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(Part Four) Grandmaster Guru Anthony Davis Interview

(Q)Tell us about Martial Arts International? History, goals, etc?

(A) Martial Arts International is now known as the “World Serrada Escrima Federation”. The (WSEF) was founded in 2003 by me, and Professor Leo T. Fong in order to further develop, promote, and to preserve the legacy of Great Grandmaster Angel Cabales. Anyone who wishes a more indebt understanding about the (WSEF) can hit my websites at: (or)

(Q) What is the relationship between Angel Cabales, Leo Giron and Max Sarmiento?

(A) The Honorable Max Sarmiento was the right-hand man and a very good friend of GGM Angel Cabales. Max Sarmiento was also responsible for convincing and aiding GGM Angel Cabales in opening up the first official public FMA School in the U.S.A. in Stockton, California in 1966. GGM Leo Giron was a friend, assistant instructor, and a former student under GGM Angel Cabales.

(Q) What about anyo (forms)? Did Angel teach any and if so, could you please elaborate on them?

(A) No! GGM Angel Cabales did not stress anyo’s or forms. Cabales strictly focused upon imparting his combat strategies, sparring, and on reflexive/flowmatic drills.

(Q) Do you balance the teaching of offensive and defensive techniques, or do you lean more towards one or the other?

(A) Within the fine art of Serrada Escrima there is no distinction between offensive or defensive maneuvers. Offensive and defensive maneuvers are interchangeable at any given moment or time.

(Q) What drills/methods do you use to develop and refine reactive movement/response and speed of reaction?

(A) I use the same drills that GGM Angel Cabales used for increasing one’s speed, reflexes and timing; however, I have also incorporated numerous hand and foot drills that I borrowed from Western Boxing.

(Q) Do you find a lot of experienced martial artists are training in FMA to learn the effective approach to weapons training?

(A) Yes! I do find that there are more and more experienced martial artists from other styles who have, and are incorporating the stick, knife and empty hand techniques of FMA into their arts. Once again, FMA’s adaptability to any art form is the essential key as to why this is.

(Q) Are there any other benefits they may derive from FMA?

(A) Yes! When one enters into the world of Filipino martial arts, the opportunity to learn more about the different diverse cultures of the Philippines is accessible to the interested party(s). Each style or method of FMA has a tie to the different geographical areas, and to the various tribes in the Philippine Islands as well.

(Q) Many people have learnt FMA edged weapons components and repackaged it for modern society citing it is more practical than the real FMA. What are your thoughts?

(A) This is one reason why conducting thorough background checks on different martial artists and their systems of combat is so necessary. By clarifying the claims made by certain masters of destruction, one can get a better understanding as to what is authentic, and as to what is not authentic.

(Q) How do you approach teaching students to survive against an edged weapon attack while unarmed? What are your views and teaching methodology?

(A) There is no doubt that having to defend oneself against someone wielding an edged weapon could be extremely dangerous and fatal. I’ve always advocated to my students to run from any confrontation or combative encounter whenever the opportunity presents itself. Distance is always the best self-defense strategy around when someone intends to attack you with a weapon of any kind. However, when there is no other way out; I’ve taught my students to fight like a Moro warrior engaged in mortal combat. As there are no superior techniques when it comes down to how to survive in a life or death situation, a person must totally rely only upon their own natural instincts and do whatever is necessary in order to survive.
“Each survival story is different.”

(Q) In teaching Serrada Eskrima, what do you feel is the most effective teaching method of instruction?

(A) There are many different effective ways to teach Serrada Escrima. I’ve never taught any of my students the art of Serrada Escrima in exactly the same way. Again, this is because different students have different needs, and we are all individuals.

(Q) You have taught Serrada Eskrima in Europe as well as the USA. Did you encounter problems in teaching and spreading the system?

(A) When I first took Serrada Escrima to Germany I encountered a lot of skepticism there regarding the effectiveness of the art. I was challenged on several occasions, and always the end results of every skirmish that I engaged in ended with the other person(s) getting hurt pretty bad. This is because Serrada Escrima is not designed to pull back strikes when one is actually engaged in combat.

(Q) Are you still planning on visiting Australia? If so, what is your purpose and will you be conducting seminars?

(A) Yes! My purpose for visiting Australia is to continue the Serrada Escrima legacy by passing on GGM Angel Cabales’ art form to anyone who is earnestly willing to learn it. Currently, I am in the process of arranging a series of seminars in Austral

(Q) Master Roland Dantes has met GGM Angel Cabales. Did GGM Cabales ever mention this to you, and if so, what did he say?

(A) Yes he did! GGM Angel Cabales mentioned to me that he had met GGM Roland Dantes. GGM Angel Cabales referred to GGM Roland Dantes as the “Bruce Lee” of the Philippines, and said that he was one of the most humble martial artists and movie stars that he’d ever had the pleasure of personally meeting.

In my opinion! GGM Roland Dantes represents one of the integral centers and living historical roots of Filipino martial arts. GGM Dantes stands out as a human door to the past and to the present time. Dantes has been very influential and very instrumental in shaping the future direction of the ancient martial traditions of the Philippines. Anyone that has ever personally met GGM Roland Dantes will agree and testify that this man was indeed an officer and a true gentleman.

Also! GGM Dantes is the epitome of a man that possessed an indomitable spirit & a man who possessed great courage while under heavy fire; I have nothing but total respect for him. Prior to GGM Roland Dantes’ passing he had recovered from one of the greatest medical battles that he had ever had to face. GGM Dantes underwent a delicate heart operation that nearly cost him his life. However, even under this life threatening experience, GGM Dantes came through it victoriously. The “World Serrada Escrima Federation” will forevermore recognize GGM Roland Dantes as the most influential FMA practitioner worldwide. May the “Great Grandmaster” forever rest in peace.

(L) Master V. Dornboss (C) GM Anthony Davis & GGM Roland Dantes

I too have had the honor and the pleasure of meeting GM Roland Dantes, and what GGM Angel Cabales said about him turned out to be entirely true.

(Q)What do you think the future holds for Serrada Eskrima; and for yourself?

(A) Today the art of Serrada Escrima has pretty much become a self-propelling art form; therefore it will just continue to expand and grow as a living art. As for me! Well we will just have to wait and see what the future holds.

(Q) Thank you very much for your time Grandmaster Guru Anthony Davis.

(A) Salamat Po! You are indeed most welcome.

Great Grandmaster Guru Roland Dantes

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