The founder of Perisai Diri was Raden Mas Soebandiman Dirdjoatmodjo, better known by his nickname of Pak De. He began practicing pencak silat in his childhood and had experience in
several styles such as cimande, silek, kuningan, East Javanese silat, and silat Betawi. Pak De also spent 14 years studying a southern Chinese martial art under Yap Kie San in
Parakan. Perisai Diri was founded on July 2, 1955 in Surabaya by Pak De, with the assistance of Imam Ramelan. After Pak De's death in 1983, the Indonesian government granted him the
title of Pendekar Purna Utama, the highest rank for a pendekar.