Datu Tim Hartman invited me as guest instructor at the 2019 World Modern Arnis Apprenticeship Camp in Buffalo, New York. Included were Sabunim Rondy McKee of Tae Kwon Do and Ser Pintados Garduce (aka Oliver Garduce) of Pintados Eskrima.

Punong Guro Craig Mason got things warmed up with a review of some of the forms of Modern Arnis. It was nice to be able to participate and see the commonalities and differences of movement across “sister arts”.

Datu Tim started off the sessions with some single stick flow drills that took the participants through the learning curves of coordination, flow, rationale/function, and permutations of left hand and right hand orientations. Punong Guro Tye Botting was a fine training partner and was helpful in guiding me through the thought process involved with each drill.

I was only able to make a day of the camp, so I missed out on Sabunim McKee’s presentation, but she went over some of the business practices that have help her school be as successful as it is. She is a 7th degree black belt and operates a 24,000 sq. ft. custom designed superschool in North Carolina. A former K-Tigers Pro team member, she is a columnist for Taekwondo Times and serves as the Director for the Taekwondo Organization of Professionals through Kukkiwon and she is one of only 2 people in the United States who has KUKKIWON certification as a Testing Judge.

Grandmaster Oliver Garduce of Pintados Eskrima taught both basic single and double stick drills. From what I gathered, Pintados is a mixture of his father’s system, the Kombatan of late Grandmaster Ernesto Presas, and a few other influences. GM Oliver is a former member of the Philippine National Police. His catch phrase of the day was “no mistake”…meaning that if you were properly prepared, there was no weapon engagement you could not solve. If you were properly prepared, you could not make a mistake when contact was made. It was a pleasure to meet him.

I had a chance to teach a Pekiti-Tirsia Espada Y Daga Contrada…and how the goals and motions of the technique were able to be translated to double knife, single knife, and empty hands.

Datu Tim finished off things with some great stories about the lineage, history, and personalities in Balintawak and Modern Arnis…and how each affected what the techniques were and how they were presented. It was also a review for the Modern Arnis instructors on fielding questions about why and how they do what they do.

Datu Tim also told some anecdotes about the state of affairs in the Filipino Martial Arts…and how the current environment is really encouraging for interaction between different FMA styles and organizations. The theme was that this newer group of martial artists are inheriting systems without the biases of their predecessors. New friendships and alliances can be sincerely made without the animosity and posturing of the past. Datu Tim has not only been a great leader for Modern Arnis, but has been a huge ambassador for FMA through his generosity and willingness to make opportunities happen for others. As he shows by example: there is room for everyone.

As always, a good time for all…and personally a great chance for me to not only share Pekiti-Tirsia amongst a healthy-minded group of people, but to see how others approach their craft.

It was a healthy atmosphere to be in.

Respectfully submitted,
Jack A. Latorre
Executive Director
Pekiti-Tirsia International