory. The best Ki Lin was made in 1955 in Semut Street in Semarang. This Ki Lin was used until the last show in 1962. The Ki Lin shows were prevented from being performed after that year.[vii]
In 1954, PGB became a member of PPSI (Persatuan Pencak Silat Indonesia) [The government-run Indonesian Pencak Silat Association].
In 1960, PGB founded "Badan Koordinasi Keamanan dan Ketertiban," called BAKAM for short [Coordinating Body for Security and Orderliness].
This was approved by the Bogor City Military Commander. Their activities included safety patrols of Bogor neighborhoods and installing neon lights along the streets of Bogor.During this period, a well-known and talented student named Ho Tin, from Jakarta, was involved in the BUNGUR incident.
The Bungur Incident
At some point when Suhu was teaching in Bungur (Jakarta), a person named Inyo Chu came with his nephew. They both asked to study with Suhu. Because Inyo was thrown and then defeated when Suhu pressed on his shoulder, they complained to the nephew's teacher, Cong Bun. Cong Bun was a son of one of Suhu's best friends, Sin Seh Hiang. Cong Bun came to Stanvac to challenge Suhu. Since it was still during working hours, Suhu accepted the challenge for that evening in Bungur. Suhu asked Bun How to go get Ho Tin to represent PGB. Kong-Kong, Felix, and Bun How accompanied Ho Tin, but it was Ho Tin who was to be the one to accept the challenge. An agreement was made that if Ho Tin lost, PGB would disperse.
At first, Ho Tin was pushed by Cong Bun, who attacked Ho Tin while Ho Tin was still showing him respect. Ho Tin was pushed to the wall. Suddenly he fought back and attacked Cong Bun. Cong Bun was thrown. Ho Tin's kick to Cong Bun's stomach was stopped by the owner of the place, Cek Bu Seng.
Cong Bun was still angry and wanted to continue fighting. Cek Bu Seng did not grant permission to continue. Kong-Kong challenged Cong Bun to fight in Bogor. The next day, Sin Seh Hiang apologized to Suhu in the canteen at Stanvac. Karel, who was on Suhu's side, was very angry with Sin Seh Hiang. Sin Seh Hiang blamed his son for everything and promised to bring Cong Bun to kneel in front of Suhu. Suhu refused. Finally, the problem was resolved in a friendly manner
More comments from G.S. Tabaluyan:
Inyo Cun Hin had a mark in his shoulder from being pressed. It was painful for many years.
The Bungur incident made the PGB name famous. The development of PGB in Jakarta continued rapidly.
Various Training Places in Jakarta
1955: From the beginning of his arrival to train in Bogor, Jakarta member Teng Bi was inspired to form a latihan group in Jakarta. The first group was formed in Tanah Tinggi III, at Cong Sun's house. Cong Sun was a colleague of Suhu's from Stanvac. 95% of the people who came to train there were also Stanvac office workers. Among others, they included: Bun How, Siang Cun, and Karel O.
1956: The next latihan group was in Bungur Besar at the place Cek Su Seng was staying. He was an expert in breathing/internal energy. Among others, members of his training group included: Teng Hu, Wei Fuk, Fredi, Tan Eng An, G.S. Tabaluyan, Ci Kang, and Deki. After that, in quick succession, many more latihan teams formed at various houses:
Jl. Kesehatan (Health Road) - at Cian Sun's place, another of Suhu's colleagues.
Various Chinese people assembled in houses along Ciang Ce Building at Gunung Sari IX. These training places were only used now and then while Bungur was vacated. Not long afterwards they moved back to Bungur.
Fredi's house at Kramat.
At Ichsan's house at Sawah Besar. This site was special for assistant trainers: Karel, Wei Fuk, Siang Cun, Eng An, Fredi, Hendrik, Giok Swi, and Deki.
At Canisius [a group was formed] by Bun How and Fredi.
1962: With the help of Tan Hong, PGB obtained a latihan place at Gedung Dalam in Bogor. After that, at the instigation of Yo Yam Hok, a PGB library was opened there. Whereas in Lebak Besar only Suhu had the highest authority to carry on the school training system, in Gedung Dalam more priority was given to the unified system. Decisions were made in conference. Organizational management was led by Beng Cu. Suhu, as latihan leader, only taught assistant and full trainers in a room set aside for that purpose.
Hard latihan and extreme discipline led to great productivity that was not in vain. 10 latihan groups were formed here, led by various strong trainers.
1963: PGB took part in a kind of volunteer guard operation ("Pagar Betis") initiated by military command VI, Siliwangi (Kodam VI Siliwangi). PGB likewise participated in a "Cakrabirawa" project.[viii] That is: a development project for building dormitories at Lawang Gintung - Sukasari in Bogor. It was a great project for which Suhu and his disciples worked hard.
Right alongside latihan activities, the routine agenda always included the following:
1) PGB HUT celebrations [anniversary celebrations]
These celebrations were filled with demonstrations of movements by the members, prayers of thanksgiving, and eating together.
2) Ki Lin Exhibitions
Ki Lin is shown each fifteenth day of the Chinese New Year. Ki Lin exhibitions were held continuously until 1962. Visits were exchanged with the Sukabumi barong [lion dance] groups. From these Ki Lin social movements, the mayor of Bogor, Karta Jumena, had the pleasure of visiting Suhu along with PGB at Lim Kim Bouw's place in Pulo, Bogor.
3) Full Moon Celebrations
These special night-time functions involve reflection and meditation along with lighting candles as one of the symbols of life. That is: 18 candles for the 18 Pewaris Ban [the first circle of Inheritors], 18 candles for the 18 Pewaris Goan [the second circle of Inheritors], 41 candles for the Warga Perguruan [Citizens of the School] and various candles for PGB branches in Indonesia and foreign countries.
The important thing that each member must be aware of is that these Full Moon celebrations are made so that students can give thanks to their teachers for their knowledge and leadership. "Each parent has the duty to educate and take care of his or her children. But when a teacher educates and cares for his or her students, that is truly NOBLE. This is why bowing to the teacher is not excessive, but rather shows respect." That is the gist of the meaning of Full Moon Celebrations, as explained by Djon Atmadja.
Finally in 1965: G 30 S/PKI happened [Gerakan 30 September, the 1965 coup attempt by the communist party, PKI]. Gedung Dalam was closed and sealed by the government because it was also the location of Baperki.[ix] Latihan activities obviously could not continue there. Latihan sessions began to be moved around to various different places.
After the closing of Gedung Dalam, the main office of PGB, almost all the students of that time left Suhu Subur Rahardja. Thus began lonely times for our Grandmaster. He that loved gatherings was now always alone. Only 3 people continued latihan in those years: M. Hudri, Permadi S, and Siddidjaja.
With them, Suhu began to work on the members' oath and the belt level system (not yet implemented). Latihan activities were held at Fond Miskin. They moved to several different places after that, to the Kwan Im Temple in Sukasari, and then returned to Lebak Pasar, at Angbun Street.
In 1966, at a time of fluctuating membership, the first branch school in Bogor was formed, that is, the Ardio branch. Beginning with this branch, PGB came to be known as PGB Bangau Putih.
Our teacher and PGB faced more hard times which left a mark. Suhu's adoptive father, Lim Kim Bouw, died in 1966.
Although the number of students was at a minimum, Suhu Subur Rahardja would never leave PGB. At the beginning of 1968, latihan returned to Lebak Pasar. Six months after that, latihan returned to Fond Miskin, though with only one student: Lie Nie Kie. He participated in latihan with Suhu continuously until latihan was moved to Suhu's house on Jalan Roda in Bogor.
Finally, in March, 1969, even this single student remaining had to leave to continue his schooling. He left Suhu alone doing latihan and experiencing emptiness. Being in solitude was deeply frustrating for Suhu. At times he thought of giving up altogether. He would often seclude himself at the Kwan Im Temple in Sukamulya, Bogor. He would clean and purify the temple. He finally experienced something there. It is unclear what it was he obtained; all he said later was: "If I hadn't stayed in Klenteng Kwan Im, it would have been impossible for me to attain this level of maturity." According to him, he only got about 30% of what he possessed at that time from his teachers.[x]
An acquaintance of Suhu's, a woman named Tante Kwan, who understood the trail he was blazing, was kindled by his passion. She was the owner of the house at Kebon Jukut No. 1. She encouraged him to pursue his aspirations to establish PGB as an umbrella organization for educating people by means of silat.
After a long empty time, on Friday, June 9, 1969, latihan was for the first time begun again in the training center rented by Suhu at Jalan Kebon Jukut No. 1. This is the house that was owned by Tante Kwan Nio, who began training then with Lie Nie Kie, M. Hudri, and Permadi S.
They were apprehensive because the floor of the training center was not yet finished and drops leaked down here and there whenever it rained. But this did not make them lose enthusiasm for training and, in fact, from that time forward old members returned and new ones were added.
While little by little carrying on repairs, the elders organized latihan in Lawang Seketeng (for those living in Bogor) and in Tanah Abang (for those that stayed in Jakarta). These were led by Suhu. At the same time, many young men stayed in Kebon Jukut.
Funding for repairs of the PGB training center was raised through catering and renting out party equipment, and by exhibitions of [silat] movements. To the profits raised were added donations from sympathizers. Members of the cooperative who were building the T.C. [training center] canvassed until late at night, sometimes even visiting [potential donors] until morning. Finally the rental property was finished.
During the Full Moon celebration that year, Suhu established the movement standardization system to make it easier for trainers to train others.
After that, 5 latihan teams, A, B, C, D, and E, were formed in Kebon Jukut. Each team had approximately 30 to 50 active members. The numbers of returned members increased at PGB relatively quickly.
In 1971, on August 21, PGB was invited to a merry demonstration of movement in Senayan, Jakarta. After that, on March 21, 1972, Suhu inaugurated 18 Pewaris [Inheritors], called the Pewaris 'BAN' , at a ceremony. The 18 Pewaris were targetted for receiving the entire science [of silat] from Suhu over a three year period in 1152 hours of latihan.
The 18 Ban inheritors include:
The Pewaris took the following oath:
The Chinese character 'BAN' comes from Chinese poetry that means:
By the thousands, all the streams of science will return to their source.
Still in 1972:
On December 4, 1972, Sunarti, from the Bengkel Theater [Workshop Theater] in Yogya, invited Suhu and the larger PGB family to come to the bamboo framework of the Bengkel club. He had previously attended the 1960 Full Moon celebration. After that, Suhu, along with a group including Lim Sin Teng and Lie Nie Kie, departed for Yogya.
The three day visit in Yogya was filled with demonstrations of movement. The Bengkel members displayed pure movements which were preceded by closing their eyes for several moments. Then, with their eyes still closed, people moved freely following the words in their hearts, without rehearsal or ordering the movements beforehand. The performers were not afterwards aware or conscious of what had happened.
Before Suhu and the group returned to Bogor, Bengkel members invited them to Parang Tritis for a 'prayer circle' for the sake of ensuring Rendra's safety while he was in Australia. During this visit, Suhu met for the first time Louise Ansberry, an American citizen.
January 1, 1973:
Rendra and other Bengkel members, including Benny, came to visit Suhu for the first time. During this meeting with Suhu, Rendra proposed a student to be appointed [to PGB]. From the Bengkel group came the first white student, Robin Clark. After Rendra's visit, in 1974 the 41 Warga Perguruan were aimed towards taking care of special tasks needed by the school. And Rendra for the first time referred to 'Encek Bacih' [Young Uncle Bacih] as 'Suhu'.[xi]
The 41 Warga Perguruan, like the 18 Pewaris, were inaugurated officially with a ceremony. They were given robes and rings engraved with the picture of the crane.
The 41 Warga Perguruan are as follows:
1. W.S. Rendra
21. Eddie Urip Irawan
An oath was spoken at the inauguration as follows:
Tante Kwan, owner of Kebon Jukut, died in 1973.
Several months after that, Louise came for an extended stay to Bogor in order to marry Suhu. In 1975, the marriage ceremony was attended by Louise's daughters, Halle and Diane Ansberry. After Suhu and Louise were married in Bali, the situation in Kebon Jukut was always busy with a lot of people arriving. This was especially because Suhu was indeed at the crest of his career. Louise was only a coincidental factor, but it cannot be denied that she always helped PGB financially.
Suhu at that time received a lot of respect from Rendra, who acknowledged Subur Rahardja as his 'Suhu'. Rendra and Louise were acquainted with and often visited Indonesian consulates, including Benyamin, Adnan Buyung Nasution [lawyer and political activist], Sutan Takdir Alisyahbana [creator of Bahasa Indonesia], Siter Sitomorang, General Ali Murtopo [President Suharto's confidante; Minister of Information], and Ibnu Sutowo [head of Pertamina].
Suhu received them in a t-shirt and loose-fitting pants. But the simplicity of Suhu's manner expressed a life of silat which is really attractive. They connected with it and fell in love with it. Although they came in the beginning because they were invited, finally they visited Suhu alone just to chat.
Adnan Buyung Nasution, the well-known lawyer, first visited to test Suhu with the question: "What is the core of the law?" This was answered by Suhu, "Humanity." From that, he whose first opinion was that Suhu was inconsequential, immediately became amazed by Suhu's simple but deep opinions concerning politics.
In 1976, PGB became a Member of IPSI Bogor.
In this year, likewise, two foreign branches were formed:
1. The Berkeley, America PGB Branch, led by:
∑ Gunawan Rahardja
∑ Max Palar
∑ Pat Moffit and Robin
2. The Germany, Europe PGB Branch, led by:
∑ Haryanto Tanara
A Look Back at the German Branch
In 1974, the German Branch was started by Haryanto Tanara. After about two years, it was officially registered as the German PGB branch in the German sports institute - DSB - Deutscher Sport Bund.
In 1976, the German branch's AD/ART [statutes and rules of association] were adapted to DSB rules. Suhu and Haryanto Tanara together standardized movements to the black belt single stripe level.
German people at first were interested in PGB because the movements were beautiful to look at. After several days, they gradually felt the necessity to train. The pelatih had to be creative and sharp in answering many various and detailed ("hair-splitting") questions.
In 1984, Haryanto Tanara returned to Indonesia and movement in the [German] branch was continued by five pewaris [inheritors], that is:
To equal the 18 'BAN' Pewaris, in 1981, Suhu inaugurated the 18 'GOAN' pewaris. The acronym GOAN is also made up of abbreviated Chinese characters, meaning something like:
"All of them flow from the source to become One".
These 18 Pewaris are:
1. G. S. Tabaluyan
10. Boyan Herbst
These Pewaris took the same oath as the ones before, which is repeated at the inauguration ceremony at each Full Moon celebration.
Background to the Formation of the Pewaris
Suhu was a person who realized that true, good knowledge must be returned to the world by means of society and culture. Keeping this in mind, the 18 chosen Pewaris were formed.
Before the inauguration, the Pewaris candidates went on a trip with Suhu from Kebon Jukut, Bogor to Babakan Madang Gunung Putri, approximately 27 km away.
Suhu expected certain things from each of the 'BAN' pewaris. Yet because they were not able to carry out all the tasks as mentioned earlier, Suhu gradually formed the other 18 Pewaris "GOAN".
All of these pewaris were 'In Suhu's Circle' - meaning they had duties within the Science, like perpetuating the knowledge that Suhu gave them. The Pewaris also had a special inheritorís training group.
When Rendra entered and formed the 41 Warga Perguruan, Suhu opened up about a lot of spiritual concerns related to the movement and martial arts steps.
Those Warga Perguruan who had tasks outside, that is who were entering directly into society, were chosen to sit in the management organization.
1982: At Ali Murtopo's suggestion, PGB was asked to be part of a television shoot for TVRI [Television Service of the Republic of Indonesia].
Movements were demonstrated by Pat Moffit, Pam, Kent, Flora, Putra, Richard, Benny, Niekie, Bakri, Fuad, Andy.
During this year, Suhu experienced an unusually intense shock as a result of his divorce from Louise.
As a Master of martial arts, he felt for the first time that his work was useless.
Yet the scratches on his heart vanished in the course of time. The Crane strength was revived with the implementation of the Riungan Para Pesilat I in 1984 [the first Gathering of the Pesilat].
This great effort initiated by Suhu Subur Rahardja in uniting pesilat was preceded by assigning the chair of the organizational council, Benny G. Rahardja, to compose a big committee program that would be called the Pesilat Gathering.
The planning meeting on March 24, 1984, held in the PGB Bogor dormitory in Tugu, accomplished three important matters concerning the existence of PGB Bangau Putih:
1. Suhu reported on the completion of the Foundation and Steps of PGB Bangau Putih, entailed in its organizational structure. This was the beginning of PGB as a modern silat school.
2. Benny G. Rahardja, Chair of the Organisational Council, transferred a report of the establishment of a Pesilat Gathering committee to the Institutional High Council [MTP] Suhu Subur Rahardja to be made official.
3. The MTP set up and transferred a system and guidelines for the Pesilat Gathering to the 25 committee members that would make it official, so they could examine and understand the objectives of the Gathering. Transference was executed by the MTP Secretary, Buntaran Sanusi.
On the basis of decision no. 6/MTP/IV/1984, dated April 14, 1984 (from a compilation of minutes from the Pesilat Gathering committee), committee chair G. S. Tabaluyan and secretary Nada F. Soraya formed a rough plan and a work program.
Keeping in mind that the Gathering activities involved both Indonesian Pesilat and those from foreign countries, the committee then arranged to approach all parties, the good pesilat community, the government, and the mass media.
The parties that they contacted, among others, can be listed as follows:
The Fifth Territorial Military Commander of Jaya [Greater Jakarta], Major General of TNI [Indonesian National Armed Forces], Try Sutrisno
General Chairperson of the Executive Board of IPSI [Indonesian Pencak Silat Association], Eddie Marzuki Nalapraya
Cabinet Minister of Information, Harmoko
Coordinating Minister of Welfare, Alamsyah R. Prawiranegara
Coordinating Minister of Security Politics, Surono
[IPSI] Silat Elder, M. Hatta [vice-president under Sukarno]
Assistant National Secretary, Sukorton Marmosudjo, SH. [Master of Law]
After holding several meetings, the committee and the greater PGB Bangau Putih family agreed that an invitation should be distributed quickly. They thought it would be good to send it to all the circles of the PGB Bangau Putih school and its branches as well as to all the special schools of silat in and around the Jakarta district. To disseminate information about the activity [the Gathering], and in an effort to include other Silat Schools, the committee held a press conference at the Department of Information on Merdeka Barat Street, No. 9, Jakarta.
The location, supplies, and tents were quickly readied. The arrangement for a campground was obtained directly under guidance and instruction from Suhu Subur Rahardja and Eddie M. Nalapraya. This is proof that the Grandmaster and his students and the teachings together form a community, as he [Suhu Subur Rahardja] always reminded us.
For necessary local communications, the committee got help from RAPI Jakarta [a radio station run by Eddie Nalapraya], which was approached by the PGB branch Sinar Harapan [a newspaper office, now called Suara Pembaruan, that has a PGB branch group].
The opening of the ceremony on May 26, 1984 at the camping area in Cibubur was conducted by the General Chair of IPSI, Eddie M. Nalapraya, with around 2,500 pesilat attending. Several planned attractions were preceded by purification verses read from the Koran. Present at the opening was Mr. Tjokropranolo, the Governor of DKI [capital city in Jakarta] at that time.
Aside from lectures, there was a focus on the cultivation of interest, attitude, knowledge, and skill. In the third lecture, host Suhu Subur Rahardja set forth the theme: "The Relationship of Silat Movement to Art." And in a public lecture accompanied by Mr. Eddie M. Nalapraya, Suhu Subur Rahardja conveyed information about "The Importance of Standardizing and Detailing Movement." The themes that our Suhu presented balanced out the principal ideas of the Silat world in general and especially that of the IPSI organizers. Still within this framework of fertilizing interest, attitude, knowledge, and skill, we held latihan together.
All of the participants trained together in one field, wearing the uniforms of their respective schools. After that, each school presented entertainment, in an effort to tighten the feeling of friendship. Here nothing was left out, including attractions presented by delegates from foreign countries. After that they tried to raise awareness of the environment by means of service work activities, that is, cleaning the camping area they had used.A combination of endeavors were set up to develop interest, attitude, knowledge, and skill. An exhibition hall was built for that purpose, which also served as an information center. Here was presented books about sports, including the host magazine Jenjang Angkasa[xii] and the PGB statutes and rules of association, along with the Pesilat System and Guidelines. In addition to that, there was video and photographic documentation. As souvenirs there were Pesilat Gathering t-shirts, posters, and pennants for the speakers and participants.
Forms were distributed to the participants to fill out concerning their impressions of the Pesilat Gathering activities. The results were summarized, showing that people considered that activities like this needed to be continued and increased to build friendship and wipe out mutual suspicion.
The closing ceremony on May 28, 1984 was conducted by the State Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr. Abdul Gafur along with Mr. Eddie M. Nalapraya, Suhu Subur Rahardja, and other prominent Pesilat figures. Almost all the participants finally left the activities of the first Pesilat Gathering with tears in their eyes and uttering 'Sayonara', until we meet again at the next opportunity.
Suhu said that he had never visited Klenteng Tuban [a Buddhist temple in East Java]. Then G.S. Tabaluyan came up with the idea for an excursion through Java. On December 25, 1985, G. S. Tabaluyan went to Tugu to confirm departure plans with Suhu.While Poppy Dharsono [famous clothes designer] was in Tugu, Suhu gave her 7 sticks of incense and 1 white candle stick. He instructed her to burn 1 stick of incense each afternoon starting on the day of the departure for the trip through Java. After the 7 incense sticks were finished, she should light the candle.
On December 27, 1985, a group of 20 people left from Biak Street in Jakarta in 3 vehicles. Arriving in Purwokerto [a town in Central Java], they visited Gunung Srandil Laut Selatan [a small mountain on the southern shore], Gua Naga [Dragon Cave], Bukit Semar [Semar Hill], Gua Jati Jajar, Gua Petruk [more caves], the gravesite of G. S. Tabaluyan's grandfather in Karang Jati Klampok, and, after that, Borobodur [an ancient Buddhist monument near Yogyakarta].Here, Suhu said jokingly, laughing: "Soon I will die - if Suhu is dead, I want to be buried, not cremated. Later, Noni (G.S. Tabaluyan's daughter), you should often look in on me and burn 1 stick of incense only. Not 2 or 3. If not, your moles will get bigger."
From Borobodur, the group went to visit Gunung Bromo [a volcano]. After that they arrived at Tuban and stayed in hotel. At 8:00 p.m., Suhu was very cheerful because what he had longed for had come to pass. That night, eating goat sate, Suhu said: "This is really great, very delicious."
80% of the people who come to the Tuban Temple take a Ciam Sie fortune [a form of Chinese fortune-telling using sticks]. Suhu went first to take one. When Djon asked, "What was your Ciam Sie fortune, Suhu?", Suhu only said: "Tomorrow you'll see." And he pocketed the Ciam Sie stick.
At 8:00 a.m. the next morning, the group got ready to go home. Suhu asked, "When will we arrive?" G.S. Tabaluyan answered, "8:00 p.m., Suhu." At that moment, Suhu smiled sweetly, very sweetly.
The cars were being driven fast. The first car was driven by G.S. Tabaluyan. The second car was the one Suhu rode in, driven by Warta, a chauffer. The third car was driven by Djon Atmadja. About an hour and a half after they left, the car Suhu was in suddenly slowed down to 40 kilo/hour. Suhu said to Warta, "Just go slowly. I want to go home. If we go slow, later the others will slow down too."[xiii]
Suddenly on a curve at Desa Sluke, the car rolled over three times. It returned to its initial position with the glass shattered.
Suhu was seriously injured. He was put in Djon's car and brought to the Lasem Hospital. On the way, Suhu pulled out his false teeth and asked: "Anything happen to the others?" and Djon answered, "No, Suhu." Then his false teeth went back in. Suhu regulated his breathing and then became unconscious for the rest of the trip to Lasem.
Because the equipment there was insufficient, he was brought to the Rembang hospital. The surgeon said his head was badly injured.
December 31, 1985
At 11 a.m., Suhu's condition improved.
At 3:30 p.m., Suhu's temperature went up to 40į Celsius [104į F].
Assisted by: G.S. Tabaluyan, Max, Ci Beng, Robert, at 5:00 p.m., Suhu passed away.
Before exhaling his last breath, Suhu moved, stretching his body. He looked very strong. Still with his eyes closed, Suhu took 5 breaths. After that, he stopped breathing. He stopped forever.
Robert tried to make Suhu breathe again by pressing on his chest repeatedly. But Suhu was already gone.
The Ciam Sie fortune no. 4 that was inside Suhu's pocket was opened. It read: "God Jumps Three Times."
Beloved Suhu's corpse left for Bogor at 8:00 p.m. and arrived on January 1, 1986 in Kebon Jukut at 8:00 a.m.
Before Suhu was buried, Andyan Rahardja summoned a Hong Sui (location direction) [i.e. Feng Shui] specialist to put Suhu in a good place. The expert walked around in Tugu for about 4 hours and after backing up three steps said, "This is a good place for Suhu."
It turned out that Suhu had previously asked Andy Yasin to put a statue of Buddha, given to him by a Nepalese priest, in that same location.
Suhu had said that he was very fond of that spot. That's where he trained and that's where he was buried.
The Friday Morning Incident, December 27, 1985
At latihan with Suhu that morning, he said with a serious face: "This training session is the final training. Today I will show you the my highest silat science. The supreme Silat Science is Breathing." Then he said twice, "This science is not black magic. It is the original internal energy."
He asked seven people to stand in a row, placing each of their palms on the shoulders of their friends in front of them. Said Suhu: "If I strike the person in front, I can arrange which person will die or vomit blood or just get hurt." That day, twice he showed us an internal energy strike.
One or two years before he died, Suhu said, "I'm tired, I want to rest. I've already prolonged my lifespan two times." And apparently he did not want to add to his age for a third time.
(The above story was related by Mr. G.S. Tabaluyan, D.D.S., in Jakarta on June 20, 1993.)
The sad news quickly spread. Tens, maybe hundreds, of expressions of condolences arrived from foreign PGB branches. For nine days, Suhu's corpse lay in Kebon Jukut while waiting for his children to arrive from America. Every day teardrops filled the PGB training center. It's inconceivable, the Great White Crane flying so fast.
Friday afternoon, on January 10, 1986, at 11:00 a.m., Suhu's corpse left from Kebon Jukut for the Tugu training facilities in Cisarua, along with about a hundred students and community witnesses. Mr. Eddie M. Nalapraya was present and witnessed the closing of the coffin. The funeral ceremony was led by Mr. F. W. Natasampurna.
Arriving in Tugu at 12:30 p.m., the burial was led by Mr. Usamah Said, one of the PGB advisors.
After the burial, Rendra delivered a parting address, reading a poem in front of Suhu's resting place.
Like this, we face you. How will we start our conversation? What can we speculate about death, when hundreds of essays about death have already been written? Written. Said. Discussed. Analyzed. Turned into poetry.
My love is far on another island
sweet girl. Now I amuse myself alone.
The boat speeds, the moon shines
around my neck I place a flower necklace
for the lover,
The wind helps, the ocean is clear
but I feel
I can't get there.
On the calm water, in the grumbling wind,
at the end of feeling everything moves quickly.
The hour of death reigns while it is said:
"Just put the boat on my lap!"
Hey! I've already endured the way so many years!
The boat that we are on together is fragile!
Why has the hour of death been called so early
before I've had time to hold my love?
My sweet is far on another island,
If I die, she dies, amusing herself alone.
Truly the poet Chairil Anwar realized the absurdity of death. Suhu, you once discussed this poem in the village of Ketanggungan in Yogyakarta, with the students sitting cross-legged in front of you.
The absurdity. In reality, there is destiny. The mystery of fate. The surprise of death. Everything we ever discussed and became aware of together.
Yah, Suhu, this not a problem of more awareness, but a problem of the reality of experience. Awareness and experience are very different. It's heavy, Suhu.
We both have already been lucky to have many experiences past the age of half a century. Truly, what haven't we experienced in our lives? We've already repeatedly experienced parting after parting. According to the words of grass and weeds, one parting makes it easier to part again.
But obviously this time I endure an empty spiritual space. A vacuum. Ah, I feel I want to attack and tear to shreds the proverbs that are written in the wind.
I've already experienced parting from both my parents when they died. But that was not as hard. Probably it was like that because each child is already mentally prepared to part from the parents that they love when they leave home and start to follow their life's path alone. Outside one's parents' house, one seeks a whole new life that can become a control mechanism for developing oneself. So, Suhu, there is that kind of control mechanism, such that we choose to give ourselves freedom inside.
Despite the terrible shock of the founder's sudden death, PGB has survived and continued to grow under the leadership of Suhu Subur Rahardja's son and successor, Gunawan Rahardja.
Gunawan Rahardja was born on November 24, 1958, in Bogor. He was the sixth child, the fourth son, to be born in the Rahardja family. His nickname, Jijin, is used by family members, friends, and older PGB members who have known him since childhood.
As a child, there were indications that he had inherited his father's talents. He was also something of a daredevil. For example, when he was in junior high school, a story is told of how he jumped from a third storey window just to show he could do it. He started seriously training in 1970, at the age of 12. Over the next five years, he often preferred to train by himself, refusing to follow the early morning training schedule set up by his father. Like most young pesilat men, he had little interest in the more esoteric aspects of the Science. As he has said, he was mostly interested in learning to punch and be able to throw people down on the ground. He even sometimes argued and fought with his teachers in school; he was therefore sent to live in the United States in 1975, where he stayed until 1986.
Guru Gunawan Rahardja was educated in the United States and received his college degree in business. Some of the ideas he got about management and organization he has since applied to running PGB as an international not-for-profit social organization.
Guru Gunawan Rahardja was one of the founders of the first American PGB branch in Berkeley, California. He continued training silat throughout his stay in America and visited all the branches of PGB in the United States as they were established.
He became closer to his father during visits to Indonesia between 1983 and 1985. At that time, he related to Suhu Subur Rahardja as student, son, and friend. His father talked to him extensively about the science of silat and focused on transmitting as much knowledge as possible to his son during those years.
He married Hettyana (known as Hetty to family and friends) in Indonesia at the end of 1985. Hettyana is also well-known in PGB for her silat abilities and beautiful women's movements. She continues to train a women's group.
He and Hettyana have four children:
Their honeymoon in the United States was cut short by the death of Suhu Subur Rahardja and the necessity for Guru Gunawan Rahardja to return to Indonesia to take over the responsibility of keeping PGB alive. After 40 days of mourning, he was installed by the elders and advisors of PGB as MTP, Majelis Tinggi Perguruan, the highest position in the organization.
At that time, Rendra named him Guru Muda, the young Guru. Gunawan Rahardja was then just 27 years old. Many senior PGB members felt that he was too young to take over the enormous PGB organization, that he did not have the experience or knowledge to successfully follow in his father's footsteps. It should be remembered, however, that Suhu Subur Rahardja was himself only 27 when he founded PGB in 1952.
Because of their shock and grief over losing their Suhu and their doubt that anyone could take his place, many members left PGB when Guru stepped in. Guru Gunawan Rahardja was therefore left to figure out how to run PGB with little advice or help. The members of the organizational committee carried on few activities at this time. PGB very nearly collapsed.
Besides starting to apply some of the ideas of organizational management he had learned in university, Gunawan Rahardja set out to prove his abilities to his detractors. He began breathing training in 1989. Then in 1993 he began healing people in Kebon Jukut. Soon dozens, then hundreds, of patients were lining up each week in hopes of getting a chance to see him. They had to be given appointments just to keep them from overcrowding the house and blocking the street. When appropriate, Guru sends his patients to special Health Movement classes held in Bogor and Jakarta, to further their healing processes.
Such demonstrations of his knowledge of the Science have gradually won senior members back to active participation and training in PGB. Today, some members have commented that Guruís abilities at 41 years of age already surpass those of his father at the same age.
Guru is a quiet man who balances his silat and healing activities with devotion to his family. He discourages his students from becoming overly dependent on him. Instead, his teaching philosophy focuses on using silat training, frank group discussions, and community cooperative endeavors to encourage PGB members to learn leadership skills and become more balanced, flexible, disciplined, ethical, and competent in dealing with all aspects of life.
In 1999, during Malam Bulan Purnama (Full Moon Celebration), Gunawan Rahardja was officially named Guru. Many members throughout the PGB branches have also begun calling him Suhu, in acknowledgement of their personal recognition of him as healer, martial arts master, and, for some, spiritual teacher. Guru remains diffident about such titles, however. As he often says, it is the decision of those speaking to him what they want to call him; he simply wants people to relate to him as human.
Guruís first efforts focused on keeping PGB going at a time when many people were grieving and dispersing. There was almost no income available to keep the Kebon Jukut and Tugu training centers running. The committee in place in 1986 was not very active. In 1991, new people were put into many of the positions on the organizational chart; further changes were made in 1997. Many of the Pewaris and Warga Perguruan hold positions in the League of Elders, League of Advisors, or Supervisory Council. Benny Rahardja is now an advisor within the General Leadership council, along with G.S. Tabaluyan, Haryanto Tanara, and Hettyana Rahardja, amongst others. Bram Zakir, Pewaris Goan no. 14, holds the highest position of active responsibility as General Chair of the Organizational Council. Amir Supardi is currently Chief Trainer. Newer members who have worked closely with Guru Gunawan Rahardja since he became MTP hold many of the other positions in the organizational council, including Rahmat Dandanggula as First Chair, Darusman Ph. as First Secretary, and Melinda Susanti as First Treasurer.
The organizational council has worked hard to improve relations and the exchange of information between the Pusat [PGB headquarters] and branches throughout Indonesia and the world. In 1994, they began publishing Teropong [Telescope], an Indonesian language newsletter devoted to PGB activities. Each issue includes an article by Guru on "Mental, Physical, and Spiritual Preparation." These articles will soon be translated into English and collected into one volume. In addition, Melinda, Rahadianto (second secretary), and Lisnawati (second treasurer) have been working on building a PGB website which will make much more information available to PGB members in Indonesian and English. Finally, since 1998, PGB has been publishing beautiful full-color calendars featuring photographs of past and present PGB activities and philosophical quotes from its two Grandmasters. Such efforts help PGB members realize that they are truly a part of the 'larger PGB family'.
Guru has encouraged PGB branches in foreign countries to establish national organizations run similarly to that of PGB - Indonesia. Germany was the first, when in 1991 it set up the MPP organization. France is following slowly, but the Paris branch has also begun using the belt system. American members are also busily creating PGB-America. Although as yet they have no intention of installing movement standardization, they are ironing out ways to improve communications and the training and placement of assistant and full trainers drawn from the new generation of students.
Relations between the Pusat and branches from around the world have also been strengthened by the instigation of annual international training retreats. The first one was held in Tugu, Cisaurua, in 1992. The second was run by the California branches, held in Santa Cruz, California, in 1994. The Boston branch hosted the third in 1996. A second Indonesian one was held in 1997 in Tugu. Then Germany took a turn in 1998 and France in 1999. Now in the year 2000, the retreat returns to Indonesia, to be held at a beautiful site in Bali. This makes it possible for many more people to attend than was possible at the smaller facilities in Tugu.
Finally, under Guru Gunawan Rahardja's direction (in response to changes in the Indonesian government) the year 2000 has seen the return of Barong [Lion Dance] performances by PGB. On the fifteenth of the Chinese New Year, PGB Bangau Putih played Barong on the streets of Bogor for the first time in almost 40 years. The Barong troupe includes most of the younger PGB men who live at or near Kebon Jukut, as well as many of the teenagers from the Regu-A training group. In addition, the children's group, Regu-C, has been learning the music and moves of the Barong and sometimes accompanies the adult performances. The Barong troupe practices in Bogor almost every day of the week. They have performed all over Bogor and Jakarta, including at Buddhist temples, on the streets of various neighborhoods, and in special venues such as country clubs and five-star hotels. Most recently, they were asked to participate in performances put on by the visiting Shaolin Kung Fu Road Show from China that was touring Indonesia. The Shaolin performance troupe also visited the Tugu training facilities on July 11, 2000, where they saw a demonstration of Bangau Putih movements and also discussed and presented some of their own skills. Barong-Shai PGB Bangau Putih then joined them at the Jakarta Convention Center to perform in seven shows before audiences of over 5,000 people each performance. This was a tremendous experience for the members of the Barong team. They will be bringing the Barong to Bali for the closing of the international retreat. After Bali, they will begin learning the Ki Lin movements. At last, the once-familiar, beloved PGB Ki Lin will be seen on the streets of Bogor again.
All of these activities have generated excitement around the Pusat. As is often heard, "The Spirit of the White Crane is Back!" or more simply:
"Bangau Putih Lives!"
This biography is translated from a series of articles titled "Kilas Balik PGB" in issues 1-7 of PGB's Indonesian language newsletter, Teropong. Short clarifications are included in square brackets within the text. I have tried to remain faithful to the Indonesian text as much as possible, but have smoothed out diacritical inconsistencies and shortened phrases whenever a direct translation would obscure meaning. The short outline of PGB history from 1986 through 2000 is taken from notes made during interviews with Guru Gunawan Rahardja and from information in the Teropong newsletter.