The Suwanda Academy was developed by the late Guru Besar of Pencak Silat Mande Muda, Pendekar Herman Suwanda in 1999. At the first Jagabaya Seminar, which was held in Stockton, California on February 1999, Pak Herman announced that he was forming a new organization named after his pencak silat training facility in Cibodas, West Java.
Guru Besar Herman Suwanda stated that he had produced many Mande Muda instructors over the years. While these people were often capable martial artists, few possessed understanding of the traditions and cultural aspects of Pencak Silat. Pak Herman worked to develop a new program that would stress all facets of Pencak Silat, as taught in West Java.
To separate these new instructors from those who were certified in the past, Pak Herman created a series of titles, starting with the "Jagabaya" ranks and progressing to "Punggawa", "Satria", "Pendekar Muda" and finally "Pendekar". Pak Herman stated: "Students that earn these titles are to be considered Instructors under the SUWANDA ACADEMY, located in Cibodas, West Java, Indonesia. Focus is specifically towards the academic and production of good quality Pencak Silat Instructors who can share the art with the people in Indonesia, USA and Europe."
After Pak Herman's death in March 2000, the Suwanda family and the Mande Muda Indonesia organization elected his sister, Ibu Rita Suwanda, as the new guru besar of Pencak Silat Mande Muda International, and the president of Mande Muda Indonesia. Ibu Rita has decided to continue both the Jagabaya training program, and the Academy under the name of "The Suwanda Academy International". She selected a board of directors, and charged the organization with the task of assisting her in supervising the Pencak Silat Mande Muda training programs outside of Indonesia.
The duties of the organization are:
Assist the Guru Besar in the credentialing and monitoring of the Jagabaya and certified instructors, and the selection of new Jagabaya candidates
To disseminate the information on the Jagabaya training curriculum. The curriculum itself will be developed by the Guru Besar-Ibu Rita has decided to continue the first four Jagabaya levels as developed by Pak Herman, and will add new material for subsequent levels
Sponsor the Guru Besar and other designated instructors of Mande Muda Indonesia in their seminars in Pencak Silat Mande Muda in North America and Europe
Promote the martial art of pencak silat, and Mande Muda in particular, through competitions, demonstrations, new video material, books, media presentations, etc.
Develop a program for competition in traditional pencak silat among the Mande Muda schools in the West
Coordinate with the Pencak Silat Association of America, IPSI, and Persilat in promoting pencak silat competition at the international level. Assist the schools in Europe as needed in their competitions
The Suwanda Academy will be supported by the licensing fees from the instructors and training sites, income from the Jagabaya training material, merchandise, and supporting memberships. At this time, policies regarding the licensing fees are still being developed. However, the supporting memberships are available (see Membership Applications)