Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Counter-Offensive Moves, Strategy and Tactics

Many ask about the difference between Defense and Counter Attack. In Pekiti-Tirsia, we practice counter attacking procedures rather than defense. In the war game, attacking is the only way of having a good surviving chance to come out unscathed. Having the mentality of defense or self-defense already puts the person in a disadvantageous position. If that person is attacked, there is no objective whatsoever in fighting back within a defensive mentality. Controlling the aggressor is more of the primary objective. However, most of the time, the aggressor cannot be controlled. If the attack is well-planned, the defensive party would have a hard time controlling the attacker. Your training dictates to you the kind of mentality and attitude one practices when faced with conflict. The way you train is the way you fight and vice versa. If someone trains purely defense, then you will be expending a lot of energy nullifying the attacks if it can be nullified in the first place. In my opinion, running is the best defense although most of the time, running cannot be the best solution either. When placed in an isolated area, it doesn't matter whether you run or not. Your attacker/s can still catch up to you. In our system, we do not practice defense. We practice offense and counter-offense. With these procedures laid out, there is a good chance that you will survive not only an attack but an onslaught.

Our training regimen is no different from an athlete training for a fight. The more you bleed in training, the less you bleed in battle. We believe that if you train this way, you put yourself in a warrior's mentality that you have to win and survive at all costs. If you were a serious martial artist, you shouldn't be wasting your time on defense, making flashy moves or looking good to a public viewer. One should not overly concern himself about looking good in martial arts since the fight game is an ugly business. Blade disarming and stick disarming is simply just wishful thinking. If someone was attacking in slow motion, then a disarm maybe possible. But in reality, if someone was going to whack you with a lead pipe at full force, going for a disarm may only result with you having a destroyed hand or a fractured skull. Disarming techniques are only for movies. It may only work with a child or someone who was completely out of his game. But with a person who even has beginner skill level in impact weapon manipulations, it would be near to impossible to do a disarm. One should not shy away from sparring either. In the civilian world, only through sparring can one test the knowledge they have learned in the arts.

Strategy and Tactics are well-planned maneuvers wherein you are not compromised in battle. In the Filipino Fighting Arts, the way you hold a weapon, the way you chamber the stick, the way your body moves after delivering an attack are simple examples of how tactics are employed. Strategy and tactics are essential most importantly when faced with multiple opponents. Without tactics, one would just be a sitting duck up for target practice. You should always be at an advantageous position to your attacker. Having leverage and first strike always is a healthy practice. If your tactics doesn’t work, it doesn’t mean that it is inefficient. Your strategy and tactics should be flexible enough for it to adapt to the current situation. Strategy and Tactics are studied at an intermediate to advanced level of Pekiti-Tirsia once the basics have been mastered.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Blood, Sweat and Tears

As civilians, we will never truly know how it is to fight side by side with our fellow comrades for the sake of our country’s freedom for ours is a different battle. Although it is not our solemn duty to take lives of enemy insurgents and terrorists, we should not limit ourselves to passiveness. Civil vigilance should be exercised at all times. In this dire time of global crisis, in the civilian world, we have yet another war to face. Chaos and disorder is in our midst and it is just a matter of time before it personally happens to us. Families are torn apart, lives are destroyed due to drugs and violence, and people have lost touch with their spiritual side. All of us one way or another has dreamed of luxury like our little piece of heaven on earth. Complacency has taken over where vigilance should have been present. Alertness and total concern have been side-tracked because everyone had been busy by either earning an extra buck or spending time thinking of how to spend it. The person’s core values have been lost due to several distractions in this lifetime. Traditionally in the Philippines, each member of the family sits down together to eat dinner and talk about pleasant things. Now, everyone sits in front of the TV or computer while talking on the phone as if no one knew each other. There is even a vast disparity between rich and poor. The rich, treated as kings gets away with everything while treating their poor brethren as slaves. This even happens between family members. Survival has a different meaning in this world we call TODAY. It is still dog eat dog world, but in modern times. Those who are wicked can get away with everything, while the righteous are the ones who are blamed and therefore suffer the consequences. Survival of the fittest doesn’t mean the fittest are righteous.

Discovery Channel's Fight Quest with Doug Anderson training Pekiti-Tirsia

Despite everything that is going on around us, through training, we re-live these traditions that we have forgotten. In Pekiti-Tirsia, although we are not born from the same bloodline, we become family and brothers through hard work, training and dedication. There is enough motivation for us to excel because there is nowhere to go but up. We right the wrong and we throw away the rubbish. Fighting is inherent to Kali warriors because it is the only thing we know. Through war, we achieve victory. We don’t shy away from being aggressive and determined if we know we are righteous. We are humble and proud at the same time. If we are down and beaten, we stand up and spit right back at that person’s face and tell them that they cannot keep a good man down. We cross the bridge and burn everything to the ground and come out victorious. The blood, sweat and tears that we experience, we enjoy, because only by this we know we are truly alive. After hardships, there is success. We don’t take no shortcuts. If someone doesn’t go through hardships, he will not enjoy triumph. For in the end, the righteous will be rewarded and the foolish damned. Only when you take it upon yourself and truly say that you are a warrior who does not give up the fight, you emerge the winner.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Save My Life Before I Die

I found this while rummaging through some past blogs by Grand Tuhon. It's a prayer composed by Mr. Dino Martinez of the Florida PTK Pitbulls after taking inspiration from a quote from Grand Tuhon.

"Save My Life Before I Die" by Dino Martinez.

Save my life before I die... that I might not perish from this earth a small and meaningless thing, without having touched greatness, without the siren call of destiny to guide me to something greater than myself; that my searching was not in vain but that I, in the end, walked with Titans.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Principles of Range part 2

Throwing knives

Determining the correct range for one to be safe or to inflict the maximum amount of damage varies for every individual. A person's height is also relative to someone's range. For a short person, the range of 4 feet is already considered long range, but for a tall person, that may be just his medium range. If someone was wielding a weapon, then the range dramatically changes. The length of the weapon is now considered. This doesn't mean that short weapons cannot be limited to short range while long weapons are only limited to long range. Take note that long weapons although effective at a distance, can also inflict maximum damage at close quarters. Imagine a rapier being thrust through your body. In contrast, short weapons may be used as projectiles such as throwing knives and hatchets. These short weapons can penetrate skin and bone depending on the force behind the throw. There are also instances where a long range weapon becomes a projectile weapon if thrown. This even extends the long range weapon to very long range. Just picture the site of a machete, although not being balanced at the center, flying through 20 feet in the air and penetrating a wooden plywood. Even if you slightly miss, it has to do some amount of damage to the target.

A hand-held hatchet

In the field of combat, we do not limit ourselves to blades or empty hands alone. Considering the fact that your enemy is equipped with various weapons should only heighten one's awareness in knowing to operate these weapons. One should also be aware in modern warfare. In the advanced levels of Pekiti-Tirsia, Gunology or knowledge of the gun is introduced.

Various blades being forged

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Principles of Range

When talking about distance in fighting, during close quarters, you are up toe-to-toe against your opponent in close distance. Most of the attacks may be done in flurries through short distances where you may not see exactly what the other person is doing. The attacks are not see entirely because of limited vision. This is more deadly.

Close quarter fighting in Pekiti-Tirsia

Fighting close quarters also exposes the body through a number of bodily weapons. The more you fight closely, the more you are susceptible to your opponent’s weapons.

Whereas, distance fighting enables you to see from a distance what the other person is doing therefore, one can plan his/her attack and/or defense more. What someone should be aware of when fighting at a distance, is that the body is exposed from long range weapons. Examples of these are long swords, spears and staves, projectiles weapons and guns. Although this is true, one can still clear away from these weapons types since you are at a range meaning you have the option to engage or flee the situation at hand.

In Pekiti-Tirsia, it is advised that if you go close quarters, you finish off the opponent in the shortest amount of time. Only 3 seconds is allowed for you to get in, deliver your goods, and then get out. This is with the assumption that you are not only fighting with one armed opponent.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Inch by Inch

The road to be a successful kali man is never easy. You need to invest the time to perfect every move to be at your best. Perfect repetition is one of the key ingredients in training. It is just easy watching videos on the internet and copying them, but without the core foundations and proper guidance from a reputable source, you are just setting yourself up for failure.

Like a child, we are first taught to stand up, then walk, and then run. The first few inches are the most difficult. Even when you are recuperating from injury, the most painful part is getting up, ignoring the pain and putting your mind and do what needs to be done. It is the same thing with Pekiti-Tirsia. There are times when we are lazy to attend training because it is more tempting to indulge and bask in the luxuries that life is offering us. What we do not realize is that the discipline of training puts us in a mindset that our life is not ours and that any time it can be taken away from us. We do our training to prevent this from happening. Prevention is always better than a cure.

PTK Camp Karingal group

It has been apparent to us that the world has given a new meaning to terrorism. The global economy has been affected by these terrorist attacks. Mass carnage and human sacrifice has been the weapons these personalities are using in order to get back at common civilians. If you look at it, it seems like we have gone back to barbaric times when warlords decapitates his victims’ head and places them on stakes to scare off would-be attackers. Most of them have no value for their life as long as they get to do what they believe in. They insist on what they want by creating cults and insurgency among men. They brainwash everyone to think a certain way which they believe is for the greater good, but in the end would only benefit them. Hundreds and thousands of innocent lives have been and are continuing to be claimed each day because the general public are not vigilant.

PTK Dubai Sicas Famosus

We have come in peace with what popular media has been feeding us which is a big mistake. In our belief, it is a sin to be complacent. Only a dead man can say that he cannot do anything with his life because he is 6 feet below the ground. But for most of us, we should be saying otherwise. We do not demand time from those who see us as a burden. But to those who really would want to experience what true Filipino fighting culture is all about, we encourage them to train with us because they love to. When we are tired, we just keep on going. When we cannot grasp what is being taught, we ask questions and practice with utter obedience and faith, knowing the the stick is round and the blade is flat. Inch by inch, slowly but surely, we will be able to achieve our goals. We have lots of heart and determination. We train to perfection with unending determination and a no surrender attitude, because in the end, our lives are our trophies.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Moments that Take your Breath Away

Training in Pekiti-Tirsia the traditional way has neven been easy. Show me a Pekiti-Tirsia class who has relaxed training and I tell you now that it is not authentic. The first day alone gives the un-initiated blistered hands, heavy feet, sore muscles and shortness of breath among many others. I've even seen people use the stick for support like a walking cane. And there are even a few who never made it to the second day. With the art being available worldwide, it's sad to know that there are some posers out there who claim to be masters, but in reality, they re just masters of marketing... making the art a business. One should be very wary into entering a new class. Ask around if the instructor is indeed teaching the right stuff to his students. Most newbies usually gets blinded by flashy disarming moves, locks, and high flying acrobatics. But the truth is far from this. For all you know it, out there, you'd be dead in a blink of an eye before you can even begin your turning roundhouse kick. Given an encounter with 3 knife-wielding thugs while you do not have any available weapons, would you even have time to pull-off to disarm all 3 of them? This can be only seen in Hollywood.

Training should be taken seriously. One should not be only training during class but even during sleeping. You may not know that someone would attack you in your sleep. An attack usually comes when you least expect it. So always be alert and anticipate that someone will attack you. How you would react to this type of situation is part of the mental aspect of training. After picturing the attack going on in your head, practice the scenario and possible options by your lonesome or with a partner. This would get your prepared for the actual encounter.

Techniques are a dime a dozen in Pekiti-Tirsia. There is no set technique for a specific situation because there are no 2 exact same situations. This is the wonder of Pekiti-Tirsia because we are always evolving... adjusting ourselves to fit the situation, or rather, make the situation fit you. Make them fight your fight and not you fight theirs and you have won half the battle. Coming out alive is the other half. Hide, fight or flee are the most common options in a self-defense scenario, but when you are trained in Pekiti-Tirsia, it just becomes a part of your life. You won't panic when faced with these type of situations. The moments that take your breath away will awaken the sleeping warrior within and spark the fire within you and accomplish what should be done, Do or Die!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Sicas Famosus Combat Instruments

Aluminum training knives

Ceramic training knives
Rattan sticks - light training sticks

Bahi sticks - heavy training sticks

Kamagong sticks - heavy training sticks

Dubai Sicas Famosus black training t-shirt

Dubai Sicas Famosus orange training t-shirt

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Complete Warrior

With age and experience comes the venerability of the soul. A wise person becomes wiser with age and a challenged person only becomes more challenged. For one to survive in difficult times, one needs to be complete or one should try to be. In every aspect of mental, physical, emotional and spiritual, the complete warrior should be well-equipped.

- Nourishment
If someone wants to live long enough, be strong and healthy for you to see your grandchildren, you should supply your body with the proper nutrients and stay away from bad vices. Treat the food as fuel to power your body. What goes in also comes out.

- Academic Study
By powering the body, one has to also power the brain. Without proper knowledge or enrolling yourself in an institution that can bring out the best in you, you are short changing yourself from proper education and academic know-how. As one progresses in life, research and continuous study in essential fields is required. As the great Sun Tzu said, know yourself, know your enemy, and the battle is won.

- Prayers & Proper Guidance
What the body needs is also needed by the spirit and heart. A spirit at peace gives you a sense of well-being and peace of mind. This is priceless. Knowing that you are getting the proper guidance and prayers gives the person an extra edge in any ordeal. You will be needing enough prayers to make it through the tough times and get an insurance for your soul. Family and loved ones contribute a great deal to a warrior's development.

- Physical Training
All of the above mentioned will be put to waste when someone takes the life away from you. It is known that death is the ultimate destroyer of happiness. A person who believes in life not death, abhors the evil doers and takes it upon himself to protect his safety and those that surround him. The discipline of the blade entitles you to partake of proper physical training needed for all adversities.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Why study Pekiti-Tirsia Kali?

Pekiti-Tirsia's training, drills and exercise routine promotes total body health and mental toughness. The rigorous training methods also develops coordination and proper body mechanics needed for one to possess in order to have a fit and healthy mind and body.

Interested individuals are curious whether or not Kali will work in reality-based situations where you have multiple attackers, some or all wielding weapons. Situations like assault, theft/robbery, or hostage are also mentioned. Often times, questions like "Why would I study holding a stick if I wouldn't have a stick when I am attacked?", come up. Only by immersing yourself in the program will you understand the answers to these questions. More often than not, we are mocked by training with weapons when in reality you are not holding one in your daily waking life. These people do not realize that we should be always carrying a weapon or more apparently, we are always carrying weapons with us. You will be prepared for action-oriented situations, self-defense, and have an acute sense of self-awareness.

By training Pekiti-Tirsia Kali, one will develop proper speed, power, accuracy, timing and precision for C.O.M.B.A.T. (Counter On Motion Before Attack Time). Before an attack is even initiated, the prepared combatant is already prepared for a counter attack.

Classes are done in groups or in private all over the world so as brotherhood and camaraderie is greatly practised. Students get to experience the true beauty of Filipino fighting culture in its finest, truest form through dedicated practice, loyalty and perseverance.

Pekiti-Tirsia is the benchmark when it comes to edged-impact weapon based fighting and tactical combat and is still evolving and transcending depending on different battle situations using core principles mastered by the diligent practitioner.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Kali Country, Where the Flavor Is

The Philippine archipelago, comprised of 7,100 islands in the Western Pacific Ocean, is a small country with a big population. It once was the Pearl Of the Orient during the high time of sea expeditions. Philippine history, many argue, did not begin with the coming of the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan in 1521. Rather, it began in the 13th century, when 10 datus from Borneo, each with a hundred of his kinsmen, landed in what is now known as Panay Island in the Visayas. Yet it was Magellan, and succeeding expeditions from Spain, who put the Philippine archipelago on the map of the world. The intrepid Magellan was dubbed the discoverer of the Philippines after he landed in Homonhon islet, near Samar, on March 17, 1521. He was later killed in Mactan island of Cebu, in a clash with native warriors led by a chieftain named Lapu-Lapu.

The Philippines is a melting pot of different cultures. Many westerners have decided to make their home in this country due to the tropical weather, ease of business and simply, the culture. Accessibility of resources found on the islands from other Southeast Asian countries together with the West is apparently abundant in the region. Basically one will get the best of both worlds.

The fighting culture is still the same as it once was. Guns and knives are relatively seen in guerrilla warfare. Where tanks and heavy artillery cannot infiltrate, bladed weapons gets the job done. Kali is the martial art of the Philippines. It was practised way back during the formation of the Srivijayan and Majapahit empires. Other popular names are Arnis and Escrima during the Spanish occupation up to present times. Pekiti-Tirsia, as a system was formed during the late 19th century by Conrado Tortal, is a system of the Tortal family. The sole heir and guardian of this system is Leo T. Gaje, Jr. who is referred to as the Grand Tuhon. Pekiti-Tirsia is a combat-oriented style, as opposed to sport orientation by other systems. Pekiti-Tirsia is currently the only Kali system recognized by the Philippine government used to train Force-Recon Marine Battalions of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Special Action Force (SAF) contingent of the Philippine National Police.

Among regular civilians, the Pekiti-Tirsia battle demeanor is rarely seen but only felt. Practitioners are taught to believe in life not in death, health not in sickness, and success not in failure. Concepts of counter offense rather than defense are instructed. This means that a practitioner, though a civilian, should be always conscious and aware with his surroundings. A battle-ready mindset should always be present. Pekiti-Tirsia prepares the person to survive in times of crisis. The ability to see the danger without engaging the danger, ability to prepare to find an exit with speed without being inside the danger zone. An immediate solution is applied leaving no evidence, a complete self-defence skill. We have to survive no matter what and at any cost. In the brotherhood, everyone is advised to always train hard for in training hard, great friendships are forged. We can never be truly friends if the friendship is only based on good times and shallow relationships. But if there is an ordeal, the friendship is forged in the fire and metal and clang of the blade. We get past the ordeal and we are friends forever.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Real world Street Awareness

A typical busy street in Manila

A couple of weeks ago, in the streets of Manila, Pekiti-Tirsia has been tested. One of the members of the PTK Manila Pitbulls has been attacked with the M.O. of car jacking. After a night out, a Kali man was driving down the street when he accidentally bumped into a motorbike. As a concerned citizen, he went down to help the fallen motorist. Seeing that the person was a bit hurt, he immediately called traffic police to notify them of the accident that happened. Until immediately an unknown motorbike carrying three persons suddenly popped out of nowhere. The three persons mugged him throwing punches and kicks all around, when suddenly he was able to deploy his personal folder knife from his pocket stabbing the three guys. These three unknown men sped off upon obtaining the knife wound. Verification was made with the district police station but no reports of any stabbings were made that night.

This kind of M.O. is a typical scenario in the Philippines. People who appear frail and helpless could attack you right then and there just as they see you taking out your wallet to give alms or as you are talking to someone in your cell. There is no more safe place. Restaurant customers buying takeout food could even get mugged with the food they bought on the way to the parking space. Home invasions are quite common when the family is out of the house and the helpers are left or even at night when everyone is sound asleep. Women and children are raped by drug dependents when high or not given money to sustain their lifestyle. There is no more security.

Real world street awareness should always be present when treading unknown territories for the enemy attacks when least expected. The level of alertness might not always be high, but in order to survive, it helps to be always wary of the things going on around you.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

When We Were Kings

It is quite irritating to know that there are some people who would rather know than understand and be happy about it. The textbook student may be knowledgeable to a certain extent. But those who go out in the real world are the true scholars and geniuses since they try to investigate if what has been written should indeed be written that way.

There are no shortcuts in life. If you want to understand, you have to go from A, then B, then C, before getting to Z. In this day and age of the internet, a lot of people would settle for the mediocre, modify it, and call it their own not knowing that the true price of knowledge was paid for in blood, sweat, and tears. Parents have a huge amount of responsibility and obligation in rearing their children and guiding them to the right path. There is no excuse for negligence.

Amidst chaos and disorder, a new breed of warrior emerges from the pits of despair. When all is bleak and murky, when the cloud of confusion looms over you in times of adversity, when all hope fails… the Kali warrior is there.

The Kali warrior is a difficult person to the uninitiated, and at the same time a direct person. His calculations precise, his decisions exact. No amount of confusion in his part where black is black and white is white. A Do or Die attitude prevails. No wonder why the sky is blue and the land green. No wonder why the waters are crystal sparkling clear where even a dip could soothe even the thirstiest of all. It is the guardian’s duty to keep it that way. They will administer exact judgment to those who tarnish it. If one can’t understand, if one can’t adjust, then so be it. We are not for you. Our discipline is for the few and the proud. There is no compromise.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Our Time To Shine

It has been 487 years since the Spanish Conquistadores set foot on the beautiful island of Limasawa aboard three ships. Since then, the Philippines, which were formerly called the Maharlikas, were an untarnished virgin island rich with Malay culture, religion and trading systems unknown to the western world. A prevailing alphabet and language was present, which was later abolished by the Spaniards when they Christianized the islands.

Katipuneros during the Spanish regime

The archipelago was often frequented by the Chinese, Malay and Arabic tradesmen. It was the most beautiful island in the Pacific. The existing fighting code was called Kali, which was an age old fighting system used during the prevailing Majapahit empires of the Indo-Malay era. To the east, it was the golden era at the time.

The Filipinos have survived three major wars and came out victorious in all. No Spanish, American, or Japanese were able to dominate the island. The battles in the northern parts of Manila and Cavite were often made through skirmishes and plunder due to the lack of rebel forces. While the Visayan and Mindanao region were merely impenetrable by the invaders, the northern region suffered severe loss and deaths since this was where they concentrated their attacks. The weapon of choice was the itak or bolo which was used primarily as a farming and hunting tool. In the south, a variety of blades were used from parangs, barongs and ginuntings. Before World War II started, the Filipinos assembled a troop of experts in the field of blade fighting called the Bolo Battalion. The Filipino Bolo was feared throughout the history of foreign occupation and the art of Kali brought many regional victories all over the archipelago. Where the Filipinos lack in firepower and ammunition, they made up with tenacity and resilience to the enemy.

Manny Pacquiao vs. David Diaz

To this day, Filipinos continue to excel in different fields. Our fellow countryman and fighting pride of the Philippines Manny Pacquiao recently claimed his 5th world title in 4 different weight divisions in the field of boxing, the first Asian boxer who has accomplished such a feat. In tough times, the courage and fighting spirit inherent in the Filipino blood is rekindled. Fighting through poverty and oppression, the battle-hardened warrior will dominate. True Filipinos will not surrender. Whatever it takes, we will prevail.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Art of Modern Times in the Living Past

Long gone were the days of old where platoons of men dressed in suits of armor mounting horses, carrying gallantly their swords, bows and daggers, rally up to face their aggressors in hand to hand battle. Gone were the days where spears, axes, and catapults were the tools used for warfare. How difficult it is to think that when the king fell short of foot soldiers, farmers and ordinary townsmen were called upon to turn their plowshares to swords. Sad to think that though capable, statesmen and intellectuals of the time were exempted from such order. While they were treated as national treasure, war heroes were reduced to a cement statue in memory of their efforts.

In this modern day and age, warfare could merely be executed by a simple touch of a button. It would be logical to think to not hone your physical and mental attributes since you won't be needing it... or so you think! Why bother training in a gym when you can just sit comfortably in your den playing video games? Why bother practicing target shooting when you can just buy a dog to bark when someone enters your home? Why bother training to swing the stick when you can just buy a gun and shoot? If you knew there was a possibility of a storm outside and you are commuting, would you rather bring an umbrella and need it later, or not bring one hoping that it wouldn't rain? Complacency has no room in a Kali man's life. There is no room to err. Warfare is not even limited to men, as sometimes men could not deliver when women could.

Long gone were the days where people carry swords to battle... or maybe not. The tools are different, but the nature is still the same. Engaging empty handedly in the inevitable and throwing your hopes to the wind at the possibility of it not happening is foolish if you ask me. The wise man in the storm prays to God for deliverance, but the wiser man also brings sunshine to quell the dark cloud.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Visayan Knife Fighting

It is with great pleasure that we present to you the fine art of Visayan Knife Fighting using superior weapon technology of non-counterability and total demolition of the enemy.

It is said that three seconds is the allowable time for one to get in and out and finish your business with your opponent. The longer time it takes, the deeper you sink to the ground... 6 feet to be exact.

The truth of the matter is, death is the absolute destroyer of happiness. At one time you maybe enjoying a good and healthy body while having a happy family. But when one family member dies, all the happiness in the world that you currently enjoy vanishes. People prepare for death to prepare for the after-life. People who do not believe in life after death live life to the fullest on earth disregarding anything that has to do with the good of his fellowman.

If one believes in life, it is just befitting to be prepared for death but it is also seemly to take measures on how to preserve life.

We as an organization practice real world street awareness and combat survival realism. We respect each and everyone who wishes to experience what true fighting is, through brotherhood and camaraderie, and those who respect our existence.

Once you are in the group, expect that we will develop you as a fighter with the ability to destroy the enemy without any recovery through tactical and strategic training. We expect serious practitioners who wants to be taught and not teach, to respect and trust the instructor and approach each lesson with humility and gratitude.

We do not tolerate any disobedience and various acts of disloyalty. Anyone found with such will be punishable by the Supreme Grand Magistrate, Sovereign of the Highest Order in Pekiti-Tirsia Kali.

Demonstration at Abu Hail

Last June 10, 2008, we conducted a free demonstration and introductory class on Pekiti-Tirsia Kali to the Kung-Fu fighting group of coach Abdul Ghani in Abu Hail, Deira. It was a successful event and we hope to be back again in the future. Thank you for inviting us over!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Importance of Basics

What are basics? Basics are the fundamental elements necessary for something to function and operate. To a child, his basics would be being able to stand up in an upright position, uttering mono-syllabic phrases for talking, and his first few steps are also basics for walking. In building construction, the foundations are the most heavily-loaded structural element. If the foundation is weak, the building would collapse in an earthquake. It may appear erect but would be shaky when put upon tremendous pressure.

The same thing is true with Kali. We believe that by having a strong solid base, anything and everything will follow in its proper place. One will be able to exhibit functional elegance and grace with ease when proper basic development is followed. Often times than not, a student is always in a hurry to get to the juicier parts even without developing a good solid base without realizing that even though one may be able to display technical know-how, they would not be able to exemplify proper ease of execution.

The human muscles that are developed for bare handed sports are way different than those developed for weapon-oriented arts. The way a machete is swung greatly varies from how a punch is thrown. The angles are different therefore the muscles required are different. Strategy and tactics are also different. Moreover, the nature and principles between sports and combat are also incomparable. Anybody can be a good boxer or wrestler, but put them under the discipline of the blade and he will falter.

The Blade That Sets You Free

In an ordinary person's lifetime, there are moments wherein you cannot help but feel empty and alone. Although you are comfortable and content, there are times that require you to contemplate if you are going down the right path or if you are happy with the road you took.

We do not realize this unless we get out of our comfort zone. The safety blanket that surrounds you in this thing that we call life should be removed for us to know what our true calling is. We do not know that our existence in this earth may serve a higher purpose. The fact that we are drawn into the arts speaks that there is indeed a calling, and that calling should be answered. There are a number of notable personalities who made a mark in history by going out of their comfort zone and answering their call: Jesus, Buddha, Bodhidarma, Temujin to name a few.

Through serious training in the bladed arts, one will be able to open destiny's doors by removing what is unnecessary and cultivating what is truly essential. The sweet sound of the blade is as sweet as a hummingbird's tune or of wild untarnished jungle honey; its path in the air swift and direct just like an eagle's flight down the horizon homing in on its prey. You can never imagine it until you experience it for yourself!

Key Essentials The Martial Way

In this modern day and age, one always has to be wary about what he or she is getting into. In the field of martial arts alone, there are many groups who claim that they are the true ultimate art which can lead you to salvation. Below are some key points to consider when choosing a martial art to learn.

- Martial History
Does the art have a good martial history? This means that the art has been tried, tested and proven effective by old and new alike. If you are looking for an art which will protect your life, then it should have a history wherein its practioners were able to save lives, protected oneself, family and land. Who were its practitioners? Any notable personalities involved?

- Efficiency and Realism
Is the art comprehensible? Does it require grandiose and magnificent moves one needed to perfect in 10 years before one can apply it? Does the art provide realistic survival means and techniques in the field of battle? Am I being taught only an aspect of fighting or will it cover all ranges including the use of weapons?

- Qualified Instructor
Is the teacher qualified to teach? What is the teacher's martial resume? What is the character? Who are the ones allowed to teach?

- Promotes Good Values/Character
Does it only promote violence? Will immersing oneself in the art make you a better person physically, intellectually and spiritually? Will it enable me to help myself and then my fellowman?

- System of Progression
Is there a good solid base for progression? What will one be able to achieve in 6 months, 1 year, 5 years? Do they have a hierarchical system based on skill level or based on how much one can pay?

- Techniques vs. Principles
Is there a curriculum to the system? Am I being given final movements or building blocks for me to develop my move? Am I being allowed to express myself in the movement or am I limited?

- Self-defense vs. Self Preservation?
Am I being taught to defend myself or to keep myself alive? Will this extend to others as well or be only limited to myself? Does the art promote good health, good living and success in everything that I do?

What Was Lost Is Now Reborn!

As Grand Tuhon Gaje says: "Pekiti-Tirsia Kali is the Art of Modern Times in the Living Past!" The practical use and counter offense against impact and edged weapons has always been and still is the focus of Pekiti-Tirsia Kali training. This is the reason why the art is still up to date as it was 100 years before.

Through the birth of Sicas Famosus Dubai, the art is propagated by indulging oneself with intense training. It is encouraged to train not every day but every minute of the day as one should be always in a training mindset when dealing with the fighting arts. In full view of the city skyline at night or out in the desert sand dunes of Dubai, distinctive young professionals from all over the world gather around to experience what is truly Filipino. It is inherent, brought by the good discipline and upbringing by their parents, that these superior individuals are the living re-incarnation of the warlords of today as real as it was in their yesterdays. It doesn't matter if one is a beginner with no actual martial experience or if one is a novice who has already mastered various arts. What is important is to have a clear mind and an empty cup when learning this killing system.

In the absence of a teacher, the student is expected to be training on his own, mastering the movements of the weapon, entry points, and respectable footwork applications. This way, when training day comes, it would not be difficult for one to grasp the lesson at hand and review the lessons previously learned. Knowing that the nature of fighting is bladed weapons through close quarters, it is expected that a practitioner is serious especially when there is a life on the line. The life may be yours or a loved one. We do not deal with sports, we mean COMBAT. Having a killer instinct as the basic mental state of mind, it is expected that killing time only takes 3 seconds flat. To achieve this is through tactical and strategic planning. The key... applying the 5 elements of combat which is speed, power, accuracy, timing and precision.

Combative Edge of Pekiti-Tirsia

When you talk about Pekiti-Tirsia, you talk about blade culture. The Philippines' martial heritage is rich when it comes to edged weapons fighting. From the birth of man when Cain killed Abel and up until modern times in the countryside, blades are still being used mostly by farmers, meat butchers, woodshop workers, fruit vendors, etc. A farmer uses an itak or bolo to cut high weeds for panabas in the field and keeps a gun beside him to protect himself from carabao bandits at night. A meat butcher is identically equipped with numerous knives of all sizes around his waist that he uses to carve up pig and cow carcass that he carries on his back to be transported around the wet market for public consumption. A ginunting is also issued to the few but proud Force Recon Marine Corps to fend off insurgents in southern Philippines.

The nature of blade fighting is so inherent in the Philippines that one is not advised to practice disarming techniques. Dismemberment, maiming and puncturing are characteristics not found in impact weapons such as sticks, batons and staves but is apparent on a live blade. It is foolish to immediately disarm a ginunting which is travelling at 160 mph aimed right for your collarbone. Imagine that a 6 inch spyderco knife at the hands of a trained kali man is expected to take out at least 6 armed or unarmed assailants before subdued.

The Pekiti-Tirsia system taught as it was in the past is revived and applied to the Force Recons Marines, Philippine Marine Corps, Special Action Force Commandos, Crisis Response Group, Scout Rangers of the Philippine Army. This is also present through the joint military exercises "BALIKATAN" between the US Marines and the Philippine Marine Corps. Training is done to bring out the warrior spirit, not just a mere exercise or workout for fitness. When every factor is taken out of the equation, primal instincts for survival takeover. This is what we prepare for.

The Reality of Things to Come

One cannot argue that the true nature of fighting is indeed through weapons. Wars are fought and won by weapon wielding individuals. In the aspect of believing in life not in death, success not in failure and health not in sickness, we prepare for the worst by engaging in simulation training or assimulo. Assimulo can be subdivided into several modules namely terrain, elements, scenario, and volume.

Armies train in the elements of rain, snow and heat to prepare themselves for whatever weather the enemy encounters them. One mistake is limiting yourself to only training in daytime. Most confrontations happen at night with low visibility. A man may seem larger at night when fully clothed where locking up with your assailant is possible. Counters to this becomes touch and feel where knife tapping and lock flow comes into play. Moreover, training in water makes one loses his grip on things and movements becomes slow motion. Water resistance prepares the large and small muscles to sync with the entire body for common movement. It also simulates a heavier person who is pushing against you. Roadwork against the wind also attributes to this purpose. If you're out in the cold rain for hours and have to fight someone, you'll be fighting alot differently considering that you'll be dancing around puddles of water with your underwear drenched in water.

Outdoor training is essential in the fact that it takes away the comfort of the gym environment where you can easily get warmed up, have a water break or just simply stretch out and relax whenever the workout gets a little bit difficult. A scenario which keeps playing back in your head like if you would be held at gunpoint in a subway or held at knifepoint in a leisurely park at night is not only supposed to remain in your mind's eye but acted out in a proper supervised way. Being attacked in an alley or staircase or being blitzed by a mob while out for coffee or a cigarette in an al fresco cafe are some of the things that we very well take note of.

Training outside is wise, good for the soul and makes sense considering the unlikely probability of actually fighting on the ground of one’s choosing.

The Pekiti-Tirsia Empty Hands

Pekiti-Tirsia empty hands is a direct translation of the weapon movements to non-weapon motion. Angles of attack are the same as hacking with a blade and slashes and thrusts of the knife. The weapon attribute of range from a long weapon maybe absent but is immediately compensated with close range trapping, joint manipulation and grappling to ground fighting. The base of the hand becomes the pommeling tool for impact, open hand slaps replace the angular slashes of the blade, the fingers and nails substitues for blade tip jabs and rakes, elbows and knees attacks the same target areas for blade entries which makes the opponent grimace in pain whenever the areas are penetrated, the arm and leg limbs becomes the key trapping components for grappling. So basically the whole body contributes as one arsenal to be the whole empty hand weapon.

The key element of the empty handed fighter which may not be found in other empty handed arts is the ability to use limb destruction, small joint manipulation and turn the fight to his advantage. Upon enemy entry, limb destruction is applied to inflict great pain and destroy vital target areas which immediately finishes the encounter within 3 seconds flat.

Apart from striking and locking, the empty handed artist is also well versed in Filipino combative wrestling or Dumog. Dumog-Pangamut or Dumpag is the term called when combined with the empty hand striking aspect. In most cases, if there are feuds in between families, the first person called to serve as the middle man to pacify the trouble is the Dumoguero because the presence of the Dumoguero scares everybody. The Dumoguero is the most feared man of the barrio in the provinces of the Philippines. The situation will be settled immediately in the presence of a Dumoguero in a fistfight or when a drunkard turns wild. A Dumog expert has a well built body with sturdy legs and broad shoulders who walks with legs spread far apart and does not normally wear shoes.

Dumog is considered as a natural sport and a natural ground combat fighting art as well. On tournaments which are held during town fiestas, winners are given awards: a dozen chicken eggs, a fighting cock, a sack of rice, a sack of corn, one gallon of coconut wine, a bunch of bananas, two dozens coconut fruits and many others. To be a complete warrior, the Kaliman trains in the empty handed aspect, weapons and Dumog. The Dumoguero's belief in life, health, and success is well practiced in the fighting system of Pekiti-Tirsia.

Who Do You Turn To?

Last night I heard a story about this 20 something English woman who was "harassed" in passing somewhere along the Deira area. The woman apparently was coming from the Hamarain Centre right after closing time and going towards her car. Ironically, take note that this place is a stone's throw away from the Police Station. A dark man who suddenly appeared from nowhere approached the woman from the front. Upon crossing paths, then man unalarmingly made a move to feel her chest area. In an instant, the woman's mobile phone rang and when she picked it up and held it to her ear, the man's hand mistakingly landed on her arm. The woman kinda surprised continued talking on the phone while looking back at the dark man who was now walking away from her. She opened her car door, drove away and made it home safe.

Situations like this are never far from happening in our daily lives. Assailants will appear unknowingly when you least expect it. The woman was still fortunate that her aggressor just walked away and ignored the failed attempt. Having a high social or economic status should not be treated as a safety blanket for someone to be immune to attack. Reputation or anonymity are not deterrents for bad elements of society to do their bidding. This can happen to anyone.

In similar situations when you are by your lonesome, police out of sight, light of day gone, who do you turn to?

Footwork and Body Mechanics

One of the characteristics that distinguishes Pekiti-Tirsia Kali over other FMAs is the importance of footwork. If you have footwork as part of your arsenal, you already have the advantage, while successfully surviving an attack makes you victorious. Evasiveness in battle is the key to keep you alive. How would you be able to apply techniques if you are still standing in harm's way? By applying correct footwork and proper body mechanics, you get out of the line of attack to put yourself in a more comfortable position for you to apply your moves. Others may see it as a dance, yes, but stagnancy in fighting would just make you an easy target. A moving target, is always a hard target and that is why footwork is essential.

Indigenous Fighting Art

If you have been an avid fan of martial arts, you have probably seen or participated in the latest craze in the west which is mixed martial arts or MMA. This type of sport emerged from different sets of traditional martial arts combined with other forms of martial arts. Realizing that when someone's training is not efficient in the cage or ring, we mix up the stand-up striking, grappling, and ground fighting aspect of the sport and come up with a new breed of martial arts which is MMA. In the Filipino Martial Arts scene, it is no different. Arnis tends to mix itself with Karate-do which makes Arnisdo. Escrima mixes with Kung-fu to make it Escrimafu while Kali mixes with Jiujitsu to make it Kalijitsu. This is a very big mistake! And as my manong used to say, "A mistake is a blunder". Martial arts bastardization may be efficient to a certain extent but in the long run develops bad habits and bad habits may cost you your life.

To further illustrate, a boxing stance is entirely different from a Muay Thai stance. Wing Chun entirely different from Karate, and so on. When a bunch of hoodlums approaches you in the middle of the night and decides to get your purse or laptop, which stance do you now follow? Do you give them a spinning back kick or low kick? Do you punch them on the face or bring them down to the ground? Kiss and hug them or push them away? In the doctrine that we follow, we do away with rules. We only know what works and what works has been tested time in memorial in the laboratory of pain and battlefield of bones. Effectiveness will be measured on how quick you could obliterate your opponent and how many times you could do it over and over again with exact precision. It is senseless doing a number of repetitive moves only realizing that it only works in one aspect of fighting. It only becomes a cardiovascular activity for a narcissistic individual to engage in.

If You Walked Away

In times of peace, everyday people go about their daily lives by keeping themselves busy, earning a living, doing chores, living life in general. In the olden times, people who are peaceful get massacred, pillaged, ravaged and entirely devoured by barbaric tribes who wanted to get a piece of the world of comfort deprived to them by society. One only realizes this when its too late when parents, wives, brothers, and next of kin have departed them.

By training in the warrior arts, one comes to understand the realism of COMBAT. War doesn't come when you wait. It comes like a thief in the night like death who will creep from your back and give you a lethal strike when you least expect it. By immersing oneself into the exact science of superior weaponry, you will get to understand why the stick is round and the blade is flat. The pen may be mightier than the sword but the sword will cut your head off! Wars are not won by fists or shins but by weapons. By having the right mindset and attitude, a person could lessen the possibility of tragic events he will come across. But mindset alone won't save you if someone wielding a bowie or icepick has you backed up against a street corner with nowhere to go. If you walk away from your destiny, be lax and wait for things to come to you, a false sense of security is developed. Facing challenges, being physically, mentally, and spiritually prepared, the individual is equipped with a new set of armaments needed for the war that will occur.