Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Transmission of Memory

This week, the Masters of Tapi Tapi/International Modern Arnis Federation Facebook page has been running video snippets of the founder of my art, Remy Presas,

I've only been studying for about six years, and some of the clips were from recordings I haven't seen before, so it was pretty exciting to watch the Professor do what we do at different stages in his life.

Here's one from the 1970's that I hadn't seen before that I particularly enjoyed:

Posted here.

Redonda is one of my favorite things to do (my "Motion Monday" posts have me doing the technique in a circle of people) but I've never done it quite that way.

Here's another from a later period (with Master Chuck Gauss as his uke) that I had to slow down and rewatch a ton of times to see what the Professor was doing on the first technique.

Posted here.

I made that into a .gif - watch it and marvel, as this is super-cool.  I am SO going to practice the hell out of this one.

The point of all of this is that I am grateful that my art is "modern", because we have a lot of video and first-generation students of Remy Presas around. In other arts, the founders may have passed away a generation or two ago or more, prior to the invention of video, and all of the original students are long gone.

I don't have to guess at what the Professor meant when he created our Anyos (forms) - we have him telling us in video.  We also have the stories of our first-generation students when they started changing and modifying them, and the Professor blessing their efforts.

I can see the various techniques that the Professor did over the years - and how they changed -  because we have so much video of him to see.  Watching - and rewatching - this content is a continual education, as I catch stuff now I didn't, oh, say, three years ago, because I didn't understand what I was seeing, really, and couldn't replicate it (but now I can).

On one hand, I am unfortunate that I didn't start training long after he'd passed away in 2001, because I never got to see him, talk to him, or train with him.   A part of me always regrets that (but then again, starting so late in general is something I regret, but until a man in a blue box shows up, that's just the way it is).

Yes, please.

On the other hand, I am lucky that so many of the first generation students are here, teaching us, and sharing their stories.

I can tell when they are transmitting something from the Professor, because to a person, they drop into their imitation of the Professor's accent and style of talking independently from one another, usually with a big grin on their faces.

Because so many first generation students are with us, it ensures that at least a fraction of who and what the Professor really was will be transmitted into the memory of the second generation and beyond.

So I have a favor to ask.

If you trained with Remy Presas directly, please write down or record every story you can think of about the Professor.  If you have a blog or YouTube channel, please share it so all of us can see.  If you want, I'd be happy to host posts here on my blog with your stories. 

If you have it online, tell me below in the comments, so I can create a new page here on the Stick Chick Blog to collect all of this stuff.

I believe we need to do all we can to capture the memory of the Professor, and transmit it far and wide, so it will never be lost or forgotten.  He was in many ways different for each of us.

Remy Presas was an amazing individual, and we need to keep not only his memory and his art growing, but the knowledge of the man himself, living in his art as the generations go by.