“Legacy behind the Legend”
Arnis has always been attached to Filipino culture like Samurai to Japanese, hence many practitioners of this Filipino stick fighting technique dreamed to claim to be the best. To date, it is known that no one has matched what was accomplished by one familiar name in the art – the Presas Family.
The legend of the family started in the shores of Hinigaran, Negros Philippines in the early 1900’s when a handful of fishermen fought against group of thieves who were trying to steal from them. The poor fishermen were in the brink of losing the battle with most of them injured and unable to fight, one stood against all the perpetrators with the paddle in his hands as he cried “walang Presas ang umaatras sa laban” (no Presas retreats from battle). His name is Luis Presas – the first master of the Presas family.
Luis’ son Leon has completed the training under his father who also became a famous master of the Arnis during his time. Eventually it became a family tradition to teach the Presas fighting techniques to their young ones. Leon passed the tradition on to his children Jose, Alfredo, Sotero and Leon Jr. Among the four, Jose was observed to posses great athletic skills. He devoted in keeping his family’s fighting system by training his children the same way his grandfather trained his father and how his father trained him. Since Jose was exposed to many sports, he started explore more ways to enhance the family’s system by incorporating some conditioning techniques from those sports.
As Jose becomes a father to Ernesto, Remy, Teresita, Roberto, Lolita and Luis Jr., he continued to teach what came to be his family is known for. Years have passed and it is now Ernesto, Remy and Roberto’s duty to keep the family’s legacy. Ernesto decided to explore other forms of martial arts such as Judo, Jujutsu, Bo Jitsu, Kendo, and Karate which he eventually incorporated in the Kombatan fighting system. As he promotes his family’s art, he was able to unite most of the Filipino Arnis practitioners in the country. With his skills and natural charisma in reaching out to people while sharing the beauty of Kombatan system it became easier for him to become an international figure who represents the Filipino Martial Arts.
Great Grandmaster Ernesto Presas Sr. may no longer be with us but as we greet him on his 71st birthday, let us thank him and his family for sharing their tradition, hospitality and friendship. Let’s help and support his son and successor, Grandmaster Ernesto Presas Jr. as he strive to keep the “Legacy of the Legend” alive.
This coming February 2017, the Legacy will continue as we gather together in the shores where it all began in Hinigaran, Negros Occidental Philippines when the first Presas Master held his boat paddle and defended against felony, dishonesty and exploitation.