Senior Master Modern Arnis
Founder, Director and Grandmaster of the CSSD/SC
About the DAV and Datu Dieter Knüttel from Senior Master Bram Frank
DAV it’s a mainstay in German martial arts. The Modern Arnis group of Datu Dieter Knuettel from Germany conjures up images that come to mind of flashes of red, the uniforms of course, whirling sticks and the smell of heated rattan. Yes, the smell; bang rattan hard and fast enough it actually heats up to a burning point from the friction and kinetic frenzy of impact. The breath taking displays by Datu Dieter and the DAV members leave one wondering how this is accomplished with ordinary human beings and simple implements. The answer is simple: Datu Dieter Knuettel in the fashion of his late teacher Professor Remy Presas has continued the cycle of teaching and excellence in Filipino martial arts. His students are part of the resulting mix of careful teaching, expertise, fun, and controlled chaos!
Datu Dieter has had the advantage of training with both Presas brothers and his group was fashioned as if in the Philippines, where there was and is a standard course of learning not seen in the USA. In the USA we had only seminar and Instructor camp learning, the precursor to current martial arts long distance learning programs, and personal interaction with Professor Presas and we lamented that there seemed to be no set curriculum. GM Ernesto Presas was the standard bearer of Modern Arnis while his brother Professor Remy Presas the Founder of Modern Arnis was living and teaching in the USA. He taught Modern Arnis, forged with his brother Remy in the periods in which it became a mainstay in the Philippines. From GM Ernesto Presas’ teaching, Datu Dieter formed a set progression and path for the DAV. This way, the curriculum was developed by Datu Dieter. Thus, the DAV have always had a curriculum we talked and thought about. Later on Datu Dieter became a personal student directly under its founder Professor Remy Presas. Because of this DAV reflects the “traditional” Modern Arnis of the Philippines as well as the later “eclectic” Modern Arnis that Professor Remy Presas brought into being in the USA.
Now let me be a bit more personal for I know Dieter personally. He is a good man and a good parent; both important issues that reflect the man inside. No matter what Dieter tries to say, no matter how humble he is … make no mistake: DAV is Dieter and its soul. He breathes life and energy into what is DAV. His passion for Modern Arnis and Filipino arts is reflected in his teachings and his students. As Professor Remy Presas used to say: “You must innovate, translate, you see it is all the same, it is all here.” Dieter does innovate and he translates it so that it can be taught to others. For example I have watched his Tapi Tapi and its innovations and growth over the years. From an overwhelming physical power (Dieter is a big strong man) there now comes sensitivity and grace, and a constant “ahh, I could do that” and an open minding searching for new situations not covered in the basics of understanding or use. He is always showing me some new innovation that came because something unexpected happened and he’s found a way to deal with it. Again in complete accordance with Professor Remy’s admonition of “No problem, you are already there!” and the ever coming comments of “Yes, you could do that!”
Dieter brings honour and respect to Modern Arnis: He has sponsored many IMAFP masters to come to Germany, he has brought to the life the FMA Festivals including the festival in the Philippines culminating with a trip to Remy’s grave site, all while keeping direct personal connections to all involved. He tries to maintain relationships and contact with others all over the world that are involved with Modern Arnis. He preserves all these teachings and contributions to Modern Arnis with his company Abanico Productions: a virtual library of Modern Arnis. But the bottom line is this, all one has to do is look upon Dieter’s face as he teaches and the truth is there to see: he is totally in love with what he does. This has all contributed and formed the foundation of a strong, personal, ever adapting organization that exists today and will continue to exist in the future.
I wish DAV and Dieter many more successful years and I am proud – honoured to be one of Dieter’s friends and to be exposed to him and his Modern Arnis Family.