Question about single stick (sword) being primarily trained for the right hand...

Discussion in 'Pekiti-Tirsia Kali' started by VectorJoe, Oct 31, 2012.

  1. VectorJoe

    VectorJoe New Member


    I was recently at a PTK Seminar and asked about training the left hand (single stick/sword). The instructor explained that the tactics and techniques work better right handed and that even people who are left handed learn and do the techniques right handed. Is this common across all PT? I did not want to seem disrespectful and interrupt the class further to discuss the matter, and unfortunately I did not have the opportunity to discuss after class.

    If this is a common thread across PTK, can someone elaborate more on the theory of why a technique or tactic would be inherently better to execute right handed than left handed?

    One of the main reasons I ask this is because most of the other FMA that I've studied train both hands to equal amounts (or even the weak hand more). Personally, I am right handed, but with right shoulder problems. I train both hands, but my left arm can generate more power due to my shoulder. Also, what happens if the right hand is simply out of action for some reason.

    Thanks, and please do not take any of this as criticism, just an honest quest for knowledge.

  2. blindside

    blindside student

    I think in any art you will see alot of variation between instructors, so this is my opinion, not "the Pekiti approach."

    I do teach primarily right handed in the beginning and then add in the left side once comfort has been established. Usually I teach basics on boths sides, but most drilling and technique is done right handed. This isn't because it works better, but because most attackers/opponents will be right handed, it makes sense to train for the most common threat. In learning a asymmetric weapon system (like solo baston) the two limbs have very different assignments, it isn't that the left is standing limp at your side, it is an active and integral part of the training. I want my beginner student to get to competence as quickly as possible, so this involves emphasizing training only the one side in the beginning. Later, once the learning curve becomes fairly steep, does it become valuable to learn the reverse. I like to throw my more senior students for a loop when they are clearly comfortable with one of the standard drills/techs, to do it left handed.

    I would also point out that the left hand training isn't entirely being ignored, the portions of the curriculum that are symmetric (doble baston, daga, unarmed) are training the left equally. I have only had two left handed students in my 4 years of teaching (caveat, I don't have tons of students, that is probably a sample size of maybe 40 students). Both were pretty comfortable with learning right handed, and then I would work with them on their left side and how to adapt the technques when not using matching leads.

    I think reaching equal competence with both hands is less important for the duel (which most FMA tends to train for), self-defense, or combat than it is for the sake of the Art and the challenge to the practitioner. If we look a combat systems both historical and current, you don't train for symmetry, it is largely a waste of time.

    Edit: Oh, and take a look at some of the video of Tuhon Nonoy Garrucho on youtube, he is left-handed and watchng him shift seamlessly between left and right leads is a good lesson it itself.
  3. Danny T

    Danny T New Member

    Interesting. This has not been in my case; I have been training Pekiti for over 20 years. My first instructor had us do everything both rt and left handed almost equally. He is a lefty. We worked left vs rt, rt vs left, rt vs rt and left vs left. There was always a stronger emphasis on the strong side but we work the weak side a lot. I do so also with my students. Often we will work the weak side first and then the strong side. I attempt to stay on approx. 70-30 ratio strong to weak in training.

    As to a technique or tactic is inherently better one way or the other can only be based upon the situation at any one particular time.
  4. Jack Latorre

    Jack Latorre Siyam

    Good topic, Joe--

    The left -handed versus right-handed discussion is interesting, in that it depends what aspect of your training you are talking about.

    If the issue at hand is hitting the opponent's hand at distance, then it doesn't matter much...accurracy, power and footwork tend to trump hand orientation.

    If the issue is disarming, then the mechanics for the disarm may change somewhat, although the principle behind the disarm is likely constant. In the Pekiti-Disarma section, one gets to see the different grip permutations and how that affects the aforementioned mechanics.

    If the issue is timing drills as seen in the 64 Attacks, again mechanics and position change somewhat although the principle to be learned is the same.

    What the real issue is is not whether the system so much favors right-handed folks, but rather being aware of the changes in mechanics in the technique at hand (pun intended) and whether or not you've trained it to be functional.

    Incidentally, I'm primarily right-handed but can also fight left-handed. I have several students who are lefty, train right-handed and are now ambidextrous when it comes to fighting.


    Jack A. Latorre
    Mataas Na Guro
  5. WindyCityPTK

    WindyCityPTK New Member

    It really just comes down to range, timing and leverage. I had the exact same question when I began my PTK training. Sparring with the gear on helps to answer this. At range or long range it really is just a matter of timing and accuracy but as the fight becomes closer many times the leverage to protect yourself isn't there. The forehand strikes rain right through the backhands. Though our angle 2 has the best coverage of the body and head it just doesn't with stand the power and range of the Angle 1. Also when trying to execute the contradas side left verses right the body angulation is not as protective.

    We do still train this from time to time because at some point you will face against an opponent who is left handed and does not train the same system as you. The best suggestion here is to control the range and keep it at long range, take the hand then enter to finish.

    I always tell my students, Learn to use your knife in the right and shoot with the left and you'll have the best of both worlds! ;) hope this helps some.

    Life, Health, Success,
  6. NAGA

    NAGA Member

    Hello All,
    Put bluntly, some fma systems translate well for both the right and left hand, others do not. The Tortal styles are not designed for easy translation (if at all) too the left hand. Speaking of sparring I did not see my fellow Tortal stylists at my tournament this year.

  7. equilibrium

    equilibrium Member

    Right handed

    If someone was attacking you with a #1 right handed and you were using your left hand, what would you do?

    Would whatever you would do be as efficient as executing a 3 to his 1 or a 2 to his 1? I think going opposite hand puts you at a disadvantage.

    How would you do the drills if you are opposite handed with your partner?
  8. In the Doce Methodos there are drills specifically for left handed practitioners against right handed ones. The newer Tri-V material is more generic in it's training functions. Result is the same as far as skill development.

    Personally I prefer the Doce Methodos because I have been doing PTK since 1981 and I have found that it works well for me when I need it.
  9. equilibrium

    equilibrium Member


    Tuhon, can you give an example of a drill in doce methodos that is left to right or how to construct or reconstruct it out of other drills or variations?

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