The History of Pentjak Silat Poekoelan Tjimande Batin
School of the Five Dragons Pentjak Silat Poekoelan Tjimande Banten History:

Indonesia is the worlds largest archipelago, consisting of 13,677 islands. The largest islands are Java, Sumatra, Kalmantan (South Borneo ), and Irian Jaya ( Western New Guinea ). The diversity of people and tribes also developed over 250 distinct languages and cultures. People have lived on these islands for over 500,000 years. They called them Dwipantara or Nusantara, which means archipelago.

In 1850 Indonesia was given itís name by James Richardson Logan, a name consisting of two Greek words: Indo ( India ) and Neseos ( Islands ), or in other words islands which received much cultural influence from India. Hinduism and Buddhism became one religion in Indonesia. Hindu-Buddhism had a profound effect on early Indonesian history and the development of the native martial arts.

Two major kingdoms grew up in Indonesia, the first was called the Sriwijaya Empire, which began in the 5th century. The second was the famous Majapahit Empire, which began in the 13th century and which eventually extended itís power all the way to the Philippeines. The Empire fell in 1520.

In 1275 Islam was introduced to the Indonesian islands by merchants from India and Persia. In the 15th century various western nations occupied Indonesia for the purpose of exploiting itís rich natural resources.

In 1511 the Portuguese briefly occupied Indonesia. In 1596 the Dutch took over and occupied the Indonesian islands with a harsh grip until World War II, when the Germans invaded Holland and the Japanese took control of Indonesia. Soon after Japanís military collapse in 1945, the Dutch returned with the hope of retaking their old colony . This time however they failed after a savage struggle for control of Indonesia.

The Dutch ultimately surrendered sovereignty to the Indonesian people in 1949. Some of the countries which occupied Indonesia influenced the Indonesian martial arts by bringing their culture and their own system of fighting. The Indonesian people throughout history have always adapted what they thought was usable from the various martial arts systems.

Like the USA, Indonesia is a melting pot of nationalities. This wide variety of people has given Indonesia one of the widest and most balanced forms of self defense in the world. The Indonesian art of Pentjak Silat had been developing for 4000 years.

Indonesia has over 150 separate styles of combat, collectively known as Pentjak Silat. The term Pentjak Silat is the overall name for all systems of Indonesian fighting arts.

The Cun Tao that we study here at Five Dragons is derived from the Chinese colonists that made Indonesia their home hundreds of years ago. Pentjak Silat is therefore a strong blend of Chinese and Indonesian fighting arts. The Poekoelan Tjimande system( Pukulan Cimande ) is a selective blend of Chinese Cun Tao and Indonesian Pentjak Silat.

On the western end of the island of Java is a small village called Tjimande. Here the Poekoelan Tjimande system was developed through the cooperative efforts of a Chinese master of Chuan Fa, Oei Kem Boen ( 1870-1965 ), and a Poekoelan master named Mas Djut (1840- 1930).

Oei Kem Boen was hired by the Dutch secret service to locate rebel forces wishing to overthrow the Dutch government in Indonesia. That is where Boen met Mas Djut and was shocked by Mas Djutís lower body leg kicking style as Djut was impressed by Boen when he got around his kicking style and broke through his upper body guard. Both masters became great friends and practiced together for three years merging and blending their fighting styles together as one.

They named the new style Tjimande after the village in Java where they met. Poekoelan Tjimande was brought to the United States of America in 1956 by Maha Guru Aeong Mas Willy Wetzel ( 1920-1975 ). He called this Silat style Seti Hati Pukolan Serak Tjimande.

Willy Wetzel was part Indonesian and Dutch. Born and raised in Indonesia he could speak all three languages. At 9 years old Willy met Oei Kim Boen who recruited him to help locate secret rebel training camps in return for fighting lessons. At age 14 Willy asked Boen to teach him everything he knew about fighting so he could become a master like Boen. At age 17 Willy joined the Dutch secret service to locate leaders of rebel factions. He traveled throughout Indonesia as a Pentjak Silat historian learning all the new Silat he could.

Poekoelan means ď a series of blows with returning hands and feet ď. Tji means ď beautiful ď mande means ď flowing waters ď. Banten means ďwithin the heartĒ. To really progress in the arts, a student has to achieve humbleness, have a serene heart and a selfless attitude.

You are not bound or restricted to any one form, rather you are free and encouraged to seek and adapt what is right for you and discard the rest.

Pentjak Silat Poekoelan Tjimande Banten is known as the flower system and has as itís symbol the beautiful rose. The rose is sweet smelling, beautiful flower, but itís beauty is deceiving for it bears sharp thorns for itís protection. The Poekoelan crawl is also beautiful to watch but just as the rose, itís beauty is deceiving and deadly to the unwary aggressor. Thus, the symbol of our style is the rose with itís thorns and three leaves mounted on a black background, framed on two sides with bamboo. Each part having a symbolic meaning:

The rose petals represent your individual crawl or movements. Just as no two roses are alike, neither are any two individual crawls alike, but yet it is easily recognized for what it is. The black background on which the rose is mounted represents the secret mystery and knowledge that you hold within you. The bamboo represents your ability to bend and yield which allows you to return unharmed and unbroken. For even the massive oak will fall and break in a violent storm, yet the frail but pliable bamboo will yield momentarily to the overwhelming wind only to snap back fiercely the moment it lets up. The bamboo which forms a frame around the rose also symbolizes your school. The meaning being that within the walls of the school you gain your knowledge and there it is to remain. The three leaves on the stem of the rose symbolizes the three fold aim of the Pentjak Silat student and is known as the Triad:
  1. Willingness to learn through self sacrifice
  2. Loyalty to oneís nation
  3. Devotion to your God

Pentjak Silat Poekoelan Tjimande Banten has as itís ultimate goal the acheivment of perfect health and tranquility by the way of movement, continuous and precise. Through a varied sequence of complimentary and contrasting movements which by their vary nature create stability, vitality and balance which unites controlled energy with awareness. In essence, Active Meditation.

The majority of our style is adapted from nature itself, in the form of itís animals; the combined is called Binatung Ampat. Which are comprised of the following animals:
  • Tiger ( Matjatan ) from which we get our lo to the ground ripping motions, sweeps, springing shears or scissors, rolling elbows and knees.
  • Snake ( Oeler ) from which we get our weaving of arms, body and legs. Lightning fast striking out of any position.
  • Monkey ( Monjet ) from this animal we get our paries, crawl and low movements. Also we get our rolls, jumping, leaping and medium height positions.
  • Crane ( Blekok ) from this beautiful and graceful bird we get our various fist blows and parrying movements. We also learn balance and stability from the agile movements of the crane and the ability to strike from a one legged position.

The movements of animals play a big part in the development of this mystical art, however, developed far beyond mere animal movements to a point of utilizing the laws of physics, a knowledge of anatomy and an understanding of human behavior.

There is an old saying among Silat people that goes, ď You do not chose Silat, Silat chooses youĒ The art itself selects its worthy students and ultimately becomes your way of life!!

Witten by John Sokolsky and Nicklaus Sokolsky
Teachers of Indonesian Pentjak Silat Poekoelan Tjimande Banten, Cun Tao
Contact Information:

Mas. John Sokolsky     412 604-0349   E-Mail:   Mas. John
Mas. Nick Sokolsky      412 773-2202   E-Mail:   Mas. Nick