Leo Gaje claimed to be the top guy in Modern Arnis

Black Grass

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Aug 27, 2001
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Halifax,Nova Scotia, Canada
Renegade wrote:

Just like when Leo Gaje claimed to be the top guy in Modern Arnis without realizing that Remy was still alive. But that is another topic that had been printed in the magazines already.


More on this please.
Give me a day to dig the magazines out. The short version is that Leo was interveiw in the 70's and claimed to be the man in Modern Arnis. When Remy showed up with his books in hand and showed the publishers that he was the man in Modern Arnis they printed a retration and featured Remy in his own article.
As a former student of Leo's, and having not viewed the aforementioned article, I rather suspect that Leo was not referring to Master Presas's Modern Arnis system...because he didn't like it.

Leo was likely inferring that he was the "top gun" in "modern" (as in current, present-day) arnis; not "Modern Arnis." Leo himself practiced the Pekiti-Tersia system.

I also met and trained with Master Presas and found him to be very highly skilled and frankly, I enjoyed what I learned from him much more than I did Leo's method.

I say this just so that everyone will know that I am not biased one way or the other. I am a kung-fu teacher and worked with both Leo and Remy just to see what their arts were all about.

I know that these two teachers did not get along; they had major political differences as well as personal issues. I made it a point never to get involved either way.

I just wanted to point out what I think Leo actually meant by his statement......but of course, I could be wong :D
Well, the magazine apologized for not checking the facts and they felt that Leo was claiming Remy's art, not saying a Modern version of arnis. I'll pull the magazine and post additional findings.
in the 1960s i think, it was during a time when ferdinand marcos and his friend climbed the ladder in the philippine army. these men favored things filipino, and the martial arts of the philippines was there choice for hand to hand combat. the main weapons of the pilipino soldier was the baynet and the knife from the baoyonet by itself. the men also learned to used the hands and feet, but for killing the opponent, not striking as in karate, so barehanded arnis is the fighting style of choice.

many arnisadors were making styles to teach to the military and the police, and they needed a fast curriculum where the arnisador can kill his opponent or destroy his ability to continue fighitng. so they got rid of there sinawali, and pre arranged techniques and blockings and they preferred to have counterattack than defense, and strikes to disable or kill instead of just to hurt and a stronger, more basic empty hands style (instead of a lot of techniques to remember, but just a few).

from this you lost the "classical arnis" and came up with "modern arnis". every body, pekiti tirsia, doce pares, comjuka, kuntaw, and others claims to be the first with "modern" arnis. but they all did it at the same time. after the rush with the military some people when to policia academies, and colleges and US bases with there style. and each one calls the style MODERN and they all said they are the first one.

when the schools adopted arnis into the PE classes. they had to have a "taga pagturo", a teacher, to teach it. and who is a better teacher than the one who created it? anyway, the arnis modern style became more user friendly becase now there is no sparring, no striking to the arms, and the fighters practice farther away to each other, to make it safer, and this became the new "modern arnis". they wanted to be so easy a girl can do it. then the classes got fancier and more interesting than a fighting class. they have all these different ways to tap the sticks together (like how it is taught today) and now you have the new modern arnis.

modern arnis is found in every part of the philippines and there is a different founder to each one. but to some people "modern" arnis is "combat" arnis, and some "modern" arnis is "user friendly arnis". and each group claims he is the first.

I remember this subject, could you or someone else with the magazine background to quote volume and issue and or link to it on the web?

Looking for more information on this.

Does anybody know why Leo Gaje left (or had to leave) the US some years ago?
Many rumors. The one that keeps coming up is problems with the IRS.
Thanks for the answer, but what is the IRS?
Internal Revenue Service. The United State's tax collection agency and root of all that is unholy.

I found the magazine. Official Karate Annual (winter 1977-78)

There were 2 articles:
1. Remy Presas: Father of Modern Arnis.
2. Modern Arnis in Action.

In the article they talk about an earlier article - "As a result of that article Leo's organization received much publicity, and the erroneous impression was given that Mr. Gaje was indeed the 'top man' in Modern Arnis. This is not the truth."

"We somewhat embarassingly informed Mr Presas that we had never heard of him, and only knew Mr. Gaje because he had come to us to tell us about himself, and the martial art called arnis. We now understand that Remy Presas is the founder of Modern Arnis and that, in fact, he was Leo Gaje's instructor. Remy is the only representative of Modern Arnis who has been recognized by President Ferdinand Marcos and the Philippine government to represent the art around the world."

I will be in Detriot next weekend. If I have time I'll make a copy of this article and give it to Rich Parsons. If Rich then wants to post more on this after I give him a copy then that's alright. For me, I'm done with it.

Tim Hartman
I know this is quite an olt thread, but I just came across this Phrase I was wandering if anyone can elaborate on this!?

We now understand that Remy Presas is the founder of Modern Arnis and that, in fact, he was Leo Gaje's instructor.

Thanks for any additional Info!!!

That was a quote from a magazine--those aren't Mr. Hartman's words.

I know - the point of my question was was not about who or where this Statement came from but if there is anyone who can give further Information on the Subject!

Thanks :)

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