Image Source:
Image Source:

[box type=”default” size=”large”] Sound of clashing canes generates exciting ambiance [/box]On June 27, 2013, Filipino martial artists from different parts of the US and Canada converged in Westland, Michigan.

For four days (June 27-30, 2013), the martial artists had fun activities and learned about the Filipino martial art.

Sponsored by Master Chuck Gauss of Master Gauss’ Martial Arts Center, this year’s Michigan camp was the largest gathering of members of the International Modern Arnis Federation (IMAF). Founded by Professor Remy A. Presas, IMAF aims to spread Filipino martial arts and Filipino culture.

For both Filipinos and non-Filipinos, the affair was a gathering of old and new friends.

Modern arnis was invented by Professor Presas in 1957 as a means of self-defense. Back then, traditional arnis was in decline. Filipinos were more interested in foreign martial arts such as karate and judo.

One reason for the decline was the very violent training method for arnis at that time. People would strike the hand instead of the cane. Professor Presas changed this, and soon, modern arnis was being taught in schools and colleges.

Modern arnis spread far and wide, including the US, particularly Michigan where it became its hotbed.
During the recent four-day gathering in Westland, students and teachers alike trained rigorously. Armed with rattan canes, the participants were diligent in their practice.

The sound of multiple canes clashing generated a very exciting environment. The masters of IMAF led the group in doing various drills. Some of the drills required a cane, and some were done with bare hands.

It was emphasized that modern arnis, as a martial art, is meant only for self defense at any situation.

The participants also learned cultural lessons. One evening, the students practiced speaking the Filipino language. It was inspiring to see non-Filipinos try to speak Tagalog.

Brian Johns of Toronto, Canada described the gathering as “a phenomenal camp.” It was a great mixture of Filipino martial arts demonstration and Filipino cultural presentation.

“I had a great time,” Johns said.

For further information, people interested in modern arnis are urged to contact Master Chuck Gauss at

IMAF welcomes beginners as well as advanced arnis practitioners to its fold.