Wednesday, June 18, 2008

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.

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