American Arnis was born out of the success of Professor Presas’ Modern Arnis seminar trainings and the ensuing demand by enthusiastic students for more training and more classes.
Two of Professor Presas’ original personal students, Mike Replogle and Jeff Arnold were both deeply involved in the presentation of Modern Arnis in seminars nationally, as well as in print publications, and they organized and hosted the first-ever Remy A. Presas International Arnis Federation training camp in West Virginia in 1983. In the early years, both had their independent Tae Kwon Do schools and both also taught Modern Arnis classes on a regular basis in their schools, with periodic seminars featuring Professor Presas.
Over time, Replogle and Arnold saw the need to deliver in-depth training to their arnis students within a daily training and class format, to give students the martial arts foundations of traditional karate training to support their growth in their arnis training. This was not provided in Modern Arnis seminar training alone, and with the express consent of Professor Presas, Replogle and Arnold embarked on the development on an integrated training system to combine the classroom basics with “the Flow” of Modern Arnis.
Replogle and Arnold proceeded to cobble together a unified teaching system which initially combined Tae Kwon Do (“Korean Karate”) and Arnis into a single curriculum. To avoid any confusion with the Modern Arnis seminar system as taught by their mentor Professor Presas, they gave their new integrated approach a new name, “American Arnis”.
As Modern Arnis was an evolution of traditional arnis, kali and eskrima into a student-friendly “modern” approach, American Arnis further evolved the system using training approaches and fundamentals that most American martial artists find familiar, and presented them in a regular classroom and training format that supported well-rounded training in a self-sufficient system that did not rely on other arts for training “the basics”.
This unified system debuted nationally with the publication of “American Arnis- the Evolution of an Art” in Black Belt magazine in January 1984. American Arnis steadily grew, developing a network of affiliated schools stretching from Los Angeles to Knoxville Tennessee, and academies with primary locations in Hollywood California, Flint and Owosso Michigan.