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.