Sunday, May 17, 2015

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

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