Friday, April 09, 2010

Sundanese Pencak Silat

Bobbe Edmonds, a long-time student and teacher of silat, has put together a six-DVD collection of Sundanese silat, material gleaned from his trips to study at length with Bambang "Bam" Suwanda, at his school in Indonesia.

I could explain it, but Bobbe does it better here.

Me being the kindly and avuncular fellow that I am, Bobbe sent me a set of these for my personal edification; he neither asked for, nor knows I am putting this review and link up.

The footage is from handheld or propped on a tripod cameras, and for the most part is pretty sharp and the sound crisp. You can, from time to time, hear children playing in the tropical background; a rooster as he crows; and at one point, I think, you actually can hear the bamboo growing ...

Hot and wet there.

The disks, which are done so that you can view menus and select chapters, are hand-lettered:

1. Sundanese Pencak Silat: Kembangan
2. Cikalong
3. Benjang, Harimau, Kari
4. Jawa Barat Kombinasi
5. Jagabaya 1
6. Jagabaya 2

The recording was shot to be Bobbe's personal reference, so there aren't any dissolves or fades or slomo with sound EFX, just footage of the instruction, sometimes of a teacher, sometimes with students.

There's a lot of material here, jurus, buah, weapons forms, Some of it is formal, some of it much less so -- shot in hotel rooms or in somebody's house or back yard. Monyet, Cikalong, and even their version of Sera and you could easily learn many of the forms from the vids.

One of my favorite demos is a kuntao form done in a small house, in the dark, in a space that looks to be about six feet by six feet, behind a table with plates of food on it. After the fighter is done, he picks up what looks like a flashlight.

Darkness apparently falls fast in the tropics.

The Suwanda school has a roof with a wide overhang, but is open-walled, and part of the Benjang session is shot during a pouring rain that gives you a great visual and audio of what it is like to live in the tropics when it starts to come down.

I haven't had a chance to watch all the vids yet, but if you are looking for a reference for this kind of art, you might consider contacting him and seeing what he is asking for them. You probably can't find this kind of stuff anywhere else. Look here.

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