I dug up some of my old training notes from Sifu Don Zanghi and he also mailed me an old IMAF newsletter from 1986 so I can add some material about the Kenpo Connection to Modern Arnis. Some of the Kenpo trained people who were very actively involved with Professor Presas during the middle to late 1980's were Fred King, Joe Breidenstein, Dennis Toston, Barbara Bones, Janesa Kruse, Lee Lowery, Jim Clapp, Judy Clapp, Bodden Sween, Joe Foster, Tom Bolden, Rick Mitchell and Don Zanghi.DrBarber said:Edited and deleted a portion of original post:
My instructor, Sifu Don Zanghi, mixed Tracy System Kenpo and Modern Arnis from white through black belt, with the expressed acknowledgement and encouragement of both Professor and GM Al Tracy. ...I can attest to the effectiness of Tracy Kenpo techniques and principles of motion when blended into Modern Arnis.
People should also consider the significance of the American Modern Arnis video clips as produced by Sifu/Guro Tom Bolden. Sifu Tom was trained in CHA-3 Kenpo and Pancipanci Eskrima in Hawaii during the 1960's and 70's before he met Professor. When you watch his videos, there is little doubt as the effectiveness of blending Kenpo (Kajukenbo) and Modern Arnis. Speed, power and precision are the hallmarks of the AMAA program. There is no doubt in my mind regarding Kenpo as an influence on Professor and in Modern Arnis.
Jerome Barber, Ed.D.
I have deliberately omitted John Bryant from the above list because even though he was trained in Tracy Kenpo under Sifu Don Zanghi, he chose to omit any and all Kenpo techniques from his Modern Arnis program at the Filipino Martial Arts Academy, in Amherst NY. Since we both trained under the same instructor, Don Zanghi, and I retained plus added more Kenpo in the form of advanced Tracy through the Sandan level with some CHA-3 Kenpo from PG Tom Bolden, my Modern Arnis has some significant differences from what one would experience from Dave Smith, Tammy Wilson and Tim Hartman, all of whom were students of John.
A significant comment is in order here because if one reviews the orignal 5 video tapes made by Professor in 1984 & 1985, the primary assistants are Jim Clapp, Judy Clapp and Lee Lowery. And all are Kenpo trained black belts prior to meeting Professor. The dye is clearly cast and the picture is quite clear, Modern Arnis and Kenpo are connected.
A couple of pieces of information that some of you will find interesting are as follows: in 1986 there were 9 underbelts in Modern Arnis and the gradings ranged from Antas Isa to Lakan. That's right, Lakan is an underbelt, part of the "rainbow". Since the newsletter is an official IMAF publication, it has to be considered as an accurate reflection of Professor's thinking at that point in time. This piece of information gives the contention by some folks that the "Lakan" grading is akin to being a probationary title some serious support.
However, in my opinion, "Lakan" Is Not the first level of the black belt rankings, it is last grade of the underbelt rankings and has no other value. The black belt sequence begins with a seperation in the ranking column from the underbelt titles and has a seperate heading with the titles Lakan Isa, Lakan Dalawa, Lakan Tat-lo and Lakan A-pat. There only the four ranks listed in the 1986 document. One can assume that the highest ranked USA Modern Arnis person would hold the rank of Lakan A-pat. However there is no statement as to who that might be.
I also noticed that there was a reference to Dan Anderson as an IMAF Senior Instructor. Gad zooks, a documented reference to Dan as a long time IMAF member and senior instructor, so some of the guff about Dan being a "Johnnie-come-lately" to the art is without merit.
If anyone would like to have a copy of the newsletter, send me your s-mail address and I will forward you a copy.
Jerome Barber, Ed.D.