OVERALL CCFB Interview 26/3/2014
Before we begin, how should I call you?
Call me Angelos, that's my name. But the title I earned after 17 years from my Sigung is SiFu.
Angelos, I've noticed that your students call you Teacher though!
Yes, my students do. But not everyone else who happens to know me from other activities.
There aren't a whole lot of interviews of yours to be found, are there?
I'd rather speak through my work than with words. Although sometimes, like now, an interview may be necessary.
When did you start and on what grounds?
I started in 1984. I consider that my father's violence influenced me in starting this line of work. But I'd rather not go into that in length here. I wrote something in my blog, but is in Greek language.
What exactly is it that you're teaching?
I'm teaching the essence of the knowledge I've accumulated all these years. An essence which I constantly distill so that the "exercises" maintain their purity and flow. I call it CCFB which stands for Combined Chinese & Filipino Boxing. Which is an all-time blade system.
How did you come up with the idea of creating a new system of your own?
Originally, it didn't start based on an idea but rather it was the injuries and the knowledge I got through them that formed the need for it. I had to customise everything in order to maintain the advantage through the weakness inherent in my injuries. What you see in the videos originates from a state of mind. The pain that I endure is excruciating.
Have you copied other systems?
All these years I worked with different systems and methodologies and have gotten a lot because I have paid much. Nothing was given to me for free. I train, develop and evolve. There is no parthenogenesis unless someone has a third hand or leg.
How come you didn't name the system after yourself?
I'd rather use my work to create something immortal... Unlike me or my name. This is something I hate.
It's quite common for your system to be compared to Krav Maga. What's your view of that?
Well, neither the mentality or the techniques are similar to Krav Maga.
What's your opinion on Krav Maga?
My opinion is shaped by what I see, and I am rather harsh. Let's say that I don't exactly see eye-to-eye with the general approach of Krav Maga. I won't get into it though, out of respect for all martial arts.
What's your relationship with Wing Chun?
I love it, especially when I practice with friends. I enjoy becoming a part of them and, like a child, try things out without egoism and individualistic tendencies. I can count few true friends in that field. We also work together with some of them.
Self Defense vs self protection?
None of the above. The terms have long lost their meaning. CCFB is a system of survival through street combat. Sometimes, you know, you have to be defeated, or to make your opponent think that you are. Everything goes when it comes down to survival. Even humiliation.
Would you tell us about your system in a few words?
My system goes deeper than a kick or a punch, it is rooted in mentality and state of mind. If you manage to achieve the proper state of mind, then the movement itself is less important. It's important to keep going against all odds. You need willfulness and patience.
How come you don't do any intensive courses to create trainers in your system?
Are you kidding me? To become a trainer is not, and shouldn't be, an easy thing. You have to eat crap and put up with a lot. You have to live for a while with what it is you're trained in. My own teacher didn't call me a Sifu before 17 whole years had passed! Failure and difficulties is what forms a teacher. You get to know which path is rough because you, yourself have walked it. You won't know until you are on your own path.
We live in a "fast shit" age and we want everything fast, and for what? So that we can call ourselves 'the boss' and try and train people in something which not even we have gone through long enough to excel in. This is why we create worse trainers than the ones we ourselves were, and they will train even worse trainees. I'm not going to sell my art or myself out. I'm trying to teach the truth, but not on a silver platter. The student will have to make his/her own journey.
Why did you choose the knife?
I don't teach the knife exclusively. I teach many other weapons as well. I generally like weapons. I love combat archery, the sword, and the tomahawk. However, I consider the knife to be more violent than anything else, not as an object or a weapon, but as a state of mind. This is what suits me best. The knife has become an extension of my body.
What are your plans for the future?
In the process of making the system available to everyone, I've already started to create several training spots here in Greece and in various other countries as well. Of course, I personally assess the level of knowledge of the individuals who will represent the system.
Since I'm responsible for their technical knowledge and experience with the system, it is my view that a trainer has to go through very heavy and prolonged training before he/she can be considered capable of teaching anybody. I only work with people with a broad experience in several martial art systems. In addition, my system can complete the knowledge accumulated through other systems, creating a mastery level.
How the world out there, accept your system?
In Greece with suspicion. But they like it abroad and invite me for seminars.
You seem to be packing some kilos over the top! How does that hinder your training?
It's not just some kilos, I'm overweight! Luckily, my past training has paid off. I've spent innumerable hours doing taolu which gives me speed and flexibility. Obviously my extra weight hinders me and I'd like to lose it but I'm not obsessed over it. I'm against the current racism against overweight people.
Can you participate in a ring?
I'm not interested in rings, although you're absolutely right, I couldn't enter. However I'm mostly interested in other aspects, such as street tactics. Over there everything has to be done in a matter of seconds as opposed to dividing it in rounds. I've reached the age of 46 (now even older) with injuries following me around like loyal dogs. I've fought my fights and walked my path. It's now time for me to take care of my students and create succession...
Do you miss your old self?
Who would answer 'no' to this question? However, I accept the wear that comes with age and I don't give up. Now I have the experience of knowing my limits. I have the wisdom to avoid injuring myself any further.
What do you enjoy apart from martial arts?
Dancing to tango and swing, as well as computers, photography, and generally any kind of knowledge useful to me.
What's your take on martial arts in Greece?
Most of the martial arts in Greece have unfortunately fallen into quicksand, and in order to survive them you have to avoid sudden movements. I try to teach and I'm faced with people trying to haggle the price as if we were in some flea market. They don't understand that in order to be able to show someone the path you have to have shed a lot of sweat and blood, have been injured and have deprived yourself of a great deal of things, all for the sake of your martial art.
Do I notice some bitterness in your voice?
Yes. I just can't bare to watch people who want everything and for free, without even trying.
Are you too getting prepared for the zombie apocalypse?
I'm probably getting the zombies prepared for it! If you get my drift...
Many people consider you to be rude and paranoid. What's your answer to them?
Everyone is entitled to perceive me as they like. Some people think I'm a good person and some think what you've just mentioned. Everything depends on the point of view. People ask for the truth, but honesty sometimes creates enemies. It's true, diplomacy isn't my strong point and I'm not normal. Basically I'm a friend for my friends! My actions, not my words, define who I am.
A martial arts magazine got released recently. I know that you're part of the team that created it. Tell us a bit about it.
Yes, I'm part of a group of four: Sanos, Nickos, Nemo and myself. The magazine was part of an effort to make some skillful people known. The project encountered several difficulties and its release was not without effort. Our team, however, stayed united throughout the struggle.
Could you tell us a few words about Dark Designs (DD)?
It's my work as an amateur photographer which led me to creative photography. It's the design style which carries my seal. I mainly work with martial artists for DD.
Do you make the videos by yourself or do you have a creative team?
Each video is the result of hard work from my part. Everything concerning CCFB pass through my hands ie photos, videos etc.
How come you don't have any sponsors?
I am against it because I believe that sponsors can destroy my aesthetics in what I create and do. My abilities and my knowledge make me able to move forward, without the need of a sponsor. Conversely, the existence of "friends" is something I need.
How could someone train with you?
I'm not "open" to anyone, as I filter their character. I'll test you in various fields and you'll take the path that fits you. It's very difficult to accept someone as my student. Although many people before, claimed that they were my students.
Angelos, thank you for this interview.
It's been my pleasure.