Kelly Worden/ Jay de Leon Letter to IKF


Susumu Kodai

In responce to a letter to IKF Mr. Kelly S. Worden wrote on his forum and in ED:
Sure didn't take long for the outsider's of Modern Arnis to drop their agenda thoughts into the recent IKF Magazine.
I was humored at Jay de Leon's attempt to reach out for some credibility about his brief friendship and training under Professor Presas. Admittedly he was only a student for a short time and only attended several seminars, several means "3 or 4" does it not?
His link to Modern Arnis thru "NARAPHIL" is an "Insult to Professor" not a credibility issue.
Speaking with Remy Jr. just hours ago and having Roland Dantes stay with me for a month at a time over the last two years, "NARAPHIL" and former students linked to that "Government Regime" was the direct reason Remy fleed the P.I.
Where's the honor in being affiliated to "NARAPHIL" and the political powerplay of literally stealing the Modern Arnis Organization away from Professor Presas?
I would be hard pressed to believe "Jay de Leon" didn't mean to disrespect everyone he indirectly buzzed around, ("be they, loyalists, renegades, of alphabet soup coalitions)!
We are the only "Coalition", I contend a coalition is to keep our group in check, no self proclaimed dictators here. This Coalition is also the only direct Modern Arnis group outside of MARPPIO that believes Modern Arnis is a cultural art and publically supports the Presas Family and the instructors directly connected to Modern Arnis in the P.I.
That is, the Instructors that Professor Presas embraced personally in the P.I., not those that turned on him and joined "NARAPHIL"!
If having Roland Dantes, Remy Presas Jr., Demitrio Presas, Rodel Daggoc, Leonard Trigg, James Keating, Richard Ryan, Dr. Brett Jacques, Ron Pierce, and others on the Advisory Board of the World Modern Arnis Coalition makes us "Alphabet Soup", well hell baby, dish me up a big bowl....
In closing, Professor Presas said many times, "Modern Arnis is my business".
We are Professor Presas' students, "mind your own business, Jay de Leon."
Remy Presas concidered Roland Dantes and I, both his "Brother and friend". I had his blessing in Modern Arnis, I doubt if "Jay de Leon" can say the same, Remy never trusted NARAPHIL, NEVER!!
Wish to clarify my statements? e-mail Roland Dantes at, [email protected]
Kelly S. Worden

Today reply was sent by Mr. Jay de Leon to ED
Mr. Worden:

Thank you for the email. I apologize for the late reply; I was out of town.

First, just a few clarifications:

(1) You wrote "Sure didn't take long for the outsiders of Modern Arnis to
drop their agenda motivated thoughts into the recent IKF Magazine."

All I did was to write a letter to the editor expressing my views on a
recent article. What does your sentence mean? Did I respond too quickly?
Pray tell me what my agenda was other than expressing my opinions on what
somebody wrote, which is the same thing you are doing?

(2) After describing your own relationship with RP, you wrote "I doubt if
Jay de Leon (JDL) and Remy Presas (RP) were 'that close'."

But that was precisely my point, sir. RP and I were not complete strangers
to each other. But we were not "that close" either. I described precisely
the extent of our relationship, give or take a seminar.

In fact, the last time I saw and talked to RP was in his Rocklin, CA seminar
in 1997. I mentioned this fact in my original letter to IKF, which they
edited out. So I was not part of the procession of inheritors at his
deathbed asking for his final blessings. Does that diminish my credibility,
or the admiration and feelings I had for RP?

(3) You wrote "His link to NARAPHIL is an insult to RP."

My mention of NARAPHIL was a point of reference, not a matter of pride. In
fact, I became a member of NARAPHIL simply because my Grandmaster (GM), who
was a NARAPHIL officer and tournament official, could not teach me unless I
was (literally) a card-carrying member of the NARAPHIL. I even remember
mailing photos so they could prepare my I.D. I have never met with or even
known any other member of NARAPHIL other than my GM.

I am well aware of the sordid side of NARAPHIL history. But it is
preposterous to heap the sins of NARAPHIL or some elements of NARAPHIL on me
or any other individual. By the way, at some point, my GM and I also became
card-carrying members of offshoots of NARAPHIL, called "Arnis Phil." and
"MAACOP" (I don't remember what the letters stood for). Shall I now gird my
loins for battle against everybody who harbors a grudge against these two
other organizations?

(4) You wrote "I would be hardpressed to believe JDL didn't mean to
disrespect everyone he indirectly buzzed around, 'be they loyalists,
renegades or alphabet soup coalitions'."

Well, yes and no. In plain English, if the shoe fits, wear it. If you are
a self-anointed successor, then yes, shame on you. If not, then I have no
reason and no desire to disrespect you.

The terms "loyalists," "renegades" and "coalitions" were direct quotes from
the author of the IKF article.

Which now brings us to the heart of the matter. The other side of the coin
is, I also paid tribute to whom I thought were the true successors of
RP--the practitioners, guros and grandmasters who are teaching Modern Arnis
in the spirit and tradition of RP. (See last two sentences of my letter to

Of course I realize there are many worthy and true Modern Arnis teachers in
the Philippines, here in the U.S. and probably in Europe as well. Of course
I know of MARPPIO, the Presas family, Messrs. Dantes, Inocalla, Dagooc and
their likes in RP, as well as in the U.S. and Europe. I salute them all.

I think you missed a golden opportunity. Instead of launching a diatribe
against me in the Digest, you could have introduced your group and how the
members got together, gave background on the members, and informed Digest
readers what your group is doing to unite, direct or otherwise inspire other
Modern Arnis groups. Also as an example, I would have liked to know more
about Mr. Dagooc, who I believe was a contemporary of my GM but whom I never

In your first sentence, you referred to me as an "outsider to Modern Arnis."
Until RP's death, my students and I considered ourselves part of the
Modern Arnis family, more from sheer admiration and love of RP than
stylistic affiliations. I know that's a stretch because of my limited
relationship with RP. The day I learned of RP's death, I wept, put on my
full Modern Arnis uniform (reserved for official occasions only) to the
dojo, informed my students about the sad news, and dedicated the day's
workouts to RP.

And so I will close with my last piece of unsolicited advice. If you are
indeed the true inheritor, or speak for the inheritor coalition, please take
the high road and reach out for other "outsiders." Remember the original
theme of the IKF article was about filling the void left by RP? I venture
to guess that that's what Remy would have wanted.

Good luck with your new coalition.

Jay de Leon
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA

Very interesting to read. What is IKF and where can find original letter?

Thank you
With the current political climate of Modern Arnis, it's refreshing to see someone take the high road and not escalate a bad situation. Well done Jay de leon.
I am posting this for those who don't recieve the "Escrima Digest" or for those who do not wander over to Datu's forum.....
(This post is taken from

My reply to e-digest post:
Jay de Leon,
Just a brief reply to your last post. Sadly I really don't have time to break down each area of you're clarifications, but I'll give it a shot.
You have every right to be saddened by the passing of Professor Presas, as do all the practitioners of FMA worldwide.

Sorry you didn't feel the need to be close with Remy, yet still consider yourself a Modern Arnis practitioner. I would venture to say in any martial arts circle including yours, if you are not active or in direct contact with the Grandmaster of the system you wouldn't be counted as such.
You're agenda is of course to be counted as a voice or a concerned individual about the safe path of Modern Arnis and it's future.
Again if you are inactive in the propagation of Modern Arnis, few will care about your views, simple as that.

You have an interesting way of bringing to light and pointing you're finger at anyone who cared enough to be with Professor Presas in his final months, days, and hours. According to you, we are all "part of a procession of inheritors at his deathbed asking for his final blessing."
I would say that is a negative agenda based statement to somehow make people believe every person spending time with Remy Presas wanted or needed final blessing to continue on with their work or Modern Arnis training.
Roland Dantes stayed at my home at Professor's request for over a month and together we traveled weekly to spend time with Professor. Are you including Roland Dantes as part of the "procession of deathbed inheritors?"
Many students and friends came because Professor asked them to come, did he not call you? Probably Not!

NARAPHIL? You are right, sordid side! NARAPHIL was a direct insult to Remy Presas! Who cares, you brought it up as a point of reference, all you're personal explanations aside, insult is the truth, weather you like it or not!

Jay de Leon, do some homework, my connection with Professor Presas is well documented, I received "datu" status directly from Remy in 1988, the first American to be recognized and promoted to that rank or status. Thru the years we had disagreements but at no time did Remy Presas ever not recognize my commitment or contribution to Modern Arnis. At no time have I ever claimed successor ship of Modern Arnis, self-anointed or otherwise! Just you're statement alone is off base and out of line, first you insult and then you apologize, so hey, SHAME ON YOU! Do your homework, or mind your own business.

Since you brought the self-anointed issue up, Remy Presas Jr. mentioned to me your website states you are a Grandmaster.
Did you inherit that title and from who, or is it "self-anointed?"

If you are truly a Grandmaster, it would seem a great honor for me to be a center of attention for you to concern yourself with my efforts in Modern Arnis. It would also seem like a negative issue for you "Grandmaster de Leon" to get involved in Modern Arnis politics if you have your own system to attend to. If the shoe fits wear it!

The terms "loyalists, renegades, and coalition were direct quotes from Dan Anderson's IKF article." I agree to that fact, you stepped out of line with the addition of the agenda motivated slam of "alphabet soup coalition", I oversee the World Modern Arnis Coalition with the Presas Family's blessing. I still contend if my prior stated colleagues and brothers in the art of Modern Arnis make us "alphabet soup" in you're eyes, well you do not just insult me you insult each one of them, which includes Dantes, Dagooc, Inocalla, and others, is that you're intent?

And so I will close with these unsolicited words of advice, put your "official occasion" full Modern Arnis uniform back in the closet, (apparently lacking official certification). Stop making public statements about me or anyone in the WMA Coalition being the "true inheritor" or "inheritor Coalition". Get off the negative low road you apparently travel for personal glory or public recognition and write your own articles to share your great depth of insight into FMA. Being a grandmaster and all that goes with that title, it would be a more positive direction for your efforts, fill the void GM de Leon.
Good luck with "your" system.

Modern Arnis has several Internet Forums, if you would like to banter about on this subject I suggest "you" take it there, or reply directly to me. As mentioned in my last post "Modern Arnis will clean it's own closets!"

Ray Terry and the e-digest group, thank you for allowing this brief discussion to take place. Sorry for disrupting your forum with political issues better expressed and discussed on Modern Arnis forums. Further replies from me will only be addressed there among Modern Arnis practitioners.

Kelly S. Worden
Tacoma, Washington
[email protected]

On a side note...
Regardless if what Datu W. has written is considered high road or low road, he still is standing up for what he thinks is right. It has been spoken many times on the net that Professor Presas divulged different info to different people, so don't you all think that Datu W. is defending Professor Presas with the info he was privy too??? Just a thought....

Thanks for posting the letter and the link. I read it on ED but many won't have I'm sure.
We all know that everyone has an opinion, and a right to have that opinion, but if you are going to mention other people or their group be prepared to defend yourself against the fallout.
Can someone postup the original letter? I can't find my copy of IKF at the moment. Might help put things in context. I don't believe that any particular group was mentioned by Mr. deLeon, however we all know my memories fuzzy. :)

I've always been a firm believer in doing what you believe is right. The problem here (overall) is there are a number of people doing what they think is right. They all can't be right, or can they?

I believe that there is only one 'COALITION' at the moment, and that term was used. People involved in Kelly's group could certainly take offense because of that, eh? That having been said, my post was not aimed at any one person. Thanks.
Guro Dan McConnell
IMAF, inc. Board of Directors
Modern Arnis of Ohio
No prob Dan. I can see how it can be taken that way. Of course, we all belong to alphabet soups. Nothing wrong with that...I like soup. :)
I like soup too. The bigger the chunks the better. :)