What is Pekiti-Tirsia Kali?

Pekiti Tirsia Kali

Kali is the indigenous fighting art of the Philippines. With its Cultural and Philosophical values its history traces back more than 1500 to 2000 years. The Pekiti-Tirsia system of Kali is the family system of the Tortal Family. It is headed by the only sole heir Grand Tuhon Leo Tortal GajÈ, Jr. Right from the beginning Pekiti-Tirsia Kali convinces with its logical and consequent Self-protection System, which is based on the Strategic and Tactical application of Counter-Offensive techniques as defense.

An important part of Pekiti-Tirsia Kali is its positive, life appreciating philosophy: To believe in Life, in Good Health, and to believe in Success. Full understanding of Pekiti-Tirsia as a living Martial Art leads to continuous improvement and continued adaptation of its methods to new demands. Because of this, Pekiti-Tirsia Kali today still is a valuable and practical Survival Art.

As Grand Tuhon GajÈ says: “Pekiti-Tirsia Kali is the Art of Modern times in the living past!” In Pekiti-Tirsia Kali updated (martial) arts technology merges with lived tradition! The practical use and counter offence against impact and edged weapons has always been and still is the focus of Pekiti-Tirsia Kali training. That’s why Pekiti-Tirsia Kali is today as up-to-date as it was 50, 100 or 300 years before.

Origin of the Pekiti-Tirsia System

Pekiti-Tirsia Kali is one of the oldest Kali-Systems of the Philippines. It originated in the central region of the Philippines, in the province of Negros Occidental. Today Pekiti-Tirsia Kali is represented by the sole heir of the system Grand Tuhon Leo T. GajÈ, Jr. the only grandson of the Great Grand Tuhon Conrado B. Tortal.

In the year 1997 the Centennial Celebration for 100 years of Pekiti-Tirsia was celebrated in Subic Bay, Zambales, Philippines last October 25, 1997. Pekiti-Tirsia is the only Filipino Martial Art that made the first one hundred years celebration.

Grand Tuhon GajÈ pioneered the teaching of Kali in the USA. He and his Pekiti-Tirsia Kali earned recognition and respect from major Martial Arts Organizations such as Jewish Karate Federation, The United States Karate Association International and the United States Karate Federation.

Pekiti-Tirsia Kali is the only system recognized by the Philippine government including the teaching of the system to the elite Force-Recon Philippine Marine Battalion, Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Systematic Approach

Pekiti-Tirsia Kali is a compact and comprehensive fighting system. It encompasses all phases of self-protection.

  • From Awareness to fighting in Ranged to Medium, to Close Quarters and Ground fighting.
  • Fighting out of different angles and positions.
  • Counter offense as defense against unarmed and armed attacks (stick, sword, knife, firearms)
  • Counter offense as defense against single or multiple opponents

The Pekiti-Tirsia System is based on the principle of offensive defense against Edged or Impact Weapon Attacks. The very same principle is true and functional for empty hand fighting. Therefore, in the Pekiti-Tirsia system, there is only one set of fighting principles and movement – no matter if attacker or defender are armed or unarmed. This structure allows a more economic use of practice time and creates confidence by understanding and experience. If a method works against an opponent armed with a knife, it also works against the unarmed opponent.

The Mastery of a set of movements requires hard work and full time dedication. In the Pekiti-Tirsia Kali system mastery is acquired by the application of movements through distance sparring and close-in technical exchange by use of tapping and cross-tapping methods.

Because a skilled knife-fighter does not rely rely on on brute muscle power, but on speed, timing and co-ordination, Kali offers convenient and logical methods against stronger opponents – no matter if knife or empty hands combat.