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Author Topic: Remy "vs" Ernesto: Styles  (Read 3798 times)


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Remy "vs" Ernesto: Styles
« on: December 17, 2007, 03:05:18 PM »

Difference between Remy and Ernesto
by Dieter Knüttel

I was with Ernesto from 1983 to 1993 (he ranked me 5th Dan) and with the Professor from 1994 until his death. So my knowledge about Ernesto may be a little old, but I saw an exhibition from him about a 2 years ago and it was pretty much the same stuff I have learned.

But coming to the differences:
Ernesto put more emphasis on form and posture, having a proper stance and an upright position. A little more Karate like but not so stiff. Remy really never lost a word about stances. Anyway, one of the main differences I found was, that Ernesto concentrated much more on hitting, butting, striking and Abanicos and also disarmings, where Remy put much more emphasis on controlling, locking takedowns, pins and trappings. Everybody who ever was in his "fangs" knows what I am talking about. Thats why I am really happy to have learned under both. I got "the best of 2 worlds".

Ernesto teaches a little more vartiety of weapons, also Bo (long staff), or palmstick, Sai, Tonfa etc if you want (even Kendo) where Remy concentrated more on the singlestick and empty hands. Of course he also knew the other stuff and occasionally taught it, but when ha taught me, he stayed more within these areas. In the beginning of the 80ies

Ernesto had only 3 Sinawalis (Single, Double and Reverse) and almost no drills. Neither empty hands, nor knife. Exept of his "Freestyle sparring" which is a kind of basic Tapi-Tapi. This seemed to have changed, so that he teaches a lot of back and forth drills that you use with interchanging weapons. Where as in a lot of Remys drills, there is a dominating, controlling person and not 2 people playingthe same game.

( "3 Sinawlas"? Ernesto? Confusing report to I had to learn about 40 double stick - plus drills in Ernesto's Sinawali system....- Hock)

Ernesto differenciated also more between "Modern Arnis" and "classical Arnis".
A thing the we still do and it gives us sometimes problems, because Remy did not the same way (at least when he taught us).

The difference was, that in the classical styles like Hirada Batanguenia, Palis Palis, Figuer 8 etc, you could inerchange the stick for a machete. In Modern Arnis you could not, because in modern we try to catch (trap) the STICK of the opponent. Something I would never try with a sword. Modern had the modern approach, that in Germany or in the cities of the US, not everybody is wielding a large blade, therfore other techniques (like the catching) could be used. And the classical styles were the roots of the Modern Arnis, because in the Philippined the DO run around with their machetes, at least in the provinces.

One of the biggest differences though is, that Remy was lefthanded and , at least in the late 90s, he handed this skill onto his students, in his Tapi-Tapi. I don´t say that Ernesto does not have left handed techniques (his son Jan-Jan is left handed and supposed to be really good) but he did not teach to everybody. Remy made all of his students do the right and the left hand in his Tapi-Tapi.

On a very personal note I think, that Remys Modern Arnis was a lot deeper, what really showed in the comparason of the Freestyle of Ernesto (which was very special to him and one should not show this to lower belts, because it was the "secret of the art"). But compared with the amount of techniques, their depth and how intricate and sophisticated they are in the Tapi Tapi, the Freestyle now seems quite shallow to me.

One last word. Remy was not only a Grandmaster, to me he was a Gand Master, also on a personal level. He was caring and tried to make you learn and make you good. He was very sure about himself and his position. I did not have this impression at all with Ernesto.

I hope that helped.
But please keep in mind, that this is a very personal view and the others might have had different experiences with both of the Presas brothers.

Regards from Germany
Dieter Knüttel
« Last Edit: November 10, 2010, 09:29:22 AM by Hock »


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Re: Remy "vs" Ernesto: Styles
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2007, 11:34:51 PM »


I have them all of the double stick sinawali recorded in my "Ernesto book"
  'Advanced' is being able to do the basics, despite what else is happening. 

Our Country won't go on forever, if we stay soft as we are now. There won't be any AMERICA because some foreign soldiery will invade us and take our women and breed a hardier race!"  --- Chesty Puller, USMC

Boar Man

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Re: Remy "vs" Ernesto: Styles
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2008, 02:47:09 PM »


I think Dieter meant that Remy had three sinawalis, as we have discussed this before.

I debated this over the internet on different forums about the difference between GM Remy and GM Ernesto's styles.  But to the practictionars from over in the PI and the people who responded on the forums, Modern Arnis was part of what is now called Kombatan or they thought they were learning Modern Arnis.

I always thought they were different due to GM Ernesto's classical look about him, the vast quantiites of sinawalis and double stick material, the knife and espada dage work in  Kombatan, as well as the combative feel about the art.  GM Remy taught different material to us here in the states.

I think it is more like Dieter said in that while the material is similar or the same the emphasis on the form and content were different.  Also GM Remy adapted his system over here in the states and in the PI they taught the same way as when he left.


Robert Robbins

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Re: Remy "vs" Ernesto: Styles
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2008, 04:56:24 PM »

I'd be interested in hearing more thoughts from the people on this forum that have trained with these two exceptional individuals. Similarities/differences in the teaching processes and  areas of emphasis of the brothers. Specifically, edged weapons training, and empty hand.

Also, your opinions of training w/ Kombotan and the various Modern Arnis groups  in the USA today.  I don't mean the politics, I'm talking about differences in technique, we'll leave the politics to the folks involved.

Thank you,
« Last Edit: October 27, 2008, 05:46:38 PM by Robert Robbins »
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Re: Remy "vs" Ernesto: Styles
« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2008, 05:32:50 PM »

Boar Man you are right, he must have meant REMY had three, not Ernesto. Three concepts of double sticks. But Remy did do some more. We did double stick sinawali for example and that is another category.

Ernesto had a LARGE collection of knife material, and in true FMA fashion, expressed it through way too many angles of attacks in too many sets and pattens. Knife vs knife and unarmed vs knife. (huge espada ya daga program, too)

It all gets to be too redundant and people start asking themsleves, "why don't they streamline this," if not just for educational and survival purposes?

Remy did some common, jujitsu-like unarmed vs the knife. And very little knife vs knife material. Story goes that he did not "like to show" violent knife material. Over the years, talking and interacting with Remy pretty darn closely, I became quite convinced he did not know much knife material at all.

If you are around the big picture of FMA, compare it to The Sayocs or Gaje, or Ernesto or Inosanto, Remy did very little knife knife work.

« Last Edit: November 10, 2010, 09:31:02 AM by Hock »


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Re: Remy "vs" Ernesto: Styles
« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2008, 04:12:13 PM »

 This is a good thread. Its neat to see how peoples training differs from time to time and place to place with the same teachers. You can see the evolution of the arts.
  I took formal training in Modern Arnis under Anding De Leon, who was one of Remy's students in the Phillipines. I studied with Anding from 1993 up to Remy's death. So what I learned was the classical Modern Arnis, I guess. A lot of what I see today is not what I learned. We had 12 levels of "basic sparring" which is now called the Tapi Tapi. We did it with sticks and bolo or machete. Everything we learned was then transferred to the bolo. all the forms and all the drills were always done single , doble boston and then single double bolo and then espada y daga. But like Mr. Knuttel noted, you cant trap the bolo like you do a stick. Anding taught the forms and drills all with the proper translations of stick knife and bolo. When Remy would stay with Anding they would do a lot of the bolo work and crasada drills. What I did not learn was stick fighting. I had all the means but not the practical combat savvy. That's what I have learned from Hock and Jeff Allen. Remy was on of a kind. If you got him one on one or away from the seminar, he would really open up and would not stop pouring out the info. Most of his knife and bolo work was already there, you would just have to remember to translate it. I have met a lot of guys who try to cut you with the stick or cane insted of striking you. In my early days I was very bad about that. Hock got me strait on that. Remy taught a great practical base and then expected you to expound on it and figure things out. But I have noticed that here in the states at least. What he taught up north he may not have taught in the south and same for the east and west coasts. Its sort of like he wonted everyone to get together for the full package. But I sure as hell don't no where all this tapi tapi stuff came from. What we called tapi tapi was something totally different. I have found to that Remy and Anding were very passive in there teaching and techniques. Arnesto seems to be more of a gettem killed and done with aggressive style. Which is not a bad thing. Hock has the best of both worlds. Its also interesting that the knife is the reason I started training with Hock in the 90s. His meathod was a lot different then that which I was learning. I by the way am a life time member of the Congress Of American Knife Fighters. #9. There is a piece of evolutionary history of an art right there. But in the end, it is all good.

« Last Edit: October 28, 2008, 04:59:44 PM by redfive »