Other Pekiti Tirsia International Contacts
Mataas na Guro Jack A. Latorre
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 the 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 the 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 had 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 the real reason. 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 most heinous acts he witnessed was the beheading of some of the townspeople of Villareal by Japanese soldiers. As a result, my father harbors some resentment for the Japanese to this day. It is precisely his experiences during the war that guided his decision to prevent me from studying Japanese 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 Guro Dan’s book, 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 way 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 Carral Arnis under Guro Perry Gamsby and Guro Geoff Rudd of Sydney, Australia (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 (Dung) 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. Guro Doug Marcaida invited me to a seminar given by his instructor, Guro Omar Hakim. Most fortunately I was invited to join Guro 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 questions; it has transformed the way I look at martial arts and how I approach things outside of the martial arts realm. The highlight of my martial arts training has been my promotion to Mataas na Guro (Master Instructor) in May of 2003. 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. Training through the years with peers such as Mataas na Guros Zach Whitson, Jerry McCleary, Scott Faulk and Mr. Jack Bernard has made my experiences invaluable. My own students good-naturedly point out what I am 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 enough to learn it.
I continue to teach Pekiti-Tirsia privately, as well as publicly at the NEMA (North Eastern Martial Arts) Dojo, operated by Sensi Martin Noel. 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, painting and theatre technology.
I can be reached by writing:
PO Box 188
Brockport, NY 14420
LA Director Guro Dan Terrell, Tuhon McGrath and Mataas na Guro Scott Faulk
Mataas na Guro Scott Faulk – Sulphur, LA
Mataas na Guro Jerry McCleary
Serbatik Martial Arts and Fitness
6408 Clinton Hwy Knoxville TN 37912
Basic School Contents: Jeet Kune Do (Concepts), Jun Fan Gung-Fu, Filipino Arts (Kali), Western Boxing, Grappling
Martial Arts Trained In: Kali-Arnis-Escrima (Pekiti Tirsia Kali, Lameco Escrima, Vee Arnis, Aijukemar Ryu), Silat, Kempo, Jeet Kune Do, Jun Fan Gung-Fu, Boxing Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan, Muay Thai, Sanuces Ju-Jitsu
Direct Instructors in Last 15 Years: Sifu/Guro Larry Hartsell, Tuhon William McGrath, Guro Zach Whitson, Professor Charles Allen, Sifu/Guro Langley West Sifu/Guro Barry Yeawbnick, Simo Katherine Eldridge
Special Training Under: Guro Dan Inosanto, Arjarn Chai Sirisute, Dr. Moses Powell, Guro Richard Bustillo, Mr. Eric Paulson, Mr. Steve Fristoe, Mr. Scott Shields, Guro Mike Popolizio, Sensei Yorinaga Nakamura
Sifu/Guro McCleary has been training in the martial arts for over twenty years and is presently the Tennessee State Director for the Jun Fan /Jeet Kune Do Grappling Association. He has trained with some of the best martial Arts instructors in the country and from around the world. In Guro McCleary’s career he has done many seminars for a number of causes including: Children’s Groups, Rape Centers, Law Enforcement and Community Awareness Programs. Guru McCleary presently runs his program out of the Knoxville Tennessee area.
Mataas Na Guro Joseph A. Nasta – Long Island, NY
Guro Randy Kirschner – Long Island, NY
My interest in martial arts began in 1987 when I was 10 years old. I first started with the local martial arts school which was teaching Shotokan Karate at the time. As time went on I would train wherever I could.
In my teens I was introduced to Kung-Fu and spent time training with various disciplines such as Choy Li Fut, Tiger/Mantis, and Wing Chun. It was with in Wing Chun that I spent about 5 years training under Sifu John Crescione. I really enjoyed the in close aspect of Wing Chun but I felt it was limiting in many areas. The weapons were antiquated and the training itself wasn’t grounded from a realistic fighting perspective. While I enjoyed it, I was searching for something that fit my personal style and interests.
I was always interested in the Philipino martial arts so after Wing Chun I began looking for another system to train in. I came across Pekiti-Tirsia and started training under Magin’o Guro Mike Popolizio in March of 2003. Right from the start I knew this was the system for me. Pekiti-Tirsia is completely laid out in an organized system (blue book) so I knew exactly what was needed to get ranked in the system. The approach is realistic and practical. Every technique is tested from a real life perspective.
Mike’s approach to the art is also unique. While most instructors with can teach you how to do the “form” Mike holds nothing back and coaches you in the inner workings of the application of the form. By imparting an understanding of physics, lines, and angles, Mike not only teaches how to effectively apply the technique but how to see flaws and take advantage of those flaws in other people’s techniques.
Guro Jason W. Szela
Long Island, NY
Jason Bugg (3rd from right) at a Pekiti-Tirsia seminar at the PMATC school in New Iberia, LA.
Jason Bugg PTI Certified Trainer – Houston, TX
Website: Houston Kenpo
Pete Woodard – New York, NY
Pekiti-Tirsia Training Center
Basic Training in:
Counters and Random Techniques
For students in Pekiti-Tirsia in the New York City area.
Mr. Chris Fry – Utica, NY
Contact through: http://www.pekititirsia.net/index.php
PTI CLUB CHILE
Contact: Jaime Marin Gonzalez
Guro Christophe Verdot
Pekiti Tirsia Kali Global City Training in Taguig City – Philippines
Synergy Martial Arts
c/o Alaska Moving Arts Center
10901 Mausel Street
Eagle River, Alaska 99577
PTI Club and Representative in Japan
PEKITI-TIRSIA INTERNATIONAL ACADEMIES, SCHOOLS AND CLUBS
- A PTI Academy is run by an instructor of Mataas na Guro, Magino’o or Tuhon rank. This is an instructor who has learned the complete PTI system.
- A PTI School is run by an instructor of at least Guro Isa rank.
- A PTI Club is a place where students who have had some Pekiti-Tirsia training can practice when there is no certified PTI instructor in their area. The club can be run by a student of any level below Guro Isa.
This is the *current complete list* of Pekiti-Tirsia International affiliated instructors, schools and clubs. It is updated as soon as a new school or club opens. If you do not see a PTI director, instructor, school, club or contact person in your area, please try the following websites:
What to do if you don’t have any Pekiti-Tirsia instructors in your area: First recognize that you are not the first person who has had to start their training without an instructor near them.
What I usually recommend to people in your situation is the following:
1. View the videos on my youtube channel ( https://www.youtube.com/user/TuhonBillMcg ) to get an idea how I teach the system.
2. If you like what you see on my channel, then you might want to get some videos from my website: http://www.pekiti.com/ptistore/store.php?crn=221
Try downloading the free sample video first, to make sure it works on your system. If all goes well then I would recommend the Basic Footwork video as your first purchase. It’s a good place to start solo training and the cost is the same for both PTI members and non-members for that video ($19.95).
3. If you find that you enjoy working on the material in the footwork video and want to buy more, I would recommend that you join my organization, Pekiti-Tirsia International first. Your membership kit will include a discount code which will give you a 25% discount on several other basic videos.
4. Try to find at least one training partner to practice with. You can practice some things alone (like shadow boxing or hitting a heavy bag), but most martial arts practice is going to be more realistic if you have a live human to work with.
5. Begin attending Pekiti-Tirsia seminars and camps (there are many around the world).
I hope this has helped. Let me know if you have any more questions.
Tuhon Bill McGrath