About Pekiti Tirsia Kali
Pekiti-Tirsia Kali is the indigenous close-quarter combat system of the Tortal family from Negros Occidental in the Philippines. Its current headmaster and sole inheritor is Grand Tuhon Leopold Tortal Gaje Jr., who learned this combat system from his grandfather, Grand Tuhon Conrado B. Tortal.
Pekiti in the Ilongo dialect means “to close” or “get in close,” tirsia derived from Latin tersiarius, which means “to quarter” the enemy. In essence, we get inside the enemy’s defenses, quarter or cut them to pieces then quickly get out of range. We always assume there is more than one opponent, so this combat system utilizes very sophisticated footwork to outmaneuver the enemy or enemies and fast tactical striking mechanics to end the fight quickly.
Pekiti-Tirsia Kali is not a “martial art” as one might generally think, but rather a science of strategy and tactics. Pekiti-Tirsia Kali is a combat system.
Doce Methods – Also known as the 12 Methods of Pasugat (contact). This is the foundation of the Pekiti-Tirsia Kali System, which defines the full spectrum of striking systems and applications based on the single long blade. It also serves as the guide for all other weapon categories and is one of 3 components that make up the complete system of Pekiti-Tirsia Kali.
Footwork Development – Pekiti-Tirsia Kali practitioners are trained to be highly mobile, therefore the first skill taught is footwork which is heavily emphasized. This is separate from the development of striking mechanics and each footwork pattern is trained individually and mastered without weaponry.
Every system or style of Filipino Martial Arts currently in existence has similar if not the same patterns of triangular footwork executed in various ways, but none of them have the training methodology or the ability to execute said patterns dynamically and strategically.
Pekiti-Tirsia Kali’s sophisticated footwork system is one of the distinguishing features that set it apart from other Filipino martial arts in that it teaches the ability to outmaneuver and bridge on your opponent.
Striking Mechanics – Pekiti-Tirsia Kali techniques are based on human form and function. Weapon striking angles and mechanics are trained separately from footwork in the beginning. This is where everything from the proper grip and chamber positions, to correct weapon orientation and body positioning in the application of strikes is addressed. Once the practitioner is familiar with coordinating these principles, it is then trained in combination with footwork.
Weapon Systems Outline
Daga y Daga
Mano y Daga
Mano y Mano/Dumpag (Dumog, Pangamut)
Espada y Daga
There are 5 physical attributes that a warrior must possess to be effective in combat – Speed, Timing, Power, Accuracy, and Precision.
Speed – a kali warrior must be fast, in the movement and delivery of his attacks, striking the opponent first and preventing him from counterattacking.
Timing – a kali warrior must be a master of timing. He must know when to strike and be out of range and counter the enemy if he retaliates. His movements must be unpredictable.
Power – with speed and timing, a kali warrior must be able to deliver his attacks with the correct amount of power. He must understand the different energies involved in any strike to be effective.
Accuracy – along with speed, timing, and power, a kali warrior must be able to deliver his attacks to specific targets and do so as intended.
Precision – this is the ability to manipulate your weapon with absolute control during combat.
Fighting with bladed weapons requires finesse and impeccable control. A Pekiti-Tirsia warrior must train to develop all these attributes, regardless of what weapon he is using to not only survive but dominate in battle. Physical fitness and conditioning are major factors in the individual warrior’s combat effectiveness as well.
Training and Development
Functionability – this is the initial stage, where everything from footwork to striking mechanics is broken down individually and trained until each one is mastered.
Operability – The 2nd stage, where you begin to learn to apply and combine all the individual techniques into coordinated series of movements.
Non-Counterability – The 3rd or mastery stage where you can execute offensive strikes with dynamic footwork in such ways that your opponents are unable to retaliate or defend against your attacks.
Who Can Train?
Whether you’re a complete beginner or already have a background in other martial arts, the footwork, and weapons proficiency you gain from Pekiti-Tirsia Kali will be a great addition to your combative skill set. However, due to the presence of weapons and the nature of our training prospective students are required to be at least 18 years of age, be of good character, and must have a certain level of maturity and discipline. New members are only accepted into the group after a mandatory probationary period.
The training is physically demanding and intellectually challenging. Only the dedicated few will truly reap its benefits.
Weapons Training and Warrior Discipline
Pekiti-Tirsia kali training is not a sport – we train for armed and unarmed combat, self-preservation, and survival, not for points and trophies, or fame. As students of war, we are required to develop a high level of discipline and code of conduct, for our response to those who wish us and our families harm is absolute and final, therefore we must be fully prepared to accept the consequences of such finality. A person who possesses and understands this kind power will have more love, care, and concern for others and is less likely to respond violently at the slightest provocation or escalate a small threat into a deadly situation. This is the mindset within the Filipino warrior culture that we develop and maintain through the practice of Pekiti-Tirsia Kali.
A “real” fight has no rules, and will possibly involve multiple opponents and a weapon of some kind. Therefore, students must understand the use of weaponry early on to learn how to deal with an armed assailant. Students are also taught about the principle of force continuum or the escalation of force.