Situated 10358km from Medan on the West Coast of North Sumatra, lies the city and port of Sibolga. The was the last leg of our exciting adventures and cultural journey through Northern Sumatra and what a treat to meet with Jon Simarmata, who is a Pencak Silat Master. In the green field across from Jon’s house, we watched as he and his top students performed fighting demonstrations of the traditional martial art of Moncak as the sun set over the mountains.
According to legend, during the Dutch colonial era in Indonesia, many Batak people fought against the invaders with their bare hands using the traditional martial art of Moncak Batak. A Moncak Batak martial arts champion is said to have the magical ability to jump high, run fast, defend themselves against sharp weapons and are immune to rifle bullets from their attackers.
Those who practise Moncak Batak are know as Parmoncak and they have various movements and tricks they use when fighting their enemy, which their invaders greatly feared, namely the Bodat stance (Monkey), Alogo stance (Wind), Udan stance (rain) and the most famous which is the Harimo stance (Tiger).
Parmoncak experts are also able to cure various illness and disease with traditional herbal remedies, and were able to assist their comrades who were wounded on the battlefields. The higher the level of the practising Parmoncak, the more diseases they are able to cure. Those with the highest level of expertise as known as Guru Moncak (Moncak Teachers).
Due to the popularity of more modern martial arts, the practise and teaching of traditional Moncak Batak has become quite a rarity, but thanks to Jon, the art is being kept alive in the town of Sibolga and we were honoured to watch them demonstrate for us and in such a surreal and beautiful setting.
To end the demonstration, Putra and I were welcomed to their community with a presentation of more beautiful traditional Ulos and this was the perfect way to end a truly magical and memorable journey through Northern Sumatra.
Until next time… HORAS!