Sunday, May 17, 2015

My influences Datu Dieter (and the DAV) pt 3

In post 2 about Datu Dieter’s influence I discussed about training at the DAV Summer camp in 2007 and about witnessing their Lakan testing at that camp.  I wrote about this to show that the DAV and Datu think, teach, and structure their training differently than what I do and what I have seen here in the states.  Granted now several years after GM Remy’s passing I believe things might have changed in the Modern Arnis world but at the time I met Dieter and Dan Anderson in 2003 from my experience seeing students train by way of principle and not just mimicking technique was for me eye opening, as well as having things explained as principle based.

Dieter teaching a session on table top or anti pick up defense at the 2007 DAV Summer Camp

Carson teaching on Tee shirt defense at the 2007 DAV Summer camp
This time though I want to switch gears somewhat and discuss more about Datu’s influence with Hidden Sword.  As I mentioned in my earlier posts about Hock Hochheim, Hock inspired me to train with both GM Remy and GM Ernesto, Dieter trained with both men as well so right from the start I could see some similarities in how the DAV structured or did certain things and how I or Ernesto did.  Another area of common ground was in what I call the self defense realm.  Dieter while he would teach on the standard Modern Arnis material,  he also slanted it towards the self-defense side of the spectrum.  At the Brevard camp in 2005 he covered both baseball bat defense and table top defense.  At the 2007 DAV camp there was training available; using a Tee Shirt (flexible weapon), and Dieter taught a session on table top defense.  At a seminar we had here at Hidden Sword with Datu Dieter in 2009, he taught both table top defense and palm stick (ball point pen defense).  At the AKATO seminar (that same weekend) we did baseball bat and club defense as well as flexible weapon defense, all in addition to the stick and empty hand work.

My first experience participating in the table top defense class was at the 2005 International Modern Arnis Summer Camp at Brevard.  Dieter offhandedly mentioned about training in the evening (when nothing was scheduled) and what could be fun was something they did at their camps which was table top or anti pick up defense. Here is an excerpt from my observation notes (I take a lot of notes at seminars I attend) from that brief session.

Dieter at the 2005 Brevard camp and I (fixing to be trashed)
Dieter pinning uke to table during the Brevard camp
“Saturday’s training ended with Dieter teaching a self defense class based for women as if they were seated in a bar and someone was making unwanted advances towards them.  Or if they were seated at a table and they were attacked.  I know some of the instructors (mainly Dan and Mr. Dee) were probably hesitant since it would require additional setup and head aches for them (arranging to get the chairs and extra tables from the lunch hall) but they went with it anyhow.  It was an excellent choice on their part because that was one of the funniest training sessions of the whole weekend.  It started off a bit strange since it was mainly guys and only 3-4 women present, so it made a lot of the guys have to partner up with other guys, and Dieter wanted us to act like we were coming onto the other person.  So naturally there were a lot of jokes being made at everyone’s expense.  Dieter also started going through assistants pretty quickly, so then everyone had their turn to come onto or attack Dieter and get trashed in response.  Dieter gave a pretty good lecture/talk about each one of the techniques and then used many different responses to the different attacks, including doing things with the glasses that were around and that very painful.  Things I hadn’t even thought of yet were perfect common sense.  Again this was a great way to end a long day of training when everyone was pretty fatigued and (if the truth be known) probably just wanted to jell out, but this class really brought the energy back up and I think made the event even more enjoyable for everyone that participated.”

Dieter pinning arm with Bicep/Deltoid crush
Granted my young students aren’t old enough to be going to bars (most aren’t even in high school yet) but they are old enough to be picked on in the lunch room and Dieter’s material here helped me to think about how to present this type of material (toned down of course) in the future to my students.  Likewise the idea of baseball and club defenses that were inspired by him have already found there way into our program here, as well as the ball point pen defense.

My Influences Datu Diter (and the DAV) pt 2

This was originally part of a series of posts on some of the influences in my Modern Arnis training.  This was slated to be part 2 of a 3 part series on Dieter Knuttle, however it is really more about training with the DAV at a summer camp in 2007.  The 3rd post gets back around to Dieter and the DAV. 

In my previous post I discussed meeting Datu Dieter and training with him at the 2003 Modern Arnis Symposium, and then later at the 2005 Brevard International Modern Arnis Summer camp.  This post centers around what it was like to work with the DAV at their summer camp in Germany.

Datu Dieter, myself and my son Michael
 Datu means a tribal leader and as one of the leaders for 30+ years at  the German Modern Arnis association (the DAV) Dieter fits that title.  Datu Dieter is the Technical Director for the DAV,  a post he has been elected to every three years for the past 30 years. 

SM Dan Anderson teaching empty hand at the 2007 DAV camp
For a number of years I would schedule my vacation days at work around attending martial art seminars and training camps which is how I met Dieter.  In 2007 I went to Germany to train with the DAV at their International Summer Camp.  At this camp GM Rene Tongson (Modern Arnis Philippines), SM Dan Anderson (MA80), Bram Frank (CCSD/SC) and Datu Dieter all taught in the evening sessions and in the morning sessions the DAV instructors taught.  This was a huge camp by U.S.A. standards with close to 200 people attending if I remember right; people of all ranks, ages, both male and female.  All of them were wearing red pants with white shirts (the traditional Modern Arnis uniform), talk about branding.
Bram Frank teaching bolo at the DAV 2007 summer camp

I took my son to this camp and all of the students we interacted with were friendly and helpful and eager to train with us.  All of the students had good techniques and control as well as a good work ethic.  This was a huge difference than many of the camps I have attended here in the states where often times the techniques and control can be all over the place.  The high skill quality of the students was clearly seen in the lakan (rank) testing that I was invited to watch on the second day.

My son doing double sinawali with two people
The lakan testing was a closed door event for the testers and examiners, my roommate Master Angelo and I were allowed in to observe only, so I got to witness people testing for Lakan Isa through Lima (1st dan -5th dan) in the DAV.  For each rank the student had to demonstrate different principles and techniques before a board of senior instructors.  Once again I was really impressed with the work ethic and skill of the instructors testing.   

Here are some of the requirements I listed in my notes after observing the test.  Lakan Isa: had to show defenses using everyday weapons such as a chain, a racquet, a water bottle, even a grocery sack was used for props in this exam.  Lakan Dalawa had to do double stick Sinawali simultaneously with two people, then they had to do 2 vs. 1 stick Sinawali again with two people.  They also had to do Tres Puntos (grasping the stick in the middle) defenses against attacks.  The Lakans 1-3rd (dans)   had to demonstrate disarming principles as taught by the DAV, with Lakans 4th-5th (dans) countering disarms according to different principles as taught by the DAV.

These comments are from my notes at the test and reflect my observations there.

“The test wasn’t technique orientated rather it was principle based.  The students had to demonstrate a principle or a concept which allowed for a far greater variety of techniques that were shown.”

The difference between the skills of the different ranks were evident, and all of the students were prepared for their exam.  Dan Anderson for his closing remarks brought this point out.  The skill level in each lakan level was different and higher than the preceding one.  The Lakan Isa test while hard wasn’t quite as physically demanding as the Dalawa or the Tatlo tests.  The Lakan Apat’s test wasn’t as technical as the Lakan Lima’s test exam and so on.

The skill level and the physical toughness of the students was a very high level and one I haven’t seen in the Modern Arnis tests at the camps I attended here in the US.”

It is said you can tell a good teacher by watching and observing their students; after spending a week training with the DAV, I had a greater respect for both Datu Dieter and the leadership and students of the DAV.

Group photo of the 2007 DAV camp attendees and instructors

My influences Datu Dieter part 1

 In  2 003 I met two very influential instructors in my study of Modern Arnis; Senior Master Dan Anderson and Datu Dieter Knuttle from Germany at the Modern Arnis Symposium.  While SM Dan had primarily only trained with GM Remy, Datu Dieter on the other hand studied with GM Ernesto Presas for several years before he switched over to GM Remy’s Modern Arnis.  I had heard about Dieter from some of the arnis players at Remy’s camps back in the 1990’s and while everyone said he was good, I heard or sensed some under lining tension there as well.   To be honest it was probably a similar feeling with me because Dieter trained with Ernesto first and then went over to Remy, where as I trained with both men (Remy and Ernesto) and like I said there was at that time an underlining tension when you trained with both brothers.

Datu Dieter has more of an eclectic view and a wider skill set when it comes to the Filipino Martial Arts then just GM Remy’s form of Modern Arnis as it was taught here in the states.  Dieter regularly goes to the Philippines and arranges training trips for members of the DAV, so over the past 30 years he has developed relationships with several of the Modern Arnis masters whom he continues to train with.
GM Rene Tongson at the 2007 DAV Summer Camp

  Since his first visit to the Philippines in 1983 he has trained under GM Ernesto Presas (till 1993) along with Roberto Presas, GM Rodel Dagooc, GM Cristino Vasquez and GM Rene Tongson.  In 1994 Dieter met GM Remy and continued training with him until his passing in 2001.   Remy awarded him his 6th Dan and Datu title from him in 1996.  In 2008 he received his 8th Dan and Grandmaster title in Iloilo/ Philippines, and then in 2014 he received 9th Dan Modern Arnis in Subic/ Philippines.

Dieter demoing the Mobility throw with his leg 
Datu Dieter is the Technical Director of the German Arnis Association or the (DAV).  A position he has held since helping to create the organization in the mid 80’s.  This position is an elected position one in which he has held now for 30 years.  Dieter has also taught at some 800 seminars, with around 100 of them being international across 17 countries.

Having trained at the DAV’s 2007 Summer Camp with his (the DAV) instructors and students I got to see a glimpse of the breadth of their program plus the quality and skill of the DAV students.  They were excellent; in fact one of, if not the best, organization I have seen in a Modern Arnis program yet. 

Datu Dieter teaching passing skills with 2 vs. 1 drills
So in short Datu Dieter is a self made man in a sense and he has his method called Modern Arnis which is different than mine, the Masters of Tapi Tapi, Jeff Delaney’s Modern Arnis, Datu Hartman’s, etc. etc.  However Dieter’s way is not everyone’s way and he totally understands that as well, in fact I don’t believe it makes one difference to him or another to be honest unless you are in the DAV.  But Dieter does teach and show why they do what they do (in the DAV) and Dieter will back up why they do it the way they do.  So I believe Dieter can come off wrong, like being arrogant until you get to know him.

 Dieter working with me (2003 Modern Arnis Symposium)
Datu Dieter is one of the most down to earth people (as an instructor) I’ve met in the Modern Arnis martial arts family.  In the seminars that I’ve been to like the Symposium, the Brevard camp etc. etc. when others were teaching he was out on the floor as well.  If I needed a partner he would grab me and we would work on stuff, after hours like at the Hall of Fame Introduction he would work with me on the side, etc. etc.  Dieter also helped give me insight as to what it meant to be an innovator, a purist, or a preservationist in regards to studying and presenting (teaching) Modern Arnis.

In regards to what the DAV does that is different in regards to Modern Arnis that will be in next post as I discuss my training with them in 2007 at their bi annual summer camp as well as my observations at the camp.