Thursday, April 3, 2014

My Experience in Cabales Serrada Escrima by Charles Rutherford

My Experience in Cabales Serrada Escrima
I had an interesting exposure to Cabales Serrada Escrima and to Grandmaster Vincent Cabales Sr.  My first experience in the wonderful world of Martial Arts is from an after school Karate group. I spent about 8 months in the course and I was 8 years old. The instructor of the group would pair the new students with the senior students, a few times I was able to take the senior student down using my size (I am a big guy). So I got discouraged thinking if I, as a new student could take a senior student down what kind of class is this? So I left the school. My mom then signed me up for Tai Kwon Do at the Stockton Civic Center.  Again 3 months into the class I was able to man handle some of the students, I got discouraged and quit.
I had quit the world of martial arts for about a year. My dad asked me if I was still interested in martial arts and I told him yes. So on a visit with him (my dad was in prison) he wanted to introduce me to his cell mate’s brother. It just so happened that on that day I was visiting my dad his cell mate also had a visit. My dad introduced me to his cell mate John Cabales and John Cabales introduced me to his brother Grandmaster Vincent Cabales Sr. when my mom met Grandmaster Vincent Cabales she recognized him from work, they both work for San Joaquin County. Grandmaster Cabales invited my mom to take me to his academy that next Monday.
On that next Monday my mom asked me if I wanted to go to Grandmaster Cabales academy to see if I wanted to do martial arts with him. When we got to the class I saw students working out with sticks which I thought was cool, in no other art had I seen weapons used. Grandmaster Cabales met us at the door and invited me in, he introduced me to some of the senior students Guru Dennis Serveas and Guru John Thomason. Grandmaster Cabales had the two senior students put on a demonstration for me starting with the sticks, then the knives, then empty hand, and grappling. I loved what I was seeing, but was still cautious from the other schools and cocky as hell. I told Grandmaster Cabales “I bet you can’t take me down”. Grandmaster Cabales laughed and then I hit the ground twice and I have been a student since.
Just like every student who trains with Grandmaster Cabales I started by learning the 12 strikes and the outside block on strike 1. I have been training with Grandmaster Cabales for about 15 years now and have loved it. I am currently working on obtaining my Masters Degree from Grandmaster Cabales. I achieved my Advanced Degree in 2009. Grandmaster Vincent Cabales has not only been my Martial arts instructor, but more of a father figure to me. My dad was in prison my whole life, I had contact with him and a good relationship, but when my Father passed away Grandmaster Cabales stepped up and helped raise me. He is a big part of my family.
Grandmaster Cabales is an amazing teacher. He preaches;  practice does not make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect. He will not move you up a number or teach you new counters until you completely understand the ones he taught you. It has been an amazing and great experience growing up in the academy. I plan to keep working with Grandmaster Cabales on growing his art. It is an amazing experience to work with him to expand his art all around the world.
In Cabales Serrada Escrima the student starts off learning the 12 strikes and starts on strike 1 the outside block. They progress learning more counters such as the roof block, inside block, cross block, ect.  After learning around 12-13 counters for strike one you will be tested on your counters then you will be moved up to strike 2 you will learn around the same amount of counters then move to strike 3 so on and so on. As you learn the higher strikes they affect your lower ones, by the time you hit strike 12 the student should know anywhere from 20-30 counters for strike one, as well as should have started the drills: 3 step, lock and block, and flow sparing and adding the aspect of picking. The drills, more knife, empty hand, and take downs are covered to the intermediate student.
After a student spends about a year or so in intermediate training they can go into Advanced Training if they choose to. Advanced training is done directly with Grandmaster Vincent Cabales; most of my advanced training was done in the office of the boiler room at the county hospital. Advanced training covers advanced concepts of the stick, knife, espada y daga, empty hand, grappling, and teaching. It is a very intensive and informative training. Upon completing Advanced training and obtaining your degree you can move into masters training.
When I started Masters Training I worked out with Grandmaster Vincent Cabales for an hour and felt like I didn’t know anything in the system, I was starting over. I started back on strike one, outside block. Masters training is learning how to reverse the counters you were taught. These counters are to give you the advantage and finish. I have learned so far about 6 counters for all the counters from strike 1 – 4 so far. Once I complete all the counters for all 12 strikes I start will start over and learn the counters to the counters, so forth and so on for about 5 times. Then I will start knife and empty hand counters, eventually you will learn counters to everything you have been taught then counters to those about 5 times over.
Cabales Serrada Escrima is not only a lifestyle for me, it has become part of my life. I have loved being a student of Grandmaster Vincent Cabales and am looking forward to learning more and more in the art. 

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