Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Embah Kahir [Source: Passage from the book, Learning Silat, page 10, by Mr. R Asikin, Bandung, August 1975 and authorized by H. Suhari Sapari, The General Leader of PPSI "The Indonesian Self Defense Association" of West Java, and the IPSI, Ikatan Pencak Silat Indonesia]Original Indonesian text here He was the master of "Cimande", clan. He introduced the "Cimande" fighting system to the West Javanese. He called his clan "Cimande" for the place where he lived had a river called the Cimande River. He lived in a small village called the "Congreg" near the town of Bogor in West Java, around, 1780. Embah Kahir had many students in many places like: Bogor, Jakarta, Banten, Bandung, and else where in West Java. In 1773, he fought against a fighter from Macao in Cianjur, a small town in West Java. It was witnessed by the chief of the district of Cianjur called the Prince of Kornel.His very well known student was "Bapak Sera", who had many students in Depok, Bogor, Jakarta, Tangerang, and Banten. Embah Kahir's five students who spread Cimande in Bandung were: Bapak Endut, Ocod, Otoy, Komar, and Oyot.There were three other students who came from Bogor to Bandung and taught Cimande, namely: Bapak Bidong, Mailin and Bapak Abo.The Myth of Maempo Cimande[Source: Interview with Bapak Rifai, Guru Pencak Silat Cimande Panca Sakti in Jakarta, 1993]Original Indonesian text hereNot far from the Mande river shore was a family of a merchant by the name of Kahir who lived in peace and calm. One day his wife went toward the river to run her daily errants such as washing laundry, cleaning food materials and relieving herself. When the wife was washing laundry she saw a school of monkeys across the stream, picking up "kupak" fruit along the river shore. Not too long after that a tiger appeared at the same place. Feeling that the presence of the tiger was very disturbing, the monkeys screamed and made loud noises, as loud as they could. Kahir's wife was alerted and wondered what would happen next. The tiger roared furiously and charged towards the monkeys with its strong paws, but the little monkeys, not showing any fear at all, dodged the tiger and striked back by biting on the tiger's stomach. The tiger struggled and striked back, but his attacks did not prevail over the monkeys. On the other hand the other monkeys, using branch sticks, they tried to divert the tiger's attention and made him even more angry and jumped on them again. But at the same time the monkeys dodged the attack and bit on him again. Ibu Kahir was carefully watching this moments by moments, she comprehended every movements which appeared to be as a fighting technique. As a result, she didn't finish her job in time, she arrived home late and did not prepare lunch yet. Her delay in preparing lunch made Mr. Kahir very upset at her and he didn't want to understand her, though she tried her best to explain. He got so upset and that he tried to slap her on the face. She dodged and escaped the slapping. Her husband got even more upset and lost control over himself. Blow by blow he tried to land on his wife, but none were able to touch her. She always managed to dodge the blows. Panthing and out of breath, Mr. Kahir asked his wife :"where did you learn to play poho?" (poho means to perform "deceiving moves", or "maempo" for short). The wife explained to her husband that her delay was due to her return from the river, after having watching an interesting fight between the tiger and the monkeys. After that Mr. Kahir dilligently asked his wife how those swift moves were done, and his wife showed him some samples. Mr Kahir would recall those fighting moves and it is now known by the name "jurus kelid pamonyet" (dodging monkey style). The monkeys attacking by using branches is known as "jurus pepedangan" (sword move) and striking of the tiger with both of its strong paws is known as "jurus pamacan" (tiger style). Because the tiger's position when charging against the monkeys was with both rear legs in squatting position and the monkeys were using low stance position, thus the basic moves for Cimande is first - jurus kelid (dodging moves), starting from the tiger's sitting position and the next step is standing low (low stance) monkey style. The maempo teknik was continuously developed by Mr. Kahir and the locals called it by the name of maempo Cimande. The Life of Guru Kahir[Short essay quoted from Gema Pencak Silat Vol 3 no. 1:18-19]Kahir lived in a village of Cogreg, Bogor. He became a feared pendekar around the year 1760 which was when he first introduced to his students the maempo Cimande moves. His students then spread it out to other regions like Batavia, Bekasi, Karawang, Cikampek, Cianjur, Bandung, Garut, Tasikmalaya, Sumedang, Ciamis, Kuningan, and Cirebon.When he was living in Cogreg, Bogor, Kahir used to travel far, leaving his hometown for trading horses. There has been many attempts to rob him, but he was able to overcome them all because of his skills in playing maempo. In Batavia he was able to get acquainted with other silat pendekar(s) from Minangkabau and Cina - masters in the world of silat, and he traded experiences with them. His meeting with other silat pendekar gave him an idea to broaden his horizon by accepting other cultures into his own. When doing business in Cianjur, he met with the 4th city mayor of Cianjur, Raden Adipati Wiratanudatar (1776-1813). He then decided to move to Cianjur and lived in Kamurang vilage. Raden Adipati Wiratanudatar knew that Kahir is skillful in playing maempo and he asked him to teach him and his family, all regional and security officers. In order to prove Kahir's his skills, the mayor challenged him to a fight against a Chinese master of Kuntao Macao in alun-alun (park) Cianjur. Kahir won the fight and made himself more popular among the people in Cianjur region. In 1815 Kahir came back to Bogor, he begat 5 "sons" which are Endut, Ocod, Otang, Komar and Oyot. By his 5 sons was Cimande widely spread throughout the land of Pasundan (Western Java). Meanwhile in Bogor, Cimande was successed by his student, Ace, who died in Tarik Kolot. His descendants have become the elders of pencaksilat Cimande Tarik Kolot Kebon Jeruk Hilir. The beginning of the 19th century was when Cimande reached it's glorious moments in West Java, that Kahir's typical clothing of "sontok" or "pangsi" shorts (very loose/baggy shorts) with "kampret" shirt has become the model uniform of pencak silat until present. In 1825 Kahir died and his fighting art is continuously developing and widely accepted by people of West Java. His training methods was developed by his pupil such as Sera' and Ciwaringin style which along the way made some changes in the moves such as done by Haji Abdul Rosid. However, the changes is not too much different than the basic maempo Cimande moves. Today Cimande has developed and widely spread unto different corners around the world. The problem has been that Kahir did not put his teaching in writings, but oral tradition which is not systematic. In the village of Cimande, maempo Cimande is not in an organized form. From one family to another, the Cimande is passed down from one generation to another in an unorganized manner that it produced many students and branched many schools, legaly as well as illegally, not familiar with one another. At least Cimande has become the basic for other silat moves that later developed and branched out world widely.