History of Modern Arnis
Before it was introduced in Manila, modern arnis has its humble beginnings in Bacolod City in the Visayas where the author first learned the techniques of the art. Being a master of many martial arts, the author was able to compare the intrinsic qualities of Arnis with other martial arts. And this comparison led him to improvise the antiquated techniques of Arnis not only for reasons of pacing with the times but also for utmost effectivity. These improved techniques were then taught for the first time to the students in that city.
It was in Manila, however where these modern techniques underwent thorough improvements and gained wider acceptance when the National College of Physical Education, through the encouragement and patronage of Col. Arsenio de Borja, director and secretart treasurer of the Philippine Amateur Athletic Federation (PAAF) offered modern arnis as regular subject in Physical Education to the students who major in this course. This was in 1969.
The student in the NCPE were mostly teachers from different schools in the country who took PE as a degree or as a special course. This enabled Arnis to gain a wider area of propagation as these teachers in turn taught Arnis to their students. Besides these teachers, students who enrolled in Modern Arnis in the school of the author, also help propagate the art. After completing the course, these students establish their own schools in their respective provinces.
The author was unsparing in his instructions to his students. The techniques he taught were complete and the training was rigid. He made it a point to teach them the advance course. That's why by the time these students taught Arnis, they were qualified teachers of the art having with them a full knowledge of advanced Arnis.
The outcome is revealing, modern arnis is now an institution in the world of martial art. It has caught fire in the hearts of Filipino martial art lovers. And the timing is perfect for we are now in the midst of national awakening to our true Filipino identity. The government is now exerting much effort to acquaint the Filipino people of their culture thus cementing nationalism in their hearts.
Arnis is one of our national cultural gems. The efforts of the author has become an instrument of this awakening to its worth. The chain of propagation that sprang from his unselfish and dedicated tutelage of the art has produced a nationwide fever that is now the pride of every Filipino for Arnis is a true Filipino martial arts.
Someday, Modern Arnis will become the martial art of the world. On Aug 28, 2001 in Victoria, Canada Grandmaster Remy Presas Sr. passed away. The dream and inspiration of Grandmaster Remy Presas is been continues by the children of Grandmaster Presas.
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