Thursday, August 8, 2013

Defeated Battle, Triumphant War

I was raised in a society where bravado and machismo were one of the staples of existence. Standing up for what is right is more important than owning the latest pair of Jordan sneakers. These qualities were not only displayed in the belief system but also transcended into everyday living, from what you watched on TV to what type of girl you dated. Modern society today has forgone these qualities and put more weight on the material.

The weekend TV menu consisted of action films like Nardong Putik, Leon Guerrero and Drunken Master.

One of the best examples of living in the now is when two persons are engaged in a head on battle. For the two with horns locked on, nothing matters in the world and time temporarily freezes. They have to consider existing for the moment rather than thinking what would have been and what will happen tomorrow.  When two persons are uncompromisingly fighting in a cage even not particularly a life and death battle, as long as they are void of an external disturbance, they will come to realize the importance of surviving to surpass their current state. The time elapsing may last for a brief moment or several intervals. Only the two will know if the fight is still ongoing or if they have already passed beyond the "in the now" state.

The 2013 Pekiti-Tirsia Kali Asia Pacific Convention had many brave men who fought full contact submission sparring.

On the contrary, the absence of a visible opponent is similar to a helpless battle for an individual especially when one is experiencing attacks for short bursts with long breaks in between.

The elders say that a well developed society has evolved from mere persevering to consistently prospering. The general public these days need to stop living just to survive. They need to evolve into a state where they thrive instead of just trying to live for the moment. Evolution takes place only when people begin to start living beyond themselves and try to consider the fact that they are living with a sense of a higher purpose. The sad thing is that not everyone in this world has a belief that they are here for something else greater than their own. People get a euphoric high from day to day battle wins. They kill to earn, spend it to buy a car, a house or go on some luxurious island getaway but in the end they still feel incomplete. They are not considering the fact that they need to do something else to make them more complete.

Battles may be fought today or tomorrow. Sometimes you win, sometimes you don’t. But wars last your entire lifetime and some go beyond it. Fight the good fight.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Fastest Punch

How many of you have witnessed a lightweight or middleweight boxer hit like a heavyweight? I'm not referring to his power but his speed or lack thereof. Usually it is expected that a lighter fighter is faster and quicker than their heavier counterparts. When it seems that it is not the case, to me the fight tends to be a bit boring wherein I'm just waiting for someone to be knocked out for it to be over. The discussion between speed vs. power is a neverending debate but speed with power is something I think everyone will agree on.

Bruce Lee, father of Jeet Kune Do

The fastest punch is a drill I chanced upon during my Jeet Kune Do days. It is a drill to test your punching speed coming from an on-guard position or a fighting position as some may call it where both your arms are chambered in front of your chest or held up in front of your face. In Kali, since it is not advisable to punch, derivatives of this drill can be found in the form of the fastest knife jab or the fastest slap. I'm sure this drill is also common to other striking arts like Karate and Tang Soo Do. However, I really enjoyed this drill especially when presenting the concept of attack, reaction and counter-reactiveness using a person's response stimuli as basis. Beginner students like children who have absolutely no background in the fighting arts when presented this drill automatically understands how an attack is delivered and how one responds to it. They immediately understand how one's training or lack of it is essential in developing skills that would eventually lead to overcoming their shortcomings.

I believe the drill falls under the concepts of Pekiti-Tirsia in attack-counter-recounter. The drill can be done with both hands. It is a test for both trainee (puncher) and trainer (the person holding the target) alike wherein the trainee will hit the target as fast as possible making sure that he hits it, while the trainer will have to move the target also as fast as possible for the trainee to miss it. It also requires the trainer to have a decent speed and reaction time since he wouldn't want the trainee to develop a false sense of confidence in his performance.

The only drawback I see with the fastest punch drill is that though it develops one's speed, accuracy and timing, it does not address the need for the puncher to vary his range in actual fighting. The puncher assumes that he will be hitting from the same distance all the time. I tried to address this issue on advanced levels by adjusting the distance while punching.

Here is the basic exercise:

Level 1 (speed drill)
1) Trainee assumes an on-guard position
2) Trainer holds 1 mitt in front at punching range (medium range) of the trainee
3) Trainer gives a number of attempts for the trainee to hit the mitt  while he moves the mitt out of the way everytime the trainee tries to hit it
4) Trainer logs how many successful hits vs. failed attempts

Level 2  (speed + counter reactive drill)
1) Trainee assumes an on-guard position
2) Trainer holds 2 mitts in front at punching range (medium range) of the trainee
3) Trainer gives a number of attempts for the trainee to hit mitt 1 while he moves mitt 1 out of the way everytime the trainee tries to hit it
4) As trainer moves mitt 1 out of the way, mitt 2 counter hits the trainee after he has delivered his strike
5) Trainee needs to either move out of the way to avoid the hit of mitt 2 or parry mitt 2
6) Trainer logs how many successful hits vs. failed attempts vs. successful counter hits

One of if not the fastest boxer in history! Watch it at 6:10.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Fire up your Internal Oven

If you're coming from a sedentary lifestyle, jumping immediately into the Kali program might not be the ideal choice for you. Most of the time, the body adjusts to new movement, coordination and high repetitive motions which are not the usual movements one does in school or in the office. Even if you are already involved in some kind of exercise or sport, you may still not be able to maximize the experience and material to be taught. One might be discouraged with Kali if one cannot perform the simple basic motions and body mechanics required for the first few weeks of training. These simple exercises can prepare anyone before undergoing your first few weeks of Kali class.

100 jumping jacks
30 pushups
20 burpees with jumps
20 squats
30 situps

Consider this a fitness test you can use even if you are coming back from an off season. Note that you do not have to do all of this in one sitting. Performing any 2 exercises consecutively may already suffice. Slowly building up the numbers by adding 10 repetitions each week can be a good motivational challenge.

Another notable issue one can face with training is blisters. I have had a lot of questions regarding blisters and writing it here hopefully helps those questions. Even if one is already accustomed to the strikes and techniques in Kali, after weeks or months of not practicing, blisters can still occur. These exercises will help address those issues:

100 broken strikes high load
100 broken strikes shoulder load
100 broken strikes medium load
300 bridging between broken, fluid and circular strikes

Varying the stick you are using from light to heavy then back to light, or even changing the orientation from wooden stick to iron pipe to baseball bat can also help solve blistering as well as develop power and control of your weapon. Of course as time goes by, you can even add tire hitting with 1,000, 3,000 to 5,000 strikes per day.

If you constantly train with different weapons, in the end whatever you have in your hand doesn't matter. Edged or impact weapon only change attributes, but mastery of control and power depends on the wielder.

Monday, January 30, 2012

2012 Pekiti-Tirsia Beyond Borders

The year 2011 has a lot of breakthroughs and fun memories for PTK Sandatahan. Closing the year with the Street Survival Seminar held in Dubai, UAE last 4th to 5th November, we still have a lot more to look forward to for the year of the dragon, 2012.

 Pekiti-Tirsia Kali Street Survival Seminar Day 1 - 04 Nov 2011

  • 7 January - Training with Tuhon Uli Weidle
  • 14 January - Beyond Borders seminar with Grand Tuhon Leo T. Gaje Jr.
  • 4th February - Training with Mandala Jasper De Ocampo
  • 4th to 8th February - Bacolod Training Camp
  • 18th February - Kerambit training with Agalon Ritch Soriano
  • 25th February and 3rd March - Duelist Workshop II
  • 15th to 18th March - 2nd PTK Asia Pacific Convention

These are just among the first line up of events for this year.

For the first half, we would like to develop fit and able fighters with no reservations for the PTKS Stickfighters Olympiads. Recruitment is ongoing and to be part of this group means to devote oneself in training every hour of everyday. The rewards are great and plenty for everyone provided we sweat in training now so that we would not bleed in battle later.

 PTK Beyond Borders seminar with Grand Tuhon Leo T. Gaje Jr. - 14 January 2012

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Pekiti-Tirsia Kali seminar with Tuhon Rommel Tortal

Strike, parry, twist, break. This was the gist of the 3 hour seminar we had with Tuhon Rommel Tortal last Saturday which focused on PTK's signature empty hands Dumpag and knife drills.

The seminar started out with some light stretching, followed by some simple empty hands drills which is a staple for all empty handed entries. We went immediately to limb destruction incorporating knuckle and elbow breaks with holds and parries. Outside and inside entries followed next with standup to ground applications and techniques. There was some concentration on ground movement which rivals those found in ground based arts like Brazilian Jiujitsu. Counters to different entries were also discussed.

Even with the participants quite weary from rolling, breaking and twisting like pretzels, it did not end there. We only had a few minutes to grab some water and take a breather until it was back again to business. The seminar was not complete without devoting the final hour to knife drills for hammer grip. It was a little bit to take for the newbie participants since it was the first time they experienced the ground work of Pekiti-Tirsia from Tuhon Mel. Fun, pleasure and pain all at the same time. This month has truly been a busy month for Pekiti-Tirsia Kali worldwide. Expect more in the coming days. More events, all action. Come to where the flavor is!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Contemplations from the Duelist Workshop

Moro duel dance

The Duelist Workshop whose aim was to celebrate our brave Filipino ancestors who engaged in duels to settle disputes has just concluded last night. The 8 hour workshop which was split into 4 days final session concentrated on several footwork drills for mobility in bladed weapon combat. This also aimed to enhance one's ability in edged or impact weapon applications in preparation for one on one duelling. At least 8 2 minute rounds of sparring was completed throughout the entire workshop.


We believe that without a properly conditioned body, one may be effective in skill but may not last long enough under constant pressure. Longevity against multiple opponents or duels that last for several minutes were taken into consideration in conditioning.

Maneuvering and Mobility

The exercises and drills were not only limited to the trademark Pekiti-Tirsia triangular footwork but also touched on the conventional way of linear and circular movement.

Beats, Tempo, Timing

Whole, half, 1/3, and quarter beats were practised in strike and entry applications. Hand movements were combined with different footwork expressions to be familiar with variations in execution. The idea was for one to get comfortable with expressing oneself with multiple combination striking and not be so dependent with delivering only one powerful shot.

Speed and Accuracy

Principles of speed and accuracy were stressed all throughout the workshop. Skill building in terms of execution and finishing the fight as soon as possible (First Fatal Strike) were the main focus as opposed to power strikes which can only be advantageous to larger opponents.

Strategy and Tactics

Engaging, disengaging, cornering and baiting one's opponent were explored and practised throughout the workshop and greatly applied in all the drills and sparring sessions. The idea was to practise the strategies during the drills first and then applied later on in sparring under real-time pressure. One needed to understand that one needs to have variations by not being too predictable in a fight otherwise one's own strategies may be turned against him. One was also expected to read the opponent like a book.

Range, Entering, Evading

Principles of range were kept in check through various trademark Pekiti-Tirsia footworks. One is advised to get in and get out while constantly moving the weapon so as not to be caught by the opponent.

Stick Grappling

Combat is not limited to only weapon fighting. If two starts out with weapons, none, either one or both may end up without having a weapon. Upon entry, takedowns and grappling may come in. These realities were also touched during the workshop. One cannot rule out the possibility of grappling and striking in medium to close range since the empty hand is also considered a very dangerous weapon.

Sparring from day 2 of the Duelist Workshop

More to come

Pekiti-Tirsia Kali Sandatahan will continue to conduct Duelist Workshops in the future which will serve as a regular training fight regimen for members of Pekiti-Tirsia Kali Sandatahan to promote and propagate the true nature of fighting for regular civilians as the need arises. Stay glued for further updates.

One of Pekiti-Tirsia Kali Sandatahan's goal is to be the premiere group to produce the best fighters in Kali/Combat sports in the world. Soon, we will be inviting like minded individuals from all martial arts disciplines from all walks of life to test their skills. No egos, no prizes, no trophies. Just pure camaraderie and learning done in good light for the love of Kali.

Aside from this, expect more future training sessions to include scenario based sparring with exposure to different elements, low light, off-hand, different terrains and volume (one against many, many against one, team tactics). Scenario based sparring sessions will also incorporate various impact weapons for testing. If you have it, we'll test it here.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Duelist Workshop

Every Wednesday evening starting September 21 until October 12 at 6 to 8 PM, we will be conducting a 4 day Duelist workshop. This is to celebrate our brave Filipino ancestors who have engaged in duels to settle disputes for personal, familial or with a national purpose. We have just purchased new sparring gear and would like to try them out. The workshop would concentrate on technical duelling with development on speed, timing, accuracy and precision. The practitioner is encouraged to apply strategy and tactics as opposed to strength and power to develop quick mindedness in fights.

Training will cover but not be limited to:

- Speed Development
- Maneuvering and Mobility
Strategy and Tactics
- Stick adaptation
- Blade adaptation

2 light rattan sticks
2 heavy sticks or pipe
2 padded sticks
2 training knives
headgear (wekaf or fencing mask)
gloves (hockey or any padded gloves)

Philippine Gymnastics & Athletics Academy - Bldg #8b, La Fuerza Compound, Alabang-Zapote Road, Las PiƱas, Philippines

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

History Repeats Itself

The first Filipino badass, Datu Lapu-Lapu

Everyone wants to be a badass. I just watched a video wherein one instructor was criticizing some Filipino Martial Art saying not to worry about techniques that worked 400 years ago in the Philippines and worry about what works today in the railroad station. They were even making fun about students making a fuss on the continuity and flow of movements. And what are the "better" techniques they would like to show? I watched more. I saw pushing, slapping and more pushing. I say go to any place in the Philippines and apply that and you will find yourself at the receiving end of the blade. After reading this, to some, the Philippines appears to be such a deranged country, but in reality it is quite the opposite. It just so happened that people here are a bit more passionate in everything they do especially when it comes to love and war.

It is easy to say to not worry about techniques that worked before. How many ways is there to inflict damage on another? Even on the physical sense, just like a triangle, there are three: strikes, submissions and weapons. Little do they know, that history repeats itself. People are programmable beings and rarely diverse from tradition and comfort zones. Just take a look at music, fashion trends, and news. What do they want us to forget, how someone could chop your head off in a single swing? Or how your hand can fly if you try to block a machete? Or maybe how your belly can be punctured like a pig's if you constantly push and shove your attacker to a corner? Okay, I won't worry about my next move but just stand and wait for what my opponent gives me. What does that spell? Defense. In a sport fight, you can apply defense why not. Attack and defend and wait what your opponent gives you. But in street survival, once a threat is seen, you should already be able to assess and execute freely your available options. Hitting your assailant only provokes him from doing you more harm. No need to reinvent the wheel for it has already been invented. Simply improve and make it better. Those that do reinvent or try to may just discover a square wheel and end up right where they started.

The Manila Pitbulls circa 2003 teaching at the Balikatan Exercises together with
Kuya Doug Marcaida, Guro Jun De Leon, Grand Tuhon Leo Gaje and Tuhon Rommel Tortal

People should learn history. As the saying goes, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Be very careful about what martial arts or systems you learn for the purpose of survival. Some people may be teaching you to die faster without you knowing it.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Getting back on the horse

Everyone of us experience downtime, time of inactivity, a loss or defeat, sickness, injury. Though we believe in good health and not in sickness, there are times when we do not control the elements. In training, when you push yourself too much, you reach a point where you eventually breakdown. How do you get back from a slump? How do you get back that drive and be motivated enough to get back on the same stupid horse from which you just fell from?

Here are some simple tips for the everyday Joe:

1) Get proper nutrition
Doing this doesn't require eating gourmet meals with expensive ingredients all the time. Your food may be simple, may not taste great, but very good for your body. Our forefathers just picked fruits and vegetables from trees and on the ground, washed them and shoved them in their mouths to survive. They sometimes even ate animals which were not fully cooked. Just like fighting, you need to get down and dirty sometimes.

2) Get enough sleep
Your body should be able to recuperate well in order for it to be loaded with heavy work again. Without the proper rest, even if you are that skilled, you would not be able to reach your full potential. Rest builds strength more than working out. It is when you rest that you get stronger.

3) Meditate
Think about how you got into your slump in the first place. What events triggered this. Reflect on it, set it aside, and put it away. It is day 1 again and you will be building a new you. The sun is up, the birds are chirping, time for some action!

4) Leave your ego at the door
You maybe good before, but what good is having a full cup and still wanting to be served more? You might not be as good as you once were. There will always be someone better, stronger, faster, more good looking and who has a better personality than you. Accept it. You are doing these things for a higher purpose.

5) Find your motivation
It can be a bully in school, a rumor monger, an annoying coworker, the government, a thorn on your side, or just simply food stuck between your teeth. Find a way to get mad and channel your energy towards training.

6) Train slowly but surely
During your first few days of getting back, your movements should not be executed fast at once. Your body is still recovering from being sedentary and may not respond like it used to. Start slow, get the proper form into movement. Execute it once then repeat it. Keep repeating until the movement is memorized by your body. Once you nail the form down, add a little speed. Execute it with proper precision and accuracy. Repeat til you get tired. Add a little power. Power follows speed. A bullet maybe small but with speed, it is powerful. Repeat until tired.

7) Get a training partner
Training by yourself can be boring at times. You have to be extra crazy to be training by yourself for a long time without having a third eye checking your movements. Training with a partner enhances your sensitivity and trains your timing in execution. You can get a lot of useful feedback from a knowledgeable training partner.

8) Train with intent
Going through the motions may be fun, but if it is not purposeful, you are just wasting time. Visualize. You need a very vivid imagination especially if you are training by yourself. What good is a movement or routine if you keep going at it at 50% all the time. Come crunch time, you might still deliver it at 50%. Train like you fight and fight like you train. Enough of the fancy work, kill the enemy already!

We all forget about the basics all the time: we need to have them repeated to us our entire lives. These are just a few sure fire tips that I have and still put into practice. I hope these have helped you too. If you’ve been away for a while and are intimidated about coming back in, do it anyway. Do it today even if you get frustrated at yourself for not doing it correctly. Do it anyway. Get yourself back in the game. Think about the saying, “The slowest person in class is still lapping everyone who’s home on the couch.” Now get out and hit that tire!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Where Were You?

After over a year long hiatus, the writing bug has bit me again. So let me bore you with my thoughts while you sip a cup of coffee.

It has been ages since I've posted on this blog and at times it seems that life has taken over. The last 20 months since I've moved back to Philippines has been truly colorful and interesting bustling with numerous events and challenges. People come and go, some remain, but everyone fights the good fight. This year of 2011, we were able to successfully host several events under PTK Sandatahan which is the group I have formed since moving back in January 2010.

January - Kali Clinic: Baptism of Fire

This 3-day clinic focused on the following activities:
  • Body conditioning
  • Mental conditioning
  • Maneuvering and Mobility
  • Strategising
  • Drills
  • Sparring
This occurred every Sunday of January 2011 which served as a supplementary training to the regular Tuesday and Thursday group classes.

Trainer: Agalon Ritch Soriano

Psalms 144:1 [Of David] Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for war and my fingers for battle

January -
Kasangga Mo Ang Langit TV feature

Aired on January 22, 2011 @ IBC TV 13 5:30 PM. Kasangga Mo Ang Langit featured the "Baptism of Fire" training event conducted by Pekiti-Tirsia Kali Sandatahan at the Sunken Garden, New Bilibid Prison, Muntinlupa City, Philippines.

The weekly TV documentary is hosted by father and son tandem Rey and JR Langit.

April - A Close-Quarter Affair To Remember with Tuhon Rommel Tortal

A Pekiti-Tirsia Kali Sandatahan seminar with Tuhon Rommel Tortal

Coverage was: Knife counters, Stick grappling and Dumpag

With this seminar, one expected to:
  • Develop skills and instinctive reaction to close quarter combat
  • Learn to how to grapple with or without a weapon in a combative mindset
  • Confidently maneuver in and out of edged and impact weapons
Trainer: Tuhon Rommel Tortal

July - Wood and Steel 7/11: Pekiti-Tirsia Kali Philippines Cross Training event

The long awaited second part of Pekiti-Tirsia Kali Philippines Cross Training.

A cross training between PTK clubs in Metro Manila which was hosted by the Pekiti-Tirsia Sandatahan group under Agalon Ritch Soriano.

Trainers: Mandala Jasper De Ocampo, Mandala Mikey Alcaraz, Mandala Eric Laulagnet, Agalon Ritch Soriano, Agalon Buddy Acenas

October - Pekiti-Tirsia Kali Street Survival Seminar in Dubai, UAE

To be hosted by Pekiti-Tirsia Kali UAE Dubai Sicas Famosus. The event which is long overdue is finally here! The seminar objective is to equip regular civilians and young professionals self-preservation skills to use during crisis situations.

I was maybe out of this blog, but I was surely there during these events. Where were you?