Worden Defense SystemTM Newsletter
Worden Defense System...Because your Safety is not a sport

Volume 13 - November 2010
NOTE - We heard from some of our readers that there were some formatting issues with the last email that prevented reading some of the November issue. We're resending the November issue with new and improved formatting.


Hello, Natural Spirit family and Worden Defense System practitioners!

Thank you for being here and allowing me to share what has been happening lately. As many of you know, I recently conducted a seminar in Dortmund, Germany hosted by Datu Dieter Knuttel and the DAV. This event coincided with the 25th Anniversary of the founding of the DAV. DAV is the abbreviation for Deutscher Arnis Verban, or the "German Arnis Association".

The DAV - not just another group!
In truth, the past and current success of the DAV is only possible through the efforts of many loyal students as well as the elected DAV officials. The DAV is different than most Modern Arnis Associations; it is a Non-Profit Organization with its sole intention to propagate the teaching and expansion of Professor Remy A. Presas Modern Arnis, nothing more and nothing less. To say the DAV is actively building the integrity of Modern Arnis is an understatement.

In 2010 the DAV had 1,490 active members, 240 black belts, with 57 training groups specifically in Germany. If that's not enough to clarify their commitment to the art, the DAV organized and held 67 seminars in Germany in 2010 alone! Since the founding of the DAV in 1985, DAV instructors have taught international seminars in the following countries: Denmark, Sweden, Norway, USA, France, Poland, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, Netherlands, Australia, Hungary, Russia, Ukraine, Czech Republic, and Sri Lanka. This shows the truly international reach of the DAV!

Personal Approach
In personal conversations that we shared, Datu Dieter was quick point out that it is the unity of comradeship within the group that has truly stabilized the success of the DAV.

For example Jorgen Gydesen and Hans Karrer, both 7th Dan black belts in Modern Arnis, have been involved in Arnis for 27 and 30 years respectively with both masters beginning their time in Arnis under Cui Brocka. They have been training under Datu Dieter and teaching continuously during that time. Over the decades both masters have helped to build the DAV and loyally stood by Datu Dieter even through difficult times, just as many other members have.

Equally important to mention is Sven Barchfeld a 4th Dan Modern Arnis, who for 7 years has been the elected President of the DAV. His leadership and commitment to DAV Modern Arnis is an undeniable factor in the association's International success. It is the contributions of these members and others that allowed me to experience such a warm and family-like atmosphere during my seminar in Dortmund. Without a doubt, Datu Dieter is important, but it has been a team effort that includes all the many DAV members standing behind him that have created a dynamic and stable organization with an international reach.

Enjoyed my visit
Not only was I invited to teach at the 25th Annual Celebration Founding of the DAV, I was also invited to stay at the very warm and loving home of the Knuttels, to include Dieter's wife Bea, sons Sascha, Marius, as well as Sandy the 'laid back' family dog; what a great companion! Bea Knuttel is a dedicated school teacher and both the boys are skilled Modern Arnis practitioners with a great attentiveness to academic studies, family unity, and a desire to master the mysteries of the Rubik's Cube in record time. For me it really does not matter what level of martial art skill a leader possesses. If his home life is a disaster, his ethics, morals, and social values will not really be respected within the community or directly by his students. The Knuttel family stands very tall and sets the bar extremely high while sharing that integrity with everyone within their circle of life.

How to measure success...
So what makes a seminar a success? I imagine success is composed of multiple aspects that include; attendance, quality instruction, gaining personal inspiration, experiencing brotherhood/sisterhood unity, and even successfully recovering the financial investment of the event or something to that degree. So all that being said, this event was a huge success in all aspects of the word - pretty cool, huh!

This seminar was sponsored primarily for the unity of the art; neither Dieter nor the DAV anticipated the attendance would reach an all time high for DAV events which increased progressively to 200 participants; which may indeed be a record number for any Modern Arnis seminar. Well, being totally honest it was 197 attendees. But if you include the behind-the-scenes support members whom organized and assisted in making this event happen, the total attendance that supported this event increased to well over 200 people. That's a pretty solid show of support and in truth the seminar surpassed all expectations of what would be considered successful.

An International Flavor
Although it was primarily a DAV-attended event, the international flavor came alive with martial art representatives attending from Denmark, Netherlands, Scotland, Israel, Hong Kong, Czech Republic, and the USA. I myself have never instructed such a large group at one time, so that's a double wow, wow, hey what the hell...wow, wow, wow! Chances are Professor Presas might have shared the following words, "Oh, wow, dat's berry good!" Funny stuff, especially if you can close your eyes and hear his voice, or visualize his gleeful dance while embracing his heartfelt expressions of knowing Modern Arnis has reached so many practitioners worldwide. Truly, that was Professor's vision and I am seriously happy to still provide my connection and interpretation of Professor's "art within your art."

Staying humble
Interestingly enough, Datu Dieter Knuttel has no agenda except to be the best martial artist he can be and share that knowledge with anyone whom is socially responsible enough to respect the value of Modern Arnis. Datu Dieter is elected into the position of Senior Master Instructor of the DAV and asks for no special treatment or attention. In all actuality he could be voted out and replaced if his skills or attitude no longer serve the good of the group. Really, imagine that, voted out of the organization you have dedicated most of your life to; probably almost impossible for most Western practitioners to fathom.

What is a Datu?

Some long-time Modern Arnis leaders might argue Dieter Knuttel was a student of Master Cui Brocka and then Grandmaster Ernesto Presas and just got promoted to Datu by Professor Presas for no other reason than political positioning, financial gain, and Professor used Dieter to upset Ernesto as part of their long-time family feuding.

Well...if you believe that, you need to pay closer attention to what Dieter has accomplished for Modern Arnis and ask yourself "what exactly have you accomplished, eh?" In truth, Dieter honors and dedicates his teachings to the memory of all his teachers yet since his acceptance into Modern Arnis his true commitment has been solely to Professor Presas and Modern Arnis and that is where his loyalty has remained. The reality is with over 1,490 active students he's doing something very special within Modern Arnis. Furthermore, after personally experiencing his integrity from inside his life and home I can say any misconceptions of Datu Dieter's rank or reputation is simply jealousy.

Prior to not knowing Dieter personally I had heard some fairly questionable rumors of an inflated ego, arrogance, being over-opinionated, and his need to project physical dominance. Hummm, if I didn't know better I would swear all the rumors were about me, but the name was changed to protect the insecure and technically challenged! I can easily admit those remarks have resembled me over the years, but I didn't see any of that attitude exuding from Datu Dieter Knuttel. How's that for political correctness? Heck, I'm trying, anyway!

Politics? Nah!

Politics. It's always challenging to find the words when describing someone we know of professionally, but in truth we don't know personally; and yes, there is a difference! To me, Datu Dieter is the consummate follower of Modern Arnis. He refers to himself as a student for life; his personal goals include being the best he can be while representing Modern Arnis with honor, trust, integrity, discipline, and loyalty to not only the founder, but his students and - most importantly - his family.

It is probably not surprising to anyone reading this newsletter that both Datu Dieter and I spend late hours engrossed in our work, yes I call it the Vampire Shift. As a matter of fact, while I was in Germany and staying with the Knuttel family we both found ourselves up nightly sharing personal and professional reflections into the wee hours of the morning.

No danger, no fight!

When I asked Datu Dieter about a rumor of an Arnis fight during a training session he honestly didn't recall the incident. In his words, "no words of anger were exchanged, no blood was drawn and I don't remember being angry or acknowledging any fight." "I am not a fighter I am a teacher and to the best of my knowledge I am not a threat to anyone nor do I choose to threaten anyone unless my family is in danger."

Hummm, sounds like someone made a classic misinterpretation of either the word 'fight' or crossed sticks during a progressive exchange of tapi tapi and just called it a fight. Either way, I was pleasantly surprised at how Datu Dieter just took the news in stride and matter-of-factly wrote it off as a cultural difference or misunderstanding of "what is a fight?"

Closing Thoughts

I'm usually pretty good at reading energy as well as emotions. What may have created a bit of an aggressive response in me, (are you laughing yet) Datu Dieter blew off as "just the way it is". Our conversations were clearly sincere and at one point he amenably stated "I love the art and I owe all my teachers and students a debt of gratitude. I respect every teacher who accepts the responsibility of teaching martial arts, and not just within Modern Arnis. All martial arts offer valuable aspects of character development and should be shared worldwide for the betterment of our society."

Yes, I could expound further on my personal relationship with Datu Dieter but because of time and space I won't. I can unequivocally say, "I know in my heart that Datu Dieter Knuttel has not only earned my respect, but a place in my heart as a true friend." Those are not easy words to earn from me. You can't just pull the wool over my eyes with a flash in the pan pat on the back and a few chuckles - you actually have to earn my respect and represent yourself as a warrior of life.

No matter what I might say, if you have not walked the walk it'll only be lip service so actually take the time to meet the man, his loving family, and his caring students and make your own judgment. Check out Datu Dieter at:

Okay, so how was the seminar? "Oh wow, it was berry good!" I can also offer this comment that says it all:

Dear Datu Kelly,

Sir, I would like to thank you sincerely for an unforgettable weekend in Dortmund/Germany! There you treated the absolute beginner with the same respect as the highrank dan-bearing instructors that also attended the event. Your worldwide reputation as a much respected teacher of martial arts is true and well deserved. The Modern Arnis community calls itself a worldwide family for a reason and I am proud to be part of it. It was an honor taking lessons from you and I hope very much that it wasn`t the last time.

In love and respect,

If you would like to experience an in-depth perspective of Filipino Martial Art teachings while learning about Professor Remy A. Presas' dynamic art of Modern Arnis come to Buffalo N.Y. July 14th - 17th 2011 and join Datu Dieter, Dan Anderson, Chuck Gauss, Datu Hartman, Bram Frank, myself (Kelly S. Worden) and other great teachers of Modern Arnis in the "Time for Healing, Modern Arnis Family Reunion Camp. I am sure it will be an opportunity of a lifetime and an experience you will not want to miss! Click here for the flyer.

Apparently the latest issue of Black Belt Magazine (January Issue) just hit the newsstand and there is a fairly informative article about the N.S.I. Worden Defense System inside. Check it out and let me know your thoughts!

What else is happening right now? I'm rolling into Springfield, Illinois for a 2 day seminar at the Progressive Kenpo Karate Training Center of Amy Giles. Amy is a long time student of N.S.I. Instructor Dr. Jim Sullivan and this will be the second seminar I have instructed during 2010. So, set the date on your calendar and join us for two days of dynamic training. It's time to register so you can attend the upcoming seminar in Springfield, Illinois,
November 19th and 20th 2010
, sign up now! Click here for the flyer.

Tuesday Evening November 23rd 2010 in Everett, Washington, I will be conducting a 2 hour workshop for the Shinjakai dojo located at 6830 Highland Dr, Everett, WA 98203-5125 John Darby 425.327.2152. senseijohn@shinjakai.com or johnwinstondarby@gmail.com

Also in November is the Annual Edmonton, Alberta seminar - always a great opportunity to train with a serious group of long time practitioners and great friends of the art. If you are north of the border, take the opportunity to visit and train at the upcoming seminar hosted by
N.S.I. /WDS Instructor Bear Lamont in Edmonton Alberta Canada November 27th and 28th 2010. Click here for the flyer.

*** Free Training Seminar in Tacoma/ Lakewood WA... ***

Here's a special announcement for the local people in the Tacoma/Puget Sound area. This is an early Christmas gift to anyone wishing to attend a free martial art seminar! That's correct, "Five Hours of Training for Free," the only charge is a $10.00 fee for facility usage, the seminar will be held at the Crossfit No Limits gym in Lakewood Washington at 8404 Steilacoom Blvd SW 98498 I am looking forward to Saturday, December 4th, 2010 from 11:30 to 5 PM. This should be a great opportunity to experience the training methods of the Worden Defense System and Natural Spirit Int'l.

You can train with many of the senior instructors of N.S.I. / WDS and learn Modern Arnis, Jeet Kune Do, Non Classical Gung Fu, Tactical Knife, Self Defense, Ground Fighting, Kickboxing and other aspects of Martial Arts. The training sessions will be divided into different groups depending on skill, experience, and subject matter.

N.S.I. / WDS Instructors include: Kelly S. Worden, Ian Allen, Ken Smith, Corey Minatani, Bob McCluskey, Martin Gonzalez, Dr. Christian Cohen, Shaun Eastman, Morgan Bellinger, Dr. Jeff Cooper, Steve Alagna, Dave Harrington, Stuart Craig, Chris Arena, Aaron Salade, and others, sign up now to reserve your spot!

Call: 253-678-7658 or e-mail kellysworden@comcast.net

Click here for the flyer.

Attendance is limited to the first 75 people to Pre-register!

Respect and brotherhood,

Kelly S. Worden
Grandmaster, Worden Defense System
Founder, Natural Spirit International

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