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Being the Best!

Being the Best!

The esteemed Professor Remy A. Presas once stated, “You can not be the best if you only have a few students. I want to spread out the art.” This perspective clearly illustrates why he was unparalleled in his field. His global travels, engaging with tens of thousands, enriched him with diverse energies and insights, fundamentally shaping his martial artistry. Such extensive, hands-on experience is vital to reaching his level of mastery. His primary motivation in spreading his art was not personal glory, fame, or financial gain, but a commitment to the future generations of martial artists.

I attribute my own development as a martial artist to my teacher’s dedication and the breadth of his life experiences, which greatly influenced the evolution of his martial arts. There are certain experiences unique to his journey, shaped by survival in harsh environments and life-threatening situations, that are irreplaceable and, in some cases, should not be replicated.

Professor Presas was a trailblazer, laying a strong foundation for future generations. While I recognize that in some aspects I may never match his achievements, in others, I have already exceeded them. We have established significant milestones such as a dedicated headquarters, a structured curriculum accessible globally, and a well-organized association, all contributing to the art’s legacy.

Each generation bears the responsibility of elevating the art to new heights. My pursuit of excellence involves engaging with as many practitioners as possible. While small training groups have their merits, to truly advance the art and prepare it for future generations, extensive interaction and a broad base of practitioners are essential. This approach ensures the art’s resilience and adaptability.

I invite your thoughts on this perspective.

Datu Tim Hartman.

For the full interview for Prof Presas’ quote follow this link:


What is a Datu… Not again?

What is a Datu… Not again?

What is a Datu… Not again?

Once more, my ‘Datu’ title is under attack, this time by a faceless Instagram critic, chevroletallday6161. Honestly, I couldn’t care less about what anyone thinks of my title. What I won’t tolerate is mockery of a meaningful Christmas gift—a license plate reading “DATU 1″—especially when it hurts someone close to me. This coward had every chance to confront me in person or pick any of my other public posts. But no, they chose a cheap, anonymous jab.

chevroletallday6161 wrote:

“If you are a Datu aka (chief) in the Filipino arts, do you even work with the Filipino community in your area? Do you cook or eat Filipino food? Speak Tagalog? You can’t call yourself Datu if you don’t know the cultural basics. I disagree with your Datu title.”

Well, I’ve already replied to this on Instagram, but I’m addressing it here too, for anyone else who might be wondering. Let’s break this down:

  • Working with the Filipino community?

Absolutely. I’ve been actively involved with the Filipino community in Western New York and the Toronto area since the 90s. In Buffalo, I’ve mentored countless students in Arnis, helping them connect with their roots. I’ve collaborated with the Filipino student association at the University of Buffalo. In Toronto, I was the sole American invited to perform at the Filipino Independence Day celebration.

  • Cooking and eating Filipino food?

What does that have to do with being a leader? Nonetheless, Filipino cuisine is a significant part of my life. I regularly cook and enjoy dishes like adobo, longanisa, and pancit.

  • Speaking Tagalog?

I’m not fluent, but I understand and speak some Tagalog—or Taglish, to be precise. I ensure my students learn commands, counting, colors, body parts, and other terms in Filipino languages.

  • The ‘Datu’ title?

This is where everyone gets it twisted. I didn’t self-appoint; the late Grandmaster Remy Amador Presas bestowed the title on me, among six individuals. Presas played a crucial role in reviving Filipino martial arts. Those who had issues with his decision should’ve confronted him, not cowardly complain now. If you’re too young to know, do your research before spouting nonsense.

Further, under Presas’ tutelage, I ran the only successful full-time professional Modern Arnis school. I’ve produced more black belts than any other instructor, taught in numerous countries, and even brought Arnis to places it had never been, like Iceland. I’ve also taught extensively in the Philippines, the heartland of Arnis.

Regarding the term ‘Datu’—it’s simply Filipino for ‘tribal leader,’ used widely in various contexts. If you’re hung up on my skin color, consider this: I’ve seen more interest in Arnis abroad than in the Philippines, where it’s often overshadowed by other pastimes.

So, should I use the title? I honor my teacher’s wishes, respecting the legacy and responsibility he entrusted to me. I continue his work, expanding his teachings worldwide.

And finally, to the instigator of this whole mess: I’m addressing this because you mocked a precious gift from someone I care deeply about. Attack me all you want; I can take it. But drag my friends, family, or loved ones into it, and you’ve crossed a line. They are off-limits, as should be anyone’s loved ones.


Tim Hartman
CEO, World Modern Arnis Alliance
Datu of Modern Arnis

#datu #datuhartman #modernarnis #filipinomartialarts #fyp #arnis #critic 


Balintawak Eskrima: The Legacy of Masters and the Fusion of Traditional and Modern Training Methods

Balintawak Eskrima: The Legacy of Masters and the Fusion of Traditional and Modern Training Methods

Balintawak Eskrima: The Legacy of Masters and the Fusion of Traditional and Modern Training Methods

Balintawak Eskrima, a renowned martial art, has recently gained significant popularity. This art form traces its roots back to Grand Master Anciong Bacon, its founding figure. Over the years, Balintawak Eskrima has been meticulously preserved and disseminated by a lineage of skilled grandmasters. Notably, Grandmasters Bobby Taboada and Nick Elazar have played critical roles in this lineage, focusing primarily on the evolution and refinement of the art’s grouping systems.

Another prominent figure in this lineage is Grand Master Ted Buot, who was recognized as the designated successor of this revered martial arts system. Although he never assumed a formal leadership position, GM Ted Buot was vital in maintaining the legacy of Balintawak Eskrima. He dedicated his life to teaching the art, particularly focusing on the original, ungrouped system as established by GM Anciong Bacon. Under GM Buot’s guidance, the art’s authenticity and traditional integrity were preserved, staying true to Bacon’s original techniques.

To clarify, Balintawak Eskrima has two primary teaching methodologies: the original ungrouped system by Anciong Bacon and the grouping method popularized by Jose Villasin. Bacon’s ungrouped system, which emphasizes scenario-based training with a focus on precision, timing, and strategy, requires one-on-one instruction, limiting its widespread dissemination. On the other hand, Villasin’s grouping method, comprising five pre-arranged sets, is more conducive to teaching larger groups, emphasizing speed and explosiveness.

In my experience, both methods are invaluable. As a personal student of the late Grandmaster Ted Buot and a mentee of GM Bobby in the grouping methodology, I believe that a comprehensive understanding of Balintawak Eskrima requires training in both approaches. Each method offers unique insights and contributes to a fuller understanding of the art. My journey through both methodologies has profoundly impacted my perspective on martial arts, and I am grateful for the knowledge and experience shared by my mentors.

Datu Tim Hartman
World Modern Arnis Alliance

2023 World Modern Arnis Sothern Ontario Camp

2023 World Modern Arnis Sothern Ontario Camp

The Southern Ontario Modern Arnis Training Camp, now in its third year, recently concluded with remarkable success. Hosted at the Cambridge Hotel and Conference Center, the event attracted enthusiasts from various regions of Ontario, such as Wallaceburg, London, Cambridge, Deep River, and Sudbury.

The first day commenced with a comprehensive review of ‘trapping hands,’ emphasizing the nuances and practical applications of this technique in different forms. Various instructors from the organization alternated in leading sessions, focusing on the integration of Tapi-Tapi striking with ground control and trapping techniques. A highlight was Datu Hartman’s in-depth exploration of Tapi-Tapi.

On the second day, the focus shifted to locks and controls, drawn from the Dumog program. This was followed by further exploration of trapping techniques and their applications. A unique aspect of the camp was the session on teaching Tapi-Tapi in a seminar setting, which provided participants not just learning opportunities but also insights into instructional methods.

Special thanks are extended to Carl Outram for his excellent hosting of the event. Appreciation is also due to Punong-Guros Jason Arnold, Craig Mason, Guro Greg Hiltz for their valuable contributions. Gratitude is also conveyed to Montana’s BBQ & Bar for sponsoring the instructor’s dinner on Saturday.

Looking forward to the next year’s camp, scheduled for November 30 to December 1, the event promises to be another enriching experience for martial arts enthusiasts.


#modernarnis #modernarniscanada #filipinomartialarts #datuhartman

2023 Delaware State Instructor Development Camp

2023 Delaware State Instructor Development Camp

This past weekend marked a memorable experience as I led a workshop at the Delaware State Modern Arnis Instructor Development Camp. These camps are a highlight for me, offering precious opportunities for close interaction with our dedicated practitioners. We delved deeply into various aspects of Modern Arnis, beginning with an exploration of Trapping Hands Decadena. The significance of trapping in Modern Arnis forms was emphasized, and I demonstrated how it integrates with takedowns and limb destruction techniques.

The camp’s curriculum also included an extensive examination of disarming techniques and counters, going beyond mere mechanics to discuss underlying theories. We revisited the teachings of the Professor, highlighting how disarms can be executed from multiple angles, contrary to the specific angles often taught for memorization purposes.

Post-lunch, we turned our focus to Crossada and Block-Check-Counter techniques, discussing their application in our Daga drill one and exploring variations in the Crossada flow drill. The drill’s role as a skill development tool was emphasized, with applications spanning single stick, single dagger, and stick-dagger combinations.

The second day involved a review of the previous day’s trapping techniques, followed by an introduction to Balintawak concepts integral to Modern Arnis. I shared my Balintawak Fast-Track Template, demonstrating its effectiveness in integrating both Balintawak and Modern Arnis techniques. We concluded with Daga drill three, discussing its relevance to both open hand combatives and edged weapon tactics.

But it wasn’t all training. The camp also included some leisure moments, like a delightful pork roast and a fireworks display on Saturday night. In addition, I addressed an outstanding issue from our spring camp, where a printer breakdown had prevented us from issuing certificates to those who passed their black belt tests. Rather than mailing the certificates, I chose to personally distribute them at various events, maintaining a personal touch. I was particularly pleased to present Miss Julia with her certificate for her promotion to Dayang Tatlo, 3rd Degree Black Belt in Modern Arnis.

A special thanks goes to Cornerstone Martial Arts for generously offering their venue for the camp. I also want to express my gratitude to Punong-Guros Chad Dulin & Tye Botting for their assistance in hosting and training. Lastly, I’d like to remind everyone of their upcoming camp from June 28 to 30, 2024, at the same location for the annual Del-Mar-Va (Delaware, Maryland, & Virginia) Modern Arnis Summer Camp.

Thank you to everyone who participated, making this event a remarkable and enriching experience.

Datu Tim Hartman
World Modern Arnis Alliance


#modernarnis #filipinomartialarts #worldmodernarnis #modernarnistrainingcamp