PTI Outline

An Outline of the Pekiti-Tirsia System



The first thing (and from six through nine years of age, the only thing) Tuhon Gaje learned was footwork . There are 12 categories of footwork in Pekiti-Tirsia.

Click here to view a diagram (opens in a new window)

  • Sidestepping (90* and 180* turns)
  • Ducking (squatting, springing, kneeling and low work in general)
  • Forward Triangle (offensive footwork-the triangle’s apex points toward opponent)
  • Reverse Triangle (counter-offensive footwork-the triangle’s base points toward opponent)
  • Wave-in/wave-out (long range baits, fakes, and retreats)
  • Take-offs ( a running attack that changes direction one or more times)
  • Ranging (a 45*, 90*, and 135*stepping, leaping or spinning attack)
  • “L” Pattern (90 turns)
  • “M” Pattern (two forward triangles side by side. Symmetrical in drills – asymmetrical in application)
  • “N” Pattern (forward triangle with long sidestep)
  • “W” Pattern (two reverse triangles side by side. Symmetrical in drills – asymmetrical in application)
  • “Star” Pattern (superimposed forward and reverse triangles in which the apexes change positions); plus variations such as Diamond, Hourglass and Box.


Because so many received their introduction to Pekiti-Tirsia in seminars as a condensed form called 64 Attacks, I’ll use a technique’s number from that form where it applies.

  • Multiple Attacks “Sabay Sabay nga Sugod ” (basic categories of beginners’ strikes): Jab, takedown, slash, overhead, uppercut, close spacing-multiple hits.
  • 12 Attacks “Abcedario” or “Letters”: 12 sets of 12 [144] basic attacks and targets. (divided into two sets of 6, a forward set and a reverse, or mirror-image set)
    • 1st set: Basic (#1 to #12 in the 64 attacks)
    • 2nd set: ReverseTargets
    • 3rd set: Double Force (a technique for adding the power of a two-handed grip while retaining the mobility of a one-handed grip
    • 4th set: Reverse Double Force
    • 5th set: Reverse Grip (stick held in ice pick grip for slashes)
    • 6th set: Reverse – Reverse grip
    • 7th set: Punyo (punching ) – striking with the butt of the stick
    • 8th set: Reverse Punyo
    • 9th set: Hook (to hook and pull with the butt of the stick)
    • 10th set: Reverse Hook
    • 11th set: Bayonet (two-handed grip of stick)
    • 12th set: Reverse Bayonet


  • 64 ATTACKS (A form that combined the first three years of training drills Tuhon Gaje was teaching in the 1970s into one group).

#1 TO 12:  First set of Abcedario.

#13 TO 22: Four Wall “Apat na Paligid” basic entry technique against strikes in a simple timing drill.

#23 to 25 Umbrella “Payong” fluid entry techniques.

#26 TO 31 Tapping against thrusts “Pangising” (a drill of 3 attacks, 3 counters, and 3 recounters but #26 to #31 in the condensed 64 Attacks) Taught with “Chekete” (direct) and “Echekete” (indirect) counter to weapon-arm pinning drills, counters and recounters.

#32 TO 36: Five Attacks “Limang Sugod” diagonal attacks, entries, and counter-to- counter drills.

#37 TO 43: Break in-Break out “Pasok Lo’ob – Pasok Labas” linear attack, entry, and counter-to-counter drills. Taught with “Segang Labo”, a close-quarter engagement-disengagement drill that acts as a platform for close-quarter disarms, traps and takedowns.

#44 TO 50: Seven Attacks “Pitong Sugod” Entry, off balancing, takedown or repelling techniques.

#51 TO 64: Clock System “Orassan."  Entries and baits with double force. Introduction to flat-of-the-blade strikes (called in Visayan “Witik” -lit. to flip or whip, but used here “to cheat”; called “Abaniko” in several other dialects).

FLORETE: A form often taught along with the 64 Attacks is “Florete” (Derived from “small flower” in Latin, but used for a practice sword or fencing foil in Spanish). The Florete form comprises 12 movements with foot work, using circular doubling attacks.It is used in long sword work to strike your opponent’s sword across his edge with the back of your blade, thus dulling his blade while sparing your own. Used with a stick as a quick hook-and-strike technique.


    • Pekiti-Disarma “Pekiti- Disarming” 180 disarming and takedown patterns, divided into 2 sets of 90
      • 1st set: Stick-to-Stick disarms -(includes counterstrike, disarm, knock out, takedown and/or finishing technique) 30 angles of entry ( 5 on a high forehand- 5 on a high back hand and 4 each on forehand strike to leg, back hand to leg, straight low thrust, back hand high thrust, forehand hook thrust [1,2,3,4,5,8,9 in first 12 attacks of Abacedario] 30 counters, 30 recounters.
      • 2nd set: Hand/Knife vs. Stick disarms (includes nerve strikes, etc.) 30 angles of entry, 30 counters, 30 recounters.
    • Segidas “Bridging” 36 attack combinations divided into 3 sets of 12 1st set: Attacks that bridge the gap between long and middle range 2nd set: Attacks that bridge the gap between middle and close range 3rd set: Extreme close-quarter attacks finishing with a break or takedown.
    • Contradas “Counters” 36 – 3 sets of 12 1st set: Multiple small quick strikes for each one of your opponent’s attacks 2nd set: Above strikes expanded to multiple opponent footwork pattern drills 3rd set: The form counters the first set of Segidas but the drills teach countering the “Contradas” timing versions of the 64 Attacks drills.
    • Recontras “Recounters” 36 attacks – 3 sets of 12. 1st set: Quick, close-quarter, multi-strike entry and break or takedown.  2nd set: Medium range application of advanced footwork patterns with advanced attacks and trapping includes multiple opponent footwork drills 3rd set: Long range application of advanced footwork patterns closing with advanced baits, fakes and finishing strikes.
    • Alphabito “Alphabet” up to 26 attacks (depends if you use Sanskrit, Filipino, or English alphabet) based on shape of letters, used with forward triangle
    • Numerado “Numbers” 10 attacks based on the shape of numbers, used with reverse triangle.
    • Offensa-Defensa–Defensa-Offensa . Advanced evasion drills for weapon arm.


    • ATTACKS 1 set of 12 – Attack patterns practiced at first as symmetrical timing drills, but advanced practice involves asymmetrical combinations of patterns.
    • DISARMS 12 ways Double Stick disarms Double Stick.
    • CONTRADAS 1 set of 12 – Entry techniques using small multi-hits, baits, ending in traps escapes or disarms.
    • RECONTRAS 1 set of 12 – Counters to the Contradas emphasizing direct power hits ending in “finishing” techniques.


    • Attacks combinations. There are 36 combinations divided into 3 sets of 12:
      • 1st set: Basic attacks and footwork – dagger held in hammer grip.
      • 2nd set: Intermediate attacks and footwork – dagger is switched back and forth from hammer to icepick grip.
      • 3rd set: Advanced attacks and footwork – dagger is held in icepick grip.
    • Disarms: 3 sets of 12:
      • 1st set: Hammer disarming Hammer.
      • 2nd set: Icepick disarming Hammer.
      • 3rd set: Icepick disarming Icepick.
    • Contradas: 3 sets of 12 – emphasis on multi-hits, baits, and traps.
      • 1st set: You and your opponent both have your daggers in hammer grip.
      • 2nd set: You hold your dagger in icepick grip while your opponent is in hammer grip.
      • 3rd set You both are in icepick grip.
    • Recontras: 3 sets of 12 – emphasis on recountering contradas with direct hits, disarms and/or “finishing” techniques.
      • 1st set: Hammer grip vs. Hammer grip.
      • 2nd set: Icepick vs. Hammer.
      • 3rd set: Icepick vs. Icepick.

    Originally taught in the sequence of all the first sets, then all second sets, then third sets, which gave you:

    1. 1st set group (Hammer grip vs. Hammer grip) -Attacks, Disarms, Contradas, Recontras.
    2. 2nd set group (Icepick vs. Hammer) -Attacks, Disarms, Contradas, Recontras.
    3. 3rd set group (Icepick vs. Icepick) – Attacks, Disarms, Contradas, Recontras.

    In addition, there are tapping and trapping drills that are not numbered but parallel the above techniques.


    Two basic grips:

    • Icepick grip – called Pakal ( lit.”to rip”) 1 set of 12 attacks.
    • Hammer grip – called Sak-Sak (lit. “stab-stab”) 1 set of 12 attacks.
    • Third Hand – (elbows, hack, eye jab, slap) the strikes between the parries.
    • Nerve Hits – intercepting strikes to nerve centers in weapon arm.
    • Blade Reversals – turning his knife against him while he still holds it.
    • Throws (always after a disabling strike).
    • Locks, Pins, and Joint Breaks (Used most often after a throw).
    • Disarms and Strips.
    • Foot Clearing – low sweeps and kicks and their counters and recounters.
    • Empty-Hand Knife “Tapping” – parrying drills combining all of the above.
    • Knife-to-Knife “Tapping” drills (parrying drills in which both of you are armed) -Knife held in-
      • A. Pakal (icepick grip) vs. Sak-Sak (hammer grip).
      • B. Pakal vs. Pakal.
      • C. Sak-Sak vs. Sak-Sak.
      • D. 2 Sak-Sak vs. 2 Sak-Sak.
      • E. 2 Pakal vs. 2 Pakal.
      • F. 1 Pakal and 1 Sak-Sak vs. same.
      • ” vs. 2 Sak-Sak.
      • ” vs. 2 Pakal.
    • “Finishers” – KNIFE VS. HAND – 12 attack combinations , plus. counters to knife defenses.


    Since [as classically taught] you had already mastered all the weapon techniques, by the time you moved on to hand-to-hand you were taught how to use the hands as weapons and simply translated the weapon drills into hand techniques. Note: The PTI Rank Chart is based on the order in which Tuhon McGrath learned the system, which had the empty hand material spread throughout the curriculum.

    The general categories are:

    • Entry techniques and nerve hits – attacks that bridge the gap, coming mainly from knife-to-knife and single stick techniques.
    • Parry drills – coming from knife and stick drills.
    • Traps – coming from sword and dagger techniques.
    • Fist, foot, and joint breaking – coming from knife and single stick.
    • Locks, throws, takedowns – mainly coming from hand vs. knife.
    • Leg work – [kicks, stomps, leg traps, and “foot clearing” – parrying kicks with the lower leg ] – leg attacks and counters to kicks coming from knife vs. emptyhand counters and the older “silat” techniques of the Majapahit Empire period.
    • Ground work- wrestling and strangulation from hand vs. knife.

    2 FORMS .


    • Slap – Sets 1 and 2 – with palm and back of hand.
    • Fist – Sets 3 and 4 – Vertical fist uppercut, one knuckle hook, 45* downward cross, hammer fist, thrusting backfist.
    • Elbows – Sets 5 and 6- Diagonal down, diagonal up, horizontal, vertical and thrusting.
    • Wrist Hack – Sets 7 and 8 – with wrist.
    • Forearm Hack – Sets 9 and 10 – with bony edge of arm , also “dead-arming” with top of arm.
    • Eye jab – Set 11 – whips, thrusts and gouges.
    • Kicks – Set 12 – Round house with shin – 45* up, horizontal, 45* down, reverse / front kick with shin/
    • “Sipa” kicks with bottom of foot/hooking back kick/cut kicks with edges of foot/inside and outside.
    • Hooking kicks with heel stomps.



    PEKITI-DE MANO: Entries, traps and take downs based on the Pekiti-Disarma. The techniques are structured with an armed opponent in mind.