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.