by Tuhon Bill McGrath

During my research into the Tri-V formula, I was asked about the Doce Methodos (DM), as this material is often referred to as the older teaching system used for Pekiti-Tirsia when instructors are learning the Tri-V.

I recall seeing two lists of the Doce Methodos from Grand Tuhon Gaje (GT), around 1976 or 77 during the days of his first organization, the Arnis America Organization. (The A.A.O. was disbanded in 1979 by GT after one of the organization’s officers defrauded the students of some money. See note below.)

As for the Doce Methodos name, I don’t remember GT mentioning it in the 80s at all. Training for our group in NY was on advanced sets of material and the focus was on learning each set in turn. For example, we began training on the first set of Seguidas in 1980 and we finished the 3rd set just before GT left for Texas early in 82. I joined him in Texas by that summer and remained there for the next three years, during which I assisted at many of his seminars; but I don’t recall him mentioning the Doce Methodos list during that period. (Not that we didn’t train on the material from the DM lists he gave us in the 70s; he just didn’t mention the name during his teaching during this period).

I can understand the lack of emphasis on Filipino names of techniques after the breakup of the organization headed by Filipinos and then focusing on teaching a broader spectrum of Americans throughout the 80s. It did seem that GT returned to using those terms once he moved back to the Philippines in 1990. This is not surprising, since he was mostly teaching his home dialect speakers in Negros and, even for those coming from overseas to train, learning the names of all the techniques in their original language would be part of the full immersion experience of training in the Philippines. 

Getting back to the early Doce Methodos: one list we were given had the 12 methods as all the single long weapon techniques, basic through advanced. Another list we received included all 5 weapon categories (Solo, Doble’, Espada y Daga, Daga and Mono y Mano) as part of the 12 methods. This many decades later, I can’t remember which list we received first and which second. If I had to guess, I would say we were given the Solo list first, since I still think of the Doce Methodos as solo material to this day.

I do remember that GT told us that each of the two man timing drills from 64 Attacks originally were drills from one of the 12 methods. For example, Break in-Break Out and Sagang Labo were drills for Seguidas, while 5 Attacks was a drill for Contradas. As I recall, everything that was not a two man timing drill in the 64 attacks was listed under its own name in the Doce Methodos. I also remember that the Solo long weapon version of the DM I saw in the 1970s began with the Abcedario and ended with Pekiti Disarma.


Below is a Doce Methodos list from a student of Tom Bisio. This is probably close to the 5 weapons DM list we received in the 1970s; (although I am surprised to see Doble’ omitted from this version of the list, as we learned Doble’ simultaneously with the 64 Attacks.)

1.  Abcedario
2.  Tirsia Corto
3.  Tirsia Largo
4.  Panastas/Sunkete
5.  Orassan
6.  Florette/Etchekete
7.  Pekiti Disarma
8.  Pekiti-Pekiti
9.  Juego Todo
10. Espada y Daga
12. Mano-Mano

Here is another Doce Methodos list that comes from Tim Waid’s website. Tim began training with GT in the 1990s after GT had moved back to the Philippines. To me this looks like the 64 Attacks used as a basis for the Doce Methodos, instead of what we got in the 70s, which was the other way around, (samples from the Doce Methodos used as a basis for the 64 Attacks).

1. Abecedario
2. Quatro Cantos (4 Wall)
3. Payong (Umbrella)
4. Dakup y Punyo (thrust drills)
5. Tirsia Corto (5 Attacks)
6. Tirsia Largo
7. Panastas/Sungkete (7 Attacks)
8. Orassan
9. Florete/Echekete
10. Pekiti-Disarma
11. Pekiti-Pekiti
12. Seguidas


By the late 1980s GT had laid out the system differently than the original Doce Methados lists we received in the 70s, with much more emphasis on the advanced material and more details on the other weapons beyond Solo. In 1988 and 89 I spent two weeks each summer with him; in 88 with one of those weeks the PTK camp and a week at his home for private lessons, while in 89 I spent both weeks at his home.

I recall spending a lot of time trying to record early Pekiti history with GT at his home. He gave me some bits and pieces, but I think a lot of it was unknown. He knew generally when his grandfather and great uncles were learning the system from their father, and reiterated the story of how they would put their father’s techniques “through the laboratory,” but nothing about which other systems an individual technique came from. Not surprising really. I don’t think Conrado would have given that kind of detail to young Leo, even if he remembered it himself.

Years later Tim Waid told me that old timers in Bacolod said that the 7 Attacks came from a Doble’ long sword system from the island of Panay. (The Tortal family was originally from Panay and moved to Negros sometime in the 1800s). Conrado and his brothers had liked the general concept of the Doble sword set from Panay and converted it into a Solo set in Pekiti. This is the only story I’ve heard of a direct link between a Pekiti-Tirsia technique and its original source.

Here is one bit of Tortal family history GT told me during one of those training sessions at his home in the late 80s. He had recently been to Chicago and visited with one of his Great Uncles, who was now living there with one of his children. Leo’s great uncle was angry at him for teaching Pekiti-Tirsia to people outside the family. Leo argued that none of his great uncle’s children had wanted to learn Pekiti-Tirsia (they were all in the medical field) and Leo himself had only daughters back then, so who else could he train and pass on the system to? Leo told me, “He was very angry, but what could he do? He was old and had arthritis.”

This is the order for Solo techniques as taught in the 1980s. It is based on the order in which I learned the material. Notice it was not in a grouping of 12. Simultaneously to the solo material, we were also learning the advanced sets with the other weapons.

1.  Abcedario, 64 Attacks & Florette (the three were usually taught together, so I listed them that way here.)
3.  Seguidas
4   Contradas
5.  Recontras
6.  Alphabeto, Numerado, Offensa-Defensa/Defensa-Offensa (usually taught together)
7.  Pekiti Disarma (GT often only taught the first two angles at seminars and then the rest to his advanced guys when in small groups).


When I was putting together the ranking requirements for PTI in 1994 & 95, I submitted the following list for the solo techniques to GT and asked for his approval. The only change he made was to put Pekiti Disarma between 64 Attacks and Seguidas, because he did not want to give people Seguidas too quickly, (his idea being that only when they were able to pass the high hurdle of Disarma, would they then deserve to learn advanced material like Seguidas).

The new order looked like this:

1.  5 Attacks Subsystem
2.  Abcedario
3.  64 Attacks & Florette
4.  Pekiti Disarma
5.  Seguidas
6.  Contradas
7.  Recontras
8.  Alphabet, Numerado, Offensa-Defensa/Defensa-Offensa

With the exception of Pekiti-Disarma, the order on the PTI rank chart from the late 90s is pretty much the order that I learned the material and what rank I was given after passing each block. As I recall, the rest of the proposed PTI curriculum and rank requirements was approved by GT without any changes.

A few years ago I made some additional changes to the ranking requirements, such as separating three of the Doble’ Daga sets from their corresponding Espada y Daga sets, so they can be taught and tested on their own, as well as bringing some EYD material into the same rank for testing.

Other than those changes, the order of teaching remains fairly close to how I received the material.

It should be remembered by older PTK students that the original teaching progression GT said he received was one weapon category at a time; so all the Solo A through Z (or Abcedario through Disarma), then all the Doble’, then all the EYD, then all the Daga’ and finishing with all the Mano y Mano. He never spoke of any rank he received from his grandfather. I believe the ranks he gave us, he developed when he began teaching formally in the US.

Regarding the names of the ranks, GT had told me that Yakan and Tuhon ranks came from the names used in the school system in Negros. A grammar school student was a Yakan and he and the other students would address their school’s principle as “Tuhon.” (It is my understanding that Tuhon was originally used for a village chief or leader and is related to the Malay word tuan, which can mean sir, master or lord).


If anyone has other versions of the Doce Methodos not shown here, I would be interested in seeing them. Info on when it was shown to you and any details on the instruction of each section would be appreciated.

Train Hard, but Train Smart,

Tuhon Bill


Note 1. The man who defrauded GT’s students in 1979 was a Filipino officer of AAO. He had collected money from us to purchase swords from the Philippines on his next trip there. (I had given him $50, which was a lot of money for a teenager back then.) When he returned with the swords to NY, he said they were too nice to give to non-filipinos, never refunded us the money and kept the swords.