Now there are lots of theories and mixed feelings about the history of Poekoelan Tjimindie and many people disagree with the common teachings of the history by most Poekoelan Tjimindie instructors so after 14 years of research into the art of Poekoelan Tjimindie of Master Willy Wetzel I have decided to write the following version of the Poekoelan Tjimindie history as I have concluded.
Poekoelan – to strike
Tji – beautiful
Mindie – flowing waters
To strike with beautiful flow or To strike with Tjimindie village style
The Poekoelan Tjimindie system is a selective blend of Chinese Kun Tao and Indonesian Pentjak Silat developed by a Shaolin Monk named Huang Wu Wen a master of Chuan Fa also known as Oei Kem Boen, (Oei Kem Boen was probably his undercover name) (1870-1965), and a Poekoelan master named Mas Djut Bang Salimon (1840- 1930). The two met on the western end of the island of Java in a small village called Tjimindie.
Huang Wu Wen thought he had the ultimate art until he ran into Mas Djut! Mas Djut shocked Huang with his lower body leg kicking art. Mas Djut was impressed when Huang got around his lower body art and broke through Djut’s upper body guard. Both masters became great friends and practiced together for 3 years merging & blending their two fighting methods into one new eclectic art they named Tjimindie after the village in Java where they first met and formed this new art.
Mas Djut Bang Salimon:
Mas Djut was a nomadic wanderer who traveled throughout Asia periodically for many years observing and learning various Indonesian fighting arts and was a master of the Kilap system of lightning fast striking as well as the tiger & snake styles of fighting. The kilap system uses a series of linear strikes to overall body targets. The kilap exponent does not attempt to overrun his opponent with brute force or strength, they simply dart in & out while striking at maximum speed to vital body targets.
Huang Wu Wen/Oei Kem Boen:
Huang Wu Wen, brought his art from Canton, China to Java, Indonesia and was a master of the Shaolin Wu-Tong Temple system, which he called the Original Ultimate Fist. Oei Kem Boen originally learned the ancient “soft” southern system and later traveled north where he studied the “hard” northern system. In addition to these he studied the Chinese animal fighting styles of tiger, monkey & crane. Master Huang combined the two Shaolin systems and the animal styles to create his own personal system.
Tjimindie vs. Cimande:
Poekoelan Tjimindie should not be mistaken for the Tjimande/Cimande founded by Pak Embah Kahir. The name Tjimindie was only used to denote the village where Mas Djut and Monk Boen met and not to imply that it was the style of Cimande from Pak Kahir. Although there are some Cimande style and/or techniques in Poekoelan Tjimindie as there are in many styles of Pentjak Silat it is purely coincidental.
William Willy John Christopher Wetzel was born on January 23, 1921 in the village of Loemadjang, Java, Indonesia, and he passed away on March 17, 1975 in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, United States.
Willy Wetzel was part Indonesian & Dutch and was born & raised in Indonesia and could speak three Indonesian languages. Monk Huang Wu Wen was hired by the Dutch secret service to locate rebel forces wishing to overthrow the Dutch government in Indonesia. Huang’s cover was as a tea merchant and probably adopted the name Oei Kem Boen for his cover. Oei Kem Boen met Willy Wetzel when he was 9 years old and because of Willy’s language skills and being a child from Java he recruited him to help locate secret rebel training camps in and around Java in return for fighting lessons. At age 14 Willy asked Monk Boen to teach him everything he knew about fighting so he could become a master like Monk Boen. At age 17 during WW II Willy served as a member of the Royal Dutch Indonesian Army and then was recruited into the Dutch Secret Service where he was assigned to locate leaders of rebel factions. It is said that Willy was in fact an assassin for the Secret Service and assigned to eliminate the leaders of the rebel factions that he located.
Willy traveled throughout Indonesia undercover as a Pentjak Silat historian and as such he learned many different styles of Indonesian Fighting Arts from all over the Malay Peninsula. It is believed that Willy knew hundreds of different Silat & Kuntao arts and thousands of different techniques as well as several Japanese fighting styles.
In 1949 Willy moved to Holland and then in 1956 he immigrated to Vanport, PA. In 1960 Willy opened his and the first Indonesian martial arts school in the United States to the general public in Beaver falls, PA. He combined and synthesized all of the fighting arts that he had learned into a new system and called his new system Poekoelan Tjimindie Chuan Fa.
Poekoelan Tjimindie is a “Broken Mirror” system this means many styles woven into one. In the tradition of Willy you are not bound or restricted to any one style or form, rather you are free and encouraged to seek and adapt what is right for you and discard the rest. Poekoelan Tjimindie is taught and employed as the natural system and the students are eventually trained mentally to use their fighting/self-defense instinctively by accomplishing several moves at once without having to consciously plan each move and this is accomplished by not just learning a fixed set pattern or sequence of movements but creating their own Kembangan (flower dance/form) also known as the “Crawl” by Poekoelan Tjimindie practitioners.
Poekoelan Tjimindie is a varied art composed of a wide range of animal postures and movements inspired by the Bingatang Ampat or 4 animals; the Tiger, Snake, Crane & Monkey. Animal mannerisms were included in Poekoelan Tjimindie because they increase human actions thus bringing to them a much wider range of technique possibilities and applications. Students learn to defend themselves from any position standing or on the ground. Striking, takedowns, weapons defenses and joint locks are all used and students learn the art through both structured forms and free fighting.
1. Tiger (Matjanan) the Indonesian tigers grounded movement leads to the three-limbed fighting style of Harimau. The surprising but deadly moves of Matjanan Tiengie- Leaping Tiger challenge practitioners to move quickly up from the grounded positions to attack either standing or grounded opponents with ripping motions, sweeps, springing shears or scissors, rolling elbows and knees.
The Chinese tiger form uses open hands with extended fingers to claw or rip at vital targets. The method is to hit or place with the palm to the target, then grab and pull.
2. Crane (Blekok) the Indonesian fluid White Crane, erratic moods of the Mad Crane and the quieter more deadly moves of the Lazy Crane, various fist blows and parrying movements as well as balance, stability from the agile movement of the crane, aerial and multiple kicking techniques, long range striking and the ability to strike from a one legged position are adapted from this animal.
The Chinese Crane style uses low to high one-legged body positions with turns. Every second or third move begins in a crane position, with a retreat covered by open hand parries, then follows with attacks or counterattacks. Kicks are delivered from high to low. The head rotates in all directions to watch for any oncoming attackers, providing a circle defense.
3. Monkey (Monyet) Indonesian monkey uses grounded stances, acrobatic movements, parries, grabbing, pounding fists, medium height positions, crawl, low movements, rolls, jumping and leaping with its playful energy sets. Also the groundwork for the heavy effective moves of the powerful ape and the crazy antics of the drunken monkey are seen here.
The monkey style from China is noted by its bent knee, wide leg positions with the body at a low height and arm movements that are circular with open hand parries, and closed hand grabs with palms down. Defensive body movements are side-to-side and forwards and backwards with dodging head movements and body rolls across the ground when needed.
4. Snake (Oeler) Indonesian snake is recognized by the close foot positions and medium body height. Elbow-to-elbow distance is kept close to the body to protect the midsection from injury. By weaving the arms, body and legs during retreats and attacks the snake exponent appears to be giving in but immediately redirects the fight to his advantage. Advanced striking and wrapping techniques come from the Cobra and King Cobra.
The snake style from China has fast multiple lightning strikes from any position, spiraling and weaving motions and short-range sweeping.
In the Poekoelan Tjimindie style correct hitting is invisible and the striking weapons are camouflaged by foot & hand movements and always strike indirectly. The blow never starts or comes from the place the Poekoelan Tjimindie exponent is positioned from and never strikes the target it appears to be aimed toward.
This deception is accomplished by having the arm or leg relaxed while on it’s route of travel to the real intended target. In that way the same weapon can hit multiple targets without withdrawing and fools & confuses the opponent into blocking to protect a target that is not going to be hit. Poekoelan Tjimindie makes good use of the head for butting action with head on, side to side and rear strikes, which are effective in very close in-fighting situations. Along with head strikes the use of elbows and knees are employed in close quarter combat as well. Poekoelan Tjimindie is also an internal art where Chi Kung (breathing techniques) and meditation are developed for internal strength, focus, and healing.