Survey - Modern Arnis Blasphemy?

Dan Anderson

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Dear Martial Artists, 21 Jan 2003

I am putting my butt out here on the line and am doing a survey as to what has been referred to (by another) as misleading, misinforming and disrespectful to my late teacher, Remy Presas and this is regarding what I am doing with Modern Arnis. I thought I'd get some opinions and feedback from others who had trained under him as well as experienced martial artists. The two main points of contention are that I have named my own style of Modern Arnis as Modern Arnis 80 and that I title myself Professor as well as founder of Modern Arnis 80. Here are some facts to set begin with:

Point of contention #1 - the name Modern Arnis 80.

Back in 1998 or so I asked Prof. Presas permission to form my own sub-system of Modern Arnis, subservient to his. When I went up to visit him at a joint seminar of his and Wally Jay's, I got his verbal permission to do so. When Prof. Presas died there was the big deal made about successorship, who were the top students and so forth. I had predicted this would happen back in 1994 in a letter to Bram Frank. To sidestep the whole mess I came public with my style of what I had learned from the professor and named it Modern Arnis 80. Here is why.

First of all, the Filipino martial art I learned was Modern Arnis, not Balintawak or Serrada escrima, etc. The 80 has two meanings. 1) 1980 is the year I began training. 2) If you turn the 8 on its side you have the symbol for infinity. I remember how Prof. Presas would show us endless variations based off of one move. That gives the idea of an infinite number of actions one can do. I also remember how direct he could be if you put the heat on him? The 80 means "the possibility of anything (8) to the simplicity of the moment (0)." The 8------0 is sort of a philosophical thing.

For me, to say I am teaching Modern Arnis, Remy Presas style, is incorrect as he taught in a seminar fashion and not a structured one. This is how he taught in the United States. How he taught in the Philippines may be another matter. As to seniority, Remy Presas was my instructor and he didn't tell me that any of current Modern Arnis groups or individuals were my seniors. As I trained directly under Prof. Presas, he was my senior and shortly before he died all he said to me was, "Danny, get involved." and that was it.

Point of contention #2, the use of the titles Professor for myself Filipino martial arts wise and Founder, Modern Arnis 80.

A founder, by dictionary definition, is one who establishes something. George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and others were the founders of our country. That is the usage of the term as I apply it to what I do. I have not claimed to have found a lost 1980's art or 1980's way of teaching something as has been stated by another. I founded the style that I teach, the steps of progression and that is the usage of founder that I go by.

The reason for the Professor title is simple. Many instructors call themselves something. A dictionary definition of professor is "one that teaches or professes special knowledge of an art, sport, or occupation requiring skill." I have been teaching martial arts for 34 years. I have been teaching Modern Arnis in some form or another for 22 years. I am one of the Professor's highest ranked students in the U.S. (6th Degree Black Belt and Senior Master). I was awarded the Professor title by ATAMA in Karate but I feel I have earned it as an overall instructor as well. I do not put myself on the same status with Remy Presas and I do not claim that position by using the term Professor. There are a number of titles I could adopt. Like I said, many instructors call themselves something. I don't use Guro, Punong Guro, Master, Senior Master, Grand Master as none of them fit. To me in the above definition, Professor fits.

As far as it being disrespectful to my teacher, it would be far more disrespectful for me to name what I do "Dan Anderson Arnis," "American Arnis," "Super Dan's Stickfighting" or something like that. I use the term Modern Arnis because that is my base Filipino art. I use the term to show where I got my skill from - Remy A. Presas.

As a senior practitioner in the martial arts, your input is valuable to me. I feel I am helping take my instructor's art into the new millennium and am doing it somewhat the same way he did, by learning a base art (for me Modern Arnis) and then expanding my own knowledge, as he did with his family art and Balintawak escrima. Is this misleading, misinforming and disrespectful to my late teacher or is it just one person's opinion? Your reply and opinions, whether they agree with my own or not, are very welcome.

Thank you in advance,

Dan Anderson
 

Zoran

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Although I am not part of the Modern Arnis community, I see nothing wrong with taking what you learned and moving forward with your own personal style or interpretation of the art. What you call the style or off-shoot that you teach is really your personal business. From reading your post, I feel you have named your style in a respectfull manner. You seem to give credit to where credit is due, re:Modern Arnis, and only add an extra term at the end.

I've seen this happen in American Kenpo and always watched from the side lines wondering if the world is crazy. :shrug: It's all polotics. :mad:

So my message here is; If you follow your own path, at least you are true to yourself. If the majority wish to be followers of someone elses path, and that is the path you truly wish to follow, then do so and leave those others that go their own way alone.
:asian:
 
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Rocky

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Look in a nut shell Dan you are a big boy, who has worked hard for want you got, you don't seem to be disrespecting Remy in any way. You give him credit where it is do, thats better than some of his guys!!

I see no reason for you not to strike out on your own. You were doing this stuff 10 years before some of the other high ranking people. There is always going to be those who run there mouths about this or that, but isn't there always. I was doing seminars in Europe at 17 years old, before many of his wanna be henchman even new what Modern Arnis was. I to have gotten slack because I choose not to be under anyone, well show me someone that can teach me more about modern arnis or for that matter who had as much real training time with Remy than I and I might think about it. That being said I still support and recognize you and your oranization, and Tim and his, even though Tim seems to not want to give me much credit, oh well. I don't support to many others because I just don't beleave in them or there abilities sorry.

I can tell you this eventually this smoke will clear and people will know. Remy told me a long time ago that eventually people would come looking for me to train, I never beleaved him untill a few years ago when I started getting phone calls and email from all over.

This is land of opportunity, you do what is right to for you and yours and screw everyone else!!

Ok that it for me.

How do you like being lectured by someone young enough to be your son.:rofl:


Rocky
 

Guro Harold

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From my observation it seems that some person(s) on this and other forums may have personal issues with you. Therefore I do not know how explaining and clarification will change their minds.

You know to what the Professor asked you to do and I wish you all the best as you answer the charge. There is a point where you just got to do what you have to do.
 

Bob Hubbard

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Dan, I don't see much different in what you've done compared to what others have. I think some individuals feel their 'positions' are threatened by others doing similar things.

I've said it before to several folks...If your motives are pure, then more power to you. If not, shame on you. Only you know for certain what is in your heart.

Do what you feel is right, and deal with the rewards and consequences as they come.

I've also said it before..it would be nice if everyone could put egos, political posturing and 'stick' measuring aside and just train and share together.


Just the opinion of a lowbelt MA dabler.:asian:
 
L

Lady Presas

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Originally posted by Dan Anderson
Dear Martial Artists, 21 Jan 2003
As to seniority, Remy Presas was my instructor and he didn't tell me that any of current Modern Arnis groups or individuals were my seniors. As I trained directly under Prof. Presas, he was my senior and shortly before he died all he said to me was, "Danny, get involved." and that was it.

Dan-

You say that Remy didn't tell you that anyone was your senior. How long ago was it? You say that you have been active in Modern Arnis. If you were active, why did Remy tell you to "get involved"?

Just a couple of questions that come to mind.
 

lhommedieu

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Professor Anderson:

My take, for what it's worth:

No one thinks twice about a person who is an expert in their field, has published articles and/or books on their field, and teaches on a regular basis, calling themselves "professor" on a college campus. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of professors teaching across the United States.

Analogously, there are "professor" grades in martial arts as well, wherein the use of the word as a title merely connotes that you have achieved a certain level of expertise. I think you have earned the right to call yourself "professor," no matter what anyone else thinks. My God - it's just a word - and nobody owns it.

You may have a copy of a previous post in which I referred to the use of "Modern Arnis 80" as similar to what several Kajukenbo black belts have done with their arts. You are welcome to refer to it, if you wish. BTW, senior grades in Kajukenbo are also referred to as "professor." My teacher's teacher is Professor Vince Black, for example.

The "modern" of "Modern Arnis" was supposed to refer to the fact that the art was both organized and evolving at the same time - isn't that precisely what you're doing?

Best,

Stephen Lamade
Instructor
San Miguel Eskrima Association

p.s. Really liked your ebook on disarms.
 
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Dan Anderson

Dan Anderson

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Originally posted by Lady Presas
Dan-

You say that Remy didn't tell you that anyone was your senior. 1. How long ago was it? 2. You say that you have been active in Modern Arnis. If you were active, why did Remy tell you to "get involved"?

Just a couple of questions that come to mind.

Dear Lady,

1. Roughly one month before he died.
2. As I had recently married into a family with 5 kids, I had cut back my traveling. RP was under the mistaken idea that I had retired.

Yours,
Dan Anderson
 
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Rocky

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To me I view modern arnis as a generic label simular to Karate, Kung Fu, Arnis Eskrima, since Modern means hear and now, it also insinuates New!! and if an art is to stay New it must change, and since most arts do change over the years many can be called modern. Every one of Remys better students has there own imput to Modern Arnis, Professor Anderson'a may have a little more, Karate edge to it. Tim Hartmans, may have some of Dr. Giy's influence, Kelly Wordens seems to have a heavy knife influence. Bottom line is, is what they teach workable? If it is then who care's if it is not time will consume them quick enough. My Modern Arnis looks more like the Grouped Balintawak, arts, its heavy with Moncol's and Temor Maraga's Balintawak, because that is how Remy tought me. My espada y daga, is almost pure crossada De mano, as is much of my empty hand when I teach modern arnis. Professor Presas and I had a hard time getting a long in his last few years. But I still honor him, by teaching my blend of his art.

One last question those of you who don't think Dan should do his thing then tell us how it should be done, since Remy tought many of his student diferantly, I could hardly ever get him to do Modern Arnis, he always wanted to do Balintawak with me and Master Hal Edwards, he could never quite figure out Anciongs, teaching structure, because when he was with Anciong, the teaching was a bit different. With so many people tought so many different ways, how should the art be carried on , ney how else could the art be carried on!!

Rocky
 
E

Emptyglass

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Mr. Anderson:

Although we have not met yet, you are well acquainted with my instructor Dr. Jerome Barber. In my opinion, as long as you are honest about your training and instructors, give respect to said instructors in your words and actions and work as hard as you can not to disrespect the art you were entrusted with by your instructors, I see no reason why you should not strike out on your own with your own way of presenting the FMAs.

While I personally wouldn't do the things you have done with your instructional title or the name of your system of FMA, it certainly does not bother me in the slightest that you have done so. I'm smart enough to know that you are not R.A. Presas (and are not claiming to be) and that your efforts within the FMA are as far as I can tell not a slight but an effort to honor/expand Modern Arnis as well as express your own personal movement/style/art/teaching curriculum. Until you do or say something to change my mind about this I'm willing to give you the benefit of the doubt about your intentions (not that you need my approval in any case).

At least what you're doing is honest and forthright and you're not claiming to be "The Grandmaster of Modern Arnis". To me that would be reprehensible.

Personally I no longer choose to state the rank that I honestly obtained in the arts I've studied unless someone asks me about the subject as I have found that in any martial art (or other discipline for that matter) you either know what you are doing or you don't. I just say I have some training and if more information is required I'll give it. Lots of folks have never received printed rank and are skilled/proficient/masterful fighters with lots to offer. Others have purchased or have received a veritable ream of paper certificates/diplomas/training medals etc... and are an affront to the honest effort/sweat/training/work of dedicated practicioners. Also, definitions of proficiency vary from person to person. To some it's enough to have the ability to perform a set list of techniques on demand. To others, it's the ability to use what you've been taught to preserve your own life in the face of a dangerous threat.

There are people that know more than me and people that know as much or less. Both groups have something to offer me in terms of teaching me something I don't know, allowing me to see where I can improve my technique or by allowing me the opportunity to show or teach what I know of my art (and by extension the art of my instructors) to them. I like the idea that when I'm working with someone, there are no preconceptions about what you're doing by saying "I'm rank such and such in system such and such). If I know I'm going to be the instructor I establish that relationship in the beginning and expect to work as such. Otherwise I just work with the person (whether they are more advanced than me or less) and take away what I can use/manage to pick up. In both sets of circumstances I'm still the student.

In any case, I would think experienced practitioners will know how well and how hard you've been trained, just by observing your habits and working with you for a while.

Also, I was taught that eventually, once you master the techniques/principles/concepts of what your teachers are showing you, you will eventually have to incorporate your own movement/body mechanics/preferences/capabilities into the Filipino Martial Arts (this of course applies to any style/system of martial arts but I've been told that the instructors I've have the privilige to train with state this idea sooner in your training than other arts I've been exposed to/talked to other martial artists about). Therefore, I think what you're doing is exactly what you are supposed to do with these arts. Unlike many disciplines which attempt to cram the student into the immutable mold of the art, Arnis/Escrima/Kali/FMAs are absorbed into the student to create something new with each and every practitioner. That being said, proficiency in the aforementioned principles and techniques of the style/system you claim to be a practicioner/student/master of is mandatory before striking out on your own. Some folks never even get that far.

Sorry for the rather long-winded post and the digression into matters of my own personal philosophy on the Filipino Martial Arts. I look forward to the opportunity to meet and train with you at the Symposium in July 2003.

Regards,

Richard Curren
 

Mao

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Words are important. We have all heard "The pen is mightier than the sword". Spoken or written, words can cut/wound /hurt. or mislead. They can also make someone feel good etc.. My point is that when you use words, people develope a mental picture or an impression. I would not call a system that I develope TKD or Bando or JKD or Aikido or Modern Arnis even though I have trained in them to a great extent. What I may develope will be mine and be named accordingly. Just because Remy didn't come out and say specifically that you have seniors in Modern Arnis does not mean that you don't. I would consider anyone that has been training in an art longer than I my senior. If they stop taining and I don't, that's another story. There were many other people training in Modern Arnis in 1980, and before,so to say you "founded" Modern Arnis 80 can be very misleading. One can argue semantics all day but if you don't get the point, you just don't get it.

Without malice,
Guro Dan McConnell
 
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Dan Anderson

Dan Anderson

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Originally posted by Mao
There were many other people training in Modern Arnis in 1980, and before,so to say you "founded" Modern Arnis 80 can be very misleading. One can argue semantics all day but if you don't get the point, you just don't get it.

Without malice,
Guro Dan McConnell

Very true. Interesting point is that unless someone said 80 = 1980 , and that's it means, how could 80 be construed to mean only that? If one sticks to a fixed idea of how they interpret something, they will never get the point.

Yours,
Dan Anderson

PS - And without malice. Actually, I am looking forward to meeting and training with you at the 2003 Symposium. DA
 

Mao

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D.A.,

" If one sticks to a fixed idea of how they interpret something, they will never get the point."

Excactly. Sounds like the same thing that I said.

"For some reason Modern Arnis 80 looks like Modern Arnis '80 in our minds."

Hey, excactly again. Sounds like something that others have said.

For me, 'nuff said.

Mao
 
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DoctorB

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Originally posted by Dan Anderson
Dear Martial Artists, 21 Jan 2003

I am putting my butt out here on the line and am doing a survey as to what has been referred to (by another) as misleading, misinforming and disrespectful to my late teacher, Remy Presas and this is regarding what I am doing with Modern Arnis. I thought I'd get some opinions and feedback from others who had trained under him as well as experienced martial artists. The two main points of contention are that I have named my own style of Modern Arnis as Modern Arnis 80 and that I title myself Professor as well as founder of Modern Arnis 80. Here are some facts to set begin with:


Dan Anderson

Hello Dan,

Nice post and a very reasonable way to get some feedback on these two topics. My positions are as follows:

"Modern Arnis 80" is the name that you have chosen and that is the name that you should use. Your explaination is very clear and very forthright. Whomever is in opposition to that name is just that... in opposition. Let's take a good hard look at the what is out here in the Modern Arnis world... International Modern Arnis Federation and IMAF Inc. Then we have the Modern Arnis Federation Philippines, World Modern Arnis Allience, World Modern Arnis Coalition and the American Modern Arnis Associates. That is just the major titles that I am instantly aware of and everyone associated with the leadership of each seperate organization has been taught by the later GM, Remy Presas.
If you are engaged is some sort of fraud then perhaps we should look at all of the people who have Modern Arnis in their organizaional titles!!!!

My point is quite simple - if you have trained in Modern Arnis and have a very clear history within the art under GM Presas or one of his senior accredited instructors then you have every right to use the name within your organizational title. Keep it and let's drop this point of discussion.

The matter of using the title "professor" is not as simple. The major problem stems from the fact that the title and the man are so closely linked in terms of the art that it is difficult for some people to seperate the two things - the title and the man. This is a function of Remy Presas being the founder and grand master as well as Remy Presas, the man having a magnificantly giant personality... he was chrarismatic... he was Modern Arnis.... he was THE PROFESSOR!! Therefore many Modern Arnis activists
find it is difficult, if not impossible, to have someone else, anyone else, using the title without seeing that person as a usurper of the late Professor's crown!!! That is why everyone who has attempted to use the title within Modern Arnis has come under constant fire from those within the ranks... in effect the critics are saying 'I knew the real Professor and you ain't him!'

My suggestion is take the "Modern Arnis 80" organizational title and use it proudly and as a tribute to your friend and former teacher. Drop the "professor" title from active usage and subsitute something like "Head Master" or use "Senior Master" since the late Professor Presas, awarded you the latter title and use it proudly, again in part as a tribute to your friend and teacher. That eliminates any and all confusion as well as serious points of contention.

In the end it is not the title, but the skill that counts. For shits and giggles, I am going to combine the latter two titles and refer to you as the Senior Head Master of Modern Arnis 80, for the purposes of the uncoming Symposium. Get used to it, Danny, because that is the way it is going to be in my lexicon, "Senior Head Master"!!!

With all due respect to the others who have posted on this thread, I have not read one word of what you have posted before me. I waited to post without any influences and if I have duplicated anyone's response, I apologize.

So Danny, I have offered you a 50-50 solution and that is my final offer. The rest is up to you.

Jerome

Jerome Barber, Ed.D.
 
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Dan Anderson

Dan Anderson

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Originally posted by DoctorB
Hello Dan,

1. The matter of using the title "professor" is not as simple. The major problem stems from the fact that the title and the man are so closely linked in terms of the art that it is difficult for some people to seperate the two things - the title and the man. This is a function of Remy Presas being the founder and grand master as well as Remy Presas, the man having a magnificantly giant personality... he was chrarismatic... he was Modern Arnis.... he was THE PROFESSOR!! Therefore many Modern Arnis activists
find it is difficult, if not impossible, to have someone else, anyone else, using the title without seeing that person as a usurper of the late Professor's crown!!! That is why everyone who has attempted to use the title within Modern Arnis has come under constant fire from those within the ranks... in effect the critics are saying 'I knew the real Professor and you ain't him!'

B. My suggestion is take the "Modern Arnis 80" organizational title and use it proudly and as a tribute to your friend and former teacher. Drop the "professor" title from active usage and subsitute something like "Head Master" or use "Senior Master" since the late Professor Presas, awarded you the latter title and use it proudly, again in part as a tribute to your friend and teacher. That eliminates any and all confusion as well as serious points of contention.

C. In the end it is not the title, but the skill that counts. For shits and giggles, I am going to combine the latter two titles and refer to you as the Senior Head Master of Modern Arnis 80, for the purposes of the uncoming Symposium. Get used to it, Danny, because that is the way it is going to be in my lexicon, "Senior Head Master"!!!

D. So Danny, I have offered you a 50-50 solution and that is my final offer. The rest is up to you.

Jerome

Jerome Barber, Ed.D.

Hi Jerome,

A. Point taken. I consider that in the eyes of the MA practitioners, Remy Presas upgraded from Professor to Grand Master. The early students called him Professor, the later students called him Grand Master and a number of them called him Remy. If one looks at it as 'I knew the real Professor and you ain't him!' they are right. I ain't him and don't claim to be.

B. Senior Master is a title RP bestowed on me but in my opinion, once I adopt that I become part of the whole mess of "Who's on first" again. I side stepped that and I don't plan to step back onto those set of railroad tracks again. I like Head Master as that is also used for a person who is the head of an academic institution and does not denote supremecy over others but Professor is more personal as I am continually teaching others on a daily basis.

C. Fine but don't blame me if you get tongue tied saying it and then get a cramp in your tongue requiring mass quantities of beer (or your choice) to loosen it.

D. Actually, I wasn't looking for any kind of solution but for others's viewpoints whether they were in or out of agreement witih mine. And if this is your final offer does this mean you won't offer to go to that restaurant with me we went to when I was in Buffalo last time? If that is the case, sir, that is cruel and unusual punishment indeed. :D

Yours,
Dan
 
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bloodwood

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Dan

You and I have discussed MA-80 in the past and the fact that it is a new organization headed by you and that the material and curriculum of MA-80 is that which you had learned from Professor Presas with a Dan Anderson twist added. No debate there.

My question is, Why build a race car (MA-80), talk about it, write books about it, and ask for opinions about it (this thread) but never take it out for a drive past your own street. Instead of questioning it's validity why not run with it. Your new organization is confined to your school and students. Maybe it's time to start acting like it's an organization by expanding it, promoting it and seeking new schools to be part of it.

It's time to step out on your own and make a new name for yourself. The new generation is a show me, prove it to me one. Do that and you won't have to ask what others think. Just show them. Venturing out on your own can be scary, but if you got the goods to back up what you claim the rewards will be many.

One step at a time gets you there, Running gets you there faster.
 

Rich Parsons

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Dan,

You know if I had a problem with you or something you said, I would have told you in person on the phone or through e-mail.

As others have said, no matter what you do people will complain. Sometimes it maybe legitimate, other times it by those scared the most you might succeed.

As for Professor, I have no problems with the title. It is a title. I agree with your comments about some people calling Professor/GM Remy Presas by some title or other. Although, the ones who called him professor were to most shocked to hear that I called him Remy while sharing a beer, driving him somewhere. They were appalled or shocked. I meant no disrespect. So, you will run into some people who might resent the title. It is almost like the step dad after a dad as passed away. Some children will always be upset or resent the new dad and also resent if any other children call him dad.


As for the MA-80 issue. In my opinion, it is the title you have put together as your curriculum. This is fine. If you wish to have it go public or bog time, then take the advice of Bloodwood and make it an organization with you at the head.

In the end it is your call.

With Respect
:)
 

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