August 26th, 2010
Honoring of the filipino Grandmasters

l.t.r.: GM Cristino Vasquez (10th Dan), GM
Datu Dieter Knüttel (8th Dan), GM Rodel Dagooc
(9th Dan)
During the Gala night of the 5th FMA Festival, July 30th, 2010 in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines, several Grandmasters were acknowledged with new degrees. The following Grandmasters were acknowledged with these degrees:

Grandmaster Cristino Vasquez, Lakan Sampu, 10th Dan

Grandmaster Jerry Dela Cruz, Lakan Siyam, 9th Dan
Grandmaster Rodel Dagooc, Lakan Siyam, 9th Dan
Grandmaster Rene Tongson, Lakan Siyam, 9th Dan

Driven by GM Dulay, it was my honor, to hand out the certificates to the Grandmasters together with Senator Miguel Zubiri.

This way, the merits of these Grandmasters were honored, who have been practicing Arnis for up to 45 years already.

Explaining the background:

Already when I received 8th Dan and Grandmaster title in the Philippines together with GM Bambit Dulay, I did not fee it was right, to have the same rank as my teachers now. I talked with GM Dulay about this and he felt the same.

The Grandmaster themselves are too humble, to rank themselves or ask for rank from the IMAFP. So another solution had to be found.

To be sure, not to have a totally wrong impression of the situation, I discussed this topic also with GM Rodel Dagooc during his stay at my house in Dortmund during his seminar in spring 2010. And he also felt, that it would be right, to find a solution for this situation.

So I contacted GM Dulay once more and we agreed, that he should get support for the acknowledgement of the Grandmaster in the Philippines, while I should do the same in the West.

That is why I contacted GM Kelly Worden, GM Dan Anderson, GM Bram Frank, Tuhon Ray Dionlado and GM Tim Hartman. Most of them instantly joined my plan, with others more detailed explanations had to follow. In the end all agreed though.

My plan, to make a ‘Certificate of Acknowledgement’ with the picture of the honoured GMs and the signing GMs was approved and all send their picture and signature. Only one person had hesitations to send his signature via email or internet. Due to the identity theft, that does occur via the internet often, I understood this hesitation and accepted it, even though I regretted his decision. So the certificates were produced.

During the Gala I asked GM Dulay if everything was ok from the philippine side and he said yes. Finally, as the acknowledgements were to come, I was send forward by GM Dulay to do it. So I asked Senator Zubiri, if he would support me during this, and he did.

In a short announcement I mentioned, that now several Grandmasters were honored for what they have done for Modern Arnis and the FMA and that this is a joint acknowledgement of philippine and western Grandmasters. Also, that we from the west did this out of respect and support of the lifetime achievements of the GMs in Modern Arnis and the FMA.

All of the honored GMs have received their last degree 10 years ago directly out of the hands of Grandmaster Remy Presas himself, so we only continued GM Remy’s legacy.

Unfortunately not there during the Gala were the Grandmasters Jerry Dela Cruz and Rene Tongson, because of cancelled flights that day due to a Philippine Airlines pilot strike.

I met GM Rene Tongson a few days later in Manila and he was very happy to have received the acknowledgement. He also mentioned, that the way it was done was absolutely correct, for Grandmaster are not ranked any more but acknowledged.

It was a great honor for me to have presented my teachers the acknowledgements for their new degree.

Link to a video of the acknowledgement:

(C) Text und Picture: GM Datu Dieter Knüttel, 08/2010