This post originally showed up on MartialTalk, and can serve as several lessons in one “lecture”. It seems preachy, but we are talking about one martial arts leader addressing others (some other “leaders” as well). Take what you will from it… it was a great post:
i am following the modern arnis threads, of what now, since remy is gone. this is always been interested to me, because all my students are here, yet my brother and sister are still not very “active” teaching and competing. i would think in 50 years, it will probably be my family, and i am not planning to see the same thing happen to us.
in the philippines, what you learn from your teacher will be your own art, even though this teacher will always be one of your teachers, and your classmates will always be your brothers and sisters. some will take another name for the style, some wont. but they are all family, although some people will have there own techniques. if you look at the hinigran eskrima and balintawak of eskrima where remy was once a member, through remy, it is now called “modern/presas style arnis”. but his classmates will always call him, brother. so to have your own style is nothing new, and its not being different, its expected.
the problem, then, is allowing yourself to call your seniors your senior. all of my cousins are my senior both in my family, and the martial arts. i learned from our grandfather after they stopped, some of them were 20 years before me, but when i see them, they are still senior, and i still listen. am i suppose to think that i cannot learn from them, because they graduated before me? am i suppose to think i know more, since i studied with him longer? or because i still trained with him after they stopped? no, i can always learn from my seniors, even if my training was “updated” from their’s, because they been around longer, and saw more than i did. i have met old arnisador and eskrimadors, who, i am sure i know more techniques. i was with my teachers for over 20 years, and they were probably with theres for 3. but there eyes have forgotten more than mine ever saw, and i need to understand that i am junior, and i know that i cannot learn and teach, hear and talk at the same time.
so what, you have your own path? so you think your a grandmaster now? because you made your own style? your teacher dies so no one else can teach you? you dont want to call anyone else a senior, and be “under” him? may i remind some of you, that if you dont leave your own comfortable house, you will never know what else is out there, and you will have no way to find out, how much your know, or how much you dont know.
“MY OWN PATH” is the young man’s way of telling more knowledgeable people, to shut up i dont want to hear you and you cant teach me anything. this is an excuse, that you have no humility and if it didnt come from my ears listening to my teacher say it, i wont hear it. i am better than you because i knew him this last 20 years, so your knowledge is old and outdated. the only senior i recognize are the ones i know, since the main man is dead, no one else can lead me.
so when your teacher dies, his work dies with him, because no one is willing to see the flame stayed lit, and everybody wants to have his own light. some of you are not experience and knowledgeable enough to make your own path. this is how mcdojos get made. not only because people are greedy, but many of them are too arrogant and close minded to learn more. in the philippine martial arts, you stand on your own feet, when you have fought a lot of opponents, so that your knowledge is large and your experience is plenty. but if you havent faced too many opponents, then you will need more than one teacher because you only draw a small percentage of each teacher’s lessons and experiences. edgar sulite had many teachers. dan inosanto had many teachers. remy roberto and ernesto presas had many teachers. do you put yourself on there level? how many years do you have in this art, that you claim to be an expert of? how many lessons have you have? can you teach somebody full time for 4 years on your FMA knowledge?
part of having your own path is, being able to follow someone elses first.
NEW INFORMATION! The section following was addressing Guro’s opinions about Modern Arnis (Remy Presas) teachers who refused to follow or align with neither GM Presas’ brother Ernesto nor his son, Remy Jr… both of whom are excellent Masters. There were some hurt feelings, and most were answered privately (and respectfully, Guro adds):
for modern arnis practitioners.
i am disturbed at the arrogance and rudeness many of you have for your seniors, and anybody else who makes a suggestion for you.
1. “you dont know modern arnis, you cant comment on us”
2. “ok, you are modern arnis, but you are not modern arnis USA”
3. “okay, your modern arnis, but you didnt study with master presas for the last 20 years, you didnt train for the last 20 years”
4. “well, you didnt train with PROF. PRESAS for the last 20 years”
5. “well, you only trained with him 6 times in the last 20 years”
6. “to hell with you, prof presas told me ____”
7. “why should i follow you? i dont know you!”
your father died, your a kid. your mom is gone too. your uncle showed up, who you never met. is he still your uncle? if he loved you and will take care of you, and tell you all about your family and teach you how to grow up, and whatever else he knows…will you go live with him?
modern arnis needs a family. everybody is to busy promoting himself, and theres not enough people who just wants to push presas arnis, only “mike’s presas arnis” and “tom’s presas arnis”. some of these people have only learned one or two styles of arnis, and probably no matches in the art. so it weakened with one generation, what do you think will happen in 5 generations from now? already, there is a chance for modern arnis to get a little family love going around (in new york), but everyone is afriad they will boost up somebody else’s reputation or create a leader in the family. everyone can still have his organization, and belong to the family of “Modern arnis, USA”. but the seniors of modern arnis cant even post about each other without saying one insult or saying “i am closer to professor than the rest of you bozos”. so now, a student of modern arnis cannot learn each piece you got from the art, instead he has to chose which piece and interpretation he is going to have. what is the use of a big organization, if you dont get the benefit of learning from each kuya (older brother) in the organization?
those of you who are not going to the symposim in new york should send a representative, if you want modern arnis to be taken seriously, especially by modern arnis students. my teacher is part of a large family of martial artists (strong, well known family) verses my teacher made his own organization of modern arnis, along with 10 other people who made there own too (kenpo/tkd/jkd/you name it mcdojo franchises).
modern arnis only florished as one family, with a clear group of seniors. but in little peices all over the world, its just another name like tae kwon do. take a look at my post “for my modern arnis brothers.”
If you’d like to read the original post, you can find it here. Like with many threads Guro posts, there isn’t much to do but sit back, shut up, and read!