Wednesday, December 21, 2016

GM Angel Cabales teaching

 The 12 Deadly Strikes Of Serrada Escrima
    Great Grand Master Angel Cabales &
           His Protege GM Sultan Uddin

In 1987, at the "White Tiger Kenpo Karate School" located in Oakland, California, Great Grand Master Angel Cabales, presented one of his last historical seminars. The promoter, host & commentator at this particular seminar event was then, Guru SGMD.

In conjunction with one of his former Master Graduate students by the name of Jeff Finder, and his Kenpo Karate instructor Al Thomas, SGMD promoted & hosted the legendary GGM Angel Cabales at the "White Tiger" martial arts venue.

                        GM Angel Cabales
                         Teaches outside #1
                       GM Angel Cabales
                        Teaches inside #1

                       GM Angel Cabales
                     Teaches empty hand


Monday, September 19, 2016

Wes Bennett Seminar

T-minus 5 days
2016 SEPTEMBER 24TH, Saturday.... from 10am until 2pm I will be teaching a martial arts seminar in the St Louis area.
For reservations (LIMITED SPACES) please message Sifu Dennis Moreland at West County Wing Chun 
This seminar is for ALL LEVELS of expertise (or lack thereof)
NO PRIOR EXPERIENCE NEEDED--but if you have it, that's cool too.
Male or female... young or "older" ;-) **some lower age restrictions may apply--inquire with WCWC**

It will cover aspects from my journey and training in
* Guro Ted and Guro Lucky Lucaylucay Kali/Escrima/Arnis/ JeetKuneDo/ Panantukan, etc
* Sifu Larry Hartsell curriculum of JFJKD/Kali/Escrima

Some of the available subjects will be self defense that works, drills to enhance skill sets, weapons (impact and edged), empty hand (modified use of WingChun, Panantukan, Sikkaran, Boxing, dumog and grappling from Sifu Larry Hartsell, Kickboxing, etc) and applications to YOUR world by the concepts and flow of Jeet Kune Do and the Filipino Martial Arts.

*** There MAY be availability of a few private/semi private lessons as well. Set aside time for INSTRUCTOR/HIGHER LEVEL STUDENTS ONLY at end of seminar.

Limited room...don't wait... open to politics/no bs/ we will train, we will laugh, and we will learn.
God bless
~guro wes bennett

Photos by: Zachary Stearns
Graphic Design by: Brad Owens of Snake Productions And Graphics

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Hapkido Seminar upcoming with Mr. Columbus Smith

Personally happy to announce an upcoming seminar in Hapkido & Defensive Tactics with a personal mentor & friend Mr. Columbus Smith.
If you're in the St. Louis, Missouri are the weekend of September 24, 2016, I encourage your attendance. It should prove to be an outstanding day!
Also, do check out his short videos which I've shared links to below.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Good Structure is the Essence of Effective Defence with GM Ron Saturno

Good Structure is the Essense of Effective Defence

Good structure is the Essense of Effective Defence.Here is a short clip of me training with some advanced Aiki and Taiji teachers over Superbowl Sunday. Hope you all enjoy the clip

Posted by Living on the edge with Ron Saturno on Monday, February 8, 2016

WSEF Turkey: GM Gunyadin with Student Body

                                       GM Mustafa Gunyadin with adult and youth students

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Old School Bare Knuckle 
Simply Outstanding!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Philippine Maharlika Kuntaw Association by Brian "Buzz" Smith

Some of you may have read the articles posted about the formation of the PMKA in the Philippines ( FMA Informative issues 124, 134,137} this is an update. In July of 2015 I returned to the Philippines and started forming contracts with Barangay offices, Public schools,National High Schools, Philippine National Police stations and some security companies to get a strong footing to start with. Several people met with me and we formulated a plan. Unfortunateliy the plan was not set in motion before my visa ran out. So, we regrouped. On my return in September GM Tony Villareal offered to help expedite the filing of sec numbers with the Philippine Securities and exchange commission. I gave him 2000 peso to start the process. I had to go to Manila to file for a visa extension and was delayed by navigational failures on our air craft and missed my connection to get to the Sept meeting. So, I bought another ticket and made a direct flight to Naga to get to the meeting. This is where everything went south.
Since I had to pay 13000 peso for the extension, 300.00 for the filing, 200.00 for the ID and the extra plane ticket of over 4200 peso, I did not have much money left when I got to the meeting. Someone at the meeting was upset that I could not readily finance everything so they dropped me from the filing. At this point several or the people I invited to join the PMKA decided it would be better if they just created their own PMKA.
Problem is, I we already had a constitution/by-laws I had already paid for patches, uniforms, T shirts stationery, Business cards, Banners and Tarpulin, as well as set up a web page, phone account,VISA account and had registered with many FMA groups in the USA. I had also contracted for several companies to fabricate training gear with the PMKA logo. There were also 9 groups of FMA practitioners already wearing the PMKA logo and had certificates made for their groups under PMKA. There is also a series of training manuals contracted for unter the PMKA title. When confronted with these facts I was told that I no longer was included in the PMKA Plans and “ Mr Smith, you should choose your Filipino friends more wisely” I have documented everything and have gotten statements from the people who were there at the second meeting .
If you should happen to see someone claiming to “OWN” the PMKA and I am not in the picture, then you will know who these people are. I have photos from July where I gave PMKA t shirts to these people as they agreed to belong. They can take me to court saying that they alone have the right to the PMKA because they paid for the registry, but if we are in court the Judge will be able to see through the fog and see that several individuals have cheated to take what they did not form and establish. If they win and they get the PMKA identity, they will assume all liabilities of the PMKA which includes the bills and contracts that were signed with the names of these people on the stationery.
Needless to say this will get interesting. But, I have faith that my FMA friends will see thru the fog and call these people on their treachery.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Kuntao In Southeast Asia by Mark Wiley

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Why Filipino Martial Arts Training is Unrealistic with Doug Marcaida

Doug Marcaida says that his Kali training is unrealistic. That "none of this is real" and that there is a damn good reason for it. Filipino Martial Arts, like all martial arts, is plagued by criticism of its training principles. That movements are staged, rehearsed, practiced over and over again, drilled, memorized---until it becomes routine, until it becomes natural, until it becomes instinctive. Sound familiar? If you're into firearms training, it should sound familiar.


Training is a progressive and fluid, never-ending lifestyle that first takes into the account the safety of the practitioner. When teaching someone how to use firearms it is advisable to take baby steps. To learn the safety rules. The mechanics of the firearm. Perhaps they start with a smaller calibre and progress and explore their preference. Paper and steel targets certainly do not shoot back. But the skills extracted through compartmentalized training (like how a boxer uses a skipping rope to work on stamina and coordination) are invaluable steps needed in order to progress the nature of said training. 

Keyboard warriors aside, those who train understand that the value of compartmentalized training is absolutely essential to the bigger picture. Yet, we still read comments like "Paper Targets Don't Shoot Back"---of course they don't. In the same token we hear things like well he's not attacking you realistically with that knife. Of course not. It's a knife. Even dulled training knives hurt. 

The point Doug Marcaida makes in this video is that like ALL training of ANY combative sport, any martial art, any sport PERIOD needs to first develop a solid understanding and mastery of the fundamentals before progressing into advanced. That the skills developed in training are valuable tools in order to appreciate and fully understand the nature of high speed, realistic and aggressive training. In the same way that a gun owner shoots paper targets to develop their skills and not simply tossed into an active shooter situation to "train." So the next time someone tells you that Kali or Filipino Martial Arts training is unrealistic, simply smile and say "Yes. Yes it is." ----you'll smile knowing the reason its unrealistic is that it HAS TO BE.


Chris & Doug, Great job! Have to be able to flow from as Doug said from one question to the answer & back to another question. Flow drills are so important within our systems, yet when an outsider looks they barely scratch the surface with their understanding. NEVER, EVER underestimate the ability of any FMA stylist to "have a conversation"

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Modern Arnis and the Long Blade: An Expository Essay Regarding Good Footwork by Jerome Barber, Ed. D. GM & Datu, Independent Escrima-Kenpo-Arnis Associates

The long blade and good footwork are an essential pairing regardless of the martial art system or style being considered. A good number of my fellow Modern Arnis instructors talk a good game but fail to fully execute the footwork that they mention in their classes.  Modern Arnis is in reality a bladed art that is based on the bolo or long knife.  The rattan stick is a training tool and was utilized by the late Professor Remy A. Presas to show the beauty of the art and to make the art acceptable for instruction in physical education programs involving children in the Philippines.  Consider the following quote:


 "Imagine that your stick is a sword and that you are “slicing” your opponent’s arm.  (Modern Arnis, Remy Presas, page 83, 1983."


Strictly speaking (writing) for myself, I believe that mobility, footwork and body-shifting needs to be emphasized more in the training of most Modern Arnis students in the United States.  If there is one constant that I have observed in my 39 years of training within the Modern Arnis System, it is that most of the practitioners do not demonstrate a mastery of good footwork and body shifting.  They typically ‘plant’ their feet, thereby ‘rooting’ themselves in one spot as they practice their striking and/or defending themselves in the various system drills.  These people tend to rely heavily on their stick and empty supporting hand in defending themselves against an attack.  Many of my fellow Modern Arnis instructors will talk mightily about mobility and movement, but in actual practice they fail to execute the very behaviors that they claim are so integral to their art or instructional formats.


I have found that most of my fellow Modern Arnis instructors, regardless of current ranking, have failed to establish any sort of definitive pattern with regard to triangulation stepping as described by the late Grandmaster Remy A. Presas, in his various books.  Without that essential footwork foundation these instructors can not establish any sort of alternate supplemental patterns for evasive footwork to augment the primary evasion triangulation steps that Professor shows in his books, particularly the Ohara Publications version of Modern Arnis (Modern Arnis: The Filipino Art of Stick Fighting.  Remy Presas. 1983, p. 26).  Merely talking about footwork and mobility is not enough.  One actually has to use it in his/her own training sessions and drill it into their students until it is a reflexive habit.  If one were to closely examine Modern Arnis stick strikes 5, 6, 7, 10 and 11 it would be readily apparent that these attacks can be evaded and neutralized by merely shifting your body off the line of attack with either a single step and/or rotation of upper body.  


The integrated transitional concepts which are inherent within the logical philosophy of blade avoidance in Professor Presas’ system should be readily apparent to anyone who has studied Modern Arnis in depth.  The thing that makes the Modern Arnis System so effective, efficient and logical is the built-in economy of motion that establishes the foundation of the system.  At the very core of the system is the reality that Modern Arnis was built on the principles of the long Filipino blades, such as the bolo, itak, kris, barong, machete and kampilan among others.


Professor wrote the following statement in his first Modern Arnis book in 1973:


What should be emphasized, however, is the fact that the cane is only for practice purposes for its basiclly less lethal in nature.  For in actual combat, the standard weapon is still the bolo or any bladed weapon which is more stable and convenient for this kind of combat technique.” (Modern Arnis: Philippine Martial Art “Stick Fighting”.  Remy Amador Presas, Founder of Modern Arnis. p. 9, 1973.).

Blocking incoming bladed strikes is simply not at all practical in many cases.  Evasion and counter-striking are really much better defensive actions.  In Modern Arnis as conceived by Professor Presas, the 12 stick strikes are “…the life and soul of arnis.  They are the things around which all other techniques revolve.”  (Remy Amador Presas, 1973, p. 32).  With that idea in mind, blocking, whether with a stick or empty hands must be seen as a secondary behavior which compliments body shifting and evasive footwork because these strikes are conceived of and presented as originating from bladed instruments.

In his books Professor always included information about stances and body shifting. Professor believed that “… your body shifts almost automatically into the proper stances as you execute each strike.”  (Presas, p. 31, 1983).  But, how can one learn to step and shift effectively if one has not been taught the correct methods for doing so?  Learning to shift is tied to striking and striking relies on footwork to place ones self in the proper position to effectively execute the strike.

Learning to employ body shifting in arnis is extremely important. Virtually all the techniques in this book employ some degree of body shifting to move your body away from the opponent’s angle of attack, yet close the distance so that an effective defense can be used (counterstrike, disarm, takedown)”. (Presas, p. 26, 1983.).

Professor Presas was quite adamant, in his printed materials, about the importance of evasion and he wrote, “Body shifting is very important.  An eskrima player should be shifty in positioning his body at a vantage point so that he can strike with utmost power. Proper body positioning will also enable him to be outside the effective range of an opponent’s blow or strike.  Body shifting consists of stepping, sliding, turning or (a) combination of these movements.” (The Practical Art of Eskrima: 2nd Edition.  The Filipino Martial Art of Attack and Defense with cane or barehands, otherwise known as Arnis.  Remy Amador Presas, “Father of Modern Arnis”.  1994, page 26)

When Professor actually taught seminars and camps he often skipped right past any references to stances and body shifting. He would immediately began teaching the 12 angles of stick attacks, plus the single stick and empty hand translations, joint-locking, double stick and disarming techniques that were based on the 12 striking angles.  In his later years (mid to late 1990’s) he included and emphasized sinawali boxing and tapi-tapi concepts. Professor Presas also made the following statement regarding the importance of the 12 stick striking techniques, “In the twelve striking techniques, the learner is taught how and where to deliver a strike in order to achieve the maximum power and efficacy.” (Remy Amador Presas, 1974, p. 32).  Combine the above quote with the following two statements that Professor wrote in his 1983 version of Modern Arnis:

Notice that your body will shift almost automatically into the proper stances as you execute each strike”.  (Remy Presas, 1983, p. 31.).  “You must stay loose and move quickly, always pivoting to face the strike and keep your balance.”  (Presas, p.  45, 1983.).

It appears to me that Professor Presas is making a strong case for assuming that his Modern Arnis students would automatically find, use, as well as fully understand the proper positioning and body shifting methods without his formal input.  Unfortunately this assumption and instructional omission on Professor’s part may be the major contributing factor to the tendency of many of his top instructors (and by extension, their own students) standing-in-place, relying on their hand and stick skills when practicing the art.   Professor Presas was a strong and powerful man with good upper body strength.  He was also a very good counter-fighter who could effectively stand his ground and prevail in an armed confrontation. Therefore he was prone to say one thing yet actually do another when it came to evasive footwork and body shifting.  A large number of his students followed his physical examples rather than his spoken or written words when it came to evasion and footwork.

In the Kenpo-Modern Arnis curriculum that I developed for the Erie Community College credit bearing self defense program, I included 4 basic methods of footwork and body-shifting.  These methods of stepping are based on the traditional premise that Modern Arnis is a bladed art and the primary striking tool is in reality an 18 to 26 inch blade.  My own choice for a training tool to replicate the blade is a wooden replica of the Negrito Bolo, which is found on Professor’s home island of Negros. 

There shouldn’t be any doubt that Professor Presas clearly saw bladed weapons as being at the heart of Arnis as he understood it.  Then, so as to remove any lingering doubts, Professor added the names of some of the blades that were featured in the art as he understood it, and taught it in the Philippines, “…kris, bolo, kalis, laring, barong, gunong, kampilan, gayang,pira, punal, itak banjal, bangkcon, lahot and the panabas.”  (Remy Amador Presas, p. 10, 1973).

In conjunction with good footwork one should also have a firm foundation in terms of stances and Professor mentioned this as well in his publications.  Professor wrote:

There are only a few specific stances or ready positions in Modern Arnis, but learning them is essential before they become a part of your automatic response in a self defense situation. Effective balance and the ability to move swiftly backward and forward to facilitate blocking and striking are the backbone of arnis or any martial art.  Stances or ready positions are not static things to be assumed and then maintained throughout practice.  The body flows into each appropriate stance as the situation demands.  (Remy Presas, p. 21, 1983.).

Perhaps one of the reasons that Professor Presas skipped right over the stance training and footwork when he taught in the United States, Canada and Europe is because he was initially teaching accomplished black belt martial artists who were in reality studying Modern Arnis as an ‘add-on ‘ or secondary art to their original karate or kung fu systems.  Most of these people were already well established instructors within their ‘mother arts’ and were well beyond the basics.  While this methodology worked very well in 1975 when Professor first came to the USA, but as time advanced and a good number of his fir

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Elevate Your Thoughts And Rise" A Personal Journey

Recently, Turkish WSEF Master Guru Mustafa Gunaydin, made a special pilgrimage from his homeland country Turkey to America, in order to pay homage to his "D/C Serrada System of Escrima" roots. As far back as 1999, Master Guru Gunaydin first began his Serrada Escrima training under "D/C Serrada Escrima" Grand Master Guru Mustafa Bugur. GM Bugur began his formal Escrima training in 1990, and studied under the legendary Guru SGMD, in Berlin, Germany. In turn, GM Bugur passed his Escrma knowledge onward to his fellow countrymen in Turkey. For his meritorious, and well earned lfifteen years of labor within the field of keeping the legacies of Great Grandmaster Angel Cabales, and his mentors' teacher SGMD alive in the country of Turkey;
Master Guru Mustafa Gunaydin is hereby awarded the "WSEF Honorary 6th. Degree Grand Master's Guru Award."


From All Members of The WSEF
Grand Master Guru Mike Schwarz/President/ World Serrada Escrima Federation

Friday, September 18, 2015

WSEF Welcomes & Honors Master Frank Schlefendorf

Chief Master Guro 3rd Degree Schlefendorf

Congratulations to the latest member of the WSEF in Germany Chief Master Guro Frank Schlefendorf. Master Schlefendorf mastered his Serrada Escrima skills under the watchful eyes of GM Guro Ronald Ruppin. Master Guro Schlefendorf will continue to represent the WSEF in Germany with skill and the path in seek of the flow of perfection that is Serrada Escrima. 
hochste Anrede from all in the WSEF to Master Guro Schlefendorf.

Defensive Combat Initiatives Demo Animation

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Congratulations Gura Jackie Bradbury!

The WSEF recognizes Gura Jackie Bradbury for her efforts in the martial arts along with her husband Kevin.  As a special promotional effort SGM "D" has chosen to award Gura Bradbury for her consistent effort in supporting the WSEF promotional efforts with a Banquet of the Masters promotional DVD set! All of us at the WSEF congratulate Gura Bradbury for her consumate professionalism & dedication in her martial arts pursuits. I encourage all who are familiar with Gura Bradbury to wish her a sincere congratulations as well!

Guro Michael Schwarz

President of the WSEF

following content courtesy of "The Stick Chick" Blog: 

With her husband, Kevin, I've been studying Modern Arnis and related arts since 2008.

We started the martial arts studying PaSaRyu Tae Kwon Do at John Wade Karate in Southaven, MS.  My daughter also studied there starting at age five.

At the beginning, we fell in love with the marital arts immediately and it changed our lives very much for the better!  I can't imagine a life without martial arts in it now!
Me and my PaSaRyu
 Yellow Belt.

What I loved about PaSaRyu was my instructor, Darrell Kellner. He is an excellent martial artist and includes a lot of great physical conditioning in every class. I learned many forms, learned martial arts basics, and even played around with the Bo a little bit. Always a humble and open-minded person, I'm proud to call Darrell a friend to this day, even though I no longer study PaSaRyu.  I eventually reached the blue belt level before I relocated to Las Vegas.

David and I cross sticks.
A few months after starting PaSaRyu in Mississippi, David Jones entered our lives.  David is a brilliant martial artist (and all-round awesome person) who introduced us to a number of arts, including Ryukyu Kempo and Modern Arnis.  At the time, it was a rather informal "play" group versus a class, but we learned tons and fell in love with the sticks!  We still travel to study with him and his students at least once a year at seminars, usually taught by Bruce Chiu and Jack Hogan.

Just before I moved to Las Vegas, I discovered I was pregnant with my second child.  As I did not want to practice any hard arts during the pregnancy - it was considered high-risk due to my age and other factors - I studied Tai Chi Chuan with two different teachers in Las Vegas.  One taught me a smattering of Chen style, and once he stopped teaching, I started studying with this group: The Las Vegas Tai Chi Meetup Group.  That's a great group and if you're in Las Vegas, I highly recommend you check it out.  What I learned there definitely influences me to this day.
Bruce Chiu, me, Jack Hogan, Kev.

A few months after the safe delivery of my perfectly healthy younger daughter, circumstances required us to move (again), this time to the Fort Worth, TX area. I briefly studied Tae Kwon Do again, but my heart was not in it, as my husband and I really wanted to continue studying Modern Arnis (or a close enough version, if we could find a tacher) more than anything.

That's when we got very lucky.

Mark Lynn - he delivers
bruises to us frequently!
It was literally our last week or so at the Tae Kwon Do school.  We planned to simply save up and study with David Jones in MS on a quarterly basis since we couldn't find anybody who teaches what we wanted to learn close by us.  One of the instructors at that school points to a man sitting aside the mat and says, "That guy knows your art."

He knew we'd studied Modern Arnis, so I almost fell over myself as I rushed over to introduce myself to the man.  It turns out, I'd spotted him months earlier posting really good stuff about Arnis (and other topics) on Martial Talk and noticed he was nearby, so I messaged him and got no response.  I figured he'd either quit MT or maybe he'd moved or something, so I wrote it off in my mind.

The guy that instructor pointed out to me is the same guy! His mailbox at MT was full and he didn't see my message - so maybe we were destined to meet him eventually!

He is Mark Lynn, and is our main instructor today at Hidden Sword Martial Arts.  My daughter also studies with him in his Tae Kwon Do program and recently attained the rank of Black Belt (1st Degree) under Mark..  My younger daughter is chompin' at the bit to start studying as well, as soon as she's old enough!

Kevin and I are both black belts (Lakan and Dayang Isa) and we both help instruct our lower-level students at Hidden Sword as well as study with Mark.  We opened our own community-center based Arnis program - Mid-Cities Arnis -  at NRH Centre in North Richland Hills, TX in July 2015.

I have studied the Jo under Mark Lynn, and I am currently studying Kobudo with A-KATO. Kevin studies Goju-Shorei weapons (walking cane) with Keith Freeman at Freeman's Martial Arts

I also enjoy the Kansas City Chiefs, sci fi and fantasy geekery of all kinds, Celtic and punk music and art, low carbing, liberty, and of course, being a mom and wife.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Master Mayo a long time friend to the WSEF

                                                         Master Mayo of GM Arthur Sikes Lineage

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Picking Drill AKA Lock and Block

                       GM D and Master Guru Anthone D Jr. Utilize Serrada Escrima Picking Tactics 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

GM Tasi Alo Recognized by Angel's Disciples

It is always a great privilige, and a grand honor for the WSEF to
acknowledge monumental achievements, especially when those
achievements are accomplished by martial artists/ senior citizens who
have strived hard to obtain levels of excellence that may at first
appear to be impossible for them to accomplish at an older age.
Recently, GM Tasi Alo passed an extensive Serrada Escrima 'six number'
exam, that was formally administered by Angel's Disciples co-founder,
Grand Master Guru Darren Tibon. GM Alo, along with two other
distinguished martial artist's, Professor James Hundon, a top Small
Circle Jiu Jitsu instructor, who originally trained under the late
legendary Professor Wally Jay, and ???, all received there Diploma
Degrees under the Angel Disciple's Serrada Escrima Methdology
close-quarter combat system. 'CONGRATULATIONSGENTLEMEN'
All of the WSEF Staff & WSEF Menbership Salutes You

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Jeet Kune Do's Professor Gary Dill and the WSEF

                               GM Michael Schwarz & Soke Gary Dill                                        

 On the 25th of September,  I had the pleasure to meet with Soke Gary Dill. It was a unique opportunity to discuss training methodology, share war stories & discuss future opportunities for both of us. As within his audio interview he shared great enlightenment into the world of JKD during his time of study at the Oakland, California Academy.
I found Soke Dill to be down to earth with a calm that comes from a great deal of life experiences.  It was a great honor to bestow present Soke Dill with an Honorary Professor of Jeet Kune Do within the World Serrada Escrima Federation. Soke Dill was kind enough to welcome me to his community. 
I look forward to future collaboration with Soke Dill and pleased that he is a friend and now Honorary Professor within the World Serrada Escrima Federation.

My professional courtesy, respect and admiration continues for Soke Dill, his students and his organization. My highest regards to Soke Dill from the World Serrada Escrima Federation.

GM Guro Michael Schwarz
President of the WSEF

Monday, August 25, 2014

You Must Make The Art Yourself by Dr. Jerome Barber

As I read through all of the posts on traveling to the Philippines and perhaps being anointed a “legitimate” FMA master or grandmaster, I was reminded of something that I learned from my first SE Asian martial arts instructors, Sifu Don Zanghi and GM Remy Presas, “Make the art for yourself.”  I can’t recall a seminar that I attended with Professor that he didn’t tell everyone present that “You must make the art for yourself.”  Professor Presas was talking about Modern Arnis, his own martial art creation, not some abstract, otherworldly fantasy. 

From 1982 when I first began working with Sifu Zanghi, through the “Dorie Miller Club” in Buffalo and before I joined the “Fighting Back Institute”, that highly directive phrase was stated and re-stated time and time again.  I first heard it from Sifu Zanghi, but he always cited and referenced Professor as the originator of the statement.  By the time I met and began training with Professor in 1983, ‘make it for yourself’ was part of my training mantra.  The orthodox training regime was to learn the techniques, mechanics, footwork and guiding principles of the art and then configure everything to fit your own bodily strengths, weaknesses and idiosyncrasies.

Professor never spoke about ‘the necessity’ of going to the Philippines to acquire any sort of refinement or fine tuning within the art. That is not to say that he would discourage people traveling to his homeland, far from it.  He was very proud of his homeland, his culture and history.  We have numerous private discussions about the Philippines and he was very adamant that I should learn about the Negrito (Mayang, Aeta) people, who  are the original inhabitants of the Philippines.  Those conversations came about because of my usage of a wooden training bolo, the “Negrito Bolo” from his home island.  I had already begun the process of ‘making it for myself’ when I adapted the “Negrito Bolo” into my training regime.  I was exploring and gaining an understanding about the differences between the use of a blunt instrument and a long blade.  I was ‘making the art for myself’ because neither Professor nor Sifu Zanghi, were actively teaching bolo usage as part of Modern Arnis.  My explorations were at first fueled by my conversations with WWII vets, who had fought in the Philippines, their stories about the Filipino Scouts as well as my reading of Professor’s 1974 book on Modern Arnis in which he mentions in his preface that the real weapon of arnis is the long blade.    

I’m a strong advocate of Professors dictum of ‘making it for yourself’.  His commitment to the idea of ‘making it for yourself’ was very clearly stated in his 1983 book on Modern Arnis, when he wrote that “The method should suit the person and not the other way around.  This is known simply as using the “flow”.”  If I can apply the concepts, principles and techniques of Modern arnis as taught to me by Sifu Zanghi and Professor Presas, then adapt those same concepts, principles and techniques to suit my own body, then where is the need for me to go to the Philippines in order to become more proficient in the art?  My going to the Philippines would be for the cultural value, meeting some of his older students, my seniors in the art, and having the experiences that ensued from my travels.  

I’m not one bit opposed to going to the Philippines.  I simply reject the notion that I or anyone else NEEDS to go there if they wish to be viewed as an authentic master of the FMA.  I’ve found some dynamite FMA instructor’s right here in the USA and Canada.  Among those whom I’ve met and trained with several times are Sifu Don Zanghi, Professor Remy Presas, GM Tom Bolden, Ama Guro Billy Bryant,  Maha Guru Roberto Torres, GM Bobby Taboada, Sifu Dan Donzella, GM Sultan Uddin, GP Abon Baet, GM Eddie Lastra, GM Jun de Leon and GM Crispulo Atillo.  All of these men have given me solid, practical information and I’m grateful to all of them for their insights and advice.

I haven’t forgotten the ‘make it for yourself’ principle as taught to me by Sifu Zanghi and Professor Presas.  Nor have I fallen away from another principle that Professor advocated when he talked about “the art within your art.”  Professor emphasized the idea that Modern Arnis helps martial artists discover new things about their own style and use arnis to supplement their own mother-art.  But that is an entirely separate post and this one is already long enough.


Jerome Barber, Ed. D.
GM, Datu & Principal Teacher,                                                           Independent Escrima-Kenpo-Arnis Associates

Monday, August 4, 2014

Excerpts From the Legacy of Grandmaster Angel Cabales By Anthony Davis with Leo T. Fong

Excerpts From the Legacy of Grandmaster Angel Cabales

By Anthony Davis with Leo T. Fong

Serrada Escrima, strikes, blocks, and counters, the Legacy of Grandmaster Angel Cabales, no doubt is long overdue. Since the Grandmsater's death in the early 90's, there has not been a lot of information on Grandmaster Angel Cabales, and his Serrada System of Escrima.

It is unfortunate that most of the information that is available, is more for exploitation than for authentic information about Grandmaster Cabales, and his art. It is the purpose of this book to present a brief biography of Grandmaster Angel Cabales, and his art known as Serrada Escrima. This book includes interviews prior to his death, and the core of his art which is the Twelve Strikes, Blocks, and Counters. These Twelve techniques may seem basic, and simple, and redundant, but in the hands of a perceptive student, it is the seed to develop, and grow in depth.

Those who have trained with Grandmaster Cabales personally, discovered his simple, yet profound approach.
On the surface his techniques look simple, and basic, but in practice his movements reflect depth, and emotional content. What makes the Cabales system so unique, is the focus on free sparring. Unlike some traditional Kung Fu systems, where the practice of form or kata's is the end in itself. As one advances in the practice, more forms are to be learned.

Form practice is valuable if kept in perspective, and utilized as it is designed to be, just that. However, if it is practiced as a way to prepare for free fighting, then the practitioner will be greatly disillusioned if he has to face off with another combatant who has devoted his time to a contact sport like boxing, or kickboxing, or wrestling.

This same analogy would apply to a practitioner of contact sports who only practiced sparring.
If asked to compete against forms, and kata experts with only a background in free sparring, he would lose. Not only is the Serrada Escrima System a practical system, it is also an adaptable system. In other words, the core of the Twelve techniques, and the shifting footwork, will enhance the proficiency of other arts, especially those arts that are concerned with practical applications to a self-defense situation, or situations.                                                                                                                    
As a former intercollegiate boxing champion in the late 40's, and early 50's, and a practitioner of boxing for over (50) years, along with other martial arts, I have found the Serrada System of Escrima to be an excellent way to help refine what you already have. The system of combat has helped me to develop additional angle's of attacks, and counters. One can increase speed, and spontaneity without sacraficing personal integrity. This is the essence of a great teacher. In the spirit of the legendary Bruce Lee, a teacher is one who is the "finger pointing to the moon". "Those who mistake the finger as the moon, will miss the heavenly glory".

Serrada Escrima is not just about stick fighting, it is also about developing the pyschological, and mental mindset for martial arts expression. The basic drills as designed by Grandmaster Angel Cabales, will lead a practitioner toward self expression, or as Bruce Lee once said, "Your martial arts skill of fighting should be like a voice, and an echo". The test of any system of fighting is based upon that premise.
In his younger days, Grandmaster Angel Cabales engaged in many fights. Some were just contests, others were real life, and death situations. The fact that Cabales won in every situation, is a testimony of the effectiveness of his approach.

Serrada Escrima is not strictly based on techniques alone, but on theories, and concepts that were developed, and refined down through the years by Grandmaster Cabales himself. Having learned the rudimentary foundation of the Filipino arts from Great Grandmaster Felicisimo Dizon, Grandmaster Cabales reshaped the concepts as he grew older, and into maturity. Any student who's primary focus is to be a carbon copy of his, or her teacher, is doing themselves a great disservice. No one can be exactly like the 'Teacher', and still be in top form. When one lets go of personal identity to be like someone else, that person sacrafices proficiency for image.

No one can be an imitation of someone, no matter how great the model is, and still have spiritual, and emotional integrity, much less content. Look at all of the Bruce Lee imitator's, where are they now?.
It is the purpose of this book to share with you, the readers, and practitioners, the direction of a Legacy left by Grandmaster Angel Cabales, as interpreted by two of his former students, Anthony Davis, and Leo Fong. The immortality of a person, or art depends upon those who take responsibility to keep the memories intact, and the art alive by that individuals efforts to further develop what was generously given to him, or her.

In this case, the knowledge gained from Grandmaster Angel Cabales, must be the seed for further growth.
If one takes what is given, and makes no effort to increase, and refine, he or she, is merely prostituting the art. On the other hand, if he or she takes the art given by a teacher, and master, and develops, and commercializes it, and does not give "credit where credit is do", he or she again has become a prostitute.

In closing, the greatest respect one can give to a teacher, is to become a good student, and to take the moral responsibility to share the art with others who are eager to learn. This is the spirit in which we have presented this book.                                                                                                                                                                                                 Leo T. Fong