Sunday, February 01, 2009
They say that men are notoriously bad at remembering anniversaries, and for the most part they are right. The year 2009 however, is a significant year in that it marks two important milestones.
On a personal note, it marks 30 years that I have been involved in the serious study and practice of the Martial Arts. In January of 1979, I announced my decision to begin weightlifting to my mother. After much debate and consideration, I ‘settled’ on taking Karate lessons at the local Jewish Community Center. In retrospect the deciding factor was that a set of weights was $50.00 and Karate training was $15.00 per month. Back at the tail end of the 1970's, you didn’t see a lot of children in martial arts classes like you do today. The instructor initially refused to accept me due to my age, but Mom finally convinced him on the grounds that I had already been studying the guitar for 2 years and was disciplined about practicing, etc. Seven years later, I got my black-belt and took over teaching the program. In the eight years that I taught there, easily 500 students passed through my dojo on the second floor of the Oak Park JCC.
The second milestone is that 2009 is the 10-year anniversary of the founding of our Pekiti-Tirsia chapter in Michigan. Back in the 70's Michigan was a major hub for Pekiti-Tirsia, and I had the feeling that the time was right to bring the Art back here in a big way. I contacted Grand Tuhon Gaje directly, and he officially christened us as the Detroit Maphilindo Pitbulls. Once he had re-established himself here in the States, we had the pleasure of hosting him 2 and 3 times a year for a good stretch, in addition to following him all over the country: Indiana, Maryland, New York, and eventually on his home turf in the Philippines.
It was a new era, so to speak. Instead of the drills and exercises that were once considered the mainstay of Pekiti-Tirsia in the previous decades, there was a new terminology, refined theories, and a sleek, streamlined curriculum called The Tri-V Methodology. Gone were the 64-Attacks, knife-tapping, and about 80% of the old curriculum. Ever the innovator, Grand Tuhon Gaje had refined the Art to a high degree. In my opinion, a student coming in fresh and beginning with the Tri-V Methodology develops all the skill and knowledge as someone from the old-school, but in literally a fraction of the time. It’s a short, direct road to the same goal, which is the foundation for our training in the Brotherhood of the Blade.
We thank all of teachers, students, friends and supporters for helping us to reach these milestones even as we look forward to the next chapter...