Great Grandmaster Ernesto Presas is the founder of Kombatan and one of the most accomplished Filipino martial artists. In 1970 he created ARJUKEN, the Arnis, Kendo, Jujitsu, Karate Association to promote Filipino martial arts within the Philippines. In 1975 he founded the International Philippine Martial Arts Federation (IPMAF) to promote Filipino martial arts around the world. Currentlly Kombatan has schools that reach from the United States, Australia, Mexico and Europe. Grandmaster Robert Castro of Eskabo Daan, who trained under Ernesto Presas, was asked to give his experience on the man who strived to create “a complete system.”
Castro explained that Ernesto Presas wanted to create a system that incorporated all aspects of combat. “Kombatan became a two-stick fighting system, they do a lot of sinawalis (weaving drills), and a lot of drills with two sticks and it’s a grabbing art. It’s a beautiful art. Some Arnis doesn’t do two sticks or has Espada y Daga (Sword and dagger); he’s one of the rare people who combined it all. It also has empty hands.” But more than the art itself, was Presas’ passion for FMA that resonated the most. “Ernesto was one of those people who loved Filipino martial arts and it didn’t matter what style. He created IMPAF because he wanted to be more universal with everybody and unite the Filipinos.” Presas hoped that by unifying the art, students would be able to learn from other systems and grow in their own rite. “As long as he saw and he knew that you were humble enough to learn his art and still be in another art, it didn’t matter to him. In fact, he relished the idea of people being in other arts and learning his art at the same time because it supplemented everything you’re learning.” Presas’ unique ideology laid the foundation for his students to create their own style of self-expression.
“He taught me how to develop Eskabo because I formatted my system behind his system, where it’s complete; we have kicks, we have weapons, one hand, two hands, locks, takedowns and ground fighting. He was the one who told me, you must complete your system, you can’t just do knives, and you can’t just do sticks. You have to figure out how to combine them all and to flow well.” Great Grandmaster Presas’ was a visionary in not only Filipino martial arts but also in life. “Ernesto was my mentor, any kind of problem I had, I would tell him and he would help me resolve it. He’s changed my life personally by supporting me in everything I’ve done, he supported me and helped me create Eskabo by using all the techniques he taught me and how to expand them even further by using other systems to expand my own. He was always on my side.”
Great Grandmaster Presas is just one of the many Filipino martial artists who have accomplished but still remains unknown to many. We at Eskabo Daan strive to make Great Grandmaster Ernesto Presas known in the martial arts world and will ensure that his art and memory will live for generations to come.
Approved by: Grandmaster Robert Castro