Tuhon Jared Wihongi

 

Dear Friends of Pekiti-Tirsia,

In 2019 I began planning a series of joint seminars I intended to start in 2020. The first was going to be a seminar focusing on the Pekiti-Tirsia system, with a look at the “classic” way I had learned the system in the 1970s and 80s, compared with the new methodologies being taught in the 90s and 2000s.

The instructor I chose to represent the newer methods was Jared Wihongi, based on several factors. He was a fellow law enforcement officer, a good family man and had a reputation for integrity and self disciple.

On the technical front, I saw him bring Pekiti-Tirsia material and streamline the training down to core principles that a class of police officers could reasonably be able to learn in the short time given them by most agencies these days.

What really stuck in my mind though was that he was one of the few instructors of the “modern method” that understood the place footwork has in the Pekiti-Tirsia system, using it in the right way, at the right time, for the right purposes.

Well, you can guess what happened to my plan for 2020. However, I was finally able to hold two joint seminars with Jared post pandemic. One in October of 2021 in Las Vegas and the other in June of 2022 in Atlanta (the later, along with Ray Dionaldo). In each case, I found Jared to be an excellent teacher, with students and associate instructors who reflected his skill and professionalism, as well as honest in his business dealings with me. I have also done interviews with Jared on the FMA Discussion and Aperture Fight Focus talk shows. (See links below).

Back in April, I received the following email from a mutual student of ours in Europe:

“I’m not gonna dive deep into politics, but I’m sure you heard about Jared getting promoted to Grand Tuhon. 
Of course I can’t speak for him, but for me as a Pekiti Practitioner: I would love it, if Jared as the new GT could bring together former “repelled” Organizations and reconcile former practitioners of the art. Everyone hates the old politics and arguments. And everyone should love our beautiful art together.”

I immediately forwarded the email to Jared and suggested that we should work together on this issue when we saw each other at another joint seminar we had planned for the beginning of May. (We had to postpone that seminar due to events at the location, but hope to reschedule for a later date).

Recently there was some controversy* coming out of the Philippines that made work on this project difficult at this time; but I have seen such controversies come and go in the 49 years I have been in the Pekiti-Tirsia system and the 29 years since I started PTI.

I still feel Jared is the right person from the modern PTK instructors to help me bring together the various people who trained with Grand Tuhon Gaje over the years and try to bring some healing and comradely to the group.

My feeling is that most people dislike the politics of the current situation and just want to train in the art they love. Next year will be my 50th anniversary in the Pekiti-Tirsia system. I would like to put all politics aside and hold as many joint seminars as possible with all Pekiti-Tirsia groups, no matter their affiliations. Small seminars, large seminars, on line or in person, it does not matter: let’s just get together, have fun and make each other better at the art we love.

Regards,
Tuhon Bill McGrath

*Note: Here is what the controversy was about. After Jared was notified of Grand Tuhon Leo Gaje's intent to promote him to Grand Tuhon, Jared anticipated some blowback from other groups and discussed with Grand Tuhon the importance of protecting the PTK logo in the Philippines from outside influences. Steps were taken to do just that. After the trademark application was discovered by other groups, people jumped to conclusions and online attacks on Jared were made.

Sample from interview with Tuhon Bill McGrath and Tuhon Jared Wihongi. Sept 2021. 3:32 minutes.

 Full Interview with Tuhon Bill McGrath & Tuhon Jared Wihongi. Sept 2021. 90 minutes.

 

FMA Discussion Episode 202 - PTK Then and Now with Tuhon''s Bill , Jared and Philip. Sept 2021. 2 hours.