Wednesday, December 22, 2010

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)

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