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By Grandmaster “D”

Sly Stone,and I were walking & talking together as we both headed down a country style cobble-stone street. Sly Stone looked very 1970’s Black hippie style to me; he reminded me of how my older brother looked, and dressed up like back in the 70’s. Then it dawned upon me as to why there was so much resemblance in dress styles between Sly Stone, and my brother; and why I had a feeling that we already knew each other. It’s because we both grew up in the same places in California. Again! I looked at Sly’s face, and he reminded me of an old friend of mine who also grew up in the same places that we both did. “Wow! what a stone cold trip”.

Also! Within the field of martial arts some of the heaviest, and most famous martial artists of all times came from the very same places that Sly Stone and I grew up in as well, such as; Chinese Kenpo & Kajukenbo Professor’s. Al Reyes & son Prof. Al Reyes Jr., Prof. William Chun Sr. & son William Chun Jr., Prof. Tony Ramos Sr. & son Prof. Tony Ramos Jr., Prof. Joe Davis & son Prof. Eddie Davis, Prof. Calvin Shin; along with many other top notch street & tournament fighters that were all expertly taught by these same ‘Grand Professors’, such as: the notorious Kajukenbo street fighter Phil Cornin who went up against & defeated top rated fighters such as; Benny Urquidez, Chuck Norris, Louis Delgado, Anthony Ricketts, and many more others.

It is out of all of these vital martial arts influences that I created a hybrid eclectic effective system of martial arts called the “Davis Method of Self-Defense”. The early 1970’s were turbulent times for young Black American kids. The Black Panthers were on the move, drugs were on the up rise, etc. It was in mid-1970 that Bruce Lee exploded across the silver movie screens all around the world; that’s when everybody started ‘Kung Fu fighting’, including me.

Well, Sly Stone and I had to part ways of course; as it was but a metaphysical dream state of mind that I had communicated with him in. But this seemingly real dream had left a profound effect upon my memory bank regarding my many past experiences as a martial artist.

In the following interview you will learn more about Grandmaster “D”s extensive martial arts background, and who were some of the people that influenced his unique & elite method of martial arts titled the “DAVIS METHOD OF SELF-DEFENSE”.

Interview Questions for Grandmaster "D"

{Part 1}

By David Foggie

(Q) What drew you to the martial arts, and more specifically FMA?

(GD) Four media productions; ‘Odd Job’ in the James Bond series, ‘I Spy’ starring Robert Culp, and Bill Cosby, ‘Wild Wild West’ starring Robert Conrad, the movie “Tigers Revenge” starring Professor Leo T. Fong & GGM Angel Cabales,”Our Man Flint” starring James Colburn, and of course the “Green Hornet” starring the legendary Bruce Lee. In regards to FMA! my first influences were GGM Remy Presas, Maha Guru Dan Inosanto, GM Richard Bustillo, GM Rene Latosa, and Guru Ted Lucaylucay.

(Q) Who has inspired you in the martial arts and how have they influenced your training

and development?

(A) I just mentioned Dan Inosanto and Richard Bustillo, but the primary person who influenced me in the world of Filipino martial arts is the late GGM Angel Cabales. By far Dan Inosanto and Richard Bustillo are two of the most prolific and inspirational martial artists in the business of combat. I have been highly inspired by both of these gentlemen in the area of exploring and developing my own method of self-defense. Additionally, Inosanto and Bustillo are the true pioneers that have more publicly exposed the various styles of Filipino martial arts going as far back as the early seventies. Both Inosanto and Bustillo have my utmost respect. However, as far as who is responsible for my fundamental development and technical training in the arena of FMA, s, again! I’d have to give full credit to GGM Angel Cabales. Angel Cabales put the actual combative touch of Escrima together for me in terms of actual live combat. Also, both Dan Inosanto and Richard Bustillo are two of GGM Angel Cabales’ early graduate students.

(Q) You also teach an eclectic system called, “The Davis Method of Self Defense”. What led to this and what do you feel is the essence of it?

(A) The first developments of “The Davis Method of Self-Defense” began in 1971 out of the necessity to survive in the streets of Northern, California. In the early 1970,s the Hawaiian born art of Kajukenbo reigned supreme on the streets & in the Karate tournaments all across the nation. Certain practitioners of this art used this system in order to control, and to bully many innocent and unsuspecting people. I was one of the victims of these thuggish Kajukenbo bullies; and after surviving a severe beating from them; I decided to study the art of Kajukenbo in closer detail in order to discover ways that I could counter-attack Kajukenbo’s combative techniques. The primary essence of the “Davis Method of Self-Defense” is ongoing education in the area of martial arts. The more that one understands about the infrastructure of any particular system of martial arts, the quicker one can get to the essence or to the nucleus of that art.

(Q) In formulating your system, what systems and fighting arts did you draw from?

(A) In formulating my art form I drew knowledge from Kajukenbo, Wing Chun Gung Fu, Muay Thai Boxing, Thai Chi Chuan, Hung Gar Gung Fu, the fine art of Western Boxing, and since 1980, I have incorporated concepts from the Filipino martial arts as well.

(Q) GM “D”, you learned Serrada Eskrima directly from the founder Great Grandmaster Angel Cabales. Any fond memories you would like to share?

(A) GGM Angel Cabales was an extremely humble man. Also! Angel was very accepting of all those who earnestly came to him for Serrada Escrima instructions. My fondest memory of Angel Cabales was his down-to-earthiness.

(Q) How did you meet GGM Angel Cabales and what was your impression of him and his system?

(A) In 1984 in San Francisco, California, I had scheduled a ‘Kali/Jeet Kune Do’ seminar featuring Guru Dan Inosanto. Guru Inosanto fell ill three days prior to the seminar, and GGM Angel Cabales volunteered to be his stand in, along with the late Great Grandmaster’s Gilbert Tenio, and John Eliab. It was by way of GM Rene Latosa that I was able to come into direct contact with all three of these Great Grandmasters. Of course when the seminar participants discovered that Guru Dan Inosanto would not be present at the seminar they were extremely upset, angry and very disappointed; however! once these same participants experienced firsthand GGM Angel Cabales’ style of Serrada Escrima, they! like me, were absolutely mind blown, meaning that they were extremely impressed.

(Q) In teaching you, and other students, what qualities do you think Angel was trying to develop?

(A) Keen reflexes and effective natural combative responses regarding any self-defense encounter. GGM Angel Cabales’ primary goal regarding me was to impart to me some of his most finest lethal stick and knife counter techniques, as he already knew that I was a very proficient empty hand/foot fighter.

(Q) Having trained under GGM Angel Cabales, what do you think was the most impressive aspect of his skills?

(A) What I just mentioned. GGM Angel Cabales possessed some of the fastest reflexes, or natural responses that I have ever witnessed in action. One day while I was down in Stockton, California along with one of my 3rd. generation students Guru Jeff “Stickman” Finder, GGM Angel Cabales avoided being struck on the top his head by some very big, and very heavy chimes. Cabales walked out of the front door of his home ahead of Finder and me, and then all of a sudden the chimes hanging from his porch roof fell unexpectedly, and were quickly zeroing in for the top of his head. With the speed of the blink of an eye GGM Cabales snatched the chimes so fast with one hand that Finder and I barely saw what had taken place. Finder and I just gave each other that amazed & be-dazzled look knowing that we had just witnessed something very special, and rarely seen.

(Q) When GGM Angel Cabales was alive what was his method of instruction and syllabus? Was there a structured method of instruction and syllabus, or was it unstructured?

(A) GGM Angel Cabales had a very simple, and a very well structured syllabus. When I privately trained under Angel he started me out with the proper delivery of the first three

strikes and counterstrikes of his system of Escrima. Along with each strike there are at least nine or more possible counter techniques per strike, covering stick, blade and empty hand maneuvers. In all, there are twelve (12) strikes or progressive stages following the same formula just mentioned. Additionally, GGM Cabales taught specific sensitivity drills on an advanced level, and also! on a masters level as well.

(Q) What do you feel makes Serrada Eskrima unique from your perspective? What are its strengths etc?

(A) What really makes Serrada Escrima unique is that it is adaptable to any other system or method of martial arts. The strength of Serrada Escrima is that it is very easy to learn, and it doesn’t require years and years to master. It is due to Serrada Escrima’s simplicity of application as to why the art has become so popular and has spread so fast all over the world.

(Q) In a nutshell what is the essence of Serrada Eskrima?

(A) The essence of Serrada Escrima is different for everyone that learns and applies the art. No two people are exactly the same, and because of Serrada Escrima’s adaptability to any individual’ character; this makes Serrada Escrima unconventional, and unique in its approach to combat or self-defense.

(Q) What are the fundamentals of Serrada Eskrima?

(A) The primary fundamentals of Serrada Escrima are economy of motion, simplicity in application, and “presence of mind”.

(Q) What are the concepts and combat principles of Serrada Eskrima?

(A) The first concepts of Serrada Escrima are that one must possess keen imagination, and also great projection skills. One must exercise sincere faith in the art in order for the art to be effective or true for that person. We cannot ignore the fact that Serrada Escrima is based upon ancient, profound and proven combative antidotes that have been passed down from several generations to the current generation of practitioners. When it comes down to actual combat Serrada Escrima is a proven art. Both GGM Angel Cabales and his teacher Supreme Grandmaster Guru Felicisimo Dizon were undisputed death-match champions in the Philippines, and in the U.S.A. Because of my, Cabales’ and Dizon’s combative exploits; I personally do not question the effectiveness of Serrada Escrima nor the “Davis Method of Self-Defense”.

(Q) To me it looks as if Serrada Eskrima was originally a sword and dagger system. What is your view?

(A) Your analysis about Serrada Escrima being originally a blade art is correct. As Angel once said, “I always prefer to use a blade when it comes down to defending my life.”

(Q) What modality of weapons does Serrada Eskrima use? Single stick? Punta y daga? Dagger?

(A) Serrada Escrima is essentially a transitional system of combat, meaning that Serrada Escrima techniques will work well with or without any weapon(s).

(Q) Was GGM Angel Cabales skilled in double sticks?

(A) GGM Angel Cabales was very proficient with whatever he was holding in his hand(s) at the time. Cabales made very little distinction between certain types of weapons. According to Angel, when it comes down to real combat you cannot be too picky in regards to what type of weapon you prefer to use. As Angel’s system was primarily based upon espada y dagga tactics I did not ever witness him using double stick techniques. But this is not to say that he couldn’t use double stick techniques.

(Q) One of the central drills in Serrada Eskrima is “lock and block’. Could you please explain its aim, and what it entails?

(A) Once a student has become proficient in the (12) combination patterns of Serrada Escrima, a drill known as “lock and block” is introduced to the candidate. Essentially, the lock and block drill is designed to decrease the time span that it takes to transition from one counter technique to the other. One must quickly, and effectively nullify or counter an oncoming barrage of strikes or attacks without the time to prepare one’s self physically or mentally.

(Q) What exactly is “flow sparring”?

(A) This is another type of stick or knife drill that is designed to heighten the sensitivity, speed, precision and non thinking reflex action which helps a person to react instantaneously to any type of combative encounter.

(Q) Tell us about the other martial arts you learnt and who taught you?

(A) As mentioned before I am pretty proficient in other forms of martial arts such as; Kajukenbo, Thai Boxing, Tai Chi Chuan, Western Boxing, etc. My primary formal instructors are as follows: Master Sifu Phil Cornin of the Kajukenbo system of martial arts. Master Sifu Phil Cornin was a formidable tournament fighter, and street fighter. Phil Cornin’s instructors were Prof. Al Reyes Sr., Prof. Tony Ramos Sr. and Bruce Lee. Sifu Cornin fought and defeated several top notch fighters such as Chuck Norris, Benny Uquidez and Louis Delgado. My Tai Chi Chuan instructor was the late John K. Wong; the founding father of ‘Wu Shing Tai Chi Chuan.’ Lastly! my past and current Western Boxing coach is Jesus Lopez Sr. Jesus Lopez Sr. is a former boxing champion from Mexico City. As I’ve been teaching self-defense since 1971; I’ve literally taught well over a thousand people the different aspects of martial arts. I have worked extensively with various law enforcement agencies from California to Germany’ elite{GSG9}Special Forces.

Two of my former students have won major titles in the arena of ‘Filipino Sport Stick Fighting.’ These two former students’ names are Jeff “Stickman” Finder and Uwe Gutschow from Berlin, Germany. Finder took first place at the stick fighting championships held in the Philippines in 1989, and in 1996, Uwe Gutschow won first place in the heavyweight division at the “World Escrima/Kali/Arnis Federation IV World Championships” held in Carson, California U.S.A..

(Q) Did you find your previous training to be a benefit or a hindrance to learning Serrada Eskrima?

(A) Definitely all of the various styles of martial arts that I’ve studied have been very beneficial to my more intricate understanding concerning Serrada Escrima. A real good example is my background in the area of Tai Chi Chuan. By incorporating the principles of relaxation from Tai Chi Chuan into my Serrada Escrima strikes, and deflection blocks, I am able to more naturally generate internal power, and whip appeal into my Serrada Escrima tactics in a more effortless way.

(Q) Did your training under GGM Angel Cabales take place at the school or privately?

(A) The majority of my {7}yrs. of private training took place at GGM Angel Cabales’ various residences in Stockton, California. As Angel agreed to teach me his art form personally and privately, I did not go to his academy that often.

(Q) So many of the well known instructors of FMA were taught by GGM Angel Cabales such as Dan Inosanto, Richard Bustillo, Mike Inay, Rene Latosa, and Graciela Casillas. Do you feel his contributions to FMA are at times overlooked?

(A) Yes I do! Considering the fact that GGM Angel Cabales opened up the first official Filipino martial arts school in America in 1966, you would think that American martial arts publications would have given him top notch billing on the covers of their magazines by now. Unfortunately, even after all of GGM Angel Cabales’ efforts and contributions in the arena of promoting Filipino martial arts in America, he still has not been totally acknowledged by his many graduate students and other peers. However, in other countries such as; Australia, Germany, Switzerland, and Turkey, the Angel Cabales legacy has been fully embraced, and highly recognized due to much of my promotional efforts in these three particular countries.

(Q) What can you tell us of his training under Felicisimo Dizon?

(A) GGM Angel Cabales told me that initially he wanted to become a professional boxer, but he soon discovered that he was not cut out for boxing. The fervor that GGM Cabales possessed within him to be a champion fighter is what ultimately drew him to Supreme Grand Master Guru Dizon. Cabales said at first Dizon just ignored his requests to be taught his style of Escrima; but as Cabales continued to be persistent in his pursuit to learn from Dizon, Dizon finally conceded to teach him. At fifteen years old Cabales speedily worked his way up the ranks in Dizon’s school. Soon afterwards Cabales became the official defender of Dizon’s Escrima school defeating all challengers. As time progressed on, ultimately Dizon accepted Cabales as his friend and as his right-hand man.

(Q) What is known of Felicisimo Dizon (his life, style, etc)?

(A) GGM Cabales told me that Dizon was a kind, and a very gentle man, and that he was an arch defender of womanhood. Cabales recalled many incidences where Dizon saved women from the clutches of would-be rapists and other criminal elements. According to Cabales, Dizon possessed what is known in the Philippines as “anting-anting” or super natural powers. Cabales witnessed firsthand Dizon’ telepathic and clairvoyant abilities. When it came to actual combat, Cabales said that Dizon could predict just how a fight would pan out before it actually happened. As Cabales and Dizon were close partners; they experienced several fights and challenges together against other stick and knife fighters, and in every encounter Dizon and Cabales were the victors. Cabales stated that Supreme Grand Master Guru Felicisimo Dizon had never been defeated in any combative encounter that he was aware of.

(Q) Dizon’s style was known as De Cuerdas. Did GGM Angel Cabales ever elaborate about what it entailed and what innovations did he make?

(A) Yes he did! Cabales stated that Dizon’s system of Escrima known as De Cuerdas which means (of rope) in Spanish is primarily a blade art. Cabales elaborated to me that the Cabales Serrada System of Escrima is a modification style of De Cuerdas. Also, Cabales said that he modified Dizon’s system of De Cuerdas because there are many De Cuerdas techniques that Dizon could perform that he could not perform. Thus! is why GGM Angel Cabales added new innovations such as empty hand techniques, “Lock and Block Drills” and the science of “Picking” within the art of De Cuerdas. GGM Angel Cabales explained to me that his style of Serrada Escrima is a relative art to De Cuerdas, and that all of the other systems of Filipino stick and knife fighting can be found within both De Cuerdas, and within Serrada Escrima.

(Q) From what I know, Dizon was a compadre of Antonio Ilustrisimo. Since Ilustrisimo, Dizon and Cabales knew each other; did Angel ever talk about them?

(A) To be honest, I never heard GGM Angel Cabales mention anything about GM Ilustrisimo; however, because Cabales never mentioned anything to me about GM Ilustrisimo doesn’t mean that he did not know him.

(Q) Since GGM Angel Cabales’ passing, have you retained Serrada as he taught you or have you evolved it further?

(A) Both! For all those who want to learn the “Cabales Serrada System of Escrima” exactly as Angel personally taught it to me; I offer them Angel’s original teachings. And then for all those who desire to learn my more updated system of self-defense called the “Davis/Cabales Serrada System of Escrima” I offer my own modification style. Keep in mind that GGM Angel Cabales also created his own modification style of Escrima as well.

(Q) There has been controversy in Serrada Eskrima since the death of Angel. Would you like to comment?

(A) Most of the controversy within the fraternity of adherents of Serrada Escrima stems from financial motivation, and greed. Personally speaking anyone who studied Serrada Escrima directly from GGM Angel Cabales has their own unique experiences with him, and how each Angel Cabales recipient wants to interpret their version of Serrada Escrima is entirely up to them.

(Q) Why do you think there have been so many political problems?

(A) Again, it mostly boils down to the fact that Serrada Escrima has become more popular within the world of martial arts, and therefore! that means that the art has become a very lucrative, and a more marketable product.

(Q) Many people claim to know Serrada Eskrima. What should a prospective student look for?

(A) A prospective student should always check a persons lineage, and credentials in regards to where and who that person learned Serrada Escrima from. Also! keep in mind that just because a person studied or learned the art of Serrada Escrima it doesn’t necessarily qualify that person as being a good, and a thorough teacher of Serrada Escrima. Some people are more geared for demonstrating, and fighting than they are for teaching. Just because a person is a good fighter doesn’t necessarily mean that they are good conveyors of passing on profound knowledge.

(Q) When you were training under GGM Angel Cabales did you foresee how popular Serrada Eskrima and other FMA systems would become?

(A) Yes I did! Especially the art of Serrada Escrima. In a nutshell, Serrada Escrima is the “Jeet Kune Do” of Filipino martial arts. Jeet Kune Do is the most popular, and is the most famous martial arts system in the entire world. In many ways the combative aspects of Serrada Escrima along with the combative aspects of Jeet Kune Do are synonymous. Additionally, because of this fact many of Bruce Lee’s original core students studied, and incorporated the Serrada System of Escrima into their own personal styles of JKD; such as, Guru Dan Inosanto, GM Richard Bustillo, Maha Guro Ted Lucaylucay, and Prof. Leo T. Fong.

(Q) What about disarming techniques. Why is it that FMA stress learning, and developing disarming skills?

(A) As I have worked in the field of law enforcement for many years as a private consultant, I have found that it is essential to have a workable knowledge of disarming techniques. In the field of law enforcement if an officer of the law encounters a person who is wielding a weapon, the first rule of law is to verbally try to disarm that person. The next major step is to physically attempt to disarm, and then to restrain a person (s); and this is the area where disarming techniques becomes so essential to know. The same set of rules applies to the average citizen as well. Also, there can be serious legal repercussions if a law enforcement officer does not do his or her job correctly in regards to over-kill tactics.

(Q) What was the view and approach of GGM Angel Cabales in teaching disarming tactics and their practicality in combat?

(A) GGM Angel Cabales’ viewpoint and approach in teaching disarming techniques, is based upon the fact that it is not always necessary to kill or to strike an opponent down in order to control them. Therefore! if you can successfully disarm a person this should be one’ first rule of self- defense whether they are law enforcement officers, or the average citizen.

(Q) I always stress to students that the time must be right and the opportunity available to use disarms.

(A) You are very correct; as timing constitutes winning half of the battle.

(Q) If someone only wants to learn Serrada Eskrima, do you teach them?

(A) Yes I do! This is because as a teacher it is important to deal with each individual as an individual. Everybody has different needs and requirements, and a master teacher should be able to cater to almost anyone’s special needs.

(Q) Can the concepts and principles of FMA become valid and applicable for those interested in contemporary self defense training?

(A) Without a doubt! This is because Filipino martial arts can be applied, and adapted into any type of format when it comes down to contemporary self-defense training.

(Q) Do you feel that after a student has learnt Serrada Eskrima or any system, it is natural for them to eventually adapt and evolve into their own requirements, physique etc?

(A) To me, and to many other martial arts practitioners this is the main essential goal of mastering any form of martial arts, to become your own man or woman sort of speak.

{L-to-R} Associate Grandmaster Guru Ronald Ruppin & Grandmaster "D"

{To Be Continued}

Views: 489

Comment by Grandmaster "D" on May 18, 2010 at 3:54pm
Greetings my Elder Brother Ron,
It's always a great honor to read & to hear your words of kindness, & your very much valued words of combat knowledge & wisdom. I recognized in you long years ago the intrinsic value of your martial arts character. Many are very good at doing the art of 'CSE'...but few are able to articulate the infrastructure of 'Cabales Serrada Escrima' and also to physically demonstrate the art as you are able to. I for one am very much looking forward to your possible upcoming book on Serrada Escrima & on your other experiences in the field of martial arts. As for my fearsome look; I did pout a lot when I was a kid; I guess it's just a carry-over! Now when I look that way, you can be sure that I am only acting for the camera. Your grand daughter is very observant & very sharp like her grandfather.

More than anything else Master Saturno, your recollections about the type of humanbeing that the legendary GGM Angel Cabales was, literally brought tears into my eye's. Thanx for the "Memories"

Regal Regards!


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