How Was PTK Selected to Teach the Police and RP Spec. Forces?

Discussion in 'Pekiti-Tirsia Kali' started by khd29, Mar 17, 2007.

  1. khd29

    khd29 New Member

    I am new to FMA so please bear with me. I saw a BBC news clip about PTK and how it was the system used to train the police and military unit of the Philippines. I always thought, Arnis/Escrima/Kali or whatever you want to call it, are all the same. Just like how judo is judo wherever you go around the world. However, some forums swear by the differences in FMA and claim "legitimate street art". I don't believe in that nonsense because the art is only as good as the practitioner. RexKnowDo can be be the baddest art but Napoleon Dynamite will not make it work, right? A bit of a stretch but you get my point.

    How was this system selected over other organizations? I thought after what the late GM Remy Presas did for the art, his organization would be the selected system, just like what Jigoro Kano did for judo. Also, IIRC, there are other bigger organizations but PTK was selected by the government. This is the only other organization I heard of beside Doce Pares. I only heard about Sayoc and Atienza recently, but I believe they are US based. Lots of them here in NYC.

    If my history is inaccurate, please correct me. There are so many organizations and styles but are there any real clear cut differences?

  2. Epa

    Epa Member

    Judo is a specific style of Japanese martial arts and can't be compared with generic terms like Arnis/Eskrima/Kali. Saying that all FMAs are the same is like saying all styles of Kung Fu are the same, it just doesn't make sense. Different styles use different types of weapons (or no weapons), fight in different ranges and employ different tactics. If you want to learn more about the different styles, check out the style specific forums.

    I don't know all of the military or law enforcement groups that Pekiti-Tirsia trains, but I know they were selected to train the Filipino Recon Marines. My understanding was that the marines were taking too many casualties from close quarters edged weapon attacks when they were fighting insurgents in Mindanao. Their men didn't have sufficient training to deal with edged weapons and they were being ambushed in terrain where it was difficult for them to use their firearms effectively.

    To fix the problem, the marines adopted a model based on World War 2 guerilla units where the fighters relied on bolos at close range and used the firearms for back ups in overgrown terrain. In order to make this work, they needed a sword system. I think they put out the word with different FMA groups and had them audition. They selected Pekiti-Tirsia as the marines' trainers.

    I don't think it was any disrespect for the other groups, they just picked the method they thought fit their needs the best. I'm sure there are instructors from Modern Arnis, Doce Pares, Sayoc, Atienza and other styles that train military and law enforcement as well. There is a pretty high demand for practical stick and knife material in those communities.
  3. arnisador

    arnisador Active Member

    Definitely, lots of groups representing many different styles of the FMA teach various LEO and military groups there.
  4. JohnJ

    JohnJ Senior Member

    Keep in mind that only a percentage of claims are legit in terms of approved program. In other words, many claim to teach LEO/Military but in essence are teaching a handful of martial arts entrhusiasts who happen to be in that profession. Others have taught on a seminar basis for divisions of the military but not as a whole. This is a common practice.

    Tuhon Gaje is one who has been able to prove himself and his art worthy to teach on a consistent basis an approved program. I assume his network helped in achieving this as well.
  5. 408kali

    408kali Member

    I love to hear that there are FMAers teaching military, police, or swat.

    I would love to have the opportunity to do that someday..
  6. Tim Waid

    Tim Waid -== Banned ==-

    Pekiti-Tirsia Military/LE programs and history

    Three important distinctions to answer the initial question - How Was PTK Selected to Teach the Police and RP Spec. Forces?

    First, as Guro John Jacobo correctly stated, many claim to teach Special Forces, SWAT, or any number of military or law enforcement units, when in fact they have instructed individual members of a unit or conducted a seminar program for a unit. Nothing wrong with that, because many don’t realize that as Commanding Officers change in military units (average of every two years), the new commander wants “new” or advanced training based upon his unit needs (and personal preferences many times). The same with law enforcement, new Chiefs and Training Division Commanders usually look to change the current training and make their own mark.

    More significantly though, a few military and law enforcement units formally adopt a system of training that is institutionalized for years, as Pekiti-Tirsia has with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP). Why? Because it has consistently proven it’s superiority to unit commanders and against the best martial arts, Close Quarters Combat (CQC), and Defensive Tactics (DT) systems that Philippine and other US and foreign units have challenged it against.

    The second and third points are historical and technical. Pekiti-Tirsia currently has the longest formally approved and institutionalized CQC and DT programs in the AFP and PNP. In June 1998,Major General Ponciano S. Millena, Commandant of the Philippine Marine Corps, recognized the Pekiti-Tirsia system as the official Close Quarters Combat/CQC system and doctrine of the Philippine Marine Corps. January through June 1998 I conducted the first Pekiti-Tirsia/CQC Instructors Qualification Course for the Force Reconnaissance Battalion of the Philippine Marine Corps. Prior to that time, for almost three years, the Recon Battalionresearched the different Filipino combat systems/martial arts being practiced in the Philippines to specifically find the knowledge of Bladed weapons combat. The Recon Marines completed several combat skills courses and interviewed numerous instructors, including those of the prominent styles/systems/clubs in the Philippines, but found none that taught combat with the live blade and that could teach a system to special operations forces applicable to their operational environment and requirements.After one interview and demonstration with the commanding officer and staff, I had a contract to begin training. I simply demonstrated the system of Pekiti-Tirsia, as taught to me by Grand Tuhon Gaje, and immediately used my live Ginunting to make my point. The CO also saw the distinction and effectiveness of an authentic Filipino Bladefighting Combat system from the current “styles” created as the newest, latest, and greatest.

    Today, the Recon Marines are recognized as the leaders and subject matter experts (SME) in the use of Edged-Impact Weapon Strategy and Tactics within the AFP and have continually proven the superiority of the Pekiti-Tirsia system against other military CQC methods including the US Marine Corps Martial Art Program (MCMAP), SCARS method of US Navy SEALS, the LINE method of US Army Special Forces, and the current US Army Combatives program. Subsequently, the PMCTrainingCenter instituted the system as a special school and is now instructed to all Philippine Marines at several unit levels.

    Most importantly, Recon has been using the skills of Pekiti-Tirsia to engage and kill terrorists in the Southern Philippines, continuing to validate the system and training in real combat. No other FMA can make this claim.

    Our longest standing program within the PNP is with the Special Action Force (SAF). Since year 2000 we have had a certified SAF instructor cadre that trains all new SAF members. The SAF has also proven Pekiti-Tirsia against other PNP and foreign units systems including the Australian SAS and Australian Federal Air Marshals, to name a few.

    I am not going to be politically correct and agree that there are other FMA actively training AFP/PNP in any significant manner because they do not. Modern Arnis and Doce Pares do have active sport competition clubs, and there are individual instructors present in units that teach, but none that have any national recognition. The masters of self promotion, the Sayoc’s and Atienza’s, don’t have a presence in the Philippines, or any recognizable training programs within military/LE.

    The history of Grand Tuhon Gaje and Pekiti-Tirsia tactical training is well known and documented. He was the first to institute a recognized FMA based Defensive Tactics system in law enforcement beginning with the NYPD in the late 70’s, and gained continued international recognition through the video Surviving Edged Weapons. Tuhon Gaje remains in great demand and continues to train and influence military units and law enforcement agencies worldwide. Documented fact, Pekiti-Tirsia is the FMA leader in military and law enforcement tactical training.

    Some technical points on combat blade fighting for those practicing and researching (and insight on why Pekiti-Tirsia has gained the position it has). For the long blade/sword, authentic Filipino methods, as in Pekiti-Tirsia, instruct how to prevent blade to blade contact except in the most unavoidable scenarios/positions. As Grand Tuhon teaches, when one gains true combined proficiency in footwork and striking, you will never need Four-Wall or Payong counter-offense techniques (contact blade to blade/strike to strike) in combat. If you are training with continual contact of the long blade/sword you should seriously question your training and instructor. Additionally, the advanced Contradas system specifically teaches how to target the weapon hand only - blade to blade at close-quarters. FMA combat blade fighting skill is demonstrated by NOT allowing contact to your blade and attacking directly to the weapon hand at close-quarters and long range. There are times when contact is unavoidable and must be made, but there are again specific methods/techniques that minimize blade to blade contact.

    The same for the Knife. Pekiti-Tirsia knife-tapping has been adopted (and copied) by scores and generations of instructors but few, if any, understand the true application. Tapping is a close-quarters counter-offense method that is to be avoided unless the result of a closing attack (not that easy to accomplish with the short blade). Again, the absence of tapping is the indicator of skill, not the continued back and forth tapping and tapping of mindless made-up drills while the “masters” stand in front of each other (and never deliver a powerful attack). If the knife fighting or training you are learning is based upon tapping and or “feeding” (a term never used in Pekiti) you are in the wrong place. As Tuhon Gaje teaches “Timing is to attack off time of your opponents attack”, and he will hit you, repeatedly, well before you move to strike or tap.
  7. Zeph

    Zeph New Member

    Hello Maginoo Tim,

    Nice to see you around! And thank you so much for your input.
  8. Epa

    Epa Member

    Thanks for the clarification Maginoo Tim. It's always good to hear from someone who was actually there.
  9. Sun_Helmet

    Sun_Helmet Junior Member

    Hello Mr. Waid,

    It is true that the Sayocs do NOT have a contract nor train military in the Philippines.

    We support PTK and most importantly GT Gaje's efforts in this area. Tuhon Sayoc has never spoken ill of him. He asked me to pay my respects to him when he was in Maryland a few years ago with Manong Dan Inosanto, and asked many of our students to attend that seminar since it was one of the first in his return to public instruction in the US. I know the recently passed Tatang Bo Sayoc thought of him as a friend.

    However, I'd like to point out that although Sayoc is not in Philippines, the Sayoc Tactical Group does have military contracts with several military agencies in the US.

    We have not "self promoted" the specifics of these APPROVED contracts, as much as how it would greatly benefit us in the public arena. I'll see if one of our STG reps will be willing to disclose info about such matters.

    On the commentary on the CONTINUOUS tapping, the Sayoc tapping drills in particular (can't speak for anyone else) have a different purpose than what you've stated.

    As for calling us the MASTERS of self promotion, to us - maintaining a positive and productive influence on the FMA is our goal.

    As a student of history, especially FILIPINO history, I've learned that our worst enemy is the tendency to DIVIDE instead of uplift one another.

    Much success to you and your efforts in PTK.

    Sayoc Kali
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2007
  10. sneaky

    sneaky New Member

    Hi Tim,

    As former member of the ADF I must say I am most interested as to your comments about the Australian SASR and Airmarshalls, knife combatives figures rather lowly on the priorities list for both groups as the gun will win more often against the knife.

    The USMC MACE uses knife skills as taught by Hunter Armstrong of Hopology and its aim is to kill enemies not to get into knife duels with tapping etc. so your claim is of rather limited value in my opinion, knife on knife is of such a low probability that it really falls into the scope of "interesting sideline" in SF training , dont get me wrong I teach knife, knife on knife too and have nothing but respect for PTK, but lets be realistic about knife combatives and its place in the arsenal of todays soldier.

    All the best,

  11. Gilla

    Gilla -== Banned ==-

    Hopology, is that the use of hops and barley in CQC?
    All i can say is that Tim Waid has extensive experence training the Military here and oversea's.Aso is Mr. Armstrong related to Stretch Armstrong? He is very well known here in the States.
  12. PG Michael B

    PG Michael B Oso Grande

    Hoplology is a science that studies human combative behavior and performance. The word hoplology is derived from the Greek terms hoplos (a mythical plate-armored animal) and hoplite, the term for the classical Greek warrior. The word was first coined by the explorer and linguist, Sir Richard Burton, in the 19th century, but it was not until the 1960s when hoplology began taking shape as an academic field of study under the direction of Donn F. Draeger. Affairs Info/Archive News Pages/2004/040723-mcmap.html

    You are correct Tim Waid is a top notch teacher/practitioner of PTK..I have studied with him in the past, but there is more than one way to skin a cat wouldn't you agree?
  13. sneaky

    sneaky New Member

    Hi All,

    I am not trying to make light of the skills of the SAF and think its great they get good training , I am interested to know however if it doesnt create any OPSEC/PERSEC issues about how much the blade skills of the SAF are being used in combat in the southern PI s ? I would wager that firearms are being used at least 100 to 1 over edged weapons , I would also add that if the SAF demonstrated their better knife skills against the Australian SASR that it needs to be kept in context, the main knife skill taught to arms corp units in the ADF is sentry removal on CQF courses not duelling, the ADFs response to duelling is the M4 or F88 styer rifle .

    I believe that knife training has a real purpose for todays soldier on peace keeping missions etc where you dont always know whos who amoungst the local populance and trouble may find you doing VCP duty or in a bar when off duty when not armed with your primary weapon system but I believe that good empty hand is the first line of defense.

    All the best,

  14. arnisador

    arnisador Active Member

    All good points...I also wonder if, as with the pugil stick/bayonet in the U.S. military, an important reason for the training is to build an aggressive attitude. That's better done in a close-in context, even if the fighting will likely be done at a greater distance.
  15. truth_be_told

    truth_be_told -== Banned ==-

    RE: Pekiti Tirsia the Leader, The Wisdom of the Unwritten?

    Mr Tim Wade,

    in your posting u bring to point that

    A) Pekiti Tirsia Edge Weaponries SUPERIOR/BEATS same programs of
    i) US Marine Corps Martial Art Program (MCMAP),
    ii) SCARS method of US Navy SEALS,
    iii) the LINE method of US Army Special Forces,
    iv) current US Army Combatives program.
    v) Australian SAS
    vi) Australian Federal Air Marshals

    Please provide evidence of the above mouthful.

    … is this via some padded sports stick/trainer blade events or war simulation or what ?

    Please show evidence of
    i) Who were the contenders and background ?
    ii) Where was this proven ?
    iii) What give rise to these conclusion ? What environment, weapon etc used ? What were the rules of engagement ?
    iv) How was this determined ?
    v) Why were those bodies involved and why were they not using PKT as their sole program today if it is Clearly a leader ?
    Ta ..
  16. Liveblade

    Liveblade New Member

    Sayoc Tactical Group

    Maginoo Waid,

    I don't know why you feel so strong in the negative about the Sayoc or Atienza systems as we are all brothers in the FMA community. I just want to say that I have always looked at PTK as a highly effective Blade art and I have always been proud to be involved in FMA's, because of the reality and seriousness of technique found in FMA in general and especially PTK.

    But I would like to point out that as the Director for Sayoc Tactical Group, we have been contracted by various units of the US Navy and Army, to provide edged weapon training and CQC training. Also we have trained Government and local LEO's across the US.
    With the Military we teach techniques of Close Quarter Blade killing and primary weapon retention using an edged weapon in a CQC environment. With LEO's it is Counter Edged Weapon stressing transition to firearm.
    We really, as Jim stated, don't teach blade on blade. As we feel this is a low probability in combat. We also don't feel continuous tapping is possible in 99.99 of real life encounters nor is it beneficial. But that is really another thread.

    In a final word I would like to invite you to attend as my guest any of the LEO or Military contract training at Ft Bragg, VA Beach or anywhere we are holding training.

    Your Brother in FMA
    Tom Kier
    Sayoc Kali
    Sayoc Tactical
  17. arnisador

    arnisador Active Member

    How is the phrase 'continuous tapping' being used here? As in a drill where the live hand repeatedly stops a blade attack?

    I'm sure many groups have trained various military units...I'm not sure how fruitful it is to debate it! The S. Korean army trains in Tae Kwon Do, which doesn't seem optimally practical to me.
  18. lmanalo

    lmanalo New Member

    Greetings everyone,
    This is one of my first posts here at FMATALK & just wanted to introduce myself. My name is Leo and I am an Atienza Kali practitioner. I’ve been studying with the Atienzas for over 14 years and am a full instructor in the system.
    Gumagalang, Tuhon Raf and Tuhon Tom. As always great points made in your post.
    Salutations, Tim. The Atienzas send their greetings as well.
    I would like like to start by saying Atienzas have nothing but respect for PTK. My first experience with FMA was PTK under Mike Berkley back in 1991 before I met the Atienzas.

    “For the long blade/sword, authentic Filipino methods, as in
    Pekiti-Tirsia, instruct how to prevent blade to blade contact except in
    the most unavoidable scenarios/positions.”

    Atienza Kali agrees with you regarding this. Most of the exchanges that we have experienced are no-blade contact with the exception where deflections (not blocks) were necessary. i.e. being backed up with no room to maneuver. Those Atienza Kali practitioners that can use these techniques demonstrate excellent tracking of their opponents techniques.

    Its really quite impressive to see the Atienza Chiefs execute such techniques...Atienza Kali Blade Simulator DVD vol 1, has such footage, I believe they released it 3 years ago.

    “There are times when contact is unavoidable and must be made, but there are again specific methods/techniques that minimize blade to blade contact.”
    Agreed...especially in mass attack in small confines.

    I look forward to more open discussions regarding blade techniques.

    Leo M.
    Atienza Kali
  19. Tim Waid

    Tim Waid -== Banned ==-

    Continued commentary on Military/Law Enforcement training:

    The Special Action Force (SAF) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) is a paramilitary unit with the same TO&E as a regular light infantry battalion, and continues in a limited scale the same type of operations as the old Philippine Constabulary (PC). During the mid-nineties when I was living in Bacolod City, the SAF replaced the Philippine Army on Negros Island and continued security and counter-insurgency operations against the remaining active Communist NPA units. Grand Tuhon and I began training the SAF at this time in both Negros and at the SAF Hq. in Manila. During this time and until now there have been several training/assistance programs and joint exercises with the Australian SASR. The SAS used what was clearly a Japanese/Okinawan based Karate style for combatives instruction. Long story short, they could not deal with the knife and several types of bolos that some SAF members carried and demonstrated, and, they readily admitted this. As these joint training operations go, both sides had specific recognized tactical proficiencies and learned from each other. And, as I stated earlier, I am sure their (SAS) combatives system/training has and continues to change.

    Two years ago, the Australian equivalent (exact name I don’t recall) to the US Federal Air Marshals conducted a tactical training course for the Philippine Air Marshal program. Rommel Tortal, Grand Tuhon’s nephew (PTK’s principal instructor in the Philippines now), was invited to conduct an Edged Weapons tactics seminar during the course. The Australian cadre lacked tactics to deal with a dynamic edged weapon attack at extreme close-quarters in the aircraft (except shooting) and any skill set with the knife as a backup weapon. Again, the training cadre recognized the skills taught through PTK and participated in the training as well, which they did not have to.

    For the past ten years (and continuing now) Pekiti-Tirsia has instructed Philippine AFP (Scout Rangers, Navy SWAG, Army SF, for example), PNP (Aviation Security Command Special Operations, PNP Public Safety College, PNP Academy, for example) and US (any number of the USMC expeditionary force units and Army and Navy special operations units) and other foreign allied units too numerous to be counted. Some have directly challenged GT Gaje with empty-hands, with one Marine (over 200 lbs.) yelling for the corpsman (medic) afterwards. The significant fact is in spite of the continuing change of command within the Philippine Marine Corps, Pekiti-Tirsia remains. The Philippine Marine Corps, with the Force Recon Bn. Instructor cadre leading, continues as the flagship.

    On the knife vs. gun/firearms comment, I have run thousands of military and law enforcement students through infantry/CQB training, including with Simunitions/FX, where firearms consistently lose to the knife. This depends upon the range, if the rifle is at the point or at the ready, if the handgun is at the point, ready, or holstered, and the number of operators/officers. During room clearing, I have taken out the 1st and 2nd man with the knife, again depending upon how well/fast they move, and sometimes the 3rd man, before being shot by the third or fourth operator. For LE patrol officers, and anyone in urban operations including armed civilians (God Bless Texas), the distance drill needs to be trained over and over. The knife learns how to close, draw and strike. And the gun learns how to move, draw and fire, and use other close-quarters tactics. You are developing critical skills with either weapon. I suggest viewing Surviving Edged Weapons.

    WWII in the Philippines saw the most prolific (more than any other theatre of the war) and effective use of the short Sword/Bolo. The Bolo was used by guerrilla units (throughout the entire islands), regular infantry (First and Second Filipino Regiments) and special operations (AIB Reconnaissance/Communications units and others). The Filipinos (and some Americans) used the Bolo, with and without firearms, against fully equipped Japanese infantry/combat arms units in close combat and won. All of these units trained Blade to Blade drills in full combat gear. Who says that this is not an effective training method? The reason why this training remains “in the scope of interesting sideline in SF training” is because (1) they lack the historical insight and (2) few instructors can integrate it properly with infantry/CQB tactics. Blade to Blade training gives you closing and attacking skills (and confidence) against the use of any weapon at close-quarters. Common western military instruction of the knife for direct attacks to fatal targets areas is effective of course (I trained this as a Marine myself), but provides no dynamic force on force skills and negligible psychological edge or advantage.

    Rafael and Tom,

    These forums are for education and critical discussion, and my comments should not be taken personally. I simply do not believe in any FMA system/style/instructor that promotes “new, modern, evolved, progressive, improved, innovative, blade concepts, etc, etc.” Centuries of blade to blade combat in the Philippines (and around the world I might add) has discovered every possible use and application of the edged (and impact) weapon. Unfortunately, few of these systems with this complete knowledge remain. Fortunately, Pekiti-Tirsia is one of them. I have 19 years with Grand Tuhon Leo Gaje, have continually trained and researched the FMA in the Philippines for the past 23 years, including eight years of residency, and have interfaced with the majority of the system/styles in the public domain, as well as many obscure ones. I believe I am qualified in my position.

    To provide a neutral and objective perspective, in 1987 I met GM Tatang Ilustrisimo with my father-in-law, a WWII Guerrilla Fighter in the USAFFE. During their conversation about their combat experiences and training, Tatang made the point that he could counter any attack. In other words, he knew the full capabilities of the human form attacking with the blade. Tatang would laugh at the notion of FMA as new, improved, etc, etc. Grandmaster Tony Diego will certainly verify this.

    My comments on blade contact and tapping were not directed to any particular style/system. Unfortunately there are Pekiti-Tirsia instructors that teach these same incorrect methods as well. The training methods I described are, however, extremely prevalent in FMA training today and will not work against even a single dedicated attack. Every instructional period and seminar I teach I demonstrate these points, and then show the correct training method and application. As an instructor teaching lethal skills, I have a professional and ethical responsibility to do so.

    Safe to say we all agree that the FMA provides the most realistic, practical, and pragmatic method of edged/impact/empty-hands combat. Ultimately, it is up to the student/consumer to decide on a source of instruction, and our dialogue here assists in that decision.


    Tim Waid
  20. lhommedieu

    lhommedieu Senior Member

    Mike Berkeley


    I wonder if we've met? I started out in FMA's with Mike Berkeley and Agapito Gonzales from '94-'96 and eventually ended up training with Tom Bisio and Bill Schettino, respectively.


    Steve Lamade

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