What are the roots of Serrada?

Discussion in 'Serrada' started by geezer, May 30, 2008.

  1. geezer

    geezer Member

    Can anybody tell me about the roots and sources of Serrada? I know that there are books on the subject, but the Mark Wiley books have disappeared from my local library! So I'll probably buy them on Amazon. So far, I've read that GGM Cabales studied under Felicisimo Dizon. Who was Dizon, and how much of his art is reflected in Cabales Serrada? And, were there other old masters who influenced GGM Cabales, or is the Serrada system primarily a product of GGM Cabales own experience and ability?
  2. oosh

    oosh Junior Member

  3. geezer

    geezer Member

  4. oosh

    oosh Junior Member

    One of the books mentions that a few out of their dock group tried to organise some play between between Tatang and Dizon - Dizon turned it down citing that Tatang was the bigger man, and that he thought that they were physically unmatched.

    I think GM Anthony Davis did a lot of research into the roots of Serrada, and trained with Tatang in PI during the early 80s. He'd probably be a good line of enquiry for your research.
  5. lefty eskrimador

    lefty eskrimador New Member

    Well, to say that the subject of Serrada's roots are open to conjecture and conflict is a tremendous understatement, is an understatement in and of itself; the story of the origin of Serrada varies even among Serrada players, but I can tell you what we do know for fact. First off, we know that GGM Angel Cabales studied with Feliscimo(sp?) Dizon, that is well documented. We also know that Dizon was the training partner and traveling companion of the legendary Floro Villabrille, the recognized survivor of countless matches in and around the Philippines. I can tell you first hand that the similarities between Villabrille Kali and Cabales Serrada are remarkable to say the least...the arts are, from the waist up, nearly identical in execution (only the footwork varies a great deal between Kali and Serrada). I have been a Serrada player for 31 years, but I also had the good fortune to have formally studied Villabrille Kali many years ago, and was impressed with how much alike the two arts are.

    Ok, then, so who were Dizon's and Villabrille's teachers? This is where it gets a little hairy, because according to legend, Dizon studied with a misanthropic hermit after Dizon negotiating the infamous De Cuerdas caves, and was accepted by the hermit as a student after surviving this test. Dizon even supposedly named his art "De Cuerdas", and this was the art that was passed down to Cabales. But, Floro Villabrille was also the nephew of Regino and Antonio Illustrisimo, was reportedly a student of his famous uncles, and the similarities between Villabrille Kali and Cabales Serrada cannot be denied. And to top it off, also according to legend, Dizon and Villabrille named the blind Princess Josephina, on the island of Samar, as the pairs' favorite teacher. So, to name one, two, or a host of teachers as the primary influences of Dizon is difficult. I return to what we know...Dizon was Angel's only teacher, and Angel changed nothing of the art he learned from Dizon, except to organize it and give it a structure that could be easily taught...until Angel organized Dizon's art, there was no progression in the training. That is easy to understand, because up until the time that Angel opened the Stockton Academy in 1966, there was no need to organize it for ease of teaching; the art was solely for combat, and was usually taught just one-on-one. When Angel decided to open the Academy to the public, he realized he had to organize Dizon's art, in order for it to make sense to a group of students. Now, for major influences in Serrada, GM Max Sarmiento has to be mentioned here, because even though Max was a Serrada student of Angel's, he was also a FMA master in his own right, having brought his family art of Kadena De Mano, a short dagger and empty hand system, to the Academy. KDM is considered to be the empty hand system of many Serrada schools. Max's skill and hand speed is legendary in the FMA community, and Max was considered to be the best empty hand FMA man by many of the top people in the FMA's, Dan Inosanto included. Sadly, Max passed away of cancer in the mid-1980's. He was only in his mid-50's when he died.

    So anyway, that is about the best that I can do in trying to pin down the origins of Serrada. We in the Serrada family accept that Dizon was Angel's sole teacher, and that Angel passed on the art as he was taught by Dizon without technical change...easily understandable, since the art he got from Dizon saved Angel's life in dozens of real world encounters. Angel was known as master stick fighter, but few outside the Serrada community knew that Angel was also a gifted knife fighter and exceptional empty hand fighter, thus giving credibility to Serrada's claim as a complete fighting system.

    Hope this helps; if I have misspoke on any point here, please understand that this is what I was taught as a long time Inayan player, and I can only speak from what I know. Mike Inay was as close to Angel as anybody, being one of the original students at the Stockton Academy, and Angel looked upon Mike Inay as a son. Mike remained in regular contact with Angel until Angel's passing in 1990.

    Questions? Comments? Again, feel free to jump in, I'm pretty darned flexible.

    Kim Satterfield
    Chief Instructor
    Midwest School of Eskrima
  6. Basiyo

    Basiyo New Member

    Hey Kim. I have to agree with you in that Serrada's origins are very difficult to pin down. Personally, I've found that it can be due to anything from a reluctance to pass on the stories, to just having conflicting stories in general. Sadly, I think that also ties into the friction between different Serrada groups.

    I had a friend who did Villabrille Kali, and there were quite a few similarities. I don't know if you'd agree with me on this, but it almost seems like a mirror image to Serrada (or would it be more proper to say both arts are the inverse of each other?)

    In regards to the OP, I think the most concrete answer is just what you mentioned: GGM Angel was taught by Dizon, and Serrada was based on GGM Angel's restructuring of his training into some more teachable.
  7. pguinto

    pguinto New Member

    I dont think you mean to say that GGM Angel was restructuring his training, but instead was systematizing it.
    Last edited: May 19, 2009
  8. Basiyo

    Basiyo New Member

    YES!... bad choice of words on me.
  9. StixMaster

    StixMaster -== Banned ==-

  10. StixMaster

    StixMaster -== Banned ==-

  11. tsefreeflow

    tsefreeflow New Member

    What do these pictures have to do with the root of Serrada?
  12. StixMaster

    StixMaster -== Banned ==-

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