GM Rene Tongson


Rene R. Tongson

GM Rene R. Tongson
Grandmaster-Abaniko Tres Puntas
Senior Master-Modern Arnis, 8th Dan
Master of Philippine Indigenous Weapons
4th Dan Kendo

About the DAV and Datu Dieter Knüttel from Grandmaster Rene Tongson

Looking Back
Much has been said, many stories, great experiences, when we start recalling the years that has gone by. In 1966, my young age then, age 9 in Hinigaran Negros Occidental, Philippines when I had my 1st basics in the sticks. We call it Baston (the Ilonggo terminology for ARNIS). I would remember my 1st lesson with Roberto (youngest of the Presas’) at the sugarcane transloading depot. We would use sugarcane for training since rattan sticks were not readily available then. We use terminologies that are distinct to Hinigaran like GIKAN SA ADLAW (from the sun), GIKAN SA BUKID (from the mountains), GIKAN SA BAYBAY (from the sea) – striking executions and basics which I can no longer remember how I was introduced formally to the lessons.
Among my seniors, now Grandmaster Cristino Vasquez (lives adjacent to the Presas ancestral home), introduced me to calisthenics and corrected my stances and postures. Now Grandmaster Pepito Robas was my classmate then (only about 10 of us in the small club). As a young boy, my fascination for the sticks intensified every day. I dreamed of someday I will be a great stick fighter, so I took my sessions seriously that I would skip my academic school very often. My mother would be mad of Roberto and Cristino for accommodating me in their Arnis sessions. Manong Remy would appear and teach a few techniques, and gone for months, and would come back for new numbers and gone….3 or 4 new numbers in repetition for 2-3 months, its perfection quality and not quantity. After graduating from high school I was sent to Manila to study in the University (Manila is about 18 hours by boat, 1 hour by plane). I took more lessons at Ernesto’s ARJUKEN DOJO (Arnis- Jujitsu -KENDO) along busy Quiapo district close to NAKO of Manong Remy. At the University I took my Bachelor of Science in Engineering and Master in Business Administration
There we had close association with Modern Arnis instructors. More experiences, more training turning the country boy to a grown man!

And the Germans Came
Exactly 24 years ago, I met a young but aggressive and energetic German, now Senior Master Dieter Knüttel came in 1983 to the Philippines and had training in Modern Arnis and with me in cassical Arnis, including Abaniko Tres Puntas at GM Ernesto’s Dojo. We both did a lot of workouts. He infact trained with GM Mateo D. Estolloso-my Grand old man in Classical Abaniko Tres Puntas and Sangga Patama-Sungkiti. In 1986 he returned to to the Philippines, bringing along along a team from Europe for the 1st Philippine- European Arnis Camp in Hundred Islands, north of Manila. The 1986 camp was my 1st encounter with a foreign group. At the camp the training was in Modern Arnis and Abaniko Tres Puntas and a lot more. It was so memorable; while the Arnis camp is ongoing a bloodless people power revolution is taking place in Manila. Everyone in the camp didn’t realize that a revolutionary government is being installed in the capital. Besides team leader Dieter Knüttel, two others are still active today. Hans Karrer is now a Master of Classical and Modern Arnis and Jorgen Gydesen is Master of Modern Arnis both certified as Lakan Anims, 6th Dans by IMAF-Philippines. Bea Knüttel who was with the 1986 team is now the mother of 2 wonderful kids by Dieter. A very nice family.

Dieter Knüttel
In 1983 there was only the Modern Arnis Association-Philippines (MAAF) that was partnering with the group that Dieter Knüttel represented, the one predating the DAV. I never realized that 1st day, the young skinny 6-footer Dieter would be 1 of the most respected and recognized ranking instructors, not only in Europe but all over the world. Dieter gained recognition for his dedication to the Filipino Martial Art. He has traveled all over the Philippines to seek knowledge for his research and training. He is admired for his high regard and respect for Filipino FMA instructors. His friendship with Filipinos has gone a long way. He deserved the respect of Filipinos too. In fact, he is probably 1 of my best classical arnis students, besides Hans Karrer. He has mastered the intricacies of Modern Arnis and assimilated the techniques of Classical Abaniko Tres Puntas, and practical weapons associated with Filipino martial arts. Senior Master Dieter Knüttel will have his hands full for challenges ahead of him. Surely, he will stay on top.

Deutscher Arnis Verband – the spearhead
Foremost, recognition is deserving for DAV for its professional management of Filipino martial arts not only in Germany but as an example for other European groups to replicate. DAV could be among the most organized, pro-active and professionalized Filipino martial arts organizations not only in Germany but Europe or say, in the world. DAV has gained the respect of Philippine Filipino martial arts Organizations like IMAF-Philippine PIGSSAI, Bakbakan, Doce Pares, Balintawak, Dikiti Tersia, Lighting Scientific, Kali-Ilustrisimo, and many more. It was very instrumental in the success of the 3rd FMA World Festival and 1st Remy Presas Memorial Modern Arnis Camp in July 2006 in Tagaytay City and Manila Philippines. Without whose cooperation, the camp may not have taken-off well. The example of the DAV has encouraged the organization of the Regional Arnis Federation (RAF), a Modern Arnis group gaining momentum in Russia. Senior Master Dieter Knüttel and Guro Peter Rutkowski represented DAV in the 1st Russian Modern Arnis Winter Camp last February 2007. Grandmaster Tongson and Senior Master Bambit Dulay came in for IMAFP-Philippines. The annual invitation- importation of Filipino Grandmasters and Senior Masters by DAV to teach in German Modern Arnis Camps has gained international attention. It is promoting Filipino martial arts with flying colors. A tough job!

It has also standardized a Modern Arnis curriculum for its programs including the required grading system, within the parameters of Grandmaster Remy Presas teachings. Words are not enough on how we appreciate the help of DAV for the medical expenses of Grandmaster Roland Dantes and IMAFP President Noel Peñaredondo. In August 6 to 12, 2007 DAV is hosting the 50th Founding Day of Modern Arnis. It has invited Grandmaster Tongson, Guro Ginalyn Relos, Senior Master Dan Anderson, Master of Tapi-Tapi Brian Zawilinski (unfortunately unable to attend), Senior Master Bram Frank, Guro Alexander Pisarkin of Russian Modern Arnis, Guro Edessa Ramos and many more, another momentous event to be anticipated. It has the high endorsement of the Worldwide Family of Modern Arnis (WFMA) where DAV is a founding member.
For DAV’s Board of Directors Sven Barchfeld, Philip Wolff, Alfred Plath, Dieter Knüttel, Benedikt Eska, the Black Belts and members, it’s MABUHAY from the PHILIPPINES!