Discussion in 'Silat' started by Sgt_Major, May 27, 2005.
So I made one of these tonight, just wondering if any you guys made any training weapons before?
Silat Pupil, you have something shaped like a kujang. A kujang is a pusaka, a tosan aji, a prayer manifested in the art of layering metal and embodying it with prayer, often made using some meteorite to symbolize the marriage of heaven and earth and it is made by Mpu for people who live planting and growing things.
The shape of this spiritual and esoteric 'weapon' is not designed with fighting or killing in mind, rather it is a stylized shoot of a young plant, a symbol of growth and a prayer for fertility.
Never is a Sundanese kujang or a Javanese keris intended for killing and so there are no martial arts relating to these weapons in Java. If someone wants to teach you the fighting arts of a Kujang it means (s)he is inventing something new and completely missunderstanding the mindset of the creators of the kujang itself.
What you have their, my friend, is a kujang. It's a weapon with a lot of spiritual significance. Among other things, its shape is a stylized representation of the prayer "In the name of G-d, the Merciful, the Compassionate".
With all respect to my very knowlegeable colleague, there are some aliran (including old legitimate ones) which teach the use of the kujang and keris as weapons. Others say that no legitimate practitioner would do something like that. I wouldn't want to disparage either.
The kujang goes far back in Sudanese history to the kingdoms of Pajajaran and Segaluh which began long before the arival of Islam and the prayer Bismillahir Rohmanir Rohim that tellner says is stylised in the shape of a kujang. The kujang is a spiritual 'weapon' used much like new-age adepts use crystals in the West now, specifically for farmers who plant things. When Islam came the kujang and keris remained but recieved added symbolic meaning to make it acceptable within the new theology.
I would guess that the legitimate aliran that teach kujang fighting are not located in West Java for kujang training in Sunda land would truly upset the neighbours. The same goes with the keris. No keris fighting in Java but I know that in the Malay world there is keris use in silat. The keris is never used in silat from Java or Sunda or Bali or Madura. I know from the internet that some European silat masters seem to have made this mistake, even to go as far as posing with a naked Javanese keris blade for a website front page!
I am not saying their silat is not good, rather I am only pointing out that their understanding of the Kujang and the Keris is not based in the collective mind of Java or Sunda.
Hi Silat Pupil
Here is a recent article that was in a UK Martial Arts Magazine. You would also find Kunjangs for sale at a number of websites. I hope this helps you.
The Kujang- Knife of the Cimande Warrior
By Pendekar Sanders
The martial arts are filled with a variety of weapons. Many are more of interest for exercise or historical reference but how many of them would be the desired weapon of choice with a special force military person?
Well we have a weapon in Pukulan Cimande Pusaka that is being carried by such a person who was a student of mine years ago. When they saw this weapon at once they said this beats the hell out of my knife and so had one made for him to carry. I am speaking of the beautiful but wickedly effective West Javanese Kujang knife . Now the kujang is a knife that seems to have been designed with many abilities in mind. It has all of the slashing power of the famous Indian Kukri, it has the ability to hook and catch the opponents weapons as a karambit or other sickle type weapon can . It has the ability to either take off a hand or reach in and clip a tendon. The top of the blade on many have a type of serration that not only can cut through clothing but the student is taught to position the blade in various ways against and in close to the body to prevent a person from being able to grab or choke you without impaling themselves on the serrations. In a properly designed blade a point emerges from the bottom that can be used to pin point areas to strike as well as at the end of the handle a skull crusher can be found on some blades for in close work and the ability to hit an opponent’s hand dislodging a weapon in the process.
For all practical purposes it can act like a regular knife for slashing , a Karambit for hooking and an axe for chopping. I will ask you to refer to the blade in this article to see these portions on an excellent Kujang designed for our Art. The History of this blade is very old . It is believed to have originated around 1170 and in original form is pre-Islamic, probably Hindu in origin, although some even say Buddhist.Later the religion of Islam has tried to take credit for it but like all other religions often put there own spin on things. I believe it is in fact Kejawen which predates the other organized religions in Java. Here is one old legend of the kujang It starts with King Siliwangi of ciribon and his two princes (sons) The older son was Radan Komondoko. The Younger son's name has been lost in history . The story goes that the elder son was sent into the Jungle to train with a master of ilmu(magick) Pencak Silat and he carried the blade that his father . King Silawngi had created to roughly resemble the shape of the island of Java, or Djawa Dwipa as it was formerly known at that time. Some say the name was Prabu Kudo Lalean of the King who invented this shape but I have not heard this from any of the old Masters who always told me the former name. Now back to the story . The elder son met the master in the jungle and this man had young daughter who over time became the adopted sister of Radan Komondoko. Decades later the younger son ventured into the same area and came across the now older daughter of Radan Komondoko's teacher. He became interested in her and was flirting with her when along came his older brother . He did not recognize his younger brother and believed he was giving his adopted sister a hard time so he challenged his own brother to a fight. The younger Brother had also been studying his Pencak Silat and Ilmu very diligently and the fight as legend tells it went on for days . When neither could win they decided to use weapons and each pulled the Kujang . At once they realized they were brothers as these were at that time the only two kujangs in existence given to them by there father, in existence. They were happy to see each other and joined forces with there knowledge together of Pencak Silat Kujang fighting and Ilmu. From that point on their methods became the inheritance of kujang in Some Pencak Silat schools. I was told I was originally shown this inheritance of Radan Komondoko from Pendekar Jafri. Also I have learned the Kujang from Pendekar Mama of Cimande . In the Kujang there are two types Ageman Mann and PusakaTayuhan. Agemman has no, what is called "isi" or "Tua" or Magick in the blade and is usually made of regular steel referred to as penawang. The real Pusaka can take weeks , months or even years to create. It is normally constructed with layered metals called Pamor and is filled with "tua" or "isi (magickal power) by the maker using various methods of fasting and mantra repeated over the blade while it is being made. In addition to this the weight of a real Kujang is great to develop the wrist and forearm of the student. Not all Cimande schools practice the Kujang but we certainly do .
I hate to contradict a fellow pesilat but Kujang and Keris are legitimate weapons. Yes, nowadays the best ones were never used, intended only as a focus-point in meditation and an expression of unity with the universe. But both blades, like its brothers Rencong, Badik, and Mandau are weapons
I was lucky that a friend of my guru visited our sasaran when I was still in training. My guru asked him to teach us something and he showed some weapon plays. He does not use a kujang (you can get arrested carrying a concealed weapon) but the lesson is clear.
Like all West Indonesian weapons, kujang is actually a stabbing weapon. Yes, some kujang has a single sharpened edge but most don't. The unique design make it capable to trap, lock, and disarm the enemy.
Although I still remembered the demo, my weapon play is still centered around the rencong, which is has a same basic shape, but not elaborate and with a straight blade.
My suggestions for your training: use as a stabbing weapon but if you imagine a single sharp edge, try a reverse grip.
Oh, BTW don't ever picture yourself holding a bare blade . My guru said it is uncivilized to bare your blade without reason whatsoever. If there are silat teachers out there that showed their pictures like that, well, it means that you probably should avoid them like the plague if you want to better yourself.
Thank You SilatLiam. That is indeed settling to read.
And Thank You for granting me the chance to meet, talk to, and train with Pendekar Sanders personally. I had a most enjoyable time!
If you go to Java, Bali, and Madura, you will not find either kujang or keris as a martial weapon. When you go West from Jawa, over to Sumatra, to , Malaysia, or North to Sulawesi, then yes, the keris is used in martial arts. But the case is not so in Jawa, Madura, or Bali, all islands that have many martial arts schools.
Back to the kujang. According to general knowledge in Jawa and also according to the late Bambang Harsrinuksmo in the Ensiklopedi Keris (published by Gramedia), all kujang are 'tayuhan'. This means they are kept as pusaka, as heirlooms, and believed to have esoteric powers, especially in connection with planting. The kujang is a symbolic blade in the stylized shape of a plant shoot.
Pendekar Sander's explaination of kujang being divided into ageman (to wear like a tie) and tayuhan (to be communicated with) is slightly incorrect . The terms ageman and tayuhan are high Jawanese and actually refer to keris only, for only the keris is part of the East, Central, and West Java formal dress as it is also in Bali and Madura. Thus only a keris can be worn - dipun agem. Like a tie in the West. In Jawa, Sunda, Madura, a keris or a pusaka is not intended to be used as a weapon. In Bali the keris is used as a weapon only in the dramatic Calon Arang performances where men go into trance and stab the leak and themselves with their keris. In Balinese silat the keris is not used. In Jawa silat the keris is not used. Only mad people run amock with a keris in Jawa, Madura, or Bali, and they are considered to be possessed. I would suggest that the Cimande branches that use the keris are non Indonesian branches that developed the martial movements of their schools out of West Jawa or the Cimande region.
Also, Pendekar, I mean no disrespect but for clarity I need to state that Prabu Siliwangi was King of Pajajaran, not of Cirebon (not Ciribon) . Rebon means shrimp eggs used to make the Indonesian condiment called terasi, belacan in Malaysia, and Ci means water, river. The first king of Cirebon was one of Prabu Siliwangi's sons who embraced Islam through contact with Chinese Muslims of the Ming armada in the early 15'th century. If you look at the palaces of Cirebon and also at the batik and the keris blades and hilts, you will see so much Ming influence. Talk to most Sunda aristocracy and the lost name in your story will be easily found, Pendekar Sanders, as Sudanese are very proud and carefull with their heritage.
Globalization is very interesting . It seems that with the spread of the knowledge of pencak silat to the West the Jawa keris has taken up a Malay function as a weapon in martial arts. As long as the martial artists use Malaysian or Bugis or Sumatran keris, this would be fine, but when a Jawa keris is used it is culturally out of context. Many Jawa keris like the most common tilam upih are so thin that they would have no structural integrity to be used as a stabbing weapon. The fact is in Jawa they are not stabbing weapons, at least not to stab physically.
The kujang, however is only found in Sunda and is only used as a pusaka, not as a weapon, and not as part of formal dress. There are no other Indonesian ethnic groups who make the kujang thus the Sundanese should have the first go in defining what the oblect is. The kujang is only used as a weapon by Western pendekar who are not part of the indigenous Sundanese culture living in West Jawa. Never and never ever will one see the kujang used as a weapon by Sundanese in West Jawa.
In Sunda-Dutch silat, maybe you will find a kujang, but that will be the imaginative participation of the Dutch side of the hybrid . This is fine as long as the practitioner does not claim that the martial uses he discovered in the Sunda kujang and the Jawa keris are indigenous or intended by the Mpu who forged the pusaka and prayed for the pamor damascene pattern. Please remember that a martial artist can pick up any object and explain it's properties as a physical weapon.
I don't ask you to trust me, who am I ?...just an other guy on the web . But I think that Pendekar Sanders would agree that his cultural knowledge of Indonesia and particularly Sunda, is no way as good as his silat . Indonesia's foremost silat researcher Cak O'ong Maryono has explained the position of the keris and kujang in their homelands too . Check out his kps nusantara website and browse through the articles and forums, there is an English forum as well.
O'ong has done the most extensive research into silat to date although Jaida Kim Samudra's PhD thesis on non-violence ethics in silat is also very good ethnography and philosophy. Very interesting to see an American academic spending a year in a traditional silat setting in Bogor, West Jawa. I would say that this is recomended reading on the web for all who approach silat as a path to bringing to life rather than a path to destroying ones enemy(ies) .
Too confuse matters
I agree with Kiai Carita that the keris is not used as a weapon in Java, but that it is a pusaka. My teacher (who comes from East-Java) always stressed that the keris is not a weapon, but a pusaka. I think that this is a common mistake in the West.
You are making things more clear Rizal :Angel: . The first website you list talks about Filipino 'keris' called sundang. The second website actually states that the kujang is a talisman (the website sells many Indonesian talismans, and the research into the legends does not seem that bad). The third is an article about the keris that states the keris was developed in Malaya and taken into Java. Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles is quoted to have said this, persumably in his book History of Java. This is untrue. The keris came to Malaysia probably during the Majapahit Empire which peaked in the 14'th century. There are many more contemporary research on keris that the writer of the article was not aware of.
All three websites you listed here, Rizal, are information compiled by outsiders about a very indigenous art and philosophy . Thank you for further illustrating the fact that much of what is from Java is miss-represented in the West . I state once more that no Java silat schools use the keris as a physical weapon because if they did many people would be upset, it would be famous and controversial, and as a Javanese interested in these things for over 35 years, I am pretty sure I would hear about it if it existed.
I suggest that the all silat schools that teach keris are not Java silat schools. I would suggest that the traditional physical weapon for a Cimande pendekar would be a golok, most likely forged on the anvils of the village Ciwidei. Anyone who says that some Cimande schools teach the keris and the kujang must be refering to Dutch-Cimande schools.
On the web I have also come across a silat school called silat Ratu Adil. The last time the name Ratu Adil was used in Indonesia was when Dutch Captain Westerling massacred thousands in Sulawesi and in West Java in 1949. I wonder wheter the Ratu Adil silat school has any conections to Westerling, a name which to this day brings terror to the Indonesian history classes. To claim to be the Ratu Adil (Just King/Queen- Messiah) in this name is so very un-Indonesian, one wonders how it can be teaching an Indonesian art.
As most Sundanese Cimande pendekar were actively fighting to kick out the Dutch from West Java in Indonesia's long struggle for independence, it would be appropriate for the Westerner-pendekar using the kujang and keris in physical combat, to explain that this use is a Western innovation. I understand that the creative process in finding the physical use of the kujang must be very exciting , exciting enough to over-rule the fact that the use 'insults' the venerated position of the pusaka in the Javanese mind .
If there are any pesilat from Parhyangan or from Central and East Java in this forum, like Garuda, they would be able to say that I am telling the truth.
Well, I still say that Keris and Kujang are weapons. There are many graphics in the old candis that depicted the use of Kerises and proto-Kujangs in combat. Also some of the folktales and historical events are clear that both weapons are used as weapons. Some Javanese dances has also shown that the use of Kerises as weapons.
Saying Keris and Kujang were just Talisman is the same as saying that wearing Katanas and Wakizashis are just symbols of the samurai, both weapons are not weapons but status badges.
There are even primary-source historical accounts of them being used as weapons. And one of my favorite Silat gurus teaches juru-juru specifically designed for the kujang.
hey todd! i havent talked to you in a while! hows things?
yes a kujang is a pusaka, but also a weapon. you can run someone over in your car if you like but thats not really what its made for.
The style of Pentjak Silat Ratu Adil has about as much to do with Westerling as the Buddhist Swastika has to do with Nazi Attrocities. The founder of this style, Rudy Terlinden, was a devout Christian, and thought of the Ratu Adil as a way of saying, or an Indonesian version of, Jesus Christ. It has nothing to do with racial violence... only Silat Violence!
I have made my own training weapons before, I used to have a great large & small keris when i was training with guro Krishna & other assorted daggers etc...being a stainless steel fabricator has its benifits lol. I am working on a krambit at the moment then i need is to learn how to use it. lol
Hi Kiai Carita,
In all your efforts of being extremely precise in clarfying your issues the quote above somewhat disappoints me. First I'm not a Cimande pesilat. Your reference to Dutch-Indonesian PS and D-I Cimande seems somewhat cynical? I agree that one should have respect for the original roots of an MA but I think one should have the same respect for the D-I and their role in distribution of the art since the early fifties of the previous century. Of the Dutch-indonesians of the first generation that went (back) to the Netherlands some had full understanding of their martial arts and some didn't. Some may have claimed more than they really should have claimed and some didn't claim anything ever and just taught. Nowadays most D-I styleleaders have intensive contacts with their afiliated Indonesian aliran, some younger ones have even started all over on their own with Indonesian teachers.
But saying: "Anyone who says that some Cimande schools teach the keris and the kujang must be refering to Dutch-Cimande schools." is very selective and almost sounds like an old D-I grudge. As far as I can remember I have never seen a kris or kujang in Sundanese demo's but foremost the golok. For this you might want to direct your attention to other parts of the world.
During a demo yesterday at the Belgian Open championships an Indonesian Demonstration team used a demo-kris. They might have shown something Sumatran but maybe we have to ask them to clarify where they are from before we start making the wrong assumptions.
I agree fully that Ratu Adil in conjunction with Westerling is not OK, but I wonder if Pak Terlinden has ever been aware of this Westerling link...
Pekir, you have a point.
Pekir, you have a piont. This is a post from a while back that you are commenting on, but nevertheles I thank you for pointing out my error and appologize for any offence that the post made.
No offence taken.
Just to throw my voice in, my teacher (who is Sundanese) and his brother, who was my first teacher (also Sundanese - He died) taught the talislamic dagger as a weapon. It IS of great symbolic signifigance to the Sunda region, but they are not nearly as "religious" as thier neighbors to the north. In my opinion, they are much more practical, especially when it comes to thier Pencak Silat. There is no nonsense about it, and Pendekar Bambang can be as nice an peaceful, or as bloodthirsty, as the need fits. He has been in enough fights. This over-spiritualization of weaponry, and Silat in general, often overlooks the point: A prayer won't stop them from stabbing you. Good technique will.
That's not to say that some schools don't focus purely on the spiritual, some do even in Bandung. Ulin Nampon comes to mind. But...It's not the norm.
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