A Note From Grandmaster Bowers

Chief Isntructor of North America

Kombatan (Presas Style)

First and Foremost I wish you all a very Happy New Year this year and every year. I hope you have great success in all your endeavors.

This year has been a horrible year for the Presas Family, IPMAF, the Lazo Family, Luzviminda, and me as well, due to the loss of Grandmaster Lazo and Great Grandmaster Presas. The world has lost a couple of great role models to mankind. These were men who practiced what they preached and who believed in their students as they believed in themselves. These men were willing to show and give their keys away to their Martial Art if they determined you had a good heart. These were men who, when abroad spreading their art around the world, would always call their loved ones at least once a day if not more just so their families would know they were ok, and that they loved them. If you had been able to spend any time with these men you would have found them incredible and amazing people to have been around.

Great Grandmaster Presas was more to me than a Martial Art instructor. He was and is my inspiration. He inspired me to be what I am today, and it pushes me to work on being a better person everyday. This man believed in me when no one else did. I can honestly say he has been the most influential person in my life. If not for him I would either be in jail or dead by now. I definitely would not be the man I am today if it wasn’t for Great Grandmaster Ernesto A. Presas. He was my compadre and my friend. I will always honor my Grandmaster in my heart and I am very thankful for the time we had.

In October, we had a Chief Instructor meeting for Kombatan Chief Instructors. The intent of this meeting was and is to have consistency on the curriculum (levels, techniques, material, fees, etc.) taught by all instructors throughout the continent. It went very well. However there were some delegates that were unable to attend. I am in the process of updating the results of the meeting and finalizing all the notes. There were still subjects that were unaddressed, due to needing all input of current delegates. Once I was able to get their feedback we began looking to move forward in a positive direction. Unfortunately I was a bit slow on getting this information out to everyone (some of the information is yet to be disseminated). We did appoint a few more Chief Instructors at the Meeting who were also here for it as well.  Additionally, there were a few others. Here are the new Chief Instructors who were appointed at the meeting.

  • Chief Instructor of the Pacific North West: GM James Miyake (Promoted to 8th Dan while GGM was still alive – Due to economy James is still saving up to pay for it)
  • Chief Instructor of Washington: Guro Rick Brock (Lakan Tatlo)
  • Chief Instructor of Oregon: Guro Mike Millikin (Lakan Tatlo)
  • Chief Instructor of Montana: Sir Ron Carlbom (Lakan Isa)
  • Chief Instructor of Idaho: Guro Jeff Schulden (Lakan Tatlo)

Then, due to GGM’s passing it seemed irrelevant to even continue with the progress that we made. We now have a new director who will decide the best path for Kombatan (Presas Style). This is why I am excited to attend this year’s camp. I am looking forward to hearing where we plan to go from here. Regardless, if my school is still recognized as the North American HQ or not, even If I am no longer the Chief Instructor of North America, I, Grandmaster Mike Bowers will always support the Presas family.

As we all know life is way too short, before we know it were gone. No one remembers the grievances of the past when we are lost to discover the truth in death. God Bless!

Great Grandmaster Ernesto Amador Presas Sr.

May 20, 1945 – November 1, 2010

You will always be in our hearts. Thank you!

The International Philippine Martial Arts Federation and Kombatan family experienced a sad loss this past year with the passing of Great Grandmaster Ernesto Presas, founder and creator of Kombatan Presas Style. Ernesto Amador Presas was born in the coastal village of Hinigaran, Negros Occidental, Philippines on May 20, 1945. He began his training in the Filipino martial arts at the age of eight under his father, Jose Presas, a well-known stick fighter of his generation. As a young man, his dream was to reintroduce the art that was so long an integral part of Filipino history and culture. However, he realized that the classical systems presented a limited appeal to those living in the modern world. By analyzing the conceptual framework of the classical systems, he revolutionized the native martial arts into a complete effective fighting system, appealing to martial arts students in contemporary society. Nevertheless, he was confronted with a Filipino society that valued foreign culture.

A turning point came in 1970 for Grandmaster Presas. To renew the art that was dying in the Philippines, he began teaching the Filipino martial arts at the University of the Philippines and the Lyceum of the Philippines. In the same year, he was invited to Japan to demonstrate the art of Arnis at "Expo 70.” Challenged to compare Arnis to the well-known sword styles of Japan, he quickly earned the respect of the Japanese masters who called his art Filipino Kendo. After returning to Manila, he established his first dojo with the help of his compadre, Modern Arnis grandmaster, Frederico Lazo. Later that year, Grandmaster Presas founded the Modern Arnis Association of the Philippines International and ARJUKEN (Arnis-Jujutsu-Kendo) Karate Association International to formally propagate the native art within the Philippines, including martial arts. In 1975, he founded the International Philippine Martial Arts Federation. From that point on, his Presas Arnis style and techniques became widely adopted in Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Canada, United States, and Mexico.

Grandmaster Fredricko Lazo

March 4, 1938 – January 25, 2010

You will always be missed. Thank You!

Fredricko Lazo The International Philippine Martial Arts Federation lost another influential individual and historian with the passing of Grandmaster Frederick Lazo. GM Lazo was born in the barrio of Ananaao, Tayum, and Abra, Philippines. GM Lazo was nine years old when he first approached his father and asked him to teach him Arnis. Paulino flatly refused. As fate would have it, at the age of twelve Federico narrowly escaped a vicious beating, or perhaps worse, by a group of local teen-age thugs. His father realized instinctively that his son was spared that time but the next time might have been a different story. Paulino simply could not bear the thought of losing another son. So, after much initial hesitation, he was compelled to begin teaching his son the art of Arnis at long last. Thus began Grand Master Lazo's journey through the world of the Arnisador. In the past Arnis was seen as a violent and brutal art and that perception was not entirely unfounded. Attitudes and practices varied widely from Master to Master. As a result some teachers, if not most, conducted dangerous training that was often accompanied by severe injuries. Becoming an Arnisador was a high-risk proposition in those days.  Not surprisingly, most individuals were not inclined to train this way. Unfortunately this situation was leading to the decline of Arnis in its own homeland. Native Filipinos were turning to foreign martial arts like Karate and Kung Fu as alternatives to the brutality and danger of their own indigenous arts. The future of Arnis was bleak. The art was in danger of gradually fading away. One day, in the mid 1960’s, Grandmaster Lazo met the Presas brothers while they were giving a demonstration. The meeting sparked a friendship that led to a great deal of training, sharing of knowledge and their mutual vision for the future of Arnis. They frequently did public demonstrations together. This group of men was absolutely dedicated to the same vision of stemming this tide of foreign martial arts while preserving their own homelands’ cultural heritage for posterity. The foreign arts were not necessarily viewed as “bad”, but they were not Filipino. They were not the arts of their ancestors. They were not the arts that flowed through their veins.

So this small group of men who shared a common vision for the reemergence of Arnis set about the formidable task of making the arts more inviting to the public while carefully retaining their essential spirit and potency. This was an unprecedented task and it would require the combined resources of all of those involved. It was taxing. There was a great deal of trial and error. The men argued passionately into the late hours of the night over what sometimes appeared to be unimportant details. But to these men, there was no such thing as an unimportant detail when it came to Arnis. Logistical modifications related to sparring and drilling were finally implemented in what would become later known as the birth of Modern Arnis. Grandmaster Lazo and Great Grandmaster Ernesto Presas continued to exchange arts and promote Modern Arnis in the Philippines. Together they worked to evolve their Modern Arnis to even higher levels of sophistication than before. This development laid the foundation for what would become known as Kombatan.

2010 has come and gone for Berdugo Martial Arts and it was an interesting year for the school. New students joined, old students returned, belt promotions, seminars, clinics, passing of forefathers and Grandmaster Bowers continually challenging us in the art of Kombatan Presas Style.

2010 saw the first annual Portland Filipino Martial Arts Festival. This gathering featured instruction from GM Michael Bowers (Kombatan), Professor Dan Anderson (MA80 System Arnis/Eskrima), Professor Mike Morrell (Eskabo Daan) and Master Dan Haney (Doce Pares Eskrima). If you missed this amazing event, there is still time to attend this year’s event. The Portland Filipino Martial Arts Festival 2011, which will be hosted at Berdugo Martial Arts Center, is happening on February 19, 2011.

      Filipino Martial Arts Festival

2010 Berdugo Martial Arts Gun 

The school hosted several gun clinics this past year thanks to the efforts of Grandmaster Bowers and Tadd Kruger.  Tadd brought his 28 years of experience with the Portland Police Bureau, 18 years SERT and 12 years as a Portland Police Bureau firearm instructor, to teach everyone basic handgun orientation, safety, 4 point draw, basic marksmanship, malfunction drills, reloads and dry fire practice. Tadd’s instruction followed close in hand with Grandmasters teachings of everything flows and evolves from the basics.

2010 Kombatan Classical 

Berdugo held its 2nd Annual Kombatan Classical Tournament this year in memory of Great Grandmaster Ernesto Presas. Two events were featured in this tournament: Kombatan Classical/Solo Baston and Espada y Daga. The Espada y Daga portion featured the Shock Knife to go with padded stick. Your game will change when you hear the snap and bite of an electrified blade.

Berdugo Martial Arts held its 3rd Annual Knife Seminar and potluck at Oxbow Park this year. This year’s seminar, as in the past, pushed us to understand techniques learned in class as compared to actual application when your attacker has intent of harming you.  Exhausted and challenged, we feasted on all the food that was brought. In fact, at the end of the event, there seemed to be more food than what was actually brought.

2010 River Knife Seminar

The 2011 IPMAF (Kombatan) Training Camp is about to happen!!!

  • 23 April 2011 (Saturday): All participants check-in Manila.
  • 24 April 2011 (Sunday): Air flight to Negros; overland to Training Camp.
  • 25 April 2011 (Monday): Start of training!
  • 07 May 2011 (Saturday): End of training! Certificates of Completion awarded.
  • 08 May 2011 (Sunday): Return flight to Manila.

We hope 2011 will be another promising year for Berdugo Martial Arts Center. Several seminars and tournaments will be happening throughout the year and, as usual, Grandmaster will be pushing us each to improve ourselves not only in Kombatan Presas Style but in our everyday lives.