JAKARTA: Indonesia’s oldest Pencak Silat fighter, Zakaria Abdurochim, says his advancing age is not any purpose to cease educating the traditional martial artwork type which he discovered as a youngster in the course of the Japanese occupation within the 1940s.
“I discovered Pencak Silat from my grandfather, Muhammad Zaelani. He taught the abilities to his relations at the moment as a type of self-defense in the course of the Japanese occupation,” Abdurochim advised Arab Information throughout an interview at his residence in Kwitang, Jakarta.
The soon-to-be 92-year-old continued to show the Mustika Kwitang Pencak Silat model to a gaggle of scholars till the courses had been halted abruptly in the course of the coronavirus illness (COVID-19) pandemic final 12 months.
The social restrictions, nonetheless, didn’t deter him from educating, as he turned to know-how with the assistance of his 26-year-old grandson, Alfarisy, also called Riry, to attach along with his college students.
“Riry would tape me demonstrating the strikes and ship the clips to college students and so they may use it as a reference to be taught,” he mentioned.
His lifetime ardour and dedication to the martial artwork earned him recognition from Indonesia’s World Information Museum which declared him the nation’s oldest Pencak Silat fighter in August final 12 months.
The Mustika Kwitang is among the most outstanding Betawi types of Pencak Silat.
Betawi refers back to the ethnic group native to Jakarta. Abdurochim mentioned it originated as a household custom within the 19th century and was handed down from one technology to a different.
His great-great-grandfather taught his relations the standard self-defense expertise, which he developed with some affect from Chinese language martial arts which he learnt from a Chinese language dealer and a martial arts grasp who had settled within the space.
Numerous historic accounts referred to the Chinese language dealer as Kwee Tang Kiam, from whom many declare the title of the world, Kwitang, was taken. It was the world the place many Chinese language and Arab merchants settled after they migrated to Batavia, Jakarta’s colonial-era title in the course of the Dutch East Indies occupation.
Abdurochim’s first alternative to showcase his expertise was when Indonesia held its first multi-sports occasion, the Nationwide Sports activities Week (PON), in 1948, three years after it declared its independence.
However at the moment, it was featured solely as an indication sport to showcase the humanities of the synchronized physique motion.
He participated once more as a member of the capital metropolis’s contingent within the second PON in 1951 when Pencak Silat was listed as a aggressive sport, successful a gold medal for Jakarta.
After his household’s Pencak Silat model started to achieve prominence within the new republic, Abdurochim and his 13 siblings agreed to formalize it into a faculty and based the Mustika Kwitang Pencak Silat college in 1952. Out of the 14 siblings, solely he and his 77-year-old sister are nonetheless alive.
However the Mustika Kwitang Pencak Silat model’s continuity is in “protected arms,” he mentioned, with Riry now main the varsity.
“Similar to grandpa who learnt Pencak Silat from his grandpa, I additionally discovered this from him from after I was 5 years outdated. I took an interest as he used to take me together with him in lots of his teaching classes,” Riry mentioned.
Riry is certainly one of Abdurochim’s 60 grandchildren from 14 youngsters. Though his different grandchildren additionally discovered the martial arts type, solely Riry and certainly one of his cousins are preserving the legacy alive, with future seeds rising within the household as a few of his 34 great-grandchildren have began to be taught the game as properly.
Riry now holds his personal courses on the close by Islamic Heart, which was established by the late Ali bin Abdurrahman Al-Habsyi. The Muslim cleric based the Majelis Taklim Kwitang, or Kwitang Muslim congregation, and he was a number one preacher who performed an instrumental position within the proliferation of Islam within the metropolis and throughout Indonesia.
The college now has disciples in lots of components of the nation in addition to overseas, together with France, the UK and the Netherlands, the place Abdurochim traveled to show.
“Not too long ago, somebody from Amsterdam contacted me, he discovered my contact from the IPSI (Indonesian Pencak Silat Affiliation) and needed to be taught on-line. He mentioned he would come to Indonesia to be taught on the spot when the pandemic is over,” Abdurochim mentioned.
He likened studying Pencak Silat to studying the right way to learn, the place a disciple has to be taught the 12 primary strikes identical to studying the alphabet.
“After they grasp the strikes, they are going to be capable to compose them right into a unity of motion accordingly, identical to somebody having the ability to compose a sentence after studying the alphabet,” he mentioned.
Indonesia’s Pencak Silat, which has a particular model from varied faculties throughout the archipelago, was inscribed in UNESCO’s Consultant Listing of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in December 2019, a 12 months after its debut in a worldwide multisports occasion on the Asian Video games 2018, which Indonesia hosted.
The UNESCO described Pencak Silat as having an all-encompassing facet of sports activities — psychological, religious, self protection and creative.
It teaches its practitioners “to take care of their relationship with God, human beings, and nature … skilled in varied strategies to cope with assaults or different harmful conditions based mostly on ideas to guard themselves in addition to others, keep away from harming the offender and construct comradeship.”
True to the outline, Zakaria mentioned Pencak Silat “teaches him about compassion, to do good, respect for the aged and the lecturers” — a philosophy that he has handed on by educating it.
“We be taught to be affected person when enduring hardship. Along with that, additionally it is good for our well being from training the respiratory strategies, and we be taught to focus as we have now to follow it in constructing our physique power,” he mentioned.
Johansyah Lubis, a Pencak Silat athlete and coach for Indonesia’s nationwide staff in varied worldwide occasions, credited Abdurochim as one of many Pencak Silat masters who co-developed the nationally-recognized strikes integrated from varied faculties, and used as a reference level by the IPSI for competitors.
“He has a robust dedication to preserving Pencak Silat as a Betawi native martial arts and tradition,” Lubis advised Arab Information.
And along with his lifetime of dedication to the standard martial arts, and his gold medal for Jakarta in 1951, Abdurochim — who shares his birthday with the town on June 22 — is really certainly one of Jakarta’s icons.