GRANDMASTER GURU ANTHONY DAVIS
( Part Three )
ANGEL CABALES' LAST PERSONAL INTERVIEW
by Anthony Davis
( Part Three )
Prior to his death in 1991, Grandmaster Guru Anthony Davis conducted this last personal interview with
GGM Angel Cabales at his home in Stockton, California. This interview will give to you the reader a more
profound glimpse into the mind of Great Grandmaster Angel Cabales.
Anthony Davis: Grandmaster Cabales, how long have you been teaching Escrima in America; as well as in
Angel Cabales: Since 1936, I have taught some of my friends in the Philippines, and in this country, I started
teaching Ecrima in 1966. But! unofficially I began teaching in America in 1965 before I opened my first
AD: It appears that you were also one of the first martial arts entrepreneurs of this time period. For one,
you held a business license along with a commercial studio as well.
AC: Yea, that's right.
AD: Has Escrima changed that much from the past as far as what you see today?
AC: No! not concerning my style, it's the same.
AD: I know that some styles of Filipino martial arts have different strikes or numbers. How many numbers
does your style have?
AC: The serrada style as I teach it has twelve numbers.
AD: The word Serrada means close?
AC: Yes, it means close.
AD: Is Serrada a style that that you learned yourself?
AC: I originally learned Escrima from Felicisimo Dizon of the Philippines.
AD: How many numbers did Dizon know?
AC: Twelve, but he also knew an additional twenty-one numbers.
AD: So, in 1966 you had some pretty famous students didn't you?
AC: Oh yea! just like Dan Inosanto, Richard Bustillo, Mike Inay, Jimmy Tacosa, Leo Fong, and lots of others.
AD: So you definitely did have a lot to do with Dan Inosanto's training and Richard Bustillo's training during
those formative years?kneeling l - r : Mike Inay, Jimmy Tacosa, GM Angel Cabales, Dentoy Revillar, Dan Inosanto, & Richard Bustillo.standing behind Dan & Dentoy are Leo Fong and Ted Lucaylucay, others ??
AC: Yes I did.
AD: Because Inosanto and Bruce Lee were so close, I can only imagine that Dan Inosanto taught Bruce Lee
some of your stick fighting method?
AC: Yes he did, because when Bruce Lee left for Hong Kong, Dan Inosanto and Richard Bustillo were still
my students, and at that time Bruce Lee was still living in Los Angeles.
AD: What year was that?
AC: That was in 1970, and 1971.
AD: That was right about the time that Dan Inosanto began to popularize Filipino martial arts?
AC: Right! it was during that time , and since that time when I first opened my academy on 136 East Harding
Way, in Stockton, California, until now I'm still teaching.
AD: I've heard people refer to you as the " Father of Escrima " in this country?
AC: This is true, and I feel that I deserve this title because during the 1960's, there were no Filipino's
teaching the Filipino martial arts to the public, just me.
AD: And at that time period Escrima was literally unknown, Kung Fu, Karate and Judo were the arts more
popular at that time?
AC: Escrima was taught before the 1960's, but not to the general public. It was taught only in workcamps or
in the backyards, but never to the general public.
AD: Do you look at Escrima as more of a sport discipline, or more as for self-defense?
AC: See! Escrima is more for protecting your life, and is really for self-defense, but, you can convert it to a
AD: What level of Escrima do you prefer the most?
AC: Well, the combat level, because concerning the word self-defense. Escrima is designed to save your
AD: Angel tell me about the actual Escrima matches you had in Stockton.
AC: Right! there are a lot of escrimadors here in Stockton. And many of them tried me, and they never won
because their style's only consist of numbers one to three, or five, and my knowledge is from numbers one
AD: So you had the upperhand on your opponents?
AC: Oh yea! because their knowledge is different and they did not know all of the targets; and especially
the " Largo Mano " guys or long range fighters. I had already tangled with their style in the Philippines. So I
was already familiar with their method of fighting.
AD: Angel, as I understand it, your system of Serrada Escrima was once a secret system, even in the
AC: Yes! because it was a hidden art, and only certain people could learn it, like family and " close friends."
Besides that, I was going to at first teach Serrada Escrima secretly, but a friend of mine Max Sarmiento
persuaded me to officially represent the Filipino martial arts in America. It took me a long time before I was
convinced to teach Serrada publicly.
AD: So! since that time Serrada has become very popular, and you have attracted some new celebrities
such as Graciela Casillas?
AC: Yea! because when other Filipino stylist see the Serrada Escrima style, they don't care about their long
stick methods anymore. So, people like Casillas see the effectiveness of the close-range system of
Serrada, so they convert.
Note: This rare interview on Great Grandmaster Angel Cabales concludes the first half of his personal
story. In ( Part Four ) of this up-close and candid interview on the Great Grandmaster, Angel Cabales will
further discuss more about some of his combat secrets; and, he will furhter discuss more about his
special connection to well known former Boxing and Kick/Boxing Champion, and Serrada Escrima
Advanced Instructor Gura Graciela Casillas. For those who are interested in purchasing the visual and
audio production of Great Grandmaster Angel Cabales; contact GM Tasi Alo here on FMA.net. Mahalo!