Suci Hati is a style (aliran) from central Java in
Indonesia. It means - "pure heart".
Peter Clarke learnt silat from Jan de Jong. Jan de Jong
learned from Mr. Soehardi. Jan de Jong was born in Semarang
Indonesia of Dutch parents. He initially studied jujutsu as a
child and teenager in Indonesia. It was not until returning
to Indonesia in 1946 that Jan studied the central Javanese style of
Suci Hati under Mr Soehardi.
In Jan's time, it was not that easy to become a student of
pencak silat. It involved making inquiries of appropriate
people to speak to and then informal discussions with people which
turned out, in effect, to be interviews. The process was to
ascertain whether the person was of a suitable character and
acceptable to the hierarchy of the style.
Jan lost contact with Mr. Soehardi when he left Indonesia and
migrated to Australia in 1952. Jan visited Indonesian in
1981. A demonstration of jujutsu was given in Jakarta by Jan
which was broadcast as a news item on national television in
Indonesia. Mr Soehardi, by chance, saw the television
programme and recognised his former friend and student, Jan de
Jong. Mr Soehardi wrote Jan a letter which renewed the
contact between them. In 1986, it was arranged for Mr
Soehardi to visit Jan in Perth.
Peter and Debbie Clarke were on a tour of Java with Jan in 1987
and as part of the trip, visited Mr Soehardi in Semarang.
It has been mentioned that it is not easy to become a silat
student in former times. Jan's story demonstrates
this. After the Second World War Jan returned to
Indonesia in 1946 as a physiotherapist attached to the Royal
Netherlands Indies Army (KNIL). At the time of his return to
Indonesia, the country was in conflict with the Dutch who were
attempting to reassert control following the end of the world war
and meeting resistance from freedom fighters headed by
Sukarno. Indonesian independence occurred three years later
When Jan returned to Indonesia he expressed an interest in
learning pencak to an Indonesian friend and asked him if he knew
anyone who could teach him. His friend said that he was not
sure but he would ask around. His friend would inquire on
occasions about why he wanted to learn pencak. Sometimes his
friend would come to visit in the company of others. They
would sit and chat about many diverse topics. Occasionally,
the topic of silat might arise but not all that often.
Jan maintained a constant and heartfelt desire to do silat.
Eventually, Jan was accepted into a school. Only then
did he find out, and much to his surprise, that his friend whom he
had initially approached (Mr Soehardi) was the head of the
school. The visitors that Mr Soehardi had brought from
time to time with senior members of the school and the visits and
seemingly chance encounters had in fact been informal interviews
for his admission.
Once accepted into the group, the bond between members was
strong. On one occasion, Mr Soehardi took Jan for
training to a different location. They only reached the
location when it was dark. Once there, Jan found a number of
young Indonesian men with long hair. Jan knew that at that
time before independence, many Indonesian men grew their hair long
and vowed not to cut it until every white man was dead or had been
removed from the archipelago! Jan was understandably
concerned, however, his initial discomfort was soon allayed.
Training was conducted as usual with all of the usual care and
consideration for training partners being shown. It
exemplified the fact that admission to the group transcended
ethnicity and the political turmoil of the