Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Giving Thanks: Founders and Leaders

Today I want to give thanks for the founders of my art (Presas Family Arnis systems), and the leadership that have affected me, personally, in my martial arts journey.  While founders and leaders in other arts have certainly influenced me - most notably Wally Jay and Jack Hogan - I am a full-time Arnis person, so I'm going to focus on that aspect of my training here.

First, the founders of the two systems that make up what my teacher has taught me - Remy A. Presas (Modern Arnis) and Ernesto Presas (Kombatan).

I am grateful that they did the training and research they did, that they created the arts they created, that they worked hard on recruiting students and training them to spread our version of the Filipino Martial Arts to the world.  I love what I do, and I don't know that without them, I'd be in the martial arts as deeply as I am.

Next, I want to thank the leaders who have influenced me, personally, in the martial arts. I've either trained with or attended seminar by each of the people I'm going to list.  This list is in no way a comprehensive list of the people who lead our arts, just the people who've influenced me directly but are not my direct teachers (I thanked them yesterday).  These are listed in chronological order of my training with them.

First, I want to give thanks to Bruce Chiu.  He is the man who teaches my original Arnis teacher, David Jones, and I've attended many seminars with Bruce.  He is the earliest influence on what I do, and much of what he teaches remains with me to this day.  If you ever get a chance to train with him, take it - you won't regret it!  Thank you, Bruce!

Next, I want to mention the folks at IMAF (International Modern Arnis Federation): Master Ken Smith, Master Chuck Gauss, Master Earl Tullis, Dr. Michael Hume, and my good friend Darren Dailey.  I've had a lot of interaction with these folks over the past year, and each of them had something cool to show or teach me that have influenced how I think about Arnis.  I am glad to know them and look forward to training with them again in the future.  Gentlemen, I am grateful to all of you for what you all do, and thank you for working with me.

I want to also recognize and thank a man I've only trained with once - Tye Bottling.  I regularly train with his senior student, Abel Martinez (and man, I'm so glad I met Abel - he's a fantastic martial artist and so very fun to play with!), and I finally got to meet him at an IMAF camp early in the year.  Tye, I loved partnering with you that single session at camp, and thanks for having lunch with me that day.  I really admire you and what you are doing, and you are in my thoughts often.

Another man I only got to train with once, but has his own organization and my husband trains with regularly, is Hock Hochheim. Hock organizes and simplifies the material so it's easy to learn and remember, and that innovation is important to how my teacher and my husband (and thus how I) teach.  Thank you, Hock.

I'm very grateful I had the opportunity to meet and train with Datu Dieter Kn├╝ttel this year.  Datu Dieter is just plain cool, and I love the way he and his organization think about, organize, and train in Modern Arnis.  It's logical and smart and I love to see that in my art.  Datu Dieter energized how we think about training and I am looking forward to another opportunity to train with him. Danke sehr, Datu Dieter!

Professor Dan Anderson has been a huge influence on my teacher Mark Lynn, and I finally got to train with him in September.  I love how Dan uses superior body mechanics to overcome pure physical strength - it definitely helps me (a short middle aged woman) overcome the disadvantage I have against taller, stronger people.  I was glad to meet him, train with him, and talk with him while he visited.  Thank you, Super Dan!

Datu Tim Hartman is someone who is incredibly smart and passionate about spreading the Filipino Martial Arts.  Datu Tim probably travels more than anyone I've ever met, and his contribution to the spread of our art can't be understated.  I like how he thinks about the art. Datu Tim cares, he works hard, he's always learning and growing, and that benefits not only me, but all of us.  Thank you, Datu Tim!

As I said, this no way a list of the important people in my art, just those who have touched me, directly, in one way or another.  I'm grateful for all of them.

Who are the leaders and founders in your martial arts life you're grateful for?  I want to know!