Monday, August 5, 2013

Speak Softly But Carry A Big Stick or Big Pipe or Big Knife by GM Ron Saturno

Master Ron Saturno
Master Saturno you've been showing me  Largo, "Could you please show me Serrada now".  I then showed him some more Serrada based movements.  After a few more movements he gets the same puzzled look on his face that he had earlier and I then stopped and asked  him, "What's the matter?". You are still showing me Largo Mano movements Master Saturno, "I came to you to learn Serrada". I then answered him, "We will stop for the day and get back together another day"
. The next student in line to take lessons  who had been sitting upon a park bench said,  "Do you get  offended when student's ask too many questions Master Ron?". He was looking at the back of the prior student walking to his car. "No, I answered". That student came to me to learn Serrada. When I showed him movements and he constantly interrupted me to teach him Serrada, it was simply time for him to find another Serrada teacher, a better and more knowledgeable Serrada teacher. Never having taken "one" Serrada lesson, "How could he possibly know what Serrada was all about". He would fit better with a lot of other Serrada teachers, the fit wasn't good between us. I then asked the next student, "What is Serrada?". He answered me, "I think that Serrada is a close in fighting system". You would be correct I answered, "Is there more I ask?". He then said, "That is what I am here for Master, to learn more about the Serrada System". How could the last student learn more from me, if he already knew more about Serrada than I did
. The next student than said, " Did I answer the questions correctly?". Of course I said and than said," There are no right or wrong answers in combat. If you walk away than your answers were correct, if you don't than you answered your given situation incorrectly".  Walking into battle with a can-do attitude and a no-nonsense frame of mind with firm and practiced skills can go a long way to insure survival: Add in a little luck and you have a better than not chance of going home in one piece and not a body bag. I chose Serrada Escrima to get me home when times get bad, other's chose other systems and that's OK with me. But a man can go a long way with Serrada Escrima and I take my system as far as it can take me. It is better than most, but no system is the best. On any given day any body is as good as any one else. Luck, God and unforeseen circumstances can all have a part in survival. Nobody can rule out  life's ability to cluster fuck you  in an other wise peachy situation that "was" otherwise going  in your favor. FUBAR lives
.       For many years I've mastered the Kamakazi Serrada entries that we are so well known for. But, forgive me for learning  Largo at the same time. How can a man be expected to really understand the advantages of in close fighting without learning the disadvantages. How can a man learn Largo  Mano without learning the disadvantages of his preferred fighting weapon and range? That is why I usually use the 28' Escrima stick, it is a good balance between a short and a long stick. But, I can very  comfortably use a 36" stick and can go up to a 42" stick and can also go down to an 18" stick. I can use a long stick up close as well as come into fighting range against a longer stick with a short one. I want to be able to get busy with whatever is  with-in my reach. This is the reality of a thinking Master. We many times don't get a chance to pick  and choose our weapons, we have to do what we can do with what we have available.
A true Escrimador should feel comfortable with whatever weapon a given situation has  presented him. The age old arguement of what is a superior fighting length weapon means little to me. I can do Largo Mano and short inside fighting with a very short weapon. I can put the sticks down and use my hands and feet. Angel Cabales preferred a shorter weapon, it does not  mean that he couldn't beat your ass with any other size weapon. When I hear Serrada people and others speak about the advantages of the short weapon, it's OK with me. If I someone is going to  hurt me, "I just want  something to hit back with". A bat? Just peachy. A meat cleavor, butcher knife, golf club, OK with me. I'd really prefer  to just have something to hit you back with and this is the thinking that propels my Escrima thinking. Practicing with a prefered weapon of a given weight, length and material is OK. But, it seems to me that practicing with a variety of weapons of different sizes, weights and lengths adds a lot of survival value. All of this is kind of backing up the system of Serrada.
Serrada is "not" a close range fighting system anyway, it is usually a medium range system, that some became confused about because of the name Serrada. Many think that Serrada means "close". It really means "closed". Serrada means closed, because we close the door after every movement. Angel Cabales called it the locked position. This means closed and ready for the next movement. We fight medium range because this distance  Isn't  so close that we can't react to an attack and not too far that we can't take advantage of a given opportunity, which may come about in the fluidity of combat. Manong Angel usually didn't  include low line kicking, elbows, knees, eye jabs, etc. during normal practice, but this doesn't mean that many Serrada practitioners can't effectively perform close range hand and feet combatives. Many of Angel Cabales Master's and advanced student's  also hold ranking in martial systems other than Escrima: Karate, Gung Fu, Judo are some of the systems that students of Angel Cabales talk about from time to time. Many of Angel's students' have also cross-trained in a variety of other systems.
Many forget that Max Sarmiento, an early student  of Angel Cabales was also a knife hand Master. A lot of the early students were very lucky to have been exposed to Max Sarmiento. We can see Max today in various forms of Cadena-de -mano. I truly consider Max Sarmiento as one of the very best hand practitioner's that I've ever witnessed. Well, as you can see I am bored senseless. It's a mild 82F in Stockton, but the constant heat takes a toll on you. Hope all is well out there in Martial Arts land. Hope that anyone reading this has a little better understanding of what I do and the system of Serrada Escrima.