Indonesia is the world's largest archipelago, comprised of over 13,000 islands. Today, Indonesia has the largest Muslim population in the world, but it has seen many cultural and religious influences over the years, ranging from Hindu and Buddhist settlers from India and China, to the Christian Portuguese and Dutch colonists. All of these things have left their mark on the martial arts of Indonesia.
The Dutch maintained control of much of Indonesia from the 17th century, until 1942, when Japan invaded. The Dutch continued to struggle for control, until 1949, when Indonesia finally gained independence. During the war for independence, there were many developments in the fighting styles of Indonesia. It was from this time of rapid growth that Mande Muda was born.
Comprised of techniques from many Indonesian Silat styles, Pencak Silat Mande Muda was established in 1951, by Guru Besar Uyuh Suwanda. With the help of his wife, Ibu Mimi Suwanda (a skilled martial artist in her own right), Bapak Uyuh thoroughly developed the style, earning recognition and respect from the major governing Silat bodies. After Bapak Uyuh Suwanda's death, the art was spread, throughout the United States and Europe, by his son, Guru Besar Herman Suwanda.
Tragically, Herman Suwanda and his wife, Shannon, died in a car crash in March of 2000. Shortly after this loss, Herman Suwanda's sister, Ibu Rita Suwanda, was named Guru Besar of Pencak Silat Mande Muda. She continues to travel throughout the world, furthering the family tradition of openly sharing the secrets of Pencak Silat.
For more information on Pencak Silat Mande Muda and the Suwanda Family, visit the Suwanda Academy website.