PTI Blog


    WHY LEARNING THROUGH COMPARISONS?  This course is based on comparing the use of three categories of tools as weapons, the bowie knife, the kukri and the axe/tomahawk. My goal is to show you how to recognize both the pros and cons of each design and how to use them effectively, taking into account their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Notes on blade design: Bowie, Kukri & Hand Axe.

     Notes on blade design for knifemakers: Bowie, Kukri & Hand Axe. Your bladed tool should be:1.  Legal in your area for its intended purpose.2....
  • EDDIE JAFRI AND THE GOLOK (Eddie stories part 3)

    The Golok of Indonesia is a large, stout knife, comparable in use to the Parang of Malaysia and the Bolo of the Philippines. While Google and Youtube will translate golok as “machete,” it’s really a different tool than what we in the west would think of when we use that term.
  • BOWIE POINT- Preferred length and shape?

    If I ever had to use a bowie knife for defensive purposes, I’d want to cut with maximum effect at the longest possible distance. This means putting the Center of Percussion (C.O.P.) as far forward as possible; while still retaining a functional, piercing point (1). Therefore, I’d want to have a relatively short false edge or swedge (2). For most of my bowies, it seems that a swedge length between 1/4 and 1/3 of the overall blade length strikes the right balance.
  • BOWIE KNIFE DESIGN: Trailing Point, Possible Origin and Uses.

    . I’ve been interested in the bowie knife for several years now and and have been exploring the pros and cons of different designs. One element I...
  • BIG VS SMALL (BLADES) Does Size Really Matter?

    Here is an article I wrote for the July 1999 issue of Inside Kung Fu magazine on the subject of knives for self defense use. I was specifically writing about a pet peeve of mine in the 1990s. Some instructors back then were teaching techniques developed in the Philippines and designed for use with a large blade, but were teaching the same techniques to their students in the West, who are carrying much smaller knives. My problem with this was expecting the small knife to be able to do the work of a much larger blade. Like much else in life: SIZE DOES MATTER!

    I’ve been traveling to Finland since the mid-1990s to teach Pekiti-Tirsia seminars hosted by my friend Sensei/Guro Kaj Westersund. Here are some of the knives he and his students have given me, along with a look at my 2009 trip to the shop of Finnish custom knife-maker Markku Vilppola; as well as a look at the Finnish military Ranger knife designed by J.P. Peltonen.

    The purpose of this essay is to help you find a knife handle that will fit your hand by filling in the information often missing on handle dimensions in the specifications on knife maker’s website. 

    I often gets asked for recommendations of knives for self-defense use.This is usually easy to do, once I get the answers to these two questions:

    1. What is legal for you in your area?

    2. What will you be using the knife for when it is not put to self defense uses? (Which we can usually assume is the vast majority of the time.)

    The one parameter that would often make this choice difficult was when I was asked to recommend a fixed blade for self defense with a blade of less than 4 inches. The problem here is that most fixed blade knives with sub 4” blades have correspondingly small handles. When you have large hands, this can be a problem.

  • How to measure Pekiti-Tirsia long and short swords.

                 I have been asked many times to give the measurements of the Pekiti-Tirsia long sword shown in the PTI logo. The information on the m...
  • Big Blades for your family’s Get Home Bags.

    Blades discussed in this article: (Top) CRKT Kangee T-Hawk. (From Left to Right) Cold Steel Gurkha Kurki Plus, Ontario OKC Kukri, Ontario SP10 Marine Raider Bowie, Ontario SP5 Survival Bowie, Becker BK5, Cold Steel Drop Forged Survivalist, Cold Steel OSI, Cold Steel Rajah 2.
  • KARAMBITS & MAGIC SWORDS (Crazy Eddie stories part 1)

    “Smell the blade.” said my Indonesian Penchak Silat instructor, Suryadi “Crazy Eddie” Jafri.

    “Why?” I replied, not understanding what this had to do with the question I had asked him.

    “Billy, just smell the blade.”

    Eddie had given me a small Indonesian knife, with a pistol grip and a 3 inch, leaf shaped blade of black damascus steel. It had a strange, elongated hole that looked to be deliberately forged into the center of the blade. The whole thing was small enough to fit into the palm of my hand.