Keluarga Silat Nasional Indonesia Perisai-Diri, or Kelatnas PD, was officially founded on 2 July 1955 in the city of Surabaya by Raden Mas Soebandiman Dirdjoatmodjo.
R.M.S. Dirdjoatmodjo was born on 8 January 1913 in Yogyakarta. His father was Raden Mas Pakoe Soedirdjo of the Pakoe Alam family.
Periodically, a Pencak Silat expert was brought from Solo to teach the young men of the palace. However, because he was still only nine years old, Soebandiman was not permitted to participate in the lessons. Despite his age, Soebandiman's desire to learn Pencak Silat compelled him to spy on each lesson. He would later sneak out of the palace, collect the village children of his age and then mimic the lessons he had just seen. Thus, at the age of nine years, Soebandiman had already become a ‘little teacher'. These ‘lessons' continued, but resulted in his growing sense of frustration at the restrictions imposed by his family until he decided, while still quite young, to go out into the world.
His steps led him to the region of Jombang, East Java. When he was satisfied with his studies at Jombang, he left there and headed to Solo. Following his studies in Solo he moved to the city of Semarang in an effort to satisfy his desire for knowledge of Pencak Silat.
After he felt that he had gained as much as he could in Semarang his urge to improve his understanding and abilities led him to Pondok Randu Guntung, near Semarang. On exhausting the avenues of study there he moved onto Kuningan in Cirebon to seek another teacher. A steel will, a spirit like a ‘banteng' bull, and a huge curiosity in the world around him combined with a feeling of being chosen to devote his life to studying the art of Pencak Silat motivated Soebandiman to continue his journey into remote regions of West Java, seeking teachers to satisfy his thirst for knowledge.
At this stage Soebandiman had studied the martial arts of twelve Silat experts or Pendekar, but even so he felt that the qualifications he had acquired were still lacking.
It was during this time of despair that the young Soebandiman travelled to the region of Banyumas. Here Soebandiman worked to consolidate the various streams of Pencak Silat he had studied into a unified form.
From the various streams of Pencak Silat, Soebandiman sought to identify the essence of effective martial art techniques, and to combine them into a more practical form. Even though he still felt that were deficiencies in the capacity of the traditional martial arts, notably, the speed, efficiency and simplicity of the movements.
It was in Banyumas that R.M.S. Dirdjoatmodjo opened his first Silat school, named EKO KALBU (EKO). Shortly after opening his school, Soebandiman realised that there was yet another teacher he could learn from, a teacher that would ultimately influence him greatly in his quest for knowledge of the martial arts.
R.M.S. Dirdjoatmodjo was introduced to a Master from China who lived in the Parakan region, named Yap Kie San. Shortly after meeting, Soebandiman was determined to have Master Yap Kie San as his teacher.Soebandiman stayed in Master Yap Kie San's house and helped with the household chores. Whilst working there for three months, Soebandiman was totally ignored, not even addressed. Each day on waking, Master Yap Kie San would step over Soebandiman as he slept in front of Master Yap Kie San's door.
Every time Soebandiman bolstered his courage to ask about studying under Master Yap Kie San, the answer was always, "Don't worry about studying Silat, you'll hurt yourself!" However, reminding himself that this might be a test given to determine his resolve, this answer made Soebandiman even more adamant to gain Master Yap Kie San's favour.
After a further month had passed, whilst accompanying the Master fishing, Soebandiman once again asked Master Yap Kie San to teach him. Finally Soebandiman was accepted as a pupil. Soebandiman was invited home and given his first lesson. Soebandiman's first lesson entailed entering a chicken-coop and assuming a horse stance. Soebandiman was told to hold the position until his Master returned, which was not until the end of the day.
At other times Soebandiman was told to practice movements in the chicken-coop, every time he felt tired and decided to stop for a rest, Master Yap Kie San would suddenly appear and scold his student, forcing him to repeat his exercises again.
Master Yap Kie San noticed a capacity in Soebandiman not common in most, and agreed to pass on all his knowledge to his dedicated student. As a consequence, Soebandiman's commitment to training was all consuming as his lessons became increasingly difficult and demanding. Soebandiman's training regime under Master Yap Kie San lasted 14 years. It was as a student of Master Yap Kie San that R.M.S. Dirdjoatmodjo was longest under instruction. On completion of his studies under Master Yap Kie San, Soebandiman's wanderings continued to add maturity to his understanding of the world, especially to that of the martial arts.
Once again Soebandiman sought to consolidate his knowledge of the various streams of Pencak Silat under a common banner, this time basing his efforts on how to learn Silat without injury. The result of R.M.S. Dirdjoatmodjo's efforts was the birth of the technique and training system of Silat Perisai-Diri, characterised as being practical, with techniques that adhered to the natural movement of the human body, resulting in a system of self-defence that was simple in application whilst maintaining its effectiveness.
It was in the city of Surabaya that R.M.S. Dirdjoatmodjo, or Pak Dirdjo, settled and subsequently founded Keluarga Silat Nasional Indonesia Perisai-Diri on 2 July 1955, with the assistance of Pak Imam Ramelan.
In 1970 he retired and continued to hold the post of IPSI Advisor East Java and "sesepuh P.B.IPSI" in Jakarta.
Pak Dirdjo, the founder and "Guru Besar" of Keluarga Silat Nasional Indonesia Perisai-Diri passed away at dawn, 9 May 1983, leaving an invaluable legacy.
PD in Australia
Silat National Perisai Diri Australia branch was officially started in 1979 at Brisbane by Don Muharum. Don had trained silat PD in the Bandung region of Central Java where he had obtained the level of Red Stripe. He then traveled to Australia to start a branch of Silat PD outside of Indonesia.
On arriving in Australia, Don introduced the new martial art to Australia, Silat Perisiai Diri, and commenced to build the framework of the Australian Branch. His teaching methods and knowledge were such that he inspired many people to follow Perisiai Diri and the Australian Branch grew from there.
At the end of 1985 the first group trip from the Australian Branch to Indonesia was organised and this was followed by another trip in 1986. These two trips established the acceptance of the Australian branch by Indonesia and paved the way for the future of Perisai Diri Australia as we know it today. The close ties of friendship formed have been srengthened over the years by many other trips both from Australia to Indonesia and by visits of representatives os Silat National Perisai Diri Indonesia to Australia.
Under the current leadership of the Dewan Komisariat, Perisai Diri has spread around Australia, with classes all down the eastern seaboard, as well as in South Australia and Western Australia.