Tuhon William McGrath began his training in the Pekiti-Tirsia system under Grand Tuhon Leo T. Gaje in 1975 at the age of 14; and received his 1st Level Instructorship (Guro) at the age of 20. In 1982 Grand Master Gaje moved his family to Texas and invited Guro McGrath to operate the National Headquarters School of Pekiti-Tirsia with him. Guro McGrath operated the National Headquarters School from 1982 to 1985. In 1985 he returned to New York and was offered a position as a New York State Court Officer. In 1987 he became the first impact weapons instructor for the New York State Court Officers Academy and authored the impact weapons section of the Academy’s defensive tactics manual.
In 1987 Guro McGrath was promoted by Grand Tuhon Gaje to the rank of Maginõo (Elder). In 1994 Grand Tuhon Leo Tortal Gaje promoted William McGrath to the rank of Tuhon (Chief Instructor), the first person outside the Tortal family to attain such rank in the Pekiti-Tirsia System. In 1994 Grand Tuhon Gaje and Tuhon McGrath formed Pekiti-Tirsia International, the governing body for practitioners of the Pekiti-Tirsia International System worldwide.
Today Tuhon McGrath is President of Pekiti-Tirsia International. He has been certified by the F.B.I. as a Police Defense Tactics Instructor and by the State of New York as a Police Firearms Instructor (pistol) and is a Life member of the NRA.
P.O. Box 72
Fishkill, NY 12524
Email Tuhon Bill through the contact page of this website.
“My martial arts training began in 1982 in the art of Corto Sequida Escrema under the instruction of Master Douglas Kerr and Master Clifford Dean. This particular system was a little unorthodox compared to other FMA systems since it incorporated hand techniques derived from Wing Chun and kicking techniques derived from Tae Kwon Do. Be that as it may, it provided a solid foundation for me to explore other arts later.
In 1983 I met Guro David See and was introduced to Pekiti Tirsia. Although I was still training in Escrema, I became very interested in Pekiti Tirsia and began training with Guro David whenever possible. Most of what I learned at that time from Guro David was footwork and some of the two man drills from the 64 Attacks.
In the fall of 1983, I went off to college at Louisiana Tech University to study Mechanical Engineering. In an effort to continue training and explore other arts, I joined the Louisiana Tech Karate Team (a Tae Kwon Do based organization) led by Dr. David Jordan and began competing for them. Since I was still training in Escrema and I didn’t want to forget what I had learned from Guro David, I developed a small following and continued to train outside of team practice whenever possible.
While home for the summer in 1984 I had the pleasure of meeting Tuhon Bill McGrath (then Guro Bill) for the first time. Guro David and a local knife shop, Knife World, sponsored a knife seminar taught by Tuhon Bill. Although Guro David had always spoken very highly of Tuhon Bill, it wasn’t until this encounter that I fully appreciated his incredible skill with a knife. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be until 1991 before I would have the opportunity to train under Tuhon Bill again.
I continued to train with the Louisiana Tech Team on a regular basis while at school and also own my own with a few die-hards. When I would come home for the holidays or breaks I would help teach Escrema with Mr. Greg Carlin and Mr. Larry Moss.
In the fall of 1987, while back at school, I joined Master Farrokh’s Tae Kwon Do Academy. His academy was a very traditional and hard-core Tae Kwon Do school. I continued to train with his school for approximately one year. Later that same year he asked me to compete with his team in the national tryouts for the 1988 U.S. Olympic Tae Kwon Do Team. I was incredibly honored by his invitation, but this presented a dilemma for me. Since I was close to graduating I really did not want to put off my engineering degree for several months to a year while training and competing at elimination tournaments all over the country for a slim chance of actually making the U.S. team. So, I decided to gratefully decline the request.
After graduating college in 1988, I went in partnership with Mr. Greg Carlin and began teaching Escrema again. I also started training with Guro David See again, in an effort to continue learning more about Pekiti Tirsia. Later in 1988, Guro David and Lake Charles City Marshall Richard Guillory sponsored a grappling seminar taught by Sifu Larry Hartsell. Sifu Larry’s method of grappling filled a big hole for me since I had very little grappling experience at the time. Sifu Larry’s incredible talent and power on the mat went without saying. This led me to begin training under Sifu Larry as much as I could. When Guro David moved to Los Angeles, CA to pursue a career in federal law enforcement in 1989, I was appointed Louisiana State Representative for the Jun Fan JKD Grappling Association by Sifu Larry. Because of time limitations and my focus on Pekiti Tirsia, I decided to resign from this position in 1998.
In 1991 at the Northeast Martial Arts Conference and Training Camp held in New York State I had the privilege of meeting Guro Omar Hakim and coincidently having him as my roommate. I instantly became impressed with his knowledge of Pekiti Tirsia and martial arts in general. I was even more pleased to find out he only lived a few hours away in New Orleans. Under Guro Omar’s instruction I once again resumed my Pekiti Tirsia training.
Later in 1991, Guro Omar brought Tuhon Bill in for a seminar on the 5 Attacks Subsystem. From that point forward my main focus in martial arts became Pekiti Tirsia. I began to train under Tuhon Bill and Guro Omar as much as I could. Once the door was opened and I saw all that Pekiti Tirsia had to offer it became very obvious to me that Pekiti Tirsia was in fact the “graduate school” of martial arts.
Throughout the years I have also had the opportunity to attend seminars/camps and train under greats such as Guro Dan Inosanto, Sifu Francis Fong, Guro Richard Bustillo, Arjarn Chai Sirisute, and Mr. Bill Wallace. All of these experiences have proved to be invaluable to me.
Although the journey continues, training these many years in Pekiti Tirsia has given me a complete new outlook and understanding of combative martial arts. Tuhon Bill’s teaching, training methods, and attention to detail are exceptional to say the least. Even though the training goes without saying, the people I have trained side by side with throughout the years have also been a true inspiration to me. Peers such as Tuhon Jack Latorre, PTI Director Danny Terrell, Mataas na Guro Wes Tasker, Guro Jack Bernard, Mataas na Guro Zach Whitson, Mataas na Guro Jerry McCleary, and others have all been invaluable in my journey. Making Mataas na Guro in 2005 and Tuhon in 2017 would not have been possible without the entire PTI family – students and instructors alike. I continue to learn from so many in this organization. Special thanks go out to my training partners, Mr. Mike Martinez, Mr. Kevin Ewalt, Mr. Greg Carlin, and my wife, Nicole. Without their help, dedication, and patience this journey would not be possible!
I continue to teach and train privately, and I also teach an occasional class at a local karate school when invited.”
I am also available for seminars and can be reached via email: email@example.com
“I received my introduction to the Filipino martial arts around age four (circa 1974) at weddings, birthday parties, and other Filipino gatherings growing up. The teachings were not done as formal classes by formal teachers; rather, it was done by anyone who had something to show to whomever was invited to see. It was not unusual to have a cousin or uncle or some other relative pull someone off to the side and say something like, “Let me show you this move” or ” Throw a punch at me…I’ll show you how I’d beat it”. A few techniques were shown to me by my granduncle, “Lolo” Leoncio Romano…a former U.S. Navy cook, doing what I would find out later to be eskrima. According to my father, Lolo was an eskrimador and a bouncer in pubs back in Philippines back around World War II. He was in charge of tossing out unruly U.S. sailors using a cane or gloves loaded with ball bearings. Training with Lolo pretty much consisted of him striking slowly at me with a downsized pool cue until I figured a way to evade the strike and deliver a counterstrike. Unfortunately, I did not think much of the whole eskrima thing at the time and naturally focused more on toys and such. Lolo passed away in 1978, leaving the Latorre family feeling much emptier and halting my training. In latter years, two cousins stayed on different occasions with the Latorres…Douglas (Dojie) Seludo, and his brother, Jessie (Chuchi) Seludo. Neither of them was an eskrimador per se, but they knew enough to perk my interest in the matter.
Throughout my childhood and adolescent years, I wanted to pursue Karate, because of some of the movies I had seen. My parents did not want me to join, I thought, because they did not want me to be encouraged to fight. It would be much later in life that I found out that my father, Amado Latorre, was a guerilla during World War II as a teen. He served by running communications for Colonel Fertig on the island of Samar. Of the things he experienced during those years, one of the more heinous acts he witnessed was the beheading of some of the townspeople of Villareal by the Japanese soldiers. As a result, my father harbored some resentment for the Japanese until his final days. It is precisely his experiences then that guided his decision to prevent me from studying Karate in my youth.
As an adult, I continued my studies in art and education, but seeing a book by Guro Dan Inosanto rekindled my interests in my cultural heritage. Honestly, at the time, I didn’t even know we (Filipinos) had any formal martial art. I purchased it, flipped through it, was impressed, and realized that I had seen some of this stuff before…at those family events, birthday parties and weddings. It came as such a late “renaissance” for me…all I wanted to do is know more about my culture and its martial traditions. It changed my life. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much in the realm of Filipino martial arts around where I was living, so I ended up studying Wing Chun Kung Fu with Sifu Steve Lee Swift. It was a very positive experience for me, but I still wanted to learn the Filipino arts.
While studying Wing Chun, I discovered that Guro Inosanto was teaching a seminar not very far away. I registered, participated, and thus came the next major turning point for me: inspired by Guro Inosanto, I tried to train in whatever Filipino art I could get access to. During this time, I trained and received instructorship in Corral Arnis under Guro Perry Gamsby and Guro Geoff Rudd of Sydney, Austrailia (1994). While there, I was exposed to Doce Pares by Guro Vince Palumbo. When I came back stateside, I continued doing a little Doce Pares with Grandmaster Ciricao (Cacoy) Canete, Grandmaster Dionisio (Diony) Canete, and Guro Arnulfo (Dong) Cuesta. Of course, Guro Inosanto’s seminars were ones of priority. I tried some Muay Thai, some Shooto…it was eye opening.
It wasn’t until 1995 that I got my first taste of Pekiti-Tirsia.
Kuya Doug Marcaida invited me to a seminar given by his instructor, Guro Omar Hakim. Most fortunately I was invited to join Kuya Doug at the first Pekiti-Tirsia International training camp at Tuhon William McGrath’s home. Since then, Pekiti-Tirsia has been my “home” art. I have endeavored to study Pekiti-Tirsia with Tuhon McGrath whenever possible. The system has provided more answers than I have had questions; it has transformed the way I look at martial arts and how I approach things outside of the martial art realm. The highlights of my martial arts training has been my promotion to Mataas Na Guro (Master Instructor) in May of 2003…then finally Tuhon in November 2017.
Although I will continue to research other systems, it will be primarily to establish technical relations to my Pekiti-Tirsia…much like Conrado Tortal and his brothers bringing the techniques of other systems to the “think tank” for analysis. In addition, I enjoy exposing others to Training through the years with peers such as Mataas Na Guro Wes Tasker, Mataas Na Guro Zach Whitson, Mataas Na Guro Jerry McCleary, Tuhon Scott Faulk, Guro Jack Bernard and PTI Director Danny Terrell have made my experiences invaluable. My own students good-naturedly point out what I’m doing wrong, reinforce what I might be doing right, and help me reflect on where I am going with all of this. I plan on keeping the system alive for future generations, and making it a sort of “family heirloom” to any descendant willing and disciplined to learn it.
In addition, I continued to learn more about filipino culture and history (in particular, World War II) from my father, Amado Latorre, a decorated Merchant Marine and World War II veteran. Throughout my life, I can honestly describe my father as a “man of no words”, as he didn’t talk much…but in his final years had shared different stories about his experiences that has made me particularly proud to be a Filipino-American, as well as his son.
I continue to teach Pekiti-Tirsia privately, as well as publicly at Millman’s Martial Arts Academy in Scottsville, operated by Master George Millman…and at Williams Martial Arts Academy in Spencerport, operated by Senseis Frank Williams and Pam Miller. I teach seminars wherever I am welcome. I also occasionally teach self-defense classes at the School of the Arts in Rochester, New York where I teach drawing and painting.
I can be reached through Tuhon McGrath or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Law Enforcement Director Tuhon Guro Erwin Ballarta – Austin, TX
Website: Texas Kali Association
Tuhon Guro Erwin Ballarta began his training in 1974 under Fred Tolentino in Manila in a family style of Arnis. In 1975 he met Tuhon Gaje and began training during frequent trips to New York City. Erwin fought in the first full contact Arnis tournament in the U.S. the Palarong Pilipino Pekiti-Tirsia tournament in 1977 and won First Place as the “First Filipino American Full Contact Arnis Champion” at the Philippine Embassy, New York, N.Y. During these early years of Pekiti-Tirsia in the U.S. it was he and Tom Bisio who traded the champions’ trophy back and forth each year at the Pekiti-Tirsia National Tournament. Erwin’s titles also include; 1980 Grand Champion (Great Gorge, N.J.) and the 1981 U.S. Midwest Champion .
In 1982 Erwin moved to Big Spring, TX. to continue his training with Tuhon Gaje and was Tuhon McGrath’s roommate for the first 6 months they were there. Soon after arriving in Texas, Erwin accepted a position as a police officer with the Big Spring Police Dept. quickly being promoted to the rank of Sergeant of the Patrol Division, then Crime Prevention and finally Criminal Investigation Divisions.
From 1987 to the present Erwin has worked as a State Trooper with the Texas Dept. of Public Safety (DPS) in positions that have included Staff Sergeant Governor’s Protective Detail, Staff Sergeant DPS Training Academy, and rising to his present position of Staff Lieutenant Defensive Tactics Coordinator at the DPS Training Academy.
Among his many certifications are Emergency Medical Technician certification and an Instructor’s Certification with the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Office of Standards and Education. He is an ASP Tactical Baton Instructor and a Chemical Aerosol Projector Instructor.
He has taught at these specialized schools on the following subjects: Edged Weapon Defense. Philippine National Police, FBI Defensive Tactics Instructors Course (at Quantico, VA.) DEA Recruit School (also at Quantico), DPS SWAT Team, DPS Narcotics Agents, DPS Criminal Law Enforcement Agents, Mexico Federal Police. Improvised Survival Weaponry. DPS Narcotics Agents (TNCP). Hand Gun Retention. DPS Recruit Schools, DPS Narcotics, Officer Survival Schools, DPS SWAT. Baton Tactics. DPS Recruit School, Midland Sheriff’s Office, Sul Ross University. Women’s Self Protection. DPS employees, Big Spring, TX. Midland, TX. He has also conducted numerous OC (Oleoresin Capsicum Spray) training classes as well as Survival Ground Tactics classes.
He has been recognized by the FBI Training Academy, Quantico, VA. for his efforts and contribution in the field of Defensive Tactics and developed and instructed the Arnis Baton Tactics class for the Texas DPS Troopers Officer Survival Course (implemented statewide). Before joining the State Police Erwin was the Head Instructor for Safety Baton Tactics, Permian Basin Law Enforcement Academy.
Erwin Ballarta is the President of the Austin Filipino American Association and the Executive Director for the Arnis Texas Association.[/framed_box]
North American Director: Tuhon Dan Inosanto
Inosanto Academy of Martial Arts
13348-13352 Beach Ave.
Marina Del Rey, CA 90292
Website: Inosanto Academy of Martial Arts
Born Daniel Arca Inosanto in Stockton Ca. July 24th 1936
1959 Master of Arts Degree in Education
MILITARY SERVICE: Sept. 1959 TO Sept. 1961
HQ & HQ CO 1ST Airborn BG 506TH INF, 101ST Airborn DIV, FT CAMBELL KY.
Mr. Inosanto holds the rank of Tuhon Guro (Chief Instructor) in the Pekiti-Tirsia System (given this rank by Grand Tuhon Leo T. Gaje). Guro Dan (as he prefers to be known) also holds full instructor rank given by Master Juan La Coste in KALI-KUNTAW-SILAT-ESKRIMA-PANGAMUT-BERSILAT.
He is certified as full instructor in Eskrima, Arnis and Kali by:
Grandmaster Angel Cabales
Tuhan Ben Largusa
Master Jack Santos
Grandmaster Leo Giron
Master Regino Illustrismo
Master Sam Tendencia
Master Pasual Ovalles
Master Pedro Ovalles
Master Pedro Ramos
Master Ted Lucay Lucay
Master Max Sermento
Master Gilbert Tenio
Grandmaster Cacoy Canete
Master Teleporo Subing-Subing
Master Edgar Sulite
Dan also holds instructors rank in, Sikaran, Pangamut, Kuntao, and Pandiakan issued by the Masters previously mentioned. He is one of only two men alive appointed to instructors rank(Sifu) by the late Bruce Lee in the three systems that Lee taught (JKD, Jun Fan, and Lee’s Tao of Gung Fu). Dan was made heir to these systems by Lee before he died).
He is also certified as an instructor in:
KENPO KARATE (under Mr. Ed Parker)
MUAY THAI (under Master Chai )
KENPO JU JITSU
WESTERN BOXING/ WRESTLING/ GRAPPLING.
Dan has also studied: TAI CHI CHUAN, NORTHERN AND SOUTHERN KUNG FU SYSTEMS, BURMESE BOXING, BURMESE BANDO, ( he is an Associate member of the Bando Association). MALAYSIAN BERSILAT KUNTAO, MALAYSIAN SILAT,RCS MACHADO BRAZILIAN JU JITSU.
AWARDS AND HONORS:
1997 PEKITI-TIRSIA INTERNATIONAL – NORTH AMERICAN DIRECTOR
1996 BLACK BELT MAGAZINE’S “MAN OF THE YEAR”
1987 INSIDE KUNG-FU MAGAZINE’S “MAN OF THE YEAR”
1987 BLACK BELT MAGAZINE’S “INSTRUCTOR OF THE YEAR”
1977 BLACK BELT “HALL OF FAME”
1975 “WHO’S WHO IN THE MARTIAL ARTS”
“THE TAO OF JEET KUNE DO” (collaborated with principle author Bruce Lee)
“JEET JUNE DO, THE ART AND PHILOSOPHY OF BRUCE LEE”
“THE FILIPINO MARTIAL ARTS AS TAUGHT BY DAN INOSANTO”
“A GUIDE TO MARTIAL ARTS TRAINING EQUIPMENT”
“ABSORB WHAT IS USEFUL”
Contributing editor “Inside Kung-Fu Magazine”
“Bruce Lee’s Nunchaku Meathod”
“Surviving Edged Weapons”
“GAME OF DEATH”
“OUT FOR JUSTICE”
“BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA”
“ESCAPE FROM L.A.”
Guro Dan and his wife Paula operate the Inosanto Academy in Marina Del Ray CA. and is one of the most popular martial arts instructors worldwide. Contact Information is included above.
* A message from Guru Dan (March 20th, 1998):
Greetings To All: I first met Bill McGrath in 1979. We both received the rank of Magino’o (7th level) from Tuhon Leo T. Gaje Jr. in February of 1988. In 1994 Bill McGrath became the first American and the first non-Filipino to reach the rank of Tuhon in the system of Pekiti-Tirsia.
Throughout the last nineteen years, Bill has always conveyed to me that he cherishes the skill and knowledge that Tuhon Gaje gave to him. We both agree that you can not put a “price tag” on such skill and knowledge. For many years, I have seen Bill’s enthusiasm and energy in promoting the Filipino Martial Arts, specifically the Pekiti-Tirsia system. I have always found Bill to be a respectful, loyal student and the staunchest supporter of Tuhon Gaje.
In my personal dealings with Bill McGrath throughout the years, he has always acted with integrity and honesty. Tuhon Bill McGrath has run the PTI organization with efficiency and integrity. I am happy to serve under him as the North American Director for Pekiti-Tirsia International.
Guro Dan Inosanto
Northeast U.S. Director: Guro David Everett – West Harford, CT
Website: White Lotus Martial Arts
European Director: Sifu Manfred Steiner – Hannover, Germany
AM Ortfelde 22A
D-30916 Isernhagen N.B., Germany
Mr. Steiner began his martial arts training at the age of 12 with western boxing. At 16 he started Judo training and Karate at 19 (he received a 3rd Dan in Judo and a 2nd Dan in Karate). He served in the German military from 1970 to ’76 and is now a Captain in the Airborne Reserves. Mr. Steiner began training in Kung Fu in 1970 (various styles) and began training under Chris Casey in 1979 studying Wing Chun, Hsing I, Tai Chi, Fuklen White Crane and Pakua Chang. On one of his many trips to teach in the U.S. he met Pekiti-Tirsia Guro David Everett of Hartford CT. who exposed him to the art. He has sponsored Pekiti-Tirsia seminars in Germany since 1995.
Mr. Steiner has taught several different survival and martial arts courses for police departments as well as civilians. He is an associate instructor at the Kenpokan Dojo of Hanover Germany (www.kenpokan.de) where he teaches Wing Chun along side Kenpokan’s head instructors PTI’s Directors for Germany Oliver Nickel and Raif Beckman who also teach Pekiti-Tirsia, JKD, Muai Tha and Savate at the school.
Mr. Steiner is a certified Chiropractor and Osteopath and is a licensed specialist in “Natural Path” medicine.
His hobbies are shooting, sky diving and, in his own words, “different kinds of crazy stuff.”
Director for Germany: Ralf Beckmann Hannover, Germany
From left to right: Davide Puzzolo, Adrea Citarelli, Bill McGrath, Attilio Acquistapace
Directors for Italy
Guros Attilio Acquistapace and Andrea Citarelli
Guro Attilio Acquistapace
Via Dei Cedri 10
27022 Casorate Primo (Pavia)
Telephone: 0039+(02) 9051018
He has been in Martial Arts since 1972, training in Karate Shotokan, Kick-Boxing, Arnis de Mano, Pentjak-Silat, Judo, Grappling.
1973 – starts with Shotokan Karate
1977 – black belt in Karate Shotokan
1986 – 2° degree (black belt) and instructor of Kickboxing WAKO
1994 – 4° DAN in Karate SANKUKAI
He has been for several years on Italian national Team for C.I.A.M.
In 1991 he was one of the founders of Akea (Arnis-Kali-Escrima Association), the first national association to promote South-East Martial Arts and Jun-Fan Gung-Fu/Jkd in Italy. Attilio can be considered a pioneer of these arts in his Country: “It was in the early Nineties that in Italy people finally started to see what until that time was only possible to watch on the American Martial Arts magazines”. Since the beginning of Filipino Martial Arts he has always been the Italy Country Associate for the Wekaf (World Eskrima Kali Arnis Federation) and the Stick-Fighting Team of his Association is still taking part and winning medals at every Championship. Today Attilio Acquistapace, together with his partner Roberto Bonomelli, is still managing the Akea association based in Milano, but with members throughout Italy.
He got his instructorship in Arnis de Mano (Matagay System) in 1990, then in 1993 he was certified instructor under Guro Bob Breen president of Bkea (British Kali Eskrima Association) and, always in London, in 1994 he became instructor under the Eakef (European Arnis Kali Eskrima Federation).
In 2006 his Association organized the first seminar of Tuhon William McGrath in Italy.
He has joined seminars all around Europe and was the first to bring Sifu Dan Inosanto for seminars in Italy and has brought him back several times. Today he is one of the most well respected Martial Arts teachers in his Country.
Guro Andrea Citarelli
Phone: (+39) 347.6711800
Web: www.pspscudo.it – www.akea.it
Andrea Citarelli is Martial arts and defensive tactics full time instructor since 1995.
He started his martial arts training in 1988 with Karate Shotokan, that he has studied and taught for about 20 years (he is certificate Instructor Black Belt 4th Dan by the official Italian Karate organization, FIJLKAM-CONI).
1999 he started to study JKD-KALI-SILAT with Sifu Roberto Bonomelli (first Italian student under Guro Inosanto) and Sifu Attilio Acquistapace, both founders of AKEA in the 1991, the first organization in Italy for Jeet Kune Do and South-Asian Martial Arts.
He was promoted to Full Instructor rank in 2010 and today he is AKEA Technical Director together with Guro Acquistapace.
He collaborates with the University of Rome for the safety program for women (Difesa Donna) and also with military groups as defensive tactics instructor. He was been in 2008 the first Italian Instructor certificated in USA by Thomas G. Sipin in his defensive tactics program “Hardened Target” and operative tactics program “Training Solutions”. Several times he was been guest in national television programs on self defence.
Citarelli is constantly engaged in the promotion the martial arts in his Country, with seminars and tournaments: he was been the promoter of the first W.E.K.A.F. European Stick-Fighting Championship in the 2007 and the first G.S.B.A. World Championship Stick-Fighting Championship in 2014, both events as Italy Director; he won in 2006 in the Orlando the WEKAF World Stick-Fighting Championship and since 2012 he is the Italy Stick-Fighting Team Coach.
He follows the Pekiti Tirsia International program under Tuhon Bill McGrath since 2006.
Director for Hungary: Guro Zoltan Juhasz