Thursday, August 25, 2011

Jan de Jong Pt 11 - His Grading System Pt 3

Recall from part two of the blogs dedicated to Jan de Jong's jujutsu grading system that his system can be divided into three parts: the mon system, kyu system, and dan system. They are not only system divisions, but, I argue, also evolutionary divisions in the development of the 'school of Jan de Jong' (see previous blog on the concept of 'school' discussed in the context of the school of Jan de Jong).

De Jong only graded students in the kyu system until the late 1970s. Apart from De Jong, all the instructors were either purple belt (2nd kyu) or black and white belt (1st kyu). He graded Piet Hesselink 1st dan during WWII, but in what is unclear. He did not grade anyone 1st dan in Perth until Robert Hymus in the late 1970s.

Why didn't De Jong grade any of the other instructors in his school 1st dan prior to Hymus? It definitely wasn't because they were not of sufficient ability. Hymus and Greg Palmer often referred to the ability of their instructors. Hymus would motivate/chastise us based on the technical excellence and efforts of his instructors. I've had the good fortune to train with some of these instructors - Warwick (Zak) Jaggard, Tony Chiffings, and Peter Canavan - and they are as good as Hymus and Palmer (and De Jong) suggested. Given my current interest in being the unoffical historian of the 'school of Jan de Jong' (until someone else would like to assume the role), I've taken the opportunity of exploring these resources when I can. Zak visited the 'land of Oz' in the mid 90s and attended an instructors class for the first time in 20 odd years. Apart from being extremely sore the next day (and impressing those who were currently training), I asked Zak if what we were doing was the same as when he was training. He said it was, apart from this 'circular shit'. A recent conversation with Hymus suggests that he has devolved De Jong's teachings to a more 'direct approach' which presumably means he has turned away from this 'circular shit'.

There are a number of people from the pre-dan days that are a little bitter and a little disillusioned. They put in as much work and were as good, if not better (according to many), as those in later years who were awarded dan grades. These jujutsuka were not even given the opportunity of attempting dan grades. Why? Various theories abound as to De Jong's motives. Economic imperative is a frequently espoused explanation. De Jong didn't want to grade anyone black because they might leave and set up their own school in competition to his, which was his livelihood after all. Some suggest it was in connection with keeping the 'secrets' of the school secret as they were contained in the dan grades. That he didn't want to relinquish his monopoly of the 'knowledge well'.

These theories/explanations do not reconcile with the man I knew as De Jong. And remember, I'm a qualified accountant, so I am big on reconciliations. After much research, analysis, and deliberation, I propose an alternate theory. De Jong didn't grade anyone black because ... he didn't have any dan grades.

This, I am sure, will be controversial. I've already received criticism from some about my chronicling of De Jong's life and work, but this is the first time I'm referring to any criticism of De Jong, and, I am looking at a 'sacred cow' - the grading system.

Some need for what we do, including the grading system, to be predominantly handed down from at the very least the Saito brothers, if not the Tsutsumi family. This need is not unprecedented as so many in the martial arts need to associate their teachings with those of the past to gain credibility and/or authority. What I'm suggesting is that we don't need this link. In fact, what I'm suggesting is that one of De Jong's greatest achievements, one of his greatest legacies, is his grading system. It is a thing to celebrate, to study, and not simply something to be taken for granted (as it is).

De Jong's kyu grading system is only remarkable in that it uses the shinken shobu no kata method. What we refer to as the 'reflex' method. The use of shinken shobu no kata is a major 'point of differentiation' with other schools/systems. Most gradings/teachings are demonstration (technique or kata) based and/or randori (free fighting, sparring) based. Shinken shobu no kata combines elements of both. The kyu gradings contain specified defences against specified attacks, hence the kata element. However, where the uniqueness comes in, where the 'reality based' element comes in that so many emphasise these days, is that the attacks are randomly presented. This is the randori element.

During the grading, the student stands with their back to the examiner(s). The chief examiner signals an attack which is then executed. The candidate must defend themselves against the attack. Minimum, the candidate must defend themselves. If the candidate defends themselves with the required response, marks are awarded based on technical merit. If the candidate defends them self with another defence, the attack will come again. If the candidate fails to defend them self, they fail that 'question'.

Shinken shobu no kata is not just used as a grading method. It also used as a training method. Brazilian jiu-jitsu refer to 'drills' in which they train techniques, and then they rely on randori to train a person for combat. Jan de Jong jutsu uses 'drills' but then rely on shinken shobu no kata to train a person for combat. Each class usually ends with shinken shobu no kata, except that unlike a grading, no defence is specified against any specified attack. This method is also used in many different ways to train the student. It is modified by specifying an attack but requiring the student to respond with only one specified response. Alternatively, the response is specified but the attack is chosen at random. This is not unlike the story told in The Fighting Spirit of Japan were the jujutsuka/judoka would go into the red light district to confront individual yokuza and limit themselves to only one technique.

Major Greg Mawkes MBE (retired) had this to say on this method of training when working with De Jong to develop a close combat system, including training system, for the Australian Army including the SAS (Special Air Service Regiment):
What was created during the months of early morning starts and hard work is a system of unarmed combat that has Tsutsumi ju jitsu as its cornerstone. The reflex method of training and testing is particularly appropriate to the instinctive reactions that must be developed in unarmed combat exponents. (Jan de Jong: the man, his school, and his ju jitsu system)
Given the limited attention span that most of us are suppose to have in this electronic/world wide web age, and given what I consider to be one of De Jong's major legacies, this subject will be continued in future blogs.

Jan de Jong Pt 11 - His Grading System Pt 2

My first blog on the Jan de Jong jujutsu grading system has received a record number of pageviews. It seems his grading system is of interest, so I'll continue on with this series.

The photograph to the right is of the late Greg Palmer executing a mukae daoshi (meeting takedown) on the 'hapless John Coles' (as I was referred to in one published article interviewing Jan de Jong) during his second dan demonstration grading (see below). As an aside, this same technique is referred to as irimi nage (entering throw) within aikido circles and those that follow their terminology. It is performed differently in most cases in these instances. I argue in my book Throwing Techniques and Takedown Techniques of ALL Martial Arts that De Jong's and Mochizuki/Yoseikan's mukae daoshi (meeting takedown) is in fact a throw and the aikido and related parties irimi nage (entering throw) is in fact a takedown. Ironic, isn't it.

The Jan de Jong jujutsu grading system can be divided into three parts. This, as will be seen, also reflects the three stages of the development of his jujutsu grading system. The three parts are the mon grades, kyu grades, and dan grades.

Mon Grades
Grade (Belt)
1st Mon (Yellow and White)
2nd Mon (Blue and White)
3rd Mon (Green and White)
4th Mon (Orange and White)
5th Mon (Purple and White)
9th Kyu (Brown and White)
8th Kyu (Red and White)
7th Kyu (Red)

These are the entry level gradings that De Jong introduced in 1978. Students under 12 years of age commence at 1st mon; 12-15 years of age at 3rd mon; and over 15 years of age at 9th kyu. De Jong obviously differentiated the 'adult' grades from the children's grades by referring to the latter as mon and the former as kyu. Nonetheless, all the grades follow the same format and are designed to introduce the students to the fundamentals of his jujutsu and his systems thinking approach to understanding and studying his jujutsu.

Kyu Grades
Grade (Belt)
6th Kyu (Yellow)
5th Kyu (Blue)
4th Kyu (Green)
3rd Kyu (Orange)
2nd Kyu (Purple)
1st Kyu (Black and White)

As will be explained in further detail in a later blog, this was the original grading system prior to the introduction of the dan grades. 2nd kyu/purple belt consists of two parts - a revision part and a practical part.

At the heart of Jan de Jong jujutsu training methods is shinken shobu no kata. This is a unique method of training (and grading) which is, in my opinion, one of the most significant points of differentiation between Jan de Jong jujutsu and other martial arts. Shinken shobu means sword spirit, or earnest or serious competition. It is not a kata in the traditional sense of the word. It is a blend of randori and kata, free practice and pattern practice. Major Greg Mawkes makes special mention of this training method in connection with his endeavours to develop a close combat system for the Australian Army and SAS. From 6th to 3rd kyu gradings are all shinken shobu no kata format. The practical grading in 2nd kyu likewise adopts this format.

A black and white belt is a little confusing for many. Women used to be awarded a black and white belt instead of a black belt in Kodokan judo. I don't know of anyone else who uses a black and white belt within their grading system. I was warned by Peter Clarke that I would be questioned as to my grade when I wore my black and white belt to the first seminar I attended in Europe. Sure enough, I didn't even make it out of the change rooms without being questioned what grade it represented. It suited me because the seminar organisers didn't know how to classify me so I was free to attend all classes for dan and lower grades.

The 1st kyu/black and white grade is the first serious hill the student encounters. Seven separate gradings: (1) revision; (2) practical (shinken shobu no kata format); (3)demonstration of sword basics and kata; (4) oral examination of history of jujutsu and briefly of other martial arts, as well as Japanese terminology used in 1st mon to 3rd kyu grades and weapons used within the Japanese martial arts; (5) oral examination on technical aspects of any technique in 1st mon to 3rd kyu grades; (6) examination on ability to teach grades from 1st mon to 3rd kyu; and (7) first aid certificate.

My blogs of recent times concerning injury and injury science highlights my view that there should not be an instructor of martial arts, self defence, close combat, or whatever other term you want to use, that does not have at least a first aid certificate. That, in my opinion, is a gross breach of a moral, if not legal, duty of care (which is discussed in my book on injury science and the martial arts).

Dan Grades
1st Dan consists of nine separate grades: (1) revision; (2) and (3) practical (shinken shobu no kata format); (4) suwari waza no kata (kata with partner while both are kneeling) and kentai ichi no kata (kata demonstrating sword techniques and their unarmed applications); (5) shiai (free fight; unarmed vs knife, unarmed vs short stick, then swap roles); (6) oral examination of technical aspects in all grades up to and including 1st kyu, and, oral examination of Japanese terminology used in these gradings and that used for Japanese martial arts weapons; (7) essay on the history of jujutsu and one aspect of jujutsu; (8) examination of ability to teach all grades to 1st kyu; and (9) regulated period of time assisting grading students.

I remember one training partner, Gerald Woods, a warm, friendly, and very funny person. When I discussed the essay requirements with him, it came as a bit of a shock to him that the essay was suppose to be in two parts, one history and the other one aspect of jujutsu. He had written his entire essay, meeting the minimum required length, on the history of jujutsu. He rationalised his approach in that he had written the first half of the essay on the history of jujutsu, as required, and the second half on one aspect of jujutsu which he selected to be the history of jujutsu.

2nd Dan consists of nine separate grades; (1) revision; (2) arrange a demonstration using eight lower grades to demonstrate our jujutsu to the public with 20 minutes explanation type and 10 minutes fast action (see photo above); (3) practical (shinken shobu no kata format); (4) hantachi waza no kata (kata with one kneeling and one standing) and kentai ichi no kata (see 1st dan although different techniques); (5) demonstration of defences with tanbo (short stick) and separately unarmed against jo (short staff); (6) demonstration of knowledge of pressure points; (7) shiai (knife vs knife); (8) oral examination conducted with at least two other candidates discussing technical aspects of any technique selected by De Jong; and (9) essay on a topic approved by De Jong.

My essay in satisfaction of the last requirement of 2nd dan was a plan on how to take advantage of the Chinese-Indonesian entrepreneur's opportunity and franchise Jan de Jong jujutsu world-wide (see the Indonesian trip blog).

3rd dan consists of 12 separate grades: (1) revision; (2) arrange a 10 minute demonstration using only yudansha (black belts) on a topic given by De Jong with only 20 minutes preparation; (3) taisabaki no kata (kata of bodymovements); (4) demonstration of 20 sacrifice throws and 20 takedown techniques and answer any questions raised by De Jong; (5) kodachi no kata (kata with short sword); (6) hojo jutsu (demonstration of use of rope to tie up an opponent); (7) demonstration of arresting techniques when the subject is sitting or standing; (8) demonstration of searching and handcuffing techniques; (9) demonstration of tobitanbo (jumping stick; and the size of a large baton) and jo against various attacks; (10) demonstration of use of manrikigusari (chain with weights on either end); (11) shiai (short stick vs knife, and then change roles); and (12) complete a project assigned by De Jong.

De Jong credited me with the last requirement of the 3rd dan gradings with my writing the booklet: Jan de Jong: The man, his school and his ju jitsu system. Prior to the writing and printing of this booklet, De Jong (or his family) would compile a small folder of information for distribution at his national and international seminars. This printed booklet provided a professional looking document which contained information on his history and grading system, among other things. It proved highly successful, demonstrating the demand for De Jong related information, as it has been sold throughout Western Europe, Australia, and in various Asian countries. I fondly recall that De Jong was so happy with this booklet that he pulled over to the side of the autobahn (or motorway, I can't remember if he was in Europe or the UK) to phone me and thank me, and tell me how happy he was with the finished product.

With regards to the fourth grading in 3rd dan, I wish De Jong was still alive so I could bring my theories and concepts regarding throwing techniques and takedown techniques to the table. Based on my biomechanical classification of these types of techniques, I would challenge at least 25% of the techniques classified as takedown techniques within that grading and reclassify them as throwing techniques. This grading (and another in 1st dan) demonstrates that there is a difference between the two types of techniques, that it is important enough to include in gradings, but that the difference or distinction is not understood. It's telling that the most obvious theoretical question to raise in this grading is, 'what is the difference between a throw and a takedown', and that is the one question that was never asked of the five people who attempted the grading and completed the technical grading system.

All higher gradings are honorary in the Jan de Jong jujutsu grading system, based on age and contribution to the school or jujutsu. Further aspects of the grading system will be discussed in future blogs.

Jan de Jong Pt 11 - His Grading System Pt 1

How do you transmit your teachings if you develop a 'school of thought' (see Jan de Jong Pt 1 blog)? A common way within the martial arts is through 'forms' or 'kata'; what Karl Friday refers to as 'pattern practice' in Legacies of the Sword. Jan de Jong's 'school of thought' is transmitted via 'oral tradition' through the teachings of his former instructors, and through his grading system.

De Jong's jujutsu isn't big on kata. Well, not kata as is commonly conceived.

De Jong didn't base his teachings on a theory such as the 'small circle theory'. He didn't base his teachings on a tactical theory such as Brazilian jiu-jitsu which suggests that almost all fights end up on the ground. He didn't espouse a philosophy such as Bruce Lee in what he suggests nobody should refer to as Jeet Kune Do. De Jong's school of thought, and the evolution of his school of thought, can be seen within his grading system.

The De Jong grading system is one of the MOST comprehensive in the world. Following the introduction of the 'mon grades', there are 11 gradings (for an adult) before attempting the 1st kyu grading comprised of seven seperate gradings. Following that is nine separate gradings for shodan, nine separate gradings for nidan, and twelve separate gradings for sandan. All in all there are 49 separate gradings to complete in the technical gradings of De Jong's grading system. Practical, weapons, theory, teaching, history, terminology, first aid, projects - 49!

Only five people have completed the De Jong grading system: Peter Clarke, Robert Hymus, Paul Connelly, Greg Palmer, and myself. I prefer to think of myself as 'slip streaming' behind my instructors.

De Jong understood the extensiveness of his grading system. Towards the end of his life he was talking about including the gradings his instructors/students had to go through for their dan grades on their grading certificates. While I understood his intention, I had to disappoint him in explaining that nobody looks at anyone's certificates within the martial arts. He had to rely on the depth and breadth of knowledge his instructors possessed to express the quality of his grading system.

He was also contemplating having different 'degrees' of shodan in that not all that were at that level were going to become teachers. He was contemplating modifying his grading system to include different 'streams' - teachers and non-teachers. Unfortunately, I again had to disappoint him in explaining that within the martial arts, a black belt is considered a teacher without reference to their actual qualifications. It is unfortunate but it is also true.

A look at De Jong's grading system reveals a great deal about his school of thought, the evolution of that school of thought, and about the quality of his instructors. Consequently, this is part one of looking at his grading system. However, these blogs must be prefaced with the comment that these views may be controversial within the De Jong community.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Jan De Jong Pt 10 - Indonesia 1995 Pt 3

The 1995 Indonesian tour continues.

The photograph to the right was taken when we visited a pencak silat school/instructor in Bandung. It would appear that pencak silat has far greater respect in Indonesia than most martial arts in other countries as the tourist maps of the city included a number of silat schools to visit. We visited one such school which taught Mande Muda style of pencak silat.

The instructor's young son was playing with toy cars on the ground when we introduced ourselves. Jan de Jong paid some attention to the young lad who, when invited by his father, put on the most amazing impromptu display of pencak silat. The instructor showed some of his tactics and techniques using, you guessed it, yours truly as the receiver of the techniques. He then asked if we wanted to see how they condition their arms for combat, to which De Jong expressed his interest.

I was instructed to sit on the ground with a specific leg configuration (see photograph). The instructor then proceeded to beat my forearm from wrist to elbow along the ulna with a short stick. He only stopped when there was an unbroken, raised welt the full length of the ulna. He then proceeded to massage a truly revolting smelling liquid into the bruised flesh (see photograph). Then the bashing continued, followed by more massaging of the bruised flesh. I'm not sure what hurt more, the bashing or the massaging of the bruised, tenderised flesh that was my forearm. Not wishing to embarrass De Jong, I didn't object to this assault and tried not to register any expression of discomfort or pain. After repeated cycles of this process I must confess to having thoughts about what other uses the short stick could be put to. I ended up with a perfect, unbroken, raised, deep purple bruise running the full length of my ulna. Apparently they go through this process twice a week before moving onto harder materials to condition their forearms.

We ran into one of De Jong's pencak silat students in the back blocks of Java. The tourist 'attraction' where we ran into this student was a place with bubbling, grey, sulfur-smelling mud. Sulfur-smelling meaning it smells of rotten eggs. Why sulfur-smelling mud is a tourist attraction is beyond me, but, that is where we ran into De Jong's student. De Jong of course remembered who he was. He had an amazing memory in this regard. At one of the seminars in Holland in the mid 1990s, a grandfather of one of the young seminar participants approached De Jong and asked him if he remembered him. De Jong looked at him for a moment or two then said he did and that he was one of his students during WWII, nearly 50 years previous. The grandfather confirmed De Jong's identification and then tearfully and proudly showed him his membership card he'd kept all those years.

We visited many places of significance to De Jong. The house where he grew up, various places he practiced as a physiotherapist after WWII, and of course the place where the Saito's dojo used to be. De Jong pointed out the school he used to attend in Semarang and told of the time when his father visited the school to check on his son's progress. His father was somewhat surprised to learn that his young son had not attended the school in the past six months. De Jong had been attending his jujutsu classes instead of his school classes. De Jong explained, with a rye smile, that his father was not pleased.

We also visited Surabaya, Indonesia's second largest city. Shortly after writing the blog concerning De Jong's return to Indonesia after WWII, a newspaper article was published which told of an Australian 'who had a front row seat as history unfolded' (http://www.smh.com.au/world/artist-had-a-front-row-seat-as-history-unfolded-20101119-1810k.html). British Brigadier General A.W.S. Mallaby was killed by Indonesian independence fighters in 1945 to which the British responded 'with a terrifying and vengeful sweep of Surabaya aided by a huge air and sea bombardment.'
'That was the cruelest thing I had seen,' says Rafty. 'They didn't care who they bombed. They killed many women and children. There was no justification for what they did to the city of Surabaya and its people.' It was a bloodbath, which Rafty vividly recorded in a series of sketches. Some 10,000 Indonesians died and many more fled the city as the British gradually asserted control after three weeks of ferocious fighting. The day the bombardment in Surabaya was launched, November 10, is National Heroes day in Indonesia, its equivalent of Anzac Day. And, like Anzac Day, it honours a terrible defeat.
This was in addition to the deal Lord Mountbatten made with the Japanese to disarm the Indonesian's before they surrendered to the British in order to pave the way for the Dutch to reclaim their colony. Interestingly, it was Ian Fleming, author of the James Bond novels, who advised the British of Mallaby's assassination which sparked this post WWII bombardment.

Don't you find it interesting (or hypocritical) that a basic tenet of our legal system is that only proportionate force is legally allowable to an attack in cases of self defence. However, our governments, in our name, have often used force against others which is out of all proportion, e.g. the bombing of Vietnam and the British bombing of Surabaya.

Jan de Jong Pt 10 - Indonesia 1995 Pt 2

Recall from the last post that Jan de Jong, his wife and daughter (Maggie), and myself travelled to Java, Indonesia in 1995 to meet with a Chinese-Indonesian entrepreneur to discuss a possible franchise opportunity. De Jong took this opportunity to nostalgically tour the country of his birth and to visit various Javanese martial artists. It really was the most amazing of experiences. Among the many highlights was a visit to the world heritage listed Buddhist temple, the Borobudur (see photograph right). It is the most amazing structure with the most amazing history (see http://www.unescoworldheritagesites.com/borobudur.htm).

I'm not sure how it was arranged, but De Jong was the honoured guest at a jujutsu event held in the Javanese countryside. It was like a scene from an Asian martial arts movie. We arrived in SUVs to find Javanese jujutsuka in pristine white gis standing in military precision, row upon row, in the very hot tropical sun. The location was in a dried paddy field bordered on three sides by rice paddies, tended by a local farmer in his conical hat leading a row of geese with a long stick and a rag hanging off it. He didn't seem to pay much attention to this odd scene of white-gi clad martial artists in the middle of his rice fields. The paddy field had coloured banners planted around its borders, and the mountains in the distance shimmered in the heat haze.

The Javanese put on a demonstration before a ceremony was held to award a number of them higher dan grades. De Jong was the honoured guest overseeing the ceremony and participated in congratulating the awardees. We then put on a demonstration.

Our demonstration 'team' consisted of De Jong, Maggie, and myself. Guess who did all the attacking? The attendees loved it. So did the villagers who sat on the outskirts, and the youngsters were enjoying themselves but were also so respectful. The gentleman to the right of De Jong in the above photo was known as 'the Tiger'. He had a moustache and was missing his front teeth, but he had a smile that could only enlarge. He was the 'sergeant major' who stood in front when the jujutsuka were on parade and directed them. De Jong used him to demonstrate a particular technique/trick/principle in which he disengaged the Tiger's strangle using the thumb and pointer finger of both hands, and with no force. The Tiger loved it! He proceeded to chase De Jong around the field, his smile getting wider, attempting to strangle De Jong to which he responded by disengaging the Tiger's hands with no effort whatsoever.

Our demonstration was met with enthusiastic encores which De Jong happily satisfied. Why not? He was not the one being flung to what was fast becoming a muddy surface, or having painful locks applied to various joints of his body by the consummate martial artist, or being on the receiving end of various weapons-based techniques.

A couple of days later, we were in a bungalow in the hills above Semarang. We were going to ride horses up some mountain-side to some temple and watch the sun rise. Apparently it's a wonderful experience. 'Apparently', because that morning De Jong found me profusely sweating and unable to straighten my leg. He took one look at me, and my fever, and the red line running the length of my leg up to my groin, and diagnosed me with blood poisoning. Maggie and I had done a little practice in our motel room prior to the paddy field demonstration and I had slightly grazed my leg. Voila: muddy field + tropics + soft Westerner = blood poisoning + fever + a possibly fatal outcome.

De Jong immediately took me to the local hospital. As it turns out, it was the hospital where De Jong practiced physiotherapy when he returned to Indonesia from Europe after WWII (see previous blogs). It was also the hospital Hans de Jong was born. The room I was treated in turned out to be the room De Jong practiced in. I had my antibiotic injection within five minutes of arrival, but De Jong did not emerge for another 30 or 40 minutes. He got talking to the doctor who, as it turned out, knew the doctor De Jong practiced with and who had only retired a couple of years ago.

Jan de Jong Pt 10 - Indonesia 1995 Pt 1

In 1995, Jan de Jong was invited to Jakarta, Indonesia by a Chinese-Indonesia entrepreneur (CIE) to discuss the possibility of francising Jan de Jong jujutsu using the Jan de Jong brand. De Jong took this opportunity to visit various jujutsu contacts in Java, Indonesia and partake in a bit of a nostalgic tour. De Jong was accompanied by his wife, daughter, and myself.

De Jong and his wife travelled separately to Maggie (his daughter) and myself. On arrival, Maggie and I were confronted by stern faced, gun-toting, military who were performing customs duty. They started searching our luggage and came across some brochures with a gi-wearing De Jong assuming a pose using short sticks in (what I consider) a very pencak silat manner. When Maggie explained that this was her father in response to their questions, the stern faces quickly turned into the most welcoming smiles as they helped us re-pack our luggage and assisted us to our awaiting transport. I've another story to tell where De Jong's name helped me through customs, but that's another story for another time.

Not long after we'd arrived, we gave a demonstration on the seventh floor of a high rise office building the CIE had built in the Jakarta CBD. When I say 'we', I mean that I attacked and De Jong and his daughter demonstrated various defences. Again, always the uke never the tori.

The building was newly constructed and the floor we were on had not been fitted out. The CIE had imported tatami (mats) from Japan specifically for this demonstration. The photograph above is of this demonstration location. De Jong is center, Maggie is left and I am right. The tatami are underfoot and you may or may not be able to see they are still covered in plastic wrapping at the time the photograph was taken. We removed the wrapping prior to the actual demonstration. The Jakarta CBD skyline is outside the windows. I can tell you it is a surreal experience being thrown with a tomoe nage (whirl throw or more commonly stomach throw) and seeing any CBD skyline seven floors up at eye level while you're upside down in the air. The demonstration was attended by over a dozen national newspapers and magazines, three national television networks, and various dignitaries including many from the military, including General Eddie Nalapraya of past blog fame. One of the Jan de Jong Self Defence School's younger members would return from holidays to explain how surprised he was to see his instructor (Maggie) demonstrating jujutsu on Indonesian national TV.

When in Jakarata, we stayed with an old friend of De Jong's who was one of the Indonesian jujutsuka who had visited De Jong in Perth (see previous blog). Very hospitable. He lived in one of the 'suburbs' of Jakarta with earth roads rather than paved. Each morning I'd sit on the tiled veranda drinking the strong kopi tubruk (mud coffee) listening to the bread man calling 'roti, roti, roti' (bread, bread, bread) which was echoed by the neighbour's mimicking bird. After we'd returned from our travels, the grandmother washed my dirty gi. She literally boiled them in a tub over an open flame. Unfortunately, the badges we wore on our gi were red and white, so, my white gi became a pink and white tie-dyed gi. I've seen camouflage gi in recent times, but my pink and white tie-dyed gi never caught on.

The CIE was very keen on franchises. His most recent venture had been the franchise of Korean restaurants. After one particular meal, he drove us to his palatial home. Once there, De Jong provided an unofficial private lesson for the CIE which explained his 'school of thought'. We sat on the floor of the CIE's private ballroom at his home, complete with chandelier, to discuss the franchise opportunity. He explained he owned a house in the Jakarta CBD which was earmarked for the first dojo, and which was to be the accommodation for a De Jong instructor, and he had a car and driver already assigned to the instructor. The CIE had some tatami (see above) and explained how he intended to obtain more. There was a great deal of interest expressed from both the CIE and De Jong.

When we returned from our travels 'in-country', the CIE showed us his sporting complex where he hoped the Indonesian international tennis open would be played. That same night he took us to a colonial style restaurant as he knew De Jong (a) enjoyed Indonesian cuisine, and (b) had certain nostalgic feelings for the Indonesian ristafal (literally rice table, an Indonesian banquet). The old colonial building complete with black and white checkered tiles reminded De Jong of a restaurant he worked in as a young man. When the Indonesian women came to our table with the various dishes for us to choose from, De Jong was quite emotional. It took him back to a time long since past.

This is but a small part of this most remarkable of adventures.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Jan de Jong Pt 9.2 - Internationalisation Pt 2

Recall from the last blog that Jan de Jong conducted annual teaching tours of Europe from 1982 until ill-health prevented him from doing so in 1999. These tours would be for periods of six to twelve weeks and involved travelling to different cities/towns in different countries.

The first 'tour' I was a part of was in 1991. De Jong was invited to a three day seminar held in Aarlen, Germany which was put on by Herr Teichmann, a Dutch or German judoka who imported diamonds from South America. The final night had a door prize of a diamond. Many jujutsu masters from around the world were invited. A capoeira team from Brazil was invited and put on a demonstration on the final night. They were 'hard core'. I found out later that one of them was a police officer and participated in the illegal 'blood sports' in his home city.

Soke Fumon Tanaka and his daughter Midori were also honoured guests, along with a member of the Japanese royal family. On the final evening when the invited masters put on demonstrations, Midori demonstrated the use of a naginata and Tanaka demonstrated the use of the katana. The demonstrations went on until the early hours of the morning and Tanaka was one of, if not the last demonstration. He demonstrated cutting a thick bamboo pole representing the thickness of a person's neck. They tried to balance the bamboo pole but the airconditioning kept on blowing it over. Finally, Tanaka simply drew his katana and cut the bamboo pole as it was falling. He cut clean through with the two parts simply separating as they descended uninterrupted towards the floor. Quite something to see.

Our 'team' consisted of Peter and Debbie Clarke, Hans de Jong, Greg Palmer, myself, and of course De Jong. The above photograph is of Peter and Hans training the pencak silat which was part of our demonstration on the final night. We also demonstrated jujutsu and the use of various weapons including the unique use of a short stick or long torch. Peter demonstrated the use of a manrikigusari, a chain with weights on either end. Watching the video of the demonstration brings a smile to my face as the commentator on the night explains that this is a weapon used by the police in Australia (they don't).

One of the gradings in third dan in De Jong's jujutsu grading system is to demonstrate the use of the manrikigusari. Peter was training for third dan and as is his way, he makes the weapon he is training a part of him. I recall seeing him walking down the streets of Munich twirling his manrikigusari. He had it in his pocket as he went to board the plane back to Australia and put it into the tray along with his wallet etc when he went through the metal detector at the airport, then put it back into his pocket and boarded the plane. Different times. I recall arriving at Hamburg airport, or another German airport, and picking up a very large duffle bag loaded with weapons - swords, jos, tanbos, knives, replica guns, etc. I walked through the airport with the bag slung over my shoulder and was not approached once by any official. Different times.

I was the first from De Jong's school to conduct an international seminar independent of De Jong in 1993. I was living in London and was invited to conduct a two day seminar celebrating a milestone anniversary for Wim Mullens' school in Rotterdam. What made this seminar noteworthy was that I was graded first dan (shodan). No shodans conduct seminars in Europe (or anywhere else for that matter). Participants came from throughout Holland, and also Germany and Belgium and more than half were higher graded than me. Such was the reputation of De Jong that they would attend a seminar given by one of his instructors even though he was a lowly shodan.

When I attended the seminar in Aarlen in 1991, I was graded 1st kyu which in our school is represented by a black and white belt (white stripe running the length of the belt in the middle of the belt). Peter Clarke told me that the first thing I'd be asked would be what grade I was because nobody else uses this belt except judo which previously never awarded women a black belt, but a black and white belt. Peter was right. I didn't even make it out of the change rooms the first day I was there and I had to answer that question. It proved quite handy actually as they didn't know how to categorise me so I got to move freely between seminar classes.

Since De Jong's passing in 2003, the tradition of teaching in Europe is continued by his instructors. I believe Maggie de Jong and Paul Connolly taught in Europe one year. Greg Palmer taught in Sweden, Denmark, and Germany before he passed away, fulfilling a dream to teach internationally. He also taught in South Africa if I remember correctly. Peter Clarke and Hans de Jong, independently, conduct annual teaching tours now.

Les Periera wrote an article about the celebrations associated with De Jong's 50th year of teaching professionally titled 'Only doing what I enjoy doing' (http://www.lespereira.com/Documents/Only%20Doing%20What%20I%20enjoy%20Doing.pdf) which was published in Australasian Fighting Arts. He wrote:
With Shihan de Jong's international reputation the Hay St dojo is almost a mecca for Ju-jitsuans around the world, with regular visitors from Switzerland, Denmark,Holland and England, as well as some Pencak Silat practitioners also from Switzerland.
Perth, Western Australia, has been described as the most isolated capital in the world, and yet, De Jong's reputation was such that many did indeed make the 'pilgrimage' to train under De Jong and his instructors. Periera missed out a few of the nationalities which have visited here, including, of course, many who've made the trek from the east coast to the west coast of Australia. One of the first groups to visit De Jong's dojo was a group of jujutsuka from Indonesia.

The photograph to the right accompanied the Periera article. It is a wonderful photo of a younger De Jong executing a painful technique on Ian Lloyd. Lloyd was a senior instructor for De Jong. He owned the Wednesday night classes at the dojo for more than two decades. His was the first class of jujutsu that I attended - April 1983. He has a relaxed style of teaching and would start of each class with a joke, while still in seiza of course. He travelled with De Jong (and others) when De Jong toured Indonesia in the 1980s.

The previous blog referred to the school in Aalborg, Denmark which De Jong taught at annually and the close relationship we have with that school and its instructors. Periera wrote in connection with De Jong's celebration:
Several presentations were made, including a statuette from Sensei Per Brix, of Denmark, for whom Shihan de Jong has held several seminars over the last three years. The presentation was made by Sensei Soeren Markussen, one of the senior Instructors at Sensei Brix's school, who spent three months in Australia training at the school.
I'll leave this part of De Jong's story with another quote from Periera's article:
An indication of Shihan de Jong's reputation and standing on the world stage may be gained from the number of telegrams and cards from wellwishers both interstate and overseas - Singapore, Japan, France, Austria, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Holland....

Jan de Jong Pt 9.1 - Internationalisation

In Jan de Jong: the man, his school and his ju jitsu system (1997), I refer to the internationalisation of Jan de Jong. I should have referred to the internationalisation of the school of Jan de Jong (see first blog in these series for further details) given how his teachings have influenced so many he taught throughout the world .
I still teach almost every day. I have to travel around a lot too. Each year I am asked to go to different places like New Zealand, Europe, Scandinavia and places like that. Also, each year I go all around Australia, Adelaide, Sydney, the Gold Coast, Brisbane and Darwin. I sometimes go to Alice Springs and to Groote Eylandt Island off the north coast where a mining company has a big jujutsu club. So I am kept very busy at all times of the year. (Interview with De Jong by Mike Clarke published in Australasian Fighting Arts, Aug/Sept 1991)
De Jong first accepted invitations to teach overseas in 1982. Since then, he has conducted seminars in Austria, Belgium, England, France, Germany, Holland, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, and the USA (in addition to teaching throughout Australia).

Following the first very successful tour in 1982, the 'European tours' became an annual event until ill-health forced De Jong to refrain from travelling in 1999. He would spend between six and twelve weeks travelling throughout Europe each year, teaching for different schools, instructors, and organisations. The seminars ranged from a few hours to week long camps. He would be accompanied by some of his instructors and later by instructors from other schools in Australia or Europe. Maggie De Jong (De Jong's daughter) assisted him on many of these tours, and I suspect I am the instructor with the second highest number of tours.

De Jong tried to accommodate as many invitations as possible, however, that was not always logistically possible. There were scheduling challenges involving seminars at different dates in different towns and cities in different countries for different people and organisations. De Jong would spend months organising these tours himself. The transportation around Europe involved hiring a car or van and partaking of a 'road trip'. Everyone who accompanied De Jong have their own stories concerning these road trips.
The trip has had quite an impact on my life. ... The trip has helped me to see that the road to mastery of jujutsu is long and unending. ... Between training/teaching sessions in various places, there were the funny occurrences that come part and parcelled with any fun trip. The first of these memorable experiences was that of being a passenger in the car driven by Shihan de Jong. I won't go into too much detail, but suffice to say that, he didn't get his nickname 'Leadfoot Shihan' by mistake! Our first demonstration was held in Helsingborg, Sweden. I must say it was an awesome sight to see approximately 600 jujutsuans under one roof. (Interview with Sam Gervasi, principal of his own school in Victoria, in Ju-Jitsu Australasia 1990)
The photo to right was taken on one of the European tours circa 1995. De Jong is demonstrating the use of the kusurigama against a katana. I'm pretty sure the photograph was taken by Renate Sluiter who was/is an instructor of Hans Roos (Bara ryu jiu jitsu) in Holland. In the abovementioned book, they, along with Wim Pieck provided the following tribute (extract only):
With this letter I want to thank you again for teaching in the Netherlands. Once again you have proved to be a great master of jujutsu. I am proud to have hosted your seminars for the past five years. Since the first seminar, my students and I have admired you for your great skills and knowledge of jujutsu. I hope you teach us for many years to come. ... You teach us the correct use of the principles and how to apply them to techniques. Your tactical and technical lessons are of enormous value to us. I am sure that every time you teach us the quality of my, and my students jujutsu increases enormously.
I never knew De Jong when he was at his physical peak so he may very well have been different in younger days, however, this photograph for me epitomises how De Jong approached combat. Not flashy, not flamboyant, but totally controlled and focused. He would continually stalk his opponent by creeping forward with complete concentration. His indomitable spirit was almost a physical presence. I recall seeing Robert Hymus, one of De Jong's senior instructors, being forced backwards when demonstrating the use of the same weapons, even though Hymus had the katana and was fitter and younger and had a pretty 'aggressive' (for want of a better word) attitude of his own.

I also recall demonstrating the same weapons with De Jong at a seminar in Norway. One morning we were practicing and I kept on leaning my head to one side as De Jong ensnared my sword blade with the rope and attacked my neck with the kusurigama blade. He told me not to do that as it didn't look good for the demonstration. Following my respected teacher's instructions, I resisted my evolved self preservation impulse and did not lean my head to the side. As the blood started to trickle down my neck I said, 'that is why I lean my head to the side'; to which he replied, 'I thought you were going to do it again'.

It's been said that weapons were not taught within most jujutsu systems in Europe prior to De Jong's demonstration of them in his team's 1982 demonstration at the World Ju Jitsu Federation conference, and his subsequent teaching of them since. Over the years he's demonstrated the use of the katana (sword), wakizashi (short sword), jo (short staff), tanbo (short stick - based on the Indonesian pencak silat use of the stick and adapted to jujutsu by De Jong), kusurigama (sickle with weighted chain/rope), manrikigusari (weighted chain) and hojo-jutsu (rope tying art).

The photograph to the right is De Jong demonstrating the use of the jo on, what one reporter described in her article as, 'the hapless John Coles'. Unfortunately, this is how many people might remember me, always the uke (receiver) never the tori (giver). Many times I'd be the only or senior student/instructor of De Jong's on these tours and would consequently be used to attack when demonstrating techniques. One especially memorable occassion was at the end of a week long summer camp in Norway where I was going to be given the opportunity of showing what I could do. The teachers at the seminar had to put on a demonstration and the De Jong team consisted of himself, Maggie, myself, and Soren Stiller Markussen.

The relationship with Soren is a very special one arising from De Jong's European tours. He was an instructor at the Aalborg Selvforsvar & Ju-jitsu Klub in Denmark (by the way guys, I need a new t-shirt as my other one has been worn so much it literally fell apart). De Jong had a strong relationship with the Aalborg and associated instructors and enjoyed visiting and teaching there nearly every year. There was one particular milestone event for one of the instructors and De Jong was asked if he would demonstrate handcuffing techniques on said instructor, ... and not release him so that the other instructors could take him outside and pound him with cinnamon (I think/hope). Some strange Danish/Aalborg custom I suppose. This appealed to De Jong's sense of fun and he gladly joined in.

Soren has visited Perth on numerous occassions spending up to three months at a time where he trained six days a week (that is not to say that there was not a lot of socialising and beach going to be had). Soren is an adopted member of the Jan de Jong jujutsu school in every sense of the word(s). He was (and I'm sure still is) a very fit, athletic, proficient, and dynamic practitioner. I was going to be given the opportunity of showing what I could do in full flight with the aid of Soren attacking. The commentator announced our demonstration: 'Jan de Jong demonstrating x with John Coles attacking'; 'Maggie de Jong demonstrating y with John Coles attacking'; 'Soren Markussen demonstrating z with John Coles attacking' ... and so on. Yes, I attacked for every single group, but, I was going to be given the opportunity of demonstrating what I could do ... or at least that was the plan. De Jong later explained that he forgot about my two groups. To add injury to insult, Maggie put me on my head on the floor boards with a magnificent jo technique that completely upended me, and De Jong injured one of the ribbed structures in my throat with a walking stick technique. For six months there was a clicking sound in my throat each time I swallowed.

This is the first of the blogs concerning De Jong's international experiences. I'll leave you with one further tribute from the first mentioned book, this time by Mike Wall, a long-time supporter of De Jong and his European tours:
He is a living legend ... Jan de Jong is one of the friendliest and most humble people I know in the world of martial arts. He always has time for a smile and a good joke ... few are the masters who have the experience and knowledge that he does. ... He can express details and philosophies which few other masters are able to and his visits are always one of the highlights of the year. ... If you have never met Jan de Jong you have missed one of the highlights of the year.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Jan de Jong Pt 8.1 - Filling in the gaps

Recall from my previous blog that I was investigating certain details concerning Jan de Jong's gradings and his involvement with the Australian Ju Jitsu Association (AJJA). Brierley Bailey OAM (7th Dan), Secretary and Treasurer of the AJJA, was kind enough to contact me and fill in some of the gaps. Many thanks Brierley.

De Jong was awarded 4th and 6th Dan by the World Ju Jitsu Federation(WJJF). He was awarded 4th Dan in 1980 and 6th Dan in 1982. The WJJF obviously thought highly of him as Alan Campbell explains:
In February 2002, Alan visited Jan de Jong Self Defence School in Perth who was regarded as a highly respected member of the World Ju-jitsu Federation. Regrettably, Jan de Jong has since passed away but his Self Defence School will continue to be considered an honorary member of the World Ju-Jitsu Federation. Jan de Jong's efforts will always be recognised by the World Ju-Jitsu Federation, in particular his efforts in promoting martial arts within Australia.
Brierley explained that the AJJA did not award De Jong complimentary gradings as had been previously thought by some. He pointed out the AJJA was only formed in 1985. Brierley thought very highly of De Jong as his forward in the Jan de Jong Self Defence School's 1988-89 yearbook (Hakusho) suggests:
My first meeting with Sensei Jan de Jong was at a Victorian dojo in 1985. As I approached the dojo I wondered what I could expect from a man that I had only read about, a man with a worldwide repuation and amongst the finest in the Martial Arts. ...He greeted me with a warm welcome and I felt that we had known each other for years. Sensei de Jong has the uncanny ability to put a person at ease rather quickly. ...

I feel that it is his presence within the Australian Ju Jitsu Association that has brought Ju Jitsu together around this vast country of ours, and also moved Ju Jitsu in Australia forward in world circles.

Sensei de Jong I consider to be a humble man, a man who has set his direction in the best possible way, is always seeking ways of gaining more knowledge through the study of martial arts and also passing on knowledge to Ju Jitsuans who come in contact with him.
Brierley informed me it was the AJJA who awarded De Jong his 8th and 9th Dans in 1989 and 1996 respectively. Mystery solved! ... thanks to Brierley. De Jong had received many higher Dan grades from various individuals and organisations:
I have got several certificates for 10th Dan. The [xxxx] and [yyyy] Associations gave me a 9th Dan. They sent me a belt, it was very nice but I never wore the thing - only in the photographs.('Shihan Jan de Jong: Fifty years of teaching in Australia: 1952-2002' Australian Blitz, Robert Hymus)
I was present at a seminar in Europe when an uninvited '10th Dan' instructor took over the seminar. He awarded De Jong a 10th Dan at the end of the seminar. De Jong did not reject the grading, which is not to say that he accepted it. He was always careful to not cause others to 'lose face' in a very Indonesian/Japanese way. It is quite telling that the only higher grades that he acknowledged were those awarded to him by the WJJF and then the AJJA.

The photograph at the top of this blog is of De Jong performing a stick technique on his son, Hans de Jong. Hans was awarded a 6th Dan by the AJJA in the years since De Jong passed away. The higher grading is in recognisition of the depth of Hans' knowledge and experience. When you read the tributes on his school's website (http://www.hansdejong.biz/sensei.htm) you will quickly see that he is following in his father's footsteps in more ways than just in terms of martial arts expertise.
I have always found Sensei Hans de Jong to be a true practitioner of the art of Ju Jitsu, his knowledge of the Art is remarkable. Sensei Hans de Jong has always been able to impart his knowledge, with a great degree of ease and has the uncanny ability to hold the attention of the lower grades through to the Dan grades in whatever he is demonstrating. This Sensei is a true gentleman of the Art and has the respect of myself and other long time Instructors. Brierley Bailey OAM.
His knowledge of the art, and the way he relates to students of all levels is uncanny. Hans' love for the martial arts is evident by his involvement spanning 50 years to date. He is very highly recommended by senior instructors both Nationally and Internationally. Hans is truly one of nature's gentlemen, and without doubt, one of the finest people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. John Beckman, AJJA President.
It is clear that he has learned from one of the greatest jujitsuka, his father Jan de Jong. Hans de Jong possess the true spirit of a martial artist which a very rare to find these days. We all know him as a warm, humorous and very skilled jujitsuka. Christian Hvidberg, 3 dan Mizo-no-kokoro ju-jitsu, Chief Instructor Aalborg selvforsvar og ju jitsu klub, Aalborg, Denmark.
Hans had the unique experience of training with his father and Yoshiaki Unno (see a previous blog) while Unno was involved with De Jong. In an interview with Blitz Magazine ('In the name of the father'), Hans explains that they trained with Unno from 7 until 9 every morning, 6 days a week for the 2 years he was involved with De Jong.

Recall from my previous blog that the AJJA logo is based on a photograph taken of three of De Jong's instructors. Brierley explained that De Jong had given permission to use this photograph as the AJJA logo. This would appear to be following the same process De Jong used to develop the logo for his own school. He used one of the photographs of the Saito brothers (see a previous blog) which Wim Zwiers, a well known Dutch artist, turned into an ex-libras which in turn became the logo of his school until shortly before he passed away. That same logo is now being used, fittingly, by Hans for his school, the Hans de Jong Self Defence School.

Jan de Jong Pt 8 - The Political Years

Jan de Jong returned to Europe with his family for a holiday in 1978. While he was there he took the opportunity to make contact with various jujutsu instructors. The European jujutsu community were quick to embrace and court him. He was appointed the Australian representative for the World Ju Jitsu Federation (WJJF)the same year. He would go on to be appointed Vice President of the WJJF in 1991. Alan Campbell, National Coach for WJJF, has this to say on the WJJF Australia website:
In February 2002, Alan visited Jan de Jong Self Defence School in Perth who was regarded as a highly respected member of the World Ju-jitsu Federation. Regrettably, Jan de Jong has since passed away but his Self Defence School will continue to be considered an honorary member of the World Ju-Jitsu Federation. Jan de Jong's efforts will always be recognised by the World Ju-Jitsu Federation, in particular his efforts in promoting martial arts within Australia.
In 1985, through General Eddie Nalapraya of the Indonesian Army, the man responsible for the promotion of pencak silat on behalf of the Indonesian Government, De Jong was appointed the Australian representative for the International Pencak Silat Federation. Nalapraya was one of the founding members of this organisation which goes by the acronym PERSILAT reflecting the Indonesian spelling of the organisation's name. He was appointed President of PERSILAT. In Violence and the State in Suharto's Indonesia (Benedict R. O'G. Anderson ed.), Nalapraya is described as being one of the first commanders of President Suharto's private security detail, holding high staff positions in the Jakarta District Military Command during the 1970s, and serving as Vice-Governor of Jakarta in the 1980s. He is also described as a 'long-time martial arts enthusiast'. In 2010, Nalapraya was one of ten people awarded the prestigious Mahaputra medals of honor for their services for the nation, presented by President Susilo Bambang Yudho-yono. He was awarded the Mahaputra Pratama for his services associated with PERSILAT.

The Australian Ju Jitsu Association (AJJA) was formed in 1985. One of the founding members was De Jong whose office was Director of Coaching. The logo of the AJJA is reproduced at the top of this blog. It is based on a photograph of Mike Boland executing a wrist twist on Hans De Jong and a side kick to Greg Palmer, all of whom were instructors for De Jong at the time. Jan de Jong: The man, his school, and his ju jitsu system, written under the direction of De Jong reports him being appointed President and National Coach for the AJJA in 1987. I'm in the process of confirming this along with the dates.

Brierley Bailey OAM, National Secretary of the AJJA, credits the presence of De Jong within the AJJA as having brought jujutsu together around Australia and moving it forward in world circles.

Whilst associated with the AJJA, De Jong developed a competition format to satisfy the growing desire for competition by some members of the organisation. He was not a fan of competition to any large degree so the competition was based on a kata-type format which he thought would also promote better technique. De Jong, with the assistance of Peter Clarke, developed a Dan grading system for the AJJA. When I say 'assistance', Clarke was probably mostly responsible for these gradings. The aim of this grading system was to facilitate continued learning opportunities and advancement for those wishing to do so, through a credible grading system. The grading system was very clever as it did not impose De Jong's 'style of jujutsu' onto the AJJA schools. What it did do was test their tactics and techniques using particular formats as well as introduce a systemic way of thinking about their jujutsu. A systems thinking approach is a defining feature of De Jong's jujutsu (for those who think about it rather than just 'do' it). This grading approach which De Jong and Clarke developed and which was adopted by the AJJA formed the basis for my business plan to franchise the Jan de Jong Self Defence School in response to a request by an Indonesian-Chinese entrepreneur which will be discussed in a future blog.

De Jong had been awarded 3rd dan by his original instructors (the Saito brothers) in 1939 aged 18. This was the final technical grading and all higher gradings were based on, among other things, age. De Jong had a long way to go before he would have been eligible for any honary grades. Subsequently, he was awarded the equivalent of 6th degree black belt in pencak silat when studying the art in Indonesia (see previous blogs). He was awarded 1st dan in Yoseikan aikido and Shotokan karate while he was studying under Minoru Mochizuki (see previous blogs).

De Jong celebrated 50 years of teaching in Australia in 2002. In an article written by Rob Hymus (a senior instructor of De Jong's) in relation to this milestone ('Shihan Jan de Jong: Fifty years of teaching in Austrlaia: 1952-2002', Australasian Blitz), De Jong had this to say concerning his gradings:
I came here as a 3rd dan and much, much later on people thought 3rd dan was not high enough. In the early 1980s I went to England and people asked why I was a 3rd dan? I said I had been a 3rd dan for 40 years! [(Hymas informs the reader of the age restrictions discussed above)] ... There was nobody else that was a high dan grade, but now everybody is a high dan grade. One fellow in England even said that his pupils had made him a high grade because he was teaching all the time, so they just made him a 6th dan! When I returned to England my instructors and I gave a demonstration at the WJJF conference in London in 1982. There were a lot of different jujutsu styles present and we came second in a demonstration competition. After that the WJJF awarded me a 6th dan. So I never worried about it, you just know what you know. That's all you do, you do not worry about dan grades very much.
He goes on to say that 'dan grades are not important - it is what you can give the people, that is what is important.'

De Jong was awarded 4th dan and 6th dan by the WJJF in 1980 and 1982 respectively. I'm led to believe the same gradings were awarded to De Jong by the AJJA at the same time though I'm in the process of confirming that. In writing the abovementioned book for De Jong, he advised me he was awarded 8th dan and 9th dan in 1989 and 1996 respectively. Reflecting De Jong's attitude to honorary gradings, it never occurred to me to ask who awarded him these gradings. I'm in the process of trying to obtain these details now that I'm writing this unofficial biography.

In 1990, De Jong was awarded the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) by the Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia for services to the martial arts.

(PS: See Jan de Jong Pt 8.1 for updated information contained in this blog)

Jan de Jong Pt 6 - Mochizuki

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Recall from the last blog that after training with Phillipe Boiron, Jan de Jong developed an ambition to visit Japan to train. In 1969, at the age of 48, he realised that ambition. While in Japan, De Jong was a uchideashi (live-in student) of Minoru Mochizuki. The photograph to the right is of De Jong and Mochizuki during this time.

Minoru Mochizuki

Mochizuki was a remarkable man. He trained under many modern day martial art greats, including Morehi Ueshiba (founder of aikido), Jigaro Kano (founder of judo) and Gichin Funakoshi (founder of Shotokan karate). He was graded 10th dan aikido, 9th dan jujutsu, 9th dan judo, 8th dan iaido, 5th dan kendo, and 5th dan karate, in addition to the various traditional certifications of mastery he received. Mochhizuki was the first to teach aikido outside of Japan when he taught in France in 1951. He developed his own composite martial system named Yoseikan Budo which includes elements of judo, aikido, karate, and kobudo. Even though he is not well known for teaching jujutsu, the only book he ever wrote was entitled Nihonden Jujutsu.

Mochizuki was born in Shizuoka, Japan on 7 April, 1907. He commenced learning judo at the age of five. He explains how he came to learn Gyokushin-ryu jujutsu in Stanley A Pranin's Aikido Masters: Prewar Students of Morihei Ueshiba:
I also practiced an old-style jujutsu art called Gyokushin-ryu jujutsu. This system used a lot of sacrifice techniques and others that were very similar to those of aikido. At that time, the Gyokushin-ryu teacher Sanjuro Oshima lived very near my sister. The teacher was quite saddened to see the classical styles of jujutsu disappearing one by one and was determined to see to it that his own art was preserved - so much so that he requested that I learn it from him. I would go to his house and would be treated to a fine meal. I didn't have to pay any fees to study and they actually gave me dinner. That is how I came to study jujutsu.
Mochizuki explains that Gyokushin is written with characters which mean 'spherical school'. He quotes his former teacher when explaining the significance of the name:
A ball will roll freely. No matter which side it is pushed from it will roll away. Just this sort of spirit is the true spirit that Gyokushin-ryu seeks to instill in its members. If you have done this nothing in this world will upset you.
The Yoseikan dojo was established in Shizuoka in November 1931. Mochizuki had been ill with pleurisy and pulmonary tuberculosis and his brother and some others built the dojo to encourage him to stay in Shizuoka rather than return to Tokyo once he got out of hospital. Yoseikan can be loosely translated as 'the place where the right path is taught' (The Art of Jujutsu: The legacy of Minoru Mochizuki's 'Yoseikan' by Edgar Kruyning).

Mochizuki explains how he discussed his composite approach with Ueshiba (who was less than impressed with his emphasise on combat victory):
I went overseas to spread aikido and had matches with many different people while I was there. From that experience I realised that if was very difficult to win with only the techniques of aikido. In those cases I instinctively switched to jujutsu, judo, or kendo techniques and was able to come out on tope of the situation. No matter how I thought about it I couldn't avoid the conclusion that the techniques of Daito-ryu jujutsu were not enough to decide the issue.

The first copy of the brilliant but now defunct magazine, Fighting Arts International, I purchased had Mochizuki on the front cover. I'd never seen a photograph of him before but I knew instinctively it was him because he was so similar to De Jong in many ways. In the article by Harry Cook, he explains that 'to recieve a black belt from the Yoseikan it is necessary to study at least three of the major arts and have a working knowledge of as may systems as possible.' I've never really understood how that works as there is Yoseikan budo, Yoseikan aikido, and Yoseikan karate being taught around the world. In any event, De Jong said he was awarded shodan in Yoseikan aikido and Shotokan karate and that he also trained various weapon arts including kenjutsu.

After having been training at the Yoseikan for a couple of weeks, De Jong was summoned down from the living quarters upstairs to watch some students do a grading one morning. The student seated next to De Jong nudged him and told him to pay attention as he was next. Remember, in those days they didn't have grading sheets to refer to, it was all rote learning. When it was his turn, De Jong undertook the examination and passed. When he sat down the same gentleman nudged him again and advised him to pay attention to the next grading as well. That day he successfully graded three grades in Yoseikan aikido.

It wasn't all hard work. De Jong explained that his Japanese fellow students would go into town to have dinner and a few drinks. They were impressed with his drinking ability which didn't say a great deal as De Jong suggested they couldn't hold their alcohol. He said he had to support, if not carry, some of his training partners back to the dojo on more than one occasion.

Recall from the war years that De Jong had an aversion to cold weather due to his Hunger Winter experience following WWII. It reared its head in Japan when his fellow uchideashi opened the window at night for some fresh air, which was a little too 'fresh' for De Jong who would close the window.

De Jong explained that the aikido/budo which Mochizuki taught had a lot in common with the jujutsu he had learnt from the Saitos (see previous blogs). He recognised the bodymovements (taisabaki) which Mochizuki taught in an analytical appoach based on Kano's analytical approach. Gerry Carr, in Sport Mechanics for Coaches, provides an analytical approach to teaching and correcting sports skills. Step 4 is to divide the skill into phases. Kano did this with his kuzushi-tsukuri-kake (unbalancing-fitting in-technique execution) phases of judo throwing techniques. De Jong did this after returning from Japan in his taisabaki-kuzushi-waza (bodymovement-unbalancing-technique) approach (more will be explained on this in future blogs). De Jong said that Mochizuki preferred his o irimi senkai (major entering rotation) and changed his to that of De Jong's while De Jong preferred Mochizuki's and changed his to that.

De Jong only trained with Mochizuki for less than six months. However, he would later request an instructor be sent from the Yoseikan to Perth and his jujutsu grading system would be significantly influenced by his Yoseikan experience. These will all be the subject of future blogs.

Mochizuki pasted away on 30 May 2003 age 96. De Jong passed away the same year on the 5th of April age 82. Two giants of the martial arts world, upon whose shoulder's I'm attempting to stand and see further, coincidentally passing away within months of each other.

Nihonden Jujutsu

Recall from above that Nihonden Jujutsu was the only book Mochizuki, the budo/aikido/judo master ever authored. The title is translated as 'Traditional Japanese Jujutsu' and it was published in 1978. I recently saw a copy of this book on ebay with an asking price of US$4,000.

De Jong, Maggie (his daughter), and myself had been teaching for Jan-Erik Karlsson in Lund, Sweden. An annual event, both the European teaching tours and teaching in Lund. We had a rare day without teaching and De Jong, being older and always pushing himself on these tours, was taking the opportunity of relaxing in the sun outside Karlsson's house with its sea views. I on the other hand was taking the opportunity of rummaging through his martial arts library. Lo and behold, I found a photocopy of a book with Mochizuki's photograph on the front which I recognised from the abovementioned magazine article. It was in Japanese, but, I couldn't help but recognise so much of the content with what we'd been taught by De Jong and which made up so much of the grades De Jong had introduced. I felt like Indiana Jones finding the Ark of the Lost Covenant. De Jong's teachings were much sought after around the world and here was a book with some of them in it

Karlsson was most generous in giving the copy of this book to me once I'd gushed over it. When we returned to the land of Oz (Australia), I gave a copy to De Jong. Again, lo and behold, a few years later he began teaching a third dan grading which included 20 sacrifice throws and 20 takedown techniques in the instructor's class held every Friday night. He would give all the attendees a photocopy of the techniques he was going to teach that night, which, I recognised as coming from Nihonden Jujutsu. I never spilled the beans and we would often exchange rye smiles as he introduced these new techniques. The existence of the book was never disclosed to his instructors and, often much to the surprise of the instructors including the senior instructors who had been my instructors, De Jong would often get me to demonstrate the techniques when introducing them to the instructors class for the first time. I would like to think he selected me because my technique and understand was so good, however, I suspect it was because he knew I'd seen the techniques before and had been playing with them over the years

A few years ago I acquired a rare two set DVD produced of Mochizuki's teachings. Again, this is so exciting because it is another reference point for many of the things De Jong taught. You can see similarities and differences, which, as explained in a previous blog, the identification of is the core of all learning.

These DVDs also demonstrates one other thing. The training we received at the Jan de Jong Self Defence School, and the capabilities of some of its students/instructors, was world class. There is a DVD of Greg Palmer's second dan demonstration grading which involved six of his students, all non-black belts, which I would consider at least technically equivalent of the Mochizuki DVD performed by black belts. De Jong was always one for precision. Twitch a foot in a particular technique and you'd fail that technique in a grading.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Jan de Jong Pt 5 - The Perth Years

In the last blog we left Jan de Jong and his young family emigrating to Perth, Western Australia in 1952. There are various subjects of interest during this period until his death in 2003 which will be discussed in detail in future blogs.

De Jong arrived in a very provincial Perth in 1952. When discussing this subject he would use as an example that Perth had only one Chinese restaurant at that time. His physiotherapist qualifications weren't recognised in Australia so he initially worked as a labourer. It wasn't long before his work colleagues started to ask him to teach them martial arts. He initially taught them during his lunchtime break for no charge on what has now become the site of the West Australian parliament. This then laid the seed of an ambition to teach martial arts as a full-time profession. In the forward to my Jan de Jong: The man, his school, and his ju jitsu system, De Jong explains:

Looking back at my own early years in Australia (1952-1963), self defence was often considered a rather peculiar and odd thing to do. The term 'judo' was known by some, but most people had not even heard of 'karate' or 'kung fu,' let alone 'jujutsu'. My expressed intention to make the teaching of this art into my living was almost always met with doubt, if not ridicule. The idea that anyone could teach an oriental self defence professionally was not considered possible. However, I had the confidence that I could and would do this. When I did make it my full-time occupation in 1963, to the best of my knowledge I was the only full-time martial arts instructor in Australia.
Later that year he took his first steps in realising that ambition by offering classes in a premises located in North Perth. That same year he relocated his school to Victoria Park and then finally to his residence in Scarborough. Hans de Jong, his son, who would go on to make teaching jujutsu his full-time profession as well, recalls students being inadvertently thrown over balconies and through walls during lessons held at the Scarborough residence.

In 1955, De Jong's school was relocated to Swan River Rowing Club located on the city's foreshore. Attending the first class were ten students. After demonstrating a bridgefall and putting both his feet through the floorboards into the river, only three students returned for the next lesson. It was suggested that the use of mats may encourage more people to take up jujutsu, so, as mats were not available in those days, they made some mats by hand. Rodney Miller, a student in the 1960s and later an instructor, recollects training on these home-made mats: 'Can you imagine training on canvas mats? Well, that's what we had in the early days. They were especially good for mat burns and broken toes.'


In 1960, the school was relocated to 870 Hay Street, Perth, which is located in the Perth central business district. The photograph to the right is of training at the 870 Hay Street dojo. You might note how thin the room is. One can only imagine the difficulties this imposed on training. Also look closely and you'll see the home-made mats that Miller was so fond of. De Jong is kneeling centre.


In 1963 the school was moved to 996 Hay Street where it remained until De Jong's death in 2003. The building was full of character ... which is another way of saying it was a dodgy old building. It was a large building with four (five in the earlier years) separate large matted areas.


It was around this time that De Jong imported a large number of tatami from Japan. Towards the end they were moved around and tapped up due to the wear and tear they sustained over the decades. The photograph to the right was taken around 1963 according to Warwick Jaggard (aka Zak), a colourful character who went on to become an instructor for De Jong. He joined the school in that year and said that he 'always always loved the smell of the tatami as you walked in off the street.'

The building only had a ceiling in the upper area. Down stairs in the main training areas there was no ceiling, only a tin roof. On hot summer days when it was 30 degrees plus outside, it was another 5 or 10 degrees hotter inside. On some Saturdays you could not stand still in one place on the mats because of the heat radiating off the mats onto your bare feet.

Classes were held at the 996 Hay Street dojo six days a week. The dojo was open from morning until late at night so there was always somewhere to train. For whatever reason, when I commenced training in 1983 I attended two lessons a day, six days a week and took the opportunity of also doing training at the dojo in addition to the classes.

In 1965 the first branch was opened and over the years there would be many more branches opened throughout the Perth metropolitan area. In 1975 the name of the school was changed to 'Jan de Jong’s Self Defence School'. The school grew to, at its peak, having 800 to 1,000 students, without sensationalisation nor inflated promotion. Standards were never lowered as De Jong had a qualitative rather than an economic imperative when it came to his teachings.

From 1955, attendance at De Jong's pencak silat classes was by invitation only. In 1968 he offered classes in pencak silat to the public for the first time. Given the informal nature of pencak silat, De Jong would have to develop an entire grading system which he did. He placed an age restriction on admittance to the class as he considered jujitsu, and later aikido, provided a more appropriate ethical foundation for young people as they emphasised acceptance and control rather than initially teaching a child to punch or kick another person.

In 1968, De Jong was introduced to aikido by Phillipe Boiron. Boiron was a student of Minoru Mochizuki and taught his Yoesikan style of aikido. De Jong said that he was very impressed with Boiron's technique and Boiron began teaching for him in that year. After training with Boiron, De Jong developed an ambition to visit Japan to train. Professional development if you will. In 1969, age 48, he realised that ambition. While he was in Japan he visited a number of schools before finally becoming a live-in student with Mochizuki. More will be said of the 'Mochizuki influence' on the 'school of Jan de Jong' in a future blog.

Two more children were born in Australia before De Jong was divorced. Only Hans, born in Indonesia as explained in the previous blog, would go on to make teaching martial arts his full-time profession. De Jong remarried a few years later. Margaret, his wife, would go on to become his partner in establishing a thriving business teaching martial arts and selling martial arts supplies in Perth. Their first born, Maggie, would go on to make teaching martial arts her full-time profession and become principal of his school when he passed away. Maggie would accompany De Jong on most of his European teaching tours in the 1990s. Maggie would be followed by a brother who trained martial arts but never took it up to the same extent as his sister.

Jan de Jong began teaching aikido when he returned to Australia. In 1974, he sponsored Yoshiaki Unno from Mochizuki’s Yoseikan to become an Australian resident and to teach aikido and karate at his school. More will be said of Unno in a future blog.

Accompanied by his family, De Jong returned to Europe for a holiday in 1978. He took this opportunity to make contact with various jujutsu instructors throughout Europe and to peruse the jujutsu scene. The European jujutsu community was impressed with him, his knowledge and his expertise, and were quick to embrace and court him. When he returned home he was lobbied to become the Australian representative for the World Ju Jitsu Federation (WJJF) which he eventually accepted.

This began, what appeared to be, the political life of De Jong. In 1985, through General Eddy Nalapraya of the Indonesian Army, the man responsible for the promotion of pencak silat on behalf of the Indonesian Government, De Jong was appointed the Australian representative for the International Pencak Silat Federation. This was followed by his appointment as President and National Coach for the Australian Ju Jitsu Association (AJJA) in 1987, and Vice President of the WJJF in 1989. Whilst these were political offices, De Jong was anything but political. His focus was always on improving techniques and 'on strengthening both jujutsu itself and the image it holds'. Briely Baily OAM, National Secretary of the AJJA, credits the presence of De Jong within the AJJA as having brought jujutsu together around Australia and moved it forward in world circles. His achievements were officially recognised by the Australian Government when he was awarded the Order of Australia Medal in 1990.

De Jong had been graded third dan in jujutsu since 1939. After his initial visit and subsequent involvement with the hierarchy of the WJJF, he was awarded fourth dan in 1980. Following his first teaching tour of Europe in 1982, the WJJF awarded him sixth dan and then eighth dan in 1989. I've been advised that the AJJA also awarded De Jong eighth day in the same year though I am yet to verify this fact.

Actually, De Jong was 'awarded' numerous higher gradings from various individuals and organisation including a number of tenth dans. I was present when he and Margaret were both awarded tenth dans by a German instructor (who was not invited to the seminar but proceeded to take it over anyway). Margaret should have been chuffed because she never graded first dan under De Jong or anyone else for that matter. These certificates were put in the draw along with so many others.

De Jong wasn't concerned about higher grades for himself and lamented the increasing frequency with which higher grades were being awarded. In an interview published in 2002, De Jong said:

I never worried about [accepting the higher grade], you just know what you know. That's all you do, you do not worry about Dan grades very much. Dan grades don’t say very much anymore. In my time it said something. … I'm still learning too. Dan grades are not important – it is what you can give the people, that is what is important.
Following his initial visit, De Jong received many invitations to conduct seminars throughout Europe. In 1982, he returned with a team of his instructors for what became an annual tour. Over the next two decades, he would conduct seminars in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Holland, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, the United States of America, as well as throughout Australia. As a consequence of his increasing international reputation, students/instructors from around Australia and Europe would travel to Perth in order to train with De Jong and his instructors. More will be said of these tours in a later blog.

Another watershed in De Jong’s professional life was his appointment as the Chief Instructor and Adviser to the Australian Special Air Service Regiment ('SAS') in 1979. Major Greg Mawkes MBE had been tasked with updating the Australian Army’s capability for unarmed combat training and after considerable research had identified De Jong as the man that could help him fulfil his mission.

I had very firm ideas of what was required. I needed a man with a vast knowledge of and skill in several martial arts. Someone who knew that unarmed combat has both offensive and defensive applications. A man who understood that aggression has to be developed but controlled. A man who could appreciate what works in the dojo may not be effective on the battlefield. And if possible, a man who had experienced combat. I approached several martial arts schools in Perth, but although they were willing to help, none could offer the total solution I was seeking. Without exception though, they felt that Jan de Jong was my man. In de Jong Sensei I found a man who was not only genuinely interested in helping me solve the problem, but a man with exceptional skill and knowledge. Before I even set foot on a tatami mat we spent many hours discussing the likely situations that SAS men could face in hostile environment. When training actually commenced I found him to be flexible in both mind and approach to the task, but above all patient.
The 1999 tour of Europe was the last tour for De Jong. He suffered heart problems during that tour and was hospitalised. From that time he was plagued with ill health until he passed away on 5 April 2003, coincidently, a couple of months before Mochizuki passed away.

PS: I have since been advised the photograph included above which was identified as being the 870 Hay Street school was not in fact that school. To date the location is unidentified and it would be greatfully appreciated if anyone can identify the location. This is one of purposes of this blog, albeit not originally intended, for the Jan de Jong story to be 'filled in' with other people's information which I have not contacted as yet.

Jan de Jong Pt 4 - The Post WWII Indonesian Years

In the last blog we'd left Jan de Jong and his new family leaving the Hunger Winter of Holland to return to the warmer climate of Indonesia.

Indonesia had been occupied by the Japanese during World War II. Two days after the Japanese surrender to the Allies, the Indonesians seized the opportunity of the Netherlands situation to declare independence. British forces landed to disarm the Japanese and 'to maintain law and order until the time that the lawful government of the Netherlands East Indies is once again functioning.' Prior to the arrival of the British forces, the Dutch Lieutenant-Governor of the Indies met Lord Mountbatten in Ceylon and asked that Japanese troops still in Indonesia be ordered by the British to suppress the Republican government. Mountbatten agreed but the Japanese delayed. Prior to their repatriation, the Japanese forces did, indeed, fight Republican forces and hand over the territory won to the British forces.

The British forces found themselves in conflict with the fledgling Republic who, when confronted with all out combat from the sea, air and land from the British (assisted at times by the Japanese), decided to withdraw from urban battles and adopt a guerrilla campaign. The Dutch, under the pretext of representing the Allied forces, sent in troops to regain control of their former colony in what was to be their largest military effort in their history. After more than four years of bloody conflict where human rights abuses abounded on both sides, the Dutch formally transferred sovereignty to Republik Indonesia Serikat (Republic of United States of Indonesia) on 27 December 1949. The Royal Netherlands Indies Army (KNIL) were officially disbanded six months later.

No sooner had Independence been won then the new Republic had to face numerous armed challenges. The Darul Islam terrorised the countryside of West Java in their move to establish an Islamic State. The former Dutch army captain Turco Westerling band claimed the lives of thousands of innocent lives. Outside Java, demobilised ex-colonial armed men who remained loyal to the Dutch crown staged a revolt and proclaimed 'the Republic of South Malaka'. There were also various separatist movements and the Indonesian Communist Party all pushing their separate agendas through violent means.

This was the Indonesia De Jong returned to in 1946 and lived in for the next seven years. He was initially posted to Jakarta but was soon reassigned to his hometown of Semerang. He was mostly unsuccessful in locating people from his past but was fortunately reunited with his parents and brother who had survived the Japanese camps. His father told him that one of the Saito brothers (his former Japanese jujutsu instructors) had helped him when he was interned but no news was ever heard of his former instructors again.

De Jong commenced teaching jujutsu in Jakarta and Semerang, though it was never in any sustained way. The previously mentioned student of De Jong, Kees van Deijk, had ceased training in 1947. He joined the KNIL as a sergeant-major and was posted to Jakarta, Indonesia. Van Deijk wrote to me and described their improbable meeting in Indonesia after WWII:
One day when I was in my office I heard a well-known voice. Who was sitting about five metres next to me? Jan. We looked at each other, astonished, meeting in Indonesia, how was it possible. To make a long story short: after talking with each other for hours, Jan and I decided to give a jujutsu demonstration in the Army hospital at Jakarta. We did it together with my fencing teacher, Dick Trouvatt, and these demonstrations were so successful that we did it twice. Thereafter I lost connection with Jan until 1994.
He went on to say in his correspondence to me: 'Now that I am writing I see Jan before me (often with his smile), who gave me jujutsu lessons, which formed a part of my character in my life. I'll never forget him!'

De Jong turned his attention to learning the indigenous martial art of Indonesia, pencak silat ('silat'). He had been introduced to silat during his school days but had not trained it in any depth.

Just as with his jujutsu instruction, it wasn't simply a matter of locating a school and enrolling for lessons. He asked his barber if he knew of a good teacher, a Guru, who might teach him. The barber told him he knew a man who knew a lot about silat and a little while after that brought him to his house. This man, Soehadi, visited De Jong on a number of occasions where they would talk about various matters. On one occasion he asked, 'why do you want to do silat? You’re a white boy, you should be doing tennis or something like that.' De Jong replied, 'because it's in my heart to do so.'

On some of the visits to De Jong’s house, Soehadi would be accompanied by other men. Unbeknown to him, they were leaders of the Suci Hati aliran (Suci Hati is Indonesian for ‘pure heart,’ and aliran refers to the same concept as ryuha). It was usually the custom for the applicant to be brought to the elders, but due to the War of Independence being waged and De Jong being a Dutchman attached to the KILN, Soehadi thought it judicious to go against custom and bring the elders to him. After a number of months, Soehadi informed him that the elders considered him of good character and acceptable to them for inclusion into their aliran and that he was to be his Guru. As it turned out, Soehadi was the chief guru for all of middle Java, but he had never mentioned that he even trained silat, let alone was a guru of some note.

Training was conducted three times a week in a garage and was initially on a private basis due to the conditions of the times. About a year after he'd started training, Soehadi told De Jong that permission had been granted for him to meet 'the brothers'. The two men journeyed up Mount Ungaran, about 15 miles from Semarang and arrived at a house which had a picture of Sukarno (leader of the Indonesian's struggle for independence) on the wall and 'the brothers' all sporting long hair. He realised he was deep in rebel held territory and the long-haired Indonesians were persuda (Indonesian for youth), young freedom fighters operating in fierce gangs and who had vowed not to cut their hair until all the Dutch had been driven out of Indonesia. The bond between members of an aliran is exceedingly strong and appears to transcend nationalistic concerns.

Given the Indonesian culture and temperament, training was a lot more relaxed than under the Saito brothers. De Jong was very fit and very experienced in combative arts so he was able to pick up the skills of silat very fast. Gradings consisted of various senior members of the aliran observing the training and deciding that a higher grade would be awarded. De Jong said he was awarded the equivalent of sixth degree black belt in 1951.

Soehadi and De Jong lost contact when De Jong emigrated to Australia in 1952. Nearly thirty years later Soehadi recognised his former pupil on television giving a jujutsu demonstration in Indonesia. He wrote a letter addressed to: 'Jan de Jong, Perth, Western Australia', and despite the limited address it found its destination. In 1986, De Jong’s students raised the funds to fly Soehadi to Perth for a reunion. The photograph above was taken at De Jong's dojo at his home and has the elderly Soehadi blocking a kick by the elderly De Jong. The photograph to the right is of the same elderly Soehadi demonstrating his silat at the same location. Elderly but ever so sprightly. The person kneeling furthest to the right is Peter Clarke in the photograph to the right is the Clarke mentioned in the first blog concerning the school of Jan de Jong. In addition to being graded sixth dan in jujutsu, he was also the highest graded pencak silat student/instructor of De Jong (in addition to dan grades in aikido).

During these years, De Jong was practising as a physiotherapist at the hospital in Semerang. His third child and second son, Hans de Jong, was born at the same hospital (1950 I think). In later years I would have occasion to visit that hospital and the room where De Jong practiced his physiotherapy, but that is a story for another blog.

After living with the risks and stresses associated with living in a theatre of war for twelve years, and now with the added responsibility of a young family, who had themselves been threatened by armed bandits during a home invasion, De Jong decided to emigrate. Through his aversion to cold climates born of the Hunger Winter, he narrowed his choices to South Africa, South America and Australia. Perth won out due to its political stability, language, and of course, warm climate.