In Search of the Soul of Modern Arnis
Bram Frank is a first generation, personal student of the late Grandmaster and
founder of Modern Arnis, Professor Remy Presas. He has studied martial arts for 39
years, has certification in several arts and been involved in the Tactical application of
the arts for many of those years. More than two decades of that time has been in
Modern Arnis and the Filipino martial arts. Bram Frank does not consider himself to
be Professor Presas’ highest ranked Black belt, most senior student, toughest fighter,
the chosen one to inherit the art of Modern Arnis or any other such claims. He is, in
his own words, “one of the Professor’s better teachers; he was an instructor and made
other instructors in his image and with an understanding of making the art our own.
He encouraged innovation and he wanted us to make ‘Modern Arnis the art within
our art’. Hopefully I do justice and honor to Professor and Modern Arnis by teaching
his art as he would want it taught.”
Remy Presas, in his time in the USA, became known as the “Man with the sticks.” He
put on dazzling displays of Arnis, constantly showing and teaching the beauty of the
Art of Arnis to all who wanted to see and learn. He wanted Arnis to be as universally
accepted as Karate, Jujitsu, and Kung Fu. He was the founder of the seminar learning
programs, novel in his time and a fixture in today’s martial art world. He was the
innovator of a way of learning, which in colleges today is seen as long distance
learning. Because of Professor Remy Presas, Arnis in America became synonymous
with stick fighting.
Many Modern Arnis instructors do not know that Modern Arnis was truly a bladed CSSD / SC logo
art. This is due to its founder, Professor Presas, and how he taught the art. Over the Representation: horizontal
years, due to Professor Presas’ abhorrence of the violence of cutting, his personal motion is Sinawali; vertical
philosophy and fear of the image of teaching a deadly art, Modern Arnis has been circles are Redonda X; and in the
taught as a “stick art” to many in America and abroad. This teaching in no way center of the circle is Abaniko
negates its usefulness as a combative art; it only changes its conceptual usage. Professor double action.
Presas wanted Arnis accepted by the world, to give a good image to the Filipino
Martial Art. He wanted nothing to take away from that beauty: those dazzling
whirling sticks, the beauty of the Sinawali, the Redonda X movement. But within
this beauty, this art, lies another hidden part, the soul of the art. The soul of Arnis is
not pretty, it is not kind, and it is unforgiving and lethal in nature. The soul of Arnis
is the art of self-defense and the art of the blade. As Professor Remy Presas put it,
Bram Frank 1
Roland Dantes and Bram Frank
Kassel, Germany 2004
“Self-defense is the soul of Arnis; it is Arnis’ reason for being, as the legend goes.”
(Modern Arnis: Philippine Style of Stick Fighting 1974)
In the same volume, he added:
“Arnis today has experienced changes in the weapons used. Although the art
still makes use of the Itak or the Bolo now and then, it has relied considerably
on the use of the cane as a self-defense weapon. This is not because the cane
is less deadly than the bladed weapons but mainly because, in later years,
Arnis is engaged in more as a sport…because concentration on the use of the
cane in the game of Arnis is relevant to the aims and programs of the New
Society, which abhors the use of guns and bladed weapons to keep peace and
order in the country.”
Professor Presas was an educator who found a way to preserve the native sport
culture of Arnis and the art of Arnis as an expression of self-defense and freedom. He
brought Arnis concepts to the Philippine people in a way they could readily learn.
He brought Arnis into the Philippine school system where it resides today. He
explained “I organized my own system of self defense. I still use their system. I
change all the characteristics. I’m not interested in fighting. I am interested in
From an early age, Bram was very interested in the blade and its usage and persisted
in gaining knowledge from Professor Presas. The persistence paid off and Professor
Presas encouraged Bram to study the art of the blade, both the tactical fighting knife
and the long knife of the Presas family: the jungle bolo. The Presas family has a
history of teaching Jungle Bolo to freedom fighters in the Philippines. Leon Presas
(his grandfather), Barong Presas (his uncle), and his father Jose trained the Filipino
Scouts and the first Bolo Battalion during WW II. During and immediately after
WWII, both his grandfather and uncle taught him the art of the Bolo. Many years
later as an adult, Professor Presas, accompanied by Grand Masters Roland Dantes
and Vic Sanchez, continued the tradition by teaching the Filipino Scouts, the Military
and Anti-Terror troops the art of the Bolo. Together, Professor Presas and GM Roland
Dantes presented this Bolo fighting openly to the watching martial arts world at
Aaron Banks World of Martial Arts in New York City. It was electrifying and was the
end to the open showing of the use of the Bolo here in the USA. The concepts of the
Bolo became the movements of the stick! Professor Presas taught these bolo skills to
Bram and, after many years of training, presented to him a set of jungle bolos used by
Grandfather Leon and Uncle Barong Presas.
Bram Frank with Darren In the Philippines, it is known and understood that Modern Arnis, just like many
Davis (UK - CSSD director) other Arnis systems, is originally blade oriented. Whether they are from IMAFP, such
UK, London 2005. as Guro Samuel “Bambit” Dulay and Cristino Vasquez, or The Modern Arnis Senior
Master Council like GM Vic Sanchez and GM Roland Dantes, all were taught Bolo
2 MASTERS OF THE BLADE
Vic Sanchez and Bram Frank
at Manila Hotel,
Manila, Philippines, 2005
– blade oriented Modern Arnis. It was very real to them that even if the stick was used
to represent the blade, and the techniques used worked only with a stick, the
understanding of the blade was still there. Grandmasters Roland Dantes and Vic
Sanchez asked Bram and Punong Guro Greg Beeman this question while they were
in the Philippines in February 2004: “In the USA and Europe, why do people think
Modern Arnis is a system of just stick fighting and not one based on the blade or
Bram told them that Professor never openly taught bolo or blade for fear of making
the art unacceptable to the public: it seems too fearsome and lethal. GM Sanchez and
GM Dantes agreed that that was what they knew and had heard from Professor
Presas. They both told Bram and Guro Greg Beeman what Professor had told them:
that Bram might be the only one outside the Philippines to whom he had directly
taught the use of the Bolo. Unfortunately, because of this, many think that the Art
of Modern Arnis is a stick Art exclusively.
In honor of the Presas family, Professor Presas and his teaching, and of Modern
Arnis, Bram now specializes in Modern Arnis knife and bolo applications. Bram and
his students want to ensure that the legacy of the Presas blade and the bolo will
continue to live on as taught to him by Professor Presas. Instead of that legacy being
hidden, the legacy of the Presas blade is taught as a major component of Modern
Arnis co-existing with the beauty of the stick.
The Filipino bolo is a very different tool, unique to itself. It is not a sword, it is a long
knife. Yet, it shares characteristics of both, for it can be used close-in like a knife or at
long range like a sword. It measures from your armpit to your palm, so that the blade
can move within your arms without cutting your own arms.
There are two general types of bolos: agricultural bolos, which are designed for work
but can be used for self defense, and jungle bolos, which are designed for self defense
and are very poor working tools. Agricultural bolos have broad tips and blades.
Fighting bolos (Jungle Bolos) have thin blades and very tapered sharp-pointed tips.
The bolo can be a close quarter tool or allow one to move out to a Largo Mano range
In Modern Arnis bolo, blocks are done with the flat of the blade. This can be seen
conceptually as either (1) a part of Palis Palis, passing with the back, flat or tip,
yielding to the incoming attack or (2) meet the force, catching the incoming attack on
the flat where force to force (stick application power blocking) becomes meet the force
by yielding to the attack or direct application of Abaniko. Because in Modern Arnis
the support block is braced with the live hand, the flat is a perfect place to support Amy Kirschner
the blade. One doesn’t hit or block edge to edge for fear of breaking one’s blade or (aka Daughter #2, Bram
locking your edge to his edge, or putting one’s own hands near the live edge. From Frank’s protege)
Bram Frank 3
Knives designed by Bram Frank.
Named after Filipino heritage: Lapu-lapu, Abaniko,
Ekrimador, Tusok (small curved knives) and
Guntings (civilian and military models).
there, upward figure-eight cutting is used, or side to side (Banda y Banda) cutting is employed.
“This technique was introduced to me by my grandfather when I first started Arnis. He taught me
in the mountains of Negros Occidental, Philippines. I practiced my grandfather’s style for six or
seven years. I do that. I make the motion of the figure eight and the Banda y Banda. I do that and
practice by myself. My style of fighting is cutting, you know the Figure Eight cut, the Banda y
Banda cut. I will not stay close. I will move in and out and cut! Cut again. They could not grab me
and I always cut!” (Professor Remy Presas interview with Joe Rebelo)
The Bolo blade cuts forward from tip to heel like a chef cutting or backward from heel to toe as in a striking
motion. Its strength is in its ability to move quickly and cut deeply. Because the Modern Arnis Bolo is a
light jungle bolo, the cuts are into the underside of the joints, de-boning the limbs, cutting connective
tissue and effectively de-fanging the snake. Bellies of muscles are the targets, not bones. The pattern or
Abecidario of Modern Arnis is the way to understand the effective target zones for bladed use.
“The 12 angles of attack in modern Arnis are both a way of memorizing the major, vital areas of the
body that can be attacked, and also a sequence of strikes practiced as a drill in a specific order to
familiarize the student with the 12 basic strikes. Though the instructions are shown (in the text)
for right hand only, you should practice the left hand equally…” (Professor Presas: Modern Arnis
- The Filipino art of Stickfighting USA 1983)
A constant reminder Prof. Presas voiced again and again was, “I am left handed, you know. If you use the
right, the left is backward, you know. Everything is backward. You must know the left hand. It is not the
same as doing the mirror!”
The art of the bolo is a family tradition. It has patterns and ways with which to respond, elements brought
by experience. Bolo has the experience of wars behind it. The small blade, the tactical knife, is different.
Most Filipinos know knife fighting in a simple direct way; they poke and cut. But what is known today as
Filipino knife fighting or Filipino blade are truly innovations from first generation students of the old
masters. The translation of Filipino concepts married to today’s blades makes up a formidable method of
knife use - close quarter knife combat, tempered by traditional ideas and forged by the desire to be
innovative. The masters found the students they trusted to teach knife, knowing that these students
themselves would find the truth and the way, thus relieving the Masters of directly saying or showing the
deadly art of the blade.
While Professor Presas was in the Philippines, he told Datu Shishir Inocalla and Master Samuel Dulay that
he had two knife students in the USA. One student had his own knife work and the other, Bram, was the
one whom Professor Presas chose to teach knife. This was related directly to Bram by these two Modern
Arnis masters at the 2005 Modern Arnis International Summer Camp in Brevard, North Carolina. Bram
taught alongside Master Dulay and Datu Inocalla at this camp.
Over the years Professor Presas sent Bram to study the art of the knife with other Filipino blade instructors.
One of the first was Datu Shishir Inocalla, with whom Bram worked on close quarter blade and Balisong.
Professor Presas sent Bram to do the knife of Doce Pares with GM Dionisio Canete, LAMECO knife with
the late Edgar Sulite, and the knife drills of the late Professor Vee.
4 MASTERS OF THE BLADE
Bram Frank and
Paddy Baker (Senior UK - CSSD student)
UK, London 2005
By working with these other instructors and Professor Presas came innovations in use of the tactical knife.
Innovations from “De-Fang the Snake” became Bio-Mechanical Cutting, the direct targeting of areas
designed to destroy form in order to impair function. Termination (killing) was no longer a key component;
termination could be applied at any time after interception for stopping function. Rendering the opponent
unable to respond became imperative legally, morally and rationally.
From these studies, as well as from using the fundamentals of Modern Arnis, Bram has designed a couple
of combative blades, “train the trainer” training systems and several modern tactical knives. All the training
programs use the core concepts of Modern Arnis: Sinawali application, Tapi-Tapi, “Brush, Trap, Strike”,
Palis-Palis, and “go with the flow.” Like Gil Hibben, who designed Ed Parker’s Kenpo Fighting Knife, all
of Bram’s knife designs were approved by Professor Presas and are made to compliment Modern Arnis.
Bram has worked on various knife designs, from his first kinetic tactical folding knife, the Escalator, and its
evolutionary sibling, the Gunting (made by Spyderco), to his fixed blade tactical fighters, the Abaniko
(Ontario Knives) and Lapu Lapu (Strider Knives). The Abanico and Lapu Lapu were designed for the US
The blade-training program Bram designed is called MBC2: Modular Blade Concepts – Modular Blade
Craft. It is really Modern Arnis done in small modules, thus allowing it to be learned quickly in a short
amount of time and based on the combat reality of today. The military and others learned long ago that
humans learn in clusters of threes, and Modular continues that trend. It is a way for Bram to do as Professor
Presas did and teach the core concepts of Modern Arnis. Below is Bram’s fundamental theory of teaching
Modern Arnis blade work.
Modular Learning: the key to Train the Trainer teaching
“The key to Modular learning is its simplicity. That’s correct: SIMPLICITY. If what one teaches is
simple and the training methodology is simple, then the chance that the subject is remembered as
it was taught and useful to the students under duress is enhanced.” (Bram Frank)
Modules are easy to learn. As one learns or masters a module, the next module is learned. If one cannot
remember the new module, it’s not as important as BEING ABLE to remember the first module. Most
modules are sets of three moves. Humans can remember three things, especially if there’s an order to them.
Is that important? Yes, because anything that’s easy and comfortable we tend to accept readily. Modules are
also great, for we humans like to build on foundations, to stack things up, to put things together. It’s in our
nature. Therefore, teaching by modular units allows for the best comment an instructor can ever hear from
the student: “I can do this”.
Modules also allow for exact duplication of training methodology over a large scale while allowing personal
interpretation. How? Each Module is exact. It’s taught as an exact piece. It’s like making a quilt. Each frame
or piece of the quilt is designed in a particular pattern, a pattern that never varies. To get variation in the
quilt, several unique patterns are made. Again, each square is unique unto itself. If there are only 4 unique
patterns and 4 different color versions of each, there are now 16 different patches or frames to the quilt.
That gives 256 possible combinations before a repeat happens. That’s a lot of variation. That means no two
quilts would be exactly the same, yet each is made up of identical parts. The same applies to teaching. Each
Bram Frank 5
Bram Frank and Amy Kirschner
performing Modern Arnis bolo techniques.
person learns the identical modules, but how they are put together is up to the
individual. Yet at the lowest level, the building blocks or frames of the quilt, the
modules are identical. These are the same principles as those of Modern Arnis:
progressive learning by simple building blocks. This is uniformity and individualism
at the same time, Yin & Yang, duality within the same space, a dichotomy of action,
martial arts and self-defense being taught at its best.
In February 2005, the Senior Master Council of Modern Arnis recognized Bram in
the Philippines as a Senior Master Instructor of Arnis/Modern Arnis. He is the
current Director of Modern Tactical Styles for the World Head of Family Sokeship
Council. He is currently the Chief Instructor of Edged Weapons Training at the S2
Institute Police-Security Academy. He is the Director and Founder of CSSD/SC or
Common Sense Self Defense / Street Combat.
Bram’s first love is teaching and he is available for seminars both public and private.
He teaches seminars world wide to martial artists, Law Enforcement, Military and
Security groups. He has a full force continuum program using the Gunting that he
teaches to PSD, Security and Law Enforcement worldwide. Bram has also come up
with a tactical Train the Trainer program for edged tool usage called MODULAR,
which can be taught to others completely in 6 hours and to be taught by others after
12 hours of instruction.
Bram runs one of the largest knife/ counter-knife camps, The Commandments of Steel,
in Tel Aviv, Israel each year, which is now going on its eighth year. He has a full DVD
instructional series as well as accompanying books on the training. He and one of his
Black Belt instructors, Greg Beeman, have also developed an Extreme CQC (close
quarters combat) combat shooting course for self-defense applications.
Bram Frank teaching
at Datu Dieter Knuttel’s school
Kassel, Germany 2004
6 MASTERS OF THE BLADE
Dieter Knuttel, Edessa Ramos and Bram Frank
at Knife and Bolo Seminar
Dortmund, Germany, March 2005.
Bram can be contacted at www.CSSDSC.com, where he lists his upcoming seminars (such as instructor
camps), has a discussion forum, a photo gallery of events, and of course, an online shop to buy training
tools. Designed by Bram, these are aluminum trainers with full grind lines and have red handles. They
match exactly their live blade counterparts. Live blades include the Abaniko by Ontario Knives, and the
Lapu Lapu by Strider Knives. Both series of tactical fighters come in 7” and 5” lengths. Then there is the
Gunting Kinetic folder series with its non-lethal counterpart, the CRMIPT (Close Range Medium Impact
Tool). Also available are Instructional DVDs and apparel. There are full series of “learn by DVD” programs
available. His email is Arnisman@aol.com or write to CSSD/SC, 3665 East Bay Drive, Suite 204-#233,
Largo, FL 33771-1965. Telephone 727-319-0550. DVD sales contact: George at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Memberships contact: Sharron at iDoes@westcentralsports.com
By Edessa Ramos,
International Modern Arnis Federation Philippines Commissioner for Switzerland and Europe
& Dan Anderson,
Lakan Anim (6th Degree Black Belt), Senior Master Modern Arnis
Bram Frank Born 1953
Director –Founder of CSSD/SC
3rd Degree Modern Arnis
Senior Master Instructor Modern Arnis
Bram Frank and Edessa Ramos demonstrating Bram Frank and Dan Anderson demonstrating
bolo technique. knife technique.
Bram Frank 7
8 MASTERS OF THE BLADE
This series is about a right handed response to a right handed attack:
M01: Amy (on right) attacks Bram with #1 Downward diagonal cut
M02: Bram rotates off line, intercepts the attack with
a #1 defensive cut
M03: Bram cuts through and checks with left hand M13
M04: Bram shifts and counter cuts #4 Horizontal at Amy
M05: Amy steps off line, checking the attack
M06: Amy cuts Bram’s hand
M07: Amy steps in and attacks with #12 downward vertical cut
M08: Bram shifts and intercepts the attack with umbrella cut
M09: Bram shifts off line while cutting through the #12 attack
M10: Bram attacks Amy with a #1 downward diagonal cut
M11: Amy rotates off line, intercepts the attack with
a #1 defensive cut
M12: Amy cuts through and checks with left hand, counters with
a #4 Horizontal cut M14
M13: Bram steps off line and checks incoming #4 cut
M14: Bram cuts Amy’s hand, counters with a #12 downward
M15: Amy intercepts #12 attack with an umbrella cut
M16: Amy shifts off line while cutting through the #12 attack
M17: Amy (on right) shifts and attacks Bram with #1 downward
Bram Frank 9
Bram Frank: In His Own Words
Interview conducted by David Foggie
(Q) Firstly, when did you commence your training in martial arts and what systems
have you delved into?
(A) I first started martial arts in around 1965. I was always interested in knights,
armor, mythology and the ancient fighting arts. I also read and loved Robert E
Howard’s Conan and, of course, Edgar Rice Burroughs’ series John Carter of Mars. All
very sword and blade oriented adventures. I wanted to train in martial arts and learn
about being a warrior in the old way and my mom tried to discourage me. I prevailed
and got my first book on martial arts on Shotokan, a book by Hidetaka Nishyama. I
was enthralled and read and practiced what I saw in the book.
At that time, the JCC (Jewish Community Center) was teaching self-defense karate
for the kids: Shotokan. I really loved it. My other friends took Judo but I was special.
I was learning karate! Karate stuff won out. Then a few years later I found a Jerome
Mackey’s school that taught Chinese martial art - “Kung Fu.” It was Hung Gar. I
went all the time. The instructor got injured and the replacement instructor was
Steve Chen Lee. One day he asked me if I wanted to learn to fight. I asked, “Well,
what was I studying for then if not ‘fighting’”? He told me to punch him. He tied me
in knots and punched me at will. I was amazed and said, “Teach me.” So I had to pay
him privately while I still paid for Hung Gar lessons and he taught me this “fighting
art.” The art turned out to be Hong Kong style Wing Chun. The training stayed with
me and has been the core of my martial arts direction.
I later studied Jhoon Rhee Karate, and when I moved to Minnesota I studied at Jhoon
Rhee Karate out there. Then it became Mid America Karate. While I was out there in
Minnesota I was lucky to train under some talented people: Pat Worley, Gordon
Franks, John Worley and Larry Carnahan. They and all the black belts there at the
time were good teachers and friends who shared their knowledge and experiences. Pat
Worley had a friend of his, Clarence Murray, teach me BUDO. His way of practicing
Sai, Nunchakus and especially sword stuck with me. He made sound effects and was
really there with an opponent while doing his forms and practice. I met my oldest and
dearest training partner out there: Tim Olson. He indulged my learning drives! I
continually wanted more. I read, watched and went to seminars. I cross- trained with
friends in other arts.
10 MASTERS OF THE BLADE
and Florian Lahner (Germany - CSSD Director)
teaching Bavarian Police, Germany 2005
As time went on I became a seminar fanatic whenever possible for JKD with
Guro Dan Inosanto (Professor Presas sent me to train with Guro Dan!), and
instructors like Sifu Tim Tackett, who was always very open and helpful. And
then, of course, there was Professor Remy Presas and Modern Arnis. While he was
in the USA, Professor Presas started to travel with Professor Wally Jay and Grand
Master George Dillman. My Modern Arnis training became influenced by Small
Circle Jujitsu and Ryukyu Kempo-Kyushu Jitsu. Our Dumog, Filipino Jujitsu,
became fused with Small Circle Jujitsu. Modern Arnis with the Professor became
my main focus. It allowed me to study the art of Arnis, Filipino Martial Arts, the
art of the blade, to be a knight with a sword, and to realize the art of fighting with
(Q) When was your first exposure to Filipino Martial Arts?
(A) I read a lot before I met Dan Anderson. In the late seventies, Mid-America
Karate School had the Mid-America Diamond Nationals (a nationally-rated karate
tournament) and at the nighttime finals there would be Team demos. The West
Coast Demo guys like Ernie Reyes would do Filipino Martial Arts team demos.
The stuff was Professor Presas’ Redonda X movements and Double Sinawali put
to music. Sometimes it was Filipino stuff that later I found out was Serrada-based,
put together by Jimmy Tacosa. Jimmy Tacosa hung out/lived at my house for a
bit on Miami Beach. I really liked Jimmy as a person. While he was at the house
we did Serrada Largo Mano, De Cadena, and, of course, Cabales Serrada. We
used to play on the back porch overlooking the Ocean. I think Jimmy and his
Tacosa Serrada are as close to a synthesis as one can get of Leo Giron, Max
Sarmiento and Angel Cabales.
As for Dan Anderson? Well, back then he was “Super Dan” and a top 10 nationally-
ranked fighter. I listened to him talk of Fred King and this “Presas guy” doing
sticks all night and keeping him up; that this banging stick stuff was really
Filipino martial arts. Well, it was really cool stuff and as a fighter he was impressed
that this Professor Presas guy was obviously sure of himself and a real deal fighter.
That was around 1980 that Dan was really hooked. I mark it by my daughter
Rachael being born in 1980 to remember what and when it became a passion, a
mission to learn.
(Q) You already had considerable martial arts training before you started Modern
Arnis. What was the point in it for you?
(A) The Professor appealed to those of us already trained, or training, and looking
for that missing something. The Chinese said in an old proverb that when the
Bram Frank 11
student is ready the teacher appears. Remy appeared. I studied from books, watched a tape, but it was at
a seminar when he walked across the room to me and asked, “What is your name?” I told him “Bram,” and
he said, “I am Remy, I will be your friend, you will be my friend.” Then he took me to the front, told
everyone I was his friend “Bram” and proceeded to beat me up as he demonstrated Modern Arnis. He
didn’t have to teach me/us basics. He could concentrate on concepts, applications & translations and he
always stressed, “Make Modern Arnis the art within YOUR art”. He always added that we needed to make
it our own. I saw him and his way and I said, “Gee that’s how I thought martial arts and fighting should
be.” Modern Arnis allowed me to think conceptually: You are already there. It is all the same! You must
understand and feel the flow.
(Q) How did you find Professor Presas’ system and what was he like as a teacher?
(A) He was a martial arts genius, but as he himself said, he learned slowly so he had to work on it till it was
really his. He allowed me to slowly find my way till it became mine. He was very patient. He understood
that one needed to be smooth to be fast, and soft to be strong, and that if one trained slowly one could see,
understand and master the “why’s” of the concepts. Unlike the Philippines, where Modern Arnis was
taught in schools with a set curriculum, in America he had no set system, location or headquarters, no
school or organization of things to learn per se. The learning traveled with him and varied, as did the
He was the pioneer of seminar teaching and conceptual learning. But as to the way he taught Modern
Arnis in the USA, it actually was more like an online university of today. He expected us to self-learn, to
practice, to teach, then come back to seminars as if we were going to lectures and doing homework, and to
have a working knowledge of what to ask or what we needed to work on. It was a progressive off-site
learning process. He backed this up with private lessons and access to a video library that made him
available to us 24/7. This is not a way for the non-motivated to learn. It takes self-motivation and hard
work. He also taught to each students’ needs, either by desire or strengths...he saw what you had and built
on it even if it was different from the other students. He used to ask me “Bram. Do you see the differences?
Yes? Good. That is good. Can you now see it’s all the same? It’s the same difference!” His way of teaching
asked that you think, that you actually use your mind, that you see the connections. He used to say that the
key was translation; that Modern Arnis allowed one to translate between tool and empty hand. He wanted
us to understand the art at a functional level. He wanted us to see how to translate! His was the first system
I’ve ever done based on learning by teaching. He always said, “Go teach what I taught you, for in teaching
you will learn fastest and find out what you really know and what you really need to learn.” He encouraged
me to teach from day one. I now do the same with my students.
(Q) What was your first impression of Remy as a martial artist?
(A) It was obvious that he was a “master” of what he did. I knew immediately that this is what I wanted to
learn and that he was the man I wanted to learn from. I had found my muse, my master, my mentor. He
National Director of CSSD and video productions
Director) with Bram Frank.
12 MASTERS OF THE BLADE
had a spirit of intensity and an attitude of “I can do this” about him. There was a sureness to his actions
and he believed in himself completely. There was no hesitation or doubt and he was a master in the use
of weapons. For me, it was an old Master of Defense that had showed up to teach me. It was an
opportunity to learn weapons, especially the Blade, from a real instructor of the art!
(Q) From what I have gathered from some of Remy’s USA-based students and those close to him, he
did not teach as much knife in the USA as he did in the Philippines. It seems he mainly concentrated
on sticks once he left the Philippines. Would you agree and did you ever discuss with him why he did
not teach much edged weapon material?
(A) I NEVER saw him openly teach knife or bladed weapons-tools in public, on tape or in seminars.
OK, once, just before he got sick he was going to teach a knife seminar. I went and when I got there he
said, “Oh Bram, you are here. That is good.” And I said, “Of course, to see you teach knife in public.” All day
we did Sinawali applications. By the last part of the seminar, he still didn’t teach knife and people
asked, “Aren’t we doing knife?” Instead, he had me teach knife. Video Quest has it on video.
He always described how to defend against knife or blade in writing, on video and in the public
seminars. He did not want the image of Arnis to be tarnished by bloodshed or the picture of people
cutting or stabbing others. He wanted to preserve the art and the beauty of the art. He knew that most
people would not want their children to learn a bloody or deadly art and he wanted no one to put a
negative slant on his beloved arts of the Philippines. He was also worried that someone might misuse
what he had taught. But it was funny because, at first, when he taught us ‘striking and counters’ he
would always say, “Oh he cannot touch you, he is cut already. If he strikes at you, you cut him and he cannot
continue: it is over! He strikes at you and you cut him. See, he is cut!”
By not openly teaching blade and by teaching stick, he was able to teach the beauty and fascinating
weaving, trapping and complexities of Arnis without offering up the deadly side of the art. He wanted
it to be an Olympic sport and to be as respected as any other country’s martial art. He had me study
with others, friends of his and instructors he knew, in order to learn some blade usage. Then he would
work on it with me. I made training swords and knives for him. I was always making training knives
and swords and asking him the way of the blade, but we never did it in public. All knife stuff at the
instructor’s camps was defense against knife with a touch of knife work. I was privileged to have him
teach me and encourage me to learn the art of the blade, both knife and Bolo.
(Q) Have you ever discussed the shift in Prof Remy’s teaching with Master Dantes?
(A) Yes. A bit. We discussed Remy wanting the negatives to go away and the Art to bloom as a beacon
to represent the culmination of the Philippine peoples and their culture. He wanted Arnis to be
respected not only outside the Philippines but INSIDE the Philippines. Not as a deadly dangerous art
but as an art and sport respected by the world, equivalent to Judo, Kung Fu, Tae Kwon Do or Karate!
Greg Beeman (CSSD director of Firearms Program)
and Bram Frank teaching at PNP
with Col. Gilbert Cruz and Roland Dantes
San Juan, Philippines, 2005
Bram Frank 13
Trace Barnes (CSSD Military Director, US Rangers)
and Amy Kirschner performing modular blade techniques.
He told me that he only showed a few of us the art of the blade. Remy became famous in the USA as the
“Man with the Sticks.” I doubt back then if he would have become famous or a beacon as the “Man with
the Deadly Swords.”
(Q) In your training under Professor Remy, did he stress the origins of Arnis?
(A) Yes, he told me of the origins, as he knew them. He told me that the soul of Arnis was defense, based
on the use of the blade. That it was a way to protect the weak from oppressors, an art founded on a simple
way of transferring knowledge, an art based on the use of the bladed weapon. Some of it is Philippine in
origin and other parts came from the myriad multi-ethnicity of the Philippine Islands. Obviously he
encouraged me to go find many of the roots of Arnis wherever the truth may lead.
No disrespect to the Philippines, its art or heroes, but there’s a bunch of Spanish sword and dagger, cut and
thrust, not rapier as in urban legend, blended with and contained in Filipino blade work. There is Chinese
blade and Thai blade...there’s a bit of Indonesian all contained within the art of the blade. Add to that the
native Filipino way of usage and you have a fully functional art of cutting. The names of Arnis changed
from region to region. The soul of Arnis, that act of defending one’s personal freedom, never changed. He
told me that there are hundreds of styles of Arnis but all use the same principles and utilize the same
concepts of motion under their personal labels.
(Q) What led to your interest in the bolo? Did he ever discuss his approach to the bolo or his experiences
(A) This was of particular interest to me. This was as close as I could get to learning real sword work - an
edged tool actually used in real combat to fight real enemies! I hounded him for stories of the blade, of the
use of the blade in Arnis. He told me that the real weapon and tool of Modern Arnis was the bolo. He told me
of his grandfather, uncle, and father all teaching the guerrilla fighters the use of the Bolo, and that he
followed in that tradition. Remy said that, as a young child, he watched them from behind the bushes and
the small huts and that he cut branches to “play” bolo as he saw them teaching.
He told me of the jungle bolo, a big knife used to kill enemies, to kill people, not cut plants or do
agricultural work. A jungle bolo has a narrow tip, a piercing point not useful in agriculture but needed to
thrust, tip rip and have a fast blade to fight other humans. He said each was hand-made and that each had
to fit the person so that rotation of the blade did not cut one’s own arms. Now the old ways of measuring
a stick made real sense. One didn’t measure a “stick,” one measured a blade for safety. All my other sword
and armor research was on cultures long gone. Here was blade usage done recently and for real in combat.
He mentioned Roland Dantes and Vic Sanchez when he talked of the bolo. He actually talked a lot about
them. He said they did Bolo with him and that they traveled teaching the Bolo Battalion and others who
fought in the jungles. He said the old guys in Arnis knew that it was the Bolo that was used, not the stick,
that the stick was for safe training. He also said he only trained a few people in the teaching the art of the
Bolo: two of whom were Roland Dantes and Vic Sanchez. Since I was never with him in those days, there
was no need to tell me of any others, but I knew of the movies The Philippine Connection and the Sticks of
Death and their involvement in them. It was very obvious that these two men not only studied with him
and taught with him, but that they were his friends.
14 MASTERS OF THE BLADE
Greg Beeman and Bram Frank
at San Juan PNP
with Col. Cruz and Roland Dantes
Philippines, February 2005
Many years ago, on one of his many trips to Florida to stay at my house, he had with him a package and
gave me two very old jungle bolos with buffalo horn handles. He told me that one was his grandfather’s
and the other was his uncle’s. They are very light and fast and cut deeply. They are jungle bolos with
very fine thrusting tips. I still have them, of course!
Out of respect for Remy and my teaching and continuing the Presas art of the Bolo, Ed Schempp, the
father of Mosaic Damascus, just replicated the Presas family Bolo for me as a present, made of two layers
of longitudinal Mosaic Damascus over 60RC core steel. He said it is the finest tactical fighter he’s ever
made; and that with great power comes great responsibility. He knows that the art of the bolo is being
treated with respect by me. I am honored to have a part of the Presas legacy become part of my heritage
and especially honored that it is the Art of the Bolo Blade.
(Q) It has been said that the stick transfers to the blade, but this is not completely true, especially with
blocking, disarms, etc.
(A) One cannot transfer a stick or impact tool to a blade or cutting tool directly. The purpose is different.
The orientation is different. No force is needed to cut whereas impact can be affected by strength or
amount of force. The order of progression for default is blade, firearm, stick then empty hand. What I
mean is, there is little or no room for error with a blade. If one can do something with or against a blade,
it works against the others. If it works with a firearm, it will work against a stick or empty hand but not
necessarily a blade, and so forth down the pyramid of default.
You can grab a firearm…maybe. You can grab a stick. You can grab a hand but you cannot grab a blade.
Ok, you can if you are willing to lose your fingers and maybe your hand. If you practice grabbing a tool
under full speed and reacting that way, you are done for, for as you train, so shall you do in real time. One
cannot beat what you input, especially under duress.
Lots of the currently taught disarms do not focus on disarming a blade, for the tool is grabbed and
rotated or the tool comes in direct contact with an angulated joint. An edged tool in contact with an
angulated joint is called disjointing, or de-limbing in butcher talk or culinary aspects. Disarms against a
knife wielding opponent are like putting your hand into a Cuisinart (a food processor) while it’s on. It’s
risky at best and downright dangerous overall. Incidental contact with a stick can be hurtful; incidental
contact with a blade could be fatal. Force-to-force blocks with a stick do not take into consideration edge
orientation, that is, the fact that one blocks with the flat of the blade, not the edge. Edges chip and
break! Blades are not impact tools. Steel is hard to make. No one would sacrifice their edges to chipping
or breaking nor sacrifice such an important tool. Medieval, Renaissance & Japanese sword manuals all
agree: block with the flat, block near the guard if possible, use the spine for redirect: DO NOT BREAK
One must learn hand control, not weapon control. One must learn edge orientation and usage. Edges
are matter separators.
How one enters a combat situation IS important with a blade. There is a difference between high line
and low line. Changing up at one’s discretion can lead to serious injury to one’s self. The blade cuts
through anything in its path, including the user.
Bram Frank 15
Greg Beeman and Steve Shinde
(CSSD co-director of Firearms Program)
performing Modular Firearms techniques.
(Q) Do you think it helps in understanding Arnis if you know the culture and environment where it
(A) I think historical context is important. There are mixing cultures, ethnic diversity, and a wide range of
martial styles and beliefs in the Philippines both past and present. Of course, some people should probably
visit museums instead of spreading urban mythos about warfare and its tools. There is in the history of
Arnis and its image, in its reality as disclosed, as well as in its mythos, a case of training situations, revolutions,
and evolution of a fighting art. Over time, what began as a way to safely train blade work, using sticks rather
than unsafe, costly steel itself, led to the development of cousin arts to historical Arnis blade, that of Arnis
There is no question that Arnis Stick art is formidable, efficient and capable of many extremes from direct
impact to elaborate trapping. Stick fighting is an apex of stylistic input relegated to efficient usage. It’s a
sight to behold and extremely dangerous to be within its blows. But it is NOT blade work. Arnis’ soul is
spelled and drawn by the use of steel: the use of the blade, the Itak, Pinute, Barong, Kompilan or any edged
weapon such as the famous jungle bolo. Remy himself stated this in his own opening to his original books
on Filipino Martial art.
(Q) Master Roland Dantes was said to be the closest student and confidant of Professor Presas. How was
it finally meeting him?
(A) Meeting Master Roland Dantes was very special to me. I knew how Remy felt about him. Roland told
me that Remy and he had often talked of me, that Remy told him how we met, that he was to be my friend
and to come to me and say that. I was very touched and emotional. Roland cannot replace Remy for me but
he has become my Kuya, my God-brother/older brother, and that is something I will treasure and hold
(Q) It has been said by some people (but only on the internet forums) that the Philippine students are
missing what Remy later developed. What’s your view and how do you view the other Senior Masters in
(A) All martial artists change and develop with time. That’s the nature of the beast. Is one period of a
teacher’s life better than another, or just different? I think it’s just different. Remy used to tell me that he was
learning every day. That each day he saw it differently or found a new way to look at what he knew and
taught. That doesn’t mean that the fundamental principles or the concepts based on them have changed.
All that changes is just an understanding of usage or application or a connecting thread.
We in the USA got to see him change and evolve; it was a constant process. An example: What I first learned
as single stick sparring with an occasional left to right (backwards) version became the famous Tapi-Tapi
drill with the Masters of Tapi-Tapi. Boy, can those guys crank it out! It’s fantastic to watch, by the way! But
it’s still a drill. I learned single stick sparring as 4 parts, and then with a counter-to-counter Tapi part. Years
later I heard these guys talking of the Tapi-Tapi, so I was like, “Oh my god. I’ve missed something new.” So
I went and watched, trained, and we did single stick sparring, same as before except that we got to put in
lots of left to right (backwards) motions. Motions which he used to keep for himself ONLY to do to us. I
16 MASTERS OF THE BLADE
Bram Frank and
Simona Vondrackova (aka Sia, also Gunting Girl)
Czech Republic - CSSD Director
at Law Enforcement and Military Knife seminar
asked, “So where’s the NEW Tapi-Tapi stuff ?” and they said, “Oh this is it. See?” Same stuff, different
understanding or a different perspective, new day, new name, same stuff.
Dan Anderson had the same experience. He called me up to ask if I knew this Tapi-Tapi thing. I asked him
if he could do single stick sparring and the basic Tapi drill with counters. Of course he could. That’s when
I told him it was same-same, new name.
Did I miss out? Maybe. Did I know it? Maybe. It’s all in how you look at it. Personally, I lost out on a lot
because what he changed in later times was stick orientation. What you can do with a stick or cane you
cannot always do with a blade. I’m a blade guy. I miss out on lots of the stick-only parts. As for whether the
Modern Arnis family in the Philippines missed out on things that we had or were taught in the USA, sure.
It’s not possible not to. There’s an ocean between us. He traveled the USA doing the Big Three Seminars
with Dillman & Jay. As I said before, all of their stuff blended with ours where it fit, or where Remy chose
to make the connections and let if fit.
When I was in the Philippines recently, I demo’ed my Gunting knife and system, which is based on
Modern Arnis’ Sinawali Applications and Dulo y Dulo. As I demonstrated, the Senior Masters were
watching me, then came up to me and said they could see all the years I spent learning Small Circle Jujitsu
from Professor Wally Jay. I took seminars with Wally Jay, be they seminars or camps, but I wasn’t a direct
student. What I had was all those years of Remy adding Small Circle to our Modern Arnis in the USA and
all those years of cross training with Professor Jay due to Remy’s involvement with the Big Three. It was
apparent to them right away. To me it was normal Modern Arnis, NO separate training in Small Circle
So there is a difference. We had different influences on each of us by time and country. For example, Remy
would enter for a spinning throw and say, “You know this is not just a strike. It could be a knock out! Then
the throw, very easy. He is already knocked out! You can get this from my good friend George Dillman. He
will knock you out!” But the reverse is true as well. In the early days there’s no question that the Philippine
guys got more blade orientation even if the training in blade wasn’t directly there. Very few of us here got
blade. He taught closer to traditional and family forms of Arnis in the early days. He probably taught very
little difference between Military, police, and regular Arnis students in the old days. That’s something we
What’s better: Spring or Summer? Maybe Fall? It’s a matter of perspective.
We all have a piece of the truth of Modern Arnis. We each have a part of that magic. And we are all missing
parts of it. The Truth of Modern Arnis was Professor Remy Presas himself. He was missing nothing yet he
was missing things and filling those holes all the time. Modern Arnis was and is a living, breathing, growing
As for the Senior Masters? Upon meeting them in the Philippines I found them to be the epitome of what
Remy used to tell us: “ Make the art YOUR art, make it the art within the flow.” These Senior Masters all
acknowledge Remy as their founder and main instructor, yet they have all gone on with their studies. They
have increased their knowledge and its base, yet it still adheres to the center of Modern Arnis. They have
made Modern Arnis their art, the art within their personal interpretation or vision of Arnis in general and
Bram Frank 17
Modern Arnis in particular. They respect Remy as a person and Professor Presas as Grand Master of
Modern Arnis. These guys are my senior brothers in the Arts of the Philippines, especially Modern Arnis.
I am lucky to have met them, to know that I can ask and learn from them. They are rightly Grandmasters
unto themselves yet constantly acknowledge Remy as their teacher and friend. They are good role models
for us all. They shared openly with me. They are an integral part of the living legacy of Modern Arnis.
(Q) Your system (Common Sense Self Defense/Street Combat – CSSD/SC) is an eclectic/hybrid martial art.
How do you feel it compares with similar combat systems?
(A) I think we stand up just fine. I have not reinvented the wheel or come up with a new way to do the
wristlock or something hackneyed like that. What I have done is come up with a better training methodology.
It’s re-packaged by concept things from Arnis and contemporary fighting arts. It’s tool-based. We use
edged, impact, and projectile tools. It’s a Train the Trainer methodology. We have to be able to impart
knowledge and usage within a few hours of training.
That’s how Arnis worked in the old days. In Military, Law Enforcement and Security fields, I have ONLY
6-12 hours to impart my section of training to the students. Then the students move on. It’s got to be “one
mind, one way, ” many weapons. My guys come home safely from military combat and Law Enforcement
street combative situations. My students have survived street attacks and assaults. So I guess we compare
OK with other systems. It works real time. But again, it’s really Modern Arnis, Arnis, Small Circle, etc.
(Q) What combat ranges does CSSD cover?
(A) Ranges? All ranges. We use projectile tools from far way and from up close and personal. Projectile? You
know, firearms: handguns and rifles. Of course we do edged tools and impact tools. Most of these are up
close and personal tools. Real combative situations take place much closer than people care to imagine. This
is NOT threat assessment or management. This is threat involvement! I can reach out and touch someone...I
can smell them…I’m close! We have to know ranges because it’s something that is talked about. But in
reality, one has no control over combative ranges except in the minute. We cover long range, middle range,
close range and grappling range.
(Q) What do you feel are the core combat principals of CSSD?
(A) Use common sense, stay alive, cheat a lot! We use only bio–mechanical functions that can be done at
gross motor skill level. Our basis is “Open-Close” What will my body actually do? Stop function and
remember that form follows function. Rule #1 “ Steel cuts flesh”. Rule#2 “You can’t change rule #1”. We
do nothing that is impossible by bio-mechanical function. And we respect the law of the blade and the
ethics and morals of society.
(Q) Does CSSD cover all aspects of empty hands and weapons combat?
(A) Yes, of course. One needs empty hands to get to one’s tools. One might not have tools, but our empty
hands are not empty hand concepts, we use tool concepts and defaults when we use empty hands. Any of
Bram Frank and Greg Beeman with PIGSSAI and Senior
Council of Modern Arnis Grandmaster groups
(Jose Dion Diaz, Vic Sanchez, Roland Dantes, Rodel Dagooc, Pepito
Robas, Rusty Santos and others)
18 MASTERS OF THE BLADE
our weapons methodology, just like Regular Arnis, can be translated to empty hands. We use firearms,
impact tools, edged weapons, restraint tools and OC spray. We are equal opportunity weapon/tool users.
(Q) You present your material in an easy to follow and well-structured manner. How is your system
(A) It’s a Train the Trainer methodology with a simple structure. It’s like a patchwork quilt. Each patch of
quilt is identical. How we stitch them together makes the pattern unique. In this case, every human has two
arms. That means there’s only 4 possibilities to cover: right to right, left to right, left to left and right to left.
With a knife for example, we can only hold it tip up forward or tip down reverse. So there’s equal (both
forward), unequal (one forward, the other reverse), unequal (one reverse, the other forward), or both in
equal reverse. Only 4 possibilities. Add that to 4 ways to place your arms and there’s only 16 total pieces of
quilt to be used.
We use a base learning pattern founded on actual bio-mechanical motion: 1-4-12 or a downward diagonal,
a horizontal and a downward vertical. These motions are basic instinctive motions, be they used for defense
(Q) Has the growth of CSSD surpassed your expectations?
(A) Yes. We get requests every day on how to join or how to add the Modular program to an existing martial
arts program. We are in the UK, Canada, Italy, France, Israel, and Australia. We teach Military, Law
Enforcement and Security in these countries and in the USA.
(Q) What are your future goals?
(A) To have my own knife company where I can quickly put my designs into steel. I’d like to see my Train
the Trainer Methodology of Modular be the STP-SOP (Standard Training Procedure – Standard Operating
Procedure) of the US Military and other countries’ military. Same for the Law Enforcement and Security
agencies of those countries. I’d like to see my tools as the official carry tools of the various Federal and State
agencies. That way, I know I can continue to save lives!
(Q) When adrenalin is pumping, you lose fine motor skills, so techniques must be simple and direct.
(A) Of course. One cannot beat the law of physical reaction. Adrenalin dump happens, period. When it
does, trained people sometimes only move from fine motor thought to complex motor
thought...unfortunately, that is not followed by physical reactions. You might be able to have more than
gross motor thought but you go right from fine motor skills to gross motor skills, meaning, you think you
can but your body says “NO! You can’t!” That’s why the simple gross stuff works. It doesn’t look pretty but
it happens. We get tunnel vision and time distortion as well. I try to have a system that allows for us to work
within gross motor skill level. Meaning, the sh*t hits the fan, yet we keep going and succeed in what we do,
rather than “go fetal” and die.
Bram Frank, Greg Beeman and Steve Shinde
at CSSD CQC Shooting and Knife seminar
Bram Frank 19
(Q) Some people say you are teaching knife fighting, but you do not like this term. Could you please
(A) I don’t teach knife fighting. I teach Modular combative reaction and skills with an edged tool. I teach
SDR: Self Defense Response with blade or edged tool. Knife fighting is an old style art for specialists. The
tool must reflect the teaching. There has to be protective armor, a knife or edged tool that is designed for
fighting others of the same skill and to protect me while I use it. There is a mindset of calling one a knife
fighter and I don’t teach that. I teach reasonable, ethical and moral response to a personal attack while using
an edged tool. We work on the Black Knight principal: the stump cannot hurt us and we do not try to
terminate anyone. I don’t teach people to “fight with knives”. I do teach people how to save their lives and
the lives of their loved ones while using an edged tool.
(Q) Could you please outline your approach to defending against edged weapon attacks?
(A) I consider the attack to be lethal and I always understand that form follows function. I stop form; I stop
function of the weapon limbs. My response is to shut down the attacker’s tools. I will destroy the function
of the fingers, hand or arms, making it impossible to use or utilize a tool. I also teach edged tool as if a
firearm, and concentrate on something Remy taught me. “Don’t be there.” In other words, get out of the
way of the attack by using body shifting; get yourself off the line of attack.
(Q) What are you hoping to achieve in the development of your students? Does it excite you to see how
CSSD/SC will evolve and where they take it?
(A) I want to create instructors, instructors that are better than I am. I want them to think, to understand
and to know that all things change while they stay the same. It’s a parental unit thing. As a parent, I want
my children to do better than I did, to surpass me. I want as Remy did, that they make it part of their own
art, that the pieces of the quilt are the same as they learned, but the connecting threads are their own, unique
to them or their students. I want the students to put their stamp on CSSD/SC. Like old fashion heraldry,
I want to see the family grow. Tools change, reality changes and even code of conduct changes from country
to country. Right now, the basic thrust of CSSD reflects the country of practice, not always the country of
origin. That’s very cool!
(Q) Designing knives is also one of your passions. Presently, I am aware you are working on a series named
the Abaniko series of fixed blades for the military.
(A) Yes. I helped with the official USMC bayonet made by Ontario Knives. My Abaniko series is a fixed
blade series designed for extreme tactical usage and made by Ontario. There are a 7” and a 5” with a 4” and
a 15” coming soon. The knives come with a functional identical training drone. The Abaniko just debuted
at the SHOT SHOW in Las Vegas a few months ago. I am hoping it will become the official knife of the
Special Forces and the USMC. All my knife series have Filipino names in honor of Remy and Arnis. They
are the: Abaniko, Lapu-Lapu, Gunting, Guro, Gunt-asong, and the Gunt-arambit. My first folder series
is the Gunting: it comes with a live blade in both tactical and rescue versions, an impact tool version and
a safe training drone. It’s patented, both Design feature and Utility: it’s the patent on Kinetic opening and
indexing of the tool! It was originally made by Spyderco.
(Q) You have received wide acclaim for inventing ‘the Gunting’. It is a remarkable self-defense tool and
equalizer. How did this come about?
(A) I wanted a tool that offered options. The Gunting is the world’s only full force continuum tool: it
escalates and deescalates through the full force continuum. The Gunting starts out as an impact tool that
can be used for restraint and control. It can be partially opened to be used as a less-than-lethal cutting tool.
It kinetically opens within usage to lethal force option, yet can be closed within usage to also deescalate the
20 MASTERS OF THE BLADE
SWAT Magazine called it the best less-than-lethal tool ever designed for Law Enforcement. Police Marksman
Magazine called it the only legitimate answer for an Officer needing to carry an edged tool. Police Shotgun
News called it an historic event in the world of Law Enforcement knives. I originally wanted a tool that
would do all our Arnis moves and limb destructions, escalate or deescalate in force, do Dillman Pressure
Point attacks and restraints as well as Jay Small circle Jujitsu. It was my way of honoring Remy, Wally and
George! The Gunting aids in removal of suspects from cars, it aids in body searches, especially pockets that
might contain needles or sharp stuff…and it really shines in aiding cuffing of the suspects!
(Q) During your recent visit to the Philippines, Master Roland Dantes arranged for you to demonstrate for
the police there. How was it received?
(A) Greg Beeman and I demonstrated the Gunting system to the PNP. They thought it was the coolest
thing they’ve seen and they were amazed when I told them it was really based on Remy’s Sinawali
Application and Dulo y Dulo. The PNP ladies were able to control the men and the men saw how useful
the tool could be in arresting bad guys. They asked how soon we could start a training program there. The
Colonel and the General were very kind in their admiration of the tool and its simple usage.
(Q) In the Philippines, Master Dantes introduced you to the Senior Masters of Modern Arnis such as GM
Vic Sanchez and GM Rodel Dagooc. How did you feel to finally meet the most senior masters of Modern
(A) I was totally blown away. It was/is an honor to meet my seniors in Modern Arnis. They were names that
I now can put faces to. They were experts in Arnis long before I knew what Arnis was. I am lucky to have
met them, to have been allowed to demonstrate some of my knowledge to them, and to be recognized by
them as a fellow first generation Senior Master of Modern Arnis. I hope I can do that recognition honor. It
is one of the biggest honors I could have in my life, to be recognized by Remy’s senior students and friends.
I know they are my seniors, my older brothers in Arnis and I hope that one day I can contribute to Arnis
as they have.
(Q) Arnis Philippines has recognized CSSD/SC. Is this true and how have they recognized you and your
(A) Remy originally recognized my Combat Arnis and CSSD /SC as branches of Modern Arnis. While in
the Philippines, Arnis Philippines recognized me and CSSD as part of the Modern Arnis family and as a
legitimate version of Arnis. We were at Raymond’s house and they presented me with a certificate of
appreciation and told me another certificate was coming stating that we are formally recognized.
(Q) Anything you would like to add?
(A) I loved Remy very much and it’s an honor to be doing more for Arnis.
(Q) Bram, thank you.
Arnis Philippines awards
Bram Frank and Greg Beeman certificates of recognition
for their continued promotion of
and contribution to Modern Arnis.
Presented by Roland Dantes, Raymond Velayo and others
Bram Frank 21
M01 M02 M03
M04 M05 M06
M07 M08 M09
M10 M11 M12
M13 M14 M15
22 MASTERS OF THE BLADE
Modular #2 Backwards
This series is about a left handed response to a natural right hand attack
M01: Amy (on left) attacks Bram with a #1 downward diagonal cut
M02: Bram rotates off line,
M03: Bram intercepts the attack with a #1 defensive cut, left handed
M04 - M05: Bram cuts through and checks with right hand M17
M06: Bram counters with a #4 horizontal cut left handed
M07: Amy steps off line and intercepts the attack with check hand
M08: Amy cuts Bram’s hand
M09: Amy steps in and attacks with a #12 downward vertical cut
M10: Bram shifts offline, intercepting the #12 attack with
a High-line Slant Cut
M11: Bram attacks Amy with a #1 downward diagonal attack left handed
M12: Amy rotates and intercepts the #1 attack and checks with her left hand
M13: Amy counters with a #4 horizontal cut
M14: Bram shifts off line and checks incoming #4 cut with right hand
M15: Bram cuts Amy’s across the biceps M18
M16: Bram shifts to attack with #12 downward vertical cut
M17: Amy intercepts the #12 cut with an umbrella cut
M18: Amy shifts off line as she executes an umbrella cuts
M19: Bram rotates off line and intercepts the #1 cut with a #1 downward
diagonal cut left handed
M20: Bram checks attack with right hand
Bram Frank 23
Knife Series #1
KF101: Bram shifts and intercepts with a #1 cut
KF102: Thomas (right) attacks Bram on center line with a #1
KF103 KF103: Bram cuts and passes Thomas’ attack, trapping
KF104: Bram cuts # 8 downward circular cut on top of
KF105: Bram traps – pins Thomas’ arm to his own leg with
a Pak block with the knife
KF106: Bram retraps with his check hand and cuts Thomas’ hip
flexor with a #1 cut, stepping leg to leg
KF107: Bram rotates to right and cuts Thomas’ hamstring with a
#10 upward diagonal; Bram traps Thomas’ leg
KF108: Bram sweeps Thomas with a push pull throw
24 MASTERS OF THE BLADE
KF201 KF202 KF203
KF204 KF205 KF206
Knife Series #2
KF201: Thomas (right) attacks Bram with a centerline #1
KF202: Bram shifts to left and passes the attack, trapping the
KF203: Bram cuts a #8 circular cut onto the top of Thomas’ arm
KF204: Bram shifts out and fillets Thomas’ arm to the thumb KF207
KF205: Regrabbing Thomas’ arm, Bram executes an arm break
KF206: Bram turns into Thomas, cutting the thumb
KF207: Bram traps Thomas’ hand with the blade
KF208: Bram executes a wrist break using the back of the knife
KF209: Bram then passes Thomas’ arm inside with a small fillet
KF210: With a quick rotation and Floette, Bram cuts through
Thomas’ biceps and straightens the arm
KF211: Bram locks Thomas with a final arm-elbow break
KF209 KF210 KF211
Bram Frank 25
Knife series #3
KF301: Thomas in forward grip #6 palm down thrusts at Bram
KF302: Bram intercepts Thomas’ thrust using reverse grip vertical blocking
KF303: Bram cuts, checks and thrusts at Thomas (High line )
KF304: Thomas checks the thrust and “C” cuts to #3 horizontal cut
KF305: Bram rotates out of cut line
KF306: Thomas thrusts #7 palm up at Bram
KF307: Rotating to the right, Bram intercepts the thrust using
reverse grip blocking cut
KF308: Bram checks Thomas’ weapon hand, cuts upward and
thrusts #12 at Thomas
KF309: Thomas blocks the attack and “C” cuts #4 horizontal
KF310: Bram rotates off line of the attacking cut
KF311: Thomas sticks in a quick palm down #6 thrust at Bram’s face
KF312: Bram rotates and blocks with this knife hand forearm
KF313: Bram using Sinawali controls and deflects/passes Thomas’ arm
KF314: Bram picks up on Thomas’ elbow, clearing the low line for a #4 thrust
KF315: Thomas blocks Bram’s #4 thrust
KF316: Thomas starts to cut Bram’s hand
KF303 KF317: Bram rotates into Thomas, checks the counter and cuts up
using a #10 upward cut
KF318: Bram checks Thomas and readies a #1 downward diagonal thrust
KF319: Thomas shifts and passes the thrust from the outside
KF320: Thomas cuts Bram’s hand
KF321: Bram rotates inward and checks Thomas’ weapon hand
KF322: Bram thrusts a high #5 thrust which Thomas blocks
KF323: Bram circles his knife, trapping Thomas’ hand
KF324:Bram shifts and rotates to left cutting Thomas’ arm
KF325: Thomas withdraws his hand, turning palm up as both fighters ready
for new encounter.
26 MASTERS OF THE BLADE
Bram Frank 27
28 MASTERS OF THE BLADE