Remy Amador Presas was the founder of
perhaps the most popular Filipino martial art in the world. Born in the
Philippines, he moved to the United States in the 1970s. There he taught
his art principally via seminars and camps. He also authored several
books and videos/DVDs concerning his art.
He was born on December 19, 1936, in the town of Hinigaran, Negros
Occidental, Philippines, the son of Jose B. Presas, a businessman, and
the former Lucia Amador. He began studying arnis with his grandfather
Leon Presas and uncle by the age of six, and by the time he was fourteen
he was traveling to learn from other instructors and to compete in
stick-fighting competitions. He eventually focused on Balintawak, but
also earned black belt rank in Shotokan Karate (sixth degree black belt)
and in Judo.
He earned a bachelor's degree in physical education and taught the
subject at a unit of the University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos.
Because of this he was addressed as Professor Presas, and was widely
known in martial arts circles as "the Professor". He later worked for
the Philippine government in the area of physical education, spreading
arnis instruction to the high schools. He was forced to leave the
country in 1974 by pressure from certain government officials. He spent
most of the rest of his life in North America, but traveled world-wide.
He was married twice: To Rosemary Pascual Presas, with whom he had three
children, and to Yvette Presas, with whom he had two children.
Since his death on August 28, 2001 in Victoria, Canada from brain
cancer, several groups have emerged to carry on instruction in his art.
His younger brothers Ernesto Presas and Roberto Presas, as well as
several of his children (most notably his eldest son, Remy P. Presas),
are also active in the Filipino martial arts.