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.