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Author Topic: Kujang in Silat  (Read 6157 times)

Ranggalana

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Kujang in Silat
« on: 03/01/2008 08:50 »
The kujang, most people agree, is a Sundanese, ancient, agricultural tool and there are three blades related to it, namely Kujang Lanang, Kujang Wadon, and the large kujang called the Kudi.

The unique form of the kujang is also ancient and has been described as being a stylized form of the island Jawa, or also (B. Harsrinuksma alm in his Ensiklopedi Keris) a stylized form of a vegetable shoot. In tosan aji knowledge, the kujang is assosciated with agriculture and is believed to have the esoteric power to influence crops positively. The last old kujang were made by the Mpu of Padjadjaran who then moved East after the fall of Padjadjaran, and in the East they stopped making kujangs anymore.

So unlike keris, in kujangology you have a very looooooong period of the art being dormant, from the fall of Padjadjaran (in the 14-15th century) untill the rise of nationalism in Sundaland (19-20th century) which would be in the modern times, when the kujang emerged again.

The reappearance of the kujang brought with it new inventions and also new interpretations like the relevance of one, three, five, or seven holes in a blade.... I suspect all these things are new interpretations and were not there when the kujang was an agricultural tool.

In the modern times, the kujang began to become part of Sundanese silat ... but not before the formation of the Republic of Indonesia, not before the kujang became the symbol of Sundanese identity. The original Sundanese silat bladed weapon is the golok.

The kujang has now developed independently. Currently it even looks different to the old, Padjadjaran kujangs that some tosan aji collectors are lucky enough to have.

Let us begin the controversy ...

Warm salaams to all,
Ranggalana.
batu kali jadi candi, duka jadi puisi, jagal jadi wali

Russian Silat

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Re: Kujang in Silat
« Reply #1 on: 05/01/2008 10:37 »
Hello Mr. Bram,

Let us not begin controversey, let us begin educational dialogue.

I for one am grateful to read your posts on the subject.

In order to stimulate further dialogue, I have three questions:

First, do you maintain that absolutely NO kucang were produced or employed as fighting weapons for a period of almost 400 years? If so, what agricultural tool took it's place... Is it possible that "the historical record" (i.e 'a few books') fails to take into account every part of culture as it existed on the island?

Second, isn't it true that the Kucang morphed into an Islamic talisman at one point? I remember reading somewhere that it was re-worked to represent the name of God, or another Arabic phrase, and survived in this altered form. If so, then when exactly did Islam ascend to to dominance on Java? Isn't it possible that some empu continued to craft these weapons under the new ideology, and perhaps the demise of the old ideology is the real thing we are talking about here?

Third, considering the variety of kucang jurus currently in existence on Java (which you earlier denied), and considering that there is an oral history of their being passed on from antiquity, do you consider that around the time of Indonesian independance, several well-respected traditionalist Pendekars simply decided to make stuff up then lie about it?

And a fourth question, if you will indulge me: Even if masters on Java, experts in a variety of weapons, decided to resurrect the Kucang about 100 years ago, and support this knowledge by creating jurus, does this mean that Kucang fighting knowledge is legitimate, or illegitimate?

Is it true that earlier you claimed that PCP was an illegitimate art because it taught kucang jurus from Javanese sources?

And lastly, as an enthusiast of Pencak Silat, wouldn't you yourself like to study and train the kucang for combat purposes?

Thanks again for opening this topic, hopefully I can learn something.

Best Regards,

Russian Silat

Ranggalana

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Re: Kujang in Silat
« Reply #2 on: 05/01/2008 14:54 »
Kujang is a mysterious blade and because the fall of Padjadjaran was a looooong time ago, by the time the Republic stood in Sundaland there were several things that had happened that influenced everything sundanese, including the kujang. There is a long period when the kujang was dormant. When it was resurected it became the symbol of Sunda much like the keris is a symbol of Jawa.

What has replaced it as an agricultural tool? Probably the golok, but you can see several types of current agricultural blades (they have different names in each region) that have the same curious curve as a kujang. Kujang are mostly tangguh Padjadjaran or new, I haven't heard of anythingin between, but there might be some, just not common. Empus were connected to karatons. When Padjadjaran fell, there was no more karaton to support the kujang. Cirebon didn't seem to make many and neither did Banten.

Did it morph into an Islamic talisman at some point? ... I think what happened was this, the Wali and Muslims in Jawa and Sunda afterwards, saved the keris and the kujang by adding Islamic flavoured myth and legend to the blade. The kujang has been described as shaped as the island of Jawa, a plant shoot, or an Arabic sentence. If you look properly and plainly it is nothing of those and I firmly believe that form follows function, so I think these interpretations were added later on. I think this process is still going on now.

Have you heard / read that three holes represents the Hindu Trimurti while the 5 holes on a blade signify the 5 pillars of Islam? Things like this, I think, came much later ... like in my lifetime, in fact, I think in the last 20 years or so.

Alot of knowledge about kujang we will never know, it is lost in time. Keris, on the other hand, have been produce more or less continousely since Majapahit times with the exeption during the Great Depression and during the Japannese occupation here.

What about the kujang jurus we see now? Where are they from? I would guess that they are new additions, created by the pendekars of Sunda, just like the new kujangs are being forged by pandes in Sundaland today, through 'reverse engineering'. Are they legitimate? It depends on how you describe them. As moves / techniques they need only to work but the descriptions of thins such as the cultural background ... should be as accurate as possible.

There was a time between 1908 - late 1950's when Indonesian artists all over were activists in a Nationalist movement ... I think that the kujang jurus we see today, while presented as traditional, may actually come from these years. So, are they traditional? Yes, but relatively new. Did Granpa Khoir create kujang jurus? Not very likely. Did the pendekars lie about it? I wouldn't imagine so ... I don't think that anyone ever questioned the history of the kujang in Sundanese society and culture ... the jurus were created and taught and passed along and became traditional. I really doubt that kujang jurus were passed down generations from the fall of Padjadjaran untill Independence.

Is it true that I said PCP was illegitimate because it taught kujang from Jawanese sources? Maybe, I forgot. But if PCP does teach kujang from Jawanese sources then it would be questionable, to not use a harsh a word as illegitimate. Why? Because Kujang is Sunda, NOT Jawa, the two are very different (this is why - in an older discussion, I object the use of Geertz' Abangan-Santri-Priyayi categories in describing Sunda dynamics.)

Would I study kujang jurus? Maybe, if I had the opportunity, but I would rather have a pendekar do reverse engineering and produce some kukri jurus.

Warm regards,
Bram.

batu kali jadi candi, duka jadi puisi, jagal jadi wali

Russian Silat

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Re: Kujang in Silat
« Reply #3 on: 06/01/2008 05:04 »
Hello Mr. Bram,

Thank you for your post. I find the things you write now are more educational than inflammatory, and this is useful for westerners like me.

You wrote:

"Is it true that I said PCP was illegitimate because it taught kujang from Jawanese sources? Maybe, I forgot. But if PCP does teach kujang from Jawanese sources then it would be questionable, to not use a harsh a word as illegitimate. Why? Because Kujang is Sunda, NOT Jawa, the two are very different (this is why - in an older discussion, I object the use of Geertz' Abangan-Santri-Priyayi categories in describing Sunda dynamics.)"

Our Kujang jurus come from Pendekar Mama, who of course lives in Tarik Kolot. This is Sundaland, yes?

Best Regards,

Russian Silat

Ranggalana

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Re: Kujang in Silat
« Reply #4 on: 06/01/2008 07:14 »
Your kujang jurus is from Pak Mama Sukarma so it is from Sundaland and should not be presented as coming from Jawa. To be precise you would say this kujang jurus comes from Cimande Ekajaya in Tarik Kolot. If you say it is from Jawa, you are wrong ... you know there is ethnic rivalry between the sundanese and the Jawanese and that is why I changed my nick here : Majapahit is not appropriate in discussing silat which is largely Sundanese.

And if you were to ask carefully I think that Pak Mama Sukarma would be able to attest that the kujang jurus are relatively new, I would imagine that the oldest they would be would be from his father's generation. If you asked: "are these jurus tarditional?" probably you would be told "Yes!" and no one would be lying, just the interviewer diod not ask right.

Inevitably, the kujang used would also be new. The blade of the kujang seems to be still evolving to fit a) pesilats needs and b) tourist's fantasies.
batu kali jadi candi, duka jadi puisi, jagal jadi wali

Michael Lee

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Re: Kujang in Silat
« Reply #5 on: 06/01/2008 07:49 »
I don't have but a second....

Eric, you have background in Sundanese arts, do you practice, or have you seen you Kujang Jurus practiced?  If so, do you agree with Bram's notion that they are relatively new on the scene?

Anyone else care to chime into this discussion?  Nick, is the Kujang part of what you were taught while in Sunda?

Michael

Ranggalana

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Re: Kujang in Silat
« Reply #6 on: 06/01/2008 08:06 »
I am sure several forum members have kujang jurus. In the gallery Kang One posted a photo of a nice NEW kujang - Cimande. I for one am very interested in hearing more of the resurrection of the kujang in silat, from practitioners who use the kujang.

I PCP, do you guys believe that your jurus are ancient? From Grandpa Khoir or even from before him?

Salam hangat,
Ranggalana.
batu kali jadi candi, duka jadi puisi, jagal jadi wali

EricB

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Re: Kujang in Silat
« Reply #7 on: 06/01/2008 11:17 »
some answers:

Michael, I have seen some Kujang movements in Indonesia, but that were indeed new things for using in demonstration.
I know a view elders in the Sundaland who have an old Kujang, but they respect it as a sort of symbolic item like a Keris.

I also received a Kujang from my teacher and he showed me a view things how to use it.
It is not jurus he showed me, but just for practising if one is attacked and how to defend using this weapon.
This lesson was similar to teaching someone to use another object as a weapon for example a pencil or a spoon.

In my opinion it is not a practical thing for fighting, also not for jurus.
Yeah of-course you can create a jurus with the Kujang, but where is the background, then it is only for showing off how to handle the thing. (cuman kulit tanpa isi)
When u use it as a knife it will for sure hurt your opponent, but is it easy to handle ?? then I prefer a Golok or a small and thin knife.


in answer to Bram, I quote:
Quote
Inevitably, the kujang used would also be new. The blade of the kujang seems to be still evolving to fit a) pesilats needs and b) tourist's fantasies.
I think you hit a point here,
If there is a question/need from people who are looking for an item, I'm sure there will  be someone who can and will provide you with the item you are looking for.
I saw a view years ago that also Pak Abas is producing Kujang for people who where asking him to make some. If the object becomes popular someone else can provide in the need, and besides that the provider can earn a living.


In common:
I think the use of Kujang is relatively new in Pencak Silat land, I'm not saying there is no traditional Kujang technique, but I have never seen it jet.
Maybe some other seniors like Bang Kisawung or Mas O'ong can shine a light on this one.
Also Mas Kiki and/or Yanweka can add some here, they are brothers from the same Perguruan as me.

regards,

Sabrang kidul

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Re: Kujang in Silat
« Reply #8 on: 06/01/2008 13:04 »
[useless quote removed]

@ Krisno: To a geographer, Jawa along with Sumatra, Kalimantan, Bali and Nusatenggara is part of Sundaland.

To most other , Sundaland is a football club in real danger to be relegated from the Premier League :w
« Last Edit: 06/01/2008 13:06 by EricB »

Ranggalana

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Re: Kujang in Silat
« Reply #9 on: 06/01/2008 13:19 »
Sorry to confuse, I might of made the term Sundaland myself ... I mean to say Tanah Pasundan - or around the ParaHyangan Kingdom of the Gods.

Salam hangat,
Bram
batu kali jadi candi, duka jadi puisi, jagal jadi wali

 

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