HOW LONG HELPS SHORT
HOW LONG HELPS SHORT
As is common to many martial arts and sports, power is often first generated in a different area than the final area seen moving. One place that often acts as a “step-up transformer” for our power generation in Pekiti-Tirsia is the body’s core, the area of the abdomen, obliques and lower back.
In this essay, I will show a number of exercises and their principles of use to help develop speed and power with several different weapons, from long to short. In fact, one shortcut to learn these principles is to start with long weapons, which will highlight the muscle groups and movements involved.
I appreciate this “long helps short” principle now, but that was not always the case.
When I first started training in Pekiti-Tirsia, I was a very skinny fourteen year old. As a teenage boy in 1975 New York City, I was only interested in learning empty hand and knife techniques and thought these were the only parts of Pekiti-Tirsia that would be of any practical use for me. It was only as I went through my twenties and began sparing people outside of Filipino Martial Arts or Penchak Silat circles that I began to appreciate how training in long weapons helped my speed and power in short weapons, such as empty hand.
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THE “HOT” BREATHING EXERCISE
Here is the first exercise I learned when I started class with Tuhon Gaje. He had me start the first 30 minutes of class with what I thought was just a breathing exercise to build me up (I was a really skinny kid in those days). As you will see in the video, there is a breathing component to the exercise, but the real benefit of it was to learn how to coordinate your hips and put them into use during a strike. I believe Leo learned this exercise from his friend Edwin Renonos, who was a Kuntao instructor. When Leo had us cross train with Edwin in the summer of 77, this exercise was the first thing he taught us and was the basis for Edwin's main blocks and footwork.
CORE SPEAR EXERCISE
So, this is how I started training, but as I got older and started teaching, I began to see how many types of weapon training interconnect and how to develop shortcuts to help teach these principles in a much faster way than how I learned them.
SHORT POWER HITS WITH THE SPEAR
If you don’t have room to do wide swings with a spear, but do have access to a tire you can hit; then you can also learn these principles through hitting the tires, which is our equivalent of a boxer hitting the heavy bag.
SPEAR DESIGN AND DRAW CUTS
Some design elements of the spear, plus the usefulness of the draw cut.
DRAWING THE SPEAR
How to draw the spear from its place of carry to its guard position.
SHORT STAFF EXERCISE: HITTING THE TIRES
Here is an exercise I would often use to help a new student learn to generate power in his stick strikes. Note: while I mention using a baseball bat for this drill, you should not use a wooden bat for this, as I have seen them break when hit on the wrong part of the grain. Instead use an aluminum bat or one of the polypropylene models from Cold Steel.
STICK CORE EXERCISE
Here is a version of this exercise using a Kali/Escrima/Arnis stick. I like to use the durable polypropylene Escrima sticks from Cold Steel instead of rattan for this. If you would like a sword trainer for this drill, then you should look at the polymer trainers from Vulpes Training (1)
PEKITI-TIRSIA GRIP COMPARISON DRILL
Here is the two man drill version of the exercise I mention at the end of the stick core video.
2 HANDED RETURN CUT
Here is a sword trainer that is designed to accommodate a variety of grips; along with some samples of how to use the core power principle in sword work. See the Vulpes Training website if you would like a version of this sword trainer custom made to your measurements.
RETURN CUT STRAIGHT SWORD
You can also use your left side to “bounce” the sword back into a faster backhand cut. I have seen this principle used on heavy swords such as Kampilans. There are two ways to use this backhand movement you see in the video. One is a standard backhand cut with the edge. The other is a hit with the flat of your blade, when you need to to knock the opponent’s sword out of the way. This is a useful move, if your sword is heavier than his.
CURVED SWORD RETURN CUT
Here is a similar principle applied with a curved sword (and the reasons for the differences).
SWORD & KNIFE
Using the core principle to move a sword or knife at greater speed.
MATRIX FOOTWORK DRIILS FROM PEKITI TIRSIA INTERNATIONAL
Here is a sample of punching the heavy bag using power generated from the core.
MORE VIDEOS ON SPEAR:
Spear training in a small space.
PEKITI-TIRSIA SPEAR: Samples from warm up sets.
A sample from the PTI video, Warm up Drill for Spear, set 1
PEKITI-TIRSIA SPEAR #1 SETS 1, 2 & 3
Pekiti Tirsia Longsword Measurement
FOR INFO ON UPCOMING PTI CLASSES, SEMINARS AND CAMPS, VISIT:
(1) You will find the high quality polymer trainers used in my videos on the Vulpes Training website: https://www.vulpestraining.com/collections/artisan-tier-collection
You will find some basic quality polymer trainers on the following PTI Store page:
For the measurements of the Pekiti-Tirsia sticks, knives and swords, visit:
Please remember to wear protective eye-wear whenever you are training with a weapon, even a polymer training sword or wooden stick or spear.
Train Hard, but Train Smart,
Tuhon Bill McGrath