My response to Kelly Worden

Discussion in 'Datu's Corner' started by Datu Tim Hartman, Nov 20, 2013.

  1. Datu Tim Hartman

    Datu Tim Hartman FMA Talk Founder Supporting Member

    Greetings all-

    Recently Datu Kelly Worden made a public statement about me on face book. I found his comments both insulting and false. I was quite surprised. I’ve been nothing but nice to him for quite some time. I invited him to teach at the Modern Arnis Reunion Camp. Made a special trip to the Poconos to help him out and teach (for free) at his camp. Did a product endorsement on my Modern Arnis Minute of his Travel Wrench and tried to arrange a Datu reunion in Seattle so he wouldn’t have to travel in his weakened state. Yet I’m the one showing him no respect? I'm hoping that this is a misunderstanding that can be cleared up,but I don't feel that it is likely by the demeanor of his post. I'm only going to address a couple issues.

    The interview-
    In August, I was the head official at the Pacific Island Tournament in Chicago.While I was there, I was interviewed by the staff of FMA Pulse. They told me that they would be editing the video and would post it on the net when they were done. A few weeks later, my fellow associates from FMA Talk Live scheduled Kelly to do an interview. I only found out about it the morning of the interview, but I made a point to be part of the podcast. My job on the show is to help people being interviewed feel more comfortable on the show. Seeing that Kelly had his own radio show, it was no surprise that he was very comfortable talking about himself. There was no need to say anything because he said it all himself. Furthermore after re-listening to my interview on FMA Pulse, I never brought up Kelly’s name nor made any references to him or any other Modern Arnis instructor.

    There was no diabolical intent. No one was trying to set up anyone. The timing was coincidental. Anyone can reach out to the respective groups and find out for themselves. If he would have just called me before he went off on me, I could have explained it was a coincidence. Using his words, it would have been nice if he would have “Manned Up” and actually send me a copy of his post.Instead, he unfriended me on Facebook so I couldn’t see what he wrote or reply.

    "Presas Arnis"
    I have explained this on the internet in the past, but it seems that I need to explain this one more time. I'm ranked by the Presas brothers in their respective systems. In Modern Arnis, I'm a 6th degree Black Belt and Datu. In Kombatan, I have the rank of 9th degree Black Belt and Grand Master. In both systems my rank and titles were awarded directly by the Presas Brothers. I teach both systems together and, to give both of them proper respect, I go under the banner of Presas Arnis.

    6[SUP]th[/SUP] Degree Promotion
    Another issue seems to be about my 6th degree promotion and being awarded the title of Datu. I tested at the 2000 Michigan summer camp. Before the test, ProfRemy offered to promote me without testing in front of several of my Black Belts. I told him no, I came to test. At the end of the test, Prof. made a speech in front of ALL of the campers. He said that my test was the highest one in over 17 years. He also said it made me the highest ranked Black Belt in the US. These were his words, not mine. This was also posted on the official IMAF website. You can verify this by following the link.

    In addition to my belt promotion, I was also awarded the title of Datu. Prof told me because of my testing, I was now a Datu in everyone's eyes. I tested for my rank, not to become a Datu. Furthermore, the year prior, Prof offered methe title, and I turned it down. Kelly knew about it, because he called to congratulate me. During my conversation with Kelly, I told him I turned it down.
    I’ve never claimed to be the sole inheritor of the art. We ALL are. But if you want confirmation that Prof. wanted me to be one of the people to help the art continue, just look at the will. I’m included on the list that he wanted to form a corporation to continue spreading the art. The will has been posted on the net several times. It shouldn’t be hard to find. BTW, I don’t recall seeing Kelly’s name on that list.

    I could keep going on refuting Kelly’s claims, but I know it will just fall on deaf ears. Everything I posted is true and verifiable. Anyone can play the “he said/she said” game. Kelly keeps saying that “everyone is saying things” but it seems that everyone is keeping quiet. Maybe he should just speak for himself and let the others with concerns do the same. I could make a lot of the same claims. I travel the world teaching martial arts. I just got back from Venezuela and now I’m off to the Philippines. And yes, there are many people whom haven’t heard of Kelly either. Furthermore, I could point out that he was never around. I started with Prof. around 1984. We never crossed paths until after Prof passed. Why? Maybe it’s because he left the Prof. Of course when the Prof. was dying and soon after he passed, all of the vultures came out.

    If you read Kelly’s post, you can see a lot of hypocrisy. So let me ask a question. Kelly, what rank, if any, do you have in Modern Arnis? As we know,not all of the Datus are ranked in the art, so what’s your rank and what certification do you have, if any?

    If anyone wants to talk to me, I’ll be available after December 10[SUP]th[/SUP].My school number is 716-675-0899. It is forwarded to my cell phone when I’m out of the building.
  2. Datu Tim Hartman

    Datu Tim Hartman FMA Talk Founder Supporting Member

    Since I posted my response I've had people ask me what I was responding to, so I thought it best I post Kelly's statement to be fair. I was attacked publicly, I responded publicly, and now I'm done.

    "Setting the Record Straight, or publicly calling me a Liar?"
    A few weeks ago, I was requested to do an audio interview on www.FMAtalk; I agreed. I was rather surprised when my junior in age, life experience, and Modern Arnis, Datu Tim Hartman was sitting in on the interview. It became evident he had nothing useful to say and said literally nothing for over an hour even when I personally addressed him; well, maybe there was a “mouse squeak” but no words of substance.
    When asked about martial arts I stated I began boxing when I was 8 years old and training in karate during the early 70's, additionally, after being trained in Combat Arnis under J.Cui Brocka a direct student under Ernesto Presas, I became actively involved in Modern Arnis in 1982 and promoted to Datu by Professor Presas in 1988. Now, I am not sure when Tim actually started training but I was informed by Rocky Paswick that he tested Tim for his Brown belt and at that time Rocky was a 4th degree black belt. I just know it was maybe 12 years after my promotion that Tim Hartman got promoted to Datu; at that time, I had never heard of him and internationally I am in touch with thousands of martial artists who had never heard of him as well. I do know, since I am now "61 years old" Tim is a lot younger than me so his actual time in the arts is minimal compared to the years I have been actively involved.
    At this point in history, Professor Presas has passed on (RIP) so time moves on and although I teach Modern Arnis, my art has always continued to also evolve; "I honestly believe that is why Professor Presas called his art Modern Arnis and not "Presas Arnis" he never publicly referenced his art as "Presas Arnis!"

    Strangely enough, when promoted to "Datu" I didn't even know what the term met, I'm not Filipino nor do I interpret Tagalog fluently, few westerners do. I just know Professor dropped that "title bomb" on me and that was that, then and there I became the non-Filipino Datu. Politically it was challenging and I was left to respond to many statements regarding an American using that title. In short, there were lots of physical challenges to stabilize that unheard (non-Filipino) use of status and title. Over the early years of using the datu title, I shook my head and questioned the logic but people I admired such as Shishir Inocalla, Leonard Trigg, Sonny Umpad, Ted Lucaylucay assured me it was the honorable thing to accept his blessing and work hard to bring credibility to the title. In reflection, I believe I did do just that, today it matters very little as I believe time in the arts, accomplishments, honor, integrity, and respect stand far above martial art ranks or titles. What was difficult to achieve in martial arts years ago is purchased openly today for those that may choose a different path other than "time honored training." In succession, there were 6 practitioners promoted to Datu beginning with Shishir Inocalla, myself, Ric Bong Sun Jornales, Dieter Knuttell, David Hoffman, and finally, many years later, Tim Hartman was the last. In all actuality Professor's original premise was to create 10 Datu "Tribal Chief" seniors and my understanding was for the specific goal of continuing the evolution of Modern Arnis as a sort of "R&D" research and development so that Modern Arnis when he retired would continue it's "modernized progression." It has been my understanding that although Professor was progressive he also valued the ideals and traditional values of "Budo, the way of the warrior; ethics, morals, integrity, honor, were engrained within his soul and his spirit; I really believe that was part of his cultural heritage."

    Of course "History does not change; and those who dishonor the past through deception merely seek to devise their own reality!"
    Although noting but a time machine can change history (where's that Delorean?) It seems Tim Hartman is trying to rewrite history, and however bizarre that seems, it appears to be what's happening! I now realize why Tim Hartman was sitting in the background during my interview and not say a peep? He was taking "personal notes so he could be a later guest on the same interview show and "Set the Record Straight!"
    I'm an old school guy, if you got something to say, please say it to my face, pick up the telephone, or drag me out in the alley if I have offended you; but generally speaking I find it dishonorable to go behind my back and basically refute what I am saying when you are in the immediate vicinity that I am in; in this case sitting in on my interview. It seems a little underhanded and I would have to question a person's own confidence to not confront me personally. I've known people in life and I would expect it coming from anywhere except a supposedly high ranking master instructor; most of us "man-up" eh?
    Anyway, a couple days later he decided to do his own interview and "Set the record straight!"

    Again, I am old school, my long time standing in the martial arts is well documented; equally important to me is my honor, integrity, and the "Budo, warrior code of honor; I live my life by those ideals. If I am wrong I try to right my wrong, but if I believe in my truth I stand behind those words until I am proven wrong! If that should happen, " I am not to proud to say "I screwed up and admit fault, I am human and I can accept those possibilities."

    Now also bear in mind, this really has nothing to do with the Datu title as much as it has to do with arrogance and disrespect for Modern Arnis lineage and tradition and Tim Harman's apparent commercial marketing plan to attempt to rewrite history. Although Tim Hartman is the evident junior in life and time in the art to dozens if not hundreds of Modern Arnis practitioners world wide, Tim's agenda on his interview "to set the record straight" was nothing more than to announce his proclamation that "He is the highest ranked Modern Arnis practitioner and the highest tested Datu." Really? He could not confront me personally during my interview that he was involved in, "man-up, set the record straight, professionally inform me I was wrong in my historical account or lay his facts on the table and tell me I was full of **** or in my view, a liar?" He needed a private interview and no one willing to dispute his claims?
    That does not sound like a very confident or honorable master instructor or maybe I am wrong and just an old fart living by ancient ideals? Either way you read it "I personally feel he went out of his way to publicly call me a liar!"
    As I stated, I'm an old school practitioner, anyone who started the art prior to me is my senior and that includes the distinct honor of anyone being a practitioner of different arts, I have no problem recognizing truth and for me truth is “time in the art!” Equally relevant I recognize time in the art more than I do paper; as a matter of fact I don't value certificate paper much at all, I specifically value and respect “time in the art.” That said I can list a whole lot of people in Modern Arnis who are my seniors or peers in the art; it’s called mutual respect and not commercial marketing or "One-ups-man-ship!"

    Let me also clarify, Datu status does not give us seniority over anyone within Modern Arnis, it is utilized in a tribal sense, we were promoted or appointed as “Tribal Chief” of our own branch of Modern Arnis, simple as that! My Modern Arnis is not like anyone else’s and that is what Professor Presas was acknowledging; my independence and my freedom to formulate my own expression of the art. The “Datu title” allowed us the independence to create our own branch of Modern Arnis. Pay real close attention, we did not inherit the Modern Arnis system, or "The Presas name, no one inherited the use of the Presas family name; it is legally reserved for actual Presas family descendants, we are all merely Modern Arnis practitioners!” Modern Arnis was left incomplete, no "heir to the system was announced prior to Professor Presas passing. I was there at his bedside along with Roland Dantes (RIP) if there was a successor Professor Presas would have had it documented in writing; so to clear up an confusion, let me clarify it was not Jeff Delaney nor Tim Hartman, it was not anyone. Modern Arnis was Professor Remy A. Presas' gift to the world!
    I think can all agree that “We as mere mortals cannot change documented history," yet publicly Tim states he was the "highest Tested Datu."

    Wow, the truth is Tim Hartman was the only one tested for the title of Datu and the last one appointed in succession of the six.” No one else was tested, not Shishir, not me, Bong Sun, Dieter, David, none of the others; does that not seem strange, that five out of six practitioners appointed the title were not tested? “No one except Tim Hartman was physically tested, that is special treatment, wouldn’t you say?” You'll have to speculate why that was the "special case," it is really not that big of a mystery if you do your own research into why some students are tested and others are awarded their ranks in what sometimes appears to be a random surprise to the individual being honored by their teachers. Keep in mind, the truth is none of the other Modern Arnis practitioners Professor appointed the title of Datu needed to be tested; why? Because we didn’t know we had earned his blessing or were even considered being worthy of his acknowledgement, there was not celebrations, no test, no preplanned cake and ice cream gathering. It was Professor's decision he ruled his organization independently, he did what ever he felt was right, everyone in the industry knows this to be fact! None of us asked for the title or asked to be promoted, isn’t that what being an honorable martial artist truly means, “Being humble and respectful enough to allow you're teacher to decide your fate?”
    Equally relevant, being acknowledged as a master teacher also entails being humble and honorable enough to respect those senior practitioners that paved the way before you?

    If "Tim Hartman is setting the record straight" it is only logical, professional, and honorable that Tim Hartman “set the record straight with documented proof!” I find it strange that if Professor took the time to present Tim and all others with a certificate of rank and title, I would expect Professor Presas to also present Tim Hartman with physical certificate or a letter authenticating Tim's additional claims of being everyone in Modern Arnis' senior; as a matter of fact, it sounds like that would be a real occasion for cake, ice cream and party hats!
    Logically, in truth a Tim Hartman should be in possession of a signed proclamation written directly by Professor Presas prior to his passing and witnessed by his longest most trusted friend and student "Roland Dantes. Roland was with Professor while he was still mentally alert and they discussed Modern Arnis at great length in both English and Tagalog so I know for a fact there was little or no confusion as to how anything Professor may have said could have been misinterpreted!
    Funny, how Tagalog is so easily misinterpreted by western thinking! Professor said many things to many people, He called me his "bodyguard," Did I ever do any executive protection details for him,, no! I recall him telling another martial artist he was a "master of Sinawali," yet it is reported that another practitioner was appointed the "Guardian of Modern Arnis Kuntao;" oh ****, and my personal favorite a "Governor of Modern Arnis!" Professor told everyone from white belt to black, they were "Number 1" then he would give you a big hug and tell every student they were part of his family; in truth it was up to each and every one of us to prove we were "number one" of our own existence, with our own accomplishments. Professor Presas despised coat-tailing and expected all his students to "Do your own work!"
    Anyone recall Professor making that statement?
    Over the years Tim Hartman has consistently referenced himself that he was like "Professor son, Anuk." According to the actual interpretation of the Tagalog word as Professor Presas explained it, it was specifically stated to Modern Arnis senior Dan McConnell and his wife Maureen; “One of the times I was up in Victoria, Remy, Yvette and the kids and my wife and I went to have dim sum. The term “anuk” got brought up with regard to Tim Hartman and Remy said in his own words”- “Anuk means little baby. If it meant son, he would keep his mouth shut, but he will not keep his mouth shut”.

    Now anyone with a computer can do a little research and find out first hand that there was a lot of political issues happening at the time of Professor diagnosis of a brain tumor as well as many concerns regarding the promotions and creations of the Masters of TapiTapi. Again Modern Arnis was Professor organization so "who has the right to question his decisions?" Errr,, ahhh,, No-one!
    The saying "Setting the record straight" can be interpreted according to each individuals personal views, historically if we are going to set the record straight it is better to let facts stand independently and let traditional values stand unaltered.

    Unfortunately miscalculated impacts due to fabricated history, creates confusion above and beyond the small circle of the insecure. These fallacies actually destroy the integrity of truth for others!
    History reveals the beauty of truth and natural evolution, yet within that sphere of natural progression "we all can see" the distorted manipulation of life and truth from human intervention; the manipulators of truth possess a hunger to control others, to glorify their self-aggrandized position of power and importance.
    In closing, there was no designated "Heir to Modern Arnis" but there is an actual family lineage which unequivocally is the Presas children of Remy A. Presas and Rosemary Presas with the most active martial artist being Dr. Remy P. Presas "the real son of Professor Remy Armador Presas." Dr. Remy Presas and I have spoken at great length and although he has maintained silence to a large degree he personally and legally feels no one has the right to take the family name and use it for commercial gain; it is "the family name." Even Professor himself called his art “Modern Arnis” he did not reference it as Presas Arnis as Tim Hartman is attempting to do.

    Standing silent is what allows ignorance and arrogance to flourish; I can attest to anyone at anytime, face to face or even during an internet interview, "Professor Remy A. Presas would not have allowed anyone, literally anyone, to take his family name and use it as a marketing tool for personalized glory."
    If he wanted an "Heir to rule the system or he specifically wanted a highest ranked Datu to rule over all of Modern Arnis, he would have taken the steps to assure his wishes were followed by the letter!" "No letter, no documentation, no physical proof?" Well you decide...

    Respectfully, "Setting the Record Straight,"
    Kelly S. Worden Modern Arnis Practitioner

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