Foot work Vs. Toe to toe.
Footwork Vs. Toe To Toe
First, Pekiti-tirsia is a combat bladefighting system, not “stickfighting” as many FMA have become. However, the system can be and is employed with many types and combination of weapons, or as Tuhon Gaje has termed, the Edged-Impact Weapon Strategy. In Pekiti-tirsia we regard all weapons with the same lethality as bladed weapons. A Bolo, steel pipe, hardwood flatstick, or rattan stick can all maim and kill, it just takes more application the farther away you get from an edged weapon. This principle dictates that you do not want to be hit with any of these weapons and protecting yourself should be your first priority.
Tuhon Gaje has always taught footwork as the foundation of the system and the key to all fighting strategies. Footwork provides protection, offensive and counter-offensive maneuvering and quartering. Footwork is one of the first signatures you see of the system. Regardless of how you employ your weapon, which will be detailed next, footwork is vital to survival. It is your first method of protection. The same is with modern military strategy. All great military leaders have employed some form of maneuver warfare. Fireteams to Battalions to Divisions and above can employ maneuver on the battlefield. However, while the principle is the same, maneuver of military forces does not equate equally to how hand held weapons engage in combat.
Next, let’s look at the structure and systems of Pekiti-Tirsia and what specific strategies are taught. Pekiti-Tirsia is composed of three (3) principle systems. The DOCE METHODOS ( the source of 64 attacks), the Advanced CONTRADAS, and the CONTRA-TIRSIA DUBLA-DOS. These systems teach how to employ and engage other weapons in close quarters combat.
The foundation system, DOCE METHODOS, is comprised of 12 methods that define every manner and method in which a bladed weapon can be used to strike with. Doce Methods defines attacks by angle, motion or energy, weapon anatomy (strikes with the edge, point, back of blade and butt) and manipulation (i.e. Florete). Doce Methodos also teaches the different ranges of combat. Specifically, Tirsia Largo (long range), Tirsia Corto (close range), and Pekiti-Pekiti (lit. close-close or extreme close range fighting including grappling). Note that “medium range” is not defined within the system and for good reason. Medium range is where both combatants can strike equally and have equal range of weapons. Tuhon Gaje has always taught to “Bridge and strike through” this area or range. To “get in and get out” is to bridge or close the gap from long to close range and back out again. Tuhon Gaje teaches specific footwork and striking combination Bridging techniques from specific methods.
The main strategy of Doce Methodos is the principle of PASUGAT (Illongo) or CONTACT. Meaning all of the methods, which are the specific tactics executed, are all based on techniques where weapons make direct contact with each other. For example in 5 attacks : 1 contacts 1, 2 versus 2, etc. the same in Break-In, Break-out. The same in Panastas/Sungkete and back to the first counter-offense method and technique taught which is Quatro Cantos or Four wall.
All of the Doce Methods teach contact of offensive and counter-offensive techniques. The only exception to this is the method of Pekiti_Pekiti where the application of diagonal and vertical strikes with the punyo or butt are taught through the drills of Sagang labo. #1 diagonal punyo strikes obviously cannot be countered with another #1 punyo. #2 punyo strikes can be countered with another 2 which is back to the application of Pasugat or Contact.
The Doce Methodes teaches the fighter how to engage an enemy “toe to toe” or more correctly how to close the gap and protect yourself from your enemies strikes directly with your weapon. In the end you must be bale to engage any opponent in what Tuhon Gaje terms “Blow by Blow”/ Power versus power. This is the direct contact tactics of the system of Doce Methodos. Also, the Doce Methodos is taught with the solo Blade/Baston. Once you understand the full capabilities of the solo blade, each method is applied to Doble or two weapons of equal length, solo Daga/Knife, to the Handblade/mano Mano/Pangamut and so on through all weapon categories.
The advanced system of the CONTRADAS is composed of the Contradas, Recontras, Recontradas, and other advanced combat methods. This is not a series of numerous multiple techniques but a system of attacks that continually counter and recounter any angular attack. Basically, any angular attack (slash or thrust ) can be countered by the Contradas, which can be countered by Recontras, and both can be countered by Recontradas. As Tuhon Gaje has always taught, you have three strikes to enter and control/quarter/terminate your opponent or you should range back out again. The further you advance in the system the more it is simplified.
The main strategy of contradas is the principle of PASUNOD (Illongo) or to FOLLOW. Meaning the opponents angle of attack is evaded with footwork and the hand directly hit with the Contradas. For example, a diagonal #1 strike countered directly with a #2 diagonal strike. This is the basic drill of the Contradas. There are also Contradas for horizontal, and vertical attacks and thrusting. The same for Recontras and Recontradas, they all attack the weapon hand. Once the weapon hand is attacked then direct attacks can be followed up with. The difference in systems is the Contradas or Pasunod is executed from the same side as the attacker (i.e forehand #1 countered by backhand #2 which is again Contradas), where the counters follow the attacks. Doce Methodos or Pasugat is forehand to forehand or backhand to backhand where attacks meet and make direct contact.
Today, Tuhon Gaje begins students with the basics of the Contradas system and advanced ranging footwork. Depending upon time, you will go through many of the Doce Methodos.
Footwork or maneuver is always executed in combat regardless of what strategy (Pasugat or Pasunod) and tactics you employ with your weapon. The Pekiti-Tirsia system teaches the fighter to enter “blow by blow” with the direct protection of the weapon or, to evade and attack directly to the weapon hand. In the end, both systems are one.
The philosophy of Pekiti-Tirsia Kali:
We believe in life, not in death.
We believe in health, not in sickness.
We believe in success, not in failure.
Written by Guro William Schultz
Excerpts from the Pekiti-Tirsia Kali Instructors Guide
By Maginoo-Mandala Tim Waid
© Copyright 1996 Timothy D. Waid