PTI Blog


    Disarms in Pekiti-Tirsia are not taught as “goal” techniques in a fight. The goal is not to disarm an opponent, but to safely move past him, after reducing (even temporarily) his ability to pose a danger to you. A disarm is simply one tool in your toolbox to help you get to your goal.
  • 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.

    The purpose of this series is to learn how to learn; ie the teachnique of learning something new. One way human beings do this (especially when young) is by learning through comparisons. In this essay we will examine the differences in drawing three categories of weapons; the bowie, the kukri and the hatchet/tomahawk.

  • “WHAT I DID ON MY SUMMER VACATION” Crazy Eddie Stories part 2

    I first met Penchak Silat instructor Suryadi “Eddie” Jafri in June of 1978. He had come to watch a Philippine Independence Day festival in lower Manhattan because he had heard good things about Filipino martial arts and wanted to see if some would be demonstrated at the event.
  • Can you recommend a Graphics Program to Illustrate Fighting Techniques?

    For many years I have been diagramming Pekiti-Tirsia weapon techniques. I was even able to do this in the pre-desktop days, drawing by hand, since my diagrams were so simple.  However, I have not been able to create diagrams of empty hand techniques as easily. I really should do a better job on the empty hand end of things, so I have a request.
  • Understanding Distance Control and Timing through Drills.

    The main factors that separate beginners from experienced fighters are the latter’s level of understanding of distance control and timing.
    Distance control in striking arts is usually accomplished via footwork: while timing is the ability to use specific elements of fighting at the correct time.
    Getting good at these skills helps you be in the right place, at the right time and using the right tools to accomplish your goals.
  • 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.

    The main purpose of Pekiti-Tirsia hand vs knife training is NOT to end the fight against a knife with your bare hands. The purpose of any 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.
  • THE PEKITI WAY: Teaching the Pekiti-Tirsia system, then and now.

    Here are two lesson plans for teaching the Pekiti-Tirsia system; the Classical way, which Grand Tuhon Gaje learned as a child in the Philippines (...

    *The contest has ended. If you would like to make a donation directly to the Chopra family, please contact Tuhon Bill McGrath for details.

    On May 13th I received extremely sad news from PTI’s India Director Sahil Chopra. His wife Smarika had passed away that day from Covid-19, just 20 days after giving birth to their second child. You can imagine what a devastating effect this must be having on Sahil and his family. His oldest son is just 4 years old. Sahil is serving in the Indian army and can be called away from home as the needs of the army dictate. Please pray for them.

  • 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!