Cabales Serrada Escrima

Discussion in 'Serrada' started by Far Walkers Moon, Dec 18, 2005.

  1. Far Walkers Moon

    Far Walkers Moon New Member

    Do we have any one from this system on the forum?
    Can someone tell me a little about it's history and what makes it different from other systems?
    If this info is posted elsewhere sorry I missed it
  2. Epa

    Epa Member

    First off, I'm not a Cabales practitioner so what I can say is from what I've read or heard about the system.

    From what I understand Grandmaster Cabales grew up in the Manilla area where he did some boxing as a youth and then switched over to training escrima. He said that he studied with Felisimo Dizon (sp?) for several years and learned Dizon's De Cuerdas system (some people dispute whether Dizon's style was actually De Cuerdes). Dizon was a famous escrimador and was known to have trained/associated with Tatang Antonio Ilustrisimo, Floro Villabrille, and others who worked the Manilla docks during the same time period. I believe that Tatang Ilustrisimo said that he knew of Cabales in an interview he gave. Cabales became a merchant-marine and travelled widely for awhile, eventually settled in Stockton CA. Around 1964, Cabales along with Max Sarmiento, Leo Giron, and Dentoy Revillar opened the first public FMA academy in the United States. Cabales taught many famous Filipino Martial Artists and was given numerous awards for promoting the Filipino Martial Arts. There is a book out by Mark Wiley (one of his high ranked students) discussing the basics and history of Cabales Serrada Escrima, which covers a lot of this stuff in much more detail. I believe that Angles' son Vincent has taken charge of the system.
    As far as the actual system goes, I know very little about that. I know that Cabales was known for using a shorter stick than many escrimadors and for playing at close quarters a lot. I've seen some footage of a demo he did (from the Grandfather's Speak) and even though the footage is grainy, it shows that he was extremely fast. So I'm guessing the style is more of speed based system. This also fits with the fact that Cabales was pretty small standing at about five feet or so. Guro Inosanto claims that Cabales was one of the fastest practitioners of any martial art that he had seen. I believe there is a lot of emphasis on the single stick and stick and dagger in the system. At least, that's what I've seen demoed the most. I hope this helps.

  3. Buwaya

    Buwaya Senior Member

    Angel grew up and trained with Dizon in Panay at 15. He training lasted only four years. Two years with Dizon in Panay and two years with Dizon and his barkada(drinking/sparring buddies) in Tondo. The rest of his training came from several challenge matches and life experiance.
    Hello Epa,
    Can you say more about this. Its the first I've ever heard this disputed. Thanks.
    Others including Grandmaster Jose Mena of Doblete Rapelon.
    There are several organizations promoting Angels system, many that were aproved by Angel before his death. Angel turned over his academy to Jerry Preciado and Darren Tibon before he died, were Daren still teaches to this day. There's at least three different individuals with a title equivilent to Grandmaster in Serrada today but Angel never declared a heir nor was there a ceremoney or document proclaiming one. The closest thing would be the 16 master diplomia students.
    Its close, but not Balintawak close. Its actually more a medio system. The movements are tight, which I've heard is a result of Dizon fighting in the Decuerdes cave.

    What I see in Serrada is a tight defense, very good picking/feinting/enganyos, the ability to fight with very little room, good locks and takedowns, good drills for developing reactions and building a defensive blocking foundation in a short amount of time.

    Critique from my eye is that it there's no consideration for power in many serrada curiculums and that though the physical frame of the techniques is suited for blade the actual quality of touch and mindset is stick. I don't see the lightness and evasiveness that comes from a live blade mentality. There's also no sungkites.

    Also Angel deemphasized sparring as he felt it gave bad habits for actual fighting. So, though the first generation fought and often defended the academy against visitors wanting to "test" or "play", many current Serrada players aren't prepared for real combat having only done drills.

    This is only from my experiance and someone else may have a differing opinion of the system.
    pictures of Angel and some of the Master diplomia students,

    Footage of Carlito Bonjoc, one of the Advanced diplomia students, .
    (Maestro Carlito is partially parlyzed in his lower body).
  4. arnisador

    arnisador Active Member

  5. Epa

    Epa Member


    Thanks for the clarification. I like the analysis of Cabales' system. It seems to fit with the video I've seen. Where did you find your information on Dizon because I've had trouble finding out much about Dizon and Cabales' early training?

    As far as the dispute on De Cuerdes goes, I've only seen one source dispute it and that is on the Eskrima Digest FAQ page. Scroll down to the descriptions of different styles. Dizon's is listed as Eskrima and they specifically argue that it is not called De Cuerdes. They do list Gilbert Tenio's style as De Cuerdes so that might be the basis of the argument. I'm not really sure what their sources are.
    Here is the link:

    Hope this helps,
  6. Buwaya

    Buwaya Senior Member

    A handful of Angel's students from different generations, conversations with GMs Mena and Ilustrisimo, various members of Angels family. Plus I like to read:) .
    Ah.... I like what it says.

    "Some claims have been made that Dizon's style was named De Cuerdas,
    but those with long-term direct contact with Dizon's student Angel
    Cabales claim that Dizon simply called his style Eskrima.

    The videotape 'Sticks of Death', which is an interview with Angel Cabales,
    Angel never makes any mention of De Cuerdas when he talks about Dizon.
    Angel states that "he learned Serrada" from Dizon and then enhanced it."

    I can agree with this. From my experiance, and as I was taught, names of systems are a recent thing. Before everyone just called it whatever the name in their region was, eskrima, arnis, baston, ect. But my recollection is that Mena and Tatang used decurdes in the same conversation as Dizon.

    BTW, in "the secrets of Cables Serrada Eskrima" a story is related that a visitor to Angel's class actually coined the name Serrada, observing Angels movements and stateing, "oh, you have lots of serrada(closing) moves..."

    You can find detailed info on Serrada in the books arnisador posted. Secrets of Serrada is the better of the two for historical purposes, but there's alot left not said.
  7. Sheldon Bedell

    Sheldon Bedell New Member

  8. arnisador

    arnisador Active Member

    Yes, both are from Tuttle Publishing!
  9. blindside

    blindside student

    Another reference on Cabales Serrada is J.C. Cabiero's "The Pure Art of Cabales Serrada Escrima."

    The book details the basic series of defenses (first 3 defenses against each of the 12 angles) and a bit on the history of the art.

  10. KrissOfSweden

    KrissOfSweden Member

  11. Buwaya

    Buwaya Senior Member

    Anybody reading the issue regarding Cabales Eskrima Serrada should also read Anthony Davis's article in the back of the latest FMAdigest, .

    I know that in the writing of the Secret's of Cabales Serrada Eskrima, many of the contributors were intentionally quiet about the things mentitioned by Mr.Davis and Mr.Cabales. Its unfortunate that the digest was used to air personal maters in an internet medium instead handling over coffee like gentlemen, or in an older eskrimadors...

    Airing things like this does little to show our arts in good light or promote the spirit of brotherhood in our community.

    Anyone curious about the history of Serrada should talk to different people from different periods in Angels life. Talk to his family, relatives, people who grew up in Stockton.

    Anybody curious about the ability of any of Angel's students should meet them personally and see for themselves.

    Look at their students and better yet talk to who they've fought. Talk to Bahala Na, Bandalan Doce Pares, Pallens Senkotiros and see what they have to say about who produced the best Serrada fighters. Look at actual tournament track records.

    I have more to say, but have to jet...
  12. Sheldon Bedell

    Sheldon Bedell New Member

    had this forum exsisted 15 years ago when I was in Cali I might have done that but liveing onthe east coast no prohibits that

    As far as airing private fueds/,atters I agree it is best to try to do so over a coffee not bashing on the internet or in a mag. article. Sometimes coffee dosen't work however
  13. Hello all,

    i've studied basic Angel Cabales' Serrada up to angle 12 and was my first intro to the FMA's... i still have lots of fondness for it but have also moved on to other concepts and systems of the FMA...

    i was wondering if there is anything similar to Serrada now in the Philippines?... i heard that unfortunately, it is not being practiced anymore there... also, has Serrada gone "back" to the Philippines to be seen by the other systems?... can anyone share any insight on this?...


  14. Matt Lim

    Matt Lim New Member

    Serrada can mean one of many things: close range, to close, or to end the fight as quickly as possible. As in close range fighting, many styles practice it. Maybe what Cabales meant was since freeflowing practice looks prettier to look at and easier to understand, many styles tend to keep the cerrada concept (which is far from pretty) for themselves. IMHO, a lot of FMA practices (i.e.drills and concepts) in the Phi and outside of it can be traced from Angel Cabales.
  15. Buwaya

    Buwaya Senior Member

    Hello Mat,

    I'm very curious what FMA drills and concepts in the Phi you can see can be traced to Angel. I think in the States the Inosanto Blend sumbrada drill originally came from Cabales but has since altered to include other influences.


    GM Cabales art has been back to the PI as at least two of Angels original students have been back to the PI at different times to research the art with Angels contempories/seniors.

    In one sense you can say it was never practiced in the PI in the first place, as it was named and formulated as a system in the States. Its anyones guess what Dizons method looked like.
  16. Matt Lim

    Matt Lim New Member

    The basic three-step sumbrada of cabales can be seen virtually in all training halls in and out of phi. To be able to add to it is one of the goals of the drill."Set" drills of Cabales I think are just jump off point to better things.

    The name Cabales Eskrima was never practiced in phi but the old masters were familiar of his cerrada concept. I speculate that the concept of cerrada was the most practical with regards to not-so-friendly fights.
  17. Buwaya

    Buwaya Senior Member

    Hello Matt,
    Can you explain what you mean by three step sumbrada?

    I agree.
  18. Matt Lim

    Matt Lim New Member

    Sumbrada here refers to the cycle drill of block and strike, counter to counter, give and take, dawat-dawat, recordas, etc. The basic drill I see starts with attacker in postura abierta and the defender in postura cerrada.
    It goes like this:
    First Man > Second Man
    1. Strike with forehand diagonal cut. > Block with Sumbrada
    2. Block/check with "Inside Sweep" < Strike with forehand diagonal cut.
    3. Strike with backhand horizontal cut to hip. > Block with drop block.
    Then back to number 1 and change roles..
    After sometime anyone of the two can change cut into thrust or add punches or punyos, leg sweeps, traps, throws, whatever.
  19. squiretor1

    squiretor1 New Member

    As a student of Cabales Serrada Escrima for many years, I've had the opportunity to study with a couple of notable master graduate instructors of the late Angel Cabales.

    Not only have I been fortunate enough to study the art but also I've learned a great deal about the man from his imediate family. I've had the unique opportunity to meet and speak with his widow Mary Tess and their children Mary Gel and Gelmar. Both of the young children are pursuing the family legacy in their own way. Gelmar is an accomplished student of Darren Tibon.

    Although I've studied long as well as instructed long in the art of CSE, I did not truly understand the man behind the art until my unique and intimate visit with his family.

    Regarding range, medio and corto range is the primary focus of the art. That said, if a fighter must operate at a longer range a fighter with CSE training can do so picking and working their way in.

    Regarding Dizon and the De Cuerdes, it's said that Dizon had 33 angles of attack and Angel mastered 12 of them??? Only Angel and Dizon may of known. Legends and their legacy have lives of their own.
  20. nash

    nash New Member

    I just Froogled this book. The lowest listing is $12.71 at

    My instructor is a student of Anthony Davis. I have read the books for a report of the system I was doing in High School. According to the sources I hav read, to "try out" or "play" at that time really meant a fight to the death, which I belive Buwaya failed to mention in his post.

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