Angel Cabales had a small light blue Buick, which he loved to drive fast. On this night he had been drinking a little and he, myself and Bobby Johnson were speeding down I-5 towards San Jose, Ca., to a GM Max Pallen event as fast as the little Buick could go. I knew my teacher's reflexes were superb, but never really knew how well he could use his superb reflexes to travel in between traffic so smoothly, so fast, so efficiently, in and out and around traffic without hitting something. We were rocketing down the freeway and after about 15 minutes out of Stockton with our speedometer pegged:
I had snuck my hands under the seat and had retrieved the seat belt mechanisms and had quietly snapped everything together. Bobby saw me latching my seat belt together and laughed at me. He thought that he was on a theme park ride and was giggling like a little kid. He was sitting shotgun and I was in the back seat scared shitless.
Angel Cabales was my Master and I would'nt ever dare say a word about his driving, but the thought starting crossing my mind that if I got home all in one piece: I'd be lucky. While he was driving, he started talking about many things, including family, travels and eventually Escrima. Both Bobby and I asked a few pointed questions, which he answered quickly and frankly. There were at least 20 much more important questions that I should have asked him that night. I now will never have the chance to ask him the many questions that I should have asked but didn't, but this is just true proof of my humanity. We always seem to hardly ever truly be in sync with another human being.
We ask our women to really stay, when they are really leaving. We ask to keep our jobs when we are really heading out of the door. We do and say things that should have never have been said and done. We hit when we should have stayed our hands and feet and walk away when we should have gave our hardest blows. When we should have done or said something to or for others, we don't. We wait, we hesitate. We usually seem to do and say things at the worst of times and places, or not at all. We are indeed human.
I remember Bobby asking him about what it was like to challenge another man to a fight. Bobby felt that it was exiting and manly to fight, but never started fights on his own. Bobby didn't start fights, nor did he even want to fight at all. But, I did see him on several ocassions square up with much larger men and against more than one large man on an ocassion outside of a club in San Jose, Ca. In fact, in the San Jose incident, he squared up with two rather large bouncers with police flashlights. The bouncers were wrong in how they were treating Bobby. Eventually, the two bouncers actually backed down from him, because of his fearless attitude and matter of fact way of dealing with them.
Bobby was a skinny Black kid from South Stockton, who didn't have an "off-switch". He didn't give a fuck and would roll on the ground with anyone, any place, any where and any size. Luckily, his Momma had instilled a lot of 'Ol Southern Baptist in him and the luck was in the favor of anyone fucking with him. Bobby had 11 brother's and sister's and fighting and standing up for yourself was just a way of life. Fighting was like breathing, it was just something that we had to do and he loved Angel Cabales for his ability to stand up for himself.
When Manong Angel started telling a few stories: I just sat back against the cushions in the back seat, started relaxing and really started to enjoy the ride. Little did I ever guess that I would some day write parts of the ride down.
Angel Cabales said that he was never so alive as when he fought. What this meant is up to speculation, but he obviously felt the effects of adrenaline dumps, just like any one else. Did he become addicted to the rush? Was he like an old soldier who immediately comes alive at the first report of a weapon? Do Martial Arts' Master's get addicted to adrenaline? I can't personally imagine men of Angel Cabales's martial ability being addicted to fighting: Always looking to re-recieve the shots of adrenaline that they may actually need to feel fully alive.
This is a scary thought and may in my mind go a long way to answer the whole issue of challenges. Putting everything on the line, must be a rush from hell. What higher stakes gambling can there be than betting your own life? Yes, winning a fight against another opponent gets you adulation and respect and this can and does have a lot of meaning to a Master of the Martial Arts, but only really feeling alive when fighting may have much more meaning....personally.
Angel Cabales said that everything slowed down for him before he fought. He felt like he was floating, like he was on a cloud. Like he had drank really good coconut wine and lots of it. When the blows started getting exchanged, he would see blows going by him, but they wouldn't hit him for some reason. He said that the hit that he would give that started the end of the fight wasn't ever felt by him, or that he ever really knew that it was "the" hit, because he never stopped hitting and only when the person fell or started cringing in real pain did he know that the fight was over. This is why he said that he always told us to keep "working". We would never really know when the fight was over, until it was over and to keep hitting until it really was. He said that he had seen men hit before by other men that should have fallen down, but were too stupid or pumped-up to fall down. He said that we should "never" depend upon one hit to end a fight. He than said that all of a sudden after a fight that he would find himself back in reality and everything was back to normal. He would re-join the real world.
Some of things he told us that night would only cause pain and strife within the FMA community, if I were to write them down. There is a lot of back-biting and double dealing within the FMA community. Some men won't pay up and it took a lot for Angel Cabales to allow this. Maybe, some day I'll write a little about these things, but not today. What I did want to share was a little bit about a ride taken by us going down I-5 going over a 100 mph.