Sunday, April 23, 2006

Modern Arnis in Russia

By Dieter Knuttel

On March 17-19, 2006, I held my second Modern Arnis seminar and belt testing in Yekatarinburg in Russia. Yekatarinburg has about 1.3 million inhabitants and is the fourth largest city in Russia. It is situated about 1,500 miles east of Moscow, behind the Ural, already in Asia. So it is quite a trip just to get there, with a flight via Prague and then another five hours flight straight east. Through my DVDs and email I had contact with Alexander Pisarkin, the head of the JKD and FMA group of Yekatarinburg for quite a while now.

During my first visit in July 2005, I met these friendly people who were eager to learn. There were fourteen students who attended the first seminar. Through their training with Alexander, they were already very good and well trained in FMA so that they could already pick up the details and finer points of the techniques.

During my second trip, due to the good advertisement of Alexander and the TV coverage of my first seminar, twenty-nine people attended this weekend.
It was nice to see all the people who returned for their 2nd Modern Anris seminar plus the many new ones.

First, twenty-one students took their 1st exam, the white belt, and seven passed the 2nd exam, the yellow belt. Alexander himself had an excellent examination, reaching the 4th level, the blue belt. Everybody was well prepared for their exam. During the seminar, everybody was again very enthusiastic and eager to learn and practice what had been shown. The training attitude was excellent and a lot of sweat ran down faces during the training. In addition to the seminar, Russian TV was there again to film the seminar and to do an interview. Last year they broadcasted 20 minutes about FMA and the seminar. Let’s see what they do this time.

A journalist from a very good sports magazine (not martial arts) was also there and did an interview. They plan to publish an article about Modern Arnis. There was also a member of the local goverment watching the whole seminar. And, good news: afterwards he bought a Modern Arnis DVD and said that he liked very much what he saw and he will support Modern Arnis and the spreading of the FMA from his side. The hospitality was great. I got some nice Russian gifts and they took me shopping through the city. After the seminar, we went downhill skiing under floodlight at 10 o’clock at night! What a thrill!

I feel very fortunate to have the chance to share the wonderful art of Modern Arnis with these new friends in Russia. I also see it as an opportunity to be an “ambassador of friendship”. As we all know, Germany and Russia did not have the best relations during the last century.
These seminars, talks and training provide the opportunity, in a very little scale. to make people aware that there are not “Germans” or “Russians”, but that on a personal level, religion, race and nationality are not important if one gets to know each other and especially if one shares a mutual interest. “Foreigners are only friends you have not met yet.”

For a first hand account of the seminar, please read what the organizer Alexander and the participants have to say. That is much better than anything I would write.

Dieter Knüttel
Datu and Senior Master of Modern Arnis

From Alexander Pisarkin:

From 18th to 19th of March in Ekaterinburg, Russia, the second international Modern Arnis seminar took place. The participants of the seminar have been waiting for it for a long time. They had very good memories of the previous seminar with Datu Dieter Knüttel. On the 17th of March, twenty-three students were examined for first students degrees. These students had spent a lot of time preparing for this examination. For most of them it was the first examination in their life. And it also was the only examination of Modern Arnis in Russia. Everybody passed this examination, and was happy on Saturday when they actually received their first diplomas. There were many more people at this seminar than the previous one.

For me as organizer, one of the remarkable things was that representatives from Federations of Martial Arts from Moscow and Nizhniy Novgorod attended the seminar. From Moscow, it was a 29 hour train ride and from Nizhniy Novgorod a 20 hour train ride (one way ) to get to the seminar. I am also happy to report that one girl attended the seminar, named Nastya.

The seminar program was very interesting for everybody, even for people who do not practice FMA. Here are the sessions:

Day 1 Lesson 1. Different variants of footwork . Variants of sinawali and how we can to apply these techniques in a fight. Lesson 2. Classical Arnis. Various variants of blocks and strikes. Banda y Banda, Rompida and Figure 8 combinations. Ranges of fighting in MA Lesson 3. Variants of disarms with a stick, a flexible weapon, a knife, a pen and empty hands Lesson 4. Self-defense against grabs & strikes near the wall in close range.

Day 2 Lesson 5 Tapi-Tapi Lesson 6. Modern Arnis self-defense concepts and Filipino empty hands fighting: Techniques against jab-cross combination.Lesson 7. Knife Disarms

Everybody was in awe of Dieter’s demonstration, and admired his physical abilities of speed, strength and power. Dieter also showed his charm , good sense of humor, and his talent for teaching. Datu Dieter, as organizer and chairman of the JKD Federation, I am glad to collaborate with you. I want to thank you for your help and support in developing Modern Arnis in Russia.

Here a few comments from some of the participants.

Maxim, has been practicing Modern Arnis for 6 month; Before studying Modern Arnis, I studied taekwondo for 7 years and I have some experience in the fighting arts. The seminar left a deep impression on me. Datu Dieter very carefully explained the training material and it helped my understanding and speed of development of the art. The face-to-face dialogue with the Master gave the students an even greater desire to study and improve their techniques. I hope that Dieter will visit our country again and share with us more of his experience.

Anton, has been practicing Modern Arnis for 6 months: I was very glad to take part in the second Modern Arnis seminar. It was very pleasant to get acquainted with the Master and to see his faultless technique. At the seminar, I received a lot of the new information and saw new Modern Arnis techniques. The Master is very pleasant and polite. I think that I really benefited from this seminar and I am sure this seminar will not be the last I will attend.

Konstantin, a yellow belt in Modern Arnis: First of all I have pleasant memories and positive feelings about the seminar. Dieter explained and showed all techniques in detail and very clearly, paying special attention to each student. I look forward to taking part in coming seminars.

Marina, the girlfriend of Konstantin. Dieter, you are a great person. It is paradoxical, but you teach fighting arts but you also preach peace. You create harmony of dialogue between different cultures, countries and people. You are a great person and your way deserves admiration.

Sergey Before learning about Modern Arnis, I studied kenpo karate for some years . I started practicing Modern Arnis one month ago. At this seminar, I saw real Modern Arnis. I have found out that it is a many-sided fighting system, using different weapons as well as empty hands. All this has impressed me. And at last, I have seen a real Modern Arnis master. Now I realize what I really want to study—Modern Arnis.

Michael Ivanov, the President of Martial Arts Federation , Moscow. (the message from a forum of this Federation): Many thanks to Sverdlovsk Regional Jeet kune do Federations and to its president Alexander Pisarkin for the organization of a Modern Arnis seminar, and to Master Dieter Knuttel for his knowledge which he so generously shared.

Alexander Pisarkin, Organizer


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