The system of Philippine martial arts known as Cabales Serrada Escrima was founded by Grandmaster Angel Cabales and first taught publicly in the year 1966 in Stockton, California. This incredible system of escrima is a multi-dimensional art. It is rich with concepts that give the practitioner a rock-solid foundation to build one’s skills – not only within the constructs of the art itself – its structure develops the essential tools with which to analyze and decipher any other art. The beauty and expanse of this base is one of the most versatile and important pillars of the Cabales Serrada Escrima system.
This is an art most renowned for the emphasis it places on the development of close quarter combat skills. The training and drills are geared to develop in the practitioner the heart, spirit, perception and reflexes required for inside fighting. Serrada is also very effective in both the medium (medio) and long combat ranges (larga mano). There is ever-present attention devoted to the development of the checking or “live” hand as an essential tool in the arsenal that the system passes down to the practitioner. Although the art is most commonly known to wield sticks in the 18-24 inch range – longer weapons and tactics are employed within the scope of the art.
The art uses the single stick, stick and dagger/sword and dagger, knife, and empty hands. The curriculum of the system is well known for core training drills known as “lock and block” and “flow sparring.” A keen emphasis is placed on footwork, speed, reaction, correct angling, superior position, technique precision, and weapon accuracy – to fully express one’s escrima. Disarming maneuvers, skills in feinting known as “picking” and methods of countering the adversary’s attempts to defeat the tactics of the practitioner, skills known as “reversing” are essential components of the system.
On its surface, this system of escrima seems to be very simple and direct. When viewing an exponent perform the art, it’s signature movements are executed with swift and decisive grace. However, this simplicity is exactly what is necessary to fully investigate the complex biomechanical movements and tactics of deception at the disposal of an escrimador. Beneath the surface – mental fortitude, visualization skills and inquisitive insights are operating for both the immediate, and long-term benefits of the practitioner – the soul of the escrimador must be fully vested in order to keep the art necessary and vibrant. When passed down in earnest to the student, Serrada is an art that can bring the best out of you as both a practitioner and a person.