Interview With Pangulong Guro Chuck Cadell

13

On a cool, Midwest March afternoon, I drove from my home to a place I had been familiar with for many years. I was going to meet an old friend, mentor and my primary guiding force in the Filipino Martial Arts, Pangulong Guro Chuck Cadell III.

While driving along, I reminisced, found that my pickup truck had almost driven itself as if on ‘auto pilot’ from my memories. Finally, I arrived to that familiar place of warm memories & hard hours of training with my contemporaries.

As I came to the double glass doors of my teacher’s home, I was greeted warmly & as not a year had passed since Pangulong Guro Chuck & I had last seen each other. As we came to rest in the den of his home, we settled in for the business of the interview.

MS: So, tell me a bit about what originally attracted you to the martial arts?

CC: I was a kid growing up in Hawaii, at the age of 5 or 6 years old, my uncle Dougie, used to practice his katas, breaking boards & stuff. I was pretty fascinated, but he would never let me watch. He would have his buddies over practice kumite, their basic excercises & stuff. The houses on some of the pineapple plantations used to have houses that were up on stilts & what I would do is get underneath the house & crawl up from one end to the other just to lie there & watch Dougie & his friends work out.

I remember one day when I was practicing my kicks, at that time he saw me & he gave me a good lecture regarding what karate was all about. His (Dougie’s) instructor was Joe Black who was an instructor under Adriano Emperado & in the Joe Polamo schools. This was pretty rough training in those days. Especially, if they found that you were from another system or another school, they would inspect your hands to see if you were able to endure their training, then you were accepted.

But that as a whole was my exposure to Asian martial arts.

MS: So would you consider that an introduction via kajukenbo or the Emperado system?

CC: I didn’t find out about the name of the style till many years later. You see my uncle Dougie was a LEO & worked quite a bit undercover & so we started to talk about the system, the lineage under Joe Black, & things started to click regarding association at that time.

So after that I remember I kept on asking my mom & dad if I could go to karate classes. They said I was too young.

Well, I remember when we moved from Hawaii to the E. St. Louis, Illinois area, I suppose we were the talk of the block because our skin pigmentation was not ‘white’ & we were pretty dark, & the folks didn’t understand my nationality or things of that nature.

So growing up as a kid I got beat up a bit & one particular time I got beat up pretty bad, came home crying & my dad being a boxer in high school & in the marines he taught me how to box in with a ‘street boxing method’, so that’s initially how I learned how to protect myself. But I still had not lost interest in the Asian martial arts.

I was a freshman in high school about that time, my mom & dad had discussed with me that they were going to start saving for insurance so that I could drive a car. They told me that if I get good grades so on & so forth that they would help me to start to drive.

So I started to think to myself, I might get the insurance to drive the car, but knowing my dad I might never get to drive the car. So I sat down & spoke to my mom. I said “mom, you know, you guys are going to spend the money for me to have insurance on the car, but knowing dad, I’ll never get to drive the car.” But since you’re willing can I take that same money & put it towards another interest? She said, “I don’t see why not,” so she went & told dad about our discussion.

My dad came into the room and asked “ok, what is it you want?” I told them, I’ve been expressing interest in joining an Asian martial arts school, there’s one right down the street & it’s the one I want to join. The classes were taught initially by an old guy by the name of Chuck Calle’, he was teaching the Shorin ryu method, but then he got phased out because, Rowan Caterik who learned under Funekise , the Shorin ryu unorthodoxed method & it was a very hard style, which was oriented to the street. This is what drew me to the style.

So at that point I’d studied with him from 1968 – 1971. That was my 1st actual exposure to actual martial arts lessons. The type of fighting that we did, required us to wear the old Kobudo outfits, it was full contact with no point fighting involved. I went to college & that’s when I began to compete in the point tournament circuit. When I began tournament fighting, I didn’t know you had to pull your punches to the head, but the good thing was that you could hit hard to the body. I had to retrain/program myself for tournament fighting.

MS: So the tournament fighting game was a big part of your life at that point?

MS: With a glimmer in his eyes Chuck began to reminisce about all the fighters he knew back in the ‘70s, & ‘80s. He remembered Joe Lewis, Skipper Mullins, the Fox Glenn Keeney, Superfoot Bill Wallace at that time was called ‘Fast Billy’, Fred Wren, Chuck Norris & Al Dacoscos.

Funny story about Al Dacoscos, because my mom used to babysit him as a kid; when I asked if he recognized her name, they reflected on how they knew each other’s family back in Hawaii.

MS: Can you tell me how you feel the tournaments have changed through the years & if the you feel that they are as ‘professionally’ represented as they were back in the day?

CC: Things have definitely changed. In the ‘70s & ‘80s, there was more of a ‘professional’ atmosphere & spirit surrounding the tournaments. Back in the day you knew when you got hit, you felt it. These days when a point is declared, the guy is raising his hand in the air whooping & dancing. Definitely not the way a fight was treated when you could actually hit someone with force sparring in a tournament. A fighter would hit hard, he would break in, and then he would take the opponent to the ground for a finish, that’s when the referee would step in & break it up.

With a smile Chuck referred to some of the 1st tournaments he competed in & how he had not realized that you were supposed to pull your punches.

Sensei Chuck Cadell kid’s Shorin ryu class
1980’s Sensei Chuck Cadell and kid’s Shorin ryu class

MS: So what took you from the hard hitting tournament setting, & moved you toward the weapons based systems of the Filipino Martial Arts?

CC: It was after a Southern Illinois tournament spectacular that I felt that there was something missing; that I was missing something. I had competed in ‘full contact tournaments’ & ‘semi contact tournaments’, but still there was something missing.

There was a guy by the name of Bruce Albach who was a tournament promoter from Maplewood, Missouri; he asked about my nationality, where I was from, ancestry to some degree and of course I told him about my Hawaiian ancestry. Bruce asked if I would be at his next tournament. I of course expressed how I felt something missing, either spiritually or in some other aspect. He then told me I should plan on coming because Guro Dan Inosanto would be in town. While in college I’d considered moving to California to study with his group. Then with Bruce Lee’s untimely death, nobody had heard from Guro Dan.

Now, I was more interested in the Jun Fan & the Jeet Kune Do principles more than anything because I’d used the principles in my tournament strategies; so I wanted to see more regarding the street orientation of the same.

So during his visit I went to several of the formats that were being held. He was holding about a 40 hour workout. The formats were 8 hours/day, for 2 or 3 weeks. There was so much, I just soaked it up, but I preferred the Filipino Martial Arts. I never realized the internal connection I had to the Filipino Martial Arts, but later Raymond Tabosa told me about my grandfather being a great eskrimador, but he chose not to teach it. At any rate,
I’ll come back to that.

Dan Inosanto was always so enthusiastic about propagating the Filipino Martial Arts. Guro Dan’s knowledge of being able to taking the movements & show how it could relate to everyday life situations.

Although I feel and felt that seminars are great, at that time I had an unquenchable thirst & seminars no longer quenched the thirst. So I asked Danny, ‘you have so much knowledge, where are all these guys that you trained with & how can I find them?’

MS: Did Guro Danny give you the information to find the guys he trained with?

CC: Yes, here was Danny just an encyclopedia of knowledge & so humble, he told me that I could start in Hawaii. Being Hawaiian, I explained that I went back to Hawaii each summer for 2 – 3 months.

MS: Did Guro Danny tell you who to seek out and start with?

CC: He did. He told me that the teacher I needed to seek was a guy by the name of Raymond Tabosa. He told me Batikan Raymond Tabosa of the Vilabrille system would be the man to start with.

Raymond Tabosa with a fellow associate
Raymond Tabosa with a fellow associate

MS: So when you returned to Hawaii did you seek out Raymond Tabosa & was he difficult to find?

CC: Actually he was very difficult to find. Once I had returned, one day I borrowed my sister’s car & traveled out Hwy 1. I saw this big sign along side of the road that said Filipino Martial Arts training camp. It was in a really odd place, in between the highway & the pineapple fields.

No fancy studio, the area had planks & outdoor workout facilities. When I pulled up a guy came out & introduced himself as Steve Solero. After a bit of kidding about my Midwest accent, I asked him what style he taught.

Guro Solero told me that he taught the “Moro Style”. I then of course I told him that I was looking for Raymond Tabosa & would like to train with him.

With a sigh & a nod Guro Solero said ‘ah, I see, well you come train with me for awhile & then we’ll see about Raymond Tabosa.”

MS: So did you train with Guro Solero.

CC: Well basically I said to myself, “well here I am, I had no idea that I was being put to the test at all.”

It was in the hot sun, and if you’re not aware, you’ve got these pineapple bugs, near the pineapple fields, they just irritate the hell out of you. You know you’re sweating & they just get all over you.

It was backyard training. They stuck me right in the back corner & there is a pit bull chained up, barking all the time behind me while I was training. I kept one eye on the pit bull just to make sure it didn’t get loose enough to get to me.

From that standpoint I can see that they were testing me to see how serious I was about learning their art.

The training was very interesting, they had golf club tubes filled with foam, so that we could practice double stick sparring. Many a day I’d come home with bruises all over my arms & body.

They had sort of a dome made from 6 long rattan poles that were joined at the center at the top, then they had a few rattan poles that went around in a horizontal position, inside of this “dome” is where we’d practice our body mechanics. The cage was a circumference of about 9 feet. You had to climb into the cage, there would be 2 guys in the cage & you sparred. Then you’d turn back to back & then 4 or 5 other practitioners, they would feed different angles of attack so that you’d have to make the proper adjustments, learn calibration & of course learn what it felt like to get poked as if stabbed. You & your partner, back to back would have to be able to read each other’s sensitivity in order to stay out of harms way. They would use rattan & the blunt end of the rattan to thrust & stab. That was around the 3rd week of training. During the 3rd week we began “plank” training. We’d have to do our drills while balancing ourselves on the foot wide planks.

About this time I really became tempted to say, “Ok, I’ve only got a couple of weeks left, I’d really like to meet this guy Raymond Tabosa.” But I’d thought the better of it and decided not to push the issue. It was a good thing. He called him up, he said, “yeah, I spoke to Mr. Tabosa, I told him about you.” I made it clear that I still wanted to continue training there, but the instructor said yeah, it’s alright, and you’ll know when he’s here.

I continue training, about the end of the 3rd week, here came this older man with the cane, his alohai shirt (his silkie, the shirt was made of silk), had his sunglasses on, & his baseball cap, & he was with another guy, short & stocky; they stayed & watched.

So I’m thinking to myself, hmm, guess this was a guest instructor, so I’m working out doing stick drills, feeling good even with the dog barking, so these 2 gentlemen sit down to watch me.

They go over to Guro Steve Somero & basically tell him they wanted to talk to me. So I’m called over during our break, & the older man extends him hand saying “hello, I’m Raymond Tabosa.”

He looked at me kinda strange, with my curly perm, & says “you from the island’s here”. I explained after having a good laugh about my choice of hairstyle, saying “Ah, you da 1st Filipino with da curly hair,” as he was laughing aloud. I stated I come here every summer & that my mother is from Hawaii, that even though I was born here we moved when I was about 6 yrs old, & that I had family there. Mr. Tabosa said, “Ah, you have family here, I know a lot of people.” I said yes. He then asked what the family name is. I said “Juanita Naton”. Mr. Tabosa said “Naton, I knew a Naton, Marcos Naton,” I said yes that’s my grandfather. Then he just kinda stood there holding his cane, he turned, talked to the guy who was with him, Wayne Casillias, then he looked back at me & a little tear came out of his eye. He motioned and said “you come here; I’ll meat you tomorrow at 6 am. You know your grandfather was a strong escrimador too you know. He also teaches the Filipino dancing & he was a great Sipat practioners. Sipat is the game that combines volley ball & soccer.

So right from there it was Raymond Tabosa that opened up the doors as far as meeting the unknown & unheralded martial artists.

MS: The length of the stick was that 24, 26, or 28 inches?

CC: It was pretty interesting, it was about 28 inches. Because w had gripping exercises we had to do so that we could adjust the stick length to work from close quarters. So that if you got rushed you adjusted the grip with the torque of your body in order to be prepare for all combat confrontations.

MS: How long did you work with Raymond Tabosa?

CC: About several summers. It was really amazing, you know the “old manong” were so willing to share with you, once you passed their screening process of course.

Of course I’d have to wake at 5am because the manong would be ready to train by 6am of course.

I’d say to Mr. Tabosa, don’t worry I’ll meet you, & Mr. Tabosa would say, “no, no, no, I’ll pick you up. I’d offer to pay for gas, again, no, no, no. So he’d pick me up & he’d take me to Zippy’s restaurant, which is like a McDonald’s or Burger King here in the states. We’d go & there’d be several of the older men there, Snooky Sanchez, Mr. Pedoy, & a few other gentlemen. So I’d offer to buy breakfast for everyone & of course no, no, no, they wouldn’t hear of it.

So I’m feeling kind of uncomfortable off the bat.

We sat drank coffee & started talking together. Then I was asked why I wanted to learn the Filipino Martial Arts, and I said because I wanted to learn about my culture & truly had no idea that our culture even had a martial arts system associated with it.

So as we talked I was told, ok we’ll start off with this; so one of the gentlemen would get up one at a time & demonstrate their technique of their system

I truly wish I had a video camera at the time because of the unique content, character & emotion that would be displayed by the manong as they’d demonstrate their systems for me.

Snooky Sanchez then talked about how the stick would help develop the proper body mechanics & assist with positioning. He was developing his own system at that point, he referred to it as the “star system.” He would talk to me about triangulation & the geometrics of the art. These things were way above my head at that point, coming from the tournament style of fighting that I had been exposed to in the past. But these guys were talking about proximity, positioning, & calibrations. I was so amazed with the sum of knowledge that they shared. We talked for about 3, 4 or 5 hours.

Then everyone else would go their own way. Mr. Tabosa would take me then to a Filipino restaurant and eat. I’d offer to pay but it was never accepted. All summer it was like that.

That as a whole was my 1st lesson from Tabosa, “You serve your student.”

MS: So this was a complete 180 degrees from what you were used to previously.

CC: Yes, in the more traditional martial arts, back in that day, you put on a code of arms for the instructors. But with these old manong it was quite the opposite. That’s just the way they were.

MS: You indicated that you had spent several summers training in Hawaii. Was that primarily with Tabosa at that time?

CC: When Tabosa and I would get together it was primarily research into the Vilabrille System. It would be more like a conceptual thing. As far as training we would talk principals. With Mr. Tabosa it was more informative.

MS: In regards to the blade training, did Mr. Tabosa introduce you to the methods of cutting, slicing & blade movement?

CC: This too is very interesting, because again his instruction was more about micro adjustments, & how to position the blade.

During my time at Western Illinois University, I was a proponent & student of European fencing. A lot of opinion is that fencing is one dimensional, but that is only the sport aspect. In further research & study one can see the adaptations made due to length & type of blade, the type of positioning & adjustments made within the FMA as well as European fencing with street applications.

MS: So after your training each summer & particularly after several summers with Mr. Tabosa & the other instructors, after returning to the Midwest, were you able to or did you incorporate the skills learned with your Shuri te/Shorin ryu training?

CC: I kept the arts totally separate, as a matter of fact, after training in the FMA, I never went back to training in the Asian arts.

Now that’s not to downplay the training in the Asian arts, it was just a stepping stone for me. I took the philosophy which I was taught learning the Asian arts was never wasted, it was the foundation for me to move on & forward. Later I came back to some of the kata that I’d studied before, while examining the translations within the FMA & saw the valid similarities in some technique of the FMA & Asian martial arts. There is valid training technique within the Asian martial arts.

MS: What brought you to Cabales Serrada Escrima?

CC: Again my friend Bruce Albach, we worked together in a club in St. Louis, Mo., had shown me all the counters, but he referred me further to Nate Defensor, who was in instructor under Angel Cabales. He was also an instructor under Dan Inosanto & Leo Gaje. Guro Nate Defensor was also the Sergeant at Arms for Raymond Tabosa.

The more I think about it, the more I realize that Hawaii being the melting pot that it is, the stepping stone to the mainland & mecca of martial arts.

Going back to what I said, you see Raymond Tabosa was the liason for those inquiring about the FMA, that was the strong impression that I was given. If you wanted to meet any of the other FMA manong, Raymond Tabosa would be the guy who would screen you.

Guro Nate Defensor
Guro Nate Defensor

At any rate, I attended seminar with Guro Nate Defensor in which he covered a lot of material from, Pekiti Tirsia, Silat & Cabales Serrada Escrima. After the 1st day I asked Guro Nate Defensor about Serrada Escrima. Since he & I had conversation earlier regarding Hawaii & Raymond Tabosa, Guro Defensor told me we’d cover that tomorrow.

Guro Defensor approached it from the cinco teros perspective.

When GM Angel Cabales used to teach a seminar he’d always give the 1st 3 angles of attack & the 3 counters for them. Then he used to say, “Now you should be pretty good escrimador.” I never understood that, I always kinda thought always best to know all 12, but I kinda understood what he was saying.

But Guro Defensor again concentrated on the cinco teros, angle 1 outside deflection, angle 2 outside standard, angle 3 cross block, angle 4 punch (drop) block & angle 5 abanico deflections.

Guro Defensor showed how to make the adjustments when the opponent close & when you would close on the opponent. Then he showed the “lock & block drill” I thought to myself “yeah now there is some good training to do here” (as Chuck laughed out loud with a huge smile of the fond memory).

We had spent quite a bit of time together here in St. Louis during seminars. I didn’t commit to being an instructor for him at that time. I had not yet decided which direction I was going to go within the FMA at that time. He had shown me Pekiti Tirsia 64 angles of attack, the seguidas of San Miguel, & Cadena from different systems, so we spent a lot of time together. He (Guro Defensor) is a really enjoyable guy.

Then I had to make a decision, which is where Serrada Escrima came into play. My good friend Bruce Albach & I heard about Jamie Tacosa teaching seminars in Chicago, So after reading about Jamie Tacosa, we had decided mutually to go up to Chicago each weekend to study with Jamie Tacosa. He was teaching at the Degerberg Acadamy at the time.

MS: So that time frame was 1985, 1986, or was it a bit earlier that?

CC: That was probably 1984.

MS: At that time were you exposed to Jay D’mato & the California Martial Arts Academy of St. Louis?

CC: Ah, yes, actually, my friend Bruce & I both worked there. The CMAA was a school which was ahead of it’s time. That was an organization that combined teaching of Muay Thai, FMA, Aikido, and Wing Chun & Kajukenbo.

MS: Was this prior to the time that Guro Nate Defensor would come teach seminars?

CC: Guro Defensor would come to St. Louis at a couple of locations, one being the CMAA, another being Tracy Smother’s Acadamy also at St. Louis University of St. Louis, Missouri.

Guro Larry Hartsell & Guru Ted Lucay Lucay would also come in for seminars. I met both of these gentlemen with the aid of Guro Wes Bennett of West Frankfort, Illinois.

But back to Guro Defensor, I credit him with the primary introduction of Cabales Serrada Escrima to me. Then later on my friend Bruce Albach & I would travel to Chicago to train with Jamie Tacosa.

Pangulong Guro Jamie Tacosa and Pangulong Guro Chuck Cadell
Pangulong Guro Jamie Tacosa (left) & Pangulong Guro Chuck Cadell (right)

MS: Was Guro Jamie Tacosa influential to your understanding of Cabales Serrada Escrima?

CC: Of Course, Guro Tacosa furthered our development from the basics which Guro Defensor had introduced to us.

Bruce Albach & I continued to train, train, train, & drive to Chicago to every weekend to further our training with Guro Tacosa. At one point Bruce ceased the training, due to accepting a job in Kansas City and recently getting married. During our training we brought Serrada Escrima to St. Louis under Guro Tacosa. We established some seminars in the St. Louis area. Guro Tacosa saw the dedication I had in the art of Serrada Escrima. We went to dinner one evening & then discussed the future. My training accelerated, I became Guro Tacosa’s representative in Southern Illinois/St. Louis area. Along with a gentleman in Chicago & another instructor on the West Coast, we began networking & building the network for TSE (Tacosa Serrada Escrima).

Chuck Cadell and Jamie Tacosa
Pangulong Guro Chuck Cadell (left) & Pangulong Guro Jamie Tacosa (right)

MS: After a relationship with Guro Tacosa & the assisting in building TSE, at some point you moved beyond that & moved on to CSE with GM Angel Cabales.

What made that move a necessity for you to move from TSE to Cabales Serrada Escrima System?

CC: Well, I was with Guro Tacosa for about 7 years, training hard and I really got very good training, and grateful for that experience. It was a combination of several factors. My personal goal of completing and refining my skills with GM Angel Cabales, fulfilling my personal vision of perpetuating Serrada Eskrima, personal obligations in my life, and mainly my separation from the affiliation with CMAA Martial Arts Academy in St. Louis under Tacosa Serrada Eskrima (TSE).

As I said we (TSE) were branching out through CMAA St. Louis, and other academies in Granite City, Alton, and other areas of the Metro area. My separation from the CMAA satellite location became a pivotal point for me to later make the decision to leave TSE entirely.

About that time a few of the CMAA instructors were leaving due to personality conflicts & some deeper issues with management at the Academy. The owner of CMAA Martial Academy wanted to promote his Personal Defense Method to be the main system taught at the Academy, by existing staff instructors. Therefore, remove the existing Martial curriculums from the academy. After the decision was made, I decided it was time for me to move on. It was not my personal preference and interest to perpetuate such a method. There was some negative talking surfacing about “what one instructor said verses what another instructor said, and what management said.” Instead of analyzing the objections and putting one system or what one instructor stated against another, the atmosphere worsened. Discussions about the “behind the back” objections never surfaced. I felt discussions of the matters were important, and hopefully of great value. It never happened so after the departure, I decided to never be in that position ever again.

So at that point rather than teaching at CMAA, I started teaching out of my house, I got together with some of my old friends from my tournament days, & we would facilitate the seminars from that perspective. We would hold seminars in Granite City, Alton, Saint Louis University, & Washington University of St. Louis, Missouri. At that point we had a very good core network for the TSE body within the St. Louis metro area.

MS: In traditional FMA it’s said that there is really no designated levels of progression. Was that also the case within TSE?

CC: Yes there were levels of progression within TSE. The levels that Guro Tacosa used were similar to the progressions I utilize today. For gauging purposes within my methodology of teaching, I gained permission from GM Angel to add a level of progression.

GM Angel utilized 2 levels of progression; he utilized basic & advanced. Now I believe they utilize a different ranking methodology.

During my time with Guro Tacosa there were approximately 3 levels & he was still finalizing further development.

MS: So you would say during your time with Guro Tacosa, you and he worked closely to progress TSE?

CC: Sure, of course we did. I was one of his promoters. Primarily I promoted seminars throughout the bistate (Southern Illinois & Missouri) area. There was so much potential within the St. Louis area. How to get the FMA out there & make it popular was what we worked at consistently. Guro Tacosa would stay at my house months at a time. I’d get my training in and we’d work on promoting TSE. Later I would understand the differences between the instructional platforms of CSE and TSE.

You see I was able to meet GM Angel Cabales in 1985 at Guro Fred Degerberg’s Academy in Chicago, Illinois. I was one of the few at that time that got to be invited after the seminas to spend time with GM Angel and train privately. He’d watch my counters & my empty hand technique. GM Angel would give his critique & so I’d noticed, well there is somewhat of a difference here between Guro Tacosa & GM Angel’s observation and way of doing techniques.

I’d ask Guro Tacosa why we don’t do the C-hand progressions. He would say that he favored the GM Max Sarmiento method of parrying hands. Guro Tacosa also incorporated the Largo Mano influence of Guro Leo Giron within the TSE progressions.

GM Angel had the Largo Mano principles in CSE; however they were much different than the way presented within TSE. So I’m seeing a conflict of information. At that time it was never presented to me that TSE was merely Guro Tacosa’s interpretation & that Manong Cabales methods were different in structure. So that raised my eyebrows a bit at that point in time with Guro Tacosa.

MS: So do you feel, much like you had a void during your tournament days & felt you had to go to Hawaii to train; do you feel that these “discrepancies” created another void for you which partially caused you to seek out GM Angel Cabales on your own?

CC: To some degree yes, however, that’s not to take away from the effectiveness of training within the TSE Structure. It’s just when I’m teaching Serrada Escrima, I teach the structure of GM Angel Cabales and not Guro Tacosa. But, hey that’s why you have CSE & TSE set apart with their own methodologies.

I was granted permission by GM Angel Cabales to show my lineage under him as a Pangulong Guro of his art of Serrada Escrima, hence the logo of Cadell/Cabales Serrada Eskrima. The Stick Counters, Hand to Hand Responses, Training Drills, and Defensive Strategies have not changed as was taught to me by GM Angel Cabales, but my method of instruction has.

I am firm believer that an Instructor has to be a facilitator of innovative instructional techniques and up-to-date knowledge of enhancing individual performance. By utilizing an integrated instructional/training program that blends speed, strength, timing, core stability, and mental perseverance, the instructor helps the practitioner’s performance of the systems counters faster, stronger, powerful, and spontaneous.

MS: So, again, at what point did you feel you had to go directly to the source, being GM Angel Cabales?

CC: After being with Guro Tacosa for 7 years there was a lot of discussion as far as how the movement of the system of TSE was going to take place, one being re-establishing affiliation with CMAA.

I had already separated myself from CMAA. We were working getting certain accelerated programs in place so that TSE could have additional representation in the Metro East (Southwestern Illinois/East St. Louis area). Guro Tacosa had assigned me the task of teaching Jay D’mato of CMAA, and guiding him through the accelerated program for TSE. This was something that I really did not want to do, but I did it as a favor to Guro Tacosa. I really did not like the idea, Jay & I had disagreements on certain things, other instructors left as well, & I really didn’t want to go back. So I did it for Guro Tacosa, things got set up as far as teaching. That became a resource for Guro Tacosa to forward TSE. Additionally, I finished preparing 6 of my students to be certified as Basic Instructors under TSE. Additionally the instructor award ceremony was to be held at CMAA, so that did not sit well with me at all.

I believe at that point Guro Tacosa was somewhat frustrated with my observations of matters concerning his direction, as you can imagine since Guro Tacosa was staying with me at the time. The topic was always center stage at the time, just like being with family; you have things of that nature that cause conflict.

I just couldn’t get away from it. I could not get it out of my head. I told my fiancé’, now my wife, this was going to be my last time. I was going to announce it at the testing. So we had the testing at CMAA and after the testing I announced my resignation. I was very professional, I thanked everyone for everything that they’ve done & thanked the new instructors, including Jay D’mato for his hospitality.

Well that got Guro Tacosa very, very mad. I guess he wanted me to tell him privately. He just didn’t get the picture at the time how strongly I felt. I expressed to him that I didn’t like what was going on at that time. So rather than tell him in private & have others questioning why Guro Chuck left, I resigned publicly, direct & professionally.

So when I get home, I’d gotten a phone call from Guro Tacosa chewing me out & making his disdain known on my answering machine. I returned the call. I told Guro Tacosa that this was not the time or the proper way to say things the way he had on my answering machine; because I won’t back down, but out of respect I told him to think about the things he was saying. He did & at that point Guro Tacosa and I went our separate ways.

I’m thankful for all of the training I’d received & thankful that I was a part of getting the TSE movement on a forward & continuing track.

I was continuing to be in contact with GM Angel Cabales throughout my time with Guro Tacosa.

You know Mike, it’s a small world, because within a short time GM Angel Cabales had given me a call & said, “You no longer with Jimmy (Guro Jimmy Tacosa)?”

I told GM Angel Cabales, “I think I’m just going to give it all up”. Because I know the politics will start getting ugly very soon. Even while I was with TSE I was also working toward an instructorship in CSE under GM Angel Cabales.

The way it worked at that time, is once you made it through basic & advanced level, then your instructor could refer you to GM Angel Cabales either for further training or completion of your masters certification. During the times when I’d seen GM Angel Cabales in Chicago, he would put me through the next progressions of training.

But as I said GM Angel Cabales called and told me, “You, come train and stay with me for awhile.”

Sultan Uddin, Angel Cabales, PG Chuck Cadell
PG Sultan Uddin (left), GM Angel Cabales (center) & PG Chuck Cadell (right)

So on two separate occasions I went to California and spent time with GM Angel Cabales to further & finish my training. That’s when I met Vincent Cabales, Darren Tibon & many others of GM Cabales’ instructor graduates.

I had a very good base, but there were things that GM Cabales had helped me work on such as empty hands, picking, reversals, and sticky stick.

MS: Now, did he teach you at his residence or at the back of Gung Li’s restaurant where his school was at that time?

CC: He would teach me at his home, behind closed doors. He would teach me right in the middle of his living room of his apartment. Fortunately, my training sessions, conversations of his biography, opinions, and other concerns were videotaped as was my sessions with the heir to the Serrada System, his son Vincent Cabales.

PG Chuck Cadell (left cntr), GM Angel Cabales (center), future GM Vincent Cabales (right cntr)

The 1st visit I’d made, from the airport, I’d ride a bus down into Stockton, Ca. It’s funny the timing when I’d saw him at 1st, sitting on the bench, what I saw, is what I’ll call “a pensive Angel”. What I mean is very contemplative, but it was like he knew he didn’t have much time. His health was failing, and I believe he was contemplating what the future held for his family and the legacy of his art, Serrada Eskrima.

So at any rate he was waiting for me at the Greyhound bus stop, and one could notice there was that certain aura about him. Just like the first time I was introduced to him and shook his hand I knew then GM Angel Cabales was genuine, very kind, respectful, and proud.

So we got into the car & the first thing that I’d noticed was his numerous pair of sunglasses above the visor; and of course his Mickey Mouse hat.

We talked for a bit, he then apologized for Guro Jimmy Tacosa’s actions, for his decisions, etc.

I explained that it was not a problem, we do things according to what we believe in and choose to stand for; it was just a situation where Guro Tacosa and I have differing visions perpetuating Cabales Serrada Eskrima, therefore we went separate ways.

I stated that my method of separation from Guro Tacosa might not have been the best, however, the students that I’d trained would not have any question as to what transpired or affected by hearsay

My mother use to say “Out of bad situations, good things will happen.” I have always believed in her wisdom. Always stay positive and motivated. In this situation, I am also perpetuating GM Angel Cabales art.

To prevent any further turmoil the Washington University Serrada Eskrima Club now was under the Cadell/Cabales Serrada Eskrima Banner; permission from GM Angel Cabales.
GM Angel Cabales was proud of that, because he used to say “Good, you’re the 1st to have Serrada Escrima in a college setting.”

The Washington University Serrada Eskrima Club in St. Louis, Mo was spearheaded, by the assistance of Mike Elma and Jim Pavelec. They were students of Washington Univ.
and were under my instruction and promoted to CSE Basic Instructors by me. The CSE Club hosted private and group Serrada Eskrima sessions, Self-Defense workshops, and FMA Seminars. Thanks to Wes Bennet, Guro Ted Lucaylucay was a frequent guest instructor. Our Classes were large and hundreds were introduced to the Serrada Eskrima and FMA during our 4 year term.

Chuck Cadell, Ted Lucaylucay, Wes Bennet
Guro Chuck Cadell (left), Guro Ted Lucaylucay (center), & Guro Wes Bennet

MS: What year was this? Was this 1990 or 1991?

CC: This would have to have been 1990 because my last series with GM Angel Cabales was in Mid-January thru February1991; prior to his death in March of 1991.

MS: So the little ones, his children Gelmar & Mari Gel around as well.

CC: Oh yes, they were there at the apartment with Mrs. Cabales.

Angel Cabales, Gelmar Cabales, Chuck Cadell
GM Angel Cabales (left), Gelmar Cabales (center), & PG Chuck Cadell (right)

MS: Were you aware of any turmoil going on at that time, regarding personal family issues resulting from GM Angel Cabales’ 1st marriage, Vincent Sr. and his then existing family.

CC: No that topic was not brought out at all; his wife at the time was very, very nice and hospitable to me. GM Angel Cabales had his way and that was/is the way of the culture.

Angel Cabales, Chuck Cadell
GM Angel Cabales (left) & PG Chuck Cadell (right) working on knife disarms

MS: Did you perceive any difference in the footwork that was taught to you by Guro Tacosa in comparison to the way GM Angel Cabales presented for instance rapido stepping?

CC: As far as fundamental Replacement footwork, there was no difference. On the other hand GM Angel Cabales stressed the importance of balance when employing quick staccato like footwork, body transitions, managing and controlling distance, and when using triangulating entries.

When observing the basic Serrada Counters performed properly, one will see the how the footwork manages distance to be effective while on the offense or defense. GM Angel Cabales stressed the importance of quick, smooth footwork to adapt to the changes in distance to disrupt your opponent’s strategy, dominate the opponent to initiate an offensive tactic, or implement evasive measures to counter-attack. In essence, coordinated footwork, timing and gauging distance is essential.

MS: After receiving the status of Pangulong Guro (Master Instructor), how did you adapt your teaching methods comparatively from the methodology that Guro Jimmy Tacosa presented to you & the way in which GM Angel Cabales taught the material? How did you make the adaptation in the way you taught others including myself?

CC: First of all, I had to find my own path in developing myself to be an effective instructor. I’m always seeking to improve my teaching abilities and adjusting my methodologies whether it is with CSE, or my personal system of Tanikala De Mano or C-TACT (Core – Tactical Advantage Concepts and Training for LEO and Corrections). So my instructional platforms are continually evolving. This is simply because I’m striving to be a better trainer through my students and experiences.

Punong Guro Chuck Cadell
Punong Guro Chuck Cadell

To reach perfection is good, but to continue to strive for perfection should be the constant goal. To take a template and continue to improve to reach the desired state is the way that I’ve approached the “final” destination, if you will for my teaching.

Guro Chuck Cadell and demo team 1992
Pangulong Guro Chuck Cadell and his demonstration team 1992

MS: One of the many important lessons I’d learned from you was to learn from your students.

CC: One of the things I pass on to prospective trainers I certify within the Illinois Dept of Corrections, whether its martial arts, firearms training, SWAT, control & restraint tactics, Special Operations Response Teams, CTACT, I ensure they are cognizant that becoming a trainer is just the beginning of their journey. The ultimate challenge will be what they have learned from their experiences in the field and from their students, so they as instructors may present it in an instructional platform.

Isang Mundo Isang Tribo Academy of Serrada Escrima & Tanikala De Mano Instructors
Isang Mundo Isang Tribo Academy of Serrada Escrima & Tanikala De Mano Instructors.

MS: Did you find that in your development of your CTACT system that the CSE system alone or combined with your previous FMA & Asian martial arts training gave you the best edge in developing CTACT?

CC: What I can say is that I’ve been one of the privileged to apply what I’ve learned from my FMA training in tactical situations. I’ve been able to learn from mistakes and from victories within the correctional system on a personal level as a Correctional Sergeant and trainer. Not too many individuals can say that.

Chuck Cadell and Joseph Durham
Defensive Tactics Instructor for IDOC PG Chuck Cadell and Comander Joseph Durham

For example: Principles that I’ve learned from Serrada Escrima and other Filipino martial arts, were beneficial for me when applied to cell extractions, fugitive apprehension, and various tactical response operations.

The totality of circumstances establishes each situation unique.

I call it a blessing that I’d had the training I did from all of my instructors because I’ve been able to adapt and apply what I’d learned in a very dangerous environment and share that knowledge to my peers.

Looking in hindsight, I see how everything from all of the systems I studied interrelates with each other. I was fortunate and privileged to have trained under Guro Ted Lucaylucay and understand, that the important component of any martial art is the person and his/her analysis and understanding of core components of motion, technique, performance, conditioning and strategy to develop and create their personal interpretation and style.

The Core Components of Serrada Eskrima and Tanikala de Mano (My personal method of Self Defense) is the nucleus of C-T.A.C.T. for Law Enforcement and Corrections.

The Trainees are introduced to Phase I – Resort to Force, Reasonable Force, and Psychological Preparation, Angles of Attacks, Baton Training, etc.

Phase II – Consists of Core Conditioning, Principles of Distance and Positioning, Pressure Points, Joint Manipulations, and Empty Hand Defensive Tactics/Control, etc.

Phase III – Consists of Ground Tactics, Weapon Retention, Tactical Knife Defense, etc.

As you see the Training Modules of C- T.A.C.T. is comprehensive and is certified by the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board.

Chuck Cadell and Joseph Durham
Defensive Tactics Instructor for IDOC PG Chuck Cadell and Comander Joseph Durham

How the Filipino Martial Arts of Serrada Eskrima and Tanikala de Mano is implemented within CTACT, or how the training methods of FMA can complement an existing Control Tactic program is a subject for another article.

MS: So with the advent of MMA, do you feel that Serrada Escrima as a medium range to closed quarter system creates a gap or a bridge to the grappling range?

CC: Well, I would feel the Serrada Escrima system to be a bridge. But what vehicle of tactics would you be referring to?

MS: My primary reference would be as a bouncer in a bar, with someone coming after me with “an armed action”; in other words coming at me with a weapon in hand. At that point, with others crowded around I would have to utilize my Serrada Escrima training to take control of the person intending to do me harm without harming those surrounding us.

CC: It really depends upon the level of training the individual receives and their understanding of Serrada defensive tactics and situational evaluation. Does the individual understand the proper use of distance and position, proximity, relative position, tactical communication to diffuse subject’s action?

The Hand to Hand training method of Serrada Eskrima is developed and translated from the Serrada stick counters. The core elements of movement within the stick counters prepares the individual to respond with offensive, defensive, disarming, and locking maneuvers for the respective ranges. Now keep in mind the individual’s ability to modify his responses to fit the situation is imperative. The Instructor’s guidance during“Specialized Training Drills” should promote adaptability and spontaneity.

Angel Cabales and Chuck Cadell
GM Angel Cabales (left) introducing standup grappling to PG Chuck Cadell

So at this point we have another variable to consider, ground tactics. Is Serrada Escrima suitable for it?

MS: I know and believe of course that it is.

CC: Sure, it most certainly is. This is where the individual really has to understand body mechanics of how to apply and respond with tactics from a standing position and on the ground.

MS: Do you have an opinion as to why more FMA or Indonesian stylists don’t enter into the MMA arena? A great deal of the fighters concentrates on Muay Thai, BJJ and traditional grappling arts. Why do you feel that they don’t turn to the FMA or Indonesian styles for alternative grappling methods?

CC: Well the MMA arena is not for everybody, plain and simple. It is a demanding sport. They have my respect. Some FMA / Indonesian Stylist may have differing lifestyles, occupations, responsibilities, that are priorities and demanding. There are many answers.

Now to answer the latter part of the question, the Filipino Martial Arts or Indonesian Martial Arts is not for everybody as well. I believe these arts do have something to offer MMA in the area of enhancing, and complementing their skills and performance through selective, specialized training derived from FMA / Indonesian Martial Arts.

Just like my students, and fellow FMA, and martial artist in general, we train for different reasons. For me to survive in my line of work it is essential. We train hard for Street reality and for Critical Incidents.

In my opinion, the Serrada Escrima and other FMA systems is similar to MMA in some respects. The Filipino and Indonesian Martial Arts have been around a long time, shrouded in secrecy for the sole purpose of self-defense in conflicting times. These unique martial arts didn’t surface to the public until the middle 1960’s.

Consider this, what defines MMA? The Mixed Martial Arts Instructors must provide instructional platforms to meet various combative ranges that the participants will encounter. Therefore the participants must have a solid foundation of boxing, kicking, and grappling skills.

In my opinion the Filipino and Indonesian Martial Arts in particular Serrada Escrima provides empty-hand and weaponry skills in all combative ranges. The weaponry training are the tools to develop one’s full potential in all aspects of self-defense, sport, and life through an integrated training program based on battled-tested and cutting edge training methods.

MS: Do you ever foresee the possibility of bringing the FMA into the realm of MMA? By that I mean actually bringing the stick into the ring. Not necessarily being able to utilize on the extreme level like the “dog brothers”, but somewhere in between.

CC: That’s tough, it could happen, but it’d be tough. We would first discuss about the appeal of the sport to the general public. The public appeal of such an endeavor depends on how the image of the sport represents itself. Currently the Mixed Martial Arts competitions are being accepted as an extreme sport of martial skills and conditioning. These events, such as the UFC, are prepared and presented in a manner that is appropriate for the respective audience.

For example the “Ultimate Fighter Series” focuses on how the trainers of each team provide a strict training regiment to better promote the extreme sport and its fighters. The TV audience gets the information from the Trainers and the drama and suspense from the fighters themselves. Now the “Ultimate Fighter Series” in itself demonstrate exceptional media skills, promoting to preserve the fascination and proliferation of Mixed Martial Arts as an extreme sport. In my opinion this why the UFC is successful and most likely will surpass the sport of Boxing and other martial art competitions.

Now you add the Baton into the Mix Martial Art Arena and now the sport must redefine itself. Now safety of the fighters becomes a critical issue. Will this increase the appeal of the sport?

MS: Why? If the baton were a padded baton wouldn’t that alleviate the need for head gear?

CC: (with a laugh) No, no, because our culture would still see and look at the baton as a weapon. The safety of such a sport should never be questioned.

MS: So you believe the difficulty is a cultural one and how it’s perceived?

CC: Yes, definitely how it’s perceived culturally, by the general public. I would love to see it. But the stigma of a “club” in the hand of a fighter would just be too much.

That’s why in law enforcement we always call it a Tactical Baton, it’s a Control Instrument within most “Use of Force Behavior Response Models” and not to be referred to as a club or a stick.

So I’m basically looking at it from a Public Relation and Legal Issue standpoint. So with that in mind would you really want to call it “Mixed Martial Arts Stick Fighting”?

MS: Very true, probably not.

CC: It would be how you market it. It’s still going to be tough to do.

MS: With your experiences within the Illinois Dept. of Corrections, training fellow Correctional Officers, and LEO, how has that influenced your teaching methodology within Cadell/Cabales Serrada Eskrima as well as how has that influenced your development of C.T.A.C.T.

CC: From a vantage point 16 years of working within Department of Corrections as a Maximum Security Correctional Sergeant, a member of the Statewide Tactical Response Team (TRT), and DOC Agency Trainer I have met and dealt with all kinds of personalities of front line officers, administrators, and trainers. In addition violent individuals, who are behind bars, on parole, and during critical/tactical incidents. Based on my experiences, as well as the experiences of my peers, in the previous mentioned areas, I felt it necessary to re-evaluate classic Defensive Tactics programs that are offered at various Law Enforcement/Correction Agencies.

During my early years of observation of several agencies, I became aware of regulated departmental opposition to change and new training methods, lack of efficient follow-up training/Instructor re-certification, defensive tactics philosophy, and the attitude “While at the academy this is the only time, in your career, you will be training in defensive tactics.”

So, in the opinion of most Law-enforcement/Corrections trainers I have conversed with is, “what we have is administrative concerns such as roster management conflicts, fiscal budgetary justification / accountability, and the lack of awareness for the need of a progressive approach to updating and combining reality based training methods for annual in-service training for our officers.”

As the years passes by, departmental administrators are addressing the need for change, but budgetary and time training still are of concern.

Whether I’m instructing DOC cadets/In-service Staff, Law Enforcement Officers, Special Ops Units, and even the public sector several factors come in to play. From my experience as an Instructor Trainer in whatever instructional platform I have to offer, meeting the needs of specialized training/ reality based training is a necessity.

Let us say you are a member of a Tactical Unit and you and the unit, rely on classroom lectures on tactics to replace physical reality based training due to time and budgetary constraints. How can the Unit achieve optimal performance and meet its objectives during a critical incident? Or even worse the tactical member who plays catch up by listening to what was covered in the numerous practice sessions he/she has missed due to lame excuses. How can such a person be an asset to the team’s fluid, tactical, performance.

With that said the foundation of my instructional platform in Core-Tactical Advantage Concepts/Training (C.T.A.C.T.) are derived from my tactical experiences and selected core principles of Serrada Eskrima and various FMA in general. C.T.A.C.T. provides a training curriculum for non-existing defensive tactics program or updating existing programs for proactive agencies.

In contrast to instructing rote methods or techniques not adaptable to unexpected changes, C.T.A.C.T. Defensive Tactics Instructional Platforms enhances the officer’s ability to respond with fluid and spontaneous options, and the tactical skills to provide tactical variations in an officer-survival situation.

It is my belief technique is important. It is the product of a given motion. When the training is inflexible by emphasizing of what I call a set of “dead pattern” of techniques, then it becomes an injustice to the officer or practitioner of a self-defense program. Emphasis should be placed on the training of combative principles such as tactical positioning, distance, timing, and economy of action. The principles mentioned will enhance their defenses responses.

Proficiency of Tactical Positioning enhances the participant’s relative positioning for adversary control, angle of attacks, and environmental training. The Principle of Distance introduces the participant what defensive tools (unarmed and armed) are effective for the appropriate range, and the importance of tactical footwork to control boundaries between the officer and adversary. The Principle of Timing which trains the officer in the areas of cadence, fluid transitional response training, and the flow of the assault.

Now when I offer private sessions for individuals at my personal school and outside the private sector, they can learn my personal method Tanikala de Mano, “C.T.A.C.T.” or they can learn Serrada Eskrima. But whatever they choose, they have to prove to me they want to learn, within a 3 month probationary program. Some people will say, “That’s no way to run a business”. I’m not running a commercial school that my livelihood is dependent upon & I never really have. The prospective student must go thru the orientation program; they are going to prove to themselves if they really want to be involved in the programs I offer.

My personal goal is to instruct participants to complete a given program and who desire to be quality trainers. If you’ve got the qualifications, fine here are the prerequisites. A 3-Month Probationary Program, complete each level of training of the given program and have the flexibility to work around my time schedule. Of course the certified instructors in my program are available. My primary occupation is priority and demanding. I’m sorry but that’s just the way it must be. I inform all new students of this. Once they pass the prerequisites within 3 months, then we begin very serious training of the programs offered. If the students just has the desire to be just a practitioner of the arts, that’s fine. If they have a desire to be a certified instructor of Isang Mundo Isang Tribo Martial Arts Academy, that’s fine also.

This is the way I look at it, don’t waste your time and waste my time if you are not sincere and dedicated. If you don’t have the right attitude and the right character, there are other people waiting in line to fill the spot and prove their desire to learn.

So what the new students have to do is they have to go through an Orientation Phase which consists of a conditioning program. The first half hour consist of core training, medicine ball training, and functional training as it relates to the self-defense program of their choice. The next half hour consists of mobility/stability training. The final half hour consists of Single and Double Baton Familiarization and Core Baton Manipulations (CBM) and review of training session. After 3 months of being proficient then they move onto the next phase. The choice of being a student of Cadell/Cabales Serrada Eskrima, Tanikala De Mano, C.T.A.C.T. or a Personalized Self-Defense Program.

During their entire training the student is responsible for taking notes of their training sessions. Because the last ten minutes of their training are taking notes on what they’ve learned and assessing their own performance establishing their next goal. Their note taking provides a personal resource in developing lesson plans if they desire to be a certified instructor in one of the training programs offered.

After the practitioner phase of any of the programs offered, Instructor Certification is available. The Instructor Certification is not mandatory. The Instructor Program guides the individual in developing effective presentation, communication, organizational and evaluative skills to produce a positive learning atmosphere.

The students training journal reinforces what they’ve learned. When I see the dedication of a student that makes me more dedicated to teach and reciprocate. When I see that person putting the effort into it, then it’s worth the while for me to teach them. Hopefully this type of attitude carries over if and when the student becomes an instructor in any occupational field.

MS: (with a laugh) I still have my notes by the way from all the years I trained with you.

CC: But it’s how they appreciate it now, you understand:

MS: Of course. I lived the initial part of that, as you began to make those changes. So of course I understand.

MS: Have you ever had anyone that you’ve promoted an instructor in any system that has not necessarily lived up to your expectations or that has not followed through the way you felt that they should have?

CC: Yes.

MS: What precipitated that, do you think? Do you think it was a lack of confidence it themselves or what they had learned?

CC: Definitely it was not a lack of confidence. On the question of was it something they had learned? The answer is no.

It was an issue of weak character. Anyone can say they have integrity, but action is the real indicator of character. Here was an individual who was talented, achieved a certain level of success; he was an instructor of a prominent, local martial art academy.

This individual undermined the owners of that studio who offered him a job, and deceived the students who were learning the FMA curriculum offered. The facts were evident, the instructor when approached was unapologetic for his actions. He is no longer associated with our organization and a representative/instructor of the arts we perpetuate.

Lesson learned. How a person deals with the situations of life tells you numerous things about their character. In the face of adversity or crisis, the individual must choose one of two paths: Character or compromise.

What I have learned from my other mentors specifically Batikan Raymond Tobosa and Grandmaster Braulio Pedoy, we must question ourselves “What roles do I play in the game of life?” What are my roles? What will make me successful in the areas of mental, physical, and spiritual development? What role do I fill with my students and how I can fulfill this role more successfully?

Sounds simple right? Unfortunately, we fail to look inward, into our values for deeper purpose and direction. The process of self-improvement should be ongoing. During the last video-taped interview, weeks before his passing away, Grandmaster Pedoy shared with me his outlook on life. My interpretations from his guidance is; training in Eskrima/Kali develops core values necessary for physical, mental, and spiritual transformation. During this transformation he or she encounters that life isn’t about discovering oneself, but about creating oneself for a higher purpose, to assist and advance others to higher levels and well-being.

MS: Do you feel that your system C.T.A.C.T. developed in spite of tactics like Defendo, or PPCT or more to compliment such systems so that there can be a congruence and understanding between systems.

CC: At one time, prior to my career in Corrections, I enrolled and completed the certification of the PPCT program in the late 80’s, under Mike Dunn of the St. Louis Police Department. I believe the curriculum structure of the program is an excellent model for those agencies in need to develop a Defensive Tactic curriculum. With that said the content of such a program must fit the needs of that Department or specialized training. I believe various Defensive Tactics programs, including C.T.A.C.T., serves as a proactive approach to complementing existing programs or formulating a program fulfilling the needs in specialized training. In addition such programs must compliment existing policy and procedures on the subject of Use of Force and Legal Issues. Therefore Defensive Tactic curriculums must have the flexibility to modify and meet policy and procedures or the reciprocal must exist.

My training and conversations with GM Angel Cabales, Batikan Raymond Tobosa, and Guro Ted Lucaylucay on the topic of a Defensive Tactics program for Law Enforcement and Security became the nucleus for my development of C.T.A.C.T.
Their guidance proved to be similar. In essence the curriculum must be simplistic in structure, promote core movements for reality based training, and specialty training that enhances fluidity of movement within respective combative ranges, giving the officer both tactical advantage and effective officer survival skills.

I created CTACT (Core Tactical Advantage Concepts and Training) using principals and methods from various FMA systems I’d been exposed to and the experiences I have encountered as a Tactical Response Team member. The specialized performance drills of Serrada Eskrima and various FMA systems proved to be effective when developing optimal tactical performance. Now there are different levels of Specialized Training.

So I put together specified training modules to the test with 1300 security/non-security personnel at a maximum security facility, during their annual in-service training. Some of the staff received classical self-defense training outside the facility, but never received control tactics training during previous in-service training. The evaluations were positive and the condensed training well received. The Core of the training is the development of movement natural to one’s physical structure relying on developed spontaneity, reflexes, and physical attributes.

MS: So where do you see yourself, CTACT, and Cadell/Cabales Serrada Escrima in 5 or 10 years down the road?

CC: Well, God willing, enjoy a healthy retirement from the Department with my wife Lynn. She says “I’ll be retired from the Department but never from training in and instructing the Filipino Martial Arts.” I have to agree, there is some truth to that for she continues to train every chance she gets for the fitness and conditioning.

I’m committed to developing a network of quality and effective instructors in the FMA and Defensive Tactics in both the private and public sectors, as well as serving as a consultant for Law Enforcement, Corrections, and Military communities. Developing training manuals for the Department has proved to be asset; so hopefully with constant refinement in my writing and photography skills I can apply those skills toward contributing articles and instructional media. I’ll just take it one day at a time. It will be my way of giving back to my instructors, and students whom I have absorbed invaluable love, knowledge, and training.

As GM Cabales was driving me back to the bus station, after graduation day, he told me “I don’t have much longer to live you know”. I’d say ah, knock it off manong, what are you talking about? He’d say, “You know, we need to talk”. So we’d drove around Stockton on the way to my destination, he’d talk about certain things very touching and personal. GM Cabales wanted the conversation video-taped and shared with my students.

But as I said, I’d told him at that time I’d be taking a sabbatical of about 10 years. He’d say, “Why?”

I told him “I’ve seen what politics can do, especially after one passes on. Yes, I could probably voice my opinion on particular issues, but the main thing is I wanted to be trained by you to perpetuate your art. I’m going to do my best to perpetuate CSE. So while everyone else might be arguing on whatever; I’ll continue training and teaching behind the scenes.

Each one of the Master Instructors, Advanced Instructors, and practitioners of Serrada Eskrima under his guidance was given a wealth of information by GM Angel Cabales. What information or how much information, is yet to be totally disclosed. I know what I received from not only GM Cabales, but also from the other influential FMA Masters. I encourage everyone to cherish those experiences as if it were the Book of Knowledge. Use it to review, reflect and renew.

What I seen was a very gracious and eloquent man. He was a very helpful man and one that was always there for you and always served his students well.

I know he’s been dumped on by others, but that’s another chapter. But instead of arguing about who’s who and what’s what, everyone should be grateful that they had some time with him and perpetuate the knowledge that he empowered you with.

Everyone may never agree on certain things, but why add more fuel to the fire?

So I will never choose to involve myself in the politics….

I’d like to thank my friend, my mentor, Pangulong Guro Chuck Cadell for his gracious hospitality.

Special Note: Sergeant Chuck Cadell was awarded the “1998 Correctional Officer of the Year for the State of Illinois”. That same year The Special Operation Response Team (S.O.R.T.) presented to him the “Award of Excellence”.

In 1999 Sergeant Cadell received national recognition as “The Best of the Best” by the American Correctional Association for his achievements, dedication, and contribution

I promise that I’ll be back for more at a later date.