Sunday, March 05, 2006

An Historic Moment In Serrada

Something remarkable happened in the world of Serrada today. There was a gathering of historic proportions, and everybody got along! Those who were there will testify to what transpired, and hopefully that energy will touch those who could not attend.

Friday, March 3, was the 15th anniversary of grandmaster Angel Cabales’ passing. To commemorate this Anthony Davis organized and hosted a seminar up in Sacramento by Darren Tibon and his organization, Angel’s Disciples, who put on an exciting demo followed by a short but excellent training session.

Through most of this event four of Angel’s old students were present: Darren Tibon, Jerry Preciado, Anthony Davis and myself. I hadn’t seen Jerry during the past 15 years and at first didn’t even recognize the muscular figure from the skinny kid I’d known. Also present were Angel’s widow Tess and Angel’s two youngest, Marigel and Gelmar, who are children no more.

If that had been the extent of things, it would have been a good event. I had a handful of students present, as did Anthony, and Darren had enough students to provide assistance to every pair of attendees training in the room. Elrik Jundis showed up from the Bay Area with several associates. He and I touched sticks years ago and it was great to see him again.

There were some folks missing, though, that we’d hoped to see, and so it was electrifying when during Anthony’s closing remarks in walked Carlito Bonjoc, Ronnie Saturno and Wade Williams! (An apology to any whose name I cannot recall, particularly this late at night!)

Then something completely unexpected happened. As we were finishing greetings with this group, in walked Vincent Cabales with a contingent that included his son and a number of guros who train with him. For a second there was a huge pause as the significance of his appearance sank in, but whatever tension existed dissipated almost instantly with the recognition of the historic perspective of what was taking place. As Vincent stated simply and eloquently, he was there to honor his father, and we in turn were all honored that he joined us in this event.

This was probably the most significant gathering of the Serrada clan since Angel passed away. The wake after his funeral and the tournament held in his honor shortly thereafter also brought a lot of people together, but back then there was a lot of tension in the air, uncertainty as to the directions the art and its various proponents would take. Time has passed and people have grown in their lives and careers, raising families and expanding the Serrada lineage through their diligence and hard work. The energy now was quite different, a coming together from volition rather than the confusion of necessity.

What was apparent to me, and I believe to all who were there, was that for all the alleged animosity that has existed between people, there is a love for Serrada, and for Angel, that transcends all the conflicts of personality. All I felt in that room was a genuine spirit of aloha, as people who hadn’t spoken directly in years broke the ice with warm greetings. There were so many people in that room with whom I haven’t trained in years, it is hard to even recall all of them, but there was a glow of recognition in familiar faces.

I sincerely hope that this proves to be a watershed in improved relationships between the various Serrada groups and associations. We truly share more in common than whatever differences have been perceived. I recall the words of Gilbert Tenio at Angel’s wake, where he talked about the arts as a way to survive adversity through unity. Though the old manongs didn’t always see eye to eye either, they knew that there were common interests that transcended their differences. I think such understanding is finally settling into the generation that has succeeded them; this is a blessing to us all.

Here is a belated link to some photos I just received from a student who was there.

No comments: