Professor Presas' non-FMA background?


Sr. Grandmaster
MTS Alumni
Aug 28, 2001
Reaction score
Terre Haute, IN
What exactly was the Professor's non-FMA martial arts background? I know about judo and shotokan and that he absorbed a fair amount of Wally Jay's SCJJ but I have also heard at various times people saying he had studied kung fu, aikido, Russian sambo, etc. Does anyone know exactly what he studied?

I have heard the shotokan two ways--that he studied shotokan itself or that he studied a Filipino variant, like the kuntao that is a Filipino version of Chinese kung fu. He himself referred to it as shotokan, I recall.
Does anyone know exactly what he studied?

Aside from Judo and Shotokan, the Professor studied a wide variety of Filipino styles during his travels as a young man. Of significant influence Palis Palis (passing/thrusting style of his grandfather), Balintiwak, abanico, and dumog.

After a cultural exchange tour in Japan, he was further exposed to Shotokan, Judo and to a lesser extent Kendo

He travelled and trained extensively with Wally Jay, Leo Fong, and George Dillman so he clearly had a great deal of exposure to their respective arts. (Small Circle JuJitsu, Wei Kune Do and RyuKyu Kempo).

His wife Yvette trained in WingChun. Some minor adaptations to his own trapping style were noticed in recent years. He learned a great deal from training with the huge number of students he had that had diverse backgrounds

Whether in formal training or exposure to various styles, he observed and adapted techniques at a rapid pace. Day or night, his brain was working and refining Modern Arnis. A better question might be what styles didn't he study or adapt from
Remy did much training in the PI. The non-fma are as follows to the best of my knoledge:

Shotokan Karate Remy held a 5th or 6th degree black belt. This was the base for our hand forms. Judo & Wrestling. This training was done in the Phillipine Islands. After coming to the states he met GM Wally Jay. The two would crosstrain with each other. This is the source of many of our locks. Remy also had some influence from George Dillman. I once saw Remy do a Dillman knock out in 1987. This I have on tape.

From there I would say he picked up tricks from all the people he came in contact with. These are what I would say were his primary influences that were not Filipino.

Originally posted by Renegade

Remy also had some influence from George Dillman. I once saw Remy do a Dillman knock out in 1987. This I have on tape.

I too have seen him do such a knockout.

The Shotokan and SCJJ influences are quite clear in the system as he taught it. Nothing looks like clear judo technique to me. He definitely picked up things here and there from people.
It's been awhile since I've posted but I've been sidetracked by a number of things. But I'm back.

With regard to outside influences on Modern Arnis, I do know that Prof Presas worked with Professor Visitacion (otherwise known as Prof Vee) in the 1970's. The last time I saw Prof Presas (in Feb of 2001) he told me about his sessions with Prof Vee in NY City both in stick work and empty handed material. I have to say that I can see some similarities in some of the concepts developed by Prof Vee and Prof Presas. What's further intriguing is that Prof Vee and Prof Jay went back back a long way. I do know that both Wally and Vee were originally in Danzan Ryu JJ. One point in time, Prof Vee was the East Coast representative of Danzan Ryu. As history would have it, both eventually became dissatisfied with Danzan Ryu and developed their own arts (Small Circle and Vee JJ, respectively). In many ways, Vee JJ and Small Circle are cousins as their founders came from a similar root art. So while some on this board see the influence of Dillman and Jay in Modern Arnis, I see some things in Modern Arnis that I picked up in Vee JJ.

For whatever it's worth, WOOOOOOOOO!!!:)
Good to have you back WhoopAss.

:cheers: :drinkbeer :drink2tha :supcool:
Professor actually taught judo ( I think in a college in Cebu).

I think he told me he was a sixth degree .... I'll have to check my notes.
Part of Professors genius was his remarkable ability to grasp and learn fundamental truths from a variety of arts. Professor would then adapt, modify and usually improve them, blending these truths seamlessly in his own creation: Modern Arnis. Professor acknowledged these other influences calling his art, Modern Arnis-Jujitsu-Karate. Professors essential mastery of the Martial Arts in general led many to compare his abilities in arts other than Modern Arnis with great masters from other arts. By way of example, my good friend Master Biff, an expert Aikido player and Modern Arnis instructor compared Professors ability to execute throws with his instructor Toyota Sensei. I never saw Professor throw anyone else with such force and technique as only an advanced Aikido player could safely serve as his uke in this way. I heard similar comments from advanced players from disparate arts including Wing Chun, Jujitsu, Karate, Kung Fu and many more. Professor would engage, and amaze, each student according to their ability, speciality and experience.

Professor, despite his vast knowledge and ability, was always happy and keen to learn new things, both from Great Grandmasters such as Wally Jay, as well as from ordinary students. Because of this, to my and others amazement, Professor continued to improve and develop his art year after year. We all thought it was already perfect! It was a remarkable and beautiful thing to see Modern Arnis, already a world class Martial Art from its inception, continuously evolve and develop to greater heights. Professor was never content to rely on his history and reputation and continuously trained and improved. It never ceased to amaze me that, as Professor grew older, he became better and stronger.
To add to the well documented list of arts Professor integrated and excelled in, let me add this little known, but major influence. When Professor first emigrated to the US he found a close friend in Fred King, the first IMAF Vice-President. (Dan Anderson was the second and myself the third and last.) Sometime around 1983, while practicing with Professor in the home of Joe Breidenstein AKA Captain Blood, Professor showed me a series of movements he had learned from Fred King. He called this Chi Chi Chon and revealed that it was one of the secrets of his power. It was a fundamental Tai Chi movement called grasping the sparrows tail which teaches four of the major fundamental powers of Tai Chi. I never saw Professor teach Tai Chi at any of the countless seminars and camps over the next twenty years but as I began to grasp the meaning and basics of Tai Chi and rooting from my own studies with Master Tom Tam of the Yang family lineage beginning in 1993 I finally came to understand that Professors casual looking stance was in reality that of a high level Tai Chi master. Therefore his remarkable ability to throw about even the largest of opponents with little apparent effort.
Hi David,
Welcome to the forum. I can attest to Prof's ability to execute "body management" without resorting to brute strength. Whether it was Tai Chi or Chi Gung or whatever, he had it. I, too, have noticed his relaxed position. In Karate, I tell my students that when you are totally aware of what you can do (and cannot do) from any position you are never out of position. This my teacher also had in spades. This is one of the things I am working towards. Got a lot to do yet. He was an inspiration, he was.
Dan Anderson
I can relate to what David is talking about. I've seen the Professor take that relaxed posture and seemingly move the uke at will. The first time I saw the Professor do that, I was skeptical. I said to myself "his stance looks a little too relaxed and casual. It looks sloppy." He changed my mind pretty quickly when I worked with him. I can testify that, despite my best effort, he moved me at will and without my effort. Just amazing. I remember being at a seminar in Detroit a few years ago and the Professor was teaching tapi tapi at this seminar. At one point in the seminar, he took me aside for a couple of minutes, and proceeded to explain some tapi tapi concepts to me and to Mao. Remy drove me all over the place. After this amazing demonstration, I looked at Mao and just laughed. The Professor walked away with a big smile on his face, after hearing my laughter. While driving me, he had that relaxed and casual posture. Yet, he had no difficulty moving me anywhere he wanted.

So yes, David's observation is right on the mark.

Hello Dan,

Thank you for the welcome. Its good to share a forum with a fellow old friend of Professor. You were one of the few people Professor had me call during his recovery from surgery in Victoria. It cheered us both up to talk with you. We often used to talk about you. He was proud to count you as his student and friend. I miss him terribly. We have lost a great teacher and friend. It helps to reminisce and we must all join and share our experiences and knowledge to preserve his teaching and legacy.
I look forward to reading more of your insights.
Hey Whoop,
With regards to the Prof. Driving you, isn't this when he began petting you and calling you "Bdian baby!" ? :p
I really miss his humor, and accent. He was alot of fun in the years he came here to Ohio. Kinda makes me wanna play rough with you! :D :armed:

Yes, I think that's when the Professor gave me that nickname. He was quite a guy and lots of fun to have here in Ohio. Would have been fun to have had a camp here with him in Ohio.:)

I don't think that a camp here is completely outta the question. It would have been nice to have the Prof. here though.
Glad you found us, looking forward to reading your future posts. Where are you living now?

Tim Hartman
Remy A Presas' Modern Arnis

Originally posted by David Hoffman

Professor acknowledged these other influences calling his art, Modern Arnis-Jujitsu-Karate.

Just after you posted that I saw someone wearing one of those patches at a seminar. I hadn't seen one in a while!
Hello Tim,

Salamat Po for the welcome. I don't think I've seen you since Chicago. I am now based in Boston.

Congratulations on your receiving the Datu title. I agreed with Professor that you showed the leadership abilities and long term dedication to the art that is implied in the use of the title in Modern Arnis. Professor also remarked to me that you had contributed greatly to his efforts to spread the art over the years by sponsoring and assisting at many seminars.

Now, in this sad time, having lost our teacher and adopted father, I hope that we and other "old timers" can find our common ground, learn to tame our ego's, and help the art grow by sharing our knowledge and experience, not for us, but for Professor's memory and legacy and for all the new students to come whose lives will be enriched by the art.

Mabuhay Ang Modern Arnis
Yes Arnistador,

There were not that many of the patches printed up, however you will still see them on uniforms and on many t-shirts. Throughout the years, especially the nineties, Professor increasingly used that name on IMAF certificates. It was, for example, the logo he chose for the unpublished books we were working on in the last years of his life, including the planned reprint and revision of The Practical Art of Eskrima. When I received the title: Master of Arnis-Jujitsu-Karate in 1994 it was with that logo. Professors inclusion of the names: Jujitsu-Karate illustrated the importance he placed on the influence of other arts in the development of Modern Anis. If you get a chance to see people trained in the early days of the art in Manila you will see that Arnis stick sparring dominates with the influence of Karate. Very much like the Yellow Book from Ohara he wrote shortly after coming to this country. In the eighties and nineties Professor integrated far more Jujitsu and Kung Fu becoming more of a close quarter locking art emphasising sensitivity, seizing and control.. Towards the end of his career Professor tied it all together, and simultaneously returned to his competitive stick fighting/sparring roots with the emphasis on Tapi-Tapi. This drill in Modern Arnis is meant to apply and integrate all of the principals and techniques while developing strong control of the opponent and powerful stick fighting ability.