It was a hot, hot day here in The O which meant by 6pm it was absolutely perfect. Spent the afternoon watching VHS tapes of workouts at Sonny's and then found some old film footage of FMA on youtube as inspiration for what to work on.
Franz, Renato and Eric all came by and we flowed a couple hours looking at low line disengagement with the cane, and shifting left/right targeting by body angle alone. Also looked at some really difficult 'clothesline' angles and possible deflection options, worked left hand and played with sickle, checking, rolling the contact point and disengaging the elbow.
We also talked about this great article Franz had shared about training back in the day at Raymond Tobosa's school. Sonny always cited Tobosa as an influence in his style, and reading the training methods, I can see where some of his ideas came from .... very cool.
Here is the full article: http://www.fmapulse.com/content/interview-pangulong-guro-charles-chuck-cadell-iii
And here is a section from it .... Apologies for the formatting .......
" ..... He (Dan Inosanto) 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.
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
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
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 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
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 meet 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
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."