PEKITI-TIRSIA EMPTY HAND VS KNIFE: OVERVIEW
Pekiti-Tirsia empty hand vs knife is based on its knife vs knife principles.
There are two reasons for this. One is that a small knife like a pocket knife or balisong will not function the same way as a large knife, (such as a bolo, barong, or bowie ) in that it is much harder to instantly incapacitate an opponent with a small knife. So the small knife is used much like empty hand vs knife and vice-versa. The other reason is that if you follow the same principles and gross motions in all your weapon platforms of the same size, then it is a much easier battle plan to follow during the stress of a fight.
Therefore, the immediate goal of Pekiti-Tirsia hand vs knife training is NOT to end the fight against a knife with your bare hands. The purpose of a good hand vs knife system should be to buy you enough time to make the fight your weapon vs his weapon as soon as possible.
Let’s read that again because it’s so important.
THE PURPOSE OF A GOOD HAND VS KNIFE SYSTEM IS TO BUY YOU ENOUGH TIME TO MAKE THE FIGHT YOUR WEAPON VS HIS WEAPON AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.
This concept was always inferred from the earliest days of our training with Tuhon Gaje, but I really started to strongly emphasize this with my civilian students once I became a police defensive tactics instructor.
In a police defensive tactics class, it’s obvious to all that you want to get out of a hand vs knife fight and into a gun/baton/anything but empty hands vs knife fight as quickly as possible; but this concept is not always obvious to a civilian martial arts student. Remember in most circumstances as a civilian, your goal is to escape a criminal attack, not to "win" the fight as you would in a tournament. (See note 1)
Having something in your hands that can hurt, or even just distract, an armed opponent is better than nothing for the vast majority of people. Even something as simple as a small flashlight or pencil in your hand is better than nothing.
Here are some reasons why:
1. Most tools will hit harder than your hand alone, with less chance of breaking the bones in your hand, (which you might need very soon to draw and use your primary weapon).
2. Having something in your hand focuses your mind and gives you a plan you can follow under stress. (“Thrust pencil in his eye” is a simple plan you can remember under stress).
3. Having a simple plan you can follow helps reduce stress in the first place; which also reduces tunnel vision. This in turn helps you see other bad guys coming, or potential points of cover, or avenues of escape. It also helps preserve your fine motor skills.
The less stress you feel, the more actions you can do competently in an emergency.
When Grandmaster Leo Gaje began training us in Pekiti-Tirsia hand vs knife technique, he followed a very specific structure that I often liken to the manufacturing of a modern automobile; as in several sub-assemblies are built and tested before these sub-assemblies are brought together to form a complete whole.
Each level of empty hand vs knife was divided into three sections: each taught, practiced and tested before assembly into a whole unit.
These three sections are:
1. Parrying skills: This is the classic “knife tapping” drill of primary, secondary and tertiary parries. The purpose of this drill is twofold:
A: To learn to deflect the force of a knife attack instead of trying to stop it with a block: which is a difficult thing to do against something as fast and as maneuverable as a knife attack.
B: As an exercise specifically designed to improve your hand-eye coordination, speed and reaction time.
KNIFE TAPPING: Pekiti-Tirsia Hand vs Knife Part 1 of 4
2. Striking skills: These are the “Third Hand” strikes of Pekiti-Tirsia. These are comprised of slaps, eye jabs and gouges, forearm hacks, hammer fists, elbow strikes and low kicks.
Both you and your opponent can strike each other in the middle of a knife fight. While you have to fit these into a countermove for each knife attack angle, so you don’t get cut or stabbed, the guy with the knife does not have to worry about this and so can strike at any time.
THIRD HAND VIDEO: Pekiti-Tirsia Hand vs Knife Part 2 of 4
3. Grappling skills: Blade reversals, joint breaks & takedowns.
Pekiti-Tirsia Hand vs Knife. Part 3 of 4
Pekiti Tirsia Hand vs Knife Part 4 of 4
Grab & Stab Defense: Training for the empty hand defense of the Grab and Stab attack: starting with the grab. We begin with defending against the boxing jab, because if you can slip the fast jab, you can also slip the grab. From that point a progression of followup techniques are shown.
PEKITI-TIRSIA KNIFE TAPPING EXPLAINED
PTI PALMSTICK SET: This is a basic set of strikes that can be done with a palmstick, tactical flashlight or any similarly sized object.
Train Hard, but Train Smart,
Tuhon Bill McGrath
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Note 1. For more on this subject, see the following essays: