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Old 13th September 2006, 01:24 AM   #43
A. G. Maisey
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Bram, I thank you most sincerely for your respectful form of address, however, since I am not Indonesian, and this is an English language forum, I would feel more comfortable with observation of English language convention by using only my name, without the title "Pak". Even though we have not been formally introduced, you may use my first name, rather than my family name.


Thank you for your explanation, Bram.

I understand your reference now. The word is "cencem", to soak in oil and poison. This appears to be another example of dialect difference that makes Javanese such a nightmare of a language.I am aware of this practice, and in my files I have several recipes for preparation of the soak medium. I have no doubt at all that you may have seen blades being prepared for use in this way, my only question related to the word you used.

Yes, kanuragan can be a part of pencak silat, or it can stand alone, but it is not a synonym for pencak silat. Kanuragan is perhaps more similar to tenaga dalam , than to the pencak forms, and is essentially a mystical practice, rather than a physical one.

I am not familiar with the word:- "katosan".

Can you please elucidate? Thank you.

Regarding Gusti Djuminah. I will preface my remarks by saying that I have only a slight understanding of the situation in Yogyakarta , and especially in the Kraton Yogya , at the time of the transmission of power from HB VII to HBVIII. However, what I have read indicates that the crown prince was a a troublemaker and obstructionist, who did indeed seem to pose future problems for the Dutch administration. In light of the wealth that HBVII accrued under Dutch policy, this would seem to have been a particularly stupid attitude to adopt, and since the well being of the people of Yogya was dependent upon the economy of the region, it could be, and apparently was, interpreted by many people as a betrayal of the people who were resident of Yogyakarta.

I can fully understand how some people, particularly a dispossessed grandson, may feel about the failure of his grandfather to take the crown, however, I would suggest that the reason for this denial of birthright by the Dutch had more to do with the political incompetence of the crown prince, rather than his interest in pencak silat.

I have absolutely no idea what could have been the cause of death in the case of the person stabbed in the thigh by a badik that had been stained with warangan.

But I am absolutely certain that it was not the warangan.

One may believe whatever one wishes in this respect, or any other, and for the person who believes that a blade treated with warangan will ensure a certain and swift death, then for that person, this is fact.However, the reality is that a blade which has been subjected to the process of warangan bears no active warangan upon its surface, and even if it did, the quantity that it might bear would be more of a medicinal nature than of death dealing one.

I did not say that Merpati Putih began prior to Kartosuro.

I said that Merpati Putih USA claimed this.

Personally, I find it very, very difficult to believe that Merpati Putih came from a royal source, or that it has roots going any further back than the 19th. century.

During colonial times practitioners of pencak silat were used by the Dutch administration as overseers. One of the ways in which an ordinary worker could gain advancement was to hone his martial arts skills and rise to the rank of an overseer or a controller. The elite of these people, known as "jago" were used by the Dutch as standover men and hit men.

The Dutch favoured Chinese people as tax collectors for a similar reason:- the Chinese martial art of kun tao---of which I can personally attest the effectiveness---seemed to be regarded at that time as a virtually unstoppable force, and as such more effective as an administrative tool than the various forms of pencak silat. So, the Chinese tax collectors could be expected , if necessary, to meet with little or no resistance from people relying on pencak silat.This, of course, is one of the principal roots of the dislike of the Chinese by the Javanese:- the Dutch employed the Chinese to collect tax and as a tool of enforcement that was more effective than the other tools of enforcement used by the Dutch.The Chinese were also more commercially able than the Javanese, so the people of Jawa were faced by a Dutch tool that had not only a commercial mentality, but had the physical ability to enforce Dutch demands.This must have been a truly horrible situation to live under.

Pencak silat appears to have entered Central Jawa during the 19th century, having been brought there by overseers whom the Dutch imported from Sunda. Sunda had been developed for Dutch purposes prior to the development of the Central Javanese plain, so when the farming lands of Central Jawa began to be exploited for Dutch gain, they used experienced overseers and controllers from their plantations in Sunda.

This appearance of pencak silat in the Javanese heartland during the 19th century would explain why Javanese literature from Centini and before appears to have no mention of pencak silat.

A further reason for the non-appearance of references in Javanese literature to pencak silat could well be because pencak silat seems to have been an art of the masses, rather than an art of the elite. Since the literature of early Jawa all comes from palace sources, one could hardly expect palace poets to write of the doings of labourers.

On the other hand, the practice of mystical exercises in attempts to gain invulnerability does sit perfectly with Javanese kraton culture of the colonial period, thus I believe we can accept that kanuragan was practiced amongst the elites during the colonial period

Let me conclude my remarks with this rider:-

I have no interest in any martial art, and I have no agenda to promote one martial art above any other, equally, I have no intent to denigrate any martial art.

I have a high respect for all martial artists because of their dedication to an athletic ideal that embodies both physical and mental prowess.

The martial arts of Jawa form a part of the culture of Jawa, and as such have my respect, however, to misrepresent, or to distort the true history and nature of this cultural element of Jawa is to do a disservice to the cultural inheritance of the Javanese people.
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