I make a link to one of my youtube channel, a video of him explaining a lock technic. Click on the photo to check this out.
Cikgu Suhaili Che Soh (Ayah Lee) is one of the senior Gurulatih at Kelantan. I was lucky enough to have been learning and training under him. The history of Silat Seni Gayong club at Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Kamil (national secondary school) marked by many changing of instructors. Started with Gayong Pusaka under the late Cikgu Zulkarnain and Cikgu Adi, then went through Gayong Malaysia under Pak Jab and his family, and finally Tok Ayah Mansor (YDP Kelantan) sent Cikgu Suhaili Che Soh to teach us the Kamilian. All the time, whoever Gurulatih from outside sent for us, we were trained under Ku Rashid (Ayah Sik) and Tuan Sanusi (Ayah Si). 2 others Jurulatihs were Ijak and Pok Dek, our Gayong senior at Pasir Puteh.
I was surprised after checking my previous posts, that I've forgotten to write about him! My previous students Hamid, Sebastien, Serge and Elodie had met him when they were at Malaysia and even passed their white belt with him. Cikgu Suhaili is a committed and talented Gayong Master. He started learning Gayong with Cikgu Ibrahim (one of the Khalifah Besar of Kelantan) and Haji Mansor Othman.
I know that I should not to reveal this publicly in this blog. But seems I am his student, and I know him since many years, I think I must share this that will make us think. Cikgu Suhaili, as like as many Gayong Master at his age, doesn't have a real job. Since his teen life was spent to learn Gayong, he didn't receive any formal higher education like most of young Gayong generation do now. He makes his living, with his family, by doing some instant job like working as part time night guard or cutting the grass.
Even though he has a "difficult" life, he never stop teaching Silat Seni Gayong. Sometimes, when four or five of us, came to his house to learn Gayong at Friday night, after 30minutes motorcycle riding across the dark 'haunted' hill of Bukit Jawa, he always welcome us wholeheartedly and tried to serve us foods and drinks, even though it was the only thing that they will eat for the rest of the week.
I had witnessed once, when we passed by his house to train as usual, but the house was dark. We thought no one was there and maybe he forgot about the Friday night training. So we came back to our house and trained ourselves at the nearby field until morning. It was 3 days later that we discovered, Cikgu Suhaili was there waiting for us that night, but the house was dark because the electricity was cut off since he can't pay the bill for couple of months.
We we learned this, we felt sad and sympathy, but proud of him. So every time we come to train, we made a habit to bring everyone of us, some "Buah Tangan", whether it was foods, drinks, or money for him. As usual, a Malay Gayong Master like him refused to accept those things from students like us. But we insisted and made it a "tradition" every time going to meet a Master.
Do we ever think about our Master's needs? We are not making a "modern-like" Master-Students relationship of I-pay-you-everymonth-fees-then-I-am-not-interested-with-your-private-life. We are making a REAL relationship. Helping your Master is a noble deed. Our Master is like our own family and we must help them to keep them spreading the art for the new generation.
Cikgu Suhaili is not the only one who has experienced the difficulties in teaching Gayong. Even we can say most of the elder Gayong Masters (those who helped the late MAHAGURU spreading the art all over Malaysia) are having the same situation. Malay people is a nation of principles. One of the principles is not "selling" the Silat knowledge as to make living. As what Mahaguru said, if he'd ever wanted to be rich, he would have been rich. But Silat Seni Gayong is a Malay heritage that cannot be sold.
The question is, how earning money to make living while not breaking the tradition? How could a Master can make a good life for his family only by teaching Silat? Those solutions are with us, the new generation of Silat. We have many professionals nowadays, and must create a system that can generate incomes. As long as Malay people doesn't realized the value of their own martial arts, nothing will change. That's why we must promote this art everywhere, fill the internet with many articles, videos and photos. Spread the informations around us, schools, universities, offices, markets, everywhere. The more Silat materials people can see, they more Silat gain their trust. By doing this, we are not only helping to keep our own culture, but also helping our dearest Masters continue their "battle". At least, every time I come to Malaysia with my students, everyone of them gave something to my Master (or Masters). That means a lot to them. It is not only a "Thanks". It's an "Appreciation".......
*hoping to be visited by anak gayong when the moment comes that I will be too old to move around anymore...