Thursday, November 13, 2008

About Persatuan Gerak Badan BANGAU PUTIH

Persatuan Gerak Badan, (PGB Bangau Putih), is a martial art school and community association that was founded in Bogor, West Java in 1952 by the late Suhu Subur Rahardja (while alive, known as Suhu. Now known as Suhu Subur or Suhu Almarhum).

Born in 1925 to a martial arts family in Bogor, West Java, Suhu Almarhum became a student of Silat from a very tender age. Suhu's uncle and first teacher, Liem Kim Bouw, was a martial arts master and respected healer. Later, Suhu Almarhum studied under several other martial arts masters who came to live with his uncle during times of difficulty in Asia in the 1930s and 40s. Suhu Almarhum demonstrated prodigious talent for the martial arts from a very early age. He also demonstrated the extraordinary discipline necessary to learn various styles and to endure the rigorous years of study of martial arts often taught only in monasteries. According to one of Suhu Almarhum's most famous teachers, Gusti Gedeh Agung Jelanktik Baliwangsa, the former King of Lombok, he had mastered the external form of martial arts by the age of twenty. Suhu Almarhum then went on to master the internal styles as well. It is said that the current White Crane Silat style taught by PGB represents Suhu Almarhum's synthesis of four martial arts styles with that of his original clan style of kun tao.

In the 1970s, young men and women from the west came to study Pencak Silat PGB Bangau Putih (White Crane Silat) in Bogor under Suhu Almarhum. Inspired by their commitment and interested in achieving a wider audience for his art, Suhu Almarhum began to travel to the West to teach. Soon PGB Bangau Putih (White Crane Silat) branches began to crop up in Germany, France, and the United States. Enthusiastic students often traveled to Bogor to train under Suhu in Indonesia and some of Suhu Almarhum's senior students traveled to the Western countries to provide instruction. The White Crane Silat Center in Bogor began to take on a very international flavor with students from all over the world coming to stay and train for a few weeks to a few years.

Suhu Almarhum died in 1986 leaving the care of PGB to his son, and a Master in his own right, Suhu Gunawan Rahardja. Gunawan, the current Suhu (Grandmaster) of White Crane Silat, has continued and expanded upon his father's work.

The full name of the school is Perguruan Silat Persatuan Gerak Badan Bangau Putih. This translates to English as: School (Perguruan) of Martial Arts (Silat) Association (Persatuan) for Movement (Gerak) of the Body (Badan), White (Putih) Crane (Bangau). There are many branches of PGB silat in Indonesia, Germany, France, Spain, the United States, Canada, and Saudi Arabia.

The Pusat PGB Bangau Putih (Center of White Crane Silat) in Bogor continues to provide a high level of training for Indonesians and students from the world over. Every year an international retreat is held in a different host country and students come from around the globe to attend a week long intensive training seminar. Suhu Gunawan also continues the healing traditions of his uncle and father by providing traditional Asian healing practices to a wide variety of patients.

[edit] The Symbol

The Symbol of Bangau Putih is a White Crane on a blue background within around which is a red Circle separated from the blue by a yellow circle. The red has writing in blue: Persatuan Gerak Badan at the outside are two yellow circles. within the red there are two small circles, one on the left and one on the right.

The Founder, Subur Rahardja, chose the White Crane as the symbol of the school because the crane is a social animal which represents balance and grace, and only fights in self defense.

[edit] The Style

Although called Bangau Putih - White Crane, and the Symbol of the school shows this animal, the style has different animal forms (such as Macan Monyet, Naga, Ular, Bangau, Kerbau, Macan Tutul among others and non-animal forms Bambu, Angin, Lohan, Pedang to name just a few.

Movements can be very hard fighting techniques on one hand which can include difficult acrobatic skills, or less muscular movements which were designed for weaker people, or movements especially for women, internal fighting techniques and breathing to purely health-movement or Silat-Gymnastics.

Movements fall under the following general categories:

• Short Movements – Stances with punches and blocks and kicking, jumping, rolling, and falling. All of our training takes place on a wooden floor, without mats. This inspires students to perfect their technique!

• Long Movements – There are many, many Long Movements in the animal styles. They are choreographed combinations of Short Movements, with a focus on flow and the character of the animal. If the Short Movements are the notes, or the scales, the Long Movements are the melody.

• Partner Exercises – One-on-one repetition of drills. Though some are martial, like punching and blocking, others are quite the opposite and are very gentle, soothing harmonious exercises that will sooner produce a smile than a bruise. All partner exercises are focused on the development of feeling – feeling the movement and intention of one’s partner, as well as oneself.

Tui Cu (tuichu) – (controlled sparring) During Tui Cu students have the opportunity to test the martial applications of the short movements they've been practicing while trying to move in a "Silat" way. This is like improvising combinations of Short Movements with a partner; think of it as a dialogue in movement.

• Self Defense – White Crane Silat is Kung Fu, and it does take some time to become proficient. It is a great system but it must be said that to be able to fight well with Kung Fu requires many things. Among them are prodigious focus and years of dedicated practice. That being said, the greatest attributes of self defense that can be learned from Persatuan Bangau Putih are timing, awareness, and self confidence.

• The Harmony or Health Movements – Health movements are practiced with a focus on sensitivity and suppleness, as well as breath. When practiced correctly, they offer a wonderful feeling of vitality. There are some Health Movements which are done with a partner, but most of them are done by oneself. Generally one should expect to put in a few good years of dedicated workouts before they are given any movements from the Health System.

What makes this art interesting and almost unique is that it is a "complete" martial art with most aspects of the martial tradition within the style. Thus some people may practice soft meditative movements, while others are practicing hard ground techniques. The practice of throwing each other onto hard surfaces instead of mats leads to the ability to avoid shock and withstand impact. This is perhaps the least attractive aspect of the style, but the one most likely to be used. With luck most people do not get into fights, but accidents that lead to a bad fall are quite common. For people well trained in White Crane Silat, falling is not as likely to cause an injury as it is done every day.

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