If you know me, you know I am an absolute sucker for biting off more than I can chew, because sometimes I just cannot stand seeing a need going unmet.
It's like this, but with, sticks and knives and computers and books - the frying pan is accurate, though.
That impulse led me to create, pay for (it ain't cheap, y'all, it's ultimately in the order of several hundred dollars all-in to do what we want to do), and committing to manage a website that is part of a project I've wanted somebody, anybody, to step up and take charge of doing.
Thus, I launched the Presas Legacy North American Instructor Directory on 11/29/23.
I've had this as a thing in the back of my mind for years. You see, I understand the pain and frustration of trying to find someone - anyone - to train with in Modern Arnis (and later, as I knew more, that includes ANY style in the Presas Legacy systems).
I understand because I lived it - and I still do.
I started with my original teacher, David Jones, in the Memphis area (and connecting with him was dumb luck). I moved to Las Vegas, and no amount of Google-Fu located anyone remotely close to the Presas Lineages teaching around those parts.
I then moved to Fort Worth and the process of finding my teacher is a long and funny story, but in summary, it took six months and four or five different efforts and a LOT of diligence (and again, luck) to finally get with my teacher in Fort Worth, Mark Lynn.
Now I'm in Kansas City. We always had the intention of starting our own thing, but it was awesome to connect with the Presas Legacy folks we do have in our area (Kombatan and Modern Arnis, it turns out).
An additional problem I've struggled with over the years is that I've had students traveling for work, or moving to a new area, and they asked us for help finding someone to train with, and... we couldn't find anybody.
Sure, it's possible that the people we're looking for don't exist in the places we were investigating (we are not very thick on the ground, it's true), it was that just IF they exist, I didn't find them.
We need a directory - literally, like an internet phonebook - of EVERYONE instructing or leading meetups or whatever in the Presas Family systems, regardless of affiliations or era.
That part was super important - regardless of affiliations or era.
This became a more urgent project for me when two things happened right around the same time this year:
A top student of mine informed me she is moving across country and we have to find a place to keep her training. I've already had that happen to a very excellent kid student a few months ago, and now this... and I'm having a hell of a time finding a referral.
The Modern Arnis Legacy Camp's connections and good will created a sense of needing to strike while the iron is hot.
So I mentioned this at the camp, and to a few seniors, and I waited, because that's what you do as a Junior, you wait for Seniors to take the lead.
Look, my priorities aren't theirs. We're all very busy in various ways. so that's not a complaint or a knock on anybody.
It's just... I don't think they feel the magnitude of the problem the way I do, and how relatively easy it was to create the Directory and manage it going forward really is.
I also feel the momentum post-Modern Arnis Legacy Camp is starting to slow down.
On a fundamental level, the time we DON'T do something like this is the time we allow students to pass us by into other systems because they can simply be FOUND. We've had this problem for two decades - I shudder to think how many students we've never connected with because of this very simple issue.
Nobody will choose to train with us if they can't find us.
So I whipped up a very simple site with a very simple mission and published it. I took on the expense out of my own pocket (again, NOT CHEAP) and I did all the work of getting it built and launched.
Because I believe passionately this must be done, as soon as possible.
If you instruct in a Presas Legacy martial arts system - Hinigaran Arnis de Mano, Kombatan, Modern Arnis, any of the Presas Arnis blends (there's a bunch), even if you use a different name but hail back to the Presas Brothers as the origin point, WE WANT YOU IN THE DIRECTORY.
You can have an FMA-only school like I do. You can teach a class or two a week out of a martial arts school that teaches other things. You can run a Meetup. You can train with a couple of guys in the park, or your basement, or your back yard. You can offer private lessons only. If you do ANY of that, WE WANT YOU IN THE DIRECTORY.
We do not charge for listing. We only ask that people listed link back to us on their website and in social media. We want everyone to be NOISY about this, so we can capture as many instructors into the Directory as we possibly can.
Mr. Chick is helping with the project. He will be learning how to add folks to the directory so it's not just 100% dependent on me (that would doom the project because I'm stupid busy as it is).
Let's not let any more time pass by while students wander into other doors because we are hard to find.