The origins of PGB
Suhu Subur Rahardja (Lim Sin Tjoei) founded PGB, short for Persatuan Gerak Badan (Unification of Body Movement) in Bogor, West Java in 1952.
By that time, he had learned several styles of Chinese martial arts, which were then generically referred to as Kun Tao in Indonesia - long before the term Kung Fu became popular. Kun Tao (拳道) translates as ‘Way of the Fist’, highlighting both the martial aspect as well as the perspective of a way or path of cultivation and development.
Most of these Kun Tao styles were closely guarded and meticulously preserved in secrecy by the masters who fled China for a new life in Indonesia. Suhu Subur Rahardja’s first teacher was his uncle and adoptive father, the mystical healer Lim Kim Bouw who taught him the family’s own style of Kun Tao.
One of his most influential teachers was a monk who had arrived from China a few years earlier and who was famous for his exceptional skills in the White Crane and other animal forms.
It was Suhu Subur Rahardja’s belief, that rather than continuing the secrecy of earlier generations the martial arts were better to be opened up to enable people to use them to lead healthy and well-balanced lives. Even though the practice he taught was much broader, he chose the White Crane as the newly formed school’s symbol and began referring to the system as Silat Bangau Putih (White Crane Silat).
In the 1970's young men and women from the West came to study White Crane Silat in Bogor under Suhu Subur Rahardja. Inspired by their commitment and interested in achieving a wider audience for his art, he began to travel to the West to teach.
Soon White Crane Silat branches began to crop up in Germany, France, and the United States. The White Crane Silat center in Bogor began to take on a very international flavor with students from all over the world coming to stay and train for a few weeks to a few years.
Refinement and revival of cultural heritage
Suhu Subur Rahardja died in 1986 leaving the care of PGB to his son, Gunawan Rahardja who has continued and expanded upon his father's work and became the school’s next Grandmaster.
Notably, he further developed and clarified PGB’s curriculum through the development of Sam Po Kun, a specific way of training the harmony of Mind, Body and Spirit as well as by codifying specific health movements into the highly popular Tao Kung system. Cultural traditions, such as Barong Sai (lion dance), Kie Lin and Dragon dance were revived in recent years and are nowadays frequently performed by PGB at important holidays in Bogor and all across Indonesia.
Suhu Gunawan Rahardja also continues the healing traditions of his family by providing traditional Asian healing practices to a wide variety of patients. And, as has always been the case, many of these patients, once well, become practitioners of White Crane Silat.
The worldwide PGB community
The center of White Crane Silat in Bogor continues to provide a high level of training for Indonesians and students the world over. An international retreat is held in a different host country biennially, and students come from around the globe to attend a week long intensive training seminar.
PGB today has branches across North America (USA, Canada), Europe (UK, France, Germany, Austria, Spain, Romania), the Middle East (Saudi Arabia) and Indonesia. Many more small and informal groups exist.