Wednesday, August 25, 2010

New Class Time

Due to soccer scheduling issues, our new class time will be on Tuesdays from 7:30 to 8:30 pm at Impact Martial Arts on Township.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Section from "Panantukan" by Rick Faye

Pekiti-Tirsia and the Military
Who looks around in the martial arts and martial sports scene,
will soon find two very different training methods: There are
those hierarchical-military like systems, whose teachings are
based on command and obedience, designed for uniformly
instructing a big group of students. Further, there are the family
like systems, that teach a small number of humans according to
their personal knowledge and individual abilities.

If one follows the above classification then Pekiti-Tirsia Kali
clearly falls under the category of the family oriented systems:
First, Pekiti-Tirsia Kali is the martial art of the Tortal family,
represented by Grand Tuhon Leo T. Gaje. Second, some of the
characteristics for the Pekiti-Tirsia system teaching process are
the family-like, personal andrelaxed atmosphere, that Grand
Tuhon creates and the way he responds to the peculiarities of the
individual person. Yet, in recent years the Pekiti-Tirsia system has
been mentioned more and more often in the context with military
commando units and special forces. How come?

Importance of Close Quarter Combat for the Military
The importance of close quarter combat for the military has
changed with times. In the last big wars in Europe, battles have
no longer been decided by close quarter combat tactics. Modern
days weaponry made killing out of the distance so easy, that it
was no longer worth-wile to spent a big amount of the training
period on the survival of the individual soldier. The single soldier
became (in the viewpoint of war) easy to replace.

The primary focus of training for soldiers became discipline - but
not in the sense of self-discipline, but to become part of a group
and to follow the Commander. Corresponding to that, only those
methods of martial arts training were useful for military mass
training, that were suitable to drill soldiers in a way that they are
disciplined to follow commands. Many of the martial arts in
Europe and USA (especially those of Japanese or Korean origin)
have their roots in those military branches and often this origin is
easily recognized in the training.

Today: Guerrilla-Problem of the Military
In recent time it showed, that the majority of contemporary wars
and military conflicts are not decided by huge amounts of
infantry soldiers anymore. Having seen the media coverage about
the Gulf War or the military operations in Kosovo and
Afghanistan, everybody understands, that modern armed forces
are confronted with different situations and have to meet
different requirements. The opponent in modern warfare often
utilises Guerrilla-Tactics and can only be defeated by good
understanding of this type of warfare and by application of
suitable methods.

This was also experienced by the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
In the second world war, it have been the Filipino warriors, who
refused to back down after General Mac Arthurs withdrawal, and,
who continued to fight despite of inferior weaponry. By showing
great virtue and by application of Kali strategies (Bolo Battalion)
these people delayed the advancement of the Japanese Army
until the Americans managed to re-organise their war machinery
in their home land, finally successfully fighting the Japanese.
But despite the fact, that this World War II veterans are still
celebrated as heroes in parades (see our Report about the
Filipino Centennial) and their contribution has also been
acknowledged in the USA, the Filipino government didn't learn
their lesson (in contrast to the Americans, who early realised the
importance of special forces units like the Delta Force and the
Navy Seals). The Filipino Armed Forces (as many others did all
over the world) continued to train and act according to the
methods of the colonial army (maybe because military elite units
could have been considered as a danger to democracy). Until
today the encounters between the Armed Forces of the
Philippines and the militant separatist in the south of the
Philippines show, that conventional military tactics are almost
useless if used against guerrilla fighters.

Some years ago this was understood by the leaders of the
Filipino Armed Forces and it was decided, that some of the
special units should additionally be trained in the strategies and
tactics of the almost forgot Filipino martial arts.
The first ones, who understood this situation and also put the
program into action were the Force Recon Marines. The Recon
Marines which is short for Force Reconnaissance are specialists
for Deep Reconnaissance and Direct Action and they spent many
of their missions in small teams in hostile territory. They usually
can't hope for extensive air dispatch - in combat these people
have to stand on their own. The Recon Marines motto is "Swift,
Silent - Deadly" or "Outnumbered - But Never Outfought" In the
Philippines - may it be friend or enemy - the Force Recon are the
most respected, admired and feared among the special units.
(Information about the US Recon Marines can be found here:

Solution Pekiti-Tirsia Kali
When the Recons Marines started to look for "their to-be Close
Quarter Combat System", of course there were plenty of
applicants from inside and outside the Philippines. Everybody
wanted to be able to claim the reputation to be the instructors of
this highly prestigious special unit.

But the Recon Marines, with their extensive combat experience,
had a very good idea what they were looking for, what they
wanted and what they didn't want. So there was a selection
process, in which the applicants had to present themselves and
their teaching programs. Among all, the Pekiti-Tirsia Kali system
under the guidance of Grand Tuhon Leo T. Gaje was the only one
to be successful. The Force Recon Marines choose to be trained in

The Pekiti-Tirsia training of the Recon Marines is under the
guidance of Grand Tuhon Gaje and in case he can't be there
personally (as for example at his last visits in Europe and
Canada) his nephew Rommel Tortal takes over. Convinced by the
success of the Recon Marines, the Seals and other Elite Units
start to train their teams in Pekiti-Tirsia. Army and Air Force have
big interest in Pekiti-Tirsia training as well.

When I met Grand Tuhon last January in the Philippines, we have
been to the Armed Forces Philippines Central Command in Cebu.
The interest in the training program was so high, that the leading
officers didn't want us to leave. But we have been scheduled to
train the Force Recon marines and the present Special Forces
from the US in Cavite (as has been reported in the news, US
Special Forces met with the Force Recon to prepare themselves
for the operations to come in the south of the Philippines). It
showed that the US Special Forces have high interest to improve
themselves in good knife work.

Grand Tuhon and his nephew Rommel Tortal participated as Close
Quarter Combat Trainers (and probably as the only non-military
trainers) at the combined US-Filipino military exercise BALIKATAN
"shoulder to shoulder" 2002. For his achievements Grand Tuhon
Gaje has been decorated with a medal and during the training
Grand Tuhon has been invited as trainer for the Special Forces to
the US Base in Okinawa and Fort Bragg in the USA.

Why did the Recon Marines decide to go for Pekiti-Tirsia?

Obviously one of the more important reasons is, that the Pekiti-
Tirsia combat methods, with their strict orientation towards blade
and direct counter attack using the Pekiti-Tirsia COMBAT (Counter
On Motion Before Attack Time) principle, convinced the Recon
Marines. But my cross-training with the Recon Marines revealed
to me another important reason. They choose Pekiti-Tirsia
because the Recon Marines and Pekiti-Tirsia people share the
same philosophy: training with the Recon Marines shows what
attitude or philosophy somebody needs to have, if he wants to
survive in extreme situations. To be second is not good enough
and success is only in the team. The Force Recon Marines are
known to be the best there is in what they are doing. Their
training is a product of their mental attitude towards life.

What it means for us...

Today Pekiti-Tirsia Kali is such a practical and realistic system,
because Grand Tuhon and his ancestors tested and refined it
again and again in real life. Grand Tuhon says, Pekiti-Tirsia Kali
has been developed and tested in the laboratory of pain.
Same is true for the Recon Marines: Almost every day the Recon
Marines risk their lifes and prove anew the effectiveness of the
Pekiti-Tirsia strategies and tactics in close quarter combat. After
every mission a debriefing session is done and experiences are
exchanged. What did the Recon Marines experience? Where have
been dangers or maybe casualties? How could these situations
have been solved in a better way? Of course, when discussing
this matters, the Pekiti-Tirsia system has been thoroughly
checked many times and practical questions have to be
answered. And this one for sure: The Recon Marines risk their life
on every mission and if it comes to combat training there is no
way, that they would lie to themselves for convenience or
whatever reasons. The tradition of the Laboratory of Pain in the
Pekiti-Tirsia Kali is still on.

Of course the trainers who are in charge of teaching Pekiti-Tirsia
to the Recon Marines must be able to comprehend the situation
and practical problems of the soldiers. Hence the Pekiti-Tirsia
trainers engage in cross-training with the Recon Marines. Survival
in Jungle Environment, Combatant Swimming and Diving,
Parachute Jumping, Mountaineering, Moving under Fire, Shooting
while moving, Survival Resistance Evasion Escape, Snipering, and
more is on the schedule. A one-of-a-kind opportunity for the
Pekiti-Tirsia instructors to benefit from the treasure of knowledge
of this experts.

For Pekiti-Tirsia it is good to know: The system has been
successfully reality tested in the past, it has been tested
yesterday, is tested today and it will be tested tomorrow again.
And even under this very special circumstances there has been
no need to change the nucleus of the Pekiti-Tirsia strategies and
tactics. Without doubt: The system today is as up-to-date as ever

Discipline, Courage and Determination

The Recon Marines learned to value Pekiti-Tirsia, because our
philosophy is quite similar to the philosophy of the Force Recon
Marines. Believe in Success, Life and Good Health are essential
for the Recon Marines as well. The Philosophy is the foundation
for self-discipline, courage and determination. A Recon Marine
can't afford a mistake. Because the Filipino Recon Marines have
to rely more on their personal abilities (the quality of the man) as
on advanced technology or quantity of soldiers, Pekiti-Tirsia is the
choice of this men. Because if you fight at the sharp end, the
training is honest!

Author: Uli Weidle, 26. June 2002

Friday, August 13, 2010

Training blades and t-shirts

If anyone wants training blades or PTK t-shirts please let me know.

The picture below shows a Ginunting (short sword) and training knives.  I don't have pictures of the t-shirts just yet.  The Ginunting is $125 and the Knives are $60.  T-shirts will be $17.  I'll be in Dallas this weekend and will pick some up there.  I can always order later so it's not a big deal if you don't get anything this time.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

PTK in Combat Tactics Magazine

From an article in Combat Tactics Magazine. 

Pekiti·Tirsia Kali

"The Pekiti-Tirsia Kali system originated from the provinces of Panay and Negros Occidental in the Philippines and is one of the few remaining authentic and complete Filipino combat systems in existence today.

Pekiti-Tirsia is a traditional family system, formulated and perfected by the Tortal family, which traces its existence back to a time and era when the carry and use of an edged weapon was common, even required, among most men.

Pekiti-Tirsia is a "close-quarters," in-fighting combat system against multiple opponents, based on the use of
a blade. Something called a ginunting is the principle bladed weapon of Pekiti-Tirsia, originating from the province of Negros Occidental.  The name Pekiti- Tirsia literally means "to cut into pieces at close range." It encompasses all traditional weapon categories and is formulated on the strategic principle of the triangle. The triangle serves as the basis for footwork, striking and the tactical principles of close-quarters combat."

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Pekiti-Tirsia Kali - Military CQC Course - Patikul, Sulu, Jolo

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Gurkha soldier disciplined for being efficient.

Gurkha soldier in trouble for being efficient.  It's amazing that anyone should expect political correctness to extend to the battlefield.  The diplomats, politicians, and other critics want to send other people out to do the job they would never consider doing; they don't want to know how it is done and don't want reminders of how horrible it really is for those who endure it.  They want an illusory game of fair play where we can have do-overs and time-out boxes so the politicians won't have to worry about losing votes and others can believe that war is just like you see it on television. 

Sure we should have respect for the beliefs and cultures of others when it's appropriate to do so.  But the battlefield is not a place for cultural/religious sensitivity; it is the place for fundamental effectiveness and efficiency.  This soldier didn't cut off the enemy's head for any reason other than the fact that carrying the body back was not an efficient option and he had orders to follow.  This was just the most efficient method of doing so.

It seems that Sam Harris makes a good point in The End of Faith:  Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason; the moderate segment of a religious group (doesn't matter which one) provides support and shelter for the more extreme members even when they don't intend to do so and this situation is a good example of that.  The moderate Muslims are likely the people whose "hearts and minds" we are trying to win; however, they are probably not the ones blowing themselves (and us) up with suicide bombs or the ones shooting at us.  We are trying to apply the modern standards of religious freedom to people who don't deserve it just because they've adopted a religious label.  For those Christians out there who freeze up when trying to grasp this concept consider replacing an image of Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church for the terrorists and the generic American Christian for the moderate Muslims.  Should we protect his behavior just because he carries the label of Christian?

So why are we worried about offending someone when our military members do something that is effective and efficient?  I'm guessing that everyone would have been happy if this Gurkha soldier had hauled the mutilated carcass of this terrorist, probably with a cost of injury or death to his team, and plopped it on the desk of his commander.  Instead, he did the efficient thing in the heat of battle to save lives and accomplish his mission; take the guy's head back to the commander instead.  He was dead, he didn't need it and could do without it until his funeral.  As my youngest daughter learned in kindergarten, "you get what you get and you don't throw a fit."  I think that should apply to everyone who willingly assumes a risk.

Anyone who chooses to take on a hostile position naturally assumes that their religious beliefs and culture will not be considered in the heat of battle.  If the Muslim terrorists and soldiers are so concerned about burying their dead intact, why do they blow themselves up by crashing airplanes into buildings, blowing up subway tunnels and buses, or strapping explosive devices to their bodies?  If they are so concerned with having their religious and cultural beliefs respected then why do we see Muslim terrorists beheading or executing non-Muslims on video and dragging the bodies of soldiers through the streets.

The only reason we're concerned about this is that we're trying to make the religious people who conform to modern ethical standards happy and that's fine but it shouldn't extend to terrorists.  Religious and cultural respect are important and should be demanded in civil discourse.  In the heat of battle, however, they don't belong.  Maybe, instead of putting pressure on us for violating their religious and cultural beliefs, they should put pressure on the terrorists to stop violating the rights of everyone else to their beliefs and to their lives in general; until then, "you get what you get and you don't throw a fit."

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Start Date

Looks like we're starting up classes on August 17th at 6:30.

Here's the location information:

Impact Martial Arts
16 West Township Street, Fayetteville -(479) 251-8783