The Pekiti Tirsia International Blog

Think before you post a knife video

Dear FMA, Silat and Edged Weapon Instructors, There have been three terrorist attacks in the last two days in Europe. Two were in Spain and the other in Finland. All involved knives. In the attacks in Spain, the first weapons used were cars, then the terrorists came...


PEKITI-TIRSIA INTERNATIONAL KNIFE OUTLINE By Tuhon Bill McGrath (originally published in the 1998 PTI newsletter) The following structure closely follows the way I learned Pekiti-Tirsia knife work from Grand Tuhon Gaje in the 70's and 80's. First, a bit of an...


When I started training in the Pekiti-Tirsia system in 1975, I was 14 years old. It very quickly became a major part of my life. You know how it’s not unusual for boys that age to get REALLY involved in a sport or hobby to the point of getting fanatical about it. In that fanaticism it was easy to have an “us vs. them” mentality. When arguing cars or sci-fi movies this is no big deal, but I think we can take it too far in the martial arts. I think this may be an instinctive holdover from millennia of tribal living, where those in the tribe were “us” and all those outside the tribe were potential enemies and therefore “them.”


Most blade based martial arts have included wooden swords as part of their training.
The samurai had oak training swords called “bokken” and european swordsman of the Middle Ages and Renaissance used hardwood wooden swords called, (in English,) “wasters”.
The Martial Arts of the Philippines are no different, but the most common wood used for training traditionally is a vine-like species of palm known as rattan (one of 600 species of Calameae)

Rattan has several advantages over hardwood when using it as a training tool. It is much more flexible than hardwood and therefore does not transfer as much vibration into your hand on impact. Repeated direct impact with inflexible hardwood weapons can cause the equivalent of “tennis elbow” (tendinitis) in your joints and interfere with your training. Both the Japanese and European martial arts avoid this by not making hard, direct “edge to edge” contact with their training weapons, (the Japanese by deflecting, instead of directly engaging, the opponent’s weapon, the Europeans by engaging the edge of the opponent’s sword at a slight angle and then sliding down the blade). However, it is still difficult to safely spar or do reaction drills at full speed and power with hardwood weapons. The Filipinos get around this problem by using durable, flexible rattan.


The following is adapted from the lecture I often give as part of my job as a firearms instructor for the New York State Court system. I am not a lawyer though, so you should take this article as a guide to help you ask the right questions when you do speak to an...


Pekiti-Tirsia Empty Hand vs Knife technique is based on the following principles: 1. Train as if your attacker has been trained in knife work: The Philippines is a blade culture and blade attacks are common. Pekiti-Tirsia empty hand vs knife techniques were developed...


    The practice of public or commercial teaching of the Filipino martial arts (FMA) is relatively new compared to the martial arts of northern Asia (Karate, Kung Fu, etc). For centuries in the Philippine Islands, teachers would only teach their own sons,...

“What is the best grip for combat with a knife ?”

  “What is the best grip for combat with a knife?” I get asked that question a lot at seminars. I usually respond by saying “Well, show me your knife.” Which grip is best will depend on the knife. Both the blade and the handle play a part in choosing the "best"...

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