Remy A. Presas is largely credited with popularizing the Filipino Martial Arts in the United States beginning in the mid-1970’s. His charisma and infectious energy inspired countless students that attended his dynamic, faced-paced seminars, workshops and training camps.
Presas’ own fascination with the Filipino Martial Arts began as a small child, when he would secretly watch his uncles practicing arnis with sticks and blades. Presas later trained with his family and eventually searched out and trained with masters of many styles throughout the Philippines, with a an emphasis on the balintawak eskrima style in the 1960’s. In the rough and tumble world of Filipino Martial arts, he engaged in many matches, tournaments and street fights and built his reputation, eventually founding his own system of “Modern Arnis”.
Presas earned a degree in physical education and taught at University in the Philippines, and also helped spread arnis instruction throughout high schools. As a result of his years spent as an educator, he became known in martial arts circles as “the Professor”.
In 1974 “The Pacific Connection” was filmed in the Philippines and Presas was retained to teach the actors authentic fighting techniques. This is where he met, taught and befriended American actor Dean Stockwell, who became an enthusiastic student and later that year helped Presas move to California.
Broadly recognized as the “Father of Modern Arnis”, Professor Presas received much recognition in the US martial arts publications. He appeared on the cover of prestigious Black Belt magazine in 1981, in 1982 he was inducted into the Black Belt Hall of Fame as Instructor of the Year, and he was featured in many articles over the years. In 1983 he published his first US instructional book, “Modern Arnis, the Filipino Art of Stock Fighting” and established the International Arnis Federation, headquartered in Los Angeles.
Although he traveled extensively and internationally, Presas primarily remained in the US, where he traveled and taught Modern Arnis in seminars and camps for many years until his death in 2001.