2009 WAS BAD. 2010 WAS THE WORST.
There were some bright spots at the beginning of the year…
- In January, Dayang Marina Regnér started her club in Sweden with just five students, and is now doing really well. Their school will be hosting Master Tomi Harrell in a seminar Feb 11-13 there in Gothenburg. For more info on classes and the seminar, contact her directly at…
- Also in January GM Shelley Millspaugh relocated from Kansas to Colorado, his dream destination, and began teaching Kombatan there, much to the delight of his new students. He left his Midwest Chapter in the capable hands of Master Vincent Pernice and other senior students.
- The Smiling Assassin, Master Oliver Garduce, paid me a surprise visit in California at the end of 2009 and then went on to Canada where he began teaching Kombatan. Not long after, in early 2010, he was able to secure a formal school site and hold a “Grand Opening”. Looks like he’s now well-established!
- On May 29th, Master Rui Ramunni, Kombatan/Modern Arnis Chief Instructor for Portugal, passed away in his sleep. I never got to personally know him but I saw from the Portugal website that he left behind a great chapter and was well-loved by his people. Master Rui Ramunni, we salute you.
- On November 1st, our founder, GGM Ernesto Presas Sr., passed away. Despite the fact that GGM’s health failed in 2009, his death still came as a shock to many of us. There were several times from 2009-2010 that he felt he wasn’t going to make it. But he did. Each and every time. Then, about two weeks before his death, he told me, “Alex, it’s a miracle! I’m beginning to walk again!” He was happy! He was with his cousin Dodong (GM Eugenio Amador, aka “Supremo”) at the Camp in Hinigaran. They were planning to go to Laguna the next day. He did; and then he went home to Pasay. I guess our Creator decided to let him feel how it was to walk the earth again for one last time before taking him in his sleep. Great Grandmaster Ernesto Amador Presas, we salute you.
NEW FACEBOOK SITES
- In a conversation before the last one, GGM also asked me to create a Facebook presence for him, where we could post announcements that were directly from him. I did, but had not gotten around to formally announce it when he passed away. The page is set up in such a way where GM Ernesto Presas Jr and Master Michael Ermac can post directly to it. In fact, they have full administrative rights to it. To find the page on Facebook, just search for “International Philippine Martial Arts Federation World HQ”. I don’t know if I’ll continue it as GM Ernesto Jr now has his own Facebook entry, and announcements directly from him should show up on his page.
- Sometime afterward, I found a GOOD thing: Some others had also thought to create a Facebook presence for GGM, sort of an everlasting (at least for the life of Facebook) tribute to their teacher. To find this page on Facebook, just search for “GrandMaster Ernesto Amador Presas Sr.” This one, I think, they should keep going.
- I’m extremely proud of how we all came together. The Presas Family came together. Modern Arnis & Kombatan practitioners came together. Friends from around the world came together to support us all. There was RESPECT all around. Now, with the new year coming, it’s time to set aside our grief, time to remember the good times we had, and time to move forward as both GGMs would have wanted us to do.
- I’m starting to get a trickle of inquiries on what’s next for our organization. It’s time to address these concerns. Here’s one example that I think reflects the concerns of many:
- “I would like to speak with you at some point concerning the future of Kombatan and IPMAF. I have seen the website for GM Jan-Jan and I hope that all loyal Lakans will vigorously support GM Jan-Jan as the rightful successor to GGM E.A. Presas, overseeing all of Kombatan. Since GGM passed away before GM Jan-Jan could pass through the final rank of Lakan Sampo, I would like to see a council of Lakans formed in order to cast a special vote recognizing GM Jan-Jan Presas as successor to GGM and bestowing upon him the rank of Lakan Sampo. I would really like to know your thoughts on this.”
- My thoughts (and that’s all they are):
- Yes, Jan-Jan needs to step up to the plate now. I don't think he necessarily needs Lakan 10 ranking. I kind of like the idea of Lakan 10, or 10th degree, being reserved for the founder of a system (any system). Lakan 9 is just fine as the maximum rank obtainable for all the rest. If anyone wants to be a Lakan 10, or 10th Degree, that individual should establish his own, significantly different, system. The founder and his art should be recognized and accepted as legitimate by other founders of other recognized arts.
I don't think a council of Lakans or anyone else, can designate Jan-Jan as GGM's successor. He already is the heir to the system, with or without our permission. (smile)
And neither can we promote Jan-Jan or anyone else to a rank higher than our own. If it is desired that Jan-Jan be a Lakan 10, he can easily obtain it via a council of 10th Degree Grandmasters recognizing him and welcoming him into their ranks. GGM Roberto, the last remaining brother of GGMs Remy & Ernesto, and founder of his own system, Hinigaran Arnis, can spearhead that.
These are just my thoughts; we don't all have to think the same. Feel free to agree or disagree. I'm open to other points of view, other approaches, as well. In the end, it is GM Ernesto Presas Jr.’s choice.
AND THE ENVELOPE, PLEASE…
- It’s gotten to be a tradition that GGM would announce surprise promotions at year-end. Unfortunately, I knew of only one before he passed. This promotion was to be announced at the 2011 Training Camp; but with GGM’s passing, this individual sent the money he was saving for the camp to Mrs. Presas to help with the funeral expenses. Keep in mind that I’m not the one promoting this person. I’m simply carrying out my last official act for my Teacher. I’m just doing it a little bit earlier because GGM has passed and I want to step down by year-end. So…
- “Congratulations, Master John Malmo, on your promotion to Grandmaster, Lakan Walo (Lakan 8). This is for all your support these many years, for your leadership in Arkansas, and for all the good things you’ve done (example: establishing MyFMA.net) for FMA in general!”
STEPPING DOWN (AGAIN)
- For the third and final time (“3rd time’s the charm”), I would like to announce my resignation from the Secretary General position which GGM honored me with so many years ago. I stepped down twice before; because both of those times, we thought we found individuals who could bring IPMAF up to the next level. But things didn’t work out and GGM asked me to step back up. Now with GGM’s passing, it’s time for me to step down once and for all. Why? Because…
IT’S TIME FOR NEW BLOOD
- It’s time for the next generation to step up and take the lead. Time for GM Ernesto Presas Jr. to handle the reigns of our organization. Time for him and his peers, like Master Michael Ermac, to forge the way. And quite frankly, I’m eager and excited to see what develops.
IT’S ALSO TIME TO SEND IN OUR YEARLY MEMBERSHIP DUES
- Membership dues form the financial backbone of our organization. I just got off the phone with IPMAF World HQ to see who to send the membership dues to. For now, they are requesting us to please send our dues to Mrs. Mercedita Presas via Western Union (the same way we sent our donations in for GGM’s funeral expenses). Upon sending your dues through Western Union, send the list of member names to IPMAF@hotmail.com. so that the membership database can be updated properly.
2011 IPMAF WORLD TRAINING CAMP
- We’ve all gotten the word by now that the 2011 Training Camp is still on. Per Master Michael Ermac, these are the dates to remember:
24 April 2011 Sunday: All participants check-in Manila.
25 April 2011 Monday: Air flight to Negros; overland to Training Camp.
26 April 2011 Tuesday: Start of training!
02 May 2011 Monday: End of training! Certificates of Completion awarded.
03 May 2011 Tuesday: Return flight to Manila.
I will be there. Hope to see you all there too!
A SHOUT-OUT FROM ONE OF OUR MEMBERS
From Federic Beleno:
“I’m happy to be one of the members of IPMAF Kombatan family...Thanks to all the Presas family...to my mates here in the Philippines and to all Kombatan family in the world for accepting me… Salamat po..”
I think for many of us, including me, that sums it up quite nicely! Have a blessed New Year, everyone!
Alex(ander Bautista Bayot France)
Outgoing IPMAF Secretary General
“GGM, all that you asked of me, by pen or blade, it was done…”