First Kembangan Practise in Camden

Discussion in 'Silat' started by Kiai Carita, Jul 10, 2005.

  1. Kiai Carita

    Kiai Carita Banned Banned

    Dear Pesilat,

    Allow me to share this evening's silat experience with you all. I think it is appropriate because in many ways it began in this forum and many of you might be in little ways, part of it.

    It was a lovely English summer's day in London today and after I finished closing up shop in the Stables Market in Camden I rang Cimande silat to find that he was already in Camden. I had told all my gamelan friends that a Real Mc Coy silat instructor was going to come and wanted everyone to be ready and no one late. I went up to the toilets to wrap my long hair up in a destar and when I got back there were Cimande and Sabr Silat waiting.

    It was great to see the pesilat. No nonsense, just like our moves, we hurried to get in our training clothes and the three of us plus most of Sekar Gedhogan Gamelan Orchestra including a 1 year old baby, carried the large gongs, sarons, and kenongs plus two kendhangs, up to the place where I train, up near the toilets under the London sky.

    At first it was a rather rusty start. The gamelan players had never accompanied other silat player before and our kendhang player is away in Scotland for a week or two. I am a little dyslexic on the drums as Cimande and Sabr Silat will know so we coughed and choked along. Anyhow, we drummed away and hit the floor and it was great fun.

    Cimande is a good player and quickly developed a group of beautiful young fans. Sabr Silat is a Walisongo player and his silat is very meditative and arguably in my eyes looks most Javanese (as in Central-East Jawa, Cimande is from the Sunda ethnic group who inhabit West Java). I really apreciate that as a shy young man you let your silat and your faith guide you and you played very well and showed alot of good moves, well trained. I do hope more Walisongo players will join this summer opportunity we have to play with live music and share with whoever is willing to share. Please do not be shy as you see I am an old fart who waddles rather than moves and I fall over my own punches so you will most definitely be better than me.

    As we were playing, gamelan gonging, drums banging, players came in and out in the silat arena and also in the gamelan troupe. Spectators joined in and some Capoeira did it's kembangan as well. I thought that this was very much like a community kembangan evening in a village in Jawa where players from different schools, clowns and anyone joins for some play.

    There are so many ways to play kembangan and what we did was a community kembangan, the type played at weddings or circumcissions as entertainment from the people for the people. Often these are full moon gatherings as well and they play until morning. I don't know why but in Jawa the common idea is that sleeping less and eating less is good to develop your inner strength.

    Back to this kembangan project in Camden I think that it is a good idea that we continue it. Sabr, if you can't come this next Sunday come the one after that. Closer to the date we might need more practises. We will make sure everyone is comfortable before D-Day. And on the D-Day we will mike up the instruments and give to our environment a quality spectacle of silat.

    In our relaxed but quality (we make sure we practise enough to have this quality) kembangan practises, we introduce to the community, the idea of a martial art that is brutally effective but develops the ethics of non-violence. By doing the kembangan up near the toilets we introduce the use of public space in a creative way and diametrically oppose the fatalist despair of the wretched bombers in this world.

    This week I have a huge dead hog on my plate but I will continue with the art of stirring things up for silat here in London. I met some Indonesian friends last week and was reminded that we have a pendekar here Bang Aidinal Rasyid and he does a rare Bugis silat . The Bugis were the ethnic group feared by English seamen who brought the word Boogey-man in to the English language. In Indonesia the Bugis are feared as fighters and the Sultan of Mataram and then Jogjakarta had/has an army and a village for the Bugis troops. They are believed to be silent and deadly and they are whisperes of the wind and the sea. Their famous weapon is the badik, alongside the keris. I will try and get in touch with him and ask him to come and join us with any friends he has who might be interested.

    I do not have any contacts yet but I hope we can get some Malaysian and Singaporean and Filipino pesilat as well and do practise together for this kembangan do-thing. So it is better we make it not an Indonesian independence do but a Londoner's pesilat anti terrorist and support the victims do. What do you guys think? Better ha? We need to meet several times before we find a comfortable form of the whole thing and after the D-Day (we need to talk about this) we might want to continue in a more long term tempo. I find it beautiful that we are able to share across the borders of schools, age, capabilities, and background.

    So lets do it again. Wali, Catman, pesilats in London, please come to the next Sunday evening date if you can. There is enough space for four pesilats to move together with ease. And if enough of us ask for it we will have the lovely sun too! God is Great, man! Cimande I heard you wanted to bring your golok? It seemed many of your moves were golok moves so why not? Come come come it is fun. Jump, roll, twist, punch! ... ning-nong-ning-gong-ning-nong-ning-gong, plakplakplakplak taktaktak Gunggggggggggggggg.

    Kiai Carita
  2. cimandesilat

    cimandesilat New Member

    Hi Kiai Carita,

    Thanks for the kind words, and thanks for the opportunity to experience practicing my silat movements to live gamelan music. Both you and Sabr Silat also moved very well. It was very interesting to see the movements of other styles of silat. It was also very nice to see that pesilat from different schools and styles could play without any big ego's getting in the way. It was actually very relaxed and easy going with enjoyable discussions about what a partiuar style of silat would do in a certain scenario. Kiai Carita and myself had a chance to play a little with some cimande techniques which again was all in good fun.

    I was actually amazed at the size of the crowd that we drew for that time of night on a sunday. There were many people out with their cameras taking pictures and video clips.

    Looking forward to next week!

    Cimande Instructor in London
  3. Sgt_Major

    Sgt_Major Ex Global Mod Supporter

    you stir a feeling Ive not felt often, or in a while.......


    I wish I could be there. I will try to make it some time over the summer....
  4. cimandesilat

    cimandesilat New Member

    Yes SilatPupil, you would have really enjoyed it!
  5. Sgt_Major

    Sgt_Major Ex Global Mod Supporter

    Im planning a couple weeks off work near the end of the summer, I might get over then for a weekend. :D
  6. amirul_tekpi79

    amirul_tekpi79 Valued Member

    Where are the Malaysians?

    Peace to all,

    Dear Kiai Carita,

    Your Kembangan & Silat get-together sounds great! I hope there will be some Malaysian representatives in the near future.

    I'm not exactly sure, but i think the Malaysian silat styles that exist in UK includes Silat Haqq Melayu, Silat Lincah, Silat Gayong, and Seni Gayong Fatani.

    There must also be some of the many Malaysian students in UK that are pesilat as well. I hope they will answer your call one of these days.

  7. Kiai Carita

    Kiai Carita Banned Banned

    I am trying to make it sound great, Amirul, so that pesilats will come. I think that there is definitely a lot of potential in doing this as a weekly event. At least my gamelan players will be more agile in following me when I do my puppet shows, now! I am still trying to get som Malaysian and other Indonesian pesilats up near the toilets of the Stables Market in Camden.

    Today I met an UK pesilat from Walisongo, one of Steve Benitez' friends called Del or is it Des (Wali, you must know him) and he said that he hopes to be able to come next Sunday. It will be a shame if Sabr can't come next Sunday and there is no Walisanga player at all. Hopefully someone from Hendon can come and share with us.

    Up till today I think that only Cimande Silat and myself are commited for next Sunday. If we do the do on August 28 (29, Monday is a holiday in the UK -end of summer) we have several meetings before the real thing, and should be able to coagulate a bit more as an ensemble. I am still hoping that Wali and Catman will show up too.

    Silat Pupil, why not come over to London for the end of August bank holiday and play with us here. I have a room very near the market and you are welcome to crash there for a night or two.

    Kiai Carita

    Kiai Carita.
  8. sabr silat

    sabr silat New Member

    dear Kiai Carita,

    Thank you for your kind words.

    Sunday was good, it was my first time and i really enjoyed it. The Gamelan was good and enjoyed watching both you and cimandesilat in action. Both of you moved very well.

    The evening was awesome. It is the beginning of something special and can see it grow in time. It was nice to see the different styles together, relaxed and like CimandeSilat said 'with no ego's. Our Silat just brought us together.

    Sadly, i won't be able to commit, but i'll try and get another walisongo player to replace me.

    Keep up the good work

  9. Sgt_Major

    Sgt_Major Ex Global Mod Supporter

    sounds like the starting of a plan to me ;)
  10. Kiai Carita

    Kiai Carita Banned Banned

    For Silat today

    Salam, peace, Sabr, you have a very good name for a pesilat, sbr means patient and aware (in the Indonesian Islam communities at least - the original Arabic I can't claim to know) and is one of the basics of silat. I hope to be able to get up the Northen line to Hendon tonight to talk to the trainers there (just got off the phone to Laarni Benitez) and hope to get enthusiasm going plus some commitment.

    I also emailed an Indonesian pendekar, Bang (means respected older brother in an egalitarian way) Aidinal Alrashid who works for the British Council and whose daughter fights sliat for Britain in competitions. I hope he can help me further this network I am weaving and bring even more variety to the do.

    Need to discuss dates here, what do you guys think of the evening of August 28 for time to invite 'all the people from around our volcano?' On my calendar August 28 is a Sunday and the Monday 29 is also a holiday here so we might get alot of interest from the public. We need not worry about a crowd as CimandeSilat has soul of an Irish performer/entertainer in him and easily works the crowd.

    I still haven't got any Malaysian contacts, or Philippino for that matter, but an Afghan friend who does kickboxing is wondering how he can join. How should a kickboxer approach kembangan with gamelan music? I can very easily imagine that this can happen (any martial arts can be played in kembangan style with gamelan music - come to the Sunday evening meeting in the Stables Market and I will prove it to you) and was probably one of the ways that so much knowledge from so many places found its way into the various pencak silat systems existing now. What do you pesilat think?

    Amirul Tekpi, congratulations to your passing as an instructor. Wish you could come. If you have any Malaysian contacts here in London, especially of the kind that like to share and do things on the informal side, for free and just for the love of it, please share them with us.

    SilatPupil what are your plans, should I count you as coming on the D-Day? Are you a mate of CimandeSilat?

    Kiai Carita
  11. Sgt_Major

    Sgt_Major Ex Global Mod Supporter

    I'll do my damnedest to get there for D-day. Cant guarantee it with work etc.... but I'll be there if I can!

    CimandeSilat and I are brothers in Silat. We both learn from the same instructor(s)
  12. britsilatinmt

    britsilatinmt New Member

    saw your posts, for malay silat try

    if you cant get hold of them on that website, i might be able to find an email address for them...

    or you could try the sauk guys who do seni silat haqq... you should be able to find them on a google search...

    Its good that you're going down to eastwest..... I think Harcourt's in Canada at the moment, but if he's not you should get him along hehe, there are some guys there with amazing kembangan...

    Im sorry I cant be there. Im going to be back from the states in october for a wedding, hopefully, so if you are meeting then I will attend.

    best wishes
  13. Crucible

    Crucible Valued Member

    I have a friend who sometimes lives in Britian, who often comes to train in the PI with our southern Philippine silat instructor. I'll send him an email. I don't know if he's still in the UK, but it'd be nice to have a rep from our little part of the world for your festivities.
  14. Crucible

    Crucible Valued Member

    Hmm, I just thought of something. There's a Maguindanao cultural troup touring through Europe right now...I'll try to find out if they're passing through Britian. None of them are pesilats, but they're considered master musicians in Maguindanao and able to dance the both the public/celebratory and closed door/sacred/trance versions of the sagayan (Maguindanao war dance). Maybe if it works schedule wise they could join in.
  15. sabr silat

    sabr silat New Member

    I think Harcourt's in Canada at the moment, but if he's not you should get him along hehe, there are some guys there with amazing kembangan...

    Just the guy i was thinking of. He's got the moves and the rhythm as well.
  16. RedBagani

    RedBagani Valued Member

    Hello Crucible,
    I hope that one day we can meet here in the Philippines. I was thinking of doing something similar here for FMA. I think re-learning music is a good way to re-connect with our roots. We Filipinos are known world-wide as musicians, but unfortunately, most do not sing with the spirit and soul of our people. They do well imitating the songs and music of others, but have forgotten our own.
  17. Kiai Carita

    Kiai Carita Banned Banned

    The situation with the arts in your country and mine are similar Red Bagani. It is bloody ridiculous that we are apeing the trash spewed out by the information industry giants, while at the same time we defaecate on diamonds our ancestors cared and handed down for so many millenia. On top of that we complain that we are losing our identity. Not right I.M.O. But it seems that we are doing something about it, Red.

    I am thrilled to hear you were thinking about doing the same thing as I am doing here. You should just get a bunch like minded artists and some of your traditional martial music instruments and get to know these instruments yourselves. Find a young ethnomusicologist from your local Uni and you will probably find a good and enthusiastic ally, my friend Red Bagani! Usually you will find all the instruments you need in his/her garage/spare room/living room/ attic as well...just start looking for them as soon as you enter his/her house and say: I need those! Please play them for me!

    From my experience I find that most of our musical instruments are designed for community music and demand the flow of the heart rather than skill (as oppossed to a violin, for instance, which demands high skill: an unskilled violinist is obvious, an unskilled gong player doesn't really happen). This is how my Sekar Gedhogan Community gamelan Orchestra in Camden works even though no one but myself had any experience of gamelan before. The instruments are wise and can teach us if we listen.

    As for the further development of this kembangan do we are making: last night I visited Walisongo HQ in Hendon and watched a kembangan class, chatted with Angel, Alvin, Gordon, Sulaiman, Simon, and Laarni and tried my best to explain what I am trying to do. All the W people were very supportive and hopefully we will see some next Sunday.

    I also talked on the phone with Bang Aidinal, President of the UK Silat Federation, and he said he is happy to help as an individual but can't lend the name of his organisation. Great, I said, we want to get together as individuals, not as schools, not as organisations, but as ourselves, for the love of silat. It begun as an effort to develop my community of musicians further by networking creatively with pesilat. Let the wind bring us together as clouds or mist to rain or to fly away once more in the Big Cycle of all things.

    Cimande Silat and Sabr, I still consider you two as the originals in this project and hope that you do some 'bhakti-yoga' (the spiritual word for free work) for this by inviting people and training plus anything other you think of. It was nice for Sabr to bring drinks last time. This is the spirit we need so if any of you feel like bringing something to make the Do more fun like back in the villages of the good old days, don't hesitate to bring your something to share.

    Lets be better this Sunday. Lets hope there are some ladies and or children too. And dates, dates, dates, not the type you eat but the type printed on calendars: I do really need some suggestions...Cimande please think about it untill Sunday? There is NottingHill Carnival as well apparently. Could you do some reality checks with the dates possible for us to to the Do? I reckon we will be more fun than the Carnival but my friend on the kenongs just emailed me saying can't compete with the Carnival? Will we be competing or will we be an alternative?

    To all cyber pesilat all on this forum, please add your suggestions, invite people, come to market, come to market, come to market, and play. Thanks for the post Crucible and Britsil. Silat Pupil, what date do you want to pitch as a good day for you? Lets consider everyone's intersts.

    Kiai Carita.
  18. Sgt_Major

    Sgt_Major Ex Global Mod Supporter

    It'll not matter datewise for me. One is as good as another, in that the chances of me getting over dont increase/decrease by date :D Just by workload unfortunately :p

    I 'think' MAP are having a meet around the 14th - but im not sure on that...
  19. cimandesilat

    cimandesilat New Member

    I'm pretty easy with dates but i'm not around next weekend or the weekend of sunday the 14th of August.

    Looking forward to this sunday, hopefully it will be even better the second time around!
  20. britsilatinmt

    britsilatinmt New Member

    how did it go on sunday?

    hope it went well

Share This Page